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Finding the Link

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Bitty knew that he looked like he didn’t want to be there. He wanted to be supportive of Jack, he did, but he couldn’t manage to uncross his arms or school his face into a more agreeable expression. But his skin was still warm and glowing from their vacation to Hawai’i, and instead of ignoring their phones for one more day, Bitty and Jack were in Las Vegas, knocking on Kent Parson’s door at 8:30am.


He was skeptical that anyone in their right mind would be awake that early on their off season, but Jack insisted Parson was always a morning person. When Jack knocked for the third time, Bitty resisted the urge to roll his eyes and give his boyfriend a pointed look.


After the fourth knock, there was a vague shuffling noise followed by a meowing, before the door finally cracked open.


Parson definitely didn’t look like the morning person that Jack had made him out to be. He was clearly still half-asleep, eyes barely open. He was holding a very soft, very grumpy looking grey cat to his bare chest, and his boxers were slung low on narrow hips. The hair on the left half of his head was sticking up in every direction, while the right side was plastered to his head completely.


Bitty would be the first to admit that he didn’t exactly have a type, not like other people seemed to. Jack certainly seemed to have a thing for smaller blonds. Before Nursey and Dex got together, Nursey hooked up with just about every redhead athlete on campus. But once Bitty let himself actually look at other men? Everyone was fair game to him. So, it wasn’t like he couldn’t admit that Parson was an incredibly attractive person. But the way Jack was staring at the elaborate floral tattoo spanning Parson’s chest and sternum (which was frankly a weird contrast for the stereotypical white boy half sleeve proclaiming “only god can judge me”) was almost hungry. Parson didn't seem to notice, but Bitty definitely did.


Everybody stood there and stared, until Bitty got sick of waiting and not-too-discreetly elbowed Jack in the ribs. He would be there to support Jack, but he wouldn’t be taking the reins, no sir.


Jack startled out of wherever he had gone in his head, and cleared his throat. “Hey, Kenny. Can we come in?”


Parson looked around like he didn’t quite realize that they were standing in front of his door, but eventually nodded and moved to the side so that they could walk in. Bitty already assumed from the building that the condo was going to be more than slightly ridiculous, and he was right. The inside wasn’t actually as big as Bitty expected, but all of the surfaces were shining, and it looked like a professional had decorated it. The floor-to-ceiling windows along the living room provided a spectacular view of Vegas. It was all horribly impersonal. The only thing that looked out of place in the marble and leather was an elaborate cat jungle gym.


Bitty would take his and Jack’s less flashy, but much homier, Providence apartment any day.


Parson awkwardly shuffled around them, kicking the door closed once everyone had crowded inside the small entryway. He ran a hand through his hair (not that it was going to do any good) and gestured them in.


“I’m gonna… put on clothes. Make yourselves at home, if you want coffee or something.”


He carefully set the cat in the bed at the top of the jungle gym on his way to what Bitty assumed was his bedroom. Bitty couldn't suppress his snort when he saw what was undoubtedly the top half of Lord Stanley's Cup peeking out over the top of Parsons boxers. How did he live in a universe where his boyfriend's ex had a Stanley Cup tramp stamp?


Bitty gave Jack another hard elbow in the ribs when he caught him watching Parson walk away just a little too closely. Jack had the decency to look embarrassed, but Bitty didn’t wait to hear an explanation, just let himself into the kitchen. Parson wasn’t wrong, coffee sounded great.


Bitty wasn’t at all jealous that it was the kitchen of his dreams, better than even the one they had in Providence, despite the renovations they had done. The counters were gleaming white with thin grey and gold veining, the glass-front cabinets went all the way to the ceiling, and there was more prep space than anyone could ever need. Bitty would put good money on the fact that Parson had never used the professional double ovens that he had.


Tucked into one of the corners of the countertops were a standard 12-cup coffee maker that looked like it had seen better days and a newer model of the same espresso maker that Shitty and Lardo had in their apartment. Bitty opened cupboards until he found a set of a dozen identical (boring) mugs and coffee grounds and helped himself to the almond milk in the fridge (ew), then made him and Jack both strong lattes. If Parson wanted something, he could make it himself.


Bitty set a large mug in front of Jack and moved to settle himself on one of the stools under the island, but at the last second, Jack caught his hand and pulled him back. He let himself be hauled against his boyfriend’s chest.


“You sure you’re okay with this, ma puce ?”


He took a deep breath, then let it out. He was okay with it… in theory. Bitty knew that the (probably unfounded) grudge he held against Parson would have to be set aside in the name of business, but he didn’t realize how hard that would be. He also didn’t realize how hard it would be to see real proof that Jack still had… some sort of flame still, even if he kind of expected as much.


But he knew this was important, and he knew that he had to be okay with it. There wasn’t any other option.


He pressed a small kiss against Jack’s lips, and then another on his freshly-shaved cheek.


“Of course, sweetheart. I’m here for you, no matter what.”


A disgruntled mrow and shuffling feet announced Parson and his cat. The too-big t-shirt and worn out sweatpants made him look somehow smaller. He hit a button on the fancy looking automatic food dispenser and bypassed the coffee corner and went straight for the blender and some protein powder (seriously, did he forget it was the offseason?).


On the one hand, Bitty was thankful for the ridiculously loud grinding that saved them from another prolonged awkward silence. On the other hand, he could already feel a headache starting to form right behind his eyes from the stress of the day, and it wasn't even 10am yet.


Protein shake in hand, Parson settled onto a stool and cleared his throat.


“So, Zimms. Long time, no see. Not that i don't mind the visit or anything, but uh… how the fuck do you know where I live?”


Jack flushed and looked down at his still-full mug. Bitty actually hadn't thought to ask that, and suddenly he was dying to know, too. He wasn't sure what he had assumed, maybe that Jack had kept track or maybe had been over after a game like they did sometimes, but apparently that wasn't the case.


“Carl. He owed me one.”


Parson raised a skeptical eyebrow. Bitty resisted the urge to do the same thing. If he found out that one of the Falcs had given out their address, even to another player, he would have raised hell unlike anything their Yankee asses had ever seen.


“What the fuck did he do that you managed to get his captain’s home address out of him? And how did you know I was going to be home, for that matter?”


Bitty threw back the last of his coffee when he noticed that Jack’s blush deepened. He would have to wheedle everything out of his boyfriend later, because this was an absolute disaster already. At least he could get some good gossip out of it.


“I, erm. I promised him that it wouldn’t get back to you. And I knew you’d be home because you posted a new picture on Instagram last night. Of Kit and her new claw caps? They match her collar good, eh?”


“Uh-huh. Right. You follow me on instagram.” He settled his cup against the countertop. “Why did you go to all that trouble, Jack?”


Something about the way Parson said his first name made Jack’s mouth twist uncomfortably. Or maybe it was just the reason they were there. Bitty reached out and put his hand on Jack’s knee under the countertop. He was there for support, after all.


Jack pushed his cup to the side, too.


“My, uhm, my agent suggested that I come see you earlier rather than later in the off season.”


Parson snorted. “Mhmm.”


“With me and Bittle, you know… Coming out. It puts a microscope on my past, and since it’s the offseason, and people are going to go digging for news a little more than normal…”


That was an understatement. Bitty might not have been knowledgeable about hockey when he started playing, but he very quickly learned how absolutely crazy everyone got during the off-season. Ransom and Holster loved to watch the hockey fandom lose their collective minds about every close touch and vacation picture. So-called fans would worm their way into private social media accounts, find family members, and repost all of the pictures they found.


When Jack’s agent, Sandia, said that it was possible that news outlets would go through all of the old footage of Jack and Parson together, ask to interview all of their old (and possibly jealous) teammates about their past, Bitty could definitely believe it. Jack was already out, and the rumors were already swirling about him and drugs in the past, so the only thing that he seemed to worry about was how it would affect Parson.


Parson nodded like he didn’t need any more explanation. He had been playing professional hockey for longer than Jack by years, he probably understood it better than any of them.


“And they want to know what line to give the media?”




Parson grabbed his cup again and twisted it between his hands a few times before pushing it back away. He rubbed his hands through his hair (which somehow made it lie flatter), before plastering on what was undoubtedly his fake media smile. “Whatever you want, Zimms.”


Bitty snorted in disbelief. Of course Parson wasn’t taking it seriously. He wasn’t entirely sure why Jack thought he would in the first place anyway. They travelled all the way to Vegas for a media smile and a throw-away answer.


Parson gave Bitty a pointed look. “What?”


He hadn’t intended to say anything, but if he was being given the opportunity… “I just think it’s awful funny, is all, that suddenly you’re all willing to come out for Jack when just a few years ago you would rather push him into a panic attack to follow you to Vegas  instead of playing on his “worthless team”. Seems to me that it was never about what Jack wanted, so why should it be now?”


Parson actually looked shocked at Bitty’s words, even a little upset, instead of angry like Bitty expected. Jack, on the other hand. Jack said something under his breath in French (that Parson seemed to understand, interesting) and gave Bitty a steely glare.


“Why don’t you just give me and Kenny a few minutes to talk, Bittle.”


Bitty stared at Jack for a minute, disbelieving. He could maybe admit that he was a little out of line, but it wasn’t like he wasn’t justified in his anger at Parson over what had happened at the kegster a couple years ago. And on the ice earlier in the season. And for all of Jack’s childhood, basically. And Jack had asked him there for a reason. Apparently, a reason that didn’t matter anymore.


He took a deep breath and counted to four. If this is what Jack needed, it was what he would do. He nodded, maybe a little mechanically, and slipped off of his stool and wandered to the living room area. Because the condo was open concept, he could still hear the soft rumble of voices. He tried to pick up what they were saying, but noticed that they had switched to French. Beautiful.


After a few minutes looking at the well-curated bookshelves (with books that didn’t tell Bitty anything about Parson, and a lot about his decorator), he felt something brush up against his leg. When he looked down, he noticed the fluffy grey cat from earlier, who must have been the famed Kit. Like Jack had mentioned, her collar and claw caps were both a nice sky blue color.


He reached down and gave its head a small pet. “Did you get kicked out, too, kitty?”


It wasn’t that he was pissed about it, except he was definitely pissed about it. He wanted to be a part of the conversation about what happened. It indirectly affected him, since he was dating Jack, but more importantly it affected Jack and that mattered to him. Jack’s future and his mental health were incredibly important to Bitty, and this conversation with Parson directly affected both of them.


Part of Bitty was also mad at himself that he was more of a frustration than a help to his boyfriend. He had been trying to work on himself, working on putting aside his emotions, to be the best boyfriend he could be in an especially trying time. Being sent out of the room like a misbehaving child (“just wait over there while the adults talk, Dicky”) meant that he had failed.


And, when it was just Bitty and Kit in the room, he could admit that just a little, tiny part of him was also jealous. Jack and Bitty's relationship was great, there was no doubt about it. Jack had come out for him, after all. But Bitty never got that immediate and intense sexual attention from Jack that Parson did today. And yeah, he could recognize that he wasn't exactly a top level NHL player, and he definitely didn't keep Parson’s habits, but over the past few years of training, Bitty had put on muscle tone and filled out his shoulders. Sure he was still short (...relatively), but he wasn't a twig anymore, and up until that morning, Bitty thought that Jack liked that about him.


But the way Jack had looked at Parson… even in the face of a serious, professional conversation, Jack had still been distracted by his body. He had still worn a fiercely hungry look that Bitty had never seen before, one that almost scared him a little. After everything, could Jack still be tempted to leave Bitty?


He really liked to think no, but…


Even though Bitty was looking in better shape than he ever had been (in his mind, at least), and he was working on himself in all ways, it was still hard for him to believe that of all of the people on Earth, Jack had chosen him to come out for. On his less-than-good days, Bitty was still waiting on the conversation where Jack told him that he was going to look for someone better now that he was out publicly as bisexual. Now that that hurdle was taken, all of the queer men were there to choose from, not just the sad gay little Georgia boy who was conveniently placed.


He never voiced those kinds of thoughts to Jack, because he knew he was just being silly, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there in the back of his mind, ready to jump out at exactly the wrong moment. Like when he was standing in Kent fucking Parson’s living room, staring down at his cat, trying desperately to convince himself that if he looked back, his boyfriend would be having a professional discussion with a coworker instead of slowly undressing his ex.


The conversation in the kitchen was getting slower, and he wasn’t sure he could leave himself alone with his thoughts much longer, so Bitty started to wander back that way, careful not to get tripped up by Kit, who had apparently decided not to leave his ankles. Jack and Parson were both sitting in the same spots, stiff and awkward. He was pretty sure that Parson’s face looked splotchier than it had before, and he couldn’t tell from so far away, but Bitty would bet money that his eyes were glassy up close.


Before Bitty could get all the way across the room, Jack slid his phone across the island and waited for Parson to program his number in before hopping off the stool and beelining for Bitty. It was clear that the conversation, and the visit, was over. And Bitty really hadn’t played a part in either.


His southern manners hadn’t completely abandoned him, so he called back, “Thanks for the coffee.”


Instead of answering him, though, Parson only had eyes for Jack. He called out, “D é sol é , Jack. Je t’aime, et je suis d é sol é.


Bitty’s heart sank. He wasn’t good at French, and had barely passed even with all of Jack’s help, but he knew what that meant. And he knew what that look on Jack’s face meant, too. The only question was whether Jack would bring it up first, or if he would have to.


By the time they closed the front door, Parson still hadn’t moved from his seat.




They had entertained the idea of renting a hotel room for all of about a minute, then decided to go with an AirBNB. Not only did it mean having privacy, not worrying that a reporter saw them walking into a hotel while they were staking out some high level celeb or other, but it also meant that Bitty had access to a full kitchen to do all the stress baking he needed.

The two bedroom house that they found was the sort of thing that Bitty always dreamed that he would have one day. It was in a nice neighborhood, perfect for kids one day, and right across from a park. The exterior wasn’t too fancy, by Vegas’ standards, at least, but the interior was updated and modern (without feeling cold). Bitty loved Jack's Providence apartment, he did, and he was beyond words at how much he appreciated that Jack was willing to renovate for Bitty's wants and needs, but… but.


They had barely talked on the way back to the house. When Bitty tried to comment on it, Jack said that he needed a few minutes to think, so Bitty gave him his space. It wasn’t unusual for Jack to need to take a few minutes to process, especially when it came to emotions, and Bitty was still adjusting to that. To him, the entire car ride just felt like awkward silence.


Right after the rental car pulled into the driveway, Bitty was out and up the sidewalk, trying to shake off the anxiety that had left his legs cramped. He carelessly kicked off his shoes and headed to the kitchen. Jack followed more slowly, probably carefully lining up his shoes with Bitty’s in the hallway so that they wouldn’t trip over them later that night. The AirBNB host had been nice enough to stock the kitchen with a huge selection of groceries for them, so Bitty headed for the coffee maker and tea kettle (since Jack wouldn’t want a second cup of coffee).


He was sitting at the breakfast bar with two steaming mugs in front of him by the time Jack made his way to join him. He pressed a kiss to the top of Bitty’s head and wrapped his arms around Bitty’s shoulders in a loose hug.


Bitty hugged him back as best he could, careful not to spill his cup of coffee. “You feeling okay, sweetpea?”


Jack nuzzled against his head. “Confused, I think.”


Yeah, Bitty could definitely understand that. He was mighty confused about some things, too. But there would be time for that later.


“What about, baby?”


Jack paused for a minute, and Bitty pretended not to notice the way his hands tightened against his shoulders. He could see both of their mugs getting cold, but that was okay. They could always make more later.


“Kenny, uh. Kent. He said he wanted to come out, if Sandia decided that was the best response for to whatever questions the media come up with.”


That was… That was not what Bitty expected. It was a huge move. Even Jack, who was now officially the first openly queer hockey player, hadn’t consciously made the decision to come out. The timeline he, Bitty, and the Falconers had officially drawn out was still years out. The kiss was a spur of the moment thing. Kent choosing to come out, when he had shown no previous interest in doing it... It meant something.


Bitty must have made some noise that Jack took as acknowledgement, because he went on. “Even back when we… back in the Q, he seemed even more terrified of being outed than I was. I never thought that this was something he would do, for any reason, let alone for me.”


Bitty had to clear his throat before he could speak. “That’s, um.. That’s real good for him, sweetpea.”


Jack took a deep breath and let go of Bitty. He walked around so that they were facing each other and carefully moved the cups aside so that they weren’t in his line of sight. He held on tight to Bitty’s hands, and Bitty held back just as tight, pretending like his brain wasn’t coming up with a variety of horrible conversations that might follow, all the reasons that Jack might want to comfort him in that moment.


“So, what do you think you’re gonna do? Do you... want him to come out?” Bitty wasn’t sure what answer he wanted to hear to that, to be honest.


“I'll probably talk with Sandia, see what she thinks will be the best course of action.”


It didn't go unnoticed by Bitty that Jack didn't actually answer the full question, and he wasn't entirely surprised. It wasn't news to him that Jack wasn't great at discussions about emotions.


Jack checked the time on his cell phone. “Maybe I'll go for a run while it's still morning. You can plan our evening while I'm out, then when I get back we can shower and nap. Does that sound okay?”


To be honest, it sounded like every other day in Providence. It was Jack's comfort schedule, his default. Workout, run, nap, do whatever Bitty had planned for them. Except instead of working out today, they met with Parson, and Bitty was left with more questions than answers.


But he smiled and nodded, and leaned into the kiss Jack pressed to his cheek. The idea of sitting in a strange house without having some sort of resolution made his skin crawl, but the thought of bringing it up made his stomach twist in knots. He needed to know. He needed to hear Jack acknowledge it. And probably, Jack needed to acknowledge it out loud, too.


Bitty almost lost his courage. It would have been so easy to let Jack walk into the bedroom to change, to let him go run out in the Nevada heat like a madman, without addressing the elephant in Bitty’s brain.


It might have been the easy way out for now, but as soon as Jack jogged out of sight, Bitty knew that his brain would be going a million miles an hour again. They needed to talk about it, even if it would be painful.


Just as Jack was about to disappear into the bedroom, he called out, “Are we gonna talk about the other thing?”


Jack paused in the doorway. He hung his head and paused before turning around to face Bitty again. “What thing, Bittle?”


“Sweetpea… Jack. Please don’t make me say it.” He didn’t want to hear Jack say it anymore than he wanted to say it, though. He wanted for it not to be real. But it was. There was clearly still something between Jack and Parson, and they needed to talk about whatever it was.


For a second, Bitty was worried that Jack was going to deny it, or worse, pretend that he wasn’t sure what Bitty was talking about. The long pause drove him half-crazy, but eventually Jack sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.


“I… yeah. I don’t really know what to say.”


That it wasn’t real, that it was just leftover whatever from way back when, that it was just a bad joke. There were about a hundred different things that Bitty's brain wanted to hear, all of them as unrealistic as the last. None of them he could say to Jack.


Finally, he settled on, “How do you feel about him, really?”


“I think Kenny is an incredibly attractive man. There's a lot of… history and memories, and I didn't realize how much they would, uh… affect me until I saw his body again. But...” Jack paused for a second to consider how to phrase the next part. “But I don't have feelings for him and I love you.”


In some ways, that was better and worse than what Bitty expected to hear. It was so good to hear that Jack didn't think he had feelings for Parson, but knowing for certain that he felt sexual attraction to him, that raw hunger Jack never seemed to have for Bitty, was a little like a punch to the gut.


And maybe Bitty was a glutton for punishment because he couldn't help but ask,“How do you think he feels about you?”


He was pretty sure he already knew. You don't offer to come out of the closet for just anybody. Whether Jack realized that, though, was a different question altogether.


“Kenny? He doesn't have feelings for me. He probably never did.” The genuinely confused expression told Bitty that he actually believed that.


Bitty knew that wasn’t true. He knew Parson loving him was true just like he knew that the sky was blue, and that Jack had won the Cup, and that he was head over heels with someone who had the emotional awareness of an eggplant. Apparently, there was only one person who knew exactly how deep Parson’s feelings for Jack were, though, and that was Parson.


He smiled (even though it felt a little too tight) and nodded Jack back toward the bedroom. “Alright, honey. Thank you.”


Jack nodded, clearly relieved that the conversation was done earlier than he expected it to be, and headed back toward the bedroom door.


Bitty felt bad about stealing Jack’s phone. He knew it was wrong, he knew he should be upfront with Jack about what he was planning to do but he wasn’t sure that he had even fully formed the thoughts in his head, let alone be able to explain it coherently. Bitty just… he needed to hear Parson’s side of things. Bitty needed to see his face when he explained why he would ever go through the stress of coming out publicly.


Double checking that Jack wouldn’t be able to see him from the bedroom where he was changing, Bitty snatched the phone from the small table by the front door and quickly scrolled until he found a new entry for “Kenny”. Bitty texted the number to himself and deleted it before replacing it just in time.


Apparently Jack wasn’t taking any chances with the Las Vegas heat, because he had his shortest running shorts on, paired with a Samwell Men’s Hockey tank top, instead of his usual Falconer’s shirt. It was probably to keep from drawing attention to himself, but not only had Vegas grown into a huge hockey town in the last five years, Jack had literally just won the Stanley Cup weeks ago. Even in the relatively secluded residential neighborhood where their AirBNB was located, the chances that he was recognized were extremely high. If he thought it was a chance worth taking though, Bitty would support him.


Jack grabbed his phone from the front table and strapped it into his armband and pulled Bitty in for a kiss.


“See you after my run, eh?”


Bitty nodded, ignoring the sharp twisting in his gut, knowing that it was a lie.


The door had barely closed behind Jack when Bitty pulled out his phone and pulled up his text conversation with Jack. Right above Parson’s number was a series of hearts Jack had sent the day before; their layover in LA was extended, so Bity grabbed them both bagels while Jack took a cat nap at the terminal. Later, when Bitty went to the restroom, Jack texted him in appreciation. The twisting got worse, but Bitty ignored it and dialed Parson’s number.


He shifted from foot to foot while the phone rang, then grabbed the notepad off of the kitchen island for something to do with his hands. He tried to figure out what he was going to say, but his mind couldn’t settle. It was a mess of thoughts about Parson coming out, about what Jack had said, about how Bitty felt about it, how Parson could possibly feel about everything...


It rang long enough that Bitty nearly hung back up, but right before he pulled the phone from his ear, he heard the call connect and a gruff, “‘lo?”


Morning person Bitty’s ass, Parson had definitely gone back to sleep after they left (not that Bitty blamed him).


“Hi, this is Eric Bittle. I wanted to talk to you.”


The pause that followed was so long that Bitty was wondering if Parson had hung up on him, but after a long minute, there was a bit of shuffling and finally, “Jack doesn’t know you called me, huh?”


“No, I think it’s for the best that you and I had a little chat, just us two.” In reality, he thought it was a horrible idea, and he knew that Jack would protest heavily if (when… it was only a matter of when, really) he found out. But Bitty also knew it was something that needed to happen, for everyone’s sake, and his mama had taught him to do even the toughest things if they needed doing.


“9:40, he’s on his morning run, huh? Does he still take a nap right after?”


It hurt more than Bitty expected it would that someone else knew Jack’s schedule just as well as he did. It wasn’t a secret, most of SMH and all of the Falcs knew as well. Usually, you could set a watch by Jack’s routines. But there was something about Parson knowing that set his teeth on edge.


“Yeah,” he ground out. “Why don’t we meet for brunch so we can talk.”


There was more shuffling, followed by an insistent meowing. “Yeah, alright. You okay with uber or do you need me to pick you up?”


“I’ll uber, thanks.” Bitty rolled his eyes. There was no way going to sit in a car with Parson for some unknown amount of time, to some unknown location, so they could have a fight about a boy. Hell no.


Parson snorted. “Yeah, alright,” he said, and promptly hung up.


Bitty barely had time to look down at his phone before he got a text with an address. He ordered his uber and briefly considered changing, but decided that there was no reason to dress up for Parson, especially when he had just seen him an hour ago. Plus, in a fit of passive aggression, Bitty had underpacked his suitcases, and he didn’t really want to waste another outfit.


While he was waiting on the car, he checked out the restaurant that they were going to. Bitty expected something extravagant and overdone, something more Vegas, but instead it was a little hole in the wall place well away from the strip. Admittedly, the menu looked delicious, and they had a whole pastry selection for brunch that Bitty was already eyeing.


For maybe the first time ever, Bitty was glad that the uber driver was talkative. If he was having a conversation about what things he and Jack could do in Vegas while they were there, he didn’t have to focus on the fact that he was about to have the most awkward conversation of his life with his boyfriend’s ex, in a city he didn’t know.


Which, well. He was definitely doing. God, he had no clue why he was going through with this. Was it really any of his business if Parson still had feelings for Jack? Jack  already said that wasn’t the case for him, romantically, at least. Was it really his business if Parson had feelings for him, or was Bitty just being messy?


Honestly, Bitty wasn’t sure that he was going to be sure of anything until this whole situation was done and over with. Until then, they were all upstream without a paddle. And seeing that he was already in an uber, most of the way to a brunch spot, it was a little too late to be worrying that he was making the wrong call.


When they pulled up the the little cafe, Bitty could already see Parson’s head through the wide open windows. He thanked the driver and slowly slipped out of the car. With a deep breath, he opened the door and gave a tight smile to the staff before heading to the the table.


Parson had on a white snapback and a pair of sunglasses that probably cost more than Bitty’s entire wardrobe combined. The way he was slumped in his chair seemed relaxed, but Bitty could see the tension in his shoulders and the shredded remains of a napkin in a pile of the middle of the table.


Bitty carefully slipped into the chair opposite Parson, who took his time before slipping off his sunglasses.


“Didn’t get enough of my pretty face earlier, Eric?”

Bitty was taken aback for a second because it had been so long since anyone had referred to him by his first name. At home, he was Dicky; at Samwell, he was Bitty. Even Jack called him by his last name more often than anything else. He considered objecting briefly, but decided it would be a useless argument.


He couldn’t resist rolling his eyes, though. “No, Mr Parson, I did not just want to see your face. I just thought we should talk.”


“So, talk.”


Bitty was extremely glad that the waitress chose that moment to approach them. Sure, he was the one who initiated the meeting, but he wasn’t exactly sure how to start the conversation. Or what to say. Or if he even wanted to be there.


She already had a tall glass filled with what Bitty could only assume was green sludge (or, more likely, a green protein smoothie that looked like something even Jack only drank deep into the season). She set it next to the glass of water already in front of Parson and gave him a wide grin.


“Kent, your usual: a spinach, mango, lime smoothie with extra lime. Lamar is already making your chicken, kale, and grilled apple sandwich with an overeasy egg. What can I get for you, Kent’s friend?”


Half of Bitty wanted to order the unhealthiest, butteriest thing on the menu just to make up for Parson’s meal.


“May I please have a triple cappuccino, a honey butter croissant, and a cream cheese croissant? Thank you.”


She wrote it down with a grin and a wink, and walked back behind the counter.


Okay, so he wasn’t exactly going out of his way to not get the unhealthiest things on the menu, either. Parson raised an eyebrow at him in an expression that was frighteningly similar to the same one Jack used to give Bitty when he found him eating out of a pie tin at 3am trying to study French. Bitty wondered if he got it from Jack, or if it was the other way around.


“What, it’s the off season. You don’t hear me saying anything about your cup of grass.”


Parson shook his head and took a long drink of his green smoothie. “This cup of grass is going to help me put on enough muscle during the off season that I won’t have to stress about it in January. Not all of us can eat like frat boys and maintain their captaincy.”


Bitty wanted to say that frat boys didn’t exactly eat honey butter croissants, but part of him was considering making them for the team if they were as good as he thought they were going to be. Part of him wanted to tell Parson to quit fishing for compliments, because he had the best looking body in the NHL (besides Jack, of course). And part of Bitty wondered why Parson knew that he had been appointed captain of the Samwell team; it was public knowledge, but information that you had to go searching for. What else did Parson know about him?


The waitress came back with a gorgeous looking cappuccino in a huge mug and set it down in front of Bitty.


Parson said, “Thanks Trish,” and gave Bitty enough time to take a long drink before saying, “I know we’re not here to talk about off-season diets.”


Bitty eyed the few employees bustling around the otherwise empty cafe, wondering how discrete he should be. He would hate for someone to overhear them and out Parson to the highest bidder. Parson seemed to read his expression, though, because he quickly added, “It’s alright, they’re all cool here. Me and Swoops are here basically every weekend that we’re in town.”


“Um, yeah. Okay. So, Jack said you wanted to come out?”


Parson barked out a laugh. “No. God no. Is that really what he said?”


Bitty paused, because yeah, he was pretty sure that's what Jack had said. It was possible that he had misunderstood, but he had been listening pretty closely at the time.


“Yeah? He said that if his agent got the question, you wanted to come out.”


Parson shook his head and started to answer, but paused when they spotted the waitress (Trish, Bitty reminded himself) coming with their food. Parson’s sandwich looked just as… healthy as it sounded. To be fair, it looked like it would be a delicious meal around January when Bitty was trying to cram protein and healthy calories (which was exactly what Kent said he was avoiding, rude). Bitty's croissants, on the other hand, looked even more delicious than he thought they would.


Trish set the plates down and slipped a bill on the table. “Here you go! I'll give you some privacy, just wave me down if you need me.”


Kent smiled and thanked her, but waited until she was out of hearing distance before turning back to Bitty.


“Hell no, I don't want to come out. I said I would come out, if he wanted me to.”


Suddenly, the croissants looked much less appetizing, because that was definitely not the same thing at all. And it was a confirmation of everything that Bitty was worried about. Not only that, but it called into question whether Jack misunderstood, misspoke, or purposely misrepresented what Parson had told him. Bitty didn't think he would do that, but, well, he really didn't know what to think.


Parson must have read something on Bitty’s face, because he quickly finished the bite of sandwich he had in his mouth.


“Look, you know how Jack is. He doesn't get emotional subtleties. Or emotional obvious-es. He didn't tell you wrong on purpose.”


Bitty picked at the flaky pastry. “You sound pretty darn certain of that.”


“I still love Zimms. I probably always will. If me coming out makes life easier for him, or I guess for you two, then I will.” He sighed and pushed his plate away, apparently just as done with his food as Bitty felt. “It’s not really all that noble, though, okay? There are other guys in the league who are half-out already, who are talking about going public sometime this summer, since Jack. He probably doesn’t know, because he’s still new and guys are pretty intimidated by his name, but they’re there. I've never been… like that. I'm so in the closet I had Mr Tumnus over for dinner. But… I'm fucking jealous, man. Seeing those guys bring boyfriends to family skate, hell, having a boyfriend at all, seeing Jack kiss you on the ice. I've always been more terrified of coming out and losing hockey than I have been jealous, but not anymore, I don't think. Not really.”


He didn’t want to, but god could Bitty relate to Parson in that. So much. He spent the better part of his teenage years worrying what would happen if he admitted, out loud, that he was gay. About how much more horrible it could be than it already was with the football boys just assuming.


Bitty could remember the exact moment that he realized being at Samwell, being surrounded by people who would accept and love him, was no better than being in Georgia. In the spirit of inter-sport unity and school spirit (according to Shitty, at least), the hockey team regularly went to other sports games around campus. The first and only time that Bitty went to watch a men’s volleyball match, he watched one of the players flirt with a guy on the sidelines before the match started. It was pretty clear that they were a couple. The boyfriend leaned in for a kiss (Bitty imagined that it was a good luck kiss, he imagined their whole conversation, how sweet and playful it was, with promises of rewards for every point earned), but the player immediately dodged it and made a gesture toward the visitor’s stands.


Because that was the thing. Samwell was its own secluded paradise. It was a wonderful haven for queer college students to be open and free with their identities, but outside of campus, out in the real world, everyone was still horrible. Guys who looked like Bitty (or even like Parson, when the sport was dominated by men who were 6’2” and 220lbs), who were small and “feminine”, still had to be as unassuming as possible to protect themselves from hatred. And in sports, that was all multiplied. Orientations were ammo to be thrown like insults. It was a reason to be singled out by players, by other schools, by scouts.


Bitty couldn’t remember any of the match, or even if Samwell won, because he spent it trying to hold back tears. He had never felt so pulled in so many different directions. Finally being able to be out (even though he hadn’t come out to anyone at that point) had felt like the largest weight lifted off his shoulders. Having to go back in the closet for hockey, which was arguably the biggest thing in his life at that moment, felt like such a huge betrayal. And that was just on a college level.


Parson was a professional hockey player. He was the captain of an NHL team. He had been groomed to do only this since he was barely a teenager. If Jack’s schedule seemed full, Parson’s must be downright unreasonable; between hockey, his charities, appearances, endorsements, Bitty was pretty sure he hadn’t had a moment just to himself in at least five years. Taking all of that away from him? Really, it was no surprise that he was terrified of coming out.


At the same time, though, Bitty and Jack threw off his quiet life in the closet. Suddenly it wasn’t just a sure thing that Parson’s teammates would shun him for his sexuality, and things weren’t so… easy anymore. People would talk, like they always did. They would assume things and spread rumors


God, Bitty could understand how conflicted Parson felt perfectly.


He sighed lightly and took a sip of his drink. “That’s real sweet of you to offer, honestly. But if you don’t want to come out right now, you shouldn’t do it. You shouldn’t ever come out for anyone but yourself.”


Parson gave a lopsided smirk (not quite as polished as the one he usually gave to the media) and a shrug. He was clearly done with the topic. “I’ll just think about it some more and let Zimms know later, yeah? But hey, at least if I come out I can stop lying about being a virgin. Or, like, do something about it.”


Bitty sputtered and coughed, trying to avoid inhaling his latte. He wasn’t sure how he didn’t end up wearing half of it, purely out of shock.


“I’m sorry, you what was that now?”


Parson managed to look both amused and ashamed at the same time. “What? I had a roommate for the first, like, five years in the NHL. And then I was captain, and couldn’t exactly get caught in a gay bar or with a grindr account or some shit.”


Which made sense, kind of. He could have found excuses around being at gay clubs; Bitty had been dragged out by more than a few Falcs even before he and Jack weren’t out, all who claimed that the drinks and music were better, that their sisters/wives/girlfriends wanted to go. And roommates weren’t exactly attached at the hip, but still. Still…


“What about the players who you said were, y’know, out?”


Parson shrugged. “I’ve been well and truly closeted, man.”


“And you and Jack never…?”

He reached up and scratched at the bridge of his nose. It took a second for Bitty to realize that it was hiding a deep blush high across his cheeks. It was… almost a little endearing. Parson could talk about having sex (or rather not having sex) abstractly, but the second he started thinking about it in terms of what had actually happened, he was immediately embarrassed.


“We, you know. Did everything but, basically. There wasn’t a ton of time or privacy, and the couple times we tried there was a lot of alcohol involved, and things didn’t exactly… work.”


Bitty snorted. Yeah, he had heard that same thing more than a few times from the other guys in the Haus. Whisky dick was a hell of a thing. Combined with the stress of Parson and Jack’s teenage years and the situation, and the other drugs Jack had mentioned in passing… Yeah, that definitely made sense.

He nodded, and realized that really there was nothing else to say. He knew everything that he needed to, and a whole lot more. More than anything, he just needed time to process everything, hopefully before he talked to Jack. There was something niggling at the back of his head that he needed to think about. But he definitely needed to talk to Jack, too. At the very least, Bitty had to tell him that Parson didn’t actually want to come out. Neither of them would forgive themselves if Parson came out for them, but ended up regretting it, or god forbid ended up being targeted for it.


With a final forlorned poke at his croissants (maybe he could convince Jack to come back here at some point so that he could actually sit and enjoy the pastries), he smiled at Parson and got up from his chair. He pulled out his phone on the way out the door to order an uber, when the thought that was in the back of his head pushed its way forward to the front of his head.


Bitty turned around and walked the few steps back to the table, where Parson was still sitting. Maybe it was morbid curiosity, but he had to know.


“If things were different, if Jack were still interested, would you want to be with him?”


Parson looked at him with a serious expression, maybe the first Bitty had seen on his face. “In a heartbeat. But it’s not a matter of him still being interested, it’s a question of if he ever was.”


That serious face, the no nonsense tone… more than anything about the conversation, that broke a little bit of Bitty’s heart.



Bitty turned his phone over between his hands, considering. He was pretty sure that he was about to make another huge mistake in a series of stupid decisions, but… But on the off chance that it wasn’t, he was pretty sure that it could be amazing. Perfect, maybe.


Almost the minute that he left the cafe, Bitty was on his phone, texting. If someone had told him four years ago that he would be in a place in his life where he had no one, not two, but four people he could text to ask about open relationships, he would have absolutely doubted it. Four years ago Bitty, pre-college Bitty, thought that relationships should only be between two people, that they could only work between two people.


Hell, four weeks ago Bitty would have said that jealousy was a healthy part of a relationship. He would have insisted that he was too jealous to even consider the kind of thoughts that were floating around his head now. Not that monogamy was a bad thing, and not that jealousy didn’t have its place, but… well, Bitty couldn’t help but think that maybe, maybe the thing that was right for him and Jack in the moment was something different.


So, he quickly typed out a text to Chowder, hoping for a little bit of insight into how their relationship worked.


Hey, are you free for a few minutes to answer some very personal questions? Feel free to say no!


Bitty spent the entire uber ride texting Chowder, getting the ins and outs of how a polyamorous relationship could work. Chowder was very careful to point out that there were infinite ways to form a relationship, and that the only things that were really mandatory were communication and consent.


It took a little time for Bitty to understand, but once he did, he was fascinated. He knew, vaguely, that Chowder, Nursey, Dex, and Cait were all somehow in a relationship together, but he always assumed that they had kind of coupled up and it was sort of like… extreme double dating. It wasn’t anything like that, though.


In reality, Dex was something called aromantic (a term that led Bitty down a 10 minute research hole). His relationship with the other three was strictly sexual, because he didn’t have (or want) romantic feelings for them. Nursey and Cait, on the other hand, didn’t have any sexual relationship at all because Nursey was gay. But they still dated romantically (though Chowder suspected it would end amicably soon). And Chowder, well. He got the attention of all three of them. Lucky guy.


The possibilities left Bitty’s head spinning because, well… In all of that, he could see something sort of perfect forming. Jack insisted that he didn’t have feelings for Parson, but after talking with Chowder he knew that Jack meant he didn’t have romantic feelings because he certainly had sexual ones.


Bitty was pretty confident, at least, that letting Jack explore those feelings wouldn’t get in the way of their relationship, at least to him. And it might help relieve that bubble of anxiety in his stomach that he had since he realized that he might not be good enough for Jack, physically, that he might never be able to give Jack what he truly wanted. If it would relieve that anxiety and bring Jack pleasure without being a detriment…


If. It was a big if. It was an if with a lot riding on it.


What if Jack got offended that he was even considering the idea? What if he thought that Bitty was trying to use it as an excuse to cheat on him, or god forbid, already was? What if he thought the idea of polyamory was wrong or gross? They hadn’t ever really talked about the frogs’ arrangement.


Bitty was lost in his thoughts until his driver, a lovely person (and very good driver) named Marco, called out to let him know that they were back at the AirBNB. He dug the couple dollars in change from the cafe out of his pocket and gave it to Marco with a tight smile.


Part of him hoped that Jack was still asleep so that Bitty could have more time to plan what he was going to say. He had a solid idea in his head what he thought would work best, but he wasn’t sure that he could exactly put it into words, especially not words that Jack would be amenable to. The other part of him, maybe a bigger part, wanted Jack to be awake. He wanted to get this conversation over with, because he would probably burst if he he had to hold it in any longer.


As he slowly started up the walkway, Bitty could see the outline of Jack through the kitchen curtains. He took a deep breath, but didn’t let himself pause before he entered. If he let himself stop now, he would never approach Jack about any of it.


Bitty slipped off his shoes at the entryway and lined them up carefully with Jack’s running shoes (there was a first time for everything). He followed the sound of the blender to the kitchen. Jack was making a smoothie in just his socks and running shorts, his hair adorably tousled like he had just rolled out of bed. He looked wonderful and warm, and Bitty kind of wished that he had been there in bed with him, had been able to wake up next to all that tan skin, had been able to contribute to the mess on top of his head.


He walked across the floor and pressed himself tight against Jack’s back. It wasn’t really the same as being able to lay together, cuddling close together, but it calmed him down a little, just a little, just enough. The smell of Jack’s clean skin and expensive body wash reminded Bitty of home and good memories.


Jack turned off the blender and reached around himself to rest a hand against Bitty’s side. “Hey, bud. I missed you when I got back.”


“Sorry, sweetheart. I missed you, too.” He pressed a small kiss between Jack’s shoulder blades.


Jack hummed and leaned further into Bitty’s hold. “Did you enjoy the bakery you visited?”


Bitty gave a tight squeeze and pressed another small kiss to Jack’s back before pulling away and leaning back against the kitchen island. He waited a second while Jack poured his smoothie, something pink and sweet smelling.


“About that…” He trailed off, and cleared his throat. This was the point of no return. There would be no going back if he finished his thought. In for a penny. “I actually, um. I went to brunch with someone. Parson. I had brunch with Parson.”


Jack stopped in the middle of his drink, swallowing his mouthful slowly and lowering the tall glass. He carefully set it down on the counter and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. His expression was completely neutral. Bitty appreciated that he had been working with his therapist on considering his thoughts before reacting to situations, but looking into Jack’s blank face felt like almost more than he could handle.


It wasn’t fair to say that Bitty hated it, because it was helpful for Jack and that was good. But, well… it certainly was an effective method in conversations. Jack stood there, silent, all of his considerable attention turned to Bitty, and the only thing to fill the space was his anxiety. Or more accurately, his anxiety-induced word-vomit.


“I know it was wrong to lie to you, and I’m so, so sorry I did, sweetpea, but I know that if I brought it up to you then you would have wanted to come, and I actually think me and him had a really good brunch together. Or, good conversation during brunch, anyway. Like, for instance when y’all talked earlier there was some sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication or something, because Parson doesn't actually want to come out. He will, if we need him to, but like… we really shouldn’t need him to. So, yeah, we should tell Sandia that.”


Jack stayed silent with his head tilted down, but he didn’t seem upset exactly. He was slowly nodding, like he was trying to process everything, or maybe to understand the difference. Hell, for all Bitty knew he was nodding because he had decided this was one step too far and he had decided that he was going to leave Bitty in Vegas and never look back (gosh, he really hoped that wasn’t the case).


He soldiered on, trying to get everything out all at once. “And, well, I know you still feel some sort of way about him, so I guess I just needed to know how he felt, y’know? Which isn’t any of my business, of course, but a part of me couldn’t help it. Or at least, it started out that way, but the more he got to talkin’, the more my head started spinnin’, and I, well…”


Bitty tried to take a deep breath but his chest felt too tight and too heavy at the same time. He tried to keep focused on Jack, but he couldn’t really bear to see his face. “Parson loves you still, a whole lot, and of course he’s attracted to you too, ahem, sexually. And so you like him, and he likes you, and I was thinking that maybe we could figure out some kind of arrangement --”


“Bits, stop.”


There wasn’t any anger in Jack’s voice, so Bitty braved looking up. When he met Jack’s eyes, he didn’t see the angry-bad-negative emotions that he tried desperately to convince himself he wouldn’t see. Instead, he mostly saw confusion. Which, fair.


“Did Kent say something to you or put you up to this somehow?” Jack’s voice sounded more unsteady than Bitty had ever heard it sound, and it just about broke him.


“No! No, sweatheart, absolutely not. I didn’t even bring it up with him, I wanted to talk to you first to see how you felt about it. We decide together, and then talk to him, if that’s where things lead.”


He reached a hand out between the two of them, fingertips barely able to brush down Jack’s chest, but he could see the tiniest bit of tension ease across the tight line of his shoulders, and that was enough. If he could start relaxing, then maybe things would go okay.


Jack reached out and grabbed Bitty’s finges at the last second, linking them together loosely.


“I don’t…” He paused, and Bitty could tell that he was searching for just the right words. “I’m not entirely sure what you’re proposing, Bitty, and I need you to say exactly what you mean, even if it feels awkward. We can’t have any misunderstandings here.”


Between his anxiety, the constant media attention, and the ability for his words to easily be taken out of context, being clear and concise was extremely important for Jack. Bitty understood, and was trying to be better about it (he even went to one of Jack’s therapy sessions for some tips), but it was still hard for him.


He made sure to take a few extra seconds to think about it (and remember those words that Chowder had taught him earlier).


“I want to propose making our relationship polyamorous and inviting you to pursue Parson in whatever way you might want to. I don’t know how much you know about the frogs, but they’re all together, plus Cait, except Dex is only in a sexual relationship with the others and not a romantic one. I know you said you didn’t have any romantic feelings for Parson, so I was think’ that maybe something like that could be good for y’all?”


“And you would be okay with that?”


That was the $100,000 question. Bitty knew it had been in the back of his head the entire time, but he tried his best not to focus on it, or he knew that he would never figure out what to do. He thought he would be okay with it, at least. It felt right, somehow. It felt like a good way to make Jack his happiest and Parson… happier, at least (even though basically anything could probably make him happier). At the same time, though, he couldn’t help but think back to the flash of sadness and jealousy he felt when he first saw Jack appreciating Kent’s body.


Chowder made it clear that polyamory wasn’t some magic solution; problems magnified as the relationship grew, they didn’t go away. He also explained, though, that things like love and attraction didn’t exist in finite forms. They weren’t pie. Just because Chowder loved Cait a whole lot, it didn’t mean he had less love to give to Dex and Nursey. And just because Jack thought Kent was attractive, maybe even more physically attractive than Bitty, that didn’t mean that Jack suddenly thought any less of Bitty.  And Bitty was pretty sure he could get used to that idea eventually… probably.


He gripped Jack’s fingers a little tighter. “I think so. I hope so, at least. This is something I really want for us, if you want it too. If you don’t, we’ll just forget it.”


Jack nodded again. “And what about you? Is that something you want with Kent, too? Or with someone else?”


Bitty was taken aback for a second. He hadn’t even thought about it, honestly. He had been focused entirely on Jack and Parson. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to decide, though.


“No, baby, it’s not something I want for me. I can’t say I’ll never accidentally catch feelings for a guy in the future, but for now, all I want is you, romantically and sexually. If we have another conversation in a few months or years down the road, well, we’ll worry about that then.”


Something complicated crossed Jack’s face that Bitty couldn’t understand (but he desperately wanted to). Instead of pushing, though, he let Jack have his time.


“What if… let’s say that Kent agrees to go along with all of this, and agrees to all of the, erm, terms. What if I want you there, too? With us? To help me get used to the idea.”


That was definitely not something Bitty expected. Like, at all. Jack and Parson had that whole star-crossed lovers thing going on, except they had never actually gotten to the love-making bit. Bitty figured that nothing short of the actual Stanley Cup could get between them once they were in the same room (and if all the nasty stories about where the Cup had been were to be believed, they might not even stop for that). The idea that Jack wanted Bitty there was more reassuring (and flattering) than he ever could have imagined.


He hadn’t been lying before when sex with Parson wasn’t really something that he wanted. Sure, it had crossed his mind a time or two, but only in that fleeting way, since he never planned to pursue it and never thought it would actually happen. He couldn’t realistically imagine himself and Parson together, but him, Jack, and Parson, to make Jack feel more comfortable? Bitty was pretty sure that his younger (much more closeted) self might actually find a way to come to the future and smack him silly if he turned that down.


He pulled Jack toward him and wrapped his arms around his thick waist. “If that’s what you want, and if Parson agrees, I will absolutely not turn down the chance to spend some time in bed with objectively the two best looking players in the entire NHL. If they’ll have me.”


Jack pressed a searing kiss to Bitty’s lips. “In fact, this player insists. And maybe it’s time to start calling him Kent, eh?”


It took nearly another two hours to work out the terms or the arrangement and to talk to Parson (Kent, Bitty reminded himself). As it turned out, the actual laying out of rules was pretty easy. If all three of them were in the same town, they would try to get together, schedules permitting. If only Jack and Par-- Kent were in town together, they could do what they wanted together. They wanted to stay committed to each other (and hoped Kent would too, but wouldn’t make him if he didn’t want to), but if either of them started catching feelings for someone else, they’d reevaluate things. If Kent didn’t want to do this, then they were going to table the discussion for now, but keep the guidelines in mind for future arrangements.


The thing that took the longest, by far, was convincing Kent that they weren’t joking or playing some sort of mean prank on him. Bitty was pretty sure he was going to hang up on them at one point, but after a lot of explaining, a little begging (to listen, to trust them), and some murmuring in French that made Jack’s cheeks go red (and damn, Bitty would really have to learn how to speak it now), Kent agreed, very hesitantly, to give it a try. Just once, to see how it went, and then he’d decide from there what he wanted.


When the finally hung up the phone, Bitty made Jack tell him exactly what he had been telling Kent in French that made him blush that way (and then did his best to recreate the ideas with only two people… it was a good thing that he was so flexible).



Bitty and Jack hadn’t really planned to spend a ton of time in Vegas. They weren’t going to see the sights, and hadn’t planned to go anywhere. They were planning on spending the morning talking to Kent, the evening relaxing, and the next day seeing some sights before they caught a night flight back home.


So, they hadn’t booked their AirBNB for more than one night, which is why they were standing outside of Kent’s door (again), this time with all of their luggage. This time, Jack was fidgeting and looking over his shoulder like someone had followed them, or could read from their minds what they were planning to do. Bitty, on the other hand, was feeling a weird kind of calm.


He gently rubbed Jack’s shoulder and gave him a small smile. “You still okay, sweatpea?”


Jack took a deep breath. He bent down and gave Bitty a slow kiss. He gave him a second, small peck before knocking on Kent’s door.  There was a scuffle and a curse, then a long pause before a flustered looking Kent opened the door.


Bitty would have bet money that Kent had done his hair sometime earlier that day; he could see the shine of product at the top that wasn’t usually there in media appearances. At some point, though, he must have run his hands through it a couple more than a couple times, because parts were sticking up in unnaturally stiff points. Instead of his normal Aces gear, he was wearing a simple white button up that had a smear of something red up one of the sleeves. Bitty had to hold back a grin, because it was all just too cute.


Right when Kent opened his mouth to invite them in, the oven’s timer started going off. Immediately after, the smoke alarm started beeping. He gave them a panicked look before rushing back into his condo. Jack quickly followed after him, while Bitty was left to drag in the luggage and shut the door.


When Bitty finally reached them, Kent was pulling a tray of… blackened something out of the oven. Jack was trying to waft the smoke out of the way of the fire alarm with a dish towel. Bitty rolled his eyes. It wasn’t even that much, nothing compared to the drunken blackberry cobbler incident of sophomore year. The real problem was that Jack and Kent were very talented, well-paid men who lacked all common sense. Thank the good lord they were cute.


The kitchen was in disarray. There were spice containers all over the counters, some still in their plastic wrapping, some spilling their contents onto the light marble. There were several mangled bell peppers, a half-chopped onion, and beautiful heirloom tomatoes rolling out of reusable shopping bags.


Bitty slipped off his shoes and pulled himself up onto the island, not wanting to put his shoes on the spectacular marble (or the food), and hit the silence button on the smoke alarm. He grinned down at Jack and Kent, who had finally wrangled the tray out of the oven.


He grabbed Jack’s shoulder to balance himself and gently jumped down. He laid the kitchen towel over the tray (up close, he could tell it was vegetables of some kind), mostly to keep the burnt smell from permeating the condo any more, and moved the whole thing to the side.


Jack wrapped his arm around Bitty. “What would we do without you?”

Bitty hummed. “Get the fire department called on y’all, end up standing out in a crowd of folks in the middle of Las Vegas, on parade for the paparazzi?”


Kent laughed a little too loudly and a little too long. It wasn’t the same relaxed chuckle that Bitty heard at brunch the previous day. He was rubbing at the stain on his sleeve roughly with a paper towel, smearing it further instead of doing any good. Very pretty, very stupid men.

Bitty quickly squeezed Jack’s waist. “Sweetpea,would you mind cleaning up this mess while I help Kent soak this stain before it sets?”


Jack grinned down at him, clearly remember all the early mornings at the Haus cleaning up after Bitty’s baking binges. More than once, he ended up scrubbing down the kitchen because Bitty had passed out after a long night of procrastination and kneading. He pressed a kiss to Bitty’s head, then set about throwing out the ruined food.


Bitty took a second to watch Jack move around the kitchen (what? It was a very nice kitchen, and his boyfriend looked very nice in it) before grabbing Kent by the sleeve, the one without the stain, and leading him to what Bitty assumed was the bedroom.


The modern and marble theme carried through the condo. The walls and plush carpet were a pure white and the fixtures and lights were a delicate, geometric gold. Along one side, thick dark grey curtains (that seemed to be black out, from the way they filtered out light) ran the entire length of the wall. The focus of the room, though, was along the other wall. A king sized bed was headed by a huge dark grey, marble headboard and bright white bedding. It was stunning.


The bed was made precisely, the pillows fluffed, and the sheets turned down, but otherwise, the room was only hastily picked up. A desk in the corner was covered in piles of papers and books; a macbook was carelessly placed on one of the piles. The closet door was half-open, and Bitty could see an overflowing hamper inside.


Kent immediately stripped off his shirt and threw it on the bed before throwing himself after it dramatically. He didn’t look up when Bitty sat down next to him (and oh goodness, he didn’t even want to know how much the mattress cost because good lord, was it comfortable).


He let Kent grumble to himself for a few minutes before Bitty rested his hand on his knee. Kent stopped moving and let out a deep sigh. He let his head flop dramatically onto Bitty’s shoulder.


“Everything okay?”


Kent groaned. “Everything is awful. I’m supposed to spend the night with the guy who I’ve been in love with for a decade, in a hot threesome scenario no less, except I realized, like 20 minutes before you got here that the guy I’ve been in love with is just the idea of a person and not the actual man standing in my kitchen. I mean, hell, I’ve had more conversations with you today than I’ve talked to him at all since… draft day. How am I supposed to be all cool and calm and sexy when-”


Bitty grabbed Kent by the cheeks, stopping him mid-sentence. “Hey, if you need me to take the lead, I’m more than happy to do that, okay?.”


Kent still looked unconvinced, and so… tense. Bitty just wanted to see him happy and excited for the night. He wanted to know if the real Kent was as flirty as he pretended to be during interviews, as cocky as he was when he bantered. Bitty rubbed his thumb along Kent’s cheek (soft, freshly shaved, which made Bitty smile) and slowly leaned toward Kent. He watched for any signs on Kent’s face that it wouldn’t be welcome, but none came.


Their first press of lips was soft and gentle. It was exactly what Bitty wanted to give to Kent: kindness and genuine affection, reassurance that they wanted to be there with him, that they were there for him. Kent’s lips were soft and hesitant against his, a far cry from what Bitty was used to with Jack.


He pulled back slowly, and yeah, that face was much better. Kent still looked confused, but in a good way at least. He licked his lips, a little gesture that looked more unconscious than anything, dark eyes focused on Bitty’s lips.


Bitty let his hand drift down Kent’s cheek to his neck, slightly lower over his tight chest and the colorful tattoo on one side. He traced the largest flower’s petals, the detailed leaves, how it followed around his collarbone perfectly. It looked totally different up close than it had from far away, almost like a good painting did. It was absolutely beautiful work.


“Y’know, Jack likes these an awful lot. Did you notice yesterday?” He had a feeling that there was more to it than just physical attraction, but that was a story for another day. Today, it was about the physical.


Kent slowly shook his head no.


“Hm. Well, for the record, I think I’m starting to like them, too.”


The second kiss was just as affectionate, but maybe not so nice. Bitty barely finished his sentence before Kent pressed forward and captured his lips in a searing kiss. He wasn’t sure if Kent was desperate for affection, for physical intimacy, or something else entirely, but he was happy to give everything that he could.


He kept mapping the tattoo, even though he couldn’t see it anymore, feeling the hard muscle underneath and cataloguing all of the differences that he could find between Kent’s body and Jack’s. The other hand made its way to Kent’s hair, and stayed anchored there, holding him tight, letting him know that he was wanted exactly where he was.


When Bitty felt Kent flick his tongue lightly (tentatively) against his lips, Bitty used his grip on Kent’s hair to gently reposition his head just so, getting exactly the right angle to take control and deepen the kiss.


Kent made a soft noise in the back of his throat, one that sounded nothing like Bitty was used hearing but wanted to be responsible for a million times more.


It took a few seconds to process the noise he heard after that, and a few more to recognize that he knew what (who) it was. He pulled away from Kent and looked toward the doorway to the bedroom where Jack was waiting with a look he rarely wore when everyone still had on their pants.


“I was wondering what was taking so long to change a shirt, but I guess I see how you got distracted, eh?” He licked his lips and made a move to start walking toward the bed, but stopped when he glanced at Kent.


Bitty looked over as well, and could understand why Jack paused. Kent’s face was flushed red and he was breathing like he just got off the ice after double OT. his chest was heaving and his eyes were just a little too wide. If it were another partner, one he was familiar with, it would have been easier to tell if it was a normal reaction to the prospect of upcoming sex or if he was about 12 seconds from passing out. But he wasn’t, and Jack and Bitty had promised to themselves that they wouldn’t push too hard.


Bitty carefully ran a hand down Kent’s cheek to turn his attention away from Jack (there would be plenty of time for that, no doubt).


“Is this okay, sweetie, or are we going too fast? If you want, we can go to the livingroom and order take out, and I can tell you about Jack embarrassing himself with the Cup while drunk. It puts the poop story to shame.”


Kent snorted and gave Bitty a disbelieving look. “Okay, I know I’m the nervous virgin and all, but I wasn’t born yesterday. There is no way anything beats the poop story.”

Bitty winked. “Like I said, if you’d rather talk about that, I am more than happy to pull out the evidence. Or we can wait until everything’s feeling a little more tingly and fuzzy and post-coital to talk about it then.”


Jack made a frustrated noise (he was still upset that Bitty got video), but Bitty ignored him and stayed focused on Kent. It was his decision. He pulled his hand away, trying to give Kent his space to make the decision without interfering, but Kent quickly grabbed it and pulled it into his lap. He squeezed it tightly.


“Listen, you know I want that story. And I will hear it,” he said, as he looked pointedly at Jack, “but uh. After.”


After. Good, Bitty could work with that.


Heheld his hand out to Jack to join them. The room was big, sure, but it only took a handful of powerful strides before he was standing in front of them. He grabbed bitty’s outstretched hand. Bitty took and and pressed a kiss to his palm before moving it to Kent’s shoulders.


They looked at each other for a second before Jacck slowly bent down and kissed Kent. it definitely wasn’t like Bitty and Kent’s first kiss, that was for sure. The first few seconds were motionless, both of them a little too stiff, not moving to accommodate each other. But then something changed; Kent tilted his head just a little, Jack moved his hand just so, and it was like the floodgates opened. Then again, it wasn’t exactly their first kiss. They were getting reacquainted, melting into each other like the past years didn’t happen at all.


Okay, yeah, Bitty could understand why Jack stood in the doorway watching them. It was… well, it was certainly a positive sign for how things would go.


Jack tried to press himself as close to Kent as he could, given that he was standing and Kent was sitting. Their knees knocked together and Bitty was pretty darn positive that the way kent was arching his back was uncomfortable, but if the small sounds he was making were any indication, he wasn’t focusing on anything except the way Jack’s tongue felt against his mouth, in it..


Oh yeah, Bitty definitely saw the appeal in watching.


He was sure that Kent and Jack would be happy to continue making out just like that, regardless of the inevitable back pain and neck cricks, if he didn’t interrupt. Bitt ran a hand down Jack’s arm, to Kent, and across Kent’s shoulders.


“What do you say we make this a little more comfortable, hm?”


Jack stood back up, flushing a deep red across his cheeks. And Kent. Oh, he looked real pretty with his eyes wide and his lips kiss-swollen and shiny. Bitty took a second to appreciate the view before he gently pushed on Kent’s shoulder so that he would lay back.


“Why don’t you go on and lay up there while I help Jack take off some of these layers?”

Kent nodded, still looking a little dazed (which was totally understandable, Bitty knew how intense Jack’s attention could be sometimes), and started scooting so that he was laying against the pillows. Jack’s eyes tracked him the entire way.


Bitty stood up and pressed Jack back a few steps until he could stand between him and the mattress. He stood on his tiptoes and pulled Jack down by the collar to give him a firm kiss. He didn’t let himself get distracted, though. He had a plan.


He circled Jack until he was standing behind him but could still see Kent laid out on the bed. Totally beautiful, both of them. He ran his fingers across the waist of Jack’s jeans, tracing the belt loops until his hands were resting gently over the button. He circled it a few times, but drew his hands upward. First things first.


It was pretty well known that Jack had a wonderful behind. But if he was pressed to choose, Bitty’s favorite part of his body would be the little bit of tummy right below his navel. It was framed by stunning hip bones, thick with muscle, and covered in a layer of soft hair. His thighs were thick and heavy, his ass was phenomenal, but the most underrated part on a man (especially on a hockey player) was their core. Bitty could feel the power held tight there, and it made him smile a wicked smile. And he wanted to show that to Kent.


He let his hands disappear up and underneath Jack’s shirt, feeling all of the muscle, until the shirt caught on his wrists. He drew it up further, until Jack had to raise his arms so that Bitty could slip it up and over his head.


He let a hand trail down the planes of Jack’s chest (and god, Bitty would never get over how much he loved the feel of his chest hair), drag carefully over a nipple, and back down his abs to that fabulous stretch of stomach. Bitty wanted to get down on his knees and lick it, but he set that thought aside. Right now was about focusing on Jack and Kent, and letting them explore each other’s new bodies.


Kent certainly seemed to be appreciating it. He was following the same path over his chest that Bitty was tracing on Jack. It seemed nearly unconscious, which only made it hotter.


He would have guessed that living in Vegas would have given Kent a tan, but his skin was smooth and pale like porcelain. Against the white bedding, it seemed like he was nearly glowing, and the brightly colored tattoos stood out brilliantly.


Bitty remembered how Jack had fixated on them. He wondered if it was a thing for Jack that he never knew about. “Kent looks so beautiful there, doesn’t he, sweatpea? All pale skin and tattooed and stretched out, waiting just for us.”


He couldn’t see Jack’s face, but he could feel him stop breathing for just a second before taking a ragged inhale. Oh yeah, that was definitely a thing. Bitty kept his eyes on Kent, whose free hand had drifted up to his collarbone, to the vivid color there. The other hand was still low on his stomach, pinky brushing up against his waistband, slipping under it just an inch before stopping.


“Do you think that he has any more hidden under there?” Bitty let his hand drift lower until it was just barely brushing over Jack’s zipper and the firmness building underneath. He traced just hard enough for Jack to feel the stimulation, but not hard enough to do anything but tease. “I bet if you asked real nice, he’d take off those pants so that we could see.”


Kent nodded, hand moving more purposefully under the waistband, fingers touching himself under his pants the same way that Bitty touched Jack over his.


Bitty added more pressure, briefly, then moved his hand away completely, holding firmly to Jack’s hips. “Well? Are you gonna ask him, or what? Go on, then.”


“Kenny, please, can you? Take them off, please.”


They both watched as Kent stroked himself a few more times, groaning in pleasure when he pressed down hard once, before pulling his hand out completely. When he finally moved to unsnap the button, Bitty felt Jack’s breath catch. As Kent took his time slowly unzipping himself, Bitty made quick work of Jack’s. He had them undone and around his ankles before Kent had even started trying to shimmy out of the tight denim.


Jack stepped out of the pile of cloth and kept on walking to the foot of the bed. He leaned over and grabbed Kent’s pants on either side of his hips, yanking hard. They peeled off and were tossed aside to join Jack’s on the floor. Almost immediately, his hands were back on Kent, even though the only skin he could touch was his ankles. Somehow that was sexier to Bitty than just the sight of them in only their underwear.


Not that it wasn’t a nice sight in itself. Jack was wearing the black boxer briefs that he favored, pulled tight against his thighs and tighter across his crotch. He was bronze from the Hawaiian beaches, the dark hair across his body highlighting his toned muscles perfectly. Kent, on the other hand, was dressed in royal blue trunks that clung tot his growing stiffness in a way that was mouthwatering. His body hair was a light shade, hard to make out beyond a down layer on his thighs. Kent was smaller than Jack, less thick muscle and more cut fitness model. Both phenomenal.


And despite all of their differences, the looks they both turned to Bitty were nearly identical, full of heat and dirty promises. It suddenly hit Bitty that this was real. Two famous professional athletes, both Stanley Cup winners, whose combined worth was more than he could even wrap his head around, were waiting for him to join them in bed. Him, a barely afloat senior who could barely keep his own life running, who had panic attacks at the thought of coming out to his parents up until a few months ago.


It was like some sort of submission to gay penthouse forum, and Bitty wouldn’t have believed it if they weren’t right there in front of him, beckoning him to join them.


Jack climbed up onto the bed, kneeling next to Kent’s hips. He started running his hand slowly over Kent’s knee, caressing his thigh lightly.


Kent propped himself up on one elbow and raised an eyebrow at Bitty. “Well, here we are. You gonna join us, or are you planning on watching?”


Bitty grinned and started undoing the buttons on his shirt. “It’s not that the view ain’t great, don’t get me wrong. But I was definitely planning on joining.”


He watched Jack’s hand sweep closer and closer to the leg of Kent’s trunks as he worked to get undressed (and gosh, why did he decide on a button-up?). By the time he was finally in just his briefs, Jack’s hand was carefully moving up the bulge in Kent’s underwear. If the breathy noises he was making were any indication, Kent definitely didn’t object.


Bitty made his way across the room and knee-walked to Jack so that they were both kneeling over Kent’s prone form. He watched, mesmerized for a second at the sight of Jack’s strong, familiar fingers running over the thing tent of cloth hiding Kent’s erection from sight. Then he realized that he didn’t just have to watch, he got to touch, too.


He laid his hand over Jack’s, squeezing until they were both holding Kent’s cock. Kent groaned and Bitty couldn’t help but grin fiercely at Jack. Jack smile back, then leaned forward to kiss him.


Bitty let himself get lost in it for a minute, enjoying the familiar feeling of Jack’s tongue against his, the slick heat, the fierce, determined push and pull of their familiar dynamic. He caught Jack’s lip between his teeth, biting lightly. Jack redoubled his efforts, pushing against Bitty and pressing more firmly against Kent’s impossibly-hard erection.


It wasn’t until Kent’s hand came down to meet theirs, pushing them gently but firmly away, that they broke apart. Bitty looked down at Kent, eyes half-lidded.


“All good?”


“Too good. Too much. Maybe a little more, uh, hands off would work best for a little so that I actually make it through this without coming all over myself before it even begins.”


Right. Relatively speaking, Kent was inexperienced (which was very strange for Bitty, who was used to being the less experienced one). Bitty could definitely see how it may be a little too… over stimulating to have everything going on at once. He quickly thought through the scenarios to figure out how to fit as much as they could in one night and leave everyone happy and satisfied.


“Sorry, baby, of course. How about this: you’re gonna say right there where you are, nice and comfy. I’m gonna lay down right next to you and prep you for Jack. While I’m doin’ that, he’s gonna stay busy with sucking me. And if you’re a real good boy, I’m gonna whisper in your ear exactly how good his throat feels and just how good he’s gonna make you feel when he fucks you. How does all that sound?”


Kent licked his lips and his eyes flicked to Jack. “Yeah, that sounds really fucking nice, if that sounds good for Zims.”


Jack’s voice was already rough, approaching that deep timbre that sent shivers down his spine. “Sounds perfect.”


For just a second, everyone stayed still, just taking everything in. It was fair to say that this was going to be the most intense sexual experience Bitty had up to that point, and not just because of what was happening physically. There was so much tension and emotion built up over the years that he could practically feel the magnetism between Kent and Jack; they were drawn to each other.


In the back of his head, Bitty thought that maybe he should feel jealous or bad somehow that it was obvious he was there as a link between them and not as the… main feature. Not that it wasn’t clear that they were also enjoying having him there, but. He was necessary for the experience but not for their pleasure.


He didn’t feel bad about it, though. In fact, it felt a little heady. Both Jack and Kent trusted him enough to take control of the situation, to make the decisions while they lost themselves in each other. He wasn’t used to having that sort of control in the bedroom, and it felt… flattering and good .


He shifted a little, leaning over just enough to slip out of his briefs. Jack’s hand had drifted back to Kent’s abs, tracing up and down the deep cut lines, down the sparse patch of hair, to the front of his trunks and back again. Kent only had eyes for Jack, mouth slightly parted, looking just minutes from giving in and begging.


“Let’s say we get those off him, Jack?”


Neither Jack nor Kent moved to even look at him; the only acknowledgement that they had even heard at all was Jack’s other hand slipping to join the first on Kent’s body and Kent slowly lifting his hips so that Jack could slide the cloth down and off. Okay, that absolutely did it for Bitty. The weren’t even looking at him, but his dick gave an interested twitch anyway because fuck, they were so into each other (and he got the privilege of watching).


He also felt a zing of arousal at seeing Kent totally nude against his bed. Bitty had never been disappointed or upset in any way that he had only had sex with one person, but seeing Kent’s cock suddenly made him wonder what he was missing.


It was just as pretty as Kent himself (even though he was sure that Kent would object to that particular adjective being used to describe any part of him). He was just this side of average length, but the gentle curve and deeply flushed head, the flawless smooth skin… positively mouth watering. Bitty was a little disappointed he wouldn’t be able to get his tongue around it. Not today, anyway.


By the look on Jack’s face (and maybe by his favorite activities in bed), Bitty guessed that he was thinking the same thing. Definitely another day.


“Jack, sweetheart, why don’t you keep Kent occupied while I go get our supplies, hm?”


Kent’s eyes flicked to him, a little wide. Bitty wasn’t sure if it had finally hit him that this was real and that he was (finally) going to have sex with Jack, or if he was nervous about being left alone in the room with Jack in such a vulnerable position, but he settled back down when Bitty leaved down and kissed him.


“I promise it’ll be okay,” He softly whispered, then leaned to give Jack a kiss as well before directing him toward Kent. He made sure they were thoroughly distracted before sliding out of the bed and heading for their luggage.


Theoretically, they could use kent’s supplies, since he confirmed the night before that he had lube and condoms. Jack and Bitty agreed, though, that they were most comfortable using the brands they were familiar with (and were confident could be used together).


He tried to take his time, stopping in the kitchen to grab a few bottles of water just in case they were too exhausted (or lazy) after the fact to fetch them. He paused at the counter and took a minute. Mostly, he just needed to center himself. Bitty had no problem with his pleasure coming last tonight, or even not at all, but he was already pretty worked up.


He also thought it was important that Jack and Kent have a little bit of time just to themselves. Kent needed to know that he could trust Jack (and trust himself with Jack), and Jack deserved to give his undivided attention to Kent for just a few minutes, even if he felt too overwhelmed at the idea of doing it for longer right now.


Bitty’s erection had flagged some while he was gathering things, but when he entered the bedroom again, he was caught short at the sight and quickly became harder than even before.


Jack had finally shed his boxer briefs, too, and he was stretched over Kent in all of his naked glory. He was licking and sucking at the juncture of Kent’s neck and shoulder (Bitty forgot to warm him about the hickies… oh well), while one hand was slowly plucking and twisting at Kent’s pale nipples. Bitty never found either of those things incredibly arousing, certainly not as much as Jack enjoying doing them, but Kent…


Kent looked like he was in heaven, completely lost in the sensations. His head was thrown back against the pillows, eyes shut tightly, and he was biting so hard on his lip that Bitty was a little worried that he was going to find blood. Underneath Jack’s body, he could see Kent’s hips making aborted little thrusts. Bitty could imagine the feeling perfectly, the way it felt to drag his aching cock across Jack’s stomach. He briefly wondered if Kent was the kind of person who leaked a lot, and what it would be like to lick his precum out of Jack’s treasure trail, to taste every last drop.


Jack tugged on Kent’s nipple, hard, the same time he bit down, and Kent’s resolve broke. He let out a deep, throaty moan and brought a hand up to hold Jack’s head against his neck for more. Suddenly, Bitty realized that Jack might love this so much because Kent did. He let out a groan at the thought, because it really did it for him.


He quickly headed across the room and tossed the lube and condoms on the bed, carelessly dropping the water bottles on the floor, not caring where they rolled. The other two didn’t seem to nitcie he had returned until the mattress shifted under his weight.


Kent turned his head to face Bitty while Jack continued his attentions to his body. Even though his eyes were hooded with pleasure, Bitty could see that his pupils were blown wide. He licked his lips and leaned down to capture Kent’s bitten-red lips.


God, kissing Kent felt amazing. So different from Jack, but just as perfect.


He brought his hand up to start teasing the nipple that Jack wasn’t rolling between his fingers. He didn’t know Kent’s limits and didn’t feel as comfortable treating him quite so hard, so he let his fingers tease, scratching lightly with his fingernail and pinching gently. Bitty was pretty sure he could aste Kent’s moans and they were positively intoxicating.


Bitty pulled back, pleased to see that Jack took his place at Kent’s lips as soon as he was just far enough away. He dove in, doing his best to dominate Kent’s mouth, using his tongue and teeth to take control. Kent gasped and moaned, gripping Jack’s hair tighter, as though he would ever try to pull away.


Bitty slipped his hand between their bodies, down the tight press of their stomachs. His fingertips brushed the tip of Kent’s cock, and oh yeah, he was leaking so much. Jack was probably already a mess. He let himself get lost in the sensation for a minute, letting his fingers barely brush Kent’s sleek head, catching the drop of precum there. After a second, he lightly tapped his way along the silky skin of his shaft, exhaling deeply as he felt his knuckles brush across the hard, slightly thicker flesh of Jack.


He didn’t stop there, though, moving further until he could roll Kent’s hairless, plump balls between his fingers (Bitty was a little embarrassed that he hadn’t even noticed that Kent was shaved there; it looked so right and so natural against on his pale skin) then down to the smooth stretch of skin leading to his hole.


The angle was awkward, at best, and Jack and Kent couldn’t seem to focus enough to move in the right ways to accommodate Bitty’s motions. He considered letting them continue how they were, and letting things develop more naturally and less planned, but he brushed that thought aside. They had all agreed on what was most comfortable for them, what they wanted to do, and they were trusting him to make that happen. And if there was a touch of selfishness because he wanted to appreciate Jack and Kent’s bodies when it happened, well, that was alright.


He pulled his hand back and moved it to Jack’s shoulder to get his attention.


“Can you shift for me so that I can start prepping Kent, baby?”


It didn’t take them long to realize that what they had planned wasn’t going to work. They couldn’t find a way Bitty to lay that would give him access to Kent’s ass and still let Jack get to his cock. Bitty didn’t let it stop them, though. He quickly figured out a new plan.


In the end, he had Jack lay to Kent’s side so that Kent could roll over and lift on leg high over his hip. He had stretched the arm under Kent’s body so that he could wrap it around and leave his hand gently kneading his ass. It gave Bitty the opportunity to admire the view (and his stupid Cup tattoo). Bitty was kneeling to Kent’s other side, which meant that he couldn’t whisper dirty things in his ear like he planned, but Jack immediately stepped up and took over. He slowly stroked himself while he talked to Kent in low, growling French.


Bitty located the lube, that had gotten lost in the blankets, and slicked up his fingers. Between Jack’s French murmuring and Kent’s breathy moans, Bitty knew that he couldn’t draw things out too long, unless he wanted to drive everyone crazy.


Jack must have been paying attention to what was happening, because as soon as Bitty leaned over, he flexed his hand and gripped Kent’s asscheek tight enough that it exposed his hole for easier access. Oh, that was nice.


He ran a single fingertip lowly up and down Kent’s crack, getting it slick, but didn’t tease any more. He pressed in, gently but firmly, sinking his finger down to the first knuckle before slowly pulling back.


Jack was versatile, he enjoyed to top as much as he did bottoming. Bitty wasn’t a stranger to prepping, but he didn’t think he would ever get over how amazing the feel of someone easing and adjusting to him, to the width of his fingers. He poured more lube directly onto Kent’s warm skin and watched his hole flutter against the cool liquid. Bitty didn’t give him time to, though, immediately following it with his finger. He pressed in again and pulled out, thrusting carefully. He crooked his finger, searching for his prostate. In, up, firm pressure...


Above him, he heard Kent let out a shocked noise and then a moan loud enough that Bitty briefly wondered if Kent had any neighbors who would hear. He looked up to appreciate the expression that went along with it, noticing just how far gone Jack looked, too.


Bitty tried to be as quick as he could be prepping Kent while still being thorough. He worked Kent up until he had all three fingers deep inside his ass, flexing and stretching. With each movement, Kent’s hipsp jerked involuntarily against Jack’s hip, trying to get any stimulation on his cock. After one particularly hard thrust, he moaned out, “Please.”


Jack caught Bitty’s gaze. “Bits, is he ready? Is he good?”


Bitty nodded, carefully pulling his fingers out and sitting back on his heels. He made sure that he still had the lube and a condom handy.


“Kent, baby, do you have a preference of how we do this?”


He knew that Jack would be thrilled no matter what position they ended up in (and they had fantasized about nearly all of them the previous day, so Bitty was certain on that), but Kent might have a preference. Even if he didn’t, Bitty might veto a few because they might not be comfortable for Kent’s first time.


In the end, Kent finally said, “Can we… like this, but with you two changing spots?”


Yeah, okay. Bitty could see the appeal there. They’d have to shift a little, since Bitty was shorter than Jack (and Kent, but not by that much), and so that Jack could get a little more leverage, but… it sounded very good.


Jack slipped out from underneath Kent, thick cock jutting away from his body. He reached for one of the foil packs,but Bitty intercepted, picking it up first.


“Let me?”


Jack nodded and sat back so that Bitty had access. He open the package (not with his teeth, because they had learned that lesson by way of several torn condoms). He took his time rolling the latex onto Jack’s hard flesh, enjoying the solid feel of it in his hands and the rough noise he pulled from Jack’s throat. Bitty followed it with a generous layer of lube (really, never too much), giving him a few extra strokes just because he could.


After he had no more reason to linger, Bitty let go of Jack and moved to the side so that he could take his place behind Kent.


Jack rubbed over Kent’s ass, taking huge handfuls, pulling and stretching them wide so that he could see the waiting hole. He ran his thumb across it, and Bitty knew from experience that he was pressing down, pressure without the relief of ever feeling that thick digit enter. Kent groaned, pushing himself back, and that was enough to snap Jack into action. He moved his hands to Kent’s hips and pulled.


“Lift up for me, Kenny. On your knees.”


Gosh they looked good like that; Jack ran his dick through the crease of Kent’s ass, mimicking what was to come but never taking that final step. No, because they were waiting for Bitty before they started and that was… wow. That felt like he single handedly held all of he power (and between that and just how much he was enjoying directing them, he was pretty sure there were some kinks to explore when they got home).


Bitty considered what would be best. Kent was on his hands and knees for now, but he was pretty sure that wasn’t going to last very long. He considered laying next to Kent, but decided that he wanted to be closer, to have better access more than he wanted a good view.


He carefully slipped under Kent, helping him balance his weight when he lifted his arm and hen leg to give Bitty the room he needed. If he was right, it wouldn’t take long for Kent’s arms to give out, and when that happened Bitty would be there to catch his body. He was perfectly positioned to tell Kent how pretty he looked, and lend a hand when they got closer to climax.


Jack gently rubbed up and down Kent’s back.


“Are you ready?”


“Ouias, s’il vous plait, oui Jack.”


If Bitty had known how much it affected Jack to hear French in bed then he would have put significantly more effort into learning. Then again, they had Kent for that now, didn’t they? Kent caught his eye and grinned, clearly thinking the same thing.


Bitty had been a fool to consider anything but looking at Kent’s face the best view there was. He could see the moment Jack lined himself up, the way Kent made himself relax and breath, and the exact moment Jack pressed in. It was all written there in the shapes of Kent’s face.


He glanced at Jack, who had his head thrown back in slack-jawed pleasure. There was a tension in his shoulders and Bitty could tell he was holding back from just taking his own pleasure and shoving in, setting whatever pace he needed to get off regardless of Kent’s pleasure.


Kent’s head dropped between his shoulders, nearly laying on Bitty’s chest. “Christ. So big, so much.”


Bitty ran his hand down Kent’s side to rest over Jack’s were it was tightly anchored on Kent’s hips.


“Just breath.”


Finally, Jack bottomed out, hips pressed still and flush against Kent’s. He did what Bitty said and took several deep breaths through his still-open mouth, before he opened his eyes and looked back down at Bitty. Not just looking, checking in, seeing if it was okay for him to move.


Bitty refocused on Kent, the tension in his body and face, the racing pulse that he could see in Kent’s throat, under what looked like they were going to be some fantastic marks in the morning.


“You good, baby, or need a second more?”


“More, I want more. Just… slow,” he replied.


Jack started moving as if he were the one who asked the question. He drew back, at the same torturous pace that he had pressed in. Bitty wondered how far he had pulled out. When he fucked Bitty, Jack loved to pull out and out and out until he could see Bitty’s hole stretched tight over the ridge of the thick head of Jack’s cock. It drove Bitty wild. Maybe that was something else that he had adapted from his past with Kent, or maybe it was something that he would only do with Bitty.


Kent moaned when Jack pressed back in, a little more quickly this time. After that, Jack set a slow and steady pace, thrusting in and out smoothly, without pausing or stopping. It wasn’t long before Kent fell to one elbow, dropping flat so that his chest was across Bitty’s and his head was resting on Bitty’s shoulder.


Bitty reached up and tweaked one of Kent’s nipples, still a little red and a touch swollen from Jack’s earlier abuse. Kent let out a should and shoved himself back onto Jack’s cock, ignoring that smooth rhythm that Jack was so careful to keep. Jack let out a breath, “Mon dieu,” and snapped his hips forward once before catching himself and pausing.


Bitty took the few seconds break to bring his other hand p to pinch Kent’s other nipple, carefully rolling it between his fingertips, then stretching it out, away from his body. Kent started pushing backwards faster and faster, fucking himself onto Jack then bringing his hips down, trying o find some sort of contact for his own dick.


Jack picked back up, the pace getting hard and fast, hips clapping with every thrust. Kent groaned loudly between his near constant stream of breathy noises and soft pleading.He was so vocal, so perfect. Beneath that was the sound of latex against lube, a sloppy dirty, delicious sound, a sound that gave Bitty ideas.


He bent his head down so that he could talk straight into Kent’s ear, low and full of promises.


“You know how pretty you two look right now? How great you look taking Jack’s fat cock so well? I keep thinking of all the things we’re gonna do together, you, me, and Jack. All the things we can introduce you to.”


He thought back to what Jack told Kent the day before on the phone in French (or at least what Jack said he said). He thought of all those quiet little fantasies that Jack had told him. “Y’know, Jack mentioned what he said last night, how much he wanted to see you and me together… I was thinkin’ that for your first time toppin’, I could lay you down and ride you until you forget your own name. And i was thinkin’ about sucking you nice and deep until you were hard again so that you could fuck Jack right after me.”


Jack’s moan was loud and long. He was gripping Kent’s hips so tightly that Bitty could see his knuckles turning white, using them to pull Kent backward every time he thrust forward.


“Oh god, Bitty. Yes! Jack, more, please!”


He went harder and faster, rocking Kent’s entire body over Bitty’s. He clenched his teeth and gritted out, “Kenny, close.”


Kent nodded, agreeing, but Bitty could tell he wasn’t there yet. He released one of Kent’s nipples and slid the hand down to Kent’s leaking cock. There was practically a puddle below him on Bitty’s thigh, and oh god so many kinks to explore. With the way Jack was fucking Kent, he didn’t even have to move his hand, he just collected all of the wetness and made a tight, slick channel for Kent’s cock to slide into with every harsh thrust.


“Oh, fuck, god! Yes!”


Kent’s breathing became erratic and he started shifting hard, throwing himself back to pound hard against Jack, then quickly forward into Bitty’s fist. It was quick and hard, and it didn’t take long before he was crying out, loudly, and spilling all over Bitty’s fist and body below.


That threw Jack over the edge, chasing after Kent’s orgasm and letting out his own rough moan while he thrust the last few times.


He all but collapsed on Kent’s back, both of them gasping for breath. Their combined weight was a lot for Bitty, especially since he was quickly becoming more aware of just how achingly hard he was. He realized for the first time that neither Jack nor Kent had even touched him, and he found that he didn’t care.


Jack finally rolled to the side, taking Kent with him. He quickly shed the condom, tying it off and throwing it in the direction of the bathroom (and missing by far, which, gross). He pulled Kent tight against him, spooning close, and Kent snorted.


“Still the same old Jack. Can only stay awake long enough after an orgasm to find something to cuddle.”


Jack muttered something that Bitty couldn’t quite make out (he was pretty sure it was in French anyway). Kent definitely wasn’t wrong, though. Jack was the physical embodiment of the cliche that men passed out after sex.


Kent rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Bitty. He started to say something, but stopped and frowned. “You didn’t come.”


“I was a little focused on y’all, honey. I didn’t really have time to play with myself much.”


Kent’s frown deepened, which was just about the opposite from what Bitty wanted. The bedroom, after really amazing sex, wasn’t a place for frowns like that. “I’m sorry, we didn’t mean to get so caught up and forget you.”


Bitty gave him a smile that he hoped was reassuring. “Trust me, I’m not feeling forgotten.” He brought a hand up to touch Kent’s cheek, then realized it was the one covered in cum and let it fall back down.


Without breaking eye contact, Kent reached down and grabbed it, carefully considering before bringing it up to his mouth and gently licking one of the drops of cum rolling down his wrist. He licked all the way up his hand, along his fingers, before sucking two of them into his mouth.


He held his hand steady while Kent licked and sucked, cleaning his own cum from every finger and fold. Every suck felt like it pulled straight to his cock, working him up more than he ever had been without anyone actually laying a finger on him.


When every drop had been cleaned off, Kent let Bitty’s hand drop and licked his lips with a satisfied smirk. “Can I help you out?”


He didn’t wait for an answer, just reached down and gripped Bitty’s cock tightly in his hand. He didn’t bother to build into it or go slowly, just started tugging firmly. The calluses were familiar, the same ones that Jack had (and even that he had deep into the season), but the grasp and rhythm were so different than he was used to.


“No offense, but you’re pretty fucking hung for a twink.”


Bitty couldn’t help but laugh out loud. He wanted to respond, to keep up the banter and keep he mood light, but he could barely catch his breath with how unrelenting Kent’s pace was. Jack liked to tease some, to vary the pace and pressure, but Kent… it felt like he was trying to force the orgasm from Bity, to pull t straight out of him, and god it felt like he might be successful.


He had been on edge for so long that he could tell that it would be embarrassingly short. He gasped and held the bedding, trying to prolong the experience as much as he could. He knew as soon as Kent leaned down to whisper in his ear that he didn’t have any hope of that.


“You know, I know you talked about riding me until i couldn’t remember my name, but I think I’d rather ride you until I forgot it.”


Bitty gasped and came, seeing stars in his eyes. For a few torturous seconds, he thought that Kent was going to keep on going, stroking him through his orgasm and until he was almost too sensitive to even get the words out telling him to stop. But finally, finally he slowed down and let his hand drift upward to lie on Bitty’s stomach.


The entire night… was beyond everything that he thought it could be. And that was the perfect way to end it.  They laid like that for a second before Kent starting shifting around. Clearly, he wasn’t the same sort of sleeping, sex-hangover type person as Jack.


Bitty reached over to the bedside table and grabbed the moist towelettes, passing one over ot Kent and keeping one for himself. He waiting until Kent tossed it to the side before handing him a bottle of water. He sighed and sat up, slipping off the bed to collect all the mess off of the floors, grabbing the condom with his towelette and bringing all of it to the bathroom to throw them away. On his way back, he grabbed his phone out of his pocket jeans.


“So,” he said, slipping in close to Kent, “do you want to watch Jack vomit on fans while he’s asleep and can’t take my phone away?”

Kent’s eyes were nearly as wide as his grin. “Do you even have to ask?”


-- One Year Later --


Bitty let himself into the apartment, practically dragging his feet (not literally though, because he wasn’t about to scuff his fine leather shoes). He was still technically only a communications intern for the Rhode Island Reds, but after a women’s hockey documentary that went viral and some sheer dumb luck in his second week, Bitty had been appointed the unofficial social media gopher. After he was promoted from intern, his boss assured him that his official title would be something more professional, like communications and social media liaison. Bitty like the sound of that.

Until then, though, he was stuck doing an entirely new job on top of all of his PR training. If he got home by 6:45, it was a good day.

It took a lot of convincing to get his boss to let him off “early” (on time, really, since it was only 5:30). He couldn’t exactly say “my boyfriend’s sexual partner who’s my not-quite-boyfriend-but-something is coming into town today”, but in the end, he managed it. Still, his feet were killing him and he could feel his contacts getting dry and gritty . He hadn’t even managed to make a special dinner for Kent like he planned, he just picked up some Indian takeout on the way home.

Before he had even kicked his shoes off after him, Bitty could hear the deep moans and breathy sounds coming from beneath the bedroom door. He felt a tingle of interest, and briefly considered joining them. He knew he would be welcomed with open… arms. Honestly, though, he was just so exhausted.

Instead, Bitty headed for the kitchen and flipped on the electric kettle and started making himself a cup of hot chocolate while he waited for Kent’s tea water to boil. He knew that Jack wouldn’t make it out of the bedroom after they were done; he was notorious for passing out after sex. He let his thoughts wander off, listening to the sounds of Kent and Jack taking pleasure in each other, imagining what they could be doing. It wasn’t really sexual, more that he was enjoying the sounds of his boys enjoying themselves.

It didn’t take very long at the beginning of their arrangement to realize that it wasn’t going to work out quite how they expected it to. To put it simply, Jack and Kent wanted sex way more often than Bitty did, and even with their conflicting schedules, they managed to be in the same city way more often than any of them thought possible (and way more often than Bitty found himself wanting to partake in the physical side of their relationship). So, Jack and Kent’s relationship evolved so that they could both initiate sex without boundaries on when and where.

Bitty was a little surprised that it hadn’t become romantic between them at all. It took awhile for him to admit it to himself (and he never told Jack), but he realized that he would have absolutely no problem with Jack and Kent going to that place. But Jack insisted that he hadn’t rekindled any romantic feelings, and Kent had revealed to Bitty late one night (after maybe a few too many glasses of cheap wine) that all those years ago, he had fallen in love with the idea of Jack, and not the actual man; now that he was spending more time with him, Kent’s feelings had drifted away as the image of Jack was replaced with the actual person.

The weirdest turn of events for Bitty, though, was how his feelings for Kent had changed. They weren’t together much sexually, and never without Jack, but the more time they spent together, the more Bitty found himself wanting to spend more time with him. He hadn’t fallen deep and quick like he had for Jack, but he definitely felt something, and he was pretty sure that Kent had picked up on it, too. Their banter was more flirting than aggressive and they were physically affectionate in a kind of really nice way. Bitty wasn’t sure what name to put to what he felt, but he was excited to see where it went.

When the tea kettle turned itself off, Bitty made Kent’s tea in the Ember mug and set it to stay warm for however long it might be before he got around to drinking it. He set his hot chocolate on the coffee table and headed to the guest room to get changed; they had started keeping a few changes of clothes handy for when the bedroom was otherwise in use. Kit had made herself comfortable on the pillows, and didn’t even bother to glance at Bitty as he made his way around the room. After a second of consideration, he grabbed the small quilt at the bottom of the bed, too, so that he could curl up on the couch with his drink and his tablet.

Well, he tried to focus on his work, anyway, but he ended up tilting his head back with his ear on the bedroom door while his mind wandered. Jack and Kent were clearly enjoying themselves, but not just in the obvious way. Jack was laughing more often, and was finding an impulsive part of himself that he left behind at 17. Kent was more self-assured, more open about his actual thoughts and desires, and more accepting about the idea of his own sexuality.

It made Bitty smile to think about, his boys enjoying their lives. And each other. Very much, if his ears were hearing right. He could practically picture the reverent face Kent was making to go along with those noises (he was so expressive in bed, it was gorgeous), and the way Jack would be gripping the sheets tightly, holding off until Kent was spent (or maybe holding on to Kent’s hips, trying not to leave bruises, and failing).

Bitty got out from under his blanket and moved Kent’s mug over to the coffee table and laid out their Indian with it (Jack’s could stay in the oven until he was back in the land of the living). He flipped on the tv to the episode of Married At First Sight that he and Kent had left off on, and waited.

It wasn’t long before Kent wandered out of the bedroom, only wearing a pair of black boxer briefs (Bitty was pretty sure that they were Jack’s), hair a riot, with a satisfied grin on his face. When he spotted Bitty on the couch, he broke out into a wide smile and headed toward him.

“Hey honey, I’m home.”

Bitty put his hands on his hips and gave an exaggerated frown. “Well I should hope so, Mr Three Times Stanley Cup Champion. You tell that Mr Troy that if he says he’ll have you home by a certain day, I expect you home that day.”

If anything, Kent’s grin got even wider. “Aw, don’t forget about the Art Ross, too.”

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that your head is getting too big for this relationship.”

Kent swaggered over and grabbed Bitty around the waist before laying a slobbery kiss on his cheek. “Well, you’ve never complained about parts of me being too big before. Not reason to start now.”

Bitty rolled his eyes and shoved at him half-heartedly, but couldn’t keep himself from laughing.

The season had been a long and tough one, full of injuries. It seemed like the Falconers hit a streak of bad luck as wide as the Mississippi. Jack got checked harder and more frequently than he had the last season (but it was impossible to say whether it was because he came out or because he did so well the last season).

Snowy had suffered a concussion in the pre-season that lasted longer than anyone could have anticipated. Tater exacerbated his leg injury from the previous season and had to take several weeks off to let it heal. Thirdy took a puck to the face that had just about given Bitty a heart attack; the damage was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, but it was still a serious injury. On top of that, there seemed to be more regular season injuries than normal. By the time playoffs came around, the entire team was playing on fumes. Everyone was disappointed but not surprised when they got knocked out early.

The Aces, on the other hand, were having the season of a decade. It seemed like everybody was skating a little harder, every pass went a little further, and every goal had a little bit of magic. Bitty was absolutely ecstatic for Kent (who insisted he didn’t know why the team was playing better, but rumor had it that he was taking his leadership position more seriously than ever), but other teams, well… Kent had racked up more penalty minutes for fighting in one season than he had the rest of his career. It still wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to set Bitty on edge.

He could still see the sickly green and yellow patches across his torso from his last scrap, a brutal fight against Franklin from the Schooners in the final game. But the Aces had come out on top, and if Bitty couldn’t watch Jack lift the cup two years in a row, seeing Kent holding it wasn’t exactly a hardship.

But with a win came the celebration and press and then the forced-but-not-really decompression afterward. It felt like it had been forever since the final game, and even longer since Bitty had been able to get his arms around Kent. Even the stupid smug smile on his face and his cowlick seemed endearing (who was Bitty kidding, the cowlick had always been endearing).

After a few minutes standing like that, pressed close together so that he could smell sweat and sex on Kent’s skin, he reluctantly pulled away and led them to the couch and the coffee table spread.

Kent hummed in delight at the sight of everything. He pulled Bitty in for a kiss and then pushed him down onto the couch, not hard enough that it hurt, but hard enough that he bounced against the cushions a little bit.


“Whatever, you love it.”

Bitty sighed contently as Kent settled onto the couch and pulled his feet into his lap. He absolutely loved every little bit of where he was, sore feet and untraditional relationship, long work hours and difficult schedules, all of it.

Like hell he’d give Kent that satisfaction, though. He snorted and dug his heel into Kent’s thigh (gently, though, since he knew Kent’s muscles were probably still bothering him). “Love it like a burr in my boot, maybe.”

Ket let out an outraged noise, but couldn’t hold back his laughter. He always was a little giggly after sex, and thought Bitty’s southernisms were the funniest thing in the world (and if he exaggerated them a little bit to hear that laugh, Kent never had to know).

After he calmed down, he settled down into the couch and tossed the remote at Bitty, and because he was an absolute godsend, he pulled Bitty’s feet onto his lap. He wasn’t rubbing them for more than a few seconds before he quickly turned around, eyes wide with excitement.

“Hey! We’re still on for next week, right?!”

Bitty threw his head back and groaned (only just a little bit because of the foot rub). He kind of hoped that Kent had forgotten about that, but he couldn’t back out now.

“Yes, Mr Parson, we are still on. And I would like to state for the record that i am not responsible for anything that may go wrong or any trouble that you will get in with your agent. Or Swoops.”

Kent grinned and pressed his thumbs down the center of his foot. “Nothing will go wrong. Besides, don’t you want to see how Jack reacts when he sees you with a tattoo. God, it’ll be so hot.”

Yeah, Bitty definitely loved where he was and who he was there with. Just as long as his mama never found out he was getting a tattoo.