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The Very Essence of Romance Is Uncertanity

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“Fuck.” Sidney pats the pocket of his suit pants, relieved when he feels what he’s looking for. His mad dash out of the locker room, half-dressed had drawn looks from his teammates and a knowing smirk from Geno and Jordan, not that he cares. He needs to find Alex before the Capitals leave.

Reaching the visitor’s locker room he slows down, taking a moment to finish buttoning up his shirt. His being here is going to raise questions and he doesn’t need to make it worse by only being half dressed. A few Capitals wander out of the room, and they manage cordial nods, for the fact they lost, and Sidney returns them as he leans back against the wall.

A few minutes later Alex comes out, flanked by Semin and Backstrom. He grins when he sees Sidney, waving his teammates off who both leave, though they both look back over their shoulders at them before putting their heads together.

Sidney doesn’t move until they’ve gone around the corner and he steps into Alex. “Anyone else in there?”

Alex shakes his head, hand gliding down Sidney’s side, hovering briefly at his hip before falling away. “No. We last. Is good to see you.”

“Yeah.” Sidney wishes he were brave enough to close the distance between them, but there is no telling if arena staff is lingering nearby and he isn’t ready for any of this to come to light. The last few weeks have been rough, and he’s been throwing himself into the game, only allowing his thoughts to wander to Alex in the mornings or at night, when he doesn’t have to worry about a million different things.

They’ve kept in touch, but texts and short, sporadic calls are no match for seeing and touching Alex.

Reaching into his pocket Sidney closes his hand around the item in question. He has been thinking since All-Star about this, trying to find some way to show Alex how much he cares for him and wants to continue their relationship. As he has always been terrible at picking gifts, this had been the first thing he had thought of, practical but telling.

He pulls it out and holds it up. It isn’t a Penguins key ring, as that would be a little obvious, but he did manage to find a jaunty waving penguin key chain and he hopes Alex will appreciate the humor in it. From the ring dangles two keys and Sidney will admit, it is gratifying to see Alex struck quiet. He can’t think of any other time it might have happened and he plans on cherishing this moment for the rest of his life. “Just in case you wanted to come by before I got home from practice, so you don’t have to wait.”

Alex’s hand comes up, curling around the keys and his hand and before Sidney can react, he leans in, mouth brushing across his in a fleeting kiss before pulling back. He grins, pulling the key chain and keys from Sidney and holding them up. “Is cute penguin. Not as much as you, but I like.”

Heat spreads across his cheeks and for a moment, Sidney has to think about why he puts up with Alex. It doesn’t take long though, when he sees the warmth in his vivid eyes and his gap-toothed grin that never fails to make him feel something, he isn’t ready to name. “I picked it out for you.” He glances down the hallway. “You better get going, before Semin comes after me for holding you up.”

With a last smile at the keys Alex tucks them into his pocket. “He not. Sasha know I be mad if he do anything to you.” He reaches out hand gliding down Sidney’s arm before he steps back. “Bye Sidney.”

Sidney is sure he’ll never get tired of the way Alex says his name, but he hates this part. “I’ll see you next game.”

Alex nods and turns to leave and Sidney smiles when he sees the way Alex’s hand slips into the pocket where he put the keys.

-----

Coming out of the bathroom Sidney scrubs his hair with a towel as he looks at the bed. Alex is still sprawled across his bed and doesn’t seem to have moved while he was in the shower. He quickly dresses, pulling on a T-Shirt and a pair of shorts before sitting on the bed next to him, fingers resting over the delicate skin on the inside of Alex’s wrist. It is the only point of contact between them, though it is enough to fill the aching hollow in the pit of Sidney’s stomach.

They haven’t seen each other except two games since All-Star, nearly two months ago. Their schedules haven’t allowed for anymore and Sidney had thought it would be easier, with the change in their relationship, with his feelings. But it hasn’t and some days it seems almost worse. Every time he thinks about Alex it makes him feel hollow in a way he doesn’t like. The chain and heavy pendant around his neck help and he’s lost track of the number of times he has pressed it against his chest, just to remind himself he had this.

He drags his fingers up the inside of Alex’s arm, looking for a flicker of something. When he had given Alex the key, so he could come over whenever he wanted, without having to worry about him being home, he had never thought it would have made him feel this way. Today he had come home from practice to find Alex in his bed, staring at the ceiling. All he had gotten was a raised hand in welcome, though Sidney can’t blame him.

The Capitals have been going through a rough patch, having lost four of their last six games. Sidney has watched all of them after the fact, to feel closer to Alex. All the losses have been close, and it doesn’t seem to matter what they try, nothing has been working for them. He hadn’t been expecting to see Alex, but he’s glad he is here, even if the circumstances aren’t the best. And this time he can forgive the fact Alex is wearing a Capitals shirt in his bed.

Trailing his fingers up to the swell of Alex’s bicep Sidney smiles when he sees a twitch from Alex. He isn’t ticklish exactly, but the skin on the inside of his arm is sensitive. Continuing the slow movement of his fingers he shifts, until his thigh is pressing against Alex’s hip. It further eases the knot in his chest, and he can’t believe how much he has become tangled up in the other man. There are days he has a hard time remembering it has been almost two years since he first sought Alex out, more than a little drunk.

Now though he has this, can touch Alex when he wants and it should be scary how much he has come to rely on him, even when they can’t see each other for weeks. His phone is filled with ridiculous texts, pictures and videos from the other man and it makes him feel better to watch them, makes him feel close in way he has come to miss.

Sidney continues to draw random designs over the skin of Alex’s arm, smiling when Alex continues to twitch, a faint smile pulling at his mouth. Alex finally moves, hand curling around Sidney’s wrist, dragging his hand down to rest against his chest. His other hand comes up, sliding under the collar of his shirt and Sidney doesn’t move until fingers draw the chain out, the 87 falling against his chest with a soft touch.

It makes Sidney smile, and he watches as Alex sweeps a thumb across it, pressing just enough he can feel it.

Spreading his fingers across the grey fabric Sidney leans forward. “I didn’t think it was going to be this hard.”

Alex makes a questioning sound and looks at Sid from under the sweep of his lashes. “What hard?”

Sidney drags his thumb in an arm, liking the way Alex’s hand feels curled around his wrist, grounding and familiar. With his free hand he waves between them. “This.”

He feels Alex start to move and he presses him back down. “I don’t mean it in a bad way.” He swallows, not sure how to continue. Feelings aren’t something he has ever been good at and he’ll admit it to anyone who asks, but this is different. He can’t put a word to what he feels for Alex, isn’t sure he knows what he is even feeling. All he knows is he wants this, loves the way Alex feels pressed against him, the quiet nights, so far and few between they get to spend together.

He shakes his head, nerves alight with the way Alex is looking at him. “When I’m not thinking about hockey, I think about you.” Scrubbing his free hand against his thigh he looks at Alex. “It made me happy when I saw you in my bed, that you came here when you were having a bad time.”

Alex moves to sit up and this time Sidney lets him. His fingers slide up the chain to curl under his chin and he looks at Alex, who smiles.

“You mean I as important to you as hockey?”

Sidney knows it would sound stupid if anyone else said it, but he can’t help but smile, leaning into kiss Alex. Anyone who knows him and is smart would take it as a compliment and Alex knows him so well.

He pulls back to look at Alex, taking in his bright eyes and crooked nose and his grin and Sidney nods. “Yeah.”

Alex’s thumb drags across his bottom lip and he presses a kiss to the corner of Sidney’s mouth. “Are both used to hard Sidney. Not be where we are if hard scare us away.”

Sidney can hear the truth in Alex’s words, can finally put a name to the feeling that has been crawling under his skin for months, the warmth, though he doesn’t think he’s ready to say it. Despite the last few months it still feels new and fragile and he has a sense Alex understands, isn’t going to rush him.

So he closes the distance between them and kisses Alex again, leaning against him, arm sliding around his waist.