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Bewilderment, And Things Left Unsaid

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Dylan expects to stay in juniors his first year. Ryan did, after all. But he knows it’s going to be different without Connor there at his side. He had the A to Connor’s C last year, but this year they’ve asked him to have the C. It’s not unheard of to have a sub as a Captain – hell, Crosby’s one of the leading captains in the league and has been for years now – but he has a good team of Dominant A’s who have his back. Dylan has a good team of A’s: Radds, Marchy, Betz, Trav – though half of them are younger than him, and only Radds and Marchy are Doms. The other two are both subs like him, and he knows they need the support of a good solid captain. So, of course, he does the only thing he can think of – he phones Connor.

Yeah, ok, so Connor’s starting in the show already, and he’s the saviour of Edmonton, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the time for his best friend.

“I mean, you’ve got this, Dyl,” Connor murmurs softly. It’s late, and they’re both lying in their beds, over two thousand miles apart.

Dylan lets Connor’s voice wash over him. He misses kneeling at the side of Connor’s chair, curling up into bed beside him, misses the feel of his hand in his hair. “Thanks,” he mutters.

“Dylan.” Connor’s voice is soft, but it’s clear he’s chastising. “Ask one of the boys if you can kneel for them.”

“It’s not the same,” Dylan mutters petulantly. He doesn’t want one of the boys, he wants Connor back. “And besides, knowing you trust me with your team is enough.”

“They’re your team now, Dyl.” Dylan can hear the catch in Connor’s voice, and his heart goes out to his best friend, he knows Connor isn’t settled in Edmonton yet, not the way he was in Erie.

“Always your team,” Dylan persists. “And they all agree with me on this.”

Connor hums down the phone. “Go to sleep, Dyl. I’ll see what I can do for you.”

It’s not the best sleep he’s ever had, but the next morning when he clambers onto the bus and folds his long legs uncomfortably into his seat, Radds sits down beside him.

“Hey.” His alternate nudges him, holding his hand palm up on his own thigh. It’s an unmissable gesture – in this team at least.

Dylan links his fingers through Darren’s. “Need to chat?”

Raddysh grins at him. “Nope,” he says, and then nudges Dylan softly with his shoulder. “Cap said you might, though.”

Dylan sighs. “I’m the Cap…” He pouts a little, and then lets his head fall onto Darren’s shoulder. “This ok?”

Darren nods, and turns to press a kiss to the top of Dylan’s head. It’s not Connor, and he doesn’t relax enough to go all the way under, but it’s enough for now.

He still calls Connor most nights. He hasn’t asked if Connor’s got someone kneeling for him in Edmonton. He doesn’t want to know – he’s Connor’s best friend, not anyone else. Perhaps it’s a little childish to cling to him like this, but Dylan and Connor have been inseparable for two years. Connor is his best friend and the first person he’d chosen to kneel for. Sure, he’d knelt for Matt McLeod while Mikey had knelt for Ryan, learning the ropes of submission, but Connor was the first person Dylan had sought out on his own. Submitting for Connor is easier than breathing.

It still seems weird to hear his name without it being prefaced with “Connor and…” It’s weirder still to sit through tape review on a chair, not knelt at Connor’s feet. Nobody ever minded, and he’s sure if he felt the need to kneel at the feet of one of his teammates, the rest of them wouldn’t mind, but he doesn’t feel that he can.

Still, he makes it through the year with his boys surrounding him and Connor on the other end of the phone line.

 

Arizona is another beast entirely. Technically, he’s geographically closer to Connor than he was before, but it feels like Connor is worlds apart. They still call most nights, although Connor has a team to captain again this year, and Dylan has a team to attempt to slot into even though he doesn’t feel like he can. There’s no one to lean on here and he hates that he needs someone to lean on. He looks around at a team full of Doms and adynamics, and hates that they don’t need the support that he does. He finds himself sitting on the bus or the plane with his hand resting palm up on his thigh, but of course, no-one notices.

He can’t seem to stop the constant barrage of thoughts in his head that he’s not cut out for this. The moments of peace he gets on the phone with Connor aren’t enough, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

He’s never been so glad that he’s young enough to go back to Erie and not be shunted to another strange team that he doesn’t know. Little Alex DeBrincat is Captain now, and privately, Dylan thinks he does a much better job than Dylan ever did.

“Is it weird for you?” Alex sits beside him on the bus the first day he’s back. “Me being Captain of your team?”

Dylan snorts. “I think you’ll find you’re Captain of Connor’s team.”

Alex grins up at him. “Fair.” He places his hand palm up on his thigh.

Dylan sighs and slots his fingers in between Alex’s. “You’re a good Captain, Kit,” he grins, “And Con happens to agree with me.”

Darren’s still there, and Dylan finds himself bouncing between him and DeBrincat – the kid has always been a little awkward around him, but he seems to value Dylan’s advice on Captaining, which is frankly adorable. It’s strange: technically Alex is a Dom, but he’s also five foot nothing, at least compared to Dylan. The one year age gap between them seems wider than ever. Still, he’s a good kid, so when he stares up at Dylan and asks him if Dylan thinks he’s doing a good job, Dylan grins, and tells him he’s doing exactly what Connor would.

World Juniors is incredible. While Darren doesn’t get to go, he takes baby Radds with him, and meets Gauthier, who’s a beast with the sexiest Quebec accent that Dylan’s ever heard. Usually Dylan shrugs off teammates who offer to Dom him, but he finds himself flirting with Julien before he’s even offered. Nothing overt, just shy glances, but it’s clear that Gaut picks up what Dylan’s putting down.

“Want to switch room assignments?” Julien whispers in his ear as they head back from their first game.

Dylan blushes a heavy crimson, but they manages to swap their roommates around so he’s rooming with Gauthier with only a minimum amount of chirping from baby Radds.

He’s hooked up with guys before. Well, ok, mostly Mikey. But he’s not a virgin, and he’s scened with people before. Mostly platonically with Connor or Big Matt, but when Gauthier asks what he’s up for, he finds himself wanting more than just kneeling. “Nothing that’ll stop me from skating,” he says.

Julien grins, and brushes a soft hand across Dylan’s jaw. “Ok, Captain.”

That just makes Dylan blush even harder. “I’m not in charge here.” He’s sat on the edge of the bed, Julien standing in front of him, and the balance of power feels just right.

Julien steps closer, in between Dylan’s knees. His arms rest on Dylan’s shoulders. “I know.” He smirks quietly. “That’s me.”

Dylan feels his pulse speed up. The way they’re positioned alone is enough to start sending him under.

“What do you want?” Julien lets his hands card through Dylan’s hair.

Dylan has to take a steadying breath. He licks his lips, staring straight ahead, “I want to suck you.” It comes out as half a whimper.

“Good boy,” Julien grins. “Can I mark you up?”

Dylan thinks for half a second. The whole team probably knows that he’s here with Julien and what they’re doing anyway. “Go for it.”

He’s chirped to high heaven the next morning when he has next to no voice left, but he’s also relaxed in a way he hasn’t felt since Connor left Erie. It’s easier to be a Captain, knowing that at the end of the day, he can head back to his room with Julien and slide onto his knees so the rest of the day will slip away behind him.

They still don’t win, but after the loss, Dylan goes to each and every one of his boys. For the first time, he understands why subs can make good captains when he slides his arms around each of his teammates’ waists and whispers in their ear how much he respects them, what a good player they are.

He’s not the only sub on the team, and he notices Josty and Mikey doing the same thing. For the first time in his life, Dylan feels like maybe subs aren’t just a burden on Doms. Maybe he’s not just a weight to be carried. Maybe he’s the strength they need to carry each other.

When he gets back to Erie, he finds himself more drawn to Alex. Before, he worried about being a drain on Alex, a drain on his Captain. Now he understands that maybe Alex needs him just as much as he needs Alex.

The first roadie when they’re back, he slides into the seat beside Alex and places his hand palm up on his thigh.

“Not mad at me?” Alex asks softly, slotting their fingers together.

“Mad at you for being American?” Dylan snorts. “Nah, maybe if you’d been there.” He has to lean down to knock his head against Alex’s, but it’s worth it.

“Too soon.” Alex glares up at him, but there’s humour behind his eyes.

“I’ve got you.” Dylan gives his hand a little squeeze. “We’re going to rock it this year.”

Alex nods, and lets his head fall on Dylan’s shoulder. “Thanks, Stromer.”

They make it all the way to the memorial cup, and they come so damn close. It’s Worlds all over again. But when Dylan goes to wrap his arms around Alex’s waist, but Alex pulls away.

“I’m ok, Dyl,” he says, even though the look in his eyes makes it clear he’s lying.

Dylan takes the rejection as best he can, heading over to Darren, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “You ok, Radds?”

Raddysh sighs. “You think about the fact this is the end of Juniors for us?”

Dylan laughs bitterly. “AHL here we come?”

“We’re gonna rock the A, Dyl,” Darren chastises him. “And you’re heading to the show. You played like something else this year.”

Dylan clings to that all summer, but as soon as he’s back in Arizona for training camp he knows it’s not going to be the case. He pushes through the first quarter of the season, but it’s as far as he can go, and he knows it. He’s utterly unsurprised when they send him to Tucson. It’s where he belongs.

It’s not as bad as being in Phoenix because there’s less pressure, but he still doesn’t feel like he has a place in the team. He tries to stop calling Connor every night, but he can’t seem to go more than a week without being on the phone to him.

“You’re ok, Dyl.” Connor’s voice is soothing as always. This seems like the constant in his life now: not Connor’s presence at his side, but Connor’s voice in his ear.

“Love you,” Dylan sniffs down the phone. He knows how pathetic he sounds.

“I love you too, baby boy.” Connor’s soft as always. “You call me whenever you need me. I like having you on the phone.” He distracts Dylan by telling him about the stupid things that Ryan’s done at practice, but that just makes jealousy stir in Dylan’s chest, because if there’s a Strome on a team with Connor then it deserves to be him.

“I feel like they brought me the wrong Strome,” Connor says softly. “Like, he’s definitely the lesser Strome.”

Dylan can’t help the burst of laughter that sparks out of his chest at that. “Tell him that,” he says with a smirk. “Just refer to him as second rate Stromer….”

There’s a pause on the other end of the line, then Connor admits, “I can’t even call him Stromer. That’s your name.”

Dylan grins, and he feels lighter already.

 

He’s been in Tucson for over a month when Laws pulls him off to one side. They don’t know each other well, but they’ve played together for Canada stuff.

“Hey,” Laws says. “How’re things with you and Davo?”

Dylan shrugs, because things with him and Davo are the same as they always are. “Good?” he says hesitantly. “Why?”

Laws shrugs. “You seem like you need to go down. You’re doing the fucking twitchy thing where you jump at the slightest thing.”

Dylan sighs, because sure, he knows he needs to go down, but the idea that Laws has picked up on it as well, someone who doesn’t even know him that well, worries him a little.

“Guessing you won’t see him until the end of the season?”

Dylan shakes his head. “And I don’t really feel like I know any of the guys here well enough.”

Laws frowns. “You should ask Latts,” he says decisively, “Like, I know he’s got a long-term sub back in Washington, so he probably wants some, like, no-strings scening or whatever.”

Dylan thinks about it. Latts seems like a nice enough guy, but Dylan’s picky about his scenes. “I’ll chat with him.”

He manages it on another ridiculous bus ride, sliding into the seat next to Latts. If he were back on the Otters this would be simple. He finds his hand itching, wants to lay it on his thigh palm up, but nobody here understands that gesture.

“Hey, Stromer,” Latts says softly.

“Hey.” Dylan bites his lip. He’s never had to do this before, never had to say “can we scene.” It’s always just sort of... happened to him. “Awkward question,” he leads with, “I know you’re, like, seeing someone back in Washington, but is it exclusive?”

Latts snorts. “Nope.” He runs a casual eye over Dylan. “Little Stromer,” he says with a grin, “Are you propositioning me?”

Dylan shrugs. “I’m stressed,” he says, simple. “And I figure you might be too if you can’t scene with your partner here, so maybe it could help both of us. If they’d be ok with it.”

Latts grins. “What about your boyfriend?”

“Boyfriend?”

“McJesus.”

Dylan chokes a little, “Connor and I, we aren’t…” he flails a bit, because everyone always assumes he’s dating Connor. “He’s a good friend, and he Doms me a lot, but we aren’t like that.”

“Huh,” Latts says. “I’d never have guessed.” He nudges Dylan’s shoulder carefully, “Now, would you want to wait until we got home, or do you want to do this on the road?”

Dylan thinks about it, because at home would mean more available toys, but on the road is sooner and the impersonality of hotel rooms can sometimes be a comfort during a scene. “Whenever you want me,” he settles on.

Latts just chuckles a little. “And what sort of thing do you like?”

This is harder, because Dylan doesn’t know Mike, and he doesn’t want his judgement, so he treads carefully, “I like being good.” He tells him honestly. “And I’m not the biggest pain slut in the world.” That’s an understatement in itself, but telling a Dom “I hate pain” is hardly going to get them to scene with you. Especially a Dom like Latts. “And, obviously,” he adds, although he doesn’t really need to, “Nothing that stops me from playing.”

“What about humiliation?” Latts asks carefully.

“Haven’t done much of it.” That one Dylan answers honestly. “But more than happy to give it a try.”

“Such a baby sub,” Latts grins, ruffling Dylan’s hair. Dylan wants to protest a little that he isn’t a baby sub, but the contact is so nice he can’t help but lean into it.

“Let’s do this tonight,” Latts whispers softly in his ear.

They switch the necessary room assignments so that they’re rooming together, and decline to go out for dinner. It won’t surprise any of the guys what they’re up to, and management don’t exactly discourage it – healthy and dynamically-balanced players are better players. Dylan makes sure to drop a text to Connor letting him know that he’s scening and who he’s scening with - it’s more than just a safety net, he likes the idea that Connor is watching over him from Edmonton.

If you want to skip the scene that goes wrong, please press here

“Now,” Latts says softly before they start. “I’m used to dealing with someone who likes it rough, so I’m going to need you to say if I’m getting too hard.” He strokes a hand softly down the side of Dylan’s face. “I won’t be mad at you.”

Dylan nods.

“Let’s use stoplights,” Latts tells him. “Red for stop, yellow for slow down or go easier, and green for all good.”

Again, Dylan nods. It’s something he’s used in the past, so it’s easy enough to remember.

“Whenever you’re ready then,” Latts says softly.

He sinks to his knees, trying to settle himself in that headspace, trying to get where he needs to go.

“Jesus,” Latts sneers down at him. “You go down fucking easy.” He reaches out to grab a handful of Dylan’s hair. “No wonder they liked you at the draft if you sink to your knees this easily for anyone.”

Dylan feels it catch and twist in his gut. That’s not what happened. He opens his mouth to protest, but Latts is there, pushing a thumb inside his mouth, so he sucks on it, the familiarity of the action soothing the uncomfortable nausea at Latts’ words.

Latts strokes a hand down the side of his face. “Bet you’re a pussy who’s precious about his face as well,” he mutters, the disdain clear in his voice.

“Please don’t,” Dylan stammers.

“That’s it,” Latts replies. “Beg for me.”

Dylan feels a jolt of pleasure. He did something right! He did something that Latts wanted him to, and perhaps he wouldn’t fuck up this scene entirely. “Please not my face,” he begs again. “Anything but that.”

Latts pulls away from him. “Get your ass out for me then,” he instructs, sitting down on the bed.

Dylan scrambles to do as he’s been told, shucking off his sweats. He kicks his socks off and pulls his t-shirt over his head as well, because he always feels stupid wearing a t-shirt and no pants, but the look of distain on Latts face when he does makes him want to pull it back on.

“You realize being an eager slut isn’t a good thing, yeah?” Latts reaches out and pulls him over. “Lucky for you, I’m well versed in dealing with sluts.”

Dylan doesn’t think he is a slut. He hasn’t really slept around a lot, and he’s not one of those guys that scenes with every available Dom, but Latts is more experienced than he is, so he lets himself be tugged over, lets Latts rearrange him so he’s bent over his lap.

“Give me a colour Dyl,” Latts orders, his hand smoothing over the bare skin of Dylan’s buttocks.

Dylan jumps on the order like it’s a lifeline. He knows what to do with this one. “Green.”

“Good.” Latts says, before bringing his hand down in a stinging slap.

The simple praise soothes away the sting of the first slap. It’s a little harder than what Dylan’s used to, but it’s not like he wasn’t warned, so he buries his face in the comforter and braces for the next one.

“Such a fucking eager slut,” Latts tells him, slapping him again.

Dylan chokes back a sob, he’s not a slut. But he doesn’t feel he can argue. He came to Latts, he’s the one that asked for this. With every slap across his buttocks comes some new insult or taunt and he finds himself sobbing into the bedsheets, unable to hold it back.

“That’s right,” Latts tells him. “Cry like the fucking pussy you are.” His hand comes down on the crease of Dylan’s thigh, making him yelp in pain. “Stupid little slut.”

Dylan bites his lip. He doesn’t know how to make him stop. He just wants it to end. He just wants Connor. He just wants to do something right, to be good for Latts, but all he seems to be doing is getting it wrong. He thinks about using his safeword, but he doesn’t want to disappoint Latts. Then he remembers Connor’s strict instructions that using his safe word is being good, and Latts doesn’t seem to play by the same rules, but maybe if he uses it he can get out and go call Connor. “Stop, please,” he begs, trying to remember what to say. “No, stop red, fuck, no.”

“Shit.” Latts stands up, pulling Dylan up to standing with him. “Stromer, fuck, are you ok?”

“No, red, stop,” Dylan mutters, letting Latts pull him against his shoulder.

“You’re not ok,” Latts says, reaching up to thread a hand through his hair. “This is... fuck, Dyl, I am so fucking sorry.” He guides the pair of them back to the bed, sitting against the headboard, pulling Dylan into a hug. “Can you tell me what the matter is?”

“I’m not a slut,” Dylan wails. “I’m a good boy.”

“Oh, yes you are,” Latts says, softer than he’s sounded all evening, stroking his hands up and down Dylan’s arms. “You’re the best boy, you’ve been such a good boy for me, and you used your safeword and that was the best thing you could have done.”

Dylan sniffs, burying his face in Latts’ neck muscles, unable to look him in the eye. “Con says using my safeword is being the best boy.”

“He’s not wrong,” Latts tells him. “Do you want to call him? Would that help you right now?”

Dylan nods, and within minutes, his phone is in his hand, and he’s hitting speed dial.

“Dylan?” Connor picks up immediately. “Are you ok?”

“I was a good boy,” Dylan scrambles to get it out. “I was so good, I said stop and red and I said it like you told me to.”

“Good boy,” Connor says, but his voice doesn’t sound like Dylan’s been a good boy, he sounds stressed. “Are you with Latta still?” 

“Yep.” Dylan snuggles closer into Latts arms. “He’s here.”

“Can I talk to him?” Connor asks.

Dylan doesn’t answer, just hands the phone over. His breathing is starting to steady just from the sound of Connor’s voice, and he feels himself starting to come back up, which unfortunately means he also starts to feel nauseous, his skin clammy. All he can focus on is how much he’s fucked up. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles against Latt’s skin.

Latts pulls away from the phone, ignoring whatever he was saying to Connor. “No, baby,” he says softly. “You don’t need to be sorry, you were such a good boy, you really were.”

“I fucked up,” Dylan whimpers.

“No you didn’t,” Latts reassures him. “I fucked up, but you didn’t do anything wrong, Dylan. This isn’t on you.” He strokes a soft hand through Dylan’s hair, speaking into the phone again to Connor. Dylan tunes him out. He doesn’t want to listen to them discussing what a fuck-up he is, to Latts asking how Connor can bear to scene with a sub who’s so much hard work.

He drifts off, not sleeping, but not really awake either, unable to hear what Latts is saying to Connor, unable to focus on anything but the nausea threatening every heaving breath he takes. When Latts holds the phone out to him he just shakes his head. If his ears aren’t working he can’t talk to Connor, and why would Connor want to talk to him anyway.

Latts makes him drink some water and puts cream on his ass, before dressing him in sweats and a hoodie and tucking him into bed. He’s not sure why Latts is being so nice to him when he’d asked Latts to scene with him and then freaked out on him, but Latts is a good guy so he’s doing it anyway. Dylan can feel sleep overtaking him, lying curled up in the bed beside Latts, who’s got his own phone out and is talking on it now. Probably talking to his actual sub, the one who knows how to take a beating, the one who would have thought that was easy going.

Dylan wakes up before Latts does, and when he checks his phone it’s early. He still feels sick, but his head is clearer than it had been the night before. It’s hard not to blame himself but he can override his emotions with logical thought. It isn’t on him. Sometimes scenes just don’t work. Still, by the time Latts’ alarm goes off, he’s made himself a coffee and a second one is waiting on the bedside table.

“Stromer!” Latts sits up, grabbing the coffee. “You didn’t have to…” He glances over at him. “Tell me you’ve slept.”

“I slept,” Dylan tells him honestly. “Just, woke up about half an hour ago and didn’t see much point in sleeping again.”

Latts runs his hands through his hair. “Can we debrief?”

The nausea bubbles away in Dylan’s stomach but he nods, “Yeah.”

“What made you safeword?” Latts asks, before tagging on, “Great job for doing that, by the way.”

Dylan shrugs. He doesn’t want to tell Latts that he probably should have safeworded far earlier in the scene. “I don’t know, it was all a bit…”

“Was I hitting too hard?”

Dylan thinks about it. Objectively, Gauts had spanked him almost that hard, and it had been fine. “I think it was the other thing.”

“The humiliation?” Latts groans. “I know, I’m sorry, I went too fucking hard on it and it was your first time, and I should have checked…”

“Hey.” Dylan leans over and places a hand on Latts’ knee. “We both fucked up, shit happens. We’re good, Latts.”

Latts lets out a little huff of laughter. “You shouldn’t be the one comforting me right now, Stromer.”

They talk it out, and even though they’re never going to scene together ever again, that doesn’t mean they can’t work together as teammates. Dylan feels a little pride at finding a resolution like an adult, but it doesn’t stop the churning anxiety in his stomach.

He doesn’t get to call Connor until he’s back at home the next night.

“How are you doing?” Connor asks as soon as he picks up the phone.

“Shit.” It’s as easy as it’s always been to be honest with Connor. “I just…” he blinks furiously, trying to will back the tears that are stinging his eyes. “Con, why the fuck would someone want a sub like me?”

“Baby,” Connor sighs. “I can tell you a thousand reasons?”

“Turns out I really don’t like humiliation, and I’m really fucking picky about the pain I like and…”

Connor cuts him off, “Stromer, my sweet boy, where are you right now?”

“At home,” Dylan answers. “In bed.”

“Kneel for me,” Connor orders, in that quiet voice that has so much assurance in it.

Dylan scrambles to obey him, kneeling on the floor beside his bed and pressing his forehead to the mattress. “I’m kneeling for you,” he says quietly.

“I know you are,” Connor replies, “And you know how I know Dyl? Because you’re my good boy.”

Dylan lets out a sob. It’s impossible not to.

“You’re my perfect fucking boy. You are such a good sub. You’re so obedient, you’re so fucking attentive Dyl.”

Once the compliments start coming, so do the tears, and they don’t stop on either end. Dylan kneels there, beside his bed in Tucson, and sobs his heart out listening to Connor tell him from Edmonton all the reasons he loves him.

He doesn’t scene again with any of his teammates in Arizona. He tells Connor it’s because he’s afraid, but the truth is he’s afraid of being too difficult to dom. He manages to make it through the season in Tucson, but managing is all it is. He alternates between calling Connor and calling Ryan, but it amounts to the same thing because when he calls Ryan all he wants to hear about is what Connor’s doing on the ice.

“You’re exhausting, baby bro,” Ryan sighs, but then tells him all about their practice anyway before asking, “How are you doing?”

Dylan sighs. “One day at a time,” he answers honestly, because that’s all he feels he can cope with.

 

They make it as far as the division finals in the playoffs, and sure, it’s not the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it’s still playoff hockey. Dylan gets the second most points per season in franchise history, and he feels like he’s on fire. Part of him wants to call Connor, invite him down to watch, show him how well he’s doing, but when Connor actually suggests it, Dylan tells him not to. He can’t show Connor good hockey when Connor is the embodiment of good hockey.

Still, the first place he goes when he gets back to the GTA is Connor’s place. And the first thing he does when he walks through the door is drop to his knees because kneeling for Connor is home.

“Baby boy.” Connor runs his hand through Dylan’s hair. “I’ve missed you.”

Dylan presses his forehead against Connor’s thigh, sinking into it. “Fuck, Con,” he whimpers.

“Come on, Dyl,” Connor says softly, tugging him to his feet. “Let’s go take this somewhere more comfortable.”

Kneeling for Connor is like being able to breathe again. It’s like stepping out onto fresh ice. Dylan sinks into subspace like putting on a favourite sweater. Scening with Connor settles him faster than anything else could, and the summer flies by faster than he wants it to.

He’s surprised when he makes the Coyotes again at the start of the next season. Sure, he played well in the AHL playoffs, but can’t they see that he’s not good enough to be an NHL player? He’s got the talent, maybe, but everybody knows that 90% of being an NHL level athlete is mental fortitude, and surely they should be able to see that Dylan doesn’t have it.

Being called to speak to management a quarter of the way through the season isn’t a surprise. He’s already mentally working his way through his Roadrunner teammates from the previous year, wondering who will be able to give him a spare room to sleep in. It means the news comes as even more of a shock.

“Traded?” he feels the colour drain from his face. He’s glad he’s sitting down. “To the Blackhawks? So I’m going to the IceHogs?”

And that’s when he knows that the universe really hates him. Because no, they’re sending him to Chicago. Apparently. Which means he’s going to have to go through the trauma of showing another NHL team how he just isn’t cut out for this world.

“I can’t do it.” He’s on the phone to Connor as he drives home to pack his bag. He and Perli are joining the Blackhawks on the road apparently.

“You’ll be fine, baby boy.” Connor’s confidence in him is always unshakeable, “Let me make a few phone calls.”

“I’ll let you know when I land in wherever the fuck it is that I’m going.” Dylan can hear the waver in his voice. “Why can’t I be traded to you, Con?”

“You’ll be ok, Dyl,” Connor says gently. “I love you, ok?”

“I love you too.”

 ---

“You seen the news?”

“Um, no?” It’s not that Alex DOESN’T know Connor, but he played on a team with him for one year. That’s enough to get over the McJesus effect, but they’re not the kind of guys to phone each other about the news.

“You’re getting Stromer!” Connor sounds excited.

“Our Stromer?” Alex needs to clarify, but his heart is already beating faster. “Or your Stromer?”

“Eh, my Stromer is our Stromer.” He can hear the frown in Connor’s voice. “It’s Dylan. Obviously.”

“I don’t know!” Alex stutters. “You’ve played with Ryan too.”

“It’s Dylan,” Connor clarifies with a sigh. “And he’s coming to Chicago, but I need you to do me a favour.”

“Anything.” Even after all these years, Connor’s still his Captain. Jonny might be his Captain now, but Connor was his first Captain as a pro and you don’t forget that.

“Dylan won’t admit he needs a Dom,” Connor explains, “but he does. He’s been drowning in Arizona.”

“And you want me to Dom him?” Alex can hear the tremor in his voice.

“Or find someone else in Chicago to do it.”

The growl that slips out surprises both of them.

“Or you is good,” Connor laughs. “It’s impossible not to feel protective of him, eh? Ottos for life.”

“It’s not that.” Alex is glad they’re not facetiming, because his face is bright red. “It’s um…”

“Oh my God!” Connor crows delightedly. “Do you have a crush?”

Alex sighs and he flops back on his hotel room bed. “It’s just, he’s so cute.” He knows Connor won’t judge him. He just has to hope that Connor won’t tell Dylan. “Like, my first year in Erie, watching him sit at your feet, ugh, he’s just perfect.”

“More.” Connor grins. “I like hearing how weak you are for my Dyls.”

“He’s not like other subs,” Alex carries on. It’s nice to let all of this out after carrying it for years. “Like, even when he was kneeling for you, he’d still suggest stuff about plays, and there’s none of this ‘whatever you want’, he tells you what he wants.”

“Except he won’t admit that he needs help. You have to make him.”

“I can’t force it on him!” Alex squeaks.

“Not force him,” Connor agrees. “Just remind him that he needs this, and that needing it isn’t a crime.” He pauses to think for a minute. “You can always tell him that I told him to.”

“I’ll look after him,” Alex promises.

---

Dylan joins the Blackhawks on the ice at someone else’s practice facility because they’re on the road. They’re straight off the plane and straight onto the ice, so they’re later than the rest of the team.

He steps on, and instantly, Alex barrels straight into him with a yell. “STROMER!”

“Hey, Kit.” Dylan feels something settle in him, because being traded to Chicago is terrifying, but Alex is the least terrifying thing in the world.

Alex tucks himself under Dylan’s chin, arms around his waist. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he mutters softly. “This is going to be golden.”

They get on the bus back to the hotel and Alex pulls Dylan down into the seat beside him before placing his hand on his thigh, palm up.

Dylan glances down, a smirk on his face. “You realize this isn’t juniors, yeah?”

Alex grins. “Ottos for life Dyl.” He bumps their shoulders together. “Hold my damn hand.”

Dylan sighs, but slots his fingers through Alex’s, feeling it ground him.

On the plane back to Chicago, after his first game with the Blackhawks, Dylan finds himself sliding into the seat next to Alex.

“Come stay in my spare room, yeah?” Alex nudges him softly. “It’ll be like we’re kids again.”

Dylan lets out a snort. “You’re still a kid, Kit.” The chirp is familiar, but he feels Alex stiffen beside him.

“Not a kid,” Alex mutters, and he’s closed and turning away from Dylan, leaving Dylan to wonder where the hell he went wrong.

He still follows Alex back to his apartment. The second they’re through the door, Ralph is bounding up to them and the tension is gone. “Hey, gorgeous.” Dylan sinks down onto the floor, letting Alex’s dog nuzzle him. “Nice to meet you. Would it be cool if I stayed with you for a bit?”

When he glances up at Alex, his friend is staring down at him with a soft smile on his face.

“What?” Dylan grins at him. “It’s his place too.”

“You’re cute, Stromer.” Alex mutters, before going to dump his bag.

It’s not perfect, and Dylan doesn’t quite feel he can relax, sitting on the sofa next to Alex. He longs for that moment on the ice when Alex first barrelled into him, but it’s enough of an olive branch that he feels like he can reach out again.

“I’m sorry I called you a kid,” he proffers. It’s the moment he noticed Alex close off.

Alex groans, putting his head in his hands, “You don’t have to be sorry, Stromer, this is my hang-up, not yours.”

“I don’t really think you’re a kid.”

“It’s not that.” When Alex pulls his hands away from his face, his cheeks are burning bright red. “I just…”

“Hey.” Dylan slides closer to him, and places his hand palm up on his thigh. “No judgement here.”

“Fuck.” Alex slips his fingers in between Dylan’s. It’s familiar. “Can you be less perfect, please.”

Dylan lets out an undignified snort. “I’m so far from perfect, Kit, you know that.”

Alex leans over, resting his head against Dylan’s shoulder. “You are perfect.” His voice is soft, but there’s a raw edge of honesty to it “At least to me.”

Dylan tenses, he’s not sure where Alex is going.

“I don’t want it to be weird,” Alex carries on. “But I’ve had a thing for you for a while now, and when Connor called me, I knew I should be honest with you.”

“Connor called you?” Dylan knew Connor had said he’d call someone, he’d no idea that he was going to call Alex.

Alex chuckles softly. “He’s worried about you.”

Dylan lets out a huff. “Of course he is.” He lets his head fall against Alex’s. “He did kind of warn me he’d call you.” He pauses. “Or at least, that he was calling someone about me coming here.”

“He wants me to Dom you.” Alex admits. “But I don’t want to offer you anything without you knowing how I feel about you.”

“You think I’m cute.” Dylan wiggles a little beside him.

Alex lets out a little sigh. “You are so fucking cute, Dyl.”

“You’d want me to sub for you?” Dylan can’t keep the hope from his voice, “Like, that would be ok?”

Alex doesn’t answer for a moment, and when Dylan glances over, he’s biting his lip. “More than anything,” it barely comes out more than a whisper.

“Right now?” Dylan nudges him. “Because I am good for right now.”

Alex glances at him, a sparkle in his eye, and he reaches across Dylan to grab one of the throw cushions from the other end of the couch. “On your knees then, Strome.” His voice is teasing, but there’s hope underneath it as he puts the cushion on the floor.

Dylan slides to his knees and instantly feels something settle inside of him. He lets his head fall against Alex’s knee and Alex’s hand goes straight to his hair.

“I don’t miss the bleach,” Alex mutters softly. “This is much better.”

Dylan butts his head up into Alex’s hand. “You looked shit with the bleach too, don’t front.”

Alex scratches the base of his skull, short fingernails digging into his skin, and Dylan feels the tension melt away. “I missed you Stromer.”

“I missed you too, Kit.” Dylan can feel himself slipping under. “I really did.”

He doesn’t know how much time passes before Alex is slipping two fingers under his chin, tugging his face up to him. “We need to eat Stromer.”

Dylan hums happily. “I’m ok.”

“Let me rephrase that,” Alex grins at him. “We’re getting take-out, you’re eating dinner with me, what do you want?”

Dylan huffs, but pulls himself away from Alex’s knee, “Whatever’s good.” He grins up at him. “Show me the best Chicago has to offer.”

They eat sushi next to each other on the couch with a game playing in the background, picking up on the errors in the play of both teams, the gaps in their lines.

“So it wasn’t weird for you?” Alex asks in the second intermission, plates cleared away. “Kneeling for me?”

Dylan frowns a little. “Why would it be weird?”

“Um.” Alex blushes. “You remember the bit when I said how I’ve been gone on you for some time?”

“And?” Dylan lets his hand fall onto his thigh, palm up, waiting for Alex’s hand.

“And you’re ok with this?” Alex sighs, lacing their fingers together.

Dylan leans over, pressing his nose into Alex’s cheek. “I mean it, I’m really ok with that.” He blushes a little. “I’m good with a little more...” he pauses for a moment, wondering how to phrase it, and decides that he and Alex have known each other long enough that he can be blunt, “...dick involvement when I’m subbing for you.”

Alex moans softly. “Tease.” He reaches out to caress Dylan’s cheek. “Not tonight,” he says firmly. “We’d need to set a few more boundaries in place.”

The next day is Dylan’s first official at-home practice with the Blackhawks, and it’s crazy, because Patrick Fucking Kane comes up to talk to him as they’re getting their pads on.

“Hey,” The Blackhawks legend sticks his hand out for him to shake, “Kaner. Nice to have another sub on the team.”

“Thanks?” It’s not like it’s something Dylan controlled at all.

“Since Sharpy left, it’s just me and Shawzy now, but like, if you need anything or any Dom support or whatever, come to me or Jonny and we’ll sort you out.”

Dylan nods a little, still starstruck.

“You’re staying with The Cat right?”

And that’s when the hero-worship filter falls from Dylan’s gaze, because he can’t help the snort of laughter that bubbles past his lips. “The Cat?” He glances sideways at Alex.

Alex points at him with his stick. “Not a fucking word, Stromer.”

Dylan can’t help but crow delightedly. “The Cat!” He reaches out and ruffles Alex’s hair. “Little baby Binks is all grown up!”

“What did you call him in Juniors?” Shawzy calls out from across the other side of the locker room.

“I will hurt you if you answer that question…” Alex mutters darkly. He knows he stands no chance.

“Oh,” Dylan bats his eyelashes at his teammate. “What a shame that would be, Binksy.” He turns back to the room. “He was always kitten, ‘cause we reckoned he isn’t big enough to be a cat….”

Laughter fills the room, and Dylan feels Alex grinning at him from his own stall.

“Jesus.” Tazer walks up behind Kaner, arms slipping carelessly around his waist. “And I thought you and Shawzy were enough brats for one team.”

“Hey!” Dylan sticks his tongue out. “I’m angelic.” He glances back over his shoulder. “Tell them how angelic I am, Kit!”

Alex just grumbles in response, but the soft hand trailing across Dylan’s waist as he passes him on the way out to the ice lets him know how not-mad Alex is.

They have some time between practice and tape review, and Dylan decides to use it to call Connor.

“Hey babe,” he says, phone pressed up against his ear.

“How’s Chi-town?” Connor’s grin is audible down the phone. “Kit looking after you?”

“Oh, yes,” Dylan grins back at him. “And they call him The Cat now.” He flashes a quick glance at Alex who’s sat next to him on the couch.

“Fuck you,” Alex mutters, but there’s no venom behind it. “And fuck you too, Davo,” he adds, a little louder.

“Put me on facetime,” Connor demands. “I want to see both of you.”

Dylan obediently switches over to facetime, angling the phone so Connor can see both of their faces, their heads pressed together.

“Hey, Kit,” Connor grins. “You looking after my Dyl for me?”

“Of course,” Alex grins back. “Precious cargo and all.”

“He behaving himself?”

“Eh.” Alex gives a little shrug. “Mostly.”

“I’m going to be watching your game tomorrow,” Connor says, his attention shifting back to Dylan. “I can’t wait to see your first game as a Hawk.”

Dylan winces. “I’ll do my best.”

“Fuck that.” Alex nudges him. “He was lighting it up in practice today.”

“You two are on a line?”

“Coach is pretty happy with us on a line, yeah,” Alex says. “And Dyl is a good center for me.”

Dylan blushes at the praise.

“Of course he is,” Connor agrees. “Such a good boy, aren’t you Dyl.”

“Fuck off,” Dylan mutters back, glaring at them darkly. Connor knows exactly what the praise will be doing to him.

Connor just grins at him. “Enjoy your day, baby,” he says.

“I will,” Dylan promises. “Kit’s here.” He flashes a quick grin at Alex, before turning back to Connor. “Love you Con.”

“Love you too Dyl. I’ll talk to you later, ok?”

As soon as he’s hung up, Dylan places his hand on his thigh, palm up, waiting for Alex. Alex just leans against his shoulder, sliding their fingers together. The rest of the team start to file in for tape review, and Dylan feels Alex tense up beside him.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing.” Alex shakes his head softly. “It’s just…” he blushes slightly before he asks, “Kneeling in tape review, was that a thing you did for you or for Davo?”

Dylan shrugs. “Both of us, I guess? It helps me focus. Drowns out other stuff so I can focus on the tape. I guess Con feels the same.”

Alex nods slowly, and then, very quietly asks, “Would you like to kneel for me now?”

Dylan’s face lights up. He beams at Alex. “Seriously?” he asks. “You’d be ok with that?”

“Dyl,” Alex says softly, reaching out to stroke his thumb across Dylan’s cheekbone. “We’re talking bucket list shit for me right here. Like, top five fantasies of all time.”

Dylan sniggers a little. “You’re adorable, Kit,” he tells him.

“Be nice,” Alex grins. “Or I won’t let you.”

Dylan leans forwards to press his nose into Alex’s cheek. “Nonsense,” he whispers. “You’d let me do whatever I wanted.”

“Cushion?” Alex asks, ignoring the comment entirely. At Dylan’s nod, he grabs one of the cushions off the couch, and puts it on the floor by his feet. “Go on then,” he says, one hand on Dylan’s back, pushing him gently towards it.

As he settles at Alex’s feet he feels something inside him calm: something still, something that he hasn’t felt since he was kneeling at Connor’s feet for tape review back in Erie. He looks up at Alex who’s smiling down at him like he’s the world, and he leans against his knee, Alex’s hand carding through his hair.

For the most part, none of the team say anything about Dylan’s position on the floor. That is, until Tazer walks into the room.

“Is he going to be able to concentrate on tape like that?” he asks Alex.

Alex nods. “More than if he wasn’t,” he assures his Captain.

Tazer doesn’t look convinced, but he nods his head anyway. Alex scratches the back of Dylan’s neck as if to say “prove him wrong for me.”

It’s easier than it ever was in Arizona to do tape, easier to focus, easier to speak up with the confidence that Alex is backing him and that Alex wants him to speak up. When he remembers an obscure stat about the team they’re going up against and speaks up, it causes Kaner to crow in delight.

“I like your boy, Brinksy,” he says with a grin. “Let’s keep him, yeah?”

Dylan blushes. He likes the idea of being called Alex’s boy, and the squeeze on the back of his neck shows that Alex probably likes it too. He grins up at Alex for just a moment, basking in the pride he feels radiating from the Dom.

After tape, they get to head home for the rest of the day with the knowledge they have a home game tomorrow. Alex is quiet on the journey, almost to the point that Dylan starts to worry, but he tells himself that Alex is just thinking about things.

When they get through the door, Alex looks up at him before asking quietly, “You want to scene tonight? Or do you prefer not to before games.”

“It’s good before a game,” Dylan admits with a grin, the tension lifting from his shoulders. “Stops me from overthinking things, stressing about the game all night long.”

“No problem.” Alex reaches out and squeezes his hand. “I’ll have a little think about what we can do.”

They walk Ralph together, which is blissfully domestic as far as Dylan is concerned, and when they get back to the apartment Alex goes to heat up two of his pre-made meals. “If you give me a copy of your meal plan, I can give it to the people who do my food,” he tells Dylan as he gets them out.

Dylan slides his arms around Alex’s waist, “Thank you,” He whispers against his head.

Alex frowns up at him. “What for?”

“Everything,” Dylan sighs. “Looking after me, being ok with Domming me me, putting up with the fact that Domming me means Connor will be all up in your business.”

Alex just laughs, shaking his head fondly at Dylan.

After dinner, Alex sits him down on the couch. “Now,” he says. “I want you to be completely honest about what you want from me this evening. I know you said you were happy with sex, but that still leaves a lot of scope for us to work with.”

Dylan shrugs. “I don’t like humiliation,” he says honestly. He knows that now, he’s made that mistake already. “And…” he pauses before he says it, but honestly Alex looks at him like he’s hung the moon, so it’s easy to be honest about what he does and doesn’t want. He’s pretty sure if he told Alex all he could do is sit and praise him, he’d be down for that. “And I’m not big on pain. I like to be shoved around, and maybe a little bit of spanking, but I need you to praise the fuck out of me while you do it.”

“Lots of praise,” Alex grins. “Good, I like that.”

Dylan blushes a little at the praise hidden in that sentence.

“And sex?” Alex pushes.

Dylan offers an easy shrug. “I like being fucked,” he admits. “I like sucking cock and having my throat fucked. I don’t have loads of experience topping, but if that’s what you want from me I can give it a go.”

“Good,” Alex says again, stepping forward and reaching up a hand to run his fingers over Dylan’s jawline. “What about kissing?”

“Oh, fuck yes to kissing,” Dylan grins. “Kissing is the best.”

“And what about orgasm control, edging, forced orgasms, coming on command?”

Dylan can feel himself getting turned on at the thought of it. “I’ve never done it,” he admits. “But it sounds hot.”

“Bondage?” Alex pushes, covering all of the basics.

“It’s hot,” Dylan grins. “But obviously my wrists are a no-go.”

“You ever done trust bondage?” Alex asks

Dylan pauses, “I don’t even know what that is,” he admits. “It’s kind of weird that you’re the experienced one here,” he teases. “Like, I remember you being an awkward teenager.”

Alex rolls his eyes. “I was only awkward because it was you.” He blushes slightly. “Like, with other subs I’ve got game. It’s just that you made me put my foot in my mouth all the fucking time.”

Dylan grins at him, wide and bright. “I like that though,” he admits. “I like knowing that you like me.” At Alex’s curious face he clarifies further. “It makes me feel safe, like it’s harder to do this wrong.”

“Dyl,” Alex says softly, reaching out to lace his fingers through Dylan’s, holding his hand. “You won’t get this wrong, my sweet boy, I promise.” He notices the flush on Dylan’s cheeks at the pet name. “What would you like me to call you, when we’re scening?” he asks gently.

“Boy is good,” Dylan admits. “Or, like, Dyl if that’s too weird, or just anything that’s a compliment.”

“Ok,” Alex says softly. “I’m not going to tell you to call me anything in particular,” he says with a grin. “But a few things are off the cards.” He starts listing them on his fingers, “Kit or Kitty is just going to ruin the mood. I’m also not hugely into being called Daddy, so maybe not that one.”

“What about Brinks?” Dylan asks. “That’s how I think of you.”

“Brinks or Alex or Al, I have no problems with at all. If you bust out Alexander I’m going to think of my mom, so don’t fucking do that.”

Dylan giggles a little. “Sounds good,” he says, the blush on his cheeks darkening.

Alex orders him to go and have a thorough shower – which Dylan agrees to with a smirk – while he gets everything set up in the bedroom. When Dylan’s finished in the shower, he heads through to Alex’s bedroom to find the lights dimmed and the covers stripped off the bed.

“Ok,” Alex says softly. “Let’s start nice and simple, with some trust bondage.”

Dylan nods, swallowing.

“But before we start, I’m going to need your safeword.”

“McDavid.” Dylan blushes as he admits it.

Alex frowns at him. “You’re sure you’re not going to call that out accidentally?”

Dylan offers a snort, “Have you ever heard me call Davo anything other than Davo?”

Alex seems to concede the point and steers him towards the bed, one hand on the small of his back, just above where the towel is tied around Dylan’s waist. “Lie on the bed,” he instructs. “In the middle on your back.”

Dylan does as he’s told, grinning as Alex straddles him on his knees, before tapping the headboard. “Hands up here, Dyl.”

Dylan lifts his hands above his head, gripping onto one of the crossbars of the headboard.

“Now,” Alex mutters softly. “Here’s the trust bit. You keep your hands there until I tell you to move them.”

“Yes.” Dylan swallows thickly. “Yes.”

Alex grins above him, settling into himself with Dylan spread out beneath him. “Now,” he says, barely above a whisper. “I’m about to do something I’ve dreamt of doing for years, and I’m going to take my time with it.” He strokes a single finger across Dylan’s chest. “And you’re just going to be patient for me. Ok, beautiful?”

Dylan swallows again and nods.

“Good,” Alex grins, before dipping his head down to capture Dylan’s mouth in a kiss.

Dylan melts into it. It’s impossible not to. He’s never seen Alex as a Dom, not really. He’s always just been one of the boys: one of the rookies at first, then one of his A’s, then his Captain. He’s not like the other Doms Dylan tends to encounter in professional hockey who throw their dominance around at the slightest provocation. Still, kissing him, there is no doubt at all in his mind that Alex is a Dom. Alex controls every facet of the kiss: the pressure, the speed, the depth, how often he flickers his tongue against Dylan’s, when he scrapes his teeth across Dylan’s lips. Dylan has kissed many people in his life, but he’s not sure he’s ever been kissed with such thoroughness, such intention behind it.

“Fuck,” Alex breathes softly as he pulls away. “Dylan fucking Strome, you are gorgeous.” He presses his forehead against Dylan’s. “And that was better than I could have possibly imagined.”

Dylan grins at him, as Alex sits back on his heels so he’s straddling Dylan’s stomach.

“Fuck,” he swears a second time. “Just look at you Dyl.” He strokes his hands up Dylan’s triceps where they’re straining, holding his arms above his head. “You kept your arms just where I told you too,” he beams down at Dylan. “You’re such a good boy, aren’t you?”

Dylan feels the praise coursing through his veins, and he blushes, tilting his head to the side, not yet able to beg for more.

He doesn’t need to beg however, as Alex is more than happy to provide. “You’re so beautiful,” he whispers, almost reverently, his hands sliding across Dylan’s chest. “So beautiful, and so perfect.” He lets his hands caress Dylan’s shoulders. “And so fucking strong.” He grins at him. “You have no idea how much you turn me on, Dyl.”

Before Dylan can reply, Alex is leaning down and kissing him again and he finds himself relaxing into the kiss. This time, however, when Alex pulls away from his mouth, he doesn’t stop kissing him, pressing kisses to Dylan’s jaw, kissing down his neck and across his shoulders. He presses a kiss to Dylan’s left pec before grinning up at him. “I loved seeing the C here,” he admits, and then with a blush adds, “But it was fucking nothing compared to seeing you wearing an A, knowing I was your Captain, and you were right there at my side.” He scrapes his teeth across Dylan’s muscles. “You are such a fucking good hockey player, Dyl.”

Dylan opens his mouth to protest, but before he can get a word out, Alex’s mouth latches onto his nipple and the protest turns into a moan.

Alex spends what feels like hours pressing kisses over every inch of Dylan’s skin that isn’t covered by his towel, occasionally sucking or very lightly biting him, but mostly just worshipping him with his mouth, alternating his kisses with reverent murmurs of praise. It’s not until Dylan is physically writhing beneath him, desperate and achingly hard that he lets his attention move to where Dylan’s cock is making a tent in the soft towel.

“Please,” Dylan begs as Alex’s eyes travel to his cock. “Please, Alex, Sir, please.” The honorific slips out without him even noticing.

Alex huffs softly, trailing his fingers over Dylan’s hip bones. “Tell me what you want from me.”

“Anything.” Dylan writhes, bucking up to try and get some friction against his cock. “I want you to fuck me, touch me, anything you want with me.”

“What if this is what I want with you,” Alex asks with a smirk, his fingertips skating lightly across Dylan’s abs. “What if all I want to do to you is sit here and toy with you all night.”

Dylan whimpers. “Please,” he begs.

“You’d let me,” Alex grins. “Look at you, fucking perfect, still with your hands exactly where I told you to put them.” He shifts so he’s no longer kneeling over Dylan but is knelt between his legs. “And I think a good boy deserves a reward, don’t you?”

Before Dylan can answer, Alex has untied the towel, bending over and taking the head of Dylan’s cock in his mouth. It’s hot and wet and Dylan has been so on edge that it’s impossible not to buck up into the warm wet heat of him. Alex coughs a little, and then places his hands firmly on Dylan’s hips, holding him tightly in place with enough force that it’ll probably bruise. “Stay still,” he says.

Dylan does his best to try and obey, and it’s made easier by Alex pinning him down, but it’s still hard not to buck up as Alex starts up a quick rhythm bobbing up and down his cock. It’s not long before Dylan can feel his balls tightening, his orgasm approaching and then Alex pulls off with a smirk, and blows cold air over his cock.

“Good boy,” he mutters, reaching over to grab a bottle of lube. “You’re doing so well.”

Dylan whimpers. He wants to protest, say he’s not doing well, that he’s desperate to come, but he can’t say anything at all.

Alex gives him a few minutes to calm down a little while he warms the bottle of lube in his hands, so when his slick finger starts pressing at Dylan’s entrance, it isn’t cold or shocking.

“Fuck,” Dylan whimpers and spreads his legs apart as far as they can go. “Please Brinks, I need you in me.”

Alex just grins at him. “You’ll get it, beautiful boy,” he says softly, pressing into him with just one fingertip. “You’ll get it, just not yet.”

It doesn’t take Alex long to work up to two fingers and then he’s pressing them in and out of Dylan, crooking them to rub against his prostate, fucking into him at a fast and relentless pace.

“Fuck,” Dylan bucks up as much as he can manage. “I need, cock, please, Sir, I need.”

“Oh, Dyl,” Alex sighs. “You’re doing so well for me, my beautiful boy, you’re doing perfectly. Fucking look at you.”

Dylan whimpers. He can’t open his eyes, can’t look down at Alex, can’t do anything except lie there and let Alex fuck him with his fingers. He’s so desperate for something on his cock that he forgets himself for a minute and reaches down with one hand, before he squeaks and slams it back up onto the headboard.

“Oh darling,” Alex croons. “You did so well.” He pulls his fingers out of Dylan and Dylan can feel his orgasm ebbing away again. “You did so well for me for so long.” Alex climbs over him, carefully avoiding his swollen, aching cock to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Arms around me now, Dyl,” Alex orders softly.

It aches when he tries to move them. He’s not sure how long they’ve been there for. But he manages it, wrapping both arms around Alex’s back before Alex draws him into another kiss, kissing him just like he had at the start.

“No,” Dylan moans softly.

Alex pulls back. “What’s the matter sweet boy?”

“I can’t,” Dylan mutters, sweat pooling on his brow. “I can’t do it all again.”

Alex chuckles softly, leaning in to press a kiss to Dylan’s neck. “I wouldn’t make you do it all again darling,” he says. “You’ve been such a good boy for me.”

“Please,” Dylan begs. “Please can I come, please, I want to come.”

“You can.” Alex trails a sticky finger across Dylan’s chest. “Do you want to come with my mouth on you, or do you think you could wait until I fuck you?”

Dylan groans, “Please.” He gazes up at Alex, eyes wide and desperate. “Please fuck me.”

That causes a groan to escape from Alex’s lips. “Fuck, Dyl,” he whispers, leaning against him and just breathing for a moment. “You really are everything I’ve ever dreamt about.”

Dylan is aching for it by the time Alex finally eases inside of him, fucking into him with the power that only a hockey player could. When Alex finally leans down and mutters, “I want to see your face when you come for me, Dyl,” and wraps a hand around Dylan’s cock, Dylan sees white.

He comes to with Alex still inside him but braced over him, clearly shaking through the aftershocks of his own orgasm.

“Fuck.” Dylan eyes him. “Brinks, Al, fuck.”

“Hey,” Alex grins weakly at him. “You ok?”

Dylan just whimpers in response. Trying to put into words just how ok he is seems like too much, so instead he hooks one of his legs around Alex, ensuring he stays inside him.

“Fuck, Dyl, no,” Alex pants. “My arms are about to give out.”

Dylan just hums happily, and wraps both arms around Alex, pulling him into his chest.

“Ok,” Alex mutters against his chest. “This works too.”

For a few minutes, they just lie there basking in the afterglow, until Alex props himself up again and slides out, a regretful half-smile on his face. He ties off the condom and throws it in the trash.

“When did that happen?” Dylan asks. His voice is raw, and he wonders how much he’s been screaming and how thick Alex’s apartment walls are.

“Before I fucked you,” Alex says. “You didn’t notice?”

Dylan shakes his head,

“And you didn’t stop me?” Alex stares at him in amazement. “You thought I was just going to raw you without discussing it, and you were ok with that.”

Dylan offers up a little shrug. “I trust you,” he says simply.

Alex moans, and rests his head against Dylan’s chest. “You are something else, Dyl,” he says, stroking his hands up Dylan’s sides.

Alex insists on getting them both drinks, and he comes back from the kitchen with two bottles of Gatorade and Dylan’s favourite candy bar.

“When did you get that?” Dylan asks him.

Alex grins at him. “When Connor called me about the trade.”

Dylan just hums happily, reaching out for it and unwrapping it with a gleeful smile on his face. He bites into it as Alex uses a warm washcloth to clean up the worst of the come drying on his skin.

“You’re so fucking perfect, Dyl,” Alex tells him, pressing a kiss to the side of his head. “Like, I need you to know how fucking wonderful you were in that scene.”

“How wonderful I was?” Dylan looks at him like he’s got two heads. “Dude, I came harder than I have ever come in my life.”

Alex grins proud and bright for a moment. “Edging’s fun,” he says, sticking his tongue out at Dylan’s cheekily. “Maybe if you’d like to do this again, we can look at throwing some rimming in.”

Dylan whimpers and buries his face in Alex’s shoulder. “Fuck, Brinks,” he whines. “You can’t say stuff like that when I’m all fucked out.”

“Would you like to?” Alex asks, and there’s a hint of nervousness underneath his tone. “Do this again I mean?”

“Whenever you fucking want me, Brinks,” Dylan says, grinning sappily at him. “I mean that. I’m happy for you to have me wherever and whenever you want me.”

“Awesome,” Alex grins. “I will bear that in mind.”

“I mean, I’m assuming we’d get fined if it was in the locker room,” Dylan adds with a cheeky smirk. “But honestly, I’m ok with that.”

Alex just smacks him lightly on the bicep. “No fucking in the locker room,” he says sternly.

When they’re both finished with their drinks and Dylan’s finished his candy bar, Alex steers him to snuggling down under the covers. “How are your arms feeling?” he asks.

“Achy,” Dylan answers honestly, “but good achy.”

“Good,” Alex says. “You’ll let me know if anything seems the wrong kind of uncomfortable, won’t you?”

Dylan nods seriously. He knows how important this stuff is. His body is his career, and more than that, it’s his life. He can’t risk even the slightest injury.

“And what about your head?” Alex presses his nose into Dylan’s cheek. “How’s everything feeling up there?”

“So good,” Dylan answers again, open and honest. “I feel like I’m your good boy.”

“You are my good boy,” Alex tells him, lying down to rest his head on Dylan’s shoulder. He reaches over, grabbing Dylan’s hand, and lacing their fingers together. “Thank you.”

Dylan frowns at him. “What am I being thanked for?”

Alex shrugs. “Everything. Submitting so beautifully, trusting me with all of this, letting me live out my fantasies.”

“Was it everything you’d ever dreamt of?” Dylan asks, a teasing tone to his voice.

“And more,” Alex answers honestly. “Fuck, the noises you made as I pushed inside of you, I’m remembering that shit forever.”

“Can I ask you a question?” Dylan asks shyly. “Like, a bit of a personal question.”

Alex just hums his assent. “Anything.”

“You said you’d dreamt of this, like.” Dylan blushes, refusing to look Alex in the eye. “Like, you meant when you jerked off, right?”

Alex blushes a little himself, and nods. “Sorry,” he tells him. “Is that weird?”

“It’s awesome,” Dylan tells him. “I told you, I like the fact you’re into me. Makes me feel hotter than I really am.”

“Impossible.” Alex presses a kiss to his jawline. “You’re already the hottest person in existence.”

“When was the last time?” Dylan presses.

Alex rolls his eyes, and shakes his head a little at himself more than anything, “When Connor rang,” he admits. “Well, obviously after Connor rang, I wasn’t fucking jerking off on the phone to Davo.”

Dylan snorts. “Yeah, obviously.”

“Do you need to call him?” Alex asks softly. “Because I’m about five minutes from passing out.”

Dylan shakes his head, “I’ll call him in the morning,” he says, snuggling into Alex’s embrace and squeezing his hand where they’re joined together. “This is too perfect for me to move.”

 

They lose Dylan’s first game with the Hawks, but honestly, he doesn’t care. He gets a goal which Alex has the secondary assist on and he gets an assist. He can’t remember the last time he played this well, and he doesn’t know if it’s because his head is finally feeling calm and settled or if it’s because he and Alex just play that well together.

“Baby!” Connor says delightedly as soon as he calls him. “You were on fire!”

“I mean.” Dylan blushes a little. “Not as on fire as Vegas were, obviously.”

“Still,” Connor insists, with the quiet determination he always does when Dylan is trying to squirrel out of taking the praise he’s being given. “You played like a fucking all-star, babes.”

“Love you,” Dylan mutters, unable to say anything else in the face of such determined praise.

“Love you too,” Connor tells him back. “And honestly, I’m pleased Kit’s looking after you. It’s clearly doing you good.”

Dylan groans at him down the phone. “Honestly Con,” he says glancing around to make sure there isn’t anyone listening in on their conversation, “hottest fucking sex of my life.”

“Ew,” Connor teases. “I don’t need to hear about you having sex with little baby DeBrincat.”

“Eh,” Dylan laughs right back at him. “He’s no rookie anymore, that’s for sure.”

“I’m happy though,” Connor tells him. “Like, chirping aside, you need a good Dom in your life.”

“Another good Dom in my life,” Dylan corrects. “I’ve always had you.”

“You know what I mean,” Connor sighs. “A Dom who’s more than just your best friend.”

Dylan nods, because Connor’s right. He’s reminded of it more so when he follows Alex to bed, and Alex hogties him and rims him until he comes so hard he passes out again.

The next night is their last night at home before heading out on another roadie. Though Alex doesn’t mention anything about a scene, Dylan does find himself leaning into him as they sit and watch TV together.

He wonders about broaching the subject, and then remembers who he’s sitting with, so he just rests his hand, palm up, on Alex’s thigh.

Alex grins and laces their fingers together. “What’s up?”

Dylan blushes a little. “Can I sleep in your bed even if we’re not scening?” he asks quietly.

The grin on Alex’s face widens and he twists to press a kiss into Dylan’s hair. “Absolutely. And I’ve already spoken to management so you can be my roadie roomie.”

Dylan hums happily, snuggling up against Alex again. “Thanks, Brinks.”

They don’t really have time for a scene before the next game, but when Alex tentatively asks Dylan if he wants to kneel for a few minutes in the locker room before the game, he jumps at the chance. Kneeling in front of Alex’s feet, he presses his face to Alex’s knee. “Hey,” he says softly. “You want me to lace you up while I’m here?”

Alex shrugs, and then nods, “Go for it beautiful.”

“I should fine you for that,” Seabs comments, “but Stromer’s just too adorable.”

Dylan flips him his middle finger and then goes back to tying Alex’s skate laces. Finally, he presses a soft kiss to each kneecap. “Thank you, Brinks,” he says, quiet enough that the others shouldn’t be able to hear it.

“Whenever you need it.” Alex slides his fingers through Dylan’s hair. “I mean that, Dyl, I really do.”

They get a night to themselves in between roadie games, stuck in yet another bland hotel. It’s made less bland by Alex spanking Dylan until his ass turns red and then fucking between his cheeks, all the while pressing kisses to his spine and murmuring about how perfect he is.

The next game, however, is a bit of a shit show. Not least of all because Alex starts a fight. After Matt Irwin checks Duncs into the boards, Alex decides that starting a fight with someone six inches taller and 40 pounds heavier is a good idea. Dylan’s used to Alex fighting, used to seeing the determined grin on his face as he whales into someone bigger than him, taking him down easily as Dylan clings onto some player from the opposition and refuses to get involved.

Alex only gets five minutes in the box, while Duncs, who waded in to finish the fight, gets a game misconduct. When Alex is eventually back on the bench, grinning, Dylan can’t help but ask if he’s ok.

“Fuck yeah.” Alex grins up at him, bumping their shoulders together. “You know I love a good fight.”

Dylan never enjoys getting in fights. He’s done it on the ice when he’s absolutely had to, but he’s never found it fun. He wonders if it’s a Dom thing, whether getting to hit someone scratches an itch in Alex that Dylan just doesn’t have.

He tries to shove it out of his head for the rest of the game, but then they’re on a red-eye back to Chicago and he can’t stop it turning over in his head. He’d been thinking that maybe Alex was the perfect Dom for him because Alex didn’t need to get too violent, didn’t need to dish out more than the occasional light spanking that was all Dylan wanted to take. But with how he’d seemed on the ice, skating to the box with his shoulders relaxed and grin wide... maybe raining punches down on someone is exactly what Alex needs.

He wants to call Connor, to have his voice in his ear. Fuck, he wants to kneel for Connor. But he can’t do any of that while they’re on the plane.

As soon as they get back to Alex’s, though, as Alex heads to bed, Dylan hangs back. “I’m just gonna call Con for a second,” he says quietly.

“Oh,” Alex says, a flicker of some expression across his face Dylan can’t quite place before he smooths it into a smile. “No problem, Dyl. You’re welcome in my bed when you’re done, if you want.” It’s carefully phrased, definitely not an order. Dylan sort of wishes it had been.

He shuts himself in the spare room that he hasn’t used since his first night and dials Connor’s number. It’s already past 1 a.m. for Connor, but Dylan also knows that Connor always picks up the phone for him, night or day.

“Hey, baby boy,” Connor’s voice is there. Sleepy, but there. Dylan finds himself sinking to his knees beside the empty bed. “What’s up?”

“Alex got in a fight,” Dylan says. He can’t explain all of it, can’t explain why it’s a problem, not yet, but he can start with that.

“And you didn’t like it?”

“What if he needs more than me, Con?” Dylan presses his forehead to the mattress. “I don’t want him to hit me like that, but what if that’s what he needs?”

“Oh, baby.” Connor sighs deeply. “I’m going to ask you a question, and you’re not going to think it has anything to do with this, but I want you to try and answer for me, ok?”

“Ok,” Dylan says honestly. He’ll always try to do what Connor asks. Connor never minds it if he fails.

“Why do you think you and I work so well together, dynamically?”

Dylan frowns. Connor was right, this has nothing to do with his current problem. But he’d promised to try and answer, so he gives it his best shot, “Because you’re the best Dom ever?”

Connor snorts. “Not fucking likely, Dyl.”

Dylan tries again. “Because we aren’t in a real relationship?”

“Not that either. One more guess and then I’ll tell you.”

Dylan frowns. “Because our kinks fit well together?”

“Because we talk, Dyl,” Connor tells him. “Because we talk a lot. We talk about stuff with each other when we’re hurting. We talk about what works and what doesn’t, we talk about everything and nothing – that’s why we work.”

“Oh.” Dylan pauses to think for a minute. “But talking to you is easy, Con,” he whines a little. “Talking to Alex is scary.”

“I know,” Connor says, and his voice is soothing even from hundreds of miles away. “Which is why I’m going to make it easy on you.”

“You are?”

Connor hums. “Sure thing, baby boy. Because in a minute, I’m going to hang up on you, and then I’m telling you that you have to go and talk to Alex about this.”

“He’s gone to sleep,” Dylan answers instantly. He’s not sure it’s true, but Alex has definitely gone to bed.

“You can tell him I’ve made you do it,” Connor tells him. “Then if he’s mad about being woken up, he can be mad at me, not at you. But you will do it.”

“Ok,” Dylan answers meekly, because it’s a direct order from Connor, and that does make it easier. It isn’t his fault if it goes wrong, it’s Connor’s.

“Good boy.” Connor’s smile is audible in his voice. “I’ll call you in the morning to check you did it.”

“Love you, Con,” Dylan says. It’s a half-desperate attempt to get Connor to stay on the phone, one that he knows won’t work.

“Love you too, Dyl,” Connor says gently, before adding on the end, “and I know you can do this for me, ok? Go and talk to Kit for me now.”

Dylan nods as Connor hangs up the call and he allows himself one deep breath before he climbs to his feet and follows Connor’s instructions.

Alex is still awake when Dylan comes through, sitting up in bed reading on his phone. “Hey,” he looks up at Dylan.

“Connor says I have to talk to you,” Dylan sighs, sitting on the bed.

“Sure thing.” Alex puts his phone down. “Big talk?”

Dylan shrugs. “Kind of talk where I’d appreciate a cuddle.”

“Always.” Alex holds out his arms and Dylan crawls into them, letting Alex hold him close. For a minute, they just sit there, Alex carding his hand through Dylan’s hair, but eventually it’s Alex who breaks the silence. “What are we talking about Dyl?”

Dylan groans, hiding his face in Alex’s shoulder before taking a breath to ask, “Am I enough for you?”

“Dylan, gorgeous,” Alex reaches out to cup Dylan’s cheek softly, “you are literally the most perfect sub I’ve ever met.”

“But,” Dylan pulls away, unable to meet Alex’s gaze. “I don’t like… y’know.” He bites his lip. “I don’t really like it rough.”

“I know,” Alex assures him. “Baby, I don’t want to give it to you rough.”

Dylan shakes his head, continuing to protest. “But you said today, that fight, that you loved it and I guess I just realized that you probably have different limits than me and…” he trails off as he realizes Alex is starting to giggle.

“Yeah,” Alex grins at him. “I enjoyed today’s fight, because I like fighting, but.” He shakes his head, “It’s not a sex thing, Dylan, it’s a hockey thing!”

“Oh,” Dylan blushes. “I just…”

“C’mere.” Alex pulls him closer to press a soft kiss against his lips. “There is a world of difference between a fight between two guys on the ice and violence as part of a scene, and I’m really not into that. I promise.”

“Oh,” Dylan repeats, finally finding himself able to meet Alex’s gaze. “So you don’t mind?”

“Depends,” Alex teases. “Can I still edge you till you cry?”

“Fuck yes.” Dylan shoots him a grin, and then snuggles into his arms. “Sorry for freaking out.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Alex assures him, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “You did the right thing calling Connor, and you did the right thing coming and talking to me.”

He falls asleep in Alex’s arms, with Alex whispering in his ear about what a good sub he is. For the first time since his draft he feels like maybe he can make it to the show. Maybe he can make it as a Blackhawk.

The next few months fly by. They get to go home for Christmas, which is an unexpected bonus of being traded, and with Alex at his side Dylan feels like there’s nothing he can’t do. There are occasional moments that don’t seem to sit right in the back of his mind, but he wonders if it’s just his own self-doubt plaguing him as usual.

“You’re the best,” he mutters drowsily against Alex’s skin, fucked out and sated, coming up from subspace feeling warm and safe. “Best Dom in the world.”

“Hush now.” Alex smooths his hair back off his forehead, presses a soft kiss to his lips. “Don’t say stuff like that. I know you’re all gooey right now, but you can’t say that.”

“It’s true,” Dylan whines. “Best Dom in the whole wide world.”

Alex tenses. “Except for Connor,” he reminds him.

Dylan rolls his eyes, grinning and pressing a happy kiss against Alex’s lips. “Al,” he whispers, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve been hearing my whole damn life.” He laughs as he repeats it. “You’ve got to stop comparing yourself to Connor McDavid.” He lets out a little snort, because it is something he hears all the time, and he never thought he’d be saying it to someone else. “Besides,” he carries on, flopping back onto his back, “Connor’s never made me come that hard.”

“Dylan!” Alex squawks, shoving him playfully. “You can’t just…” he stammers.

“What?” Dylan smirks up at him, the embodiment of the cat who got the cream. “I’ve told you before, Brinksy, nobody makes me come as hard as you do.”

“Just…” Alex rolls his eyes and presses a kiss to Dylan’s cheekbone. “Don’t go spreading that around, ok, you could damage a few egos.”

Dylan chuckles, pulling Alex into his arms. “Best. Fuck. Ever.” He repeats, punctuating his words with kisses against Alex’s skin, wondering briefly if he’s ever felt this happy.

January goes fast. They’re losing, a lot, which means they’re training hard and Tazer is going harder on them than usual.

“Don’t take it personally,” Kaner mutters in Dylan’s ear as they line up for yet another drill in the ostensibly-optional skate which Jonny had told them all to get their asses on the ice for.

“Taking it personally from Tazer’s your job,” Dylan chirps back, because for once in his life, he isn’t taking it personally. He knows he’s playing his hardest. He knows because he has Alex on his wing, telling him how well he’s doing, and, yeah, pointing out gently where he could improve – but never in such a way that it makes him feel like he can’t get back out there and try again.

February starts with a roadie that ends in Edmonton, and Dylan’s practically vibrating out of his seat on the plane.

“Calm your boy.” Jonny rolls his eyes at Alex. “Some of us actually want to chill out on this flight.” They’re all exhausted after the overtime win against Minnesota but luckily they’re going to have the day in Edmonton just to relax.

Alex just puts his hand on his thigh, palm up, and shoots Dylan a grin. “Come on, Dyl,” he says, waggling his fingers.

Dylan slots his hand into Alex’s and leans down so his head is resting on Alex’s shoulder. “Don’t wanna rest,” he pouts.

“Then don’t,” Alex tells him. “As soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, you can kneel for me instead.”

He’s never knelt on the team plane before, but as soon as he sinks to his knees he decides he wants to do it every flight. With Alex’s hands playing with his hair and Alex’s eyes on him, it’s the best flight he’s ever taken in his life.

As soon as they land in Alberta, he texts Connor to let him know. “Con wants to go to dinner with us tonight.”

“Both of us?” Alex questions.

“Yeah, both of us.” Dylan nudges him with his shoulder. “Or did you forget the season you played on his wing in Erie?”

Alex shrugs, but he seems to acquiesce easily. There’s obviously something off with him however, because he shoots Dylan a weird look when Dylan slips into the booth beside him.

Dylan wonders if it’s been long enough since they played together that the Connor McDavid Effect has reinstated itself in Alex, but they spend the evening chatting pleasantly enough about their friends from Erie, the season so far and everything in between. It would be perfect apart from the fact that Alex won’t touch him and every time he leans into Alex, Alex looks uncomfortable and shifts away.

“You seem happy,” Connor says while Alex is away in the bathroom.

“I’m so fucking happy.” Dylan grins.

“Good.” Connor’s smiling as his gaze rakes over Dylan. “Good, baby boy.” He reaches across the table, and links their fingers together, “I love you, you know that right?”

Dylan grins back at him. “Love you too.” He smiles, blushing a little as Alex reappears and he drops Connor’s hand.

Connor gets the cheque because that’s tradition. They’re in his city after all. But when he’s done, Alex stands to get his coat. “Davo,” he says, reaching in to give him a hug. “Awesome seeing you, buddy. We’ll kick your asses tomorrow.”

Dylan watches as Connor hugs him back, wondering why they have to leave so early, but he figures they’ve had an exhausting roadie, and he turns to grab his own coat when Alex reaches out to ruffle his hair. “Dyl.” He sounds strained, but there’s a smile on his face. “Have fun, I’ll see you in the morning. Yeah.”

Dylan can’t speak. He just blinks and watches, frozen, as Alex walks out of the restaurant.

“What the fuck?” Connor asks.

“I don’t know…” Dylan flounders, “I don’t know!” He can feel the panic rising in his chest. “Have I done something wrong?”

“Come on.” Connor stands up, reaching out for Dylan’s hand. “Lets go catch up to him. We’ll talk to him and work this out.”

Alex must have caught a cab back to the hotel already, because he’s not outside the restaurant, but it’s easy enough for Dylan and Connor to do the same. Dylan sits in the back, shaking with adrenaline. The only thing keeping him grounded is Connor’s hand in his, Connor’s soft gentle voice muttering to him that everything is going to be ok.

When they get back to the hotel, a bunch of the guys are in the hotel bar which means they spot them going across the lobby.

“Woah now!” Seabs laughs, pulling himself to his feet and wandering across the lobby to them. “Sneaking your boyfriend into the hotel is definitely a fine.”

Dylan snaps. He’s exhausted and scared and this is the last thing he needs. “For the last fucking time,” he yells. “Connor McDavid isn’t my fucking boyfriend.”

“Dyl,” Connor says softly, before turning to Seabs. “Sorry,” he says. “He’s freaking out right now. If you could just let us go and find Brinks, we’ll sort all this out.”

“I’m here.” Alex appears behind Seabs, and apparently he’d been one of the guys at the bar. His gaze flickers between Connor and Dylan, down to where their hands are linked together, and then back up to Dylan’s face. “He’s not?” he asks softly.

“What?” Dylan can feel his vision starting to blur at the edges because his boyfriend is asking him if his best friend isn’t his boyfriend.

“You’re holding his hand,” Alex points out softly.

“We’re fucking Otters, Alex!” Dylan squawks. “We all hold hands.”

“You told him you loved him.”

“I do!” Dylan starts to hyperventilate. “He’s my best fucking friend in the entire world, of course I fucking love him.”

“Calm down,” Connor says softly. “Come on Alex.” He turns, still holding Dylan’s hand. “Dyl needs to sit down, and we’re going to go have this conversation somewhere quiet.”

Dylan’s not sure how they get up to his and Alex’s room. All he’s sure of is that when they get there he doesn’t want to stand anymore, he wants to kneel. “Please.” He’s not sure who he’s asking. Either of them. Both of them. “Please, may I kneel.”

“Oh, sweetheart,” Alex says, and then stops himself, his eyes flickering to Connor, who rolls his eyes at him. “Come here, then,” he finishes.

Dylan sinks gratefully to his knees, burying his face in Alex’s thigh. He feels the bed dip as Connor comes to sit beside Alex, and out of the corner of his eye, he sees Connor’s hand sliding onto Alex’s thigh, palm up. The relief he feels coursing through his veins as Alex links his fingers through Connor’s is so strong he can practically taste it.

“Let’s chat,” Connor says, calm even through it all, “because there seem to be some crossed wires.”

“I thought you guys were…” Alex starts. “You call him your boy, and you asked me to look after him, for you.”

“Because I care about him,” Connor elaborates. “And I Dom for him, platonically.” He’s staring at Alex as he says quietly. “I’m his friend… you’re his boyfriend.”

“Am I?” Alex asks back, and Dylan tenses underneath him. Alex is quiet for a moment, and then his hand comes down to stroke Dylan’s cheek, grabbing his attention, “Sweet boy,” he says softly, “did you think we were dating?”

Dylan nods against his thigh.

Alex laughs, “Oh, fuck no,” he says, and it’s like a bolt of lightning straight to Dylan’s heart. He jerks backwards staring up at him in heartbroken disbelief.

“You don’t…” he stammers.

“Dylan,” Alex says, soft and sweet, his hand coming down to cradle Dylan’s cheek, “if I’m going to date you, sweet boy, I’m doing it properly. I’ll take you out, I’ll buy you presents… This isn’t dating.”

“Oh.” Dylan knows he has to ask the question. “So it’s not that you don’t want me?”

Alex groans. “I think I’ve made it pretty clear how much I fucking adore you, Dyl, and how much I’ll always want you.”

Dylan blushes, unable to hide his face with Alex holding him there.

“Now,” Connor slips his hand free of Alex’s, “I’m gonna leave you two to chat this out, you ok with that Dyl?”

Dylan nods, “Can I…” He can feel his heart hammering in his throat as he asks Alex, “Can I cuddle Con before he goes?”

“You don’t need to ask,” Alex tells him. “You’ve never needed to ask.”

Dylan nods, before clambering to his feet and throwing himself into Connor’s arms, burying his nose in Connor’s hair. “’m sorry,” he whispers. “’m sorry for being such a fuck up.”

“Dylan,” Connor growls in warning. “You aren’t a fuck up,” He reaches up to tangle his fingers through Dylan’s hair. “You’re my good boy.” He pauses, frowning a little at himself before correcting himself. “Brinksy’s good boy.” He reaches up to press a kiss to Dylan’s nose. “Regardless, you’re a good boy Dyl, you know that.”

Dylan shrugs, because he isn’t sure right now. All he knows is that he’s fucked up communicating.

“You’re a good boy,” Alex says, coming to stand behind him and slip his arms around Dylan’s waist, pressing himself against Dylan’s back. “Our good boy.” 

With Connor standing in front of him, and Alex standing behind him, both of them telling him the same thing, it’s impossible not to believe them. Dylan breathes a heavy sigh of relief.

 Dylan lets himself relax for a moment, before he bids Connor goodbye, pushing him out the door before turning back to Alex. “Cuddle?” He asks softly.

“Always,” Alex says, climbing onto the bed and holding out his arms to Dylan, grinning as Dylan climbs into them.

For a moment, Dylan just lies there, leaning against Alex’s shoulder, breathing softly – it’s been a hell of an evening. He looks down, and sees Alex’s hand, resting palm up on his thigh. Shooting Alex a grin, he slots their fingers together.

“Boyfriends, then,” Alex says with a sigh, pressing a kiss to the top of Dylan’s head. “Baby boy, I’m so sorry I didn’t notice earlier.”

Dylan blushes a little, and squeezes Alex’s hands, “Yeah, boyfriends would be good.” He looks up at him. “Or, y’know, was what I already thought was happening.”

“As I said.” Alex reaches up with his free hand to stroke his thumb across Dylan’s cheek. “I’m going to treat you so well, you’ll redefine what boyfriend actually means.”

“And we’re exclusive,” Dylan tells him. It’s not even a question. “I’ve never slept with Con, and I’m not planning on starting.” He laughs a little before he adds, “And I’m not planning on sleeping with anyone else either.”

“Awesome.” Alex runs his hand down Dylan’s neck, pausing for a moment to stroke his thumb across the sensitive skin. “And this?”

Confused, Dylan pauses. “This?” he asks.

“A collar,” Alex breathes, barely louder than a whisper. “How would you feel about wearing my collar?”

Dylan squeaks and jumps up onto his knees, straddling Alex’s lap and burying his face in his neck. “Oh fuck yes, yes yes yes,” he says delightedly. When he opens his eyes, he sees Alex smiling softly at him, and he shifts so he can press their lips together. “I’m gonna be your boy.”

Alex scoffs. “The collar is just a formality, Dyl.” He runs his hands down Dylan’s sides. “You already are my boy, and apparently I just didn’t know it.”

“You know now,” Dylan tells him, kissing him again.

“That I do,” Alex agrees, pulling Dylan back into his arms and kissing him like he never wants to let him go.