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i don't want to leave you behind

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Dave finds out the trade went through around the same time that it hits the internet. 

The texts start coming through shortly after, guys wishing him well, a few offers to dispose of Treliving’s body (which he honestly considers. Albeit briefly), and a particularly heartbreaking text from Johnny that ends with a string of heart emojis and crying faces. 

He saves that one to his phone and goes and pulls out the bottle of whiskey he’d been saving for Matty’s birthday. 

His mother phones, his agent phones, G phones, but he pretends he’s gone to bed early, ignoring them, figuring he can call them back tomorrow. When he’s hungover and has a different reason to feel sorry for himself. 

It’s not that the Leafs are a bad team- they’re leading the North Division, fighting for first place amongst all 31 teams and they have a shot to go far in the playoffs this year. But they’re not the Flames. And yeah, no one knows if they’re going to be able to claw their way out of the hole they’ve found themselves in and steal that last spot from Montreal, but he’d been ready to try- had wanted to try with the Flames. They’ve come back from worse and with a massive win over the Oilers under their belt, it had felt like things were finally clicking.

Now he’s no longer a part of that equation.

He pours a healthy glass, skips the ice because he can’t be bothered to get up and go to the freezer, and sprawls out on the couch. There’s a million things he could be doing right now, but getting drunk sounds like the best option. 

Maybe if he gets drunk enough it will hurt less that Matty hasn’t texted or called yet.

He’s halfway through his second glass with Family Feud on tv when the front door bangs open. Startled, he manages to soak his shirt in expensive whiskey, and the leather couch underneath him. 

“Matka kurva!” He carelessly drops his glass onto the coffee table, tugging the wet fabric away from his chest. His sweats are getting damp the longer he sits there, the whiskey pooling under his ass and he lurches to his feet with enough booze in his system that for a moment the world tilts alarmingly and he’s worried he’ll be going with it. 

And then the world rights itself and it’s Matty standing in the doorway. 

Words die on his lips because of course it’s Matty, who else has a key to his place, coming and going as they please? But it’s the way he’s holding himself, stiff, drawn to his full height like he’s ready for a fight, the expression on his face determined, stubborn like he is on the ice and down by one, that causes Dave to pause. There’s a duffle by his feet and Dave realizes he must be there to clear out his stuff, the sweaters and books and video games that have slowly made their way into Dave’s apartment over the past year, little reminders of the man that had forced his way into his life when he barely understood any english, helped him adapt to a brand new culture, a new life when he had felt unmoored, adrift. He loves those little reminders, that even with Matty back at his own apartment there’s still a part of him there. He loves the man even more, never hesitates to say it and Matty is always quick to say it back, but now he wonders how lasting it really is, if this is really it.

“So,” Matty says and Dave is brought back to the present, apprehension coiling tight in his stomach. “I did something that some might say is pretty stupid.”

Dave frowns. This isn’t how he was expecting the conversation to start. 

“What did you do?”

Matty nudges the bag aside with his foot and he realizes for the first time that it’s full.  

“I was with Johnny when the news broke,” he says and Dave nods along, confused where the conversation is going but willing to listen if it means Matt will stay longer. “And I figured you wouldn’t be answering your phone so I made a few calls of my own.”

Matty shifts, some of his bravado faltering and Dave’s hit with the sneaking suspicion that there’s a dead body out there that he now has to deal with. Maybe he will be taking Hanny up on his offer of disposing of a body, because he sure as hell doesn’t want Matt to end up in jail because he was an impulsive dumbass. Guilt that he won’t be there to keep Matty out of trouble adds to the emotions churning in his stomach and suddenly the whiskey isn’t feeling like the best idea.

He narrows his eyes. “What did you do?”

“I thought about asking for a trade, but like, they weren’t letting Sam leave so I figured it called for drastic measures.”

“You didn’t.” He gapes at Matt. “You love the Flames. Tell me you didn’t do anything that can’t be fixed, Chucky.”

Matt shrugs and grins- the shit eating ‘I do what I want so fuck you’ grin that always gets him into trouble on the ice.

“I bought out my contract.”

He’s certain he’s heard him wrong but Matty keeps grinning at him like it’s something to be proud of.

“You did what? Chucky- it was twenty million.” Something he’d been so proud of- his contract extension cementing a place with the team he loved, the team he’d built his career with. “You’re kidding right?” 

“I mean, less now.” Matty says and Dave’s stomach sinks. “Since we’ve played most of the season anyways. But yeah.”

“Why? Where the hell did you come up with the money?” 

“I’ve been frugal, made some deals. Turns out the Leafs could use a forward.”

Dave needs his phone. Right now. He starts patting himself down, grimacing when he realizes he’s still wearing the soaked shirt and how uncomfortable it’s become. He strips it off, tossing it aside.

“Celebratory sex?” Matty chimes in hopefully and Dave gives him a dark look. “What’re you looking for?” 

“My phone,” he grumbles, pressing his palms to his eyes and trying to remember where he’d tossed it earlier. The kitchen maybe? 

“Why?” 

“So you can phone Treliving or your agent or whoever and tell them this was all a mistake!” 

He ducks his head into the kitchen but can’t see his phone on any of the countertops. Matt grabs him as he’s making a beeline back towards the couch, ready to tear it apart if need be, gripping his biceps and holding him steady when his forward momentum nearly tips him over. 

“Hey, hey!” Matt holds on tight as Dave tries to shake him off and he relents after a moment, letting Matt hold him in place, big brown eyes watching him like he’s going to fall apart any second. He’s not. That’s what the whiskey was for.

“Stop and talk to me,” Matt only releases his hold on his arms to cup his face, big hands warm and steadying. Dave presses his eyes shut and tries and fails not to lean into the touch. “I know it’s a lot right now, babe, but I need you to talk to me. I can’t guess what’s going on in that handsome head of yours.”

Dave opens his mouth but the words won’t come out. Matt’s thumb runs across his cheekbone, stroking slowly as he waits patiently. He huffs.

“You’re making a mistake.” The words feel jumbled in his mouth, his accent thick. There’s a knot lodged in his throat and he tries to swallow around it.

“Oh yeah?” Matt quirks an eyebrow. “How so? By following the man I love to Toronto? I hear they have a pretty epic pride parade.”

“Don’t joke,” he pokes Matt meanly in the side, gratified when he winces and nods.

“Sorry, can’t help it.” He presses an apologetic kiss to Dave’s cheek. “But I do love you. And I’d follow you anywhere.”

“You’ll ruin your career,” Dave protests, weak in the face of Matty’s declaration. He would say the same but it wouldn’t hold the same meaning. He’s been playing backup goalie to Marky all year. There aren’t as many spaces for a goalie as there are for a forward, his career doesn’t have the same freedom available to Matt’s and he doesn’t want to drag him down if it goes south. The Flames had taken a chance on him and now they were apparently done with him, but Matty was just getting started.

“Nah, not if I come out in Toronto. Let them know why I followed you. No one would be able to tank my career because no one wants to be accused of being the homophobe of the league.” He’s biting his lip, expression suddenly uncertain. “Unless you want to keep it quiet.”

The rush of affection he feels for the man before him leaves him breathless and he surges forwards, catching Mattys mouth with his own. He tries to pour his love, his frustration, his relief into it so he understands.

Matt laughs when he finally pulls back to breathe, lips red and so kissable he nearly leans right back in.

“I’ll take that as a maybe.”

“Yes,” Dave winds his arms around Matty’s waist, pulling him closer. “But you could still stay here. We could come out anyways.” He’s done hiding especially with how uncertain his future is now.

“Sutter just wanted me to be a wrecking ball anyways. He was more interested in how much I could piss off the other guys and less what else I could provide for the team.” Matt explains, far too casually for someone who was uprooting their entire life for him. “Mitchy’s always going on about how awesome Keefe is, so…”

“You’re an idiot,” Dave murmurs, wondering if he’ll be able to talk Matty out of following him to Toronto. Selfishly he wants him there, wants him by his side as this new section of his life unfolds. But he loves Matt too much to just let him do this. 

“Your idiot,” Matt confirms. He leers at Dave. “So, about the celebratory sex?”

Dave huffs out a laugh, unable to help himself. Matt lets out a shout as he’s unceremoniously lifted but Dave’s got a strong grip on him and they certainly have enough practice from doing this on the ice. He makes it the few feet to the couch, then dumps him there, watching him bounce with a laugh.

“Wait,” Matt’s smile slips into a grimace, his hand digging under his back. “Why is the couch wet?”