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when the bones are good

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They're in the Uber on the way to the bar, and Erik is jittering in place, his hands shaking unless he clenches them in fists and fights for it. Gabe keeps his hand on Erik’s thigh, and every so often he'll squeeze a little, a reminder to keep trying, keep being good for him.

The car moves on from a red light and Gabe leans in close, murmuring in Erik's ear. "How many tonight?"

He always likes watching Erik at this part, doing the math of what he wants versus what he can take. They played a game tonight and tomorrow is a travel day with no practice or skate. On the other hand, there's a back to back coming up and he needs to plan ahead. Gabe will do whatever Erik comes up with, and Erik has to stick with it unless he taps out.

"Just one," Erik says finally, looking at Gabe with a little hint of nerves. Gabe has told him a million times that he's never going to be upset with Erik's boundaries, but, well, Erik gets nervous about shit when they do scenes like this. It’s part of Gabe’s job to reassure him.

So Gabe smiles, warm and pleased, and squeezes his thigh again. "I'll make it worth it."

That gets Erik relaxing in his seat. He knows Gabe will take care of him; he always, always does.

Erik leans back and closes his eyes for a minute, and Gabe watches him carefully. He knows it's been a fight for Erik not to start slipping into subspace since they left the hotel, and that choosing how many makes him slide faster, because it means things are in motion, it’s really happening, he’s going to get the thing he wants that he’s not supposed to want and that leaves him squirming and desperate in happy shame every single time.

"Hey," Gabe says softly. "Look at me."

It takes a beat for Erik to force his eyes open, but he does it, looking at Gabe for instructions. Gabe smiles at him, he can’t help it, looking at Erik always makes him overflow with stupid affection, but especially when Erik is halfway to fantasyland like this and would do anything Gabe says. He could get Erik on his knees in the back of this car, right now, in front of the driver and god and everyone. It’s tempting. He practically has a book of fantasies about fucking Erik in public, everywhere from a car like this to the middle of the concourse at the Can, but he can control himself. That’s his job.

"I know you want to go under," he says in a low voice, leaning in close to Erik’s ear, "but I need you to hang on til we get there, okay? Work hard for me."

Erik nods and takes a shaky breath, and Gabe can see his wheels turning, working to keep himself up at the surface. Gabe loves watching him like this, single-minded and determined like he is on the ice but focused on what Gabe wants, what Gabe tells him to do. Makes him want to fucking preen and show off to everyone around all over again. Erik is his.

The car pulls up in front of the bar and Erik’s breath hiccups a little, but he undoes his seatbelt and gets out of the car with studied casualness. Not getting ahead of himself.

Gabe tosses a thank-you and a $20 tip to the driver and follows Erik out of the car, letting his hand brush over Erik’s wrist as he moves. Erik falls in step behind him, sticking close while the bouncer looks them over and waves them through. Gabe catches him by the arm and leads him to the bar, not willing to risk getting separated in the crowd while Erik’s already this close to spacey, getting more vulnerable by the minute. Mine, the obnoxious dom in Gabe’s heart thinks smugly. Big strong fuck-off NHL defenseman and he puts himself in Gabe’s hands, lets Gabe decide what he wants to do with him.

“Drink?” Gabe asks softly, and Erik nods, gaze flicking around to the other men standing nearby. Gabe leans over the bar and orders them each a vodka tonic. One drink each, not enough to even get tipsy, just enough to look good while they wait for someone to take interest.

Erik stands close to Gabe’s side, fiddling with his watch, his gaze averted. Gabe knows those restless movements, the way he’s touching his own wrist, the way his pulse would be ticking under his skin if Gabe touched him to check it. Poor thing wants to sink under so bad. He’ll wait as long as Gabe makes him, but he’ll sulk about it.

Gabe looks at him for a long moment in the mirror behind the bar, then turns to face him. He straightens the collar of Erik's shirt, brushes some hair off his forehead, then ever so lightly touches two fingers to Erik's throat. Just a touch, not one anyone around them will notice, but the cue Erik’s been waiting for. He’s on voice restriction now; Gabe will do the talking. Erik can let go.

Erik licks his lips and gives Gabe a grateful look, then turns his attention to his drink, rubbing his free hand on his thigh. Gabe stays close enough that Erik can lean into him if he wants to, or touch his knee under the bar, little touches to keep himself grounded. Gabe has work to do now, scanning the crowd, looking for someone who's looking back.

It's a game. Gabe is very good at it. Erik isn't an active player; he's what's played with, and he’s very good at that, too.

A man walks over and leans on the bar next to Gabe, looking both of them up and down. Gabe angles his body so the view of Erik is unrestricted, raising his eyebrows with a smirk. No touching without permission, but everyone can look as much as they want. Erik’s worth looking at, as far as he’s concerned.

Under the bar, he slides his hand over and taps Erik on the thigh, just once, lightly. Erik taps back, twice. He's okay.

But after a moment the other man moves away, turning his attention somewhere else. Erik’s shoulders drop a bit, and Gabe takes a sip of his drink. He’s not disappointed, exactly, and he doesn’t think Erik is either; there's still plenty of night ahead and plenty of people in the bar. Waiting longer means more time for the tension to escalate, twisting sweet and hot in the pit of the stomach.

He pets Erik's thigh, light and steady, constant pressure instead of tapping so he knows it's not a request to check in. He can see Erik’s face out of the corner of his eye, can see that he’s drifting, secure in Gabe's presence, knowing that he doesn't have to do anything but be good. Right now being good means being still, sipping his drink, and waiting, while Gabe is the spider in the web, looking out for whatever interested parties might come along.

Two men, their bodies angled toward each other in the same way Gabe and Erik’s are, pause by them. One leans in close to Gabe, flashing a quick smile. He asks the obvious question—the one Gabe is waiting for, even—but the way he says it is ugly, with a laugh under the words that Gabe doesn’t like. Gabe drops his smile and shakes his head, cutting a sharp look at both the questioner and his partner. Fuck off, he tries to say with that look, and to their credit they do. Hopefully they’ll find someone in the same kind of mood. Everybody should get what they want, but Gabe’s job is to keep Erik safe. That comes first, regardless of anything.

The bartender eyes their empty glasses and Gabe asks if they can get a refill of just tonic. If they end up with no luck they can get drunk back at the hotel, but for now, he’s going with the power of positive thinking and that means staying sober.

The next man who comes up to smile at Gabe, eyes moving back and forth between him and Erik, definitely holds Gabe’s attention. Handsome, tall, confident. He thinks this could be genuinely interesting, but when he touches Erik’s thigh to check in, he gets back a rapid series of little taps, the equivalent of no no no no no.

Gabe squeezes gently, reassuring, and sends the man on his way with only a little selfish regret. No explanation needed; if Erik doesn’t feel good about someone then they’re a no-go, that’s about as simple as it gets. He stops watching the crowd for a minute and turns his attention Erik fully—Erik’s mouth is twisted in frustration, his eyes bright.

“Hey.” Gabe leans in and nuzzles him behind the ear. “It’s okay. We’ve got all night.” Erik flicks a look at him, sardonic and completely audible without words. “You know you never get in trouble for saying no, babe. That’s not how this works.”

He doesn’t look any happier, but at least some of the tension goes out of his shoulders. Gabe takes another sip of his drink and rubs his ankle against Erik’s calf under the bar.

“Do you want to tap out?” he asks after a minute, turning his head again so he can rest his chin on Erik’s shoulder. “We can go back to the hotel and fuck loud enough to annoy everybody else.”

Pink rises in Erik’s face and he snorts softly, but he shakes his head. Not giving up yet, then. That’s fine. Gabe brushes his lips against Erik’s ear and turns back to watching the crowd.

They're both another glass in before the right one comes along. He sits down on the stool next to Gabe's, introduces himself as Jason, offers to buy them another round. Erik's hand bumps against Gabe’s leg in a solid two taps of yes before he even finishes talking.

Gabe grins and squeezes his knee, then turns his attention fully on Jason. “Thanks. We’d love some drinks, definitely.”

Things go smoothly from there. They all know what they want.

"We have a room," Gabe says when they're done drinking, signaling the bartender that they’re ready to close out. Beyond ready, honestly. He feels like he might crawl out of his skin and Erik’s so floaty Gabe’s going to have to half-carry him back to the sidewalk. "I'll get us a car."

The room is at a different hotel than the team booked, of course. Bringing people back to the team block has to be handled with care, and when they're playing, it's a lot safer to do it this way. Gabe set the whole thing up as soon as their travel schedule was nailed down, and came over here earlier to check in and leave supplies in the room. He's good at this, the logistics. Sometimes Erik thinks it should be his job–sub, right? do all the work for his dom?–but Gabe's likes doing it. He likes having control of this, likes knowing that everything Erik needs to be taken care of is ready in meticulous detail. There are different kinds of domming, and this is his.

They walk through the hotel lobby and make their way to the room quietly, Gabe's hand at the small of Erik's back, Jason a step behind them. Erik's hands are shaking again, and Gabe pets him, a soothing steady touch. He’ll check in again when they get to the room, make sure he’s looking Erik in the eye. The shakiness is probably adrenaline and anticipation. He’s seen it many times before.

Erik makes a sound when Gabe takes his hand off him to unlock the door, a rough little moan that he cuts off halfway. Gabe pauses to look back, in time to see Jason's hand replaces his, sliding up under Erik’s jacket. Gabe can just imagine that touch, heavy and claiming, his palm hot on Erik’s back and side through his shirt. He breathes through his own immediate reaction—half a burst of possessive annoyance and half wanting both of them to get their clothes off right here in the hall.

Control, though. Always control. The discipline of testing himself, not just seeing where Erik’s boundaries can stretch but also his own, pushing and pushing and seeing where, exactly, he’s going to snap…

Jason is looking at him over Erik’s shoulder, a distinct challenge in his eyes, and that brings another surge of impulse in Gabe’s chest, this one to punch him right in the fucking face. He controls it, files it away, and looks at Erik instead, Erik who is looking at him steadily, intently, searching for what Gabe wants from him.

Gabe clears his throat and unlocks the door, then holds it open for them. “Come in.”

Inside, things move faster. Gabe takes his coat off, hangs it over a chair, drags another chair over to the far side of the bed. Erik stands and waits, attention on Gabe. Gabe smiles at him, silently telling him how well he’s doing. He can’t wait to get his hands on Erik, when it’s time for that, show him how proud he is.

Erik jumps a little when Jason puts his hands are on Erik's shoulders, then settles as Jason starts to guide his coat off. Erik lets himself be moved and undressed like a doll, coat and then shirt off and tossed aside.

Jason takes Erik's belt off next, arms encircling him from behind while he undoes the buckle and slips the leather free. Gabe watches from the far side of the bed, pressing the heel of his hand against his cock through his trousers, willing himself to stay in control, to let this unwind slowly.

Jason pulls Erik’s hands behind his back and starts to wind the belt around his wrists, which makes Erik’s head fall back a little, eyes fluttering closed. He’s gorgeous like that, surrendering, but Jason didn’t ask, not back at the bar and not now. Taking without asking is not allowed.

“No,” Gabe says, his voice startling in the stillness that had only been broken by their rough breathing. “Don’t do that.”

“Oh.” Jason lets go and Erik’s hands fall back to his sides, his eyes still closed. “No marks?”

“No marks, no restraints.” Gabe smiles, a little, but he puts steel behind it. You didn’t ask, idiot. “I can hold his wrists for you if you want that.”

“Sure.” Jason casually tosses the belt away. Gabe tracks the movement and files its landing place away in the back of his head; they’re going to need that later, and god knows Erik isn’t paying any attention right now. “Let’s get this moving.”

“Of course.” Gabe watches Jason undo Erik’s fly, letting his trousers fall open and then pushing them off over the curve of his ass. Erik steps out of them clumsily, eyes opening to half-mast to look over at Gabe again. He’s so good like this, all his sarcasm and brittle tension gone, all his ambition and attitude, nothing mattering but the reassurance that he’s being good, that he’s making Gabe proud, that Gabe is here and close and taking care of him.

He’s flushed, sweaty, and rumpled, and Gabe desperately wants to pin him down and take him apart. Not yet, not yet.

Finally, he’s stripped down to skin and Jason gives him a little push toward the bed. “Face down,” he says, and Erik goes, lowering himself flat on the mattress and pressing his face against the covers, more obedient than he ever is in daily life. Gabe sits down in the chair he’d placed by the bed and leans down to rest his forearms on the mattress. He takes Erik’s wrists in his hands, guiding them across the mattress so his upper body is stretched out. They have a minute while Jason undresses, one he can use to touch and soothe and remind Erik who he belongs to, just in case he might ever forget.

“Look at me,” he says, a soft prompt with command behind it, and Erik lifts his chin enough to see him. “You’re being so good, babe. You look so good.”

Erik’s mouth twists in an approximation of a smile, his eyes half-closing again. His fingers are clumsy, double-tapping against Gabe’s wrists, giving the green light. Gabe laughs a little and kisses him, letting his teeth catch and scrape on Erik’s lower lip, then pulls back as he sees Jason moving to the bedside, bottle of lube in his hand.

Gabe squeezes Erik’s wrists and whispers in his ear, just between them. “I want you to watch me while he fucks you. I want to see you take it.”

Erik nods, swallowing hard as Jason’s hands settle on his thighs and push them apart. Gabe can see the instant fingers push inside him, slick and sudden, as his body jerks and he gasps, ducking his head and trying to hide his face.

“No.” Gabe lets his voice be sharp, a whip crack in the quiet. “Look at me.”

Erik forces his eyes up again, meeting Gabe’s gaze while Jason opens him up roughly, leaving him taking shallow breaths and shaking with nerves. Gabe’s eyes flick from Erik’s face to watching Jason over his shoulder. Jason’s fingers withdraw and Erik makes a choked, helpless sound when he hears the condom wrapper tearing. Gabe’s fingers tighten again, just a bit, pressing against the soft skin inside Erik’s wrists.

“Good boy,” he murmurs, brushing a kiss across Erik’s forehead and tasting sweat. “You can take it. I know you can.”

Jason is fast and rough at this, too, pushing inside deep and holding just for a beat before he pulls back again and starts to thrust. Erik’s breath comes in ragged gasps, his skin flushing darker red and tears forming at the corners of his eyes. He keeps his gaze on Gabe’s face, just as he was told, and Gabe basks in it, in the obedience and trust that’s all his. Letting someone else take what’s his so he can take it back again hits him deep in the gut and the dark, feral parts of his brain, the ones that can’t be shown in polite company. Thank god he found Erik, who wants the pieces that fit with that, and they don’t have to be polite all the time.

Gabe knows his own face is flushed, sweat gathering at his hairline, and he keeps licking his lips while he watches. His dick is hard and throbbing, pressed uncomfortably tight against the zipper of his trousers, and he shifts his weight in the chair carefully, trying to ease the ache without pinching himself somewhere sensitive.

“So good,” Gabe murmurs, pulling his attention back where it needs to be and rubbing Erik’s wrists. Erik moans a little, right at the edge of breaking the rules, but he keeps himself in check, which ears another kiss to his forehead. Gabe’s still holding his wrists, a gentle restraint, keeping him from scrambling at the bed like he wants to but keeping him from moving too much and hurting himself, too. Never let you hurt yourself, only hurt you the way you like it, take such good care of you, I promise. We’re in this together.

Jason grabs Erik’s hips and pushes them upward, changing the angle, and Erik chokes a little on breath and spit. “Easy,” Gabe says, raising his voice just enough that it’s clear he’s talking to both of them. “That’s good, just take it easy.”

“You do this a lot?” Jason asks, and Gabe shrugs, letting himself give a vague, smug smile. None of your business, friend, you’re a prop in this, honestly. He’ll never brag, never give too much away. His job in this is to protect them both.

Erik takes a breath and pushes back into Jason’s thrusts, trying to get him deeper. Gabe can tell from his face that it isn’t quite right, doesn’t quite feel good, and he knows why—this isn’t about him, Jason could care less if he’s getting off on the actual fucking, he could care less if he’s getting off on the actual fucking—but something hot and animal is in charge of his body right now and it just wants to go after what it wants. Gabe lets him move and squirm, watches him carefully, doesn’t shut him down until he almost has found a better way to hold himself, then—

“No,” in an absolutely mild voice, pulling him back down by his wrists. It’s mean, but in the way he’s supposed to be, a dom who knows exactly what his boy is up to and isn’t letting him get away with it.

Jason’s hands tighten on Erik’s hips and haul him back before he finds his balance again, and he gasps a little in surprise and pain before he figures it out. Gabe’s jaw clenches and he barely checks himself from snapping at Jason, telling him to watch what he’s doing. That was in-bounds; honestly that’s the kind of roughness that Erik likes, the kind that makes him fucking preen. Erik loves having an audience—as long as it’s select and controlled and Gabe chose it and Gabe is in charge—so he can all but say See what good care he takes of me? See what I mean to him? He can pick some stranger and let them fuck me because he won’t let anything go too far, he’ll protect me, I’m his. And I can take it, I can take every bit of it, because if I wasn’t exactly that good he wouldn’t want me, would he?

He has to show all of that with his body because he could never say it, not in a million years. Erik isn’t much of a words guy. But he’s extremely good with his body. Gabe really, really badly wants to fuck his brains out. Jason needs to hurry the hell up.

Jason leans closer over him, breathing hard in his ear. He’s really going for it now, shudders running through him as he gets close, and Erik closes his eyes, letting the rough uh-uh-uh sounds rock through him. Gabe allows it, his thumbs sweeping in slow soothing arcs over the underside of Erik’s wrists, and his own breath catching in his throat in hot anticipation.

Erik turns his head to the side and gulps for air as Jason’s hips stutter and he drives deep. Gabe lets go of one of his wrists and grabs his chin, turning him back to facing him. He shoves two fingers into Erik’s mouth, thrusting them slowly and meeting Erik’s eyes as he accepts the silent reprimand for moving.

“What do you think?” Gabe says after a moment, talking to Jason though his eyes don’t leave Erik’s.

Jason pulls out slowly with a little laugh, dragging one hand through his sweaty hair while the other holds the condom in place. “That was good. I don’t know what you get out of making him be quiet through it, but it was good. Thanks.”

Gabe lets go of Erik’s other wrist and buries his hand in Erik’s hair, tugging at it a little bit while Erik sucks at his fingers. “You would be amazed by how much letting him talk can kill the mood.”

Another time Erik might bite him for that, but right now he doesn’t even react. Gabe can tell from how his hips are moving that he’s hard, cock pressed between his body and the mattress, and there’s lube smeared down his thighs from where he’s slicked up and ready, stretched and he can take more, he can take Gabe any minute now if Jason would just leave.

He gathers up his clothes and steps into the bathroom; after a moment, Gabe hears the sink running. He tugs at Erik’s hair again, drawing his head up so Erik’s looking at him. There’s spit running from the corner of Erik’s mouth, under Gabe’s fingers, and down his chin, where it drips off and falls to the bed. It sends a rush of smug heat through Gabe’s body, Erik giving up control that much, helpless and messy and waiting for him.

Jason steps out of the bathroom, fully dressed again and only a little rumpled. He watches them for a moment, lingering on Gabe’s fingers thrusting lazily in Erik’s mouth, then clears his throat. Gabe wants to ignore him, suggest that he not let the door hit him on the way out, generally make it clear that they’re done with him here, but there’s no reason to be an asshole, really. Tempting as it is.

“Have a good night,” he says instead, smiling, shoving his fingers deep enough that Erik gags around them. “It was really nice to meet you. Thanks for helping us out.”

That makes the point clear enough; Jason gives him a startled look and a half-smile and goes.

As soon as the door closes, Gabe lets go of Erik and steps back from the bed, getting his clothes off as fast as possible. Erik turns to look up at the ceiling, stretching out his arms and arching his back, squirming a little against the mattress. His dick is curved dark and heavy against his stomach, wet at the head, and Gabe almost breaks an ankle trying to kick his trousers off and get on the bed to get his mouth on it.

Erik’s hands scramble at Gabe’s shoulders, and Gabe pulls off to snap “Down” and watch until he lowers them to the bed again and grips the sheets.

Gabe straddles his waist, looking him over, noting the marks here and there from Jason’s mouth and fingers. He’ll match those with his own, claiming Erik back again, going over every inch of him and making sure he knows who he belongs to.

“What am I going to do with you?” he asks, running his hands up and down Erik’s chest and watching his face redden in response. He’s so easy at this point in the night, so lost in his head, just a mess of raw nerve endings and want. “You like it when I give you away, don’t you? Love having a stranger fuck you blind. Love knowing I made you do it, made you take it. You’ll do whatever I say, won’t you?”

Erik shudders and nods, eyes drifting closed, and Gabe leans down to kiss him roughly, biting into his mouth. “You’re mine. Don’t forget it.”

He reaches down and wraps his hand around Erik’s dick, squeezing roughly at the base and then stroking a few times. “Better not go soft on me. I’m not done with you yet.”

Still squeezing and stroking, he moves his mouth to Erik’s next, starting the work of claiming him back by dragging his teeth over delicate skin, leaving it red and tender. Erik moves under him, helpless and eager, and Gabe shifts his weight to keep him held down, pinning him at the hips while he explores the hollow of his throat, the curve of his collarbones, the flat of his shoulder.

He can feel Erik’s heart thudding in his chest, and he moves down to press his mouth over that spot, kissing it through skin and muscle and bone, scraping his teeth over it like he wants to bite down and chew and feel the rhythm of Erik’s very life explode copper-hot in his mouth. He turns his head and bites Erik’s nipple instead, catching the skin around it, too, making Erik arch up off the bed and gasp, his dick jerking in Gabe’s hand.

“Don’t come,” Gabe mumbles against him, squeezing again. He knows there’s a limit to how long he can make Erik hold back, the body would eventually override the brain, but Erik’s working so hard, being so good, he wants to take it all the way to that line. “I know you can wait for me.”

Erik’s mouth is open, head tipped back, throat working as he gasps for air. Gabe kisses him there, on the flushed curve of his throat, then slides down his body and reaches for a condom from the bedside table. Erik is already open and ready, Gabe can push inside as soon as he has it on. Erik shudders under him, hips jerking, and Gabe buries himself as deep as he can, rocking into the tight heat and gasping Erik’s name.

He wants to make Erik come like this, untouched, just from the hot slide of Gabe’s cock in his body, but Erik has been so good for so long now, and it’s not fair to make him keep working for it, not when he can be reward him instead. He spits in one palm and takes Erik in his hand again, stroking faster now, teasing at his balls and then sliding up to the head and rubbing a little. Erik shakes again, a broken sound escaping his mouth before his body tightens around Gabe and he comes in his hand.

Gabe lets go and braces both hands on the bed, using the leverage to fuck into him harder, silently reveling in how boneless Erik is under him now, pliant and surrendered. His body is all but glowing with sweat and flushed with blood at the surface under the skin, his eyes closed, face turned to the side, body moving helplessly with each of Gabe’s thrusts.

It’s been a long night for Gabe, too, and he doesn’t last much longer, burying himself deep in Erik and letting go with a helpless groan. He doesn’t let him collapse on Erik’s chest, but rolls them both on their sides before he lets himself relax.

Erik is making rough little sounds, trying to hide his face against first the blanket and then Gabe’s chest and shoulder. “Okay,” Gabe says, trying to catch his breath. “It’s okay, you can talk now, talk to me, you’re okay. You did so good, Erik, you were amazing, I love you so much, baby.”

Erik still doesn’t speak, but he presses his face against Gabe’s chest with more assurance, his hands scrambling clumsily at Gabe’s sides. Gabe manages to reach between them and get hold of the base of the condom so he can pull out without a mess, pressing kisses to Erik’s jaw while he ties it off. “You’re good,” he murmurs between kisses. “So good. So proud of you. You’re perfect, just perfect.”

He pulls Erik into his arms and they lie there for a while, sweat slowly cooling on their skin and breathing slowing to normal. Erik shivers and turns his head away, finally, opening his mouth like he wants to speak but no sound coming out. “Water?” Gabe asks, and he nods, easing away just enough to flop back on the mattress.

Gabe sits up to grab the water bottles from the table, opening Erik’s for him first, then pulls the coverlet from the foot of the bed up over them. “Take your time. I’ve got you.”

That earns a tiny, crooked smile. Erik drinks slowly, downing half the bottle before he stops and takes another deep breath. “W-wow.”

Gabe laughs, reaching for him. “Oh, good. That’s what I was hoping for.”

“Shit. You always…” He laughs, too, breathless and shaky. “You’re so good at making that happen.”

“Because you like it so much.” Gabe kisses him, carefully this time. “The way you get off on it makes me crazy.”

“’s the same for me, watching you.” Erik sighs, resting his head on Gabe’s shoulder. “You were kinda a dick to him, actually. Pretty much threw him out.”

Gabe shrugs, unrepentant. “We were done with him.”

“Dick.” Erik laughs and then groans a little, lifting his head to squint at the clock. “What time do we have to be back?”

“I got us a pass from curfew. But we still should try to get back in… I guess an hour or so?”

Erik nods and crumples against him again. “I can probably manage that. I think. Shit. You guys fucking… reamed me out.”

“That was the idea, wasn’t it?” Gabe runs his fingers carefully through Erik’s hair, letting himself feel as possessive as he wants for now. Erik will probably allow it just about until they get back to the team hotel, and then will start being snotty. “Or have I been confused about this whole thing we’re doing in general?”

That gets a snort. He’s definitely on his way back to normal. “You know this was exactly what I wanted.”

“And I love that,” Gabe says, not missing a beat that might let Erik start spiraling into shame, “and it’s hot that you want that, and I like making sure you get it.”

He can’t see Erik’s face, but the back of his neck goes bright red again. “I’m predictable, huh?”

“Not about everything. About this, kinda.” He kisses Erik’s hair and relaxes back against the pillows. “You feel good?”

“Mm.” Erik nods, face still pressed against Gabe’s chest. “Gonna have to double down next time you want to surprise me, you know. I expect some extremely weird shit.”

“What qualifies as weird, exactly?”

Erik shrugs. “I don’t know. That’s why you’re in charge.”

“Are we talking, like, team gangbang, or…”

“Maybe not the whole team.” Erik tilts his head a little. “Maybe just the defense.”

Gabe frowns at him. “Wait, does that mean I’m not even invited?”

“Tapping out on that one.” Gabe pinches him and Erik laughs, slipping down to rest his head on Gabe’s stomach. “Wake me up in half an hour?”

“Got it.” Gabe holds on tight, thumb rubbing back and forth over Erik’s neck, watching over him while he falls asleep.