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all things grow

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Jamie was two thirds across the ice when he caught sight of him out of the corner of his eye. At first it didn’t really bother him, he liked seeing his boyfriend of course, except in the middle of playing pass with a couple of the guys he knew why his stomach had dropped to the floor.

Tyler was in his freaking uniform. His gear, a little tight, was firm and snug on his body and hung weird.

To say his feet moved by themselves might be an overstatement but he didn’t feel the motion until he was coming to a stop, three feet from the door that Tyler was about to step onto the damn ice from.

“What, what are you doing, Segs?” Jamie asked, voice pitched high and tight enough he almost sounded like his sister.

His hands tightened on the railing, Tyler looked up at Jamie and said with a flat tone. “It’s the Winter Classic, I’m playing in the Winter freaking Classic, Jamie.”

There were things he wanted to say, all of which would probably have him, asleep on the couch until the postseason, but he weighed his words carefully. Tyler stared him down, it wasn’t a good sign. He licked his lips. “You’re uh, hip?”

It hadn’t been their best excuse for why Tyler was out for the season, but as Jamie had already had the surgery he was aware of all the after stuff. It was good for him to keep the lie up for as long as they can. There had been a lot of advancement about “You Can Play” but the baby issue was still taboo. Jamie wasn’t dumb, Malkin didn’t adopt a baby with Crosby’s smile during the season his knee gave out. Mikkel Boedker didn’t have a second surgery on his spleen. There were cases.

“My hip is fine. It will be fine. What about your hip, Jamie?” Tyler snapped his head to the side and yes, he was really thankful they upped to the nicer deeper couch, even if Tyler was already bitching about it.

Still, though, Jamie leaned in a little. “I’m talking about... our hip.”

Tyler threw a hand up and wobbled a bit on his skates. Jamie couldn’t help as his hands jetted out to steady him. Had Tyler not looked a little scared on top of his anger, Jamie was half set to freak out but he pulled his hand back and Tyler put his hand back on the railing.

“If this is our hip,” Tyler said, a low hiss to his voice. “Why am I the only one who can’t play?”

From his side, he heard someone’s skates break. He turned to find Pavs with a helmet in his head. “Hey Segs, you got cleared?”

Tyler flashed Jamie a look and Jamie turned a painfully fake smile to Joe. “N’ah, he was just trying to play me. You know, get me excited to have him back.”

“How’d he get out here?” Pavs looked behind Tyler and Jamie’s stomach dipped again. He had hobbled out there on his skates. HIS SKATES. Jamie looked down at where he knew the baby was nuzzled between the hip plates and he had to swallow around puking.

“Trainer,” Tyler said, and even if he hadn’t been with the guy the better part of a decade it sounded fake.

Jamie didn’t bother to look back at Pavs, “Now I will take him back. Great joke.”

He had to wait a moment, due to the fact that Tyler was all but leaving fingerprints on the railing. They had agreed on going with the same hip that Jamie had had, so he took the other side and Tyler played up the fact that he was injured just as he had as the months had gone by. Four months. Four freaking long months.

Neither talked as they made their way out of the stadium and down into the impromptu locker rooms. There were a few players left in there, stragglers he tried to note but couldn’t seem to focus on anything in front of him. He walked towards the back, a huge maintenance closet that had been found by some of the Rookies earlier who had attempted to lock one another in there.

He made sure the door was almost entirely closed but not enough for any dumbasses to get any ideas. Tyler was pacing, still in his skates. Jamie frowned as he watched Tyler’s ankles bend. They’d been swelling for weeks.

“Get them off,” Jamie said softly, still looking at the ankles. “Please.”

Tyler puffed up. “I can fucking skate, Jamie.”

“Yes, you can.”

“I’m damn good at skating.”

Jamie nodded. “One of the best.”

“I should be playing in this damn game,” he pointed out in the general direction of the door, which actually faced the street but he was not correcting anything at the moment.

“You should,” Jamie said, but ever so gently raised his hand towards Tyler’s stomach, it still freaked him out. He never thought of being an actual dad. “This one needs training first.”

Tyler sat down on a large barrel that appeared to be a pile of bricks. First Jamie gently took off Tyler’s skates, which took more time than usual to pull off and then he gently moved to sit next to him. It felt like a pile of bricks. Jamie moved his hand again and Tyler didn’t bat him away.

“We will get back here, and they will watch.”

“Oh you mean after they rotate through the freaking Blackhawks nine times,” Tyler said and they both half laughed before Tyler frowned. “We don’t play forever, Jamie.”

Jamie sighed. He knew it. He knew his age, his abilities, his body. But he very much knew his boyfriend so he shrugged. “Maybe next time I’ll be in the stands and you’ll be the captain.”

“Fuck you,” Tyler snapped. “You and I are going to Jagr this one out. But in tandem.”

Jamie couldn’t help but smile, hand still on the belly. “Better in threes, Tyler.”

For the first time, Tyler smiled down at the bump. “You carry the next two then.”

Jamie’s face went pale. That. That was. That was somewhere else. Not now.

‘“See fucker,” Tyler said, laugh full and loud. “Not so fun on this side.”

“I can not play,” he offered and shockingly he meant it. Tyler stared at him wide-eyed. “I could get the flu, sudden onset.”

Jamie flinched as he got punched, hard, in the arm. “I didn’t mean you shouldn’t play you numbnuts. If you don’t play and we don’t win I am naming this kid freaking Nashville.”

“Ouch, not even the team name?”

“Here is our child, the Predator?”

A knock came on the door and Jamie frowned. “Yeah?”

“Uh, Coach wants to see Segs, something about putting on his uniform?”

Tyler made a face. “Dude, do I look knocked up?”

“Is there a right answer? OW.” He deserved that punch. “You don’t. Just... don’t sit.”

As if bracing himself, Tyler put both hands on his knees to get up. Jamie paused him. He leaned up to brush a kiss on Tyler’s lips and then on the mound beneath it. “Go get him, and don’t forget to limp.”

Tyler flicked him off but returned the kiss as he hobbled out, thankfully skateless.

No one could tell why Jamie held up the number 3 when he got his first goal.