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Been So Still

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Nolan just can't get over fucking pigtails under a helmet. 

Like, maybe in Winnipeg, or Sweden or where ever the fuck Roope’s from you can get away with it. Maybe on your buddy’s pond or the little local rink you have keys to for after hours. But not on TV, and with your teammates and your coach and a whole other team there.

It makes Nolan feel exposed just looking at Roope, catching glimpses of the two little tufts of hair sticking out of the back of his helmet. 

And Nolan can’t just ignore it, because they keep ending up on the ice together, even though Roope’s on the first fucking line and Nolan’s on the fourth, so Nolan’s had to take like twenty fucking faceoffs against him.

“How the fuck do you play with your hair like that,” he mumbles through his mouthguard in the second period, face to face with Roope with the puck between them. 

“Fuck off,” Roope says flatly, and then wins the puck. 

He still can't stop thinking about it. For the whole rest of the period, through intermission, into the start of the third. 

Maybe it was a bet. Probably it was a bet, and all the guys on the Stars are giving Roope shit about it too. Probably he can’t wait to take his hair down as soon as he gets off the ice. 

But, like. Nolan knows literally nothing about him besides his name, the number on his jersey, that he’s the same size as Nolan, maybe a little bigger, and that they’re supposed to watch out for his speed and his shot. 

So Nolan doesn’t know, but, in theory, it’s possible that Roope wants to wear his hair like that, and Nolan feels like he’s basically the only guy in the league who would maybe get that, so. 

Another faceoff gets called when they’re on the ice together, and Nolan skates up and gets his apology out fast, because it’s not like there’s time to dance around it: “Sorry I said that shit.” 

Roope doesn’t say anything; doesn’t take his eyes off the puck. 

Good , Nolan thinks. Good player



He’s fine with letting it go after that--if Roope still thinks he’s a dick or, like, homophobic then, like, whatever. Nolan didn’t say anything half as bad as what Roope should’ve expected, coming out on the ice with his hair all--girly. 

No one says anything about the pigtails in the room, which is a surprise and not. Shit isn’t as bad as it was back in juniors. Part the league, part the years between then and now, part G being the kind of guy who doesn’t let guys get away with shit. But still, Nolan’s on edge, kind of waiting for it, as he showers off and gets dressed. Ready for the hurt of it, like dropping a medicine ball on his chest; the little whoosh of pain, and then the long seconds of breathlessness. 

It doesn’t come. 

He pulls on his sweats, towels off his hair, sticks around long enough and tries to act normal enough that it’s not obvious to TK or Haysie how off balance he feels. 

He gets by, he thinks, mostly by staying quiet and leaning back in his stall acting like he’s cocky about the win--which, what the fuck does he have to be cocky about? Missing passes he could’ve hit when he was fucking 12? But that’s a line of thought he doesn’t let himself get into around other people--and then mumbles a bye to TK and ducks out of the room.

“Nolan,” someone says, and Nolan jumps at it and jerks his head up. 

And there’s fucking Roope, standing right across from the door to the Flyers’ room--his hair down now, still half wet, dampening the collar of his white t-shirt. 

“Sorry when you tried to say sorry I was a dick to you.” His voice is a little rough, his vowels all sounding almost the same. 

“Whatever,” Nolan says. 

Roope takes a step closer. "I've seen pictures of you, like in the summer?" he says, “You dress cool, sometimes." Nolan bristles. "I like how you're like, sometimes--sometimes this person, sometimes that person." He gestures to Nolan's outfit--black Flyers sweats, black Flyers hoodie, black Flyers hat. "I'm like that, too." 

Nolan wishes that didn’t fucking make sense to him. 

What , dude?” he says, glaring. 

Roope just stares at him, gaze heavy. “I like how you look.”

Nolan blinks at him; away; back. He feels--he missed a step. 

Nolan looks, for a second. At Roope’s green eyes, his perfectly blonde hair, his t-shrit hanging off his broad shoulders, his tight black jean stretched over the curved muscle of his thighs. Roope’s legs are long, and that’s the end of what Nolan lets himself notice before he yanks his eyes back to himself.

“So, uh,” Roope says, “Do you want to come and hang out?” and then his eyes cut over Nolan’s shoulder, toward the noise of the locker room, and then Kevin’s voice is right there by Nolan’s ear.

“The fuck? Bud, I asked you if you had a buddy on the Stars because I wanted to meet a Cowboys cheerleader, and you fucking said no!” 

Nolan turns, and there’s fucking TK too, of course, tilting his head and smiling a little, like seeing Nolan have a new friend makes him all fucking happy

Nolan holds his face flat.

He can’t fucking stand having to think through all this in the hallway with TK right there, and Kevin right there, and Roope right fucking there, and the whole rest of his team just inside the locker room.

His temple aches, a little. “Shut up, come on,” he says, not looking at any of them, trying to be normal and feeling less normal than he ever has. He stalks down the hallway and hopes Roope gets how fucked it’ll look if he doesn’t follow, and straightens his shoulders when he hears Roope’s heavy steps behind him, then makes himself slouch down again, feeling so fucking dumb. 

Roope gives him a little space, thank fuck--stays behind him, doesn’t try to catch up or say something to him or whatever. 

Nolan tries to think--tries to figure shit out. Nolan’s been hit on and picked up enough times that he knows what Roope was saying. He’s never hooked up with a league guy; with anyone who knows him, but it can’t be that much less safe, right? Not when Roope has as much to lose as he does. 

They step outside the back door into cool air and the noise of thousands of fans and smell of the city. 

He pulls the Uber app up.

“What hotel are you guys in?” he mumbles.



They don’t talk until they’re shut in the room together, and then all it is is Roope saying, “I didn’t mean to make it weird in front of your friend,” and Nolan saying, “Shut the fuck up,” and kissing him. 

They get half undressed--Nolan down to his boxer briefs and Roope down to his jeans--and fall on top of the plush white comforter on Roope’s hotel bed, Roope on top.

Roope works his way down Nolan’s neck, more attentive than Nolan’s ever been to anyone or had anyone be with him. He sucks at Nolan’s pulse point and presses his teeth just a little into the muscle at the side and kisses Nolan’s Adam's apple, and every time he moves his mouth and puts it back in a new way, Nolan shivers and gasps.

It’s embarrassing, because Roope’s so quiet and chill, and Nolan’s already so hard he’s leaking, and his whole fucking body is flushed hot and pink. 

Nolan sucks his lips into his mouth and digs his teeth into them. Roope’s holding his hips up apart from Nolan’s, knees on either side of Nolan’s thighs, and Nolan’s not just gonna reach down and grab at Roope’s dick when he doesn’t even know if Roope’s hard for sure, so he just--fucking lays there, and doesn’t know.  

Roope hums and moves down a little, and then runs his lips over the smooth, nervy line of Nolan’s scar. 

“Don’t--” Nolan spits. 

It doesn’t, like, hurt, just tingles a little, but the idea of anything to do with the surgeries and the breaks and that whole fucked up two years feeling good makes Nolan’s stomach roll over on itself. 

Roope pulls off right away, not twitchy or nervous, just instant, responsive. He tilts his chin back up and kisses Nolan’s jaw once, like he’s trying to settle Nolan, like Nolan needs him to treat this like he’s taking some chick’s virginity and not getting ready to do something Nolan’s already done ten times. 

“Just, let’s go,” Nolan says, bringing a hand up to push at Roope’s shoulder, curling his fingers around the heavy muscle there.  

Roope glances up at him for a second, just, like, plain, straightforward eye contact, this look with nothing hidden behind it that Nolan can figure out. 

He dips back down and trails his mouth open and wet wet down Nolan’s chest and belly. Nolan puts his chin on his chest and watches the messy part of Roope’s hair, pale blond and dried curly. He pauses at Nolan’s abs, kisses them a few times, and then slips his tongue into Nolan’s navel. It makes Nolan jerk, ticklish and sensitive and fucking freaky. He’s pretty sure no one’s ever touched him there before. 

“Gross, don’t--”

“Not gross.”

Nolan rolls his eyes. “It’s my--” he fucking refuses to say belly button right now; to Roope. “I didn’t shower that much. Just--keep it normal, okay.” 

Roope presses his face flat to Nolan’s stomach, but Nolan hears the smile in his voice. “This is weird?” 

Fucking yeah . Nolan thinks. The weirdest fucking sex he’s ever had by a mile, and they haven’t even touched each others’ dicks yet. When Roope’s maybe not even hard yet.

He doesn’t say that, and Roope pulls up after a minute and moves further down, to the crease of Nolan’s thigh, the tendon there. “So maybe you don’t want me eating you out then.”

Nolan jolts, whole body getting scared. “ No ,” he says, sounding mean but whatever--Roope needs to get that that’s not something he can just say to Nolan. 

Roope pulls all the way off Nolan and sits back on his knees. His thighs are spread wide, jeans stretched around them, button undone and gaping, and fuck, fucking finally, Nolan gets to see his dick, see that it’s hard and pressed tight to his thigh by the thick black denim.

Nolan’s legs part a little before he stops them, but it’s enough that they end up pressed against the insides of Roope’s knees; so that Roope notices.

He reaches out and runs a hand up the outside of Nolan’s thigh, fingers spread over his tattoos--ghost, panther, gun. 

“How do you usually like this?” Roope asks, voice calm and steady, as his fingers tuck just under the leg of Nolan’s boxer briefs and then stay there, twirling circles in the hair high up on his thigh.  

However someone gives it to me, he thinks. 

“With guys who don’t ask me shit like that.” 

Roope’s face gets a little flat, annoyed or something, for half a second, and then evens out again. “I like it,” he says, “with people who don’t seem like they kind of hate me.” 

Nolan flushes, hard and ashamed and ready to be fucking kicked out a bed he shouldn’t even be in in the first place, ready to walk downstairs and probably run into fucking--fucking Jamie Benn in the elevator, who’ll probably say the same exact thing he said the last two times Nolan met him--“Hey man, nice game”--and Nolan will be stuck thinking about how he used to be obsessed with watching him play, used to jerk off thinking about getting drafted to a team with him and getting fucked by him; about how now he’s on the don’t talk to list Nolan has on his phone, names of a fucking hundred guys across the league who’ve said or done things. 

“Maybe you don’t hate me, right?” he says, slow and quiet. “So just, don’t be like you do, okay? Tell me what you like and I’ll do it to you.”

Nolan doesn’t--he doesn’t care. He wants what he can get, what he’s given, whatever the other guy wants from him. 

But--Roope’s asking him, and they’re in a bed, and Nolan doesn’t know him but he’s not a stranger. 

“You can fuck me,” he mumbles, eyes dropping down onto the place where Roope’s still obviously hard, then to where his fingertips are still pressed up under the leg of Nolan's underwear. 

Roope runs the dull flats of his fingernails over Nolan’s skin, light enough that it tickles. “Okay.” 

He swings his left leg over Nolan and then rolls off the bed in a smooth, sinewy motion, body all tight and long. Nolan watches his arms, dark grey with tattoos, as he unzips his jeans facing away from Nolan, and strips out of them, then his underwear. 

Nolan takes the moment of Roope looking away to press his hand to his erection, trying to calm himself down. He looks at Roope’s ass, and then, as Roope turns, his cock. 

He lets out this fucking humiliating noise, messy little nonsense collection of letters. 

Roope leans down over him, one hand flat on the mattress, and smiles. “Cute,” he says, and then ducks in and kisses Nolan. 

Nolan’s flat out on the bed, flushed and hard and embarrassed and exposed. 

He opens his mouth and lets Roope hover over him and lick into him. Squeezes his eyes shut and tries to just let himself hear cute the way it sounded at first, sweet and appreciative, and not cute the way it could be.

Roope trails a hand over his chest, stopping to cup over his left pec and squeeze, then tracing over to the right one and pinch-pulling at his nipple a few times, making Nolan’s hips jerk up and his chest burn, and then he rubs the flat of his palm down Nolan’s stomach and catches at the band of his underwear and pulls. He lifts his mouth off Nolan’s so he can lean down and guide them all the way off, and then drop them over the side of the mattress. 

Nolan stares at the muscles of Roope’s back as he turns away from the bed and goes to rifle through his bag and come up with lube and a condom. 

“It’s okay if I get you ready?” he asks, standing at the foot of the bed, and Nolan just looks at him--thick, smooth tan thighs and arms full of tattoos and hair that still looks perfect and eyes so intense and bare and pale Nolan can’t really look at them too long. 

“I can do it if don’t you want to,” he mumbles, fixing his eyes on Roope’s cock, which is--is not any less intimidating and beautiful than his eyes, but doesn’t look back at him, at least. 

“No,” Roope says, putting a knee on the bed. “I want to.” 

Nolan shivers a little, thrill of cold going across his shoulders, and then looks off to the side and shrugs, waving a hand toward where his thighs are parted.

Roope gets on his hands and knees and crawls all the way back up the bed again; kisses Nolan again. He drops the lube and condom somewhere, and wraps his arms around Nolan, and lets his weight come down on top of him. Nolan’s breath shudders into his mouth.

Roope’s dick lines up right alongside his, heads brushing together just barely, base of his cock pressed tight beside Roope’s. 

He tilts his hips up, feels heat spread through his stomach and balls and nipples, clenches his ass over and over on nothing. 

“You can touch--touch me some,” Roope pulls back to say, and then presses his lips softly back to Nolan’s. 

Nolan pulls his hands up off the bed, feeling heavy, and hesitates before settling them on Roope’s waist, muscles there hard under Nolan’s palms. 

“Mm,” Roope says, “thank you,” and then he moves his hips in one long, slow back and forth thrust, rubbing the side of his cock against the side of Nolan’s.

Nolan gasps, arches into it, presses his fingers into Roope’s sides. Roope’s not shaved, or anything, at all, and the hair at the base of his cock rubs roughly at the underside of Nolan’s dick with how tightly they’re pressed together. He spreads his thighs more, and he doesn’t know how many more times he can do that; how much more obvious he can be. He already fucking said it once. 

Roope just keeps kissing him. Eventually untangles the arm that was under the small of his back and brings it up to play with Nolan’s nipple again, making Nolan’s body feel like, like it’s so hot that the air is cold, like everything inside him is aching pulsing warm but his skin is shivery.

He brings his knee up and curls it around Roope’s hip, pulling Roope’s dick closer to him, trying to get Roope to just fucking open him up and fuck him. 

Roope ducks down to kiss at his neck. He gives his nipple one more stroke between two fingers and then trails his hand down to Nolan’s side, over his waist and hip and finally to his ass, cupping it in one broad hand, tucking his fingertips just into the crack, and then squeezing.

Nolan does this--fucking noise, he doesn’t even know what to call. He blushes so hard he feels like he’s radiating heat.

Roope just grinds against him a little, just kisses his pulse point, his unscarred collarbone, his throat. 

He pushes one finger further in; brushes it down the crease of him, then finds his hole, and stops. 

“You’re so sexy,” he says, accent so thick, words so ridiculous, like something from an old movie and not something people actually say during sex in fucking 2021. 

Nolan clenches, bears down, leaks precum. 

He gasps, “Please.”

Roope pulls away for barely a second and Nolan clenches his eyes closed so he doesn’t have to look at his eyes or his dick or his big hockey hands clicking open the cap of the lube and squirting it out onto his fingers. 

He puts a dry hand on the back of Nolan’s thigh and pushes, forcing Nolan to arc his hips up and open, and then he just sinks one finger inside all at once. 

Nolan could come from it--he genuinely thinks he might for a second--he almost does. He whines, and feels slippery and hot and sore

Roope doesn’t say anything, and Nolan doesn’t know what he’s thinking because he doesn’t know Roope and he’s not looking at him, and even if he was, he probably couldn’t read him.

Roope crooks a finger and pulls back out like that, stretching Nolan open and grazing over his prostate. 

Nolan tries to feel it and focus on keeping quiet. Roope is--whatever. He seems nice, or something, and he’s not on the list on Nolan’s phone, and he wore pigtails to a game and he came up to Nolan and said I’m like that too, but Nolan doesn’t actually know shit about him.

Roope takes his finger all the way out, and Nolan feels like he can’t stand it for a second, and then he sinks it back in, one smooth slide, no fucking resistance. His lips land on the thick hair at the top of Nolan’s chest. 

Nolan’s half thinking Roope’s going to ask him a bunch of questions, all soft are you okay, are you ready for another, do you want me to stop, but he just keeps his lips moving over Nolan’s chest, over his hair and his nipples, and adds a second finger, and a third. 

He doesn’t even ask then: just says, “I think you’re ready,” low and quiet, and then pulls his fingers almost all the way out and stops just at Nolan’s rim, holding him open, until Nolan nods, eyes scrunched shut and dick so hard it hurts. 

“Get how you want,” he tells Nolan gently, pulling all the way out and running a hand soft over Nolan’s hip, then pulling up and giving him space to move. Nolan cracks his eyes open to see him kneeling beside Nolan, eyes moving up his body slow and hot, as he rolls a condom onto himself. 

Nolan looks for long enough that Roope’s eyes make it to his face, and their gazes lock, and then he rolls over. Turns sideways on the bed so he’s facing away from Roope; props himself up on his hands. 

Roope slides his fingers over Nolan’s hole one more time, slicking him with extra lube, and then he knee walks forward, mattress shifting under him, and presses the heel of his hand to the base of Nolan’s spine. 

He presses the head of his cock, molten hot and hard and broad, to Nolan’s rim, and then pushes slowly inside at the same time that he rubs his hand firmly all the way up Nolan’s back, and Nolan feels like his bones are clicking into place, like he’s stretched so full it’s perfect, like he could cry. 

He heaves out a huge breath, loud, and drops down to his elbows, then shoves a hand back between his thighs and grabs at his dick.

Roope puts one hand on the dip of Nolan’s waist and wraps the other around Nolan’s shoulder and pulls almost all the way out, and stays there for a second, just the thick head of his cock inside of Nolan, his breathing heavy and noisy for basically the first time, and Nolan’s glad Roope can’t see his face right now but he kind of wants to see Roope’s, and then Roope uses the hands on Nolan to pull him back on to his dick, and Nolan kind of just, can’t think for a minute. 

Roope’s bent over him, huffing hot damp breath between his shoulder blades, thrusting into him so slow and so hard they’re both shaking with it. Nolan’s got his own hand on his dick, still stripping it with just the sticky slick of precum, grip so tight and desperate it hurts, and Roope hits his prostate hard on a thrust in and he comes, rutting his hips back into Roope’s and gulping little hiccups of breath and opening his mouth on the sheets and sucking them between his teeth and biting down. 

Roope says “ Nolan, ” and Nolan’s chest and stomach hurt with it. Roope shudders even deeper inside of him with a hard, messy thrust, and stops, hands squeezing at Nolan’s ribs, mouth wide open on his back, dick pulsing in Nolan’s ass. 

Nolan’s got a hand cupped under his stomach full of still hot cum when he starts to crawl away.

“What--” Roope says, disoriented and a little frantic. 

He stops Nolan with a hand at his hip and grabs the condom, carefully pulling out and leaving Nolan free to roll to his knees, his hand held out to the side.

“Wait, hey.” Roope reaches over and cups his palm around the back of Nolan’s hand. He crawls closer and makes eye contact with Nolan, and Nolan feels how wide-eyed scared he looks, and then Roope bends down, stops Nolan from jerking away, and licks Nolan’s cum out of his hand.

“Fuck, stop,” Nolan says, Roope’s tongue tickling at his palm, Nolan’s heart pounding so fast he feels shaky. “That’s so--”

Roope sits up, looks at Nolan, and licks his lips. “Stay the night with me.” 

Nolan's eyes dart off Roope and all over the room--to the reflection of the bedside lamp on the black screen of the TV, to the painting above the dresser that’s just one wild red brushstroke, to the heavy white curtains, which, he realizes for the first time, are open.

He swallows. Feels like he can’t breathe or think or move, and he’s never spent the night with someone after sex, but it’s not like he can get much more fucking exposed.

“I guess,” he says, and Roope kisses him, shifts them, lays down behind him. 

“Can you, uh--” he gestures with his hand, his voice sleepy, “do the lamp.” 

Nolan reaches over, and watches his own hand shake, and then disappear as he flicks the lightswitch down. 

“Thank you,” Roope says, kissing his hair and then pulling the heavy comforter up over them.

Nolan thinks Roope goes to sleep fast--he’s quiet and still pretty much right away, his one arm dead weight around Nolan’s waist.

Nolan is awake for hours. 



When he wakes up, Roope is sitting in the little red armchair in the corner of the room, drinking a mug of coffee, his hair piled on his head in a messy bun. 

“You do that with your hair too?” Nolan rumbles, rough and grumpy. Roope glances up from his phone and runs his eyes over Nolan, looking thoughtful. Nolan swings his bare legs over the edge of the bed. He feels even more naked than he is, with Roope across the room fully dressed in short little shorts and a giant t-shirt. 

Nolan pushes his hair back from his face and curls an arm around his stomach, feeling the bruises on his ribs that haven’t had time to heal since he took a bad hit last month. 

“You could do your hair like I do too,” Roope says, voice less accented than Nolan remembers it; still slow and steady. “It’s long enough.” 

Nolan stands up to look for his underwear. “Don’t know how to do any of that stuff.”

He goes to walk past the chair, and Roope stops him with a hand on his hip.

Nolan looks down at him, the early sun through the curtains making the green of his eyes see-through pale. 

He feels the light warmth of the hand on his hip. Thinks about the way after they came last night, Roope rolled Nolan on to his back and cupped his hand and licked his cum from between his fingers. 

“I could show you,” Roope says. “We would have to wash it.” 


“I guess if you want to.” 


Showering with Roope is, like, weird. It’s like, technically Nolan’s showered with other guys fucking thousdands of times in his life, but he’s never showered with just one other guy, in a tiny cramped stall and without a whole roomful of tile between them. Never showered with a guy who he’s had sex with.

He keeps trying to tell himself it’s the same, but really: Roope gets pretty hard, and Nolan’s hard, and they fucking stare at each other basically the whole time, even when they’re not touching. 

And Roope has this fancy ass shampoo in a pink bottle with a label that’s not in English, and fuck You Can Play and G’s little talk at the beginning of every season and guys trying to be better and whatever, but Nolan would get chirped like hell if he brought that on the road with him and anyone saw it. 

Roope squeezes a puddle of it into his palm, then nudges Nolan with his knee so Nolan steps back from the spray of the showerhead, and then he says, “Close your eyes, okay,” and slides his hands over Nolan’s head. 

Nolan closes his eyes.

Roope just washes his hair. He’s not fancy about it or whatever, but his hands are big and strong, same as last night, and he takes a little more time than Nolan usually does; rubs the soap all the way down to Nolan’s scalp and presses his fingers in tight, a quick little second of a massage. 

Nolan has to think for a long fucking time to remember the last time he washed his hair at all. He gets it wet whenever he showers, obviously, and he’s showering regularly now that he’s got skates and games every day, but it’s usually just scrubbing at his armpits, running soapy fingers over his dick and ass. Pressing his fingers to his hole for a second sometimes--not at the fucking rink, obviously, but sometimes at home. Sometimes back at TK’s old place when he used to fall asleep on the couch there and shower in the morning, surrounded by TK’s 5 in 1 soap and ratty old loofa.

But his hair he usually doesn’t fuck with. Doesn’t even use a comb on most days, just yanks his fingers through it and pushes it under a hat or a helmet. 

Roope washes his hair like it’s not just for that. Or something. He puts conditioner in it, fuck.

They don’t talk. Like, what does he have to say to Roope Hintz besides “ good game ” and “ fuck me harder ” and “ the way you look makes me feel fucking crazy, ” all of which they’ve already pretty much covered, he thinks. 


Nolan feels weird just standing there like he's at a salon or something, so he kneels down on the hard tile in front of Roope and sucks his dick while Roope uses the little hair dryer off the wall on him. 

It takes forever, and Roope's so intent about it, rustling his fingers through the hair at Nolan's scalp to get the warm air all the way down to his skin. He doesn't seem to really care that much that Nolan's sucking his dick, so Nolan kind of just lets it be for himself. Figures, fuck it, if Roope’s gonna be all fucking soft and sweet and easy, whatever, then Nolan should just take his chance, and let himself do what he wants. 

Doesn't worry about taking it too deep or going too fast, just sucks and mouths at the head, mostly; holds the warmth of it on his tongue, tastes skin. Savors it, or whatever, a way he's never done with a blowjob before. 

Roope finally hums and switches the dryer off, hooking it back in it’s little nook next to the light switch. Nolan gives his dick one more pull and then figures he should get up so they can move on, but Roope puts a hand right back into hair. "I'm about to come," he says, and fuck, that's news to Nolan. 

Nolan glances up at him, like maybe he’s joking. Roope’s looking at the big mirror over the sink, where Nolan’s head is probably just visible over the countertop. Nolan swallows, and then ducks further forward, sliding Roope’s dick over his tongue, pushing it at his throat. 

Roope combs his fingers through Nolan’s hair, starting at the front, pushing it off his eyes, fingers slipping easily through it and ending at the back of Nolan’s neck, his hand huge and hot, and then he hitches in a breath and comes into Nolan’s mouth. 

Nolan swallows a little bit, waits until Roope’s done and stands and turns and spits the rest in the sink.

Roope’s so fucking quiet--barely breathing loud, even. Nolan turns on the faucet and cups his palms under it, and Roope’s hands come up and pull his hair back, holding it out of the way of the water, and Nolan drinks. Looks at the white marble of the sink, the little silver O of the drain. 

He’s not even that hard. It’s ridiculous to be, like, feeling so much, or whatever. 

He slushes water around in his mouth, then spits it out, then splashes another handful over his face, before letting Roope pull him back up with hands on his shoulders. 

“Can I get you off?” Roope asks, head behind Nolan's, just a crescent moon of his face peeking out; one weirdly pale eye meeting Nolan’s in the mirror. They’re both still naked. Roope’s shoulders are just wide enough that Nolan can see them on either side of his own.

“Whatever,” Nolan says, and Roope pours lotion from the little hotel bottle into his hand and then slicks Nolan’s dick into his fist and jerks him off, big body right there wrapped around him the whole time, eyes already on Nolan’s in the mirror every time Nolan looks away from the fucking picture that’s Roope’s hand working at his dick and accidentally tries for eye contact. 

It’s too much, kind of.

He hitches loud breaths, over and over, and can’t make himself stop.

Roope tilts his head down into Nolan’s neck, and kisses over his pulse. No sucking, no marks. Just lips. 

Nolan comes. 


Roope rinses his hand and then softly tells Nolan to put on shorts and sit on the floor on one side of the bed. Nolan settles there, back leaning against the mattress, eyes fixed on his face, pale and nervous, in the big wall mirror across from them. 

He watches as Roope sits down behind him, legs on either side of Nolan’s body, and parts his hair down the middle, long thing fingers and big tattooed arms.

“So, split it in half?” Roope says. “I don’t know the word,” he runs his finger down the bare strip of skin on the crown of Nolan’s head, “for this.” 

“Part,” Nolan says, voice so rough it makes his neck hot. 

“Okay, part in the middle of your head. Then start up here,” he grabs the hair closest to Nolan’s face. “And then put it in three--” he spears two fingers through the strand of hair, separating it into three strands and twisting them into his fingers, holding them separate from each other--“and  then just over, over, over.” He twines Nolan’s hair together, skilled and simple looking, but no way something Nolan could do again. “It’s easier on someone else, so maybe you can practice on one of your friends first.” 

No fucking way he’s asking TK or Ivan or Bee, “ Can I braid your hair? ” but Nolan just keeps quiet and watches Roope work. He seems like he thinks it’s easier than it is, because he doesn’t give Nolan any more instructions besides, “And add more hair as you keep going.” 

Nolan watches in the mirror as one half of his hair hangs in his face and Roope’s fingers work quickly to twist the other half back, and then down. 

Roope does the second side even quicker, long fingers and little tugs at Nolan’s scalp and all of Roope’s focus on him, but not waiting for him or anything; just letting him sit there, and be quiet. 

Then he’s stepping off the bed, over Nolan, and helping him up. 

His hands come up and cup Nolan’s face, and he’s had Roope’s hands on him for all of the last twenty minutes, but somehow it scares him a little.

Roope meets his eyes, then settles his palms all the way onto Nolan’s skin, warm and callused. “ Do you fish? ” Nolan almost asks out of nowhere, but he keeps it down.

Roope glances up at Nolan’s hair for one intent second, and then drops his gaze back down, and Nolan fucking doesn’t want to be looking at anyone right now, but he can’t look away. 

“You look pretty,” Roope says, his accent making it sound, like--like it’s not a joke. Not like something TK or Kev have said to him right after he finished throwing up outside a bar or when he had to get up too early and looked like shit. Roope says it like something that could maybe be real, or whatever. 

“Thanks,” Nolan says, and then lets Roope tip his chin up and kiss him, soft lips, open mouth, barely any tongue. 

Nolan knows it’s his cue to leave. He’s good at taking a hint, and he’s been waiting for this one since, like, two orgasms ago.

“I better go change before practice, man,” he says, pulling back. “Thanks for the,” he gestures to his hair, and then, after a second, to the bed. 

He twists away, cheeks hot, and pick up yesterday’s t-shirt, ducking into it so he doesn’t have to see the face Roope probably makes at that stupid shit. 

“Here,” Roope’s saying when Nolan’s head pops out. He reaches into Nolan’s line of sight, long thin fingers that Nolan’s watched way too much at this point. Nolan realizes for the first time, kind of, that he’s gonna have to play against those hands, fucking tomorrow. Probably gonna be doing face offs against them again.

As Nolan’s brain stutters for a second, Roope rolls two fingers together, and Nolan finally notices the little round ponytail holder he’s twirling between them.

“In case one comes out,” he says, and Nolan blushes, and grabs it, stretching it over his fingers and onto his wrist. “Good luck tomorrow,” Roope says. 

“Yeah, you too,” Nolan mumbles, grabbing his hat and phone and keys, yanking his toque down over his head as tight as it will go. He knows it’s probably going to mess his braids up, and he knows he should just take them out now anyways so no one sees them at the back of his neck.

“Bye,” he tells Roope, glancing a look over his shoulder so quick he doesn’t even take anything in as Roope says bye back, and then leaving.


He calls an Uber in the elevator and waits for a few minutes in front of the hotel before it pulls up.

He can’t stop yanking his hat further down, feeling the light itch of the ends of the braids on his neck.  

He doesn’t take it off until he’s back at the apartment, locked inside his bathroom.

Even though he's careful, sliding his beanie off leaves frizzy little hairs loose around his temples. His hair is parted down the middle, and then the little bumps of the braids trail along each side of his skull, and end in little tufts of hair that he can see at the sides of his neck when he turns his head. 

It doesn’t even look good on him, really--the top of his head seems flat with the hair all pulled tight to it, and the middle part is all fucking Aimee on her fucking first day of kindergarten vibes, but--but, like, it fucking feels good. 

He thinks about Roope saying sometimes this person sometimes that person like that’s just some shit he can fucking say to Nolan when they don’t even know each other, when Nolan’s already underwater this season and just needs to turn that whole half of his brain off and focus his mess of a body and a season and a career.

He thinks about Roope wearing pigtails under his helmet, over the bulk of his pads, out on the ice. Can’t even imagine letting himself do it; how it’d feel--scary and stupid and reckless and like kneeling in front of Roope, and letting him braid his hair. 


He takes the braids out before TK comes over. Unwinds the pony tails and combs his fingers through his hair until it comes undone. 

It leaves his hair looking wavier than normal, he’s pretty sure. He runs his fingers through it a few times, feeling like right after a haircut, light. No way TK’s gonna notice something like this.

Chapter Text

He’s right, and TK doesn’t notice. Doesn’t say anything about the little bumpy wave to Nolan’s hair or the way he stalks in more closed off than usual or the way he stays mostly quiet the whole two hours they spend playing COD together. 

He just fucking smiles, all happy and easy. Just talks for both of them. 


Nolan sees Karly and Ryanne at pregame, Ryanne pushing Gavin in a stroller and Karly walking alongside her, hand on the little bump of her stomach that Nolan’s seen like thirty times now but still can’t stop reacting shitty to, feeling sick and mean and then guilty. 

It’s not like he wants fucking anything to happen to the baby. Like, he can kind of already picture a world where he loves it. But he just can’t get over the idea of it being TK’s baby. TK, who still feels like the same guy who spent their first two seasons together acting so stupid Jake banned them from drinking rum and Raff told them they couldn’t sit together on the plane. Who, when Nolan met him, seemed as far from ever having this--a wife and a baby and sitting up in the box--as Nolan did. 

Nolan’s all the way around the corner of the hallway before he sees them, and then it’s too late, and they’re both beaming and calling his name.

“Hi,” he mumbles, keeping his head down and stomping over to them. “Hi Gav.” He reaches one finger down toward the stroller for Gavin to reach up and wrap his little fist around.

“Wow,” Ryanne says, smiling warmly, eyes wandering up, and--shit. “Your hair looks so nice today. Did Claude finally give you the conditioner I told him to like three years ago?” 

“Love the wave,” Karly adds, smiling, and Nolan’s clenching his spare fist and feeling the sweat of Gavin’s little palm around the pointer finger of his other hand and thinking about how he looked this morning, with braids tight to his head. How no one but Roope saw them, how TK didn’t even notice that Nolan’s hair looked different, how now, to girls, it’s apparently immediately obvious. 

“Yeah, no,” he says. “I just accidentally bought conditioner instead of shampoo, so.” He nods his head back towards the locker room door and does a little shrug and wave, and then pulls away from Gavin, doesn’t look at Karly, spins around and goes.  


In the room, Therrien tells them Roope is out.

It’s just slipped into the middle of his long brief--“Khudobin’s in goal, don’t forget Lindel took that hit on his left shoulder yesterday, Hintz is out--” 

Nolan hears it, and can’t hear anything else.

What the fuck happened to Roope between last night, when he fucked Nolan pretty fucking athletically, this morning, when he seemed just fine, and now? Nolan thinks about Roope carrying an injury the whole time, feeling that bone deep shit I shouldn't be doing this in his muscles every time he moved, pretending he was having fun when really he felt like his body was falling apart the way Nolan’s spent half his career doing out on the ice. 

He clenches his teeth until he feels the start of a headache radiating up from his jawbone. 

He hadn’t actually been thinking they’d sleep together again, really. But, like, he kind of hoped, or whatever. Roope had seemed like he liked it, and he has to have a hard time finding ways to sneak in sex with guys, same way Nolan does, and so Nolan thought maybe, depending on how the game went, maybe Roope would be waiting in the hall again after, or something. 

It’s just that the sex with Roope felt--not even just better, but, like, more than all the sex he’s had with other guys. And he was so fucking out of it last night he barely even remembers the details of it, has no idea how he’d get it to be like that again. It’s all just the vague feeling of Roope’s hands and mouth and dick, and the dark pink color of the backs of Nolan’s eyelids, and the sounds of Roope’s voice saying things Nolan already can’t remember right. 

And, fuck. Roope offered to rim him, and Nolan said no, even though it’s his fucking favorite thing to watch in porn and that was probably the fucking only time anyone’s ever going to offer that. 

He sits in his stall with his knees spread wide enough that TK’s keeps wiggling into his as he twitches, and fucking, like, promises himself that if Roope’s somehow better before he leaves, or if he seems like he’s into it the next time they play each other, Nolan’ll let himself have it again, and he'll let himself say yes to what he wants, and he’ll make himself remember it. 


He’s fucking up his pregame nap by scrolling through Instagram when he gets a DM notification, and he’s already seen every fucking post on his page twice, plus watched enough random shit on the discover page that his brain’s feeling like garbage, so he opens it. He never answers them, obviously--they’re always from girls--but sometimes they’re fun enough to screenshot and send to TK to get a bunch of laughing emojis and a little commentary back. 

He doesn’t recognize the username, but when he clicks into it, he sees it’s from Roope, and his chest tightens up. 

I’m out tonight :( Sorry to miss playing with you, but see you Thursday maybe. Have a good game :)

Nolan stares at it, at the two stupid little faces, for a long time. He doesn’t even think about responding, but he debates, for forever, whether he should click on Roope’s username or not, whether he should go down the pathetic rabbit hole of scrolling through Roope's Instagram the way he used to do with TK’s. 

He makes himself not do it, eventually. Makes himself go back to his homepage, and look at the same pictures again--Karly in a cute Flyers shirt, hand cupping the bottom of her bump to emphasize it. Ryanne holding up Gav in a tiny jersey. Aimee lying in bed with Charlie on top of her.

See you Thursday, he thinks. Have a good game. 


Nolan plays like shit.



He thinks about Roope’s stupid smiley face message literally every second of their off day between games, but he doesn’t say anything back until right before warmups, already in the locker room, half undressed, getting ready to put his phone away in his stall. They’ve all been told Roope’s back in, and Roope's messaged him, feeling better :) see you tonight :) so whatever injury he’s carrying can’t be that bad, and so, like, fuck it. 

“Hey bud, what’re you trying tonight?” TK asks from beside him, pulling his shirt over his head and revealing the tan of his skin, the curve of his back, the thick muscle on his belly. “Want a little good luck kiss?” He purses his lips at Nolan, blowing a noisy, jokey kiss. 

Nolan tries to turn off his peripheral vision. “Nah,” he says, trying to sound casual. Nothing fucking works anyways, but he knows that’s not what TK wants to hear. “Think I’m gonna try and walk backwards.” 

TK laughs, loud and happy, and Nolan hunches himself over his phone to type out, I can come to your hotel after. 


They don’t talk during warmups, because as far as anyone knows they don’t know each other, and what’s he gonna say anyways? “ Please don’t fucking tell anyone” “Why the fuck did you let me stay the night,” “Don’t fucking look at me”? Nothing that would come out of his mouth would be anywhere close to normal, so he just takes his face offs--loses his face offs--and keeps quiet. 

He plays like shit. 

It’s the same as it’s been for practically two fucking years. Feeling slow and sloppy, seeing what he wants to do but not being able to do it, or doing it a half a second too late and ending up looking stupid. 

One of the first fucking things he had to learn in hockey was to not be embarrassed about fucking up. To fall and shove himself up and get over it, and to make mistakes and learn from them but not be bothered. But he feels fucking humiliated after every shift this season; can’t stop running through plays he fucked up and passes he missed and shots he fucking whiffed. 

He spent so much of his year off laying around his parents’ house with Aimee, complaining and then getting told shit that sounded good but that he had no idea how to actually fucking do: You’re not, like, the fucking second coming of Wayne Gretzky or whatever, so just take it down a notch and chill out with yourself and If it makes you this fucking miserable then why don’t you just stop playing? and I know you don’t hate that I’m gay so why do you fucking hate yourself so much for it.

By the time he left Winnipeg, he felt like he’d made some kind of fucking progress. He was meditating at night, and that helped him sleep, sometimes. He was as fully fit as he could be without having actually played league games in a year. He was out to his parents. 

Coming off the ice aching and blushed pink and with so many things banging around in his head he can’t get his pulse to slow down, he feels like he did back when he first went home, when he couldn’t even keep himself from crying on the flight and yelled at his mom for asking what was wrong and didn’t text TK for three weeks. 

He grinds his teeth through a shower, through TK standing naked right next to him five times longer than necessary because he has no fucking shame, through AV’s dumbass fucking talk.

He’s got a DM from Roope: Okay :)


He has to message to ask Roope’s room number. He feels so fucking on edge, again, walking through the hotel, rolling his phone over and over in his hand and thinking about his shitty league guys list; trying to count up how many of this season’s Stars players are on it. He takes six flights of stairs instead of the elevator, even with his legs already sore and shaky from the game.

By the time he knocks on Roope’s door, he just wants to get inside and have no one look at him and go to sleep.

Roope answers.

They're wearing kind of the same thing, Nolan realizes--a black ribbed toque, folded up, and all black everything else. But Roope looks all fucking cool, like a fucking model or something, in black skinny jeans and a black floral tee, and Nolan’s just in ugly fucking Flyers shit. 

“Hi,” Roope smiles.

Nolan purses his lips. He doesn’t want to talk to Roope, who just scored two goals against him while Nolan embarrassed himself. He wants to be all hockey, wants to be pissed at Roope.

But he fucking says, “No braids or whatever?”

"I didn't want to distract you," Roope smiles, toothy and kind of clumsy looking. It doesn’t fit on his face. Or, it does, maybe, the same way stupid looks fit on Kevin or TK, but it doesn’t fit what Nolan thinks of his face. “I thought you would maybe wear them, though." 

Nolan rolls a flat look at him. 


He makes himself stay more in his head, this time. Doesn’t let Roope get him out of control the way he did last night. Keeps himself quiet.

But he, like--pays more attention, in a way that ends up feeling good. Tries to learn Roope’s body a little, the way he knows TK’s or his own or the guys from his favorite porn. 

He doesn’t close his eyes.

“You’re so hot,” Roope tells him, his mouth on Nolan’s throat while Nolan moves his hands slowly over the muscles of Roope’s back, figuring out the way Roope’s shoulder blades flex, sharp, when he leans up on his hands. “You smell good,” Roope says, mouthing at the tattoo at the inside of Nolan’s bicep, one of Nolan’s hands in Roope’s hair, which is ridiculously softer than Nolan’s. “You’re so beautiful,” Roope says, to the skin over Nolan’s ribs.

The back of Nolan’s neck spikes up with cold. 

“Get off,” he says, and Roope does, so fast it’s a shock, cold hotel AC and sudden lack of pressure on his chest making him feel seasick for a second. 

“What? You’re okay?”

“I’m fine, I--” He doesn’t know what to fucking ask for, here. He meets Roope’s eyes, and glares. “I want to be on top. I mean--I don’t care about fucking you, but-” 

Roope rolls onto his back before Nolan can even finish, spreading himself out on the bed, body bare and long and pale. “I’m okay if you fuck me,” he says. “Whichever you want is good. Or something maybe different.” 

“I don’t, uh. It’s fine,” Nolan mumbles, and then kneels up and leans down over Roope. Seals his mouth first on the ace at Roope’s forearm, because, fuck, he’s always been an arm guy, and he’s always been a tattoo guy, and Roope’s are just--just insane. He moves on, blushing, because obviously Roope doens’t want some guy fucking sucking on his forearm, and finds Roope’s nipple, which is so sensitive it freaks Nolan out a little, making Roope let out a breathy noise that's quiet but still louder than anything Nolan’s drawn from him yet. He slips his mouth off maybe too quick, and as he trails it down over the lines of Roope’s ribs, to the little dark birthmark on his side, Roope pets a hand into his hair and laughs. 

“Sorry,” he says. “I like having my tits played with.”  

Nolan stutters then stops, mouth gaped open on the warm, smooth skin of Roope’s waist. Roope doesn’t know or, like, forgot the word for pecs, obviously. Maybe no one ever taught him what tits, like, actually means.

Nolan feels overwhelmed, suddenly, with how he’s so out of his element with this whole fucking thing; with having Roope look at his body like anything he does is good. Having Roope talk to him in this way that keeps feeling fucking scary. He realizes he fucked up, asking to be on top, because now he can’t ask to be under Roope again, can’t ask Roope to make him stop having to figure out what to do. He can’t stop trying to count time, to figure out if he’s taking too long, if Roope means or like, even fucking knows what he’s saying.

“I’m gonna go, uh, prep,” he says, pulling off all at once, pushing himself to stand next to the bed, then getting caught staring at where Roope’s dick is hard and red and just totally ignored. Fuck, Nolan’s embarrassing himself. 

“Okay,” Roope says simply, reaching down and stroking himself idly. “I don’t want to be pressuring,” he says, meeting Nolan’s eyes. “We don’t have to, but if you want, I still want to, maybe,” he pauses for a minute, eyes tilting up and right like he’s searching for a word, and then he comes out with: “eat you out.” 

Nolan’s skin shivers over his body. His shoulders curve forward and twitch, and his dick jerks inside his boxers, obvious. 

It’s--it’s a language barrier thing, again, or whatever. Roope probably never wanted to ask his fucking English teacher to explain the finer details of sex words, so he just got the basics. Or he forgot the word for rimming for a second, and that’s it. It’s not like he thinks Nolan’s a girl; it’s not like they’re acting like Nolan’s a girl.

Nolan opens his mouth, says nothing, and closes it. He turns, and goes into the bathroom. Shuts and locks the door.

It’s bright inside, light cold and unflattering in this way that makes him shunt his eyes away from the mirror. Nolan’s cleaned himself out before, enough to get fucked, but never--never to have someone’s fucking mouth on him. He doesn’t know if he even wants it, anymore. Like, his dick is hard, and he has this sensitive kind of awareness in his ass, but he also feels like if he got on his knees in front of Roope like that, he’d freak right the fuck out. 

But--but just this morning, he was telling himself if he had a chance like this again, a chance to be with someone who knows him a little, who’s so good in bed and so willing to do whatever Nolan wants without even having to be told, that he’d take it. And, like, he knows it’s gonna be a long fucking time before he’s somewhere where he can have an actual relationship, and maybe by the time he’s retired his body and his head will be so fucked up no one will want him anyway, and none of the guys he hooks up with are gonna want to do that to a stranger, so--

He turns on the shower and shucks his underwear and t-shirt off and steps inside, grabbing the shower head down and rinsing himself. When he goes to slide a finger in to open himself up, he has to force it; resistance there like he hasn’t felt in a long time, with himself. He wonders if he was like that for Roope last night; that difficult, and the thought makes him flush hard and deep. 

Roope has his own body soap, just like he has his own fancy shampoo and conditioner, and Nolan pumps a little bit out onto his fingers, then pushes them back inside and bends them a little; twists them a little.

He thinks, suddenly, about what TK would say if Nolan told him this story. 

It’s not, like, the first time he’s thought about doing something like it. 

He wanted, in this vague, sick way, to tell Travis all the way back in his rookie season, the first time he ever hooked up with a guy, when he came back to their hotel room shaking with how scared he was that he’d wake up the next morning and everyone would know. He hasn’t stopped wanting it, even though the thought of fucking saying it makes him want to never talk again.

It’s not even like he thinks Travis will react bad. Like, they’ve never talked about how Travis feels about gay guys, but he knows Travis is a good guy, and he knows how Travis feels about him: knows, in the way that he knows Travis’ laugh and his hand in Nolan’s hair and the shape of his body on the ice, that Travis is never going to hate him, or anything close to that. 

But he just--just fucking hates that there’s something about himself that he has to tell people. That he can’t just be whatever people assume he is, so that he doesn’t have to talk about it.

But if he could get over the, like, fucking hump of telling Travis he’s into guys, he can imagine how it would be to tell Travis about this kind of thing: “So I cleaned out my asshole in Roope Hintz’ hotel shower so he could rim me? He uses the nicest ass fancy European soap, so now my ass smells like fucking frankincense or whatever.”  

It’s the kind of thing that him and TK would laugh at, and then laugh at how hard they’re laughing at, and then just keep laughing until they were both sore mouthed and wet eyed. The kind of stupid, pointless humor that most of the other guys on the team don’t really get, but that him and Travis have clicked on from day one. 

Nolan lets his head fall forward onto the smooth wall of the shower, and lets out a little huff of a laugh. His fingers are still inside himself, and he feels his hole squeeze down on them a little. 

He just fucking. Wants this. He feels fucking out of his depth and nervous and he wishes it was TK who was about to do this with him, but--

But TK doesn’t want him, and even if he did, he would ask Nolan a bunch of questions the whole time, and somehow, even though they don’t even fucking know each other, Roope seems like he just knows. And Roope is hot, and he’s good in bed, and his dick is bigger than TK’s, and he’s not fucking straight, so. That’s fucking that. 

Nolan slips his fingers out and rinses himself. 

He dries off and pulls his boxers back on, which is stupid but not something he can keep himself from doing, and walks back out into the bedroom. 

Roope’s propped up on the pillows, dick out but soft, phone held up close to his face as he scrolls through something. He glances up at a creek of the floor under Nolan’s step, and drops his phone onto the table beside him as he runs his eyes up and down Nolan’s chest. 

“Uh, ready,” Nolan tells him, heat flushing up his neck. 

He thinks about Roope braiding his hair and saying eat you out and calling him pretty. Thinks of the list of unchecked to-dos he has on the stupid shit positivity app Maddie made him download before he came back down for the season: Let yourself have something you want. Try trusting someone today. Do one thing that scares you. 

“You can’t…” he has to draw lines somewhere, but he doesn’t even know where to start. Tell anyone, touch me too much, make me come like that, do it too long, talk about it, embarrass me. “Like, be fucking weird about it.” 

Roope gives him a long look. “Okay.” 

Roope moves to the edge of the bed and reaches out to thread his fingers between Nolan’s, pulling him forward. “Want to sit on me? Or get on your stomach?”

Fuck no to the first one, so Nolan lays himself out next to Roope, tilting his hips up and pushing his boxers down to his ankles, then kicking them off the side of the bed. He’s still hard, and it feels embarrassing, because Roope’s not, so he keeps his dick tucked under himself, buried in a soft swirl in the comforter. He folds his arms under his head and tucks his face into them, the air immediately getting hot and dense, his cheeks are putting off so much heat. 

Roope’s hands land on his waist. Thumbs first, pressing in to the ridge of softness just above his ass, on either side of his spine; palms cupping around Nolan’s hipbones, and then fingers spanning out over his belly, softer than Roope’s in this way that’s just how Nolan’s always gonna  be--how he was even at the combine, lean as he’s ever been. Roope tugs up a little, making Nolan get his knees under him a little, so he’s hovering just above the mattress. So his dick is bobbing heavy underneath him, head of it just touching the blanket. 

He heaves a breath that makes his stomach shake out, into Roope’s hands. Roope’s fingers stay steady, pressing lightly into Nolan, and Nolan gets his breath under control and settles down, until he’s just kneeling there, forehead to the mattress and body still, and Roope holding him. 

“Are you sure you want it?” Roope asks, and Nolan mumbles a too-bitchy sounding yes, and Roope keeps his hands on Nolan’s waist, and presses his face to Nolan’s ass, nose slipping between his cheeks, breath brushing out hot over his hole. 

Nolan could wait, and Roope would open him up, and maybe that would be better; would be less, but it would mean him taking his hands off Nolan’s waist, where it kind of feels like he’s holding Nolan’s bones and organs all together, and so Nolan shifts all his weight onto one elbow, and brings his left arm back to grab at one ass cheek and pull it to the side. Pull himself open.

“Oh,” Roope says, quiet. “Thanks.”

And then he pushes further forward, into the space Nolan’s made for him, and, instead of any of the thousand things Nolan is kind of expecting; somewhat braced for, he presses a dry, soft kiss to Nolan’s rim. 

“Fuck please don’t--do that,” Nolan stutters out without thinking, sentence breaking in half in the middle so he’s not even sure how it goes together--whether he wants Roope to stop, or to do it more. 

“Do you mean any of it? Or kissing you?” Roope says, pulling back a few inches and letting Nolan heave a breath, stomach curving out into Roope’s hands.

He doesn’t fucking know what he means. Just--that he wasn’t prepared anyway, but he definitely wasn’t ready for that. He was ready for tongue first, spit, mouth open, dirty and messy and hungry the way it is in porn. Not fucking sweet and gentle and--and even more intimate feeling than actually getting inside of him. 

Roope strokes a hand across the small of his back, just all fucking patient, and Nolan pushes his face hard into his pillow and thinks do something that scares you do something that scares you do something that scares you. 

“Nothing--Nevermind. Just. You can keep going.” He swallows, painful and noisy, and says, quiet, “That felt good.”

Roope makes a noise Nolan can’t figure out, and then pauses, and Nolan’s shoulders tense up to his ears and his whole body flushes hotter, and then the bed shifts and Roope’s hands move back to Nolan’s stomach, and Nolan feels him duck back in, nose and hot breath first, and then, fuck, the wet press of his tongue. 

Nolan’s hand is shaking and sweaty, so he has to curl his fingers hard enough to start feeling like a bruise to keep himself open for Roope.

He thinks, eat you out eat you out eat you out. 

He remembers, fuck him, the time he’d heard TK whisper to Karly, late night at Kevin’s, everyone drunk--“Come home with me? I eat out, baby.” They’d already been together, and it’d obviously been an inside joke, TK making his voice all low and stupid, and Karly laughing at him. But it was still something that Nolan wasn’t supposed to hear, because they left together right after, and Nolan had spent the whole night thinking about it. That TK was giving in bed, or whatever. It was easy to imagine, and also impossible to imagine the way he wanted it to, because the few blow jobs Nolan had gotten had made him feel the opposite of eaten out. 

He gets it now, in this way that hurts. TK putting his tongue into someone like this is--. There’s fucking nothing Nolan’s ever felt that’s made him feel more closer to someone; more pulled open and spilled out. And the way Roope does it--the way he bets TK does it--is like. Like fucking pulling Nolan’s teeth out and looking at the roots and being happy with what he sees. Like going to the dentist and having them shine a light into the caves of his body that no one’s ever supposed to see, and then telling him, “Everything looks great." 

He lets himself have it for way longer than he should, than is probably normal, than Roope probably wants. Lets himself sink into the bed and into the feeling of Roope’s tongue working him over, in, out. 

He finally gets it together when Roope has to pull back for a second to pant, breath hot and wet against Nolan’s skin. Roope brings his thumb up to Nolan’s hole and presses, just at the outside, like he gets that being empty all the sudden made Nolan feel like he was skating towards a wall.

“Fuck me again,” Nolan blurts out. He feels stupid about it, and fuck, Roope’s already done so much work and he probably just wants to roll over and come in Nolan’s mouth, but he doesn't have that many chances to do this; even less to feel semi comfortable during, so how’s he supposed to not want it.

“Mm,” Roope says. He pauses, thumb just still over Nolan’s hole, still for a second, and then says, “You’re wet for me, huh,” and presses the pad of his thumb in, stretching Nolan on it, and making him feel the way he fucking is wet, Roope’s spit making the slide easy-ish, running down to his balls and making his skin cool and sloppy feeling against the cold air of the hotel room.

Nolan’s hips jerk forward on instinct, dragging the head of his dick over the smooth fabric of the comforter. “Shit,” he swears, blushing hard. That’s not a language barrier thing--no way Roope has this many blindspots when his, like, vocabulary seems pretty perfect everywhere else. So who the fuck says that shit? What the fuck kind of thing is that to get off to? 

Roope pulls away for a second and Nolan tilts his head sideways to watch the long muscles of his side and arm stretch as he leans over to the nightstand and pulls lube and a condom out of the drawer. He thinks about the fact that Roope moved it there, or at least put it away there instead of putting it back in his suitcase where it was last night. He tucks his face back into the pillow. 

Roope settles a hand back on Nolan’s ass, just groping him lightly, and then runs it down to cup his balls, making Nolan’s whole groin feel hot. 

“Do you like for me to talk like that?” Roope asks, and his voice is sincere, not like he’s already expecting a yes and just wants to hear Nolan say it so he can stroke his dick to it. Nolan doesn’t say anything--what the fuck’s he supposed to say?--and then Roope slips a hand down to the inside of his thigh, softly, and says, “I like--like when people say it to me.” 

“That’s fucking weird,” Nolan gasps, and he hears how it’s not a no; how Roope must hear that. Feels Roope rub his hand down, toward Nolan’s knee, and up, back of his hand brushing Nolan’s balls. 

“Yeah,” he says. “But, if you like something.” His voice trails off at the end, and Nolan figures he’s maybe shrugging. 

Nolan’s whole body feels hot with embarrassment. He clenches his thighs and his hole and his shoulders, and grits his teeth into the pillow. “If you want to say shit then you can.” 

Roope hums, and turns his hand so he’s cupping Nolan’s balls, his fingers tracing at the base of Nolan’s dick. “Okay,” he says, and Nolan tenses, feels his cock leak, and then Roope fucking says, “You’ve got such a pretty pussy.” 

Nolan heaves out this pathetic, desperate, surprised little two syllable "oh." Fuck. Fuck. He can’t think about that. Can’t fucking--exist in his head with that. He wanted to stay all fucking aware this time, but he just--can’t do this that way, so he presses his head into the pillow, arches his back all slutty, and lets himself just feel what Roope does to him. Stroking his dick a few times and saying, “Yeah, that feels good?”, thumbing lube onto his hole and then pushing a too slick finger in him; adding more lube with the second finger so Nolan feels like he’s dripping with it, like it’s coming from inside him. Saying, “Ready?” and pressing the head of his cock to Nolan’s hole.

Sliding in after Nolan’s mumbled yes, moving so slow it hurts, or so slow it doesn’t hurt, and that somehow hurts.

When he gets all the way inside, Roope lets out a long, blown out sounding sigh, and rubs his hand at the top of Nolan’s ass, and says, “Good girl.” 

Nolan clenches so hard on Roope’s dick that Roope moans. Twists his fingers so hard into the sheets that they cramp. 

Roope fucks him so slow Nolan goes crazy. There's no rhythm to it, even: just Roope sliding almost all the way out, far enough that the ridge of the head of his dick rubs at Nolan’s rim, and then all the way back in, everything so measured and steady it feels constant; continual, like one long long long slide instead of a bunch of back and forth. 

Nolan holds his dick but doesn't even really jack it. Mostly just gapes at smooth wood of the headboard and spreads his legs open and says "Oh fuck oh oh," in this stupid surprised way over and over again, and then comes, Roope's cock deep inside him and the heel of Roope's hand pressing in low on Nolan's belly, making him feel it from the outside, too. 

Roope comes, slightly louder than yesterday: a little rumble of a groan, and then, fucking “Nolan” slipping out of his mouth. He grabs the condom and pulls out, leaving Nolan feeling wet and warm and sore, and bends down to kiss Nolan’s cheek where Nolan’s got his neck craned backwards to watch him, and then kisses his spine, and then gets out of bed and goes into the bathroom. 

Nolan doesn’t realize how dark it’s gotten in the room until Roope flips on the bathroom light and cuts a triangle of brightness out through the doorway. 

Nolan flops onto his front and hangs his torso off the bed to grab his underwear and slide them on. He tries to breathe as quiet as possible, even though he still feels like he just came off a shift. He lays back, and steadies his hands over his ribs. Tilts his head sideways to look out the big plate window--curtain still not closed, fuck him--at a messy, unimpressive bit of the Philly skyline. He wants to ask Roope what he thinks of Philly. Probably he thinks it’s stupid. Who knows where he’s fucking from, but obviously somewhere cooler than this.

He listens to Roope piss, to the sink run, to a slurp, and he pictures Roope bent over the sink, sucking water out of the cup of his hands, the same way he’d done a couple mornings ago. 

“Can I ask--ask a question?” Roope says, stepping into the beam of light for a second, his body long and heavy and pale, and then he flicks the light off. 

“No,” Nolan curls his arms into his chest and feels it rise and fall as he catches his breath.

Roope huffs out a laugh like Nolan’s joking, and sits down on the bed facing Nolan, curling a leg up. Still naked, and just fucking putting his body out there without even seeming like he’s thinking about it. “So. You always seem,” he starts, low and slow paced, “like you’re maybe scared, or. I don’t know. You don’t have to tell me, why. But like--like, you know it’s fine to be with men?”

Nolan scoffs wetly. Where to fucking start with that. “Ask half the guys in the league and I think they’d tell you different.” 

Roope sighs, and his palm, warm and hockey-rough, settles on the small of Nolan’s waist. “I know.”

Fuck. He does fucking know, Nolan realizes. Probably knows the names of the guys on Nolan’s list, and has probably heard all the same shit, and also, he just knows hockey--pressure and injuries and being fucking tense all the time.

Nolan rolls onto his side, keeping his arms close. “It’s just like--there’s pride night, right, and you’d think it would be cool, but it just makes me feel fucking terrified.” 

Roope frowns, eyes just off Nolan's, like he's thinking too hard to make eye contact. “Do none of your friends on your team know?”

Nolan grimaces. “Obviously not.” It is obvious, or it should be. No matter how stupid and hopeful Nolan gets inside his own head, this is not something you fucking tell other hockey players who you share a fucking locker room with. No matter how much you want to, or how good you think they'll be. Roope looks at him, though, like that answer is fucking sad. “Do yours?”

Roope shrugs, eyes going back over Nolan's shoulder. “A few. My friends or some guys I know are okay about it. Like, don’t you want any of them to know?” Nolan laughs, harsh and sharp, and Roope slides his hand down to settle, palm warm, on Nolan’s thigh, rubbing his fingers through the thick hair there, moving them in little circles down the barrel of Nolan’s gun tat, to the rose at the tip of it. “I mean,” Roope says, “like, it’s good to get to say--say, ‘hey, I just had sex with this hottest guy and he’s really cool,' or something. You know?” 

Nolan swallows. It’s the same thought he had in the shower, kind of. “I’m fucking usually like, ‘I figured out how to deep throat on this guy’s dick and he didn’t even get me off after,' but, yeah, obviously I wish that I could do that, but I’m not just gonna talk about loving dick out of nowhere.” He sits up so he's criss crossed in front of Roope and puts his hands down on the bed and scrunches them in the soft bulk of the comforter, his wrist flexing against the top of Roope’s forearm where it’s still reached between them so he can keep stroking at Nolan’s thigh. 

“Okay,” Roope says, dropping his eyes down but still not meeting Nolan’s. “Well. You can tell me. I’ll give you my number, if--if you want. I, like, want to hear about it.” 

Nolan tenses so much Roope must feel it. He spreads his hand out, calming and soft, and just keeps it there, wide palm spanning most of the inside of Nolan’s thigh.

“You want to hear about my fucking hookups?”

Roope blinks, at Nolan’s chest and then finally up at him, his eyes this pale green sea glass shit. “Yeah.”