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To Pittsburgh with Love

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Chapter One:

Alex is going to be great. He can feel it in his bones, shows it in the way he walks. He's going to be the best to ever put on a pair of skates.

(Even better than Wayne Gretzky. Don't let Zhenya tell you otherwise.)

Evgeni Malkin, his Zhenya, is his center. Not just on the ice, but in life. Zhenya's presence, his relaxing voice and easy jokes, makes Alex calm, makes him breathe easier. Zhenya is his not just his best friend, but his brother, his everything.

But sometimes he wants more, and Zhenya is always willing to give it to him.

Alex knows he'll be the best, that Zhenya will be second. He dreams of them playing together in the NHL for the Red Wings. Being on the first line, racking up points, and winning the Stanley Cup together. Oh what a dream that is.

When the name Sidney Crosby finds its way to Russia, Alex shrugs it off with ease. Someone better than Alex the Great? Unlikely.

Then Worlds roll around. It seems like Sid the Kid vs Alex the Gr8 is the only thing anyone can talk about. Which - Alex loves the attention. Always has, always will. Knowing that people are looking at him, watching him play and liking what they see pushes him harder.

But he doesn't like to share the spotlight.

Finally, Canada and Russia play against each other. Alex is excited. He gets to prove once and for all that he is the best.

In no way did he expect this Sidney Crosby character to be that fucking good.

He'll never tell anyone this, but he wasn't just mesmerized by the Canadian's playing ability, but also his adorable face.

It's stupid really. Having a crush on his supposed rival. But Crosby is rather adorable and his playing technique is unbelievable. It's hard not to like him, at least a little.

Zhenya finds his crush hilarious. But he's an asshole who doesn't get laid that night. Or at least not by him.

Their relationship (on a romantic level) is basically over by now anyways. But neither of them actually admit that until their drafted to different teams. Which - that's not something Alex had ever thought about before. Of them not going to the Red Wings. Them not playing together, not winning the Cup together.

This isn't a dream. Alex is going to Washington and Zhenya is going to Pittsburgh. Their dreams of playing together will have to wait until the Olympics.

~

When the Pens draft Sidney Crosby, Alex nearly loses his shit. This kid just gets better with age. Not just his on ice play (which - holy shit, it's phenomenal), but his appearance. The boyish charm and the chubbiness in his cheeks have started to fade away and have been replaced by high, sharp cheekbones and a more mature look.

He also looks really good in a suit.

~

Alex knows it's a bad idea. Zhenya has told him multiple times that Crosby is a grouch after losses. But he has to see him, has to hear his voice again.

He goes to the hotel the Pens are staying at, uses the key card he borrowed from the pretty lady at the front desk, finds Sidney's room and waits.

"I love you." Alex whispers as the door opens. He bites his bottom lip hard, and prays Sidney didn't hear that. Where did that even come from anyways?

"Ovechkin, why are you here?" Sid asks, turning to face the Russian on his bed.

"Wanted to talk." Alex mumbles. About what, he isn't entirely sure.

"About what?" He says, impatiently crossing his arms across his chest.

"Sit down first." Alex pats the area next to him. The need to be close to the Canadian overwhelming him. Sidney looks unsure of himself, like he's fighting whether or not he should listen.

He sits down.

"What is so important that you couldn't just call me and tell me in the morning like a normal person?" Sid sighs.

"Do you consider this.. friendship?" He uses his hands to gesture the space in between them. Sid rolls his eyes and slaps the palm of his hand onto his forehead. It's so incredibly adorable Alex bites down a smile.

"It's almost eleven o'clock at night and you guys just kicked our ass. So I'm -really- tired." Sid closes his eyes. "And you decide to sneak into my room and ask if I'm your -friend-? Wow." Sid opens them back up and looks at Alex as he grins.

"Well, not only question. Just first," Alex says.

"Well, I guess. Sure." Crosby answers, looking unsure of himself.

"Why?" Alex asks.

"Because Geno makes me." Sid replies. Alex's heart drops to his stomach as he fills with disappointment.

Alex frowns."Only reason?" He expected a little more.

Sid rolls his eyes. "Well," he really hates himself,"you're kind of... funny, I guess. And nice, in a way. And you're good competition." Sid mumbles the rest, looking down at his feet.

"Really?"

Sid looks back up and into his eyes. "If you ever tell anyone I ever said that I will fucking kill you," Sid threatens, he tries his hardest to sound and look intimidating.

Alex falls on his side onto the bed and laughs. "Sidney Crosby think I'm funny. This is great day," Alex says when he's done.

"Good for you. Now leave." Sid lays down and props himself up on his elbow, staring Alex directly in the eyes. He resists the urge to jump on the Canadian, just barely though.

"You never returned the question!" Alex points out. He probably should just stop now and leave,the temptation is to much. Sidney rolls his eyes and snarls.

"Why am I your friend?" Sid asks.

"Hm." Alex hums.

Ovechkin scoots closer to him on the bed, looking him straight in the eyes. Sid hesitantly looks back at him.

"Nothing." Alex says, smiling.

Sidney sits up, rolling his eyes. "Oh fuck you."

"Kidding Sid. Take joke." Alex says. Sid lays down on his bed.

"I'm expecting you to be serious like I was with you. But you're whole life is about making jokes. Why am I surprised I can't have a civil, adult conversation with you?" Sid says.

Alex lays his head on Sidney's shoulder and hums a Russian tune his momma taught him.

"I like personality." Alex whispers. "Nice, kind, innocent. Pretty eyes and smile. Adorable laugh, mainly at my jokes. Love it when it so hard you hold your stomach and get high pitched. Like to make you blush, not just with sex jokes." And it does make Sidney blush.

"Oh.. uh thanks." Sidney says.

Alex sits up, rubbing his eyes. "I leave now."

"That was the only reason you came?" Sidney asks, his voice sounding desperate..

"Yes. Just want proof to show Sasha I have non Russian friends." Alex explains.

"Why not ask someone on your team?" Crosby asks. Alex shrugs and smiles at him.

Ovechkin pats Sidney's cheek lightly. "Like you more." Then he leaves.

Alex smiles as he walks down the hall - he doesn't know what exactly it is Sidney does to him, but he likes it. He likes it a lot. Embarrassingly so.

Maybe his little slip earlier meant something. What if he really does love Sidney?

It would make sense. He's been thinking about Crosby since WJC. He melts on the inside whenever he sees Sidney, smiles whenever someone says his name. How'd he not realize this before?

But Sidney is straight (or, according to Zhenya, possibly asexual). So it's not like they'd have a chance.

Not that someone like Sidney would ever like someone like Alex.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two:

Alex is happy with his performance tonight - a goal and an assist against Vancouver as the Caps begin their Canadian road trip. Happiness hums through his bone as he flops onto his hotel bed, remote in hand as he turns on the TV and flips to ESPN. A smile spreads across his face when none other than Sidney Crosby appears on the screen.

"Wh.. How would you explain the poor performance by your team tonight?" an ESPN reporter asks.

"We didn't play poorly. Um, we weren't connecting on the ice like usual. We still tried our hardest, the Flyers out played us."

"Is there anything in particular that you think messed up your game?"

"No."

"Does it have anything to do with the pictures?" a brunette from CBS.

"Excuse me?"

"Pictures have spread all over Twitter of you sitting in a bar kissing another man before abruptly leaving." A reporter from CNN who Alex thinks is named Brad questions, "Does this mean you're a homosexual?"

"No comment." Sidney replies, face going pale.

Alex turns off the TV and fishes his phone out of his pocket. His heart thuds against his ribcage as he logs into Twitter. His hands start to shake as his thumb scrolls down the screen. It doesn't take long to find the pictures in question.

The first two show two men kissing, but neither are incriminating. The third one is a clear shot of Sidney.

Alex's heart beats furiously in his chest - the way it always does when he thinks of Sidney. This time it's different, more intense.

Is there a chance that Sidney could like men? That's he's at least bisexual? Alex wouldn't know what to do with himself if there was a chance - even the smallest of chances of there being something. Does Sidney like Alex? No way in hell. But maybe they could build something over time. That thought has him sending Crosby a text before he thinks it over.

need to talk? he says.

Sid's reply comes a few minutes later,in the morning

be waiting Alex sends before shutting off his phone and tucking it under his pillow. He sighs, shaking fingers undoing the buttons of his shirt as he steps into the bathroom.

~

Except Sidney doesn't call or text him the next morning. Alex thinks maybe the time differences fucked things up for them, or maybe the Pens had an early flight. Or maybe he just plain forgot. The fact that Sid even bothers talking to him at all is something to be grateful for.

Still, he doesn't want to push it, so Alex doesn't try calling or texting either. He just goes to practice and pushes it to the back of his mind.

Except it's all anyone can seem to talk about. Oates has to tell them multiple times to stop fucking talking. Quite frankly, it's all very distracting.

"Guys! We're playing Toronto tonight. In case you've forgotten, they're a good fucking team. Now get your head out of your asses and at least pretend like you give a shit!" Oates yells, causing half the team to cringe. Alex rolls as Coach tells then to get set up for the PP.

~

He's incredibly anxious when he finds out that the Pens are in Canada - that Sidney is only a drive away. He decides to take the drive because - well, because he has to know.

Only, Sidney doesn't show up for an hour, possibly two. It's desperate, him waiting this long. He's just about to leave when the door opens.

'Sid!" Ovechkin says as Sidney closes the door behind him.

"Oh my god. What are you doing here?" Sidney groans and sits on the foot of his bed.

"Came to see best friend. Haven't heard from in while. Concerned." Alex sits on Sidney's bed crosslegged and facing his side. "Plus we in Toronto, boring city."

"I said I was your friend. Not your best friend." Sidney corrects. "I thought Bäckström was your best friend."

Alex puts his hand on Sidney's shoulder. "He is Swed. No count. Need American BFF."

Sidney smiles. The sight warms Alex to the bone. "That makes no sense but whatever," He turns so he's facing Alex fully and sitting in the same position as him. "But why me? There are Americans on your team that you could hang out with. Why would you want to be with the big gay freak that's hated by even his own parents?"

Alex's heart drops to his stomach. How could anyone be so cruel to someone so beautiful? He sighs and drops his hand from Sidney's shoulder to his thigh. "Know what you're going through."

"Huh?" Sid blinks in confusion.

Alex chuckles lightly. "I know surprising. Is not gay, just bisexual. Told parents, hate me for while. Not completely comfortable, more tolerates it. Don't bring guys home so maybe why don't complain."

Sidney licks his lips, thinking it over. "That is surprising. But you could've just called me or skyped me or something. What was the point of driving all the way out here?"

Alex raises an eyebrow at him. Reaching out to brush his thumb over Sidney's bottom lip. His heart jumps right back up into his throat. What if he was wrong about this? What if there isn't a chance?

"Do you not.. want..?" Alex asks, his accent deeper than usual.

"I.. I do.. but.. but.." Sidney stutters. "I'm just.. not very good at this."

Fuck yes Alex thinks as he brushes his fingers along Sidney's jaw. His pulse quickens. "Sure mystery man disagree."

Alex kissed Sidney soft and sweet. More than a brush of the lips but not quite a full kiss. He gently slide his tongue along the Canadian's bottom lip and prayed for the best.

Sid opens his mouth and Alex uses his tongue to dominate him. The Russian lays on top of him, straddling his hips. He's only half laying on Sidney, reaching down to pull his shirt up some. Crosby seems reluctant to do so. Alex pulls away, squinting his eyes at Sidney.

"Sid." Alex groans. "Shirt."

Sidney rolls his eyes, using the moment to recatch his breath and removing their tops before going at it again.

This time it's much more ferocious. Their tongues fighting to be the leader. Sidney's hands runs through the Russian's hair while Alex hands travel around his chest. Feeling every inch of him. Alex moves his mouth down to suck and nip at Sidney's neck.

He let's out a quiet moan as Alex's tongue and mouth travels along his throat and collar bone, looking for that sensitive spot. When he finds the area right underneath his earlobe and licks it, Sidney's back arches a little off the bed.

"Alex." He moans, stretching out the syllables as much as possible.

Alex continues to suck and kiss that spot, sliding his hand downs Sidney's stomach and grabbing his belt. Alex's heart beat picks up - God, are they really doing this?.

"Sidney you- hell?"

They pull apart. Alex sitting up straight and smiling victoriously at Zhenya. Sidney blushes furiously and it travels all the way down to his chest.

"Hi Zhenya." Alex says.

Zhenya smiles brightly and looks at Sidney accusingly. "I am confuse. You said I no bring back pretty girls. Yet you can?" Geno asks, placing his hands on his hips. "Because Sanja is very pretty girl."

Sidney rolls his eyes. "I said that you can't fuck them on my bed. Never said you couldn't bring the back here."

"Stupid Canadians." Zhenya scoffs before throwing his body onto his bed, "Okay. Continue. I put in ear plugs and shut eyes. Not even here."

Alex smiles mischievously - oh yes that sounds so good - at Sidney, who blushes. "No."

"Sid is ashamed of body. Your problem." Alex winks at Sidney, picking his shirt up off the ground and sliding it on.

"I hate you. I really do."

Zhenya laughs from his bed and Sidney throws a pillow at him. It wasn't very hard, but the younger Russian pretends to be hurt by rolling off his bed.

Zhenya stands up, holding an imaginary shot gun. "It on now."

This is absolutely ridiculous. "You two, freaks. Am leaving now." Alex says. He stands up, bending over to press a kiss onto Sidney's lips and his sensitive spot. "Don't have to do this alone." Alex goes back to Sidney's lips, kissing him hard and with passion.

"Ew. Trying to keep down food." Zhenya pulls on Alex's arm, causing the kiss to break. Alex instantly misses the contact, but is grateful for Zhenya's help. He probably wouldn't have stopped if he didn't have to.

Alex slips on his baseball cap and hurries out of the hotel, unable to keep a grin off his face. He gets into his rental car and hurries back to his own hotel.

He can't wrap his mind around what just happened. Had that really happened? Or was it a dream? It couldn't of been a dream - it felt to real, to lifelike. The feel of Sidney's skin - his beautiful, smooth skin underneath his fingertips and his plump mouth against his own, was better than Alex ever could've imagined, ever dreamt of.

He hopes this wasn't a fluke or a mistake. Alex couldn't handle that. Not when everything he's ever wanted was right there, his for the taking.

He's sort of afraid to leave Zhenya with Sidney, which is a horrible feeling because that's his best friend and his - his Sid. But Zhenya's always been the jealous type. He's always wanted whatever Alex had, whoever Alex called his. If Sidney is his - and Alex really hopes he is - then Zhenya might try and ruin that. Or would he? Sidney is his captain, after all. Or would that just make Zhenya more desirable?

Either way, he's going to keep this night tucked away in his mind, deep in his mind where it'll never go away. So he'll never forget this one night of ecstacy.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three:

So, basically, Alex feels like he's floating on Cloud Nine. He isn't a hundred percent sure whether it's possible for a human body to actually be held up by a cloud of any type, or whether that's safe, but he imagines that this is what it'd feel like.

He goes through practice barely able to compress a smile, even when coach is yelling at them, because he's just so damn happy.

Hell, even Nicky can't keep down a smile when their eyes meet. Probably because Nicky already knows - superintuitive Swede that he is - or Alex's overall happiness is rubbing off on him.

"What's got you all smiley out there, captain?" Karl asks, lightly bumping into him.

Alex shrugs, "Just good day."

"Well, keep that happiness rollin', because we'll probably need it tonight if we wanna win." Karl says, chuckling, "Seriously, though, whoever she is - you should keep her. She makes you real happy, dude."

The defenseman skates away after that to run some drills with Greene or Carlson, leaving Alex laughing quietly behind him.

If by "her" he means the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, then Alex will gladly keep "her".

By the time practice ends, Alex is bubbling over with joy. He's turned into a chatty, teasing fucker, and Nicky keeps throwing him concerned looks as they change.

He's also texting Sidney like a psychotic maniac. But Karl thinks he has a girlfriend, so it's okay.

"What you keep looking like that?" Alex questions once he's down to his Under Armour and about to head off to the shower.

"You're acting really weird," Nicky cautiously replies, "and I haven't decided yet whether that's a good or bad thing."

"Ovi is always weird, and it's never a good thing," Mike says, patting the Swedish center on the back, "You should know this by now, Bäcky."

"Hope he changes sometime in his life." Nicky teases a long, but his eyes linger on Alex's face, trying to read him.

The Russian sighs and drops his voixe to a whisper, "Remember when first hook up with Zhenya? You super happy?"

"Yeah," Nicky replies, a question mark on his face, "but you've already -"

A look of realisation passes over the center's face, his mouth falling open before he mouths 'Crosby?'. Alex hastily nods in response, unable to force his smile down again. Nicky playfully shoves him, calling him a "big goof", but Alex shoves him back and pulls out his phone.

Damn it, he's probably acting really pathetic right now.

Instead of checking his phone for a message, he takes a picture of him and Nicky and sends it to Sidney - "Nicky so cute, everyone should see!" "Alexander, I will not hesitate to kill you." - amongst other pictures he has saved in his Gallery.

By the time he's actually ready to hit the showers, he has another idea for a picture. It's probably a little too much after all the other messages - but he's Alexander Ovechkin, he can never take it easy on anyone.

~

Traffic jams are incredibly stupid. He's been stuck her for over half a hour (which isn't as long as what he usually does, but he just had a hard practice and he's tired as fuck. So, excuse him if he's a little grouchy about having to sit in traffic for an extended period of time). Finally, the traffic starts to lighten up, but not by much. He feels a vibration coming from his pocket and fishes out the contraption.

He smiles when he sees it's from Sidney.

He frowns when he reads the message.

what if I was drafted to the caps?

Unfortunately, traffic starts moving, so he has to move along with it, and tucks his phone back into his pocket.

His mind swirls the rest of the drive.

Obviously, the Penguins had the number one draft pick Sidney's year and weren't going to trade it to anyone for anything, so they'd couldn't of gotten drafted together.

Are his teammates turning on him, forcing him to get a trade?

Of course Alex would loving playing on the same team, same line, as Sidney. They'd make magic on and off the ice.

However, he knows Sidney loves Pittsburgh and Penguins hockey as much as Alex loves Sidney and Zhenya combined, which is quite a lot. He'd never truly be as happy in Washington DC as he would be in Pittsburgh, even if Alex is there to treat him right.

He highly doubts Zhenya would be okay with this and would probably ask to be included in the trade. All of the GMs would jump on the trade, but hopefully Ted would grab them first - considering he might get a heads up from an "anonymous" source. The idea of the three of them playing together is even more marvelous than just one. They would inevitably win the Cup - there'd be too much talent on their team not to.

The reason this situation would even be possible makes him upset and pissed off all over again. If his teammates, the one who are supposed to love and support each other, can't support their own captain and force him to leave the one place he can truly call "home"... that's.. that's.. monumentally messed up. He can't even fathom how anyone could do that to someone they're supposed to consider family.

He finally parks his car in the hotel lobby and hastily removes his stuff from the trunk. Lightly jogging to his room, he locks the door behind him and calls Sidney.

"Why would say such thing? Are they talk about trading you? Agent want new team, more press coverage?" Alex's voice comes out a little harsh and he cringes at it, but he can't help the worry running through him.

"Uh no." Sidney replies, sounding shocked.

Oh thank God. He doesn't know what he'd do if Sid was in serious talks about being traded. Alex sighs in relief. "Okay. Then why ask?"

"Well I was just thinking about how my teammates are a bunch of dick holes. So I was wondering what team I would go to if I was to go to another team." Sidney explains. Alex walks into his bedroom and sits on the bed, rubbing his face. "I eliminated my first choices then it came down to your team and I kinda thought it was funny."

Alex chuckles quietly. Funny? Maybe. They've been pegged as rivals their entire careers, so them being friends now might be amusing just for their reactions. It would more be like a dream come true for him.

"So, what would you do?"

Alex stays silent, honestly thinking it through. There's a million and one things he'd love to do with Sidney - not all are sexual, but he doesn't want to come on too strong, so he goes with the easiest answer. "Would fuck you every night."

"I was talking about playing together genius. Not... that." The Russian can practically see the blush on his cheeks, but that doesn't change the fact that this kid is so hockey-minded that he can't think of anything else.

Alex groans. "Life doesn't revovle around hockey Sid."

"Well then what does it revolve around, oh Great One."

Alex grins, "What you wearing?"

"Uh.. pants, shirt.. You know ... basic human clothes." Crosby answers lamely, a question mark in his voice.

Alex groans, loudly. "I meant specifics sweetheart."

"Well... those pants I wore.. that night. Um, this really cute shirt, it's black, I like never wear it but I was kind of running out of time this morning. Oh and-"

"How can you be sexy person like you yet uncreative?" Alex question, trying not to laugh. He knows the guy is trying, but, really? Has he never had phone sex before?

"I can be.. seductive." Sidney defends himself, perking Alex's interest.

He can't help it this time, he laughs. It's adorable how he always has to be good with whatever he's doing. "Prove it and I kid no more tonight."

"I wish I could be wearing you right now." The Canadian's words surprise him, causing him to inhale sharper than he means to. A wave of heat washed over his body.

"Oh really?"

"I've always.. adored how you play on the ice. Always so fast, so quick." Sidney says, his voice dropping in volume as he becomes more confident. "Promise you'll go slow on me okay. I want it to.. last as long as possible. I want to be shaking before I go over the edge."

"Make it last into next year if that what takes," Alex moans, that sounds like a great idea, "I want to body check my dick into you. That alright?"

"Make sure you'll get suspended for it." Only Sidney Crosby can make use hockey references during phone sex and still sound incredibly hot.

Alex moans again, this time much louder. "Sid, best boyfriend.. ever."

"B...B-boyfriend?" Sidney asks hesitantly, as if this never occurred to him before that this means they're dating.

"Yes?" Alex replies just as cautious, laying down on his bed. "Do not.. consider us boyfriends?"

Does this mean they're not? Maybe he overthought everything and not actually together and all his happiness was unnecessary and just a whole waste of his energy. Holy shit, Nicky is going to kick his -

"Well.. we never technically.. talked about it." Sidney replies. "Geno said that you wanted to be.. or something like that. But we never officially talked about it."

"Zhenya talk to you about us?" Alex's voice raises slightly.

"Well yeah. He's both of our friends and wanted to know we wouldn't hurt each other. So he kinda .. Y'know.. said things that showed you cared and.. stuff."

Ovi flips his phone and it thuds on the floor, rubbing a hand over his face, he contemplates why he's ever bothered talked to Zhenya about anything important. Like, that's his best friend. How is he to say anything to his love?

Okay. Zhenya isn't that bad. He should have faith in the guy. He wouldn't go blabbing everything to Sidney, right?

Picking up his phone, he presses it to his ear, "Sorry. Dropped phone." Alex apologizes quickly. "Um.. that is good Zhenya say things um.. how about we Skype tomorrow talk about things in detail?"

"Yeah sure."

Alex sighs. He's never been good with feeling talks, prefers to stay away from with people in fear of them getting too close then leaving. "So did you want to.. finish?"

"Well," Sidney drops his voice again, sending a shiver up the Russian's spine. "Only if you want to."

Alex moans again, much softer and a little nervous. He isn't sure what Sid's limits are and doesn't want to push him.

They talk like that for another fifteen minutes, ending with Alex coming, a pleased smile on his face. Sidney sounds really content, too. Unfortunately, Alex has a game later and can't stay on the phone forever or else he would. He wishes Sidney a final "Goodnight" after three tries, and forces himself to end the call.

Combing his fingers through his hair, he lets out a sigh.

He doesn't really have self esteem issues. He's a cocky, confident motherfucker, and he always will be. But the idea that Sidney - someone he's liked for awhile, even if he's never realised it - could even remotely like him it continues to blow his mind.

He imagines it will for awhile.

Kicking off his shoes, he shucks off his pants and lays under the bed's thin blanket. His mind wants to travel to Sidney and his gorgeous face, but he forces himself to think about the Oilers' defense, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Because he is a professional after all, and he has a game in a few hours.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four:

Coach drills them all at practice despite a 5-4 Overtime win against the Oilers. It's the fact the game even went to overtime is what he's so pissed about. They had a 3-0 lead and blew it to 3-4 until Greeney managed to tie it up for them with seconds to go in the third period - with Alex scoring the OT goal on a breakaway.

He knows the Penguins play the Leafs later that night, so he couldn't go visit Sidney even if he had the opportunity. Sid would be practicing until he can't, then he'd go do his game-day ritual until it's time for him to go to the stadium. Despite their relationship, he can't mess with Sidney's superstitions, even the emotional side of him - the side that would normally scream for him to fly to wherever the Canadian is, even if it is Toronto, and hold him tight - knows that. Even if it kills him.

So, once the game comes on, he and Nicky settle on the couch to watch the game. It's clear that the Penguins' offense is having the time of their life - especially Sid and Zhenya, who are connecting to each other on the powerplay like it's nobody's business. It makes him smile, even when Zhenya nearly tackles Sidney to the ice in a ferocious hug that makes him crave to be there, doing the same thing.

"They're on fire tonight," Nicky points out, nudging him in the side. Alex knows about his feelings for Zhenya, so they must be experiencing at least some of the same emotions.

Once the game ends, Alex tries to shoo Nicky out the door to start getting prepared for his Skype with Sidney, but the Swede isn't having it.

"Leave? Why would I leave?" Backstrom asks, his eyebrows raised to his hairline, "I want to talk to your boyfriend, too, he's a fairly nice guy -"

"No, you not going to interrogate him," Alex protests, "I know you, Nicky, and it's not going to happen."

Nicky scoffs, "How dare you assume I'd do such a thing? I just wanted to say 'Hello' to the guy and wish him a warm welcome to the Capitals family. I have no bad intentions in my heart!"

"Stop lying to me. I know you want to make sure he no hurt me, but you don't worry. I'm grown man, can take care of myself," Alex points out, rolling his eyes.

"If I would have happened to put fear into his heart, that would merely be an accident. I have no means of harming Sidney Crosby - I know he and his team are close and I would, most likely, receive back what I dish out. Besides, you would be very upset with me," Nicky says, smirking, "Of course, if he happens to break my best friend's heart, I will take my aggression out on him, because I know you are too in love to do it yourself. Consider it a favour. Until then, I will be a perfect gentleman."

"I'll let you stay if you tell me real reason. I know you, Nicky, you want more than to just say 'Hello'."

"I just want to listen in," The Swede objects, crossing his arms over his chest, "I will sit beside you on the floor, but I will not make my presence known. I want to assure myself your relationship is genuine and the feelings are reciprocated, if you must know my true agenda."

Alex groans, apparently he won't be able to rid himself of his best friend and any extra things he had planned will have to wait until later. "черт побери. Fine, you can stay, but be quiet."

Like the giant dork he is, Nicky pretends to zip up his lips and throws away the key, bowing to him. Rolling his eyes again, Alex makes his way up the stairs and logs into his computer. He sits against the headboard of his bed and waits for Sid to answer. True to his word, Nicky sits on the floor parallel to him, keeping out of sight from the camera. If only Zhenya would listen as well as Nicky.

Much to his surprise, it's not Sidney who answer, but his goalie.

"Hi Ovie." Fleury says, smiling triumphantly.

"Hi Marc-Andre. Um.. is Sid there?" Alex questions.

Flower cocks his head to the side and offers a warm smile. "No need for the full name introductions. As Sid's soon-to-be husband, the team and I insist you call us by our nicknames. So please call me, Flower."

Despite the fact that Fleury - or, uh, Flower. Didn't Zhenya say fleu was French for Flower, or something like that? - had just called him Sidney's future husband and he quite liked the sound of that, he manages to give off a cocky smile, his cheeks burning, "I remember that for next time we play."

James looks over Flower's shoulder and offers the same smile as the goalie. "But if you even dare breaking Sid's precious little heart. We'll come down to whatever shit hole that you live in and rip out all of your organs, excluding the heart and brain. Then, we'll keep you on life support while we feed them to you. After that we'll cut you up and send you to your family piece by piece. So if you don't have some serious feelings for him or something, then you better back the fuck down, eh?"

Alex laughs. At this point, he doesn't think he's capable of being hurt. If anything, Sidney would be the one doing the deed. He's in far too deep not to end up not getting hurt should this end badly, "Wouldn't bother with him if I didn't already."

After what sounds like some grunting, the screen moves and Sidney's gorgeous face appears on the screen, and he says to his teammates, "Leave."

He hears the scuffle of feet as the Penguins shuffle, presumably, out of the room.

"I'm sorry." Sidney says when they're alone, his eyes apologetic and his voice light.

Alex laughs, feeling pleased. "Kidding me? Wish my teammates that protective." With the exception of Nicky, they all assume because he's a strong Russian bear he can handle himself. But, sometimes, he wished they'd be there for him a little more.

Surprise pops up in Sid's hazel orbs, "I'm sure none of them have to worry about some girl ruining your entire life. And because you've probably had a lot of girlfriends and.. they aren't surprised to find out you actually have a life outside your profession."

"I only had one girlfriend, back when start in KHL. Was horrible, never do it again." Alex says, making Sid's eyes flash with a hint of jealousy. How those beautiful things lead directly to his soul continues to please the Russian. "Does it bother you, me being with pretty girls?"

"What? Of course not." This is clearly a lie, but he decides to let it go for now.

Alex drops the goofy smile he didn't realise he had. There's something he wants to talk to Sidney about, and he needs to be serious about it, "Can we have serious talk now?"

"Of course. What's wrong?"

Alex opens his mouth, letting it hang open before shutting it again. He does this for a few minutes before he sighs, rubbing his face. "Did you tell them.. I boyfriend?" It's not exactly what he wanted to say, but it makes sense, at least.

"No. Geno was trying pretty hard to make me though." He sees Sidney glare at something over the screen, and he assumes it's Zhenya standing there.

"Thing is.. I have .. great feelings for you. Sure Zhenya already told you, because he is traitor." Alex scoffs.

"Я просто помогает вам, мой друг." Zhenya says. Alex can hear the smirk in his voice. Asshole.

Alex just rolls his eyes and turns the conversation back to him and Sidney. "I was wondering if.. you had.. wanted to tell them we.. together."

Sidney brushes brightly, and it looks really adorable, "Yeah. Sure. I'd love to."

Geno kicks him in the shin and grins. "See. Now you have boyfriend."

"Oh my god, fuck you." Sidney kicks him back.

"Ow!" Geno complains, holding his knee. "Sanja, he kick me!"

"Call me immature." Alex scoffs, rolling his eyes and smiling. "I sit here, try to have normal, adult conversation. Then you two kick each other. Not very hard since both are whimps. But seriously."

"Странный, Саня." Zhenya says. Alex feels his face heat up. "Zhenya, I'm going to beat the living hell out of you if you don't shut up and mind your own damn business. You're such a fucking asshole, never leaving me alone with my lover."

Sidney looks greatly. "What?"

Alex blushes even more and thanks God he said that all in Russian. "Nothing."

Sidney looks a little irritated, "I am so going to learn Russian that way you two can't have secret conversations."

"Then I can't talk about pretty face without you getting all.. blush." Alex smiles, forcing himself to calm down.

Beside him, Nicky pokes his leg and mouths 'Start taking your shirt off'. It's a weird demand, but he obliges by starting to unbutton his shirt.

"Such bullshit, Sanja." Zhenya says, his voice all knowing.

"Who invited you in conversation?" Alex asks.

"'Do I need to go to Flower?" His Russian counterpart questions.

Ovie waggles his eyebrows, which makes Sidney blushes even more than he already was. "No." Sidney responds.

Alex frowns and his shoulders slump. "So disappointed Sid. We suppose to skype sex. Then you let Russian ass ruin it."

"That wasn't going to happen anyways."

"Записать!"

"Закрой свой рот, мудак." Alex spats, rolling his eyes. He glances down at his watch and realises it's almost one in the morning. Sighing, he knows they both need sleep, even though he'd rather talk all night, "Is late, Sid. Must sleep. So, goodnight and sweet dreams, will text you tomorrow."

"Okay. Goodnight, and.. uh.. sweet dreams," The Canadian replies, sounding a little breathless.

Using an impressive amount of strength, he manages to end the call and shuts his lap top.

Nicky bursts out laughing for a solid five minutes, so Alex takes a shower.

Once he gets out, his Swedish friend is sitting on his bed, still trying to calm himself down.

"You get threatened by silly Canadians and think they're serious." Backy teases, his eyes glistening with amusement. Alex just rolls his eyes. How about Nicklas have an entire team threaten his life and see how he takes it? "You and Crosby are very cute together, definitely compatible. I like him a lot."

"Good. Now leave," Alex demands, "I need sleep."

"Okay, you lovesick puppy," Nicky says, humming slightly, "I'm staying in the guest room."

Chapter Text

Chapter Five:

"You two are soooo cute together," Nicky sing-songs, practically skipping into the locker room. Alex elbows him, hard, in the side and hushes him. Thankfully, the entire team is already there and talking-slash-yelling loudly at each other, laughter filling the air, so Nicky's words went unheard through the noise. Still, Alex doesn't need the team questioning him about his 'girlfriend', as they would assume.

He doesn't think he could lie about him and Sidney if someone asks - doesn't think he would want to if it came down to it - so he'd rather let the team think he's very single, despite being very taken.

Putting his bag down, he starts undressing and changing into his practice uniform. The Capitals are second in the Metropolitan division, four in the Eastern Conference, and right now they're on fire. They're scoring goals, racking up points, and they're practically unbeatable.

Oates works them hard in practice - pushing and pushing them. Braden is a wall in goal during games and practice, only a handful go in (from anyone besides Alex). Justin is doing fairly well himself, too, as a backup, so they're safe even if Holts gets injured.

He, Nicky, and Marcus are connecting nearly perfect every game. It's like magic.

"Hey, guys," Adam says after practice when they're dressing back into their street clothes, "I don't want to jinx anything because I know how superstitious some of you are, but I feel like you all need to hear this..

"Fellas, I think this is our year."

There's some hooting and hollering from the guys after Adam's statement, and everyone is smiling.

"We're on fire right now, right? I know everyone can feel it - hell, even the other teams can feel it," Adam continues, pride shining through his eyes, "This year, we're going for the Cup.. and we're going to win it. I can promise you that. We're too damn talented - playing too damn well - not to. If this season ends in anything other than a bang, then I have failed you as a coach and I don't deserve to be here anymore."

"You're alright coach, we got this," Tom says, smiling brightly and bumping his knuckles with Latts.

"I know you do, Tom. Just like I know each and everyone one of you has got it," Adam's face gets really serious, "I want to talk about something really serious. So listen up and shut your mouths."

The silence is immediate and tense, like after and OT or shootout loss.

"This is the one and only time we're going to talk about the Crosby situation over there in Pittsburgh - I don't want us to be distracted by it like the rest of the NHL has," Adam says, "It's inevitable we're going to face them in the playoffs sometime - whether it be the first or second round - and I don't want anyone taking cheap shots on Crosby just because he's a homosexual. What he decides to do with his free-time is completely his decision and doesn't affect us in any way. I'm not about to start dealing with this homophobic bullshit.

"That being said, if anyone here would like to come out as well... Don't be afraid. We're all family here - we all love and support each other. If anyone has a problem with it, they can either get over it or get traded," Adam says, looking to each of them. It feels like his eyes linger on Alex for a few seconds longer than everybody else, but that just might be his paranoia. "Now get dressed and go to the hotel. I'll see you all in the morning on our flight home."

Alex is instantly up and dressing, trying to get out of there as quickly as possible.

He's thought about it before, around the time when he first met Zhenya and his Russian friend made him feel accepted, like he's not just a star hockey player. Like he's a normal person who has normal feelings and can live a normal life. The fear of his home country's retaliation always made him squash those thoughts - that desire to truly be himself in front of everyone and never again have to hide who he truly is.

With Sidney started this revolution of sorts and being Alex's significant other, it makes him think that maybe.. one day. The first step would have to be with his team though, then Sid's. Then his family and, hopefully, Sid's if they ever come around on the subject.

It's a scary idea, but he'd take this leap with Sidney. Only with Sidney.

~

Alex opens the door of Sid's and Zhenya's hotel room, a bag of Chinese in his hands, and the sight in front of him practically stops his heart.

Zhenya is laying on Sid's shoulder (not that he'd ever mind. He knows they're close, physically and emotionally.), but it's the red puffiness of Zhenya's eyes and the look of absolute need that causes Alex's heart plummet to his stomach. They both look at him in surprise, and Zhenya points to the screen as the final credits of their favorite movie fades.

Alex closes the door behind him, tight smile on his lips. "You watch without me?"

"Didn't know you were coming. Would've waited." Zhenya looks up at him innocently as Sid makes room on the bed for the three of them.

Alex rolls his eyes, placing the bag of food on the floor next to the bed before cuddling up it. He kisses Sidney gently on the forehead before laying on his shoulder.

"Don't you have a game tonight?" Sidney asks.

"No, we have night off. Fly back to D.C. in morning." Alex pokes Zhenya's red nose as the other Russian sniffles.

The trio end up watching a few action movies that Zhenya pretends he just bought but has actually had for a while. Then there's two Russian movies, both romance. Then they end up watching the NHL highlights from the previous night.

"Look so good on ice, Sid." Zhenya says, poking Sidney's stomach.

"Will you stop flirting with him in front of me? It's very rude,." Alex scoffs, giving his friend a look.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about, Sanja,," Zhenya retorts, giving him a sideways look.

"You do know, now stop being a child before I call Seryozha.," The older warns.

Zhenya throws his hands up in the air, "Whatever, asshole." He enters the bathroom and shuts the door behind him a little too hard.

"You are definitely teaching me Russian so you two can't keep doing this to me." Sidney says. "That or I'll call Sasha and make up a new language to have secret conversations with."

Alex props himself up so he can look directly into Sidney's eyes. "Why does bother you?"

Sidney looks slightly annoyed, "Obviously, whatever you're saying is too important to be said in English. That, or you just don't want me to hear it, so you're keeping secrets from me, and that's not a good way to start a relationship."

Alex smiles shyly, running a warm hand just under the hem of Sidney's shirt, his fingertips ghosting over the warm, smooth skin on his stomach.. "What is good way?"

Sidney blushes, his cheeks turning a beautiful bright pink, "Ugh, stop trying to change the subject."

Alex pecks the tip of Sidney's nose. "Sorry." He frowns. "I just tell Zhenya stop flirting with you. Don't like it."

Sidney looks thoroughly confused by this statement, as if he never once fathomed the idea of his teammate possibly having a thing for him. The Canadian shakes it off and says something even more ridiculous.

"We should find Geno a mate."

Alex laughs hardly at his choice of wording. Seriously? Who calls their significant other a mate? "Like who?"

"I don't know. What's his type?"

Alex thinks this over. Zhenya hasn't dated a lot of people in his lifetime besides Alex himself and Oksana, "Mixture of you and me." It seems like the most honest answer he can come up with.

"Trying to be serious sweety." Sidney says, rolling his eyes.

Ovie is offended. He was trying to be serious! "I am! We do.. Twilight! You be Bella, I be Edward, he be Jacob. We make male Renesme. All is good."

"That's a deal."

That's when Zhenya walks back in, his mouth set in a firm line, "Sorry, Sanja, it won't happen again."

"I know. Seryozha is a very scary man. He wouldn't approve of the Chinese," Alex says, causing his friend to snort laughter.

The door busts open, an excited James Neal walks in, six pack in hand.

"Guess what sexy penguin was just on the television." Neal says. His eyes scan the couple on the bed. "Hi Ovie. How pleasant to see you."

Alex feels slightly uncomfortable, wondering if the rest of the Penguins bust into their teammate's rooms unannounced, "Hello James."

Neal looks over the room. "Well, I wasn't aware that we could have open orgies while G stands in the corner eating Chinese."

Zhenya blushes furiously, shifting his feet as he used his chopstick to pick up a very interesting looking noodle.

James flops down on Zhenya's bed and coaxes the Russian over, Once there, he and Zhenya form this weird cuddling thing that looks a lot more like a couple of huddling penguins (no pun intended).

Zhenya and Neal watch highlights on TV for the past week. Alex can't stay focused on it because he's too busy poking Sidney and, jokingly, trying to unzip his pants. As much as he'd very much like to, they just got together, and he isn't that desperate.

"Mr. Crosby, what is your response on your son's coming out?"

Sidney snaps his head in the direction of the TV. Alex can see how his eyes start to watch as a reporter interviews his father.p>

"I don't know what you're talking about. I don't have a son."

The reporter looks shocked and thoroughly confused. "Yes you do. NHL superstar Sid-"

"I know who you're talking about." Troy snaps. "You see, we are a devoted family, who love each other and God. We do not allow that kind of sin to run through us." Troy turns away to head to his house. "Now, if I ever see you here again I will call the police, understood?"

Sidney grimaces in pain and buries his face in Alex's chest while Zhenya changes the channel. He can feel the spot on his shoulder getting wet, so he rubs large, soothing circles on his boyfriend's back and hopes he'll be okay.

While his parents never publically shunned his from their family, Alex knows his parents aren't accepting of him. He knows they don't view him as they once did before he came out. He remembers how much it hurt at first to be rejected by them, and how much it still does whenever he thinks about it. They don't come into Washington as much as they could because they're afraid of seeing him with a guy and the disgust that they'd experience seeing that. They never make surprise appearances just to make him happy like some of the others' foreigners' parents do because they don't care about his happiness.

Sidney opens his eyes, and Alex meets his gaze. There's some serious thought going on in those beautiful hazel orbs, and he'd kill to be inside that head if only for a few moments, just so he can know what Sid's thinking about. And, maybe, he can find a way to fix the sadness in them.

~

Alex ends up having to leave around ten, claiming to have a curfew or whatever. And since he couldn't really explain why he was in the same hotel as Sidney Crosby without stating the obvious (and the media would never believe he was just hanging out with his best friend, Evgeni Malkin, God forbid that), it was probably not a good idea to stay for long. Hell, getting out of the hotel without being noticed by anyone was hard enough at this time of night, imagine if it was later.

Then there was the whole getting into his own team's hotel that he had to deal with. He wasn't joking when he said he had a curfew. He tends to sleep in a lot without his alarm waking him up, so Adam made him a ten o'clock curfew so he can get rested enough and not stay out all night like he used to.

Nicky is sitting on his bed, scrolling on his phone, when Alex discreetly barges into their room. The Swede pauses slightly to raise his eyebrows at his captain before continuing his task.

"How's my future brother-in-law?" Nicky questions, "Saw the interview of his dad, didn't look too good."

"He be okay.. I guess," Alex says, his mouth forming a thin line. Sidney's mood didn't improve the longer he stayed there, and he didn't want to improve on their person teammate time, so he forced himself to leave despite his heart telling him no. He does, however, know Sidney is a very strong minded guy and will be okay, once he gets over this bump. "Father don't deserve him if he can't accept Sid for who he is."

"How'd your parents take it?" Nicklas asks, putting his phone down. "I've always wanted to ask, but I wasn't sure how you felt about it and didn't wanna open any wounds. In the light of things, I think your parental situation is better compared to some."

"My parents.. they never accept me. They not disown me like Sid's did, but they only visit me and welcome me back to Russia for publicity. If anyone know I'm bi, then they are as screwed in Russia as I would be here and there." Alex replies, keeping his voice steady. "I is sad about it sometimes, but I plan on having them meet Sid during Christmas next year or, maybe, during offseason if possible, so I'll see how they really feel then."

Nicky nods, "Make sure you record it. I wanna see it. Drama amuses me."

~

The moment he lands in Washington, Alex breathes a sigh of relief. As much as he loves being with his team and his friends nothing can quite beat out his home. It was made just for him, and it feels more comfortable than any hotel bed. It sucks knowing the Penguins are still in Canada, and that Sidney and Zhenya are miles away. He can't just pop into their hotel room unannounced now. They'll probably be back in Pittsburgh sometime tomorrow, maybe Alex will pay Sid a visit while Nicky has a long overdue talk with Zhenya about their feelings and.. stuff, he assumes.

Once he finally plops down on his couch, all the tension previously in his body evaporates into his cushions. He kicks his feet up on the table and turns on the TV. He starts flicking through channels and finds the NHL Network, which he decides to click on.

He almost wishes he hadn't.

At first, the recap shows Sidney wearing his new jersey - the last name Lemieux written above the 87. He'll have to remind himself to thank Mario the next time they meet. Alex has no idea what Sid would do without the Penguins owner, who is basically his father, considering he is no longer a Crosby.

(If the idea wasn't so ludicrous, Alex would suggest Sidney using his Ovechkin as his last name just to watch what the media would do.)

Then the recap switches further into the game. The Pens are on a Power Play when Sidney scores. Alex starts to clap when Sid collapses to the ground, and Zhenya rushes to beat the living shit out of Nash - something Alex would've done himself it given the opportunity.

He watches in absolute horror as blood leaks from Sid's head onto the ice. Neal yells for the paramedics to hurry the fuck up, and their captain is carried out on a stretcher, a towel pressed to his forehead, and the entire arena silent.

Somehow, Nash is still standing after Zhenya's fight, and, as he's being dragged off by the refs, spits into the camera, "Faggot won't be sucking cock now, eh?"

Fingers shaking with fear and rage, Alex frantically searches for his phone and hits his #1 contact on speed dial. Pressing the phone against his ear, he prays Zhenya will answer.

"Sanja." Zhenya sounds exhausted.

Alex panics even more. How serious is it? "Is he okay?"

Zhenya sighs. "Yeah.. he's uh.. yeah. He's fine." He sounds struggled speaking his home language. ""Concussion. He's done for the rest of the season and probably the beginning of the next."

"Fuck."

Zhenya's laugh is shaky and more of a painful release than anything, ""I know. It's going to destroy him." He sniffles, probably rubbing his eyes. "He was so close Sanja. One more week and we'd be in the playoffs. He'd end his career high season with a long over due Cup. But now he has to spend it on the sidelines, and that's if he's allowed to get out of bed."

He can't take this. The idea of his Zhenya crying and his Sid lying, unconscious, in a hospital bed isn't something he can handle. Publicity be damned, he needs to be there. "You want me to come up there?"

"No," Zhenya resonds quickly, causing Alex's heart to plummet down into his nauseous stomach, "I'm sure he wants to see you. But there isn't any point in trying to provoke anymore drama."

The tears start to well up in Alex's eyes, but he can't cry. He has to leave that to Zhenya, and potentially Sid. He has to be the strong one, because he knows they won't be. "Okay well just.. keep me updated please."

"Of course."

Someone in the background yells Zhenya's name, probably the doctor if he had to guess. "Listen, I got to go. I will text you all information that I get the moment I can. I promise. Okay? I love you and I'll talk to you in the morning."

"Love you too."

Alex lets the phone drop onto his couch, covering his face into his hands. Exhaling and inhaling slowly, just like his mother taught him to do whenever he got upset and didn't want to lose control. It's effective, but it can't sooth his out of control heart.

It pains him to be so far away from them, totally unable to do anything. He can't imagine what Sid's feeling right now - or, what he will feel in the morning since he's currently unconscious.

As much as he wants that asshole to get fired, expelled from the league, or arrested on assault charges, there's a dark part of Alex that hopes that asshole is still there in time for the playoffs so he can beat Nash's face in, give him a taste of his own medicine.

The audacity of some people to do something so heartless, so selfish and unnecessary, just because that people is able to accept who they are, and that person just happens to be different than you. It's - it's -

The door busts open and his favorite Swede shuts it behind him. Without word or hesitation, he comes and cuddles up with Alex on the couch. He wraps his arms around Nicky's shoudlers, and buries his face in his teammate's hair.