Chapter 1: Collarbone Kiss
The deck of the boat is warm beneath Sid’s back as he lays in the sun beside Geno.
It is only them in the middle of the open ocean. Gulls and the waves slapping against the hull the only soundtrack to their afternoon.
It’s lazy and indulgent and Sid should be checking nets and lobster pots but he can’t tear himself away from this moment.
They don’t get many of them. He’s going to savor this.
He turns his head and opens his eyes and drinks in Geno’s….everything.
The way his usually water logged hair has dried a light brown and his blowing in the breeze, his crown made of seaweed and shells woven together between the strands.
His eyelashes, the slope of his nose, the scar on his cheek, the red of his lips.
Sid traces each feature over and over in his mind before he moves onto the next, like that’s going to help him remember. Like he’s going to forget.
(He’s never going to forget.)
Geno’s shoulders and chest are broad and bare and deeply tan. He never burns. He could lay just like this for hours on end and never ruin his skin.
Sid has twenty minutes left before he goes red but he decides it doesn’t matter. If Geno is out here by his side then this is where Sid will be.
Sid follows the path between the muscles of his stomach down to his hips where his skin blends to scales.
Shades of purple and black swirl together, catching the light of the sun and shifting colors as the boat rocks on the waves.
Off the side of the boat where it’s still dipped in the water it narrows to a point and then splays out in a marvelous fin, wide and powerful.
It is as breathtaking as the rest of him. Geno, as a whole, is the best thing Sid has ever seen and he can’t get enough of him.
But he wants more. Soon the sun will begin to dip into the sea and Geno won’t be following him home tonight. He can’t. It’s too risky.
What they have on this boat is all they will have for awhile and Sid is longing for more.
He wants to touch Geno’s skin, throw his leg over his tail, press his lips to the juncture of his shoulder and neck.
He wants to feel Geno’s smile as they kiss.
“I know you’re awake,” he whispers and watches the corner of Geno’s mouth twitch up.
Sid caught him peeking out of the corner of his eye five minutes ago. After, Geno turned his head and pretended to snore. Something he picked up after spending that first night together.
“Humans,” Geno had said, his head propped on his hand and his face fond. Their legs tangled together beneath the blanket. “So cute. Make little noises when you sleep.”
“I have to go soon,” Sid says as he reaches out and tugs at Geno’s hand.
Geno brings it up to his mouth and presses a kiss to Sid’s knuckles.
“Always in a rush,” he says, eyes still closed. “Never take time to appreciate.”
“I have been appreciating you,” Sid says, petulant as Geno smiles in amusement. “I thought we would be appreciating each other.”
Geno’s eyes fly open as he laughs. “Oh, Sid. Should have just said.” He sits up and leans over Sid, twisting as his waist so their mouths are inches apart. Sid licks his lips and waits. “Just say, Geno, need you right now, if you don’t touch me, I’ll die.”
“I’m not that dramatic,” Sid says flatly and Geno presses a quick kiss to the end of Sid’s nose and pulls himself back.
“Okay,” Geno says as he pushes himself off the edge of the boat.
There’s a splash and then nothing and when Sid looks over the rails the water is flat.
Tense seconds pass until Geno’s head pops out between the waves and he sighs in relief.
“You’re such an ass sometimes,” Sid says and Geno splashes him, soaking his feet.
“Come in,” Geno calls, his arms slicing through the water to keep himself afloat.
“You come back up here.”
Geno shakes his head. “Water is so nice, refreshing.” He looks up. “I’m in here.”
Geno could talk him into anything, as the legends go. Sid grew up hearing the myths and stories. Men called to their deaths by beautiful beings from the deep.
Sid doesn’t understand the terror behind it.
If Geno is the end for him it’s the best way he could go.
He slips into the water and wraps his arms around Geno’s neck. Geno is strong enough to keep them both afloat.
“I miss you when you’re gone,” Sid says, suddenly serious and Geno holds him tighter, forearms pressed to the small of Sid’s back.
“Won’t be gone long. Summers are hard, you know? Lots of people. Someone might see.”
Sid nods and works a hand into Geno’s hair at the back of his head. Geno drops his head onto Sid’s shoulder and says “time will go fast.”
That’s what Sid’s afraid of. Sid is getting older everyday while Geno stays young and beautiful. Soon, Sid won’t blame him for looking elsewhere.
Geno shakes him from the thought when he places an open mouth kiss to his collarbone.
“Think too much,” Geno says, like he can read his mind. (Maybe he can. The stories never said and Sid hasn’t asked.) “Be here now. Know I’ll always come back to you.”
Geno lifts his head and holds Sid’s face in his hands. Sid can feel his tail moving back and forth beneath the water, churning up a current.
“Always come back,” he says again and waits for Sid to nod before he holds him against his body again.
Geno will always come back to him, Sid knows that to be true.
And Sid will always be waiting.
Chapter 2: Inner Thigh
It comes out as a whine and Geno’s not even ashamed about it. Sid knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s doing to him.
He always does.
Geno is defenseless against Sid when he’s like this.
Sweaty and happy with his blood pumping close to his skin, riding the high of a four point game and another win.
He is weak for Sid, and he hates being weak.
If it was anyone besides Sid causing it that weakness would burn into anger. He’d go out and take and destroy and ruin. But right now all he wants is to go home and have Sid ruin him.
“Sid,” he says again and steps in close with a hand curling over Sid’s hip. His fingernails barely dig in as Sid rubs a towel over his face.
When he pulls it away there’s still sweat sticking to his eyelashes and clinging to his eyebrows.
Geno tightens his grip. His mouth waters.
“I know,” Sid says. “When we get home.”
Sid taps his hand over Geno’s. “Soon,” he says then slips away to his stall to answers questions.
Sid drives them home with the windows rolled down.
It’s a cold but merciful drive and Geno shuts his eyes and focuses on the smell of the snow and the sound of tires as they roll over damp pavement. A dog barking in the distance. Wind through the leaves. Gasoline and oil and exhaust.
Anything to distract him from the steady sound of Sid breathing next to him and the clean smell of his skin.
By the time Sid pulls the car into the drive Geno is on the edge of insanity. He won’t last much longer, not without Sid below him or above him, Geno’s not picky he just needs the taste of him across his lips. Now.
“Not until we’re upstairs,” Sid says once they get inside the house. He pockets the keys and pulls off his tie and his jacket. Geno flexes his hands at his side and runs his tongue over his teeth. Sid looks over his shoulder, one foot up on the bottom step of the stairs. The fabric of his dress pants pulls over his ass and Geno slaps his hand against the drywall to steady himself.
Geno is starving for him.
“Are you coming,” Sid asks then turns and starts up the stairs without waiting for an answer.
In bed, Sid throws his head back and bares his neck.
He is miles of pale skin in the moonlight and Geno wants to lay hands on every inch of him. He will. Just as soon as he takes the edge off.
Sid’s dark eyelashes flutter against his cheeks as Geno draws a finger down the side of his neck. Sid’s pulse jumps beneath his fingertip. Blood pumping. Heart pounding.
He’s perfect and Geno is so lucky that Sid understands. That he trusts him enough to let him do this.
“You ready,” Geno asks him and Sid nods and breathes out “yes, I’m ready. Do it.”
Geno nods and leans down. He presses his face to Sid’s neck and lets Sid overwhelm all his senses. He licks his lips and touches his lips to his skin when suddenly Sid’s clutching at his shoulders.
“Wait,” he says and Geno pulls back immediately. He’ll never get to a point where he can’t stop. It’s a rule he lives by when it comes to Sid. Anything Sid wants whenever he wants it. Sid’s eyes are wide open and there’s color dotting his cheeks. “Not where anyone can see.”
Geno grins and smooths his hands down Sid’s arms. “Think maybe you forget.”
“Almost. You’re distracting.”
Geno laughs. “One to talk,” he says as he noses along Sid’s collarbone and down Sid’s chest. He glances up at the when he gets just above Sid’s belly button and then once more at the cut of Sid’s hip.
Sid shakes his head each time and Geno nods and moves even lower. When he gets his mouth on the soft skin of Sid’s inner thigh Sid’s whole body goes taut.
“Fuck,” he pants harshly and Geno flicks his eyes up.
“Yeah,” Geno says. “Here?”
Sid nods, fingers twisting in the sheets, waiting for it.
Geno lets the anticipation grow, his desire to make Sid wait for it outweighing his own wants.
Finally he gives in and kisses Sid’s thigh once more before he pulls back just enough to let his fangs drop down.
“G,” Sid says softly and Geno looks up at him. Sid’s pupils are blown wide and his chest is rising and falling rapidly. “I love you.” He presses his fingertips to the hinge of Geno’s jaw and closes his eyes again. Silently giving Geno permission to continue.
Geno bends his head and sinks his fangs into Sid’s thigh.
Chapter 3: Cheek
“What the hell is that?”
Sid jerks his face out of the pillow and twists to look back at Geno.
His warm and hazy post orgasm glow disappears completely as Geno rubs something thick and cold on his ass.
“What are you doing,” he asks again and Geno holds him down when he tries to flip over.
“Stop. You get on blankets.” He snorts. “Already ruined but you know.”
“I don’t know. What are you doing?”
“Is Shea butter. Good for beard burn. I look it up online.”
“I don’t need that.”
“Sid-.” Geno pauses, his hand still on Sid’s ass. “Can’t see yourself. You want to go to practice tomorrow have all the guys ask you why you can’t stop wiggling on chair while Sully talks? See ass in shower and chirp and chirp and chirp.”
“They shouldn’t be looking at my ass.”
“Everyone looks at ass, Sid. Have to look. So sweet.”
Sid groans. “This is so humiliating.”
“Not what you said earlier. All I hear is, ‘yes, baby, so good, more, right there.’”
Sid kicks his leg and Geno laughs. Then he bends down and kisses the left cheek and then the right and Sid has a powerful flashback to Geno’s lips and tongue and teeth absolutely everywhere. He flushes hot all over and the shea butter is suddenly a welcome relief.
“Let me take care,” Geno says and Sid melts back into the mattress.
Chapter 4: Stomach
“People start to wonder if you never take clothes off.”
Geno is between Sid’s thighs, pushing up his t-shirt and pressing kisses to the soft skin of his stomach. Over and over and over again.
“I think you know that’s not true,” Sid says as he runs his hand over the top of Geno’s head. Geno has seen him naked more times than he can count.
All the guys on the team have seen each other naked in the showers after practice or a game but Geno is the only one to see him like this.
He’s been the only one for years and years. He’s the only one Sid wants. The thought of someone else….Sid can’t even bear it.
“I like,” Geno says and Sid stares down at him, confused.
“You like what?”
“That no one else gets to see. Always have shirt on. Sweaty pads. Really tight under armor. But never let anyone else to see.” He places another open mouth kiss to Sid’s stomach and Sid giggles. Geno flashes him a huge smile. “This is all for me.” Geno traces his tongue through the subtle cut of his abs, not nearly as well defined as they were when he was younger but still strong. “All mine.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Sid says with a satisfied sigh. “All yours.”
Sid can feel Geno’s smile against his skin.
Chapter 5: Outer Thigh
Geno is on the bed with his leg right leg propped up on several pillows. The deep purple bruise on his thigh is on full display in the shorts he’s wearing but besides that he looks perfectly healthy.
His hair is still damp from his shower and he’s scrolling through something on his phone with an amused smile on his face.
“Am fine,” he says, not looking up from the screen. “But yes. Fuckers.”
“I’m going to kill them,” Sid says darkly as he steps into the bedroom and tugs at the knot in his tie. “You’ve been doing so fucking well and they just come after you like that, again and again it’s like they weren’t going to be satisfied until you were carted off the ice.” The knot is tighter now than it was before. “I’m going to kill them.”
Geno puts down the phone and pats the empty space on the bed next to his hip. “Okay, yes, go kill. But sit down first. Let me take off tie before you choke to death.”
Sid huffs but gingerly takes his place beside Geno and leans in so Geno doesn’t need to overextend himself to undo the knot.
“Get so upset,” Geno tsks, “I’m fine. Could be worse.”
“Could be worse does not mean that you’re fine,” Sid grits out. “How are you so calm about this?”
“Because I’m know this team.” He glances up from the knot and holds Sid’s eyes. “Know you. Know you’ll win. And I’m really fine. Will be out there very soon.”
Sid frowns. He’s not sure he has that level of optimism about any injury, at least, not behind closed doors.
Geno slides the tie free, finally, and drops it onto the nightstand before he takes Sid’s face in both his hands.
“What are you doing?” He asks as Geno pulls him in and presses a kiss to his forehead.
“Like your face,” Geno says simply as he pats his cheeks. "Now go take shower.”
“I already took one after the game.”
“Go take another then come back and tell me all about plan to destroy all the Flyers.”
“Maybe not all of them,” Sid grumbles. “But most of them.” He puts a careful hand on Geno’s knee then places a feather light kiss to the very edge of the bruise on his thigh.
“Take shower, come to bed,” Geno says softly and Sid closes his eyes and leans into the warmth of Geno’s body for one more moment before he finally stands.
Chapter 6: Back Of Hand
Evgeni pushes his way to the front of the press line to get a good view of the Royal Canadian family up on stage.
Trina and Troy are smartly dressed, his tie complimenting her dress while Princess Taylor wears a bright red dress with matching flowers woven into her long, blonde braid.
Prince Sidney-Sid-is in a dark grey suit and sitting up perfectly straight in his chair, shoulders back and eyes forward. His hair, which is causing a ripple of chatter throughout the press pool, is cropped short and without his soft curls he looks older. More distinguished. The cut of his jaw and the sharpness of his cheekbones are on full display and it has a few reporters around Evgeni whispering if this means he’ll take over the throne sooner than expected.
Evgeni rolls his eyes. They know nothing about the Prince and they never will.
The Royal family will be leaving Moscow for Ontario shortly after the press conference is over and Evgeni’s life will go back to normal.
He’ll have to move on and pretend that the last twenty four hours didn’t happen.
That forty eight hours ago Prince Sidney Patrick Crosby didn’t run out of an alleyway and into the street in front of him. That he didn’t grab the spare helmet hanging off the back of Evgeni’s motorcycle and beg him to take him anywhere.
“Please,” he had said as he buckled the strap beneath his chin. He looked over his shoulder briefly before turning back to Evgeni with wide, pleading eyes, “I don’t have a lot of time.”
Evgeni had nodded because what else was a commoner supposed to do in the face of international royalty?
When he stopped the bike miles and miles from the Embassy Sid took off the helmet and ran a hand through his hair.
“Thank you,” he had said in Russian. His accent was terrible but his heart was in the right place. He was trying. “This was very kind of you to pick up a stranger.” He gave the helmet back and turned away and then hesitated. He had no idea where to go or what to do. This was probably the first time in his life he was alone with no one giving him directions.
It was as thrilling as it was terrifying and Evgeni stepped forward and put a hand on his arm.
“You need directions?”
Sidney introduced himself as Patrick and Evgeni’s hands itched for the camera he had in one pocket and the recorder he had in the other.
The Prince had broken free in a foreign land. The Royal family wouldn’t be able to keep it quiet for long and soon everyone around the world would want to know where he is and what he was doing.
Evgeni was the only one who really knew as they left his bike by the river and walked side by side together down the street.
He could make a small fortune off the photographs of Sidney getting his hair cut, just a quick snap of the lens as the hair fell to the floor, or eating lunch while he was distracted by the amount of pickled food on his plate.
Evgeni could write an exposé on the information that Sidney told. Stories about overbearing parents and responsibilities that he never asked for and doesn’t think that he wants. His face was open and clear and beautiful, as he vented to a stranger who he didn’t think knew the truth.
Evgeni could have exploited this. He should have exploited this. He was a journalist. This is what he was paid to do.
Instead, he played along and when Sidney turned to him just as the sky was turning a dusky blue and asked him to “take me somewhere fun,” Evgeni put a hand on the small of Sid’s back and led him to a dimly lit bar where the music was loud and the drinks were cheap.
He and Sid got lost in the crowd, pressed together and moving to the music.
With Sid’s arms around his neck and sweat dampening their skin Evgeni knew that even if he had those photos and those recordings and five thousand words written he’d delete them all.
At one point Sid slipped away to get them another drink and Evgeni glanced away from him for a moment and when he looked back Sid was surrounded by a group of guys, all of them looking at him with interest, trying to get him to dance or talk god knows what. Sid looked uncomfortable and Evgeni was almost all the way to him when Sid threw the first drink.
Everything fell apart from there. Chaos erupted and people were being pushed and shoved and Evgeni saw someone reach for their phone to start to film and if that video got out Sid would have been found out. Evgeni wasn’t letting him go out like that.
He pushed his way through the crowd and stuck his hand out towards the Prince. “Sidney,” he shouted and Sid snapped his head towards him, confusion and betrayal written all over his face.
But there were people shouting and threatening to call the police so Sid took his hand and let himself be pulled.
Outside the cold air was a shock against their overheated skin and Sid turned on him a half a block from the bar.
“How long have you known?” He asked and Evgeni gently manhandled into an alleyway as a police car wailed by on the street.
“Since the beginning,” Evgeni admitted and even in the dark he could see the hurt on Sid’s face. He took a deep breath and decided to get it all out. “I’m a reporter. I’ve always known who you were.”
“I’m not going to tell. I was never going to tell. Can check my phone, can check my camera, can check everything. Nothing there. Didn’t write anything down. Everything you say will never leave me. I promise you.”
Sidney had looked panicked for a moment before he dropped his head in his hands and hunched his shoulders and as soon as Evgeni realized he was crying he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around him.
Sid had cried in Evgeni’s arms until they both dropped down against the pavement and his eyes were red and puffy.
“I have to go back,” he said quietly. “Don’t I have to go back?”
Evgeni wanted to tell him that no, he didn’t have to go back. People disappear all the time. People jump borders without a passport every single day, they could go off together and never be found. Evgeni would take him somewhere sunny and warm where he never had to do anything he didn’t want to do ever again.
Evgeni wanted to do that for him.
But it wouldn’t be the truth and they were done lying to each other.
“Have to go back,” he said and Sid wiped his eyes and nodded.
“I do.” He had pushed himself to his feet and held his hand out. “Tomorrow.”
Sid held onto his waist on the back of the motorcycle and they tore through the streets toward his apartment.
Evgeni didn’t have time to be embarrassed or apologize for the state of things before Sid leaned up on his toes to kiss him and only pulled away to ask him where the bedroom was.
They had one amazing night together and now they will both need to move on.
Sidney will go back to Canada and Evgeni will have to watch from afar as he resumes his royal duties and marries a sensible partner, one that his parents approve of. Someone that will be good and steady and smart.
So few royals marry for love.
The King finishes his speech and Sidney takes his turn at the mic.
He clears his throat and looks out over the crowd. His gaze catches on Evgeni and stays there as he starts to speak.
“I will never forget the hospitality that I was shown in your country,” he says. It’s official enough that the rest of the press doesn’t notice anything is wrong but a quick glance at rest of Sidney’s family and the officials standing behind let Evgeni know that this is off script. “Being here was everything I could have ever dreamed of. It was everything I never even knew I wanted. I will remember this visit for the rest of my life. And I thank you. I hope I’ll be back someday.”
He steps away from the podium and follows the rest of his family off the stage and through the crowd.
They shake hands with the press and when Sid gets to Evgeni he takes Sid’s hand and presses his lips to the back of it.
“I can’t wait for your return, your highness,” Evgeni says, his lips still hovering above his hand.
There’s a handler at Sidney’s side, urging him on but Sidney stands still and strong.
“Neither can I,” he says and lets himself be moved along.
Evgeni lets go of his hand at the last possible moment and the Prince continues along leaving him with a lot of memories and a lot of hope.
Chapter 7: Throat
It’s a quick flight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. just barely over an hour from take off to arrival, and even though the sun is still out as the plane levels out and he didn’t even play (unfortunately) Geno still lists heavily against Sid’s side.
The younger guys are chatting away behind them, most of them giving a color commentary on each one of Jake’s goals like they weren’t all there seeing it for themselves, live.
Without even turning around Sid is sure that Jake is bright red and that the smile he has on is so wide his face has got to be aching.
There’s another outburst of cheers as Geno snuggles even closer. “Good kids,” he says softly and Sid hums in agreement.
The adrenaline is slowly seeping out of him. It was a tough series, despite what the commentators might think and they only have a few days off before they’ll have to do it all over again.
Hopefully Geno will be ready to go by then. Sid saw him go down in game 5 and then how long it took him to get back up. The fact that he’s walking fine now….they dodged a bullet, to say the least.
“We teach them well,” Geno says and then adds “proud of you too. Play best in front of worst fans.”
“The whole team-,” Sid starts but Geno interrupts with a groan and leans in a little bit further to kiss the side of his neck.
It’s the one act of PDA that Geno gets away with.
“Sid. Just say thank you for nice words, baby, but I know I’ll play much better with you out there. Just once.”
Sid rolls his eyes but says “thank you for nice words,” anyways.
“Baby,” Geno prompts with a grin.
Sid squeezes Geno’s thigh with his hand and says “thank you for the nice words, baby, but I know that I’ll play better- we’ll all play better- when you’re back out there. Are you happy now?”
Geno covers Sid’s hand with his own. “Very happy. But don’t know, Jake score 4 goals….maybe he replaces me. Maybe he replaces you.”
Sid looks over his shoulder at Jake and the rest of the kids. They’ve quieted down but they’re still talking and chirping. They all look so happy. They get to do something they love everyday and they’re all still so young.
“Maybe someday,” Sid says as he picks up Geno’s hand and laces their fingers together. “But not right now.”
Chapter 8: Pelvic Bone
“Should get a tattoo,” Geno says and Sid laughs and threads his fingers through his hair. “Why you laugh? I’m serious. Lots of guys on team have them.”
Sid cracks an eye open and looks down.
Geno is lying across his thighs and he’s been sucking kisses into the skin on Sid’s hips for the last twenty five minutes.
Sid’s not hard, yet, but he’s getting there and Geno seems hellbent on ignoring the situation for as long as he can.
He’s such a little shit when he wants to be.
Sid curls his fingers around Geno’s ear. “What would I even get?”
“Little hockey puck,” Geno says as he kisses along the cut of his hip. His teeth scrape against the skin when he finds the spot he likes best and Sid’s eyes slide shut. It’s so good. Geno is so good. “Right there.” He soothes the mark with his tongue before he kisses it again, softer this time. “Small so people can’t see but big enough for my initials.”
“You think I want your initials on my body forever,” Sid jokes.
“Think you want me everywhere forever.”
Sid opens his eyes. Geno’s looking back up at him.
“Yeah,” Sid says, a little breathless and a lot turned on. “I do.” He tugs at Geno’s hair and pulls him up his body. Geno braces himself over him with his hands on either side of Sid’s head. “Everywhere.” Sid kisses him. “Forever.”
Geno kisses him back.
Chapter 9: Bellybutton
Vera is eight pounds-seven ounces of complete perfection.
She’s babbling up at Sid on the blanket that her Aunt Taylor crocheted for her as Sid blows raspberries onto her tummy.
Geno has his feet up in the coffee table and after watching them for a moment he tips his head back against the couch and closes his eyes.
The best part about the adoption going through in the off season is they get all this time with her, just the three of them in Sid’s charming lake house in Canada.
But it is hard work. It’s tiring and perfect and none of them seem to sleep, ever, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world.
He knows Sid wouldn’t either.
The first time the nurse in the hospital placed the light pink bundle in Sid’s arms their whole world changed forever. For the best.
“I love you,” Sid had said, tearing his eyes off their little girl and up at Geno. “But I would do anything for her. She is the most important person in my life now.”
Geno smiled so wide that it hurt and pressed a kiss to the top of his head before slowly and carefully lifting her into his own arms.
It’s been a whirlwind since then. Diapers and stuffed animals and grandparents and an ear infection that scared the both of them.
But she’s okay and they’re okay and Geno can feel himself nodding off to the sound of Sidney singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to her, softly and off key.
Geno would trade all the wins and points and Cups for this right here.
“We should get another one,” Sid says suddenly and Geno huffs and laugh and lifts his head.
“We just get that one.”
Sid smiles back at him. “I know but she’s going to need a friend and I know we both wanted more than one kid.”
“Get our feet beneath us for a second with her, okay? Once we do that we have lots of babies. Whole hockey team of babies.”
“What if they don’t like hockey?”
“Then they like soccer or football or tennis or art. Whatever they want we give them.”
Sid makes an agreeable noise and kisses her onesie covered belly before he lifts her up and they join Geno on the couch. Sid tucks his leg beneath himself and leans into Geno’s side. He places Vera on his chest and Geno holds her their, his hand easily spanning her entire back.
Someday he won’t be able to hold her like this. She’ll be walking and talking and learning how to take care of herself.
He knows from his teammate’s children that kids grow up so fast.
Whatever happens in the future- more babies, more games, more cups, he wants to enjoy this, right now, just as it is.
The three of them snuggled together on this couch. His husband tucked under his arm and their daughter asleep on his chest.
Chapter 10: Fingertips
Sid quickens his pace when he hears his daughter’s cries from down the hall.
He’s sure she’s fine, Hannah has always been a fairly dramatic child but still, hearing your four year old kid cry is never a good feeling.
He skids to a stop right outside of classroom 103 and hangs onto the door frame.
Hannah and Mr. Malkin are sitting together on the opposite side of the room.
She has her tiny index finger pointed out in front of her while Mr. Malkin unwraps a band air.
“Going to be okay,” he soothes and Hannah hiccups through a small sob. “Being very brave. Put this band aid on and you’ll be good as new. Maybe better. Then we’ll wait for your Papa together, okay? Should be here very soon.”
Hannah nods as Mr. Malkin wraps the bandage around her finger, tapping at the adhesive tabs so they stick.
“Feel better?” He asks and Hannah balls her uninjured hand into a fist and rubs at her eyes.
“My daddy always kisses my ouchies to make them feel better.”
Mr. Malkin rests his elbows on his knees and leans forward. “And does it work?”
Hannah nods and Mr. Malkin carefully holds her small hand in his large one and gently presses the band aid to his lips.
Hannah smiles, just barely, but it’s enough to make Sid and Mr. Malkin light up.
“Do you feel better now, sweetheart?” Sid asks as he steps through the door.
The small smile on Hannah’s face grows as she hops off the chair and darts across the room.
Sid lifts her up and pops her on his hip so she can wrap her arms around his neck.
“Play outside while we were waiting for the parents to come,” Mr. Malkin answers as he tries to unfold his legs from beneath the child sized table he was sitting at. “She trips, gets a splinter from the wood chips on the playground.”
Sid gasps dramatically and bounces Hannah in his arms. Hannah laughs. “You sure you’re okay now?”
“Yes,” she says as she nods, dark curls bouncing. “Mr. Geno gave me a band aid and kissed it so I’m all better.”
“She tell me that’s what you do,” Mr. Malkin explains. “She very brave.”
“I know she is,” Sid says softly as Sid presses a kiss to the side of Hannah head. “Do you want to play for a few more minutes while I talk to Mr. Malkin about something?”
Hannah squirms out of his arms and takes off towards the door that leads out into the playground.
It’s open and then closed behind her before Sid can say another word but Mr. Malkin laughs softly.
“I think she’s going to be just fine,” he says and Sid steps in close and lightly presses their lips together.
“We should tell her about us,” he says and Geno raises his eyebrows.
“I think we’re ready, don’t you? You’re so good with her and she absolutely adores you and I….”
Geno puts his hand on Sid’s hip and waits. Geno’s unending patience is one of the things that make him an amazing preschool teacher.
“I love you.” He presses his lips together and nods. “I love you and I know we said we wouldn’t do anything until you weren’t her teacher anymore but the school year is almost over and I think it’s okay if it’s a few weeks early. What is it going to hurt?”
Geno holds onto Sid’s hips a little tighter. “Won’t hurt anything. Think it would be nice. Don’t always have to go out for dates. Can stay in, watch movies, make dinner. Would be like-.”
“A family,” Sid finishes for him. “I’d like that. I want that.”
Geno picks up Sid’s hand and presses a hard kiss to his knuckles. “Me too.”
They smile at each other in the empty classroom with the sun and the sound of children laughing happily pouring through the windows.
Chapter 11: Spine
The shower running when Geno walks into the house.
There’s a light on over the stove in the kitchen and one in the living room, casting just enough light so he doesn’t trip over one of the toys that have been left scattered in the hallway.
The rest of the house is dark and quiet and Geno takes the stairs two at a time, careful of the ones that squeak so they he doesn’t accidentally wake up the kids.
It’s been so difficult to get them to bed lately. It takes at least four bedtime stories and an hour and a half of them getting up and calling for a glass of water over and over again until they’re finally out.
It’s a tough job when he and Sid can tag team them but alone….it’s almost impossible.
Geno pauses outside the twins door and thinks about peeking in but he doesn’t want to temp fate.
They’re asleep now. In the morning they’ll be awake and happy to see their papa after a week long roadie.
Right now Geno’s husband is down the hall, wet and naked and awake, and Geno misses him so much it hurts.
Geno leaves his bag at the foot of the bed and pulls off his suit jacket and tie as he crosses the room into the bathroom.
It’s fogged up with steam but Sid’s silhouette is clear behind the the glass door.
“Good game,” Sid says as Geno steps out of his shoes and unzips his pants. He lays them over the closed toilet seat lid so they don’t wrinkle and slides the door open.
All that pale skin is right there for Geno to touch and taste and when Sid looks over his shoulder with his wet hair plastered to his forehead and a shy smile on his face, even after all these years, it’s like Geno’s heart can’t handle it.
“Missed you,” Geno says roughly as he steps beneath the spray and pushes Sid against the tile. Sid loops his arms around his neck and tips his face up.
“How much did you miss me?” Sid asks and Geno drops a kiss to his cheek before he steps back and turns Sid around. He covers Sid’s body with his down, drapes himself over his back and laces their fingers together so Sid’s palms are pressed to the cool tile.
“Show you,” Geno says as he kisses the top of Sid’s spine.
Sid huffs a laugh as Geno moves lower, mapping out the middle of Sid’s back with his lips and his tongue and by the time Geno’s knees hit the floor of the shower those laughs have turned to a low whine.
Geno kneads his fingers into the meat of Sid’s ass as he kisses the base of Sid’s spine.
“What are you waiting for,” Sid breathes out, it’s almost lost over the sound of the water pounding against the tile and Geno’s heart pounding in his ears.
Geno doesn’t say anything in response. He just spreads Sid open and presses in.
Chapter 12: "Do you want to do this?"
One person stopping a kiss to ask “Do you want to do this?”, only to have the other person answer with a deeper, more passionate kiss.
It’s a shock when Geno comes back to Pittsburgh.
After the huge retirement party the team threw at Geno’s favorite restaurant and the smaller, more intimate ones that dotted their way across Sewickley, and the pre-game ceremony at the arena where his jersey was raised into the rafters Sid really, genuinely thought he’d never see his best friend again.
He’d take off to Russia and maybe squeeze another year or two out of the KHL before he was done for good. Then he’d start a charter sailing company or invest in another app or whatever his fickle heart desired.
Geno never stilled, he never slowed down, but whatever he did in the future, Sid was positive he wouldn’t be apart of it.
Maybe they would email or call or text. Maybe Sid would get desperate and check his Instagram for updates. Or Maybe Geno would settle down, find a girlfriend and then marry her and he’d finally start that family he’s always wanted.
When Sid really thought about it, there were endless opportunities for Geno and countless places that he would end up but Sid never thought he’d turn around and see him standing in the shadow of the tunnel leading down to the locker room.
After Sid retired and his jersey joined Geno’s to watch over the ice at PPG, he didn’t make it very far.
He went home for a little while. He let his mother dote over him and he let his sister call him an old man and he let his father talk to him about what he was going to do next.
He thought briefly of disappearing. Pulling his cap down low over his face and living his life like he never stepped foot on NHL ice. With Nate’s career still going strong with the Avs, Sid would step back and let him take over being Cole Harbour's golden child. Sid would just…live his life. He’d go to the store and out to dinner. Maybe he’d sign a few autographs here and there but he wouldn’t be a big deal. For once in his life he’d be a regular guy.
In the end he had to go back. He still felt like he owed more to the team and the city who had given him so much over the years. He could coach or he could scout or he could train. He could do a little of everything if they wanted him to and they wanted him to.
He spends most of his time in Wilkes-Barre working out with kids that are almost young enough to not be starstruck by him. He likes it better like that anyways, it allows them to get right to work.
He’s in Pittsburgh today, watching a handful of his rookies doing their best to blend in with the vets at training camp. They’re doing well but he doubts any of them will crack the roster unless it’s an emergency call up.
Sid goes to retrieve and errant puck along the boards while Sully has the guys at center ice and nearly drops his stick and trips over his skates when he sees him.
“What the fuck,” Sid whispers, as he shoots the puck blindly behind himself and scrambles through the bench door. “What the fuck.”
“Is nice to see you too,” Geno whispers back. He’s summer tan and all long lines in shorts and a zip up sweatshirt. He looks exactly the same as the day he left but Sid looks at him like he’s looking at a ghost. “Hi, Sid.”
Sid stumbles into him and Geno supports his weight, wrapping his arms around Sid’s shoulders and giving him a quick squeeze before he sets him back on his feet.
“What are you doing here,” Sid asks and Geno shrugs.
“Just want to come back and see. Was weird not bring gear on plane with me, you know?”
Come back and see what, Sid thinks but he just nods along like he understands. “Do you want to say hi to the guys,” Sid asks but Geno immediately shake his head. “Rusty is gonna be pissed if you don’t say something. Jake too.”
“You working now,” Geno tells him. “Not professional. I catch up later, yeah? Still know where they live. Unless they change?”
Sid shakes his head. “No, they’re still the same.”
“You still the same?”
Sid shakes his head again and Geno’s eyes go wide. “I don’t spend a lot of time here. It didn’t make sense to hold onto that big house.”
“But you love it.”
Sid shrugs. “Things change. I have a place just outside of Wilkes-Barre and the condo here. It’s enough.”
Geno is quiet for a long moment then Sully blows the whistle out on the ice and he takes a step back. “Should let you get back to work.”
“That’s it,” Sid asks, taking a step after him. It’s been three years but that’s it? “That’s all you came here for?” He’s angry. There’s this rage that’s building up in him that Geno would shake things up this severely and throw him for this big of a loop and then just fade back into the shadows like it never even happened. It dissipates as fast as it swells when Geno shakes his head and reaches out, fingertips curling over Sid’s shoulder
“You want dinner tonight, with me?”
Sid nods and hears his name being called from the ice. Geno takes his hand away.
“I text you,” Geno says then he’s backing down the tunnel and out of Sid’s life for the second time.
He meets Geno in restaurant downtown. It’s quiet and intimate and no one looks up from their meals when he walks in.
Geno’s already there, wine glass in hand and when Sid sits down across from him he smiles.
“I beat you here,” Geno says, teasing glint in his eye. “Is first.”
“I’m not late,” Sid defends, “you’re just…early. That feels weird to say.”
Geno laughs and Sid’s sure that garners a few stares but he can’t bring himself to care.
“Drink,” Geno says as he picks up the bottle of red and pours Sid a glass. “You still drink?”
As it turns out, Geno hasn’t been up to a whole lot.
“Travel a little.” He tips his head from side to side and pokes at his steak. “Is boring, you know, doing it alone.”
“I’m sure you could have found someone to go with you.”
Geno’s face scrunches and Sid gets that idea that there was someone but it didn’t work out.
“What about you,” Geno asks, “you find someone to go with you?”
Sid shakes his head. “Nope. I got rid of that big house, remember?”
“Condo still big, Sid. Could find someone.”
“Well, I haven’t.”
Sid sighs and puts his fork down. “You know why.” He doesn’t want to say what Geno already knows.
Geno sighs right back. “Is different now, not in NHL. No one cares who you date.”
Sid snorts. “That’s easy for you to say.”
Geno looks offended. “What that mean?”
“Nothing, it’s just that you and I are very different.”
Geno hums, considering. “Maybe not so.”
Sid’s eyes snap up to meet Geno’s and Geno looks back with an eyebrow raised as he blatantly checks him out.
Sid feels all the air leave his body as his skin flames.
“Is steak okay,” Geno asks looking away and stabbing his fork into his mashed potatoes. “Haven’t had much.”
Sid blinks. The moment was there and gone so fast he has to wonder if it ever happened at all.
“It’s fine,” Sid says slowly, still processing everything. “I think maybe I’m just tired.”
“So then no dessert?”
“I didn’t say that.”
Geno takes another sip from his wine and smiles.
They walk down the point after dinner and dessert.
The fountain is still on and the lights around the base illuminate the water. It’s cool for mid-September so they walk close, arms brushing as they move. Geno throws off heat like nothing Sid’s ever felt and he inches closer and closer until Geno huffs and wraps an arm around his shoulders.
“Should have brought jacket,” Geno teases. “Is just me. Don’t have to be big, tough Canadian.”
“It’s really not that bad,” Sid says but his teeth are chattering and he sways further into Geno’s side. “It was the ice cream. It lowered my body temp.”
Geno laughs and pressing a kiss to the top of Sid’s head and Sid freezes.
He stops walking, nearly losing his head as Geno’s arm slips up and bounces off his neck. When Geno looks back he’s frowning.
“I can’t do this,” Sid says, speaking loud and clear over the rush of the fountain. “I can’t…I’m not going to do this. I’m too old for this.”
“Sid,” Geno says slowly, “why you think I came back?”
“Not for me,” Sid says at the same time Geno says “for you.”
Sid shakes his head as Geno steps in.
“Yes. I leave and I think maybe I get over, maybe I move on…I try,” he says. “But, no one is you, Sid. There is no one else out there.”
“You left,” Sid says, “for a long time.”
“I know. Was stupid and scared…was dumb. You know, too old to be afraid of feelings but…you were always this thing I couldn’t have but want but then when I maybe could have I just run. Was big mistake. Worse one I ever make and maybe you don’t want or I wait too long but-.”
Sid leans up and presses their mouths together. Geno tastes like red wine and salted caramel.
“Do you want this,” Sid asks. “Right now, do you want me? I’m not into one night stands. I can’t do that. If we do this it’s for good, okay, it’s forever. Do you want that?”
Geno licks his lips and leans in, one hand on Sid’s waist and the other on the side of his face, cupping his jaw and holding him close for a long, slow kiss.
“So is that a yes,” Sid asks when he pulls back to catch his breath and Geno laughs into his hair.
“Yes,” Geno says, “is yes forever.”
Chapter 13: Sleepy
Morning kisses that are exchanged before either person opens their eyes, kissing blindly until their lips meet in a blissful encounter.
Sid’s eyelids flutter as he sleeps.
It’s still early and the only light in the room is the glow of the city filtering in from the edge of the drapes but Zhenya is close enough to see the rapid movement and the way his eyelashes fan out across his cheeks.
Sid’s lying on his stomach, arms outstretched beneath the pillow and face turned toward Zhenya. Sid’s bottom lip, still looking a little full and swollen is just barely kissing the top of his own shoulder and Zhenya shifts impossibly closer and presses his own lips to the soft, pale skin.
Sid hums and his face twitches but he doesn’t wake and Zhenya lays a gentle hand on his back, just between his shoulder blades.
At this point in the season Zhenya’s not sure which city they’re in, let alone which state. All the hotel rooms look the same and all the arenas blend into one. All he knows is that a handful of hours earlier they played a team that threw dirty hits and looked at Sid like he had a target on his back. Late in the second he went down and it took him awhile to get up. Zhenya had seen red but Sid had seen something bigger. Two goals scored back to back a few minutes later. Zhenya answered with his own early in the third and winked at Sid as he skated down the line at the bench, gloves bumping against gloves.
In the end it was an easy win, but one that left Sid gingerly pulling off his gear in the locker room, reaching around to rub at his back.
There was a bruise, black and purple and looking tender to the touch and Zhenya wanted to walk across the locker room and press his lips there. He wanted to take the pain away, to make everything better.
He had gotten his chance back at the hotel after the older guys went out to celebrate. Sid had made an excuse that he was too tired and Zhenya had simply shook his head at the invitation. No one questioned it and no one pushed and Zhenya barely waited for the elevator doors to slide closed before he ducked his head and kissed Sid full on the lips.
It had been a little awkward as they tumbled into bed, hands groping and lips nearly missing the mark every time but they figured it out.
Sid had huffed, they way he always did when things didn’t go exactly his way and took them both in hand.
Things get hazy after that, everything going loose and liquid in Zhenya’s mind as he strokes his palm over the mark on Sid’s back.
It was risky and stupid hooking up like this on the road and he doesn’t know what will happen if someone finds out. But they can’t be the only ones. Somewhere a couple of teammates have to be lying beside each other. They have to be feeling what Zhenya is feeling.
Zhenya gives in and leans up and over Sid’s body so he can kiss the angry looking mark.
The pressure is just enough to jar Sid from sleep and curls in on himself before he stretches, arm reaching out blindly for Zhenya.
“G’morning,” Sid mumbles and Zhenya smiles and tucks a curl behind Sid’s ear.
“Not morning yet. More time to sleep.”
“Then why’d you wake me,” Sid pouts as he rubs his face into Zhenya’s chest.
“You wake yourself,” Zhenya says with a laugh and Sid grunts but lifts his head and kisses Zhenya’s cheek. He’s still half asleep, eyes closed and body warm and pliant beneath Zhenya’s fingertips as he lazily kisses his way down Zhenya’s jaw then to his chin before he finally lets their lips meet.
Zhenya sighs into the kiss and brings his hand up to cradle Sid’s head.
“It’s early,” Sid asks and when Zhenya nods Sid pulls at the covers so he has enough room to slide himself over and throw one leg of Zhenya’s. “So we have time then.”
“You ready to go again,” Zhenya asks between kisses.
“I’m nineteen,” Sid says as he thrusts against Zhenya’s hip, “I’m pretty much ready to go whenever. What are you?” He nips at Zhenya’s bottom lip. “Can you go again, old man?”
Zhenya snorts. “Is one year, Sid.”
“You didn’t really answer the question there, did ya?”
Zhenya acts instead of answers, reaching down and pulling at Sid’s knee so it slides up and he can roll them over so Sid can feel his hardness against his stomach.
“I feel ready,” he asks and Sid nods and throws his head back against the pillow as Zhenya rolls their hips together.
Sid’s eyes flutter shut.
Chapter 14: In Secret
Sneaking away to a hidden corner to share a secretive kiss.
Sidney makes his way along the perimeter of the room, nodding and bowing to guests as he passes by.
Some of them look familiar. Long distant cousins or acquaintances of his parents or grandparents, people he’s seen once upon a time that’s he’s sure would like to corral him and tell him how much he’s grown and what a fine young man he’s turned into.
Sidney keeps moving, past the dessert table and guests who are listing back and forth, already having had too much wine despite the early hour.
Across the room, Sidney can see him. Over the stringed orchestra that his parents have hired for the evening and the crowded dance floor where couples spin and laugh, trying to remember the steps to the dances they were all taught as children.
Zhenya is nearly a head taller than everyone else and dressed in red and gold, wrapped up in fine silk that fits his body like he was born to wear it.
He shrugs off invitations to dance as he walks, accepts a glass of wine and drinks it before setting back down on a servants tray, feet always moving and chin always up.
Sidney keeps pace with him the best he can. Zhenya’s legs are longer but Sidney’s path is clearer and he makes it to the front of the room near the doors that open out onto the back gardens.
He stops and looks over his shoulder to where Zhenya has been halted by a short and stocky man who, judging by the look on Zhenya’s face, seems to be talking about something dreadfully boring.
Sidney grins when Zhenya looks up and meets his gaze. Sidney raises his brows, come find me, then opens the doors and slips out into the night.
The gardens are lovely in the moonlight. Row upon row of blooming peonies and dahlias and lilies. The air is sweet and perfumed with the scent of hydrangeas and lavender and Sidney takes a deep breath, filling his lungs with it before slowly exhaling.
From here, the only sounds he can hear from the party are the straining notes from the violins as they shift from one song to the next. He is alone here, although he hopes not for long.
He follows the marble pathway past the looming sunflowers and the thick patch of Russian sage until he reaches the edge of the flower garden, there the marble gives way to worn bricks and the flowers disappear in favor of hedges and large trees.
When he was little he used to tell Taylor that this section of the garden was haunted just so she wouldn’t follow him when he entered it. It was the one place he could be alone and hide out, safe from the tedious drone of day-to-day life around the palace.
He’s just getting to the tree he fell out of when he was about eight or nine when he hears footsteps behind him. He smiles as they get close and spins around just in time for Zhenya’s hands to reach his shoulders and push him back against the bark.
“What took you so long,” is all Sidney gets to say before Zhenya is covering his mouth with his own.
“Your parents invite most boring guests,” Zhenya says, large hands spreading across Sidney’s chest, playing with the silver buttons on his waistcoat.
“They invited you, didn’t they?”
“I’m one good one,” Zhenya says proudly, “rest are awful.”
“I’ll be sure to tell them you said that.”
“Wouldn’t date,” Zhenya says before ducking back in for another kiss.
Sidney sighs and wraps his arms around Zhenya’s neck. He kisses back like they have all the time in the world, like Sidney isn’t engaged to marry another and Zhenya isn’t set to sail back to his homeland in a few weeks time.
“I want,” Sidney says against Zhenya’s lips and Zhenya brings his hand up to stroke softly at Sidney’s face.
He’ll never say it. He’s too good, too honorable. He made a promise to another and even though it’s all business and no love, he has to follow through with it, doesn’t he?
“I’m know,” Zhenya whispers back, “I’m know.”
He’ll never say it either.
Chapter 15: Trail Down The Jaw and Neck
A kiss, followed by more that trail down the jaw and neck.
For better or worse, Sid learned a lot about sex in locker rooms.
He knows most of the guys are full of shit- there’s no way Henderson had slept with that many women and there’s no way Mickey’s girlfriend let him do that.
Full or shit or not, Sid still listened anyways, head down and face flushed as they talked about what they were up to over the weekend or how they celebrated that win on the road.
As he got older Sid found himself rolling his eyes more than blushing, calling them on their bullshit and letting himself be teased back.
He wasn’t as innocent as they thought, he just didn’t brag about it.
He keeps quiet as they go on and on, talking about their likes and dislikes and what new position they tried and whether it was good or not. It seemed like all the guys had different preferences but the one thing they all had in common was how much they bitched about foreplay. It seemed like they just wanted to get right down to it and seemed almost offended that their girlfriends or wives or even one night stands might ask for a little more.
That’s how Sid knew for sure they were full of it.
Sid could spend hours making out with someone. Getting lost in the feel or slick lips and wandering hands, the weight of his partner holding him down or the feel of someone under him, warm and solid.
He likes the slow build, the light, fuzzy feeling he gets in the pit of his stomach that radiates outward through his whole body, sparking out of his fingertips and lips as he drags them across his partners body.
It’s even better when said partner is Geno, with his mile long limbs and clear, pale skin that’s just begging for Sid to taste.
He likes Geno laid out in front of him on his bed or Geno pressing him against the wall just inside a hotel room door.
But he also likes Geno just like this, splayed across his lap on the couch while a game plays in the background, signing into every other kiss and slowing grinding against him.
Geno has lost his shirt and Sid’s pants are unbuttoned and unzipped but neither of them are in any rush to take it any further.
Geno kisses him, hands splayed out on the side of Sid’s face then presses a quick kiss to Sid’s jaw before he works his way down his neck.
“You like,” Geno mumbles. Sid can feel the curve of his smile against his skin.
“I think it’s pretty obvious,” Sid answers, lolling his head to the side and pushing his hips up.
“No,” Geno says, “you like me.”
Sid squeezes Geno’s hips and Geno pulls back. His mouth is a deep red and his eyes look glazed. He’s perfect.
“Yeah,” Sid says and it feels like a bigger confession than it is. “Yeah, I like you.”
Geno’s ruby lips curve up and his eyes dance. “Good.” He presses his thumb to Sid’s bottom lip. “Like you too.”
Chapter 16: Neck
Sid sighs and reaches back, tangling his fingers in Geno’s hair as Geno’s lips drag across his skin.
The restaurant was packed so dinner went long and the traffic getting out of downtown was atrocious so they’re about two hours behind schedule.
The silver lining to the whole thing is that their babysitter managed to put Benjamin down for the night—an impossible task as of late—so they can skip that step and head straight up the stairs to their bed.
Or their shower.
Geno has his hands on Sid’s hips so whenever he stears them that’s where they’ll go.
Geno hums against Sid’s neck, arms tightening around his waist.
“Feel good,” Geno whispers, lips pressing lightly to Sid’s neck. “You feel good.”
Sid laughs, then laughs even harder when Geno shushes him, hot air tickling his skin.
“We haven’t even done anything yet. We’re not even up the stairs.”
Geno hooks his chin over Sid’s shoulder. “Don’t matter. Don’t matter where we are, always feel good.”
Sid tips his head back and brushes his lips across Geno’s temple. They’ve been married for five years and together for nearly twice as long but Geno still makes him feel special and important, like he could be standing in a crowd of thousands and be the only one that Geno sees.
“How about we go upstairs and I can make you feel even better?”
Geno smacks a kiss to Sid’s neck then pulls his arms away from Sid’s waist and places his hands on Sid’s ass to give him a gentle push up the stairs.
“Go,” he says and Sid throws his head back and laughs.
Chapter 17: Out Of Envy or Jealousy.
Sliiiiiight Mr. & Mrs. Smith AU.
Sid takes another sip from his glass of champagne and surveys the casino floor.
People are gambling and drinking. Beautiful women are hanging over older men and younger men are making fools of themselves in front of beautiful women.
He can hear Flower chattering in his earpiece above the ambient music being piped through the sound system and the waitresses heels clicking on the tile. He’s talking about the steak he had for dinner last night, room service, “fancy huh, sparing no expense in fucking Atlantic City.”
Apparently it was a little overcooked but the mashed potatoes were light and creamy- not starchy at all and the chocolate cake for dessert was serviceable.
“You would have liked it,” Flower says, voice tinny and crackling. “What did you have?”
Sid runs his hand through his hand and says quickly into the microphone hidden at his wrist, “I didn’t have dinner.”
“You didn’t eat!” Flower shrieks and Sid clicks off the earpiece.
He didn’t eat because he doesn’t have to. Hunger is a feeling that was trained out of him in the Academy. He can go days without feeling so much as a twinge of it.
More importantly, didn’t eat because he and Tanger were perched on the rooftop with rifles waiting for their mark’s limo to pull up.
It never showed and they wasted a night in the cold for nothing.
Sid missed out on serviceable chocolate cake for nothing. Just because he doesn’t need to eat doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy it.
A body slides up to the bar beside him and he doesn’t have to turn to know that it’s Tanger. He still has his comms open to Flower and as he scratches at his jaw he says a soft ‘copy’ into his wrist.
“Our eight o’clock,” he says to Sid and Sid swings his eyes around in that direction but all he sees is a crowd of people. “He just walked in and sat down at a table.”
“He pulls a crowd, eh?”
Tanger nods. “Three bodyguards.”
“That’s nothing,” Sid says as he sets down his glass. “You distract them and I’ll move in.”
“There’s a civilian. It looks like Vasiliev is playing sugar daddy for the weekend,” Tanger laughs as Sid wrinkles his nose. “Gold digger’s all over him. Even if I distract the guards there’s no way you get a clean shot off. We’re going to have to improvise.”
Fortunately, that taught that at the Academy as well and Sid is already five steps into a new plan in his head when the crowd parts and Vasiliev comes into view.
He’s dressed in a grey tracksuit with thick gold chains around his neck. His hair is slicked back with gel, an unnatural inky black that screams of a dye job and even from across the room, Sid can tell he reeks of dirty money.
Vasiliev leans back in his chair and rolls a chip over the knuckles on his right hand while he raises his left to get the attention of a waitress. He holds up two fingers and points to himself and then the dark haired man sitting next to him.
He has dark brown hair and he’s nuzzling his face into the side of Vasiliev’s neck, making him smile without whatever he’s saying.
Vasiliev laughs and grabs the dice off the table. He says something back and holds the dice flat in his palm.
The man turns his head and purses his lips to blow of them and Sid spins around to face the bar.
“That’s not a gold digger,” he tells Tanger and Tanger snaps his head to the side to look at him.
“What do you mean? How do you know?”
“Because,” Sid says as he picks up his champagne glass and downs the rest of it. He really should have ordered something stronger. “That’s my husband.”
“You’re what?” Tanger asks and Sid shakes his head.
“Cover me,” he says as he slips off his jacket. The waiters here are in black pants and white button downs and he can probably blend in as long as no one is looking for a name tag. “Don’t move until I say so. Don’t do anything.”
“Your husband,” Tanger sputters, “the fuck, I didn’t even know you were married.”
Sid can hear Flower yelling in Tanger’s ear about not being invited to the wedding. He ignores the both of them and heads off to intercept the waitress that is on her way to the Vasiliev’s table with his and Geno’s drinks.
It’s easy enough to get the tray away from her when he flashes two hundred dollars bills and a charming smile at her.
She plucks the bills from his hand and turns on her heels and Sid makes a beeline to the table.
Geno is more in Vasiliev’s lap than out of it by the time Sid gets there and when Geno presses tiny kisses to Vasilive’s neck Sid’s blood boils.
It’s almost completely an accident when the drinks tip off the tray and splash down the arm of Geno’s coat, all the way down to the hand that it’s gripping Vasiliev’s thigh.
“Worthless waiter,” Vasiliev shouts in Russian and Geno freezes as he looks up and locks eyes with Sid.
“Sir, I’m so sorry, please accept my apologies,” Sid says demurely in perfectly accented Russian. Geno’s eyes go wide and then narrow because he’s been ‘teaching’ Sid Russian for years now and laughing at his terrible accent for just as long. “If your guest would like to come with me to the washroom we’ll get him cleaned up. We’ll send out for dry cleaning if we need to.”
“I’m not paying for it,” Vasiliev grumps and pats Geno’s shoulder. “Be quick, my dear, you’re my good luck charm.”
“You won’t even miss me,” Geno says as he leans down to kiss his cheek, holding Sid’s gaze the whole time.
Sid’s hands curl into fists at his side.
Geno falls into step beside him as they cut across the casino floor towards the restrooms.
“Are you wired,” Sid asks and Geno shakes his head.
Sid yanks the earpiece out of his ear and pulls the mic out from his wrist and crushes it in his hand. “Not anymore.”
Once their inside the bathroom Geno wedges the wastebasket against the door and Sid explodes.
“What the fuck, Geno?”
“Me what the fuck, you what the fuck? You tell me you’re working. Teacher’s conference in Maryland. You think I’m stupid?”
“You told me you were going to visit your mother because she was sick. You used your mom to lie to me.”
“You lie to me first.”
“Yeah, well at least I’m not hanging all over some mob boss.”
“That’s what this is about?” Geno steps closer and pokes his finger into Sid’s chest. “You jealous?”
“I’m not jealous,” Sid snaps and Geno laughs.
“Like you’ve never done exactly what I’m doing right now.”
Geno shakes his head. “Pretty face, Sid, you never use?”
Sid looks down at his feet. “Have you had sex with him?”
“No,” Geno says. “Never. Would never. Plan is to kill him before it comes to that.”
“Tanger and I are trying to kill him before it comes to that too. Now I have a little extra motivation.”
“I’m sure you’ll meet him soon enough. Flower too. We’ll probably end up having them over for a barbecue or something.”
“Have potato salad recipe to try. You think they like?”
“Flower will eat anything.”
Geno huffs a laugh and Sid leans forward into his chest.
“I was jealous,” he admits and Geno kisses his hair.
“It’s just job, Sid. I come home to you.”
Geno tips Sid’s head back for short kiss then fishes a key card out of his jacket pocket.
“Hotel room is empty now,” he says as he slips it into Sid’s hand. “Lots of files, lots of money, lots of evidence. Maybe you send your Tanger up there to look. I go back to Vasiliev and keep playing.”
“What will I do?”
“You,” Geno says as his hand wanders down Sid’s back. “Get another tray of drinks, be a better waiter.” He pauses as he squeezes Sid’s ass. “Get lots of tips. Get enough money to take me out tonight.” He kisses Sid again. “Show your husband a good time.”
Chapter 18: To Wake Up
Geno has a hard time understanding how there are people out there who look at Sid and don’t immediately fall in love with him.
With his sweet smile and bright eyes and soft, rounded vowels when he speaks.
But he knows that there are a few who take one look at Sid’s arms and legs, all covered with brightly colored ink, and turn up their noses. They don’t take him seriously even though he runs his own business and makes his own money and has more figured out in his life than they do in theirs, for sure.
But that’s okay, Geno thinks, those people don’t need to understand him. It’s their loss.
Because they will never get to see Sid the way he sees him now, naked and spread out in his bed, sleeping in a patch of sunlight like a cat.
Sid only stopped by for lunch, nothing more.
But Geno had watched him lock up the tattoo parlor and cross the street, the denim of his jeans stretched tight against Sid’s thighs and Geno had to drag him up the backstairs of the Flower Shop to his apartment and kiss him against the inside of the door before pulling him back to his bedroom.
Sid has been napping for forty five minutes, which is fifteen minutes longer than he asked Geno to let him sleep but Geno can’t bring himself to wake him up.
He looks so peaceful and calm, a sharp contrast to the plethora of ink that’s swirling over his skin,a vibrant map of everything that’s important to him.
Geno reaches out and lightly traces the numbers on the inside of Sid’s left wrist with his fingertips. His sister’s birthday.
The Canadian flag at his hip, and the Coat of Arms of Nova Scotia against his ribs.
He lays his hand over Sid’s heart, covering the crossed hockey sticks and the goalies mask and leans down to kiss the coordinates for Cole Harbour on his shoulder.
Right below that are the coordinates for Pittsburgh.
Below that, Magnitogorsk.
Geno’s lips linger there until Sid makes a soft sound above him and he looks up.
Sid’s eyes are open, just barely, his eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks but his mouth is pulling into a lazy smile.
“I told you to wake me,” he says softly and puts his hand on the side of Geno’s head, threading his fingers through his hair.
“Did wake you,” Geno says as he sits up. Sid’s hand slides down to cup his cheek and Geno turns his head, pressing a kiss to the little penguin on the inside of his right wrist. “You awake right now.”
“That was an accident, you didn’t mean to.”
“You going to fight with me when you first wake up,” Geno teases, “maybe I leave you here to find clothes on your own.”
“Don’t,” Sid says, voice and eyes suddenly serious, “don’t leave.”
Geno frowns down at him as Sid strokes the scar on his cheek with his thumb. He’s talking about more than just leaving the bed.
Don’t go back to Russia, Sid isn’t saying, don’t leave me.
Geno’s always carried with him the belief that nothing is permanent. Everything changes and evolves and he was always going to change with it.
But then he met Sid who quickly worked his way into his heart and feels as ever-lasting as the ink on Sid’s skin.
“Right here,” Geno says as he stretches out beside Sid, “not going anywhere.”
Chapter 19: In Secret Pt. 2
The Bachelor AU
Almost every square inch of the house is constantly under the watchful eye of a hidden camera.
There are cameras built into the banister going up the stairs and hidden behind paintings and wall switches. The stack of books on the nightstand in the bedrooms is actually a hollowed out piece of plastic with a night vision camera inside and there are waterproof ones lining the pool and set beside the hot tub.
They’re in the kitchen and the den and the game room. The dining room and the outdoor patio and the entryway.
There are even cameras in the bathroom, somehow tucked behind the mirror so the American and Canadian public will all know exactly what they all look like the moment they wake up in the morning.
The only places that aren’t filmed 24/7 are the tiny stalls that house the toilets and the shower stalls.
That is the only place they can find refuge and unfortunately, neither of those would be a proper place to take Sid for a moment alone.
It’s a good thing that Geno founds a third place five days into shooting.
Upstairs on the second floor, down the end of the hall between one of the guest rooms and the small linen closet he discovered that if you stand with your back against the wall the camera that’s mounted in the ceiling can’t spin around enough to catch you.
Tonight, Geno presses Sid back against the spot on the wall and covers Sid’s body with his own.
They don’t have much time and they were only able to slip away because Tanger accidentally dropped a bottle of champagne out on the patio and production had to be halted while they cleaned it up.
Flower is going to drop another few minutes after that but still…it’s never enough time.
“I’m going to tell the producers I want to stop the show,” Sid pants into Geno’s ear as Geno presses hurried kisses to the side of his neck.
Geno laughs. “Sid, you think that’s going to work? You sign contract, producers want show, want big ratings and you,” he says as he reaches down to squeeze Sid’s ass, “are very good for ratings.”
Sid rolls his eyes but sighs when Geno moves back to kiss the other side of his neck. “But what’s the point in all of it? All of the guys know I’m going to pick you. I’m supposed to just fake it? Keep dating them? That doesn’t bother you?”
“No. They’re friends. It’s you having dinner with friends. Maybe go horseback riding or boating. Have fun. Then you come back and I kiss you, right here.”
“I just want this to be over,” Sid says quietly. “I just want to be with you. Only you.”
Geno stops his gentle assault on Sid’s neck and leans back to he can kiss his nose and then his forehead and then both of his cheeks and by the time he gets to Sid’s chin Sid is laughing.
“Only six guys left, Sid. Just a few more weeks until final rose, you pick me, buy me fancy ring-.”
“I think the producers buy the ring, actually.”
Geno gives him a flat look and Sid pulls him in for another kiss. “I’ll buy you a ring after.”
“After-after,” Geno says as he holds Sid against his chest. Sid nods because they talked about this. They’re crazy about each other now but they’re not going to rush into this. They’re going to take their time and get to know every single thing about each other. They’re going to do it right.
“Just a few more weeks,” Sid says to himself and Geno kisses the side of his head.
Just a few more weeks.
Chapter 20: Out of Habit
“I should get going,” Sid says as he grabs his jacket off the back of his chair.
He’s met with a chorus of boos and chirps that only get louder when he slides the jacket on.
“You should all get going,” he says and Tanger throws a handful of mixed nuts at him. “We have practice tomorrow.”
“Still early, Sid,” Geno says from the seat beside him. He has a half empty beer in his hand and he’s leaning back, legs splayed out beneath the table. “Can stay for a little while longer.”
“I’m old, G,” Sid says and Geno smiles, lopsided and warm and familiar and Sid doesn’t think twice about putting hand high on his thigh, leaning in and kissing him. “I’ll see you back at home, okay?”
Geno doesn’t answer. He’s too busy looking at him with wide eyes and Sid slowly realizes that the rest of the table has gone quiet.
Geno’s voice is thick when he says Sid’s name and Sid feels his face flush when he realizes what he just did.
He shouldn’t have kissed Geno because Geno isn’t his to kiss. Not anymore.
They don’t have a home to go back to because they broke up two weeks ago.
“God,” Sid says as he stands up quick enough to rock the chair back on two legs. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know why I did that,” he tries to laugh but it comes out harsh and hollow and pained and Geno won’t stop looking at him with soft, sympathetic eyes.
“Awkward,” Jake says and Sid squeezes his eyes shut tight. One of the reasons they broke up was because they agreed they didn’t want it to affect the team. Sid didn’t even need to be in a relationship to do that.
“I’m going to go.”
“Sid,” Geno says and Sid shakes his head.
“I’m sorry,” Sid tells him. “I’m so sorry.”
“Sid,” Geno calls again but Sid is already halfway to the exit and he’s not turning around for nothing. He pushes open the door to the bar with all his body weight behind it and steps out into the cool night air.
He scrubs his hands over his face and tries to remember where he parked his car but next to impossible because the only thing he can think about is the feeling of Geno’s lips beneath his own and how he’ll never be able to feel that again.
“Sidney.” Geno’s sharp voice cuts through his thoughts and when he turns around Geno’s standing there, breath curling into the night air. “You don’t run from me.”
“What do you want me to do? I just fucked everything up, we were fine before and now-.”
“You think you just fuck everything up?” Geno asks as he steps closer. “Sid, you fuck things up when you break up with me.”
“We broke up.”
“I do what you do because I love you. Just want to make you happy. If you happy without me then fine, I’ll do that.”
“You think I’m happy like this?”
“Don’t know, Sid. You break up”
“I didn’t want to. I thought it would be best for the team.”
“The team fight for whole week a month ago because Tanger thinks Frozen is better than Tangled. They have bigger problems than us.”
Sid laughs softly and Geno puts his hand on his shoulder.
“So, what now?”
“Now,” Geno says as he slides his hand up to the side of Sid’s neck. “Now we go home, together. We talk.”
Sid looks down at his feet. He’s not looking forward to that.
Geno tips his chin up and lightly presses their lips together.
“Then maybe, after, we figure it out so you can always kiss me whenever you want.”
Sid leans up, and does just that.
Chapter 21: On A Falling Tear
Despite having half the number of men when they started, the march home from war takes twice as long as the march to.
The men are broken and bloody. Zhenya’s joints ache and his bones feel heavy. They rattle with every step he takes. His knee will never be the same.
It would be tempting to lie down on the side of the road and let his fellow soldiers go on without him.
He would only need to close his eyes and peace would fall upon him.
The only thing keeping his feet dragging along the dusty earth towards home is Sidney.
The Prince is still alive and as long as Sid’s heart continues to beat so will Zhenya’s.
It’s been six months since they’ve seen each other.
Six months since the night Sidney called for him to meet him in his tent.
Six months since Sidney pressed his strong hands to Zhenya’s already war-bruised body and kissed him like victory was already theirs.
Afterwards they laid together on Sidney’s makeshift bed, a far cry from the luxurious one he left behind at the castle.
Sidney’s head was pillowed on Zhenya’s chest and Zhenya was running his hand through Sidney’s hair, watching the way the strands curled around his fingers and the way the shadows cast from the low lamp light danced along the walls. He moved his hand down slowly, running his fingertips over the thin silver chain around Sidney’s neck and further still, over the muscles between his shoulder blades, relaxed and warm.
He was enjoying pretending that the war was over until Sidney lifted his head and said “my father wants me to bring men North,” and Zhenya froze. “He says we’d have the element of surprise on our side. It could work. The war would be over shortly.”
“Dangerous,” Zhenya said after he found his voice.
“That is war.”
“If something happens to you-.”
“Then I’ve died for my kingdom. There’s honor in that.”
Zhenya shifted and pushed himself up so he could gather Sidney’s face between his hands.
“If you die, I’ll die right beside you.”
Sidney closed his eyes and turned his face to press a kiss to the center of Zhenya’s palm. “We’ll have to live for each other then.”
In the morning Sidney led troops North and Zhenya watched as his heart followed after him.
The war raged on, day in and day out. Months passed with no news from the North.
Finally, after two months of fighting an exhausted courier rode into camp, his horse’s coat foaming with sweat, with a letter clutched between his hands.
He stumbled into the General’s tent.
It didn’t take long for the rumors to fly.
The King had miscalculated and it was Sidney and his troops that were taken by surprise.
The Prince is injured.
The Prince is dead.
Zhenya was lost, anger boiling over at the war and the King and the men for not fighting harder, for not defending their Prince.
He was turning himself inside out with grief when the courier found him, face still flushed from his long journey.
The courier dropped Sidney’s necklace into the palm of his hand and Zhenya closed his fingers around it.
“He wants you to know he’s still alive,” the courier said. “He’s going home. He’s safe. He wants you to keep fighting, he wants you to live.”
Zhenya secured the necklace next to his own and kissed the back of the pendant.
If that’s what Sidney wanted, then that is what he would do.
The war raged on, unforgiving and unrelenting.
Every man Zhenya killed would get him closer to home, closer to his love.
“What if he’s maimed and unrecognizable,” one of his fellow soldiers asked, “What if he’s broken? He’s alive but that doesn’t mean he’s whole?”
“I’ve loved him since I was a boy and he has loved me. Nothing will stop that.”
“But what if he doesn’t remember you?”
Zhenya had heard of that sort of thing. Soldiers with head injuries that were severe enough that they didn’t remember their wives or children or even their own name.
“I will remember him,” Zhenya said. “That will be enough.”
The war ended with victory and Zhenya clutching his sword in one hand and Sidney’s necklace in the other.
Now, he follows the rest of the man through the kingdom’s gates and cheers and applause from the people rain down on them.
They are showered with affection; hugs and kisses from the women and children and handshakes and hearty pats on the back from the men who were too old to fight.
Zhenya doesn’t care, he doesn’t react. He keeps his eyes trained on the platform where the King and Queen sit. Beside them in the Prince, looking as beautiful as the day Zhenya last saw him.
Zhenya marches closer and closer and wills there to be recognition in Sidney’s eyes.
Remember me, he thinks, please remember me.
All at once Sidney’s face lights up and he stands, a cane gripped tight in his hands.
“Zhenya,” he yells and Zhenya stops walking in the middle of the line.”Zhenya, it’s you,” Sidney says. He walks with a limp as he makes his way over to the edge of the platform and Zhenya weaves his way through the herd of men to get close to him.
Finally Sidney drops the cane and throws his leg over the side. The Queen stands and the King holds her back.
“Let him go,” he says, “let him get to him.”
Zhenya pushes his way through the crowd and gets to Sidney just as his feet touch the ground. They collapse into each other, Sidney’s arms tight around Zhenya’s shoulders.
“I knew you were alive,” Sidney is saying, “I knew it.”
Zhenya pulls back and watches Sid’s eyes well up with tears.
“I knew you would come back to me,” he says as one tear slips down the curve of his cheek.
Zhenya leans in and kisses it away. “Where else would I go?”
Chapter 22: On a Place of Insecurity
Whenever one of his friends told him stories about getting stood up on a date, Sid used to make sympathetic sounds and pat them on the back before telling them their date had no idea what they were missing out on. It was their loss and his friends would find someone new and better.
He always genuinely believes it when he says it so he has no idea why he can’t think the same thing about himself when he waits forty five minutes for a guy that never even planned on showing up.
Except he kind of knows why.
He’s picky and hard to handle. Particular, Tanger had called him one time. He made it sound like a compliment but obviously Kevin, the guy he met in the coffee shop three days ago didn’t see it the same way.
They only chatted for a few minutes before Sid worked up the nerve to ask him out. Kevin had said yes and asked for Sid’s number but something in their following text conversation must have changed his mind.
Maybe Sid dominated the conversation too much. He took over talking about hockey and the new restaurant that they should try and asking about weekend plans.
The first guy Sid’s had been interested in him in months and he scared him off by coming on too strong.
He sighs as he holds his key card against the censor and waits for the light to turn green before he pops open the door to his office building.
He doesn’t feel like sitting home alone and he knows there’s a stack of paperwork still on his desk so he might as well get to it.
Works too much, he thinks as he takes the elevator to the fifth floor. Probably another reason why he’ll end up alone.
The floor is dark when he steps out of the elevator, the only light coming from the emergency exit signs and Geno’s office.
Geno’s probably the only person who works more than Sid but somehow he manages to have a personal life. He’s always taking vacations and talking about the dates he’s successfully been on. No one would ever stand him up.
Sid’s trying to figure out a way to slip by and get to his own office without Geno seeing him when he hears the wheels of a desk chair squeaking against the floor. A moment later Geno pokes his head out of the office.
“Thought I heard elevator open.” He frowns then and says “thought you had date tonight. You forget something?”
“My date forgot me,” he says and Geno’s eyebrows knit together. “I got stood up. He never showed.”
Geno tips his head to the side. “Oh, Sid.”
“It’s fine, I’m alright,” Sid says quickly. He wants to push on and hide behind the locked door to his office so Geno won’t be able to see the tears that are beginning to burn behind his eyes. “I get it. I understand.”
“Why he didn’t show,” Sid says as he starts his determined march down the hall. “I’m not that great.”
Geno snags his wrist as he tries to blow past and pulls him into his office. He scootches back in his chair without getting up and leads Sid over to an open chair.
Sid slumps into it, defeated.
“What do you mean you’re not great? That’s crazy.”
“It’s really not. I work too much, I talk too much about things no one cares about, I-.”
“Sid.” Geno shakes his head and rolls closer. He spreads his hands over Sid’s kneecaps and Sid snaps his mouth shut. “You are funny and interesting and so smart. Plus you’re so pretty, you know. That guy tonight was just stupid to not see how great you are. If I was going out with you I would never-.”
Sid tips forward in the chair and presses their lips together.
It’s brief but only because Geno pulls back and shakes his head. “Sid,” he says and Sid shoots up and out of the chair, humiliated for the second time tonight.
“I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“Sid, is okay.”
“It’s not. God, you say a couple nice things about me to make me feel better and I kiss you out of the blue. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not to make you feel better, Sid. Said it because it’s true. All of it’s true. Tanger tells me you have date tonight and I come here to work to take my mind off it. Or try to. All I think about is how I should have asked you first and how I missed my chance. Think maybe you just kissed me because you’re sad, not because you want to.”
“I wanted to,” Sid says. “I want to.”
Geno smiles and puts his hand on Sid’s cheek. “Good. Now maybe we forget about other guy and go have dinner? Together?”
Sid nods and takes Geno’s offered hand.
Chapter 23: Where It Hurts
Geno shocks the hell out of both of them the second his hand slaps against the meat of Sid’s ass.
Sid stops mid-thrust and stares down at him with wide, wild eyes and Geno stares back, horrified at what he’s just done.
“Sid…didn’t mean ...wasn't thinking. Don’t know why…”
He trails off, not finding the words in English or Russian and tries to shift his hips and push at Sid’s shoulders at the same time, anything to get Sid to pull out but Sid grips his hips even tighter and frowns.
“What are you doing? Do you want to stop?”
Geno blinks up at him. “Sid. Just hit you.”
Sid frowns and shakes his head. “You didn’t hit me.”
“Sid.” His hand still stings from the impact.
“It’s okay,” Sid soothes as he leans down to kiss him, soft and sweet and tasting like every good thing that Sid deserves in bed. “I’m okay. I don’t want to stop.” He pulls back and looks him dead in the eye. “Do you want to stop?”
There’s no doubt in Geno’s mind that if he says yes Sid will immediately let him go.
It’s one of the reasons he shakes his head. The other is the smile that spreads across Sid’s face.
“Good,” Sid says as he loops one arm around Geno’s thigh so his ankle is resting against Sid’s shoulder. “Neither do I.”
He keeps his thrusts slow and shallow and then says, “you can do it again if you want. But only if you want.”
Geno bites his lip closes his eyes and concentrates on the overwhelming feeling of Sid all around him.
He does want.
As soon as his hand touches Sid’s skin the headboard smacks into the wall.
After, Geno comes out of the bathroom with a damp face cloth and frowns down at Sid.
He’s on his stomach and all Geno can see is the handprints he left behind on SId’s ass.
He puts his hand on the small of Sid’s back and sits down beside him.
“It’s sore. It stings,” Sid says, voice muffled from where his face is buried in his arms but when he turns his head he’s smiling. “It feels good.”
Geno is wary. “You like that? Really?”
“I would have told you to stop if I didn’t. You should know that by now.”
“Worry I hurt. You know I would never-.”
“I know, I know,” Sid says as he pushes himself up on one arm and kisses him. “I know you wouldn’t and you didn’t. I liked it,” he says again. “I liked that you did it. It was like….you knew I could handle it. My body could handle it.”
“You want to do it again?”
“Maybe not all the time but sometimes, yeah. If you want.”
Geno nods and Sid kisses him again before looking down at the cloth. “Is that for me?”
“Thought maybe it’ll help,” he says but before he lays the cloth across his skin he leans down and lightly kisses his left cheek and then his right. Above him Sid hums and settles back against the bed.
“I like that, too,” he says quietly.
Geno kisses him once more then crawls up the bed and lies down beside him.
Chapter 24: As A Suggestion
Crosby doesn’t look up as the door opens. He’s sitting behind his mahogany desk, pen still flying across the paper, and a glass of something dark and smooth and expensive at his elbow.
Only the best for Sidney Crosby.
“I was wondering when you’d get here,” he says and Geno softly shuts the door behind him. “What took you so long? I sent for you over an hour ago.”
‘You have me running errands all over the city,’ he thinks, ‘stupid, pointless errands. It’s a waste of my talents.’
But he bites his tongue and says instead, “rush hours. Traffic. I’m sorry, sir.”
Crosby stops writing and his eyes flick up, just for a moment, and Geno catches the flash of gold in the dimly lit room.
“I’ve been watching you,” Crosby says as he puts the pens down and stands. Does up the buttons on his suit jacket and Geno watches the way the fabric pulls across his shoulders as he rounds the front of the desk. He crosses his arms over his chest and leans back against the edge. “You’ve been doing good work.”
“Yes,” Geno agrees, “best at getting dry cleaning.” He’s out of line and he only catches himself after it’s too late. He freezes, blood going cold and heart in his throat but when he looks back to Crosby there’s a smile pulling at his full lips. Geno can’t look away from them.
“You want more to do?” Crosby asks and Geno nods, eyes still fixed on his bosses mouth. He understands how he has everyone wrapped around his little finger and why, even after all this time, he’s still here himself.
He would do anything for him.
Crosby clears his throat and Geno’s eyes snap up. “I’m sure you’ve heard of the Costello’s,” he says and Geno nods. Everyone has heard of them. A political family with their hands in every charitable foundation in Pittsburgh and their pockets lined with dirty money. “The youngest one,” Crosby continues and Geno interrupts.
“Yes,” Crosby says, voice sounding very far away all of the sudden. He takes a deep breath and drops his gaze down to Geno’s neck then holds his hands out and beckons him closer. Geno crosses the distance and his breath catches as Crosby raises his hands and straightens his tie. “It was crooked,” he says but Geno knows it’s a lie that he’ll never call him on. The backs of his fingers are warm against his throat and the spicy smell of his cologne makes his head spin and his knees weak. “Jason has been giving me a bit of a headache lately. I’m hoping you can help me with that.”
“You want me to talk to him?”
Talk, threaten, it’s all the same thing, really.
Crosby presses his lips together and runs his hands down the front of Geno’s jacket.
“You know they’re still doing construction on the Liberty Bridge? Can you believe it? It’s been months. Maybe that was the traffic you were stuck in,” he says, to himself. “Anyways,” Crosby says, his hands firm against Geno’s waist, “I’ve heard the night watchman at the sight will be busy between ten and ten-fifteen tonight.”
Geno nods along, not sure where this is going.
“It would be awfully easy to dump something into the river down there. No one would be around to see you. I’m sure no one would question if a few chunks of torn up concrete went missing and even if they did, it’s not like they’d ever find it at the bottom of the river.”
Geno’s eyes go wide as he realizes what’s being asked of him. “You want me to-.”
Crosby leans in and kisses him, teeth sharp as they nip at his bottom lip. It’s bruising and owning and Geno can’t help the way he chases after Crosby’s mouth when he pulls away.
“I want you to take care of it for me,” he says. “Can you do that or do I need to find someone else while I send you to go get me dinner? There are other men, you know.”
Geno knows and he hates them all. He hates the idea that maybe they’ve stood in this exact spot and watched Crosby stand before them, lips wet and eyes bright after a kiss.
“I can do it,” he says. “I’ll do it.”
Crosby smiles and pats his chest before he slips back around the desk and sits down.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he says as he picks up his pen. “Why don’t you stop on your way back and pick up Chinese anyways. I’m getting hungry. Do you like that place on third? I swear they have the best teriyaki in the city. Why don’t you pick up something for yourself as well, we’ll have dinner together.”
“If you’d like, Mr. Crosby.”
Crosby laughs. A short, loud burst that sounds ridiculous.
“Yeah, I would like.” He leans back in his chair and looks Gneo up and down. “I’d also like if you’d call me, Sid.”
Chapter 25: Without A Motive
It’s hard to date when you have money.
Geno made the mistake of saying this once in front of the guys and Tanger laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair while Flower mimed playing the world's smallest violin, just for him.
But they can’t possibly understand what he’s talking about. They’re the lucky ones who wound their someone before the fame and the trophies and awards and all those zeros in their bank accounts. They have found real love. Blind love. For richer or poorer love while Geno casts a wary eye at whoever looks at him for too long in a dark bar or loud club the night before a game.
He can’t ever let his heart go too fast. He can’t trust. He finds it out the hard way after a diamond ring and a promise that never gets fulfilled.
Everyone wants something. An autograph, a picture, a story to tell their friends.
Everyone except for Sid. Sid, with his softly curling hair and bright eyes and insistence that Geno doesn’t pay for dinner on their first date.
“I asked you,” he says as he snags the check before Geno can even move his hand toward it. “That’s the rule.” He pulls out his card and slips it in the slot then looks up. “You can pay next time.”
Sid wants nothing from him besides his affection. He takes only Geno’s breath away each time he sees him.
The only thing is steals is kiss after kiss, nothing behind it but love and respect and understanding. There is no plan behind it. No story to sell to the tabloids or photo to post on Instagram.
“I love you,” Sid tells him for the first time and Geno ducks his head for a kiss.
“Love you,” he says back and Sid’s answering smile makes Geno want to ask a question someday. One that Sid will answer with a ‘yes.’
Chapter 26: Because Time's Run Out
Sid has one eye on the clock and the other on the ice. Geno and Phil are playing keep-away with the puck, wasting time and trying to find an open slot to the empty net on the other end of the ice.
Sid watches the scoreboard as the home crowd counts down.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6-
Horny jostles him. He’s pretty sure Jake is crying.
5, 4, 3-
Geno sends the puck down the ice from the blue line and there’s no one and nothing between it and the net.
The puck crosses the line as the horn sounds, barely audible over the roar of the crowd and Sid’s not even sure if the goal counts. It doesn’t matter either way because they’ve won again and as the guys tumble over the boards on their way to Muzz, Geno has dropped his gloves and is working his helmet off as he races over to Sid.
They collide, an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, and Geno pushes the helmet off Sid’s head and cups the back of his neck so he can haul him in for a kiss.
“Did it!” Geno yells into his face and Sid laughs, giddy and proud and so in love with every single guy wearing black and gold out on the ice right now. But there’s no one he loves more than Geno, grinning from ear to ear and practically vibrating with excitement beneath Sid’s hands. “We did it!” Geno shouts and Sid presses his face into the crook of Geno’s neck.
“We did it,” Sid says and Geno wraps his arms around him around them, a quiet moment amongst the chaos.