“Hi,” Sid says, opening the car door.
“Hi to you too,” Claude says, too chipper for the early hour. He doesn’t bother to get out of the car, just waits while Sid stows his bag in the back seat and settles into the passenger seat. He waits until Sid’s buckled in to start easing the car forward to escape the pick-up lane, and Sid sinks gratefully into the warmth of the car.
“There’s coffee if you want,” Claude says, gesturing unnecessarily towards the familiar paper cup closest to Sid.
He picks it up and takes a sip, gratefully, then almost spits it back in surprise and ends up coughing instead. It’s sweeter than his usual and has a weird flavor that he can’t immediately place.
Claude’s grinning at him, the fucker. He looks surprisingly good, dressed in soft greys instead of Flyers colors, thankfully.
“Ugh,” Sid says once he’s stopped coughing, peering at the side of the cup. “What is this?”
“Eggnog,” Claude answers cheerfully, “seemed more festive, eh?”
“Huh.” He takes another sip, and now that he can place the flavor, it’s actually pretty good. “Well, thanks for the coffee, and thanks for picking me up.”
“Thanks for coming,” Claude says. He stops at a stoplight and turns to look at Sid, and it’s so good to see him in person again that it’s tempting to just say fuck it and kiss him right here, in the middle of traffic.
“I haven’t yet,” he says drily instead, and Claude laughs. “Your light’s green, by the way.”
A car honks behind them and Claude waves at it as he hits the gas.
Sid sips at his coffee and grins.
Claude crowds into his space as soon as they get to his apartment, hands wandering all over Sid.
“Hi,” he says, grinning like he’s won something. He’s warm and solid, crowding into Sid’s space, smelling like his usual mix of body wash and Old Spice deodorant, and it’s not anything particularly special but it smells good on him, warm and familiar.
“Hi yourself,” Sid says, grinning back despite himself, and leans into the kiss.
Claude kisses him deeply and thoroughly, tongue dipping into his mouth and pulling a noise out of him.
He gets his hands on Claude’s ass, groping and pulling him in, but as soon as he does Claude pulls back and starts detangling himself.
“C’mon,” he says, stepping back, and Sid misses the warmth of him immediately. “Do you need breakfast before we go?”
“Wait, are we going right now?”
Claude laughs at him. “Tree first, fucking later, okay?” He dips back in to kiss Sid again, though, and Sid kisses back, feeling caught out but slightly mollified. It’s not like the only thing they do is fuck, but it’s close enough and even though he’s the one that changed things up by coming here with only the barest of excuses, it’s not like he doesn’t have precedent.
“Okay,” he says once they break apart, shoving a little at Claude as he pushes past him to get to the kitchen. “Do you actually have food here?”
“Would I offer if I didn’t?”
Sid rolls his eyes instead of answering and opens the fridge. Claude’s got the kind of protein shake he likes, even if he says they’re gross, and Sid feels warm as he bumps the fridge closed and unscrews the cap, drinking it down and enjoying Claude’s disgusted face.
The tree farm that Claude picks isn’t very busy during the day, but thirty minutes of wandering around is enough to make Sid feel twitchy.
“I don’t know why I have to be here, it’s just going to make it more likely that we’ll get noticed,” Sid grumbles, pulling his toque further down on his forehead. New Jersey isn’t that cold, comparatively, but it’s cold enough even if there isn’t any snow on the ground.
“You volunteered,” Claude laughs and tugs down his own toque like it’ll do anything to disguise him.
Even dressed casually he’s still distinctive, ginger and missing his tooth, and Sid’s pretty sure that anyone who knows hockey is going to recognize them. Maybe one of them alone could slip through unnoticed, but the two of them together are pretty recognizable.
“I guess I did,” he says finally, laughing too, a little rueful but glad.
It was a stupid impulse to offer to fly over a day early before the game against the Flyers to help Claude pick a tree, saying yes too quickly when Claude had joked that Sid should come over to help him if he had that many opinions. He should be regretting it for how early he had to fly this morning after flying back from a game yesterday, but it’s worth it to see Claude like this.
“Hmm,” Claude says, inspecting a tree. “That one could work if we don’t find any better.”
It’s a nice size and fairly well shaped, but not particularly inspiring otherwise.
“Okay,” Sid says, skeptically. He gives in and starts looking around, critically weighing their options. “How about this one?”
“This one isn’t bad,” Claude says, another half hour later, “what do you think?”
They’ve been browsing trees long enough that Sid’s lost any enthusiasm for it, chilly and having stopped caring about tree shapes and sizes.
“Yeah,” Sid says, surveying the tree in question, “this looks good.” It’s not that different from any of the half dozen they’ve seen last, but it’s a nice size and width and he’s ready to call it quits so he can take Claude home and get his mouth on him.
Sid stays put while Claude wanders off to find an attendant, and they get the tree cut and hauled back. Claude pays for the tree while it’s being bagged, and if the workers know who they are they haven’t said anything, but he’s not willing to risk anything even though he’s tempted to lean into Claude while they’re waiting.
“Hey Croz,” Claude says quietly after they get the tree strapped to the top of his car, “I’m glad you’re here”. He’s pink cheeked and grinning and Sid hates how much he likes it.
“Me too,” he says, and he can’t kiss Claude in public but he settles for bumping their shoulders together, gently, before going back to his side of the car.
Setting up a tree is always more work than he remembers, but together they managed to get it screwed into the base and tipped up. It looks nice when they’re done, smelling green and piney in Claude’s living room.
“Looks nice,” he offers, straightening up and stretching a little as he watches Claude fuss with pouring water into the base. “You gonna decorate it?”
“Later,” Claude says, straightening up and nudging the tree a little. “I was going to get some of the guys to help me, and I still need to get stuff.”
“Sounds good.” He drifts into the kitchen to wash his hands, and isn’t surprised to find Claude behind him while he’s washing his hands, crowding up against him and setting the water pitcher on the counter, and brushing a whiskery kiss over the back of his neck.
He shivers and feels the warmth of Claude’s breath as he chuckles behind him.
He turns around and lets Claude cage him into the counter, warm and solid and here after so many weeks of phone calls and Facetime. They’ve stolen visits when they could, but it’s hard to justify meeting up more regularly when they’re just hooking up, mostly.
He’s pretty sure they’re throwing out all the rules right now anyway, and feels justified by the way that Claude leans in to nuzzle at his neck.
“Bedroom?” he says, instead of everything else that’s threatening to spill out of him.
“Thought you’d never ask,” Claude says, grinning and tugging him along.
He gets Claude laid out under him on the bed, grinning smugly and a little flushed, pushing the line of his dick up against Sid’s hip.
“Hold still,” he says, skimming his hands under Claude’s shirt and pressing in a little into the soft warm skin on his sides. He’s solid muscle overlaid with a little bit of softness, and it’s gratifying to press his fingers in and think about the strength of him, the kind that comes from building a body for hockey.
He leans down then and Claude meets him halfway, catching his lips in a soft clinging kiss that’s just a little bit wet. Claude nips his lip as they break away, a quick sting of his teeth that makes Sid want to press into it. He pulls away instead and moves back in to bite his own mark into the side of Claude’s neck, relishing the way Claude shudders and hisses underneath him.
“C’mon, Croz,” he says, lifting his hands up to clutch at Sid’s shoulders. Sid huffs out a laugh against his skin and moves down, nipping a line of kisses down.
He pushes Claude’s shirt up enough to bare his stomach, presses a soft kiss to his belly and laughs when Claude twitches a little, ticklish. He brushes his fingers along Claude’s side to see how he twitches against it and laughs despite himself, cursing.
“Asshole,” Claude says fondly.
Sid grins and digs his fingers under the band of Claude’s sweatpants. He’s already hard, dick tenting up under the fabric, but he ignores it in favor of pulling his sweats down. Claude lifts up enough to help him get them down and Sid leans back to pull them all the way off.
Claude makes a gorgeous picture like this, flushed and rumpled and the line of his dick hard in his briefs. He’s dripping enough that there’s a dark spot at the head, and Sid’s mouth waters at the sight of it.
He doesn’t yet, though, leaning down instead to kiss gently at the line of his hips, then skipping down to bite at the tender inside of his thigh.
“Fuck,” Claude breathes out, jerking at the sensation.
Sid huffs out a laugh and licks over the spot, then gives into temptation and gets his mouth over the head of Claude’s dick. He mouths at the fabric, getting it wet, and Claude arches under him.
“C’mon Croz,” Claude says, breathless, and he wants it enough to give in.
He pulls Claude’s briefs down enough to get the head of his dick in his mouth, sticky-wet with precome. He likes the flavor and the weight of it on his tongue, musky and thick and heavy in his mouth.
Claude groans above him at the sensation, and he slides his mouth down on it, wrapping his hand around the base. He braces his other arm across Claude’s hips to anchor him and bobs his head down, relishing the gasps and bitten off noises Claude makes above him.
He doesn’t bother to draw it out too far, too worked up, and it’s heady to feel how worked up Claude gets under him as he gets close, hands reaching up to grasp at the back of his head.
“Sid, fuck,” Claude groans in warning, hands gripping tight, and Sid ignores him and takes him in deep. Claude bucks up once and then he’s coming in a rush down the back of Sid’s throat, swearing in choked-off French.
Sid swallows it all, because he always does, and pulls off when he’s done, resting his head on Claude’s thigh and shoving a hand down his own pants to wrap around his dick.
“Just, come up here,” Claude says, and he’s pulling Sid up to rest on top of him and licking hungrily into his mouth, reaching down to join Sid’s hand on his dick. It only takes a few strokes from both of them before he’s coming, groaning into Claude’s mouth and curling into it as he spills over both their hands.
He barely manages to pull his hand out, wiping it on the sheets, before collapsing on top of Claude, who makes a face but does the same.
“I’m going to have to wash those now,” he grumbles, but it’s undercut by his arm wrapped around Sid, holding him close.
Sid makes a noise in agreement and presses his face into Claude’s shoulder. It’s not the most comfortable he’s ever been, clothes half-off and probably heavy on top of Claude, but he’s floating on his orgasm and it’s something he’ll deal with later.
It’s not even lunch time yet, anyway, and he’s got time to nap before he has to worry about anything else.
“Hey,” Claude says, “thanks for being here.”
“Glad I could,” he mumbles, and feels the brief brush of a kiss at his temple as he drifts off.