Travis doesn’t think twice about going to Winnipeg. If he could’ve gotten away with flying straight there from Toronto after leaving the bubble, he would have, but they still have end-of-season bullshit to deal with, so he flies back to Philly with the team even though the urge to get to Patty is itching just beneath his skin. They’d already spent months apart, from Patty going back home when it was clear he wasn’t going to play, through the pause, and then the weeks of not speaking when Patty had flat-out told him he didn’t want Travis to come to the Peg. Travis hadn’t understood – still didn’t – but he’d managed to wait Patty out, even if it had been the longest five weeks of his life.
Now, as he throws some clothes in a bag, his two-week quarantine in Port Stanley is up and Travis is ready to go . They’re still not advising inter-province travel, but Travis figures that he can safely drive from his house to Patty’s without interacting with a shitton of people. He just…he needs to be with Patty, even if Patty doesn’t need him . He’s never been in love before, but he’d also never met someone like Patty before, and the whole thing had really knocked him on his ass. He hadn’t expected…he hadn’t known that being in love would make Patty so important , that his heart would race whenever his name came up on his phone, that he would smile at just the thought of him, and yeah it hurts that Patty, apparently, doesn’t feel the same, but Travis figures that what he feels for Patty is enough for both of them. He knows Patty cares, cares enough to call Travis his boyfriend, and that’s…that’s enough, he thinks.
The drive is long, a big stretch of nothing, and he doesn’t think about the fact that he hadn’t told Patty he was coming until he’s pulling up in front of Patty’s condo. Maybe he should have warned him, but Travis was afraid that if he did, Patty would find yet another excuse as to why Travis couldn’t come. He hadn’t seen his boyfriend in months , and he wasn’t sure what he’d do if Patty rejected him again. But, Travis thinks as he thumbs open his phone, he’s not sure what he’ll do if Patty rejects him now , sitting in his truck in Patty’s driveway.
“’lo?” Patty’s voice mumbles down the line, and Travis can’t help the grin that settles on his face.
“They have this great thing on your phone called caller ID, y’know.”
“Shut up.” Patty grumbles, and Travis can hear him flopping around on the bed. “Why are you calling me?”
“Can’t a guy call his boyfriend just because?” Travis asks, and Patty only grunts, but luckily Travis speaks Nolan Patrick-ese, so he takes it for the permission to continue that it is. “I, uh, may have done a thing. A driving thing. A…driving to Winnipeg thing.”
“You’re coming to Winnipeg?”
“You’re already here.” It’s not a question, and Travis looks up to find Patty staring down at him from the window of his condo.
“Yep.” He replies, emphasizing the p .
“You gonna sit in that dumbass truck all day?” Patty asks before ending the call, and Travis practically bounces out of his truck and up the stairs to Patty’s front door.
“My truck is not dumb.” Travis informs Patty as he opens the door. Travis slips under Patty’s arm and into the condo, dropping his bag and turning to face Patty, who’s shutting the door behind him.
“Your face is dumb.”
“You missed my dumb face.” Travis tells him, but he’s not sure it’s true until Patty moves into his space, the hint of a smirk on his lips. Travis slips his arms around Patty’s waist, but doesn’t tug him in further, lets Patty wind his fingers into his hair and tilt his face up to kiss him. They haven’t been in the same place in months, haven’t kissed in months, and it should maybe be awkward, but everything about Patty has always felt so natural to Travis that it doesn’t. He opens up to Patty’s mouth, lets him control the pace of the kiss, gasps when Patty tugs on his hair.
“Bed.” Travis mumbles against Patty’s lips, can feel himself growing hard, and he hasn’t had anything but his hands and a box of toys for months , and he really doesn’t want to go off in his pants before Patty’s even touched him but it’s going to be close.
“Mmm-hmm.” Patty mumbles, hands moving from Travis’ hair to his waist to push him toward what Travis hopes is Patty’s bedroom.
“Wow.” Travis mumbles into Patty’s skin, basking in the afterglow. He wants to arch into the touch where Patty’s long fingers are drifting up and down his spine, but he’s too blissed out to move a muscle. Patty grunts, but it’s a happy grunt, and Travis presses his face further into Patty’s shoulder. It’s quiet, comfortable, and Travis feels more settled in his skin than he’s felt in months. He knew he’d missed Patty, but he hadn’t realized just how much he’d missed him until he had him again.
“Missed you.” Travis tells him, and smiles against Patty’s skin when he grunts and presses a kiss to the top of Travis’ head. It’s a clear you too in Patty-ese, and Travis feels himself slowly drifting off as Patty’s fingers continue to glide across his skin.
When he wakes up, the bed is empty and the sun is starting to set. Travis retrieves his boxers from where Patty had flung them into a corner and stumbles out into the living room. He grabs a Gatorade from the fridge and follows the sounds of Fortnite into the living room. He flops down next to Patty, who doesn’t pause his playing but lifts his arm and lets Travis burrow into his side.
Once he dies, Patty tosses the controller to Travis and grabs a second one as Travis pulls up COD. They play until it’s dark outside, not really talking, but it’s a comfortable and familiar silence. They end up playing against Hayesey and his brother, and they dominate, and Travis does a ridiculous celly in front of the TV that Patty rolls his eyes at. He doesn’t complain though when Travis ends his celly by climbing into Patty’s lap and sticking his tongue down his throat.
Patty’s still asleep when he wakes up the next morning, so Travis slips out as quietly as he can and downs a pre-workout smoothie Patty has stocked in the fridge before throwing on his tennis shoes. It’s chilly, because it’s the Peg, but not uncomfortably so, and Travis slips his headphones in and jogs out of Patty’s complex. Patty’s never been much of a runner, but Travis finds that jogging settles – however briefly – the part of his brain that never shuts off. The repetitive thumping of his feet on the pavement draws Travis into a place where his brain can white out, where it’s just him and his muscles and pushing his body. He’s not sure where he’s going, but he stays aware enough that he’s pretty sure he can find his way back to the condo.
He’s covered in a thin sheen of sweat by the time he gets back, downs a Gatorade, and is surprised that Patty apparently still isn’t awake. He sticks his head into the bedroom, and finds a Patty-shaped lump under the blankets.
“Babe?” He calls, stepping into the room. Patty doesn’t respond, so Travis steps further into the room. “You okay?”
“Go ‘way.” Patty mumble-whispers, barely audible under the blanket, and it’s so full of pain that Travis freezes halfway to the bed. Oh , he thinks, and shuts the door quietly behind him. He steps over to the window on the far side of the bed, the blackout curtains open and letting sunlight stream gently in. Travis closes them as quietly as he can, then heads for the attached bathroom.
Patty’s meds are lined up on the counter, and he picks each one up one by one until he finds the one he knows are for Patty’s bad days. He also grabs the pills in the daily organizer, pouring out everything in the pod for Thursday into his hand. He pours a cup of water out of the faucet into one of the small cups Patty keeps on the sink and carries it all out into the bedroom. Patty hasn’t moved, is still buried under the blankets, so Travis sets it all down gently on the nightstand. He considers reaching out for Patty, but doesn’t want to disturb him if he’s managed to fall asleep, so instead he creeps out as quietly as possible and shuts the door behind him.
He’d left his bag by the door the day before, forgotten in his haste to get Patty’s hands on him, and now he’s grateful for it because it means that he can carry his toiletries into the guest bathroom instead of disturbing Patty again. He pulls out the expensive ass fragrance free shampoo and body washes that Patty’s mom had recommended months ago, something lacking fake odors that could trigger Patty’s migraines. He washes off the sweat from his run and changes into a pair of basketball shorts and hoodie and turns on the TV in the living room, muting it before the sound can reach Patty’s bedroom.
He watches a few episodes of Rick and Morty with the captions on, checks the team groupchat, and puts together a sandwich before he decides he needs to check on Patty. He’s out of the blanket cocoon, which Travis takes as a sign of improvement, and all of the pills are gone from the nightstand. He replaces the empty cup of water with a Gatorade, and sets half of one of Travis’ sandwiches down next to it. Patty groans softly next to him, and Travis reaches down to tuck a piece of greasy, sweaty hair behind his ear. Patty hums, moves slightly into the touch, before he’s asleep again. Travis leans down enough to press his lips to Patty’s forehead and slips out of the room again as quietly as possible.
The sandwich is gone when Travis checks on Patty again, as is half of the Gatorade, but about half an hour after that he hears the unmistakable sound of Patty retching. He knows he should probably leave him to it, but he also doesn’t want to leave Patty alone when he’s obviously feeling so terrible, so he creeps in and closes the door behind him. Patty’s collapsing back on the bed, and Travis is grateful he’d had the foresight to keep a small wastebin on his side of the bed for this specific reason. Travis studies Patty’s face for a moment – he can tell that he’s still awake even with his eyes closed, despite the fact that he’s ignoring Travis’ presence. Travis ties up the bag and carries it out into the kitchen, then grabs a washcloth from the guest bathroom and gets it wet before heading back into Patty’s room.
Patty doesn’t react until Travis uses his fingers to push Patty’s hair off of his forehead and drop the cloth on his heated skin.
“Leave.” Patty snaps, grabbing the cloth and tossing it away from the bed.
“Leave me the fuck alone.” Patty’s voice is harsh, and hoarse, and it makes Travis’ heart hurt.
“Okay, I’ll be in the living room if you need-“
“No.” Patty snaps, twisting away from Travis. “Go the fuck home.”
“I don’t want you here .” Patty’s voice is muffled by his pillow, but each word feels like a stab to Travis’ chest. “I don’t need you to take care of me. Go home, Travis.”
Travis doesn’t say anything, ignores the burning in his eyes, and retrieves the washcloth, setting it down on the nightstand. He glances back at Patty once more before leaving the bedroom.
Travis doesn’t invade Patty’s space again, but he listens for any sign that Patty’s stirring. He finally lets himself doze off sometime after midnight, and the sunlight is gently streaming in through the windows when he slowly wakes up to the feeling of eyes on him. He blinks away the grogginess, his eyes focusing so that the generally blob-shaped figure staring at him from the other end of the couch morphs into a blanket-wrapped Patty. He’s looking at Travis like he’s confusing him, his brow furrowed as he takes in Travis sprawled out on the couch, a thin throw blanket covering him.
“How are you feeling?” He asks, his voice rough with sleep. Patty doesn’t answer; instead, Travis watches as he moves closer to the couch and climbs over Travis, blanketing him with both his big body and the comforter. Travis lets him shove his long arms under Travis, lets out a confused chuckle when Patty presses his face into Travis’ neck and buts his head against his jaw until Travis gets the idea and cards his fingers into Patty’s hair.
“You stayed.” Patty finally mumbles, sounding surprised, his breath tickling Travis’ neck.
“’Course I did.” Patty’s hair is disgustingly filthy, but Travis wraps it around his fingers and leans back enough to kiss Patty’s head.
“Why? I told you to leave. I was so-“
“That was Migraine Patty talking.” Travis interrupts him. “I don’t listen to that asshole.”
“Thank you.” Patty says softly after a long moment, and Travis smiles against Patty’s forehead.
“I don’t know if you know this, but I kind of love you, you moron.” He feels Patty snuggle closer, and he knows that Patty would kill him if he ever told anyone that Nolan Patrick is a major cuddler , but he thinks it’s the cutest damn thing he’s ever seen.
“You have bad days.” Travis tells him, tugging gently on his hair. “But taking care of each other on bad days is, like, what grown-up couples do and shit.”
“We’re a grown-up couple?” Patty asks, and he bounces where Travis is jostling him with his laughter.
“Something close, I think.”
“I just don’t want to be a burden.” Patty confesses. “You should have to deal with this, it’s…it’s a lot of bullshit.”
“Not to me.” Travis pulls until Patty’s face to face with him. He smiles and drops kisses over his forehead, his cheeks, his eyelids, until Patty’s breathing heavy and harsh over him. “Not if it’s you.”
“I’m sorry, about yesterday.” Patty grumbles, then leans down and kisses Travis. “And I love you too, idiot.”
Travis smiles and pulls the blanket up over both of them, drowning them in darkness. It’s they’re own blanket cocoon, and Travis can see the appeal as Patty settles down next to him, tangling their legs together and cuddling Travis tighter.