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Sid holds his hand on the flight back to Pittsburgh. 

Zhenya had stiffened when Sid passed by his usual row and stood in the aisle next to Zhenya. Zhenya had planted himself in the aisle seat, his bag tossed carelessly onto the seat next to him. 

“Can I?” Sid asked, and part of Zhenya wanted to say no. 

Sid holds himself like he always does. His shoulders are a little sloped with fatigue, but he just stands in the aisle and waits. Zhenya resents him for it. The loss is written all over Zhenya’s face and body. He wears it, letting it curl his shoulders into his chest, letting his legs press out angrily beneath the seat in front of him. His hair is a mess because he’d barely bothered to touch it after fleeing the showers. 

When he could finally stand to meet Sid’s eyes, Sid looked at Zhenya like Zhenya hadn’t blown the game up in the first ten minutes. Zhenya knows Sid so well after years of wins and losses and blood, and even Zhenya can’t see past Sid’s immaculate composure sometimes. It’s like a switch Sid can turn on and off, some part of his being that he knows how to shackle in a way Zhenya still can’t quite manage. 

Zhenya isn’t a snappy 20-something anymore, but when he gets onto the ice the only way he feels his age is in the stiffness in his ankles or the aches in his deep muscle. Whatever gravitas Sid has cobbled together over the years, he’s taken all of it, and Zhenya is left embarrassed on the ice, stewing in the penalty box while his team falters in the defensive zone.  

“Please?” Sid demanded, because he’s still a bit of a bitch.

Zhenya turned, shoving his bag onto the floor and twisting awkwardly in the seat so Sid could try to make it past his long legs. Sid still had to contort to get past him, and Zhenya got an ass in his face for his troubles. It had been nice to look at, even if Zhenya’s dick couldn’t have been less interested in the moment. 

Sid had brushed a hand over Zhenya’s right leg, careful to move himself around Zhenya’s knee before he finally planted his massive ass into the seat. 

Now, they’re less than twenty minutes from Pittsburgh, and Sid’s wormed his fingers around Zhenya’s hand. The anger has mostly bled out of Zhenya’s body, but he can tell he’s still holding his legs tightly and clenching his jaw.

Sid shifts his fingers on Zhenya’s again. He’s been pressing his tapered fingers against Zhenya’s in various configurations over the course of the flight: tangled with Zhenya’s longer ones, or his fingertips gently pressing into the back of Zhenya’s hand, or his short nails brushing over the mountains of Zhenya’s knuckles. 

Sid’s hand shifts, three of his fingers resting in the cradle of Zhenya’s skyward palm. His pinkie curls around Zhenya’s hand, his thumb sliding to rest on his wrist. 

Zhenya tries to take in a calming breath. It doesn’t work as Sid’s thumb presses into his pulse point, where Zhenya’s heartbeat is fluttering beneath his skin. Zhenya’s body betrays him even like this, then. Sid knows where to find it on Zhenya. It’s calculated, executed like a knowing hit to his knee.

“Mine?” Sid asks him as the captain announces they’re about to begin their descent.

Zhenya just nods. Sid’s fridge will offer more than Zhenya’s at this point in the season, and he’s certain that by morning he’d rather be faced with Sid’s endless protein powders and cartons of cow colostrum than the leftover haluski sitting next to the milk in his house.

He doesn’t entirely know why they keep living like this, spread across two mansions as if there’s a pretense to keep up, but it makes Sid happy. 

Zhenya follows Sid home, where Sid pulls out the vegetable-laden lasagna he’d prepped and frozen last week. Zhenya cranks the oven on just as Sid flings open the cabinet above the fridge and tugs out his bag of candy. In the playoffs it’s all they can do to eat enough to keep their energy up during this hellish race of a season. 

The trainers had begged them to eat more complex carbohydrates. Sid compromised by upping both his brown rice intake and his peanut butter cups intake.

“We didn’t set the pace tonight,” Sid says as he leans back against the counter and unwraps the first of probably three packets he’ll eat tonight. “They had us on our heels from the start, G.”

“I know,” Zhenya says, prickling a bit. He hates this part. He always hates this part, and it always comes, because Sid always needs to talk, and—

“Stop,” Sid says calmly.

Zhenya does.

“I know this pisses you off,” Sid says around his chocolate, “but I want to talk about it. I’m not tearing you down, but unless we communicate about it, it won’t get fixed.”

Zhenya chews on the inside of his mouth and holds himself tense and coiled. His arms are crossed sullenly across his chest, and he suddenly feels stupid, like a sulking child. 

“You don’t have to stay and listen to me talk about it,” Sid says, which is the exact sort of barb to hook into Zhenya’s swollen, inflamed pride and pull him in.

“Talk,” Zhenya finally says. He tugs open the fridge even though he knows he won’t find any beer inside; Sid’s indulgences are few and well-chosen when it comes to the postseason, and alcohol isn’t one of them.

They talk while the lasagna heats. Zhenya insists on sticking a few chicken breasts under the broiler too, because he’d picked at his steak the night before in the hotel. Sid does most of the talking, and his pauses are carefully placed to wait for Zhenya’s responses—soft noises or grunts of agreement, mostly. It’s a delicate dance they’ve perfected at this age. The patterns Sid takes are predictable: talking about the forwards first, then the defense, and only touching on Jarry gently, because Sid’s loyalty to goalies persists even as he strips the team down word by word. 

Zhenya’s thoughts flutter around the empty space Sid leaves in the conversation. He can feel the ragged edge of it, where Sid’s ripped out any talk of Zhenya’s three penalties from the conversation.

So that will be it, then.

“I will be more disciplined next game,” Zhenya had told the reporters on that stupid laptop after the game. He knew. He’d tried to head it off. 

Sid had lingered just out of camera range, listening. He’d already finished his turn, where he hid behind the brim of his cap under the bright fluorescent lights. He liked to hover when Zhenya did media duties, and the weight of his presence always settled on Zhenya like something heavy and hot. Sid’s attention did that to people. Zhenya had tried to ignore it as he spoke, as he took responsibility.

Sid had heard it from Zhenya’s lips himself.

It hadn’t been enough, apparently. Very well.

When they’re done polishing off half of the lasagna, Sid wraps the rest in foil and sticks it back in the freezer. He plugs the sink and flips on the water. 

“Can you get dishes?” he asks, and Zhenya nods. 

Sid disappears upstairs with another packet of peanut butter cups in hand. Once Zhenya can safely hear Sid’s loud steps thumping up the stairs, he rolls his eyes and cranks the water hotter. 

Sid had grown up doing the dishes by hand, but he’s become well-acquainted with his dishwasher in the years since. He wants Zhenya tied up in the slow pace of hand-washed dishes tonight. Of all the games Zhenya plays with Sid away from the rink, it’s ones like this that make Zhenya twitchy. Sid dictating the pace at which things go. Sid calling the shots just like he does on the ice. Sid telling Zhenya where to be to receive his pass. 

Sid likes him twitchy, and Zhenya likes it when Sid likes him. 

Zhenya plunges his hands into the scorching water, scrubbing off the crusted cheese from the edges of the plates. He’s thorough with it, more thorough than he usually is. Sid tolerates some occasional streakiness on his plates, but this time Zhenya takes care to rinse them over twice and dry them down with a rag from under the sink. He stands with a tilt to his hips, letting most of his weight rest on his left leg. His right aches, just as much from the game as from the stupid brace he has to wear when he’s on the ice.

His heart is galloping through his chest again by the time he puts the last fork away and turns around to see Sid watching him from the doorway.

Sid’s leaning up against the wall, arms crossed easily over his chest in a way that makes him look more muscular than he is this late in the season. His hair, his eyes, his stubble, are all so dark.

“You ready?” Sid asks, and Zhenya follows him upstairs. 

Zhenya falters when he sees the spreader bar laid out on the bed.

Sid gives him a moment to come to grips with it. He just keeps walking, heading into the closet, where he starts kicking off his socks and then tugging his shirt over his head. 

Over the last few years, Sid has gently introduced more restraints into their bedroom. It had started small, with Sid just wanting to clasp leather cuffs onto Zhenya’s wrists. He hadn’t even tied them together, had just stared at them the entire night, setting a fire in Zhenya with his gaze. It had taken Sid three months to convince Zhenya to let him buckle the two cuffs together. 

The weight of constraint makes Zhenya’s blood pound through his veins. It’s animal instinct, he’s sure of it. A fear that if he’s kept prone and vulnerable, he’s going to pay for it.

Sid’s done his best to disabuse him of the notion, but sometimes Zhenya thinks Sid sees the bestial emotions that rise in Zhenya’s stomach and gut and heart and likes them. 

“Geno?” Sid asks, and Zhenya looks away from the bed. Sid’s down to his loose sweatpants, and Zhenya can see the heavy sway of his balls, how his cock is already starting to harden against the fabric. 

“Can I?” Sid asks.

Zhenya swallows.

“Yes,” he says, and he looks at Sid to avoid staring at the bed.

Sid steps close to start undressing Zhenya. Zhenya helps him by lifting his limbs, but he mostly stays still under Sid’s ministrations. 

“You know,” Sid murmurs as he tugs Zhenya’s pants down his thighs, “you’re not getting out of it by being good now.”

Zhenya holds his tongue. He knows better than to bite back. Sid loves an argument, but he loves making Zhenya pay for it afterwards. 

Sid strips Zhenya out of the last of his clothes, and it’s only when Zhenya is bare and feeling the pervasive chill of Sid’s house that Sid wraps his beautiful hand around Zhenya’s wrist again. His fingers press hard into the skin, right over where Zhenya’s traitorously fast blood is racing through his veins. 

“I’m gonna be good,” Zhenya says as Sid leads him to the bed. “Not gonna move, stay so still, Sid.”

“That’s what it’s for,” Sid says implacably, and he presses Zhenya down into the bed.

“Don’t need,” Zhenya tries, and Sid leans up over him, straddling one of Zhenya’s stringy thighs. “Be most good for you.”

“Yeah you will,” Sid murmurs, eyes lidded as he leans down to press his lips to Zhenya’s. 

Zhenya tries to be sweet, to let Sid press his tongue deep into his mouth, to suck on it temptingly. When Sid nips at Zhenya’s lower lip, Zhenya gasps in a short breath but doesn’t curse at him. He just takes it. 

“Stop trying to worm out of it,” Sid murmurs against his lips. “If you don’t want it, you can say—”

“I know,” Zhenya growls, and that means Sid bites at his lip harder. Zhenya lets out a discontented sound but tries to settle in. 

Sid kisses him until Zhenya’s hard, until his bare cock is pressed between the warm skin of their bellies. Zhenya’s lips are spit-slicked when Sid finally pulls back, and his skin feels tender from where Sid’s wiry beard had rubbed. 

Sid reaches for the spreader bar. 

The leather cuffs on it aren’t unlike the ones he’d gotten Zhenya used to for his wrists. The only difference is how they’re bigger, and bolted onto either end of a shining, silver bar. 

“Easy,” Sid murmurs to him, like he’s a horse. Sid dismounts his thigh, settling between his legs instead. 

He takes one of Zhenya’s ankles in hand, his grip firm and good. It’s one thing if Sid holds Zhenya down to the bed—he’d done plenty of that while Zhenya was injured, for weeks and weeks. At first, when the injury to Zhenya’s knee had been fresh, Sid had only ridden him, refused to do anything else but sit on Zhenya until Zhenya agreed to hold onto Sid’s hips and keep his legs loose and slack on the bed as Sid used his powerful thighs to rock on Zhenya’s cock.

As soon as Zhenya’s knee had been ready, Sid had fucked Zhenya into the mattress. He inevitably does that when Zhenya’s injured; as soon as Zhenya’s halfway to okay, Sid plows them both into the bed and fucks the living daylight out of him, like he can’t get deep enough inside, like he can curl around Zhenya and fuck him healthy, like it means Zhenya needs his dick.

Sid’s hands had wrapped around Zhenya’s wrists then, and Zhenya’s heart had flown up into his throat, and he’d come so hard that Sid had asked if he was okay.

The wrap of the cuff around his ankle makes him think of the brace he has to wrestle on under his hockey socks. It’s tight and constricting, even though Sid carefully adjusts the buckle so it doesn’t pinch Zhenya. 

“See?” Sid says when he gets the second cuff onto Zhenya’s other ankle. 

Even though Sid’s planted between his legs, Zhenya can’t help himself. It’s like when that kozyol Clutterbuck had tangled himself up in Zhenya’s stick and hadn’t let go. Zhenya can’t stop himself from reacting, from trying to squeeze his thighs together. 

The leather squeaks gently against the metal. 

Sid smiles. 

He removes himself from between Zhenya’s legs, climbing off of the bed entirely. The emptiness between Zhenya’s legs feels pointed, and he tries to close his thighs again. It’s no use. The bar is heavy, like it’s expensive—maybe Sid buys their sex toys from exclusive clubs, just like how he buys his stupid, boring hoodies. Zhenya feels exposed, held still, all for Sid.

When Sid gets back on the bed, he looks ravenous. 

He sits himself right up against Zhenya’s hip, his skin hot even through his sweatpants. He rests the bottle of lube on Zhenya’s soft stomach, like it’s just convenient to use Zhenya as a piece of furniture while he’s bound up, and Zhenya’s gut clenches. 

“I’m stay still without it,” Zhenya says softly. It’s futile now, with him already strapped in, but he likes the way Sid’s hand smoothes over his ribs, a soothing touch.

“I’m keeping your knee safe,” Sid tells him simply, and sure, that could be part of it, but… 

“And you’ve gotta earn it back, G,” Sid murmurs, and he pats Zhenya’s sternum before uncapping the lube. 

Sid coats his fingers, rubbing the lube between them cursorily, more a gesture of habit than a meaningful way to warm it up. His fingers glisten as he reaches down between Zhenya’s legs. 

“You know what discipline is,” Sid tells him as his fingertips brush over the sensitive skin on Zhenya’s inner thighs. “You can be so good, Geno.”

Zhenya’s thighs fall lax when Sid strokes the skin of his balls. He tries to widen his legs, to invite more, but the evil bar keeps his legs evenly spaced. 

Sid’s hand slides up, to grip Zhenya’s hard cock around the base gently—not squeezing, just holding—as his other hand slides down. 

Zhenya’s rim doesn’t provide much resistance. He’s still easy from when he’d been injured, when Sid had kept him in bed like it was what the Penguins were paying him for. Sid’s fingertips press into him, teasing at the edges, getting him wet. 

Sid always wants him soaking. 

Zhenya shifts his hips, as if it’ll allow him to kick one leg up and open wider how he likes. Sid’s firm hold on his dick is torturous, heavy and caring, and Zhenya wants him to move. Needs him to. 

“When you get going, no one can stop you,” Sid tells him, and he eases two fingers into Zhenya’s ass, just up to the first knuckle. The sound that comes out of Zhenya is high and a bit like a whine. He tries to deepen it, and Sid’s hand around his cock tightens for a moment. 

“I need you to control yourself,” Sid says, and Zhenya blearily looks up at the ceiling, his temper bubbling in his chest. 

“You hear them,” he says even as he knows he shouldn’t. What’s one more self-sabotage for the night, in Sid’s arms? “Hear them say things, Sid, about team. About you.”

“I heard worse when I was thirteen,” Sid says lowly, and sure enough, his hand around Zhenya’s cock disappears. “I can take it. Can you?”

“Sid,” Zhenya moans, and Sid works his fingers deeper into Zhenya.

“I know what you can take,” Sid says, and he leans down, pressing up against Zhenya’s side. Like this, his lips can ghost along Zhenya’s jaw. Zhenya tries to turn, to get a kiss out of it, but Sid wedges his chin against Zhenya’s collarbone and his cheekbone against Zhenya’s jawbone. Zhenya can only stare up at the ceiling fan. 

“I know you,” Sid tells him, rocking his fingers into Zhenya in little thrusts. His palm nestles against Zhenya’s balls, almost cupping them, and Zhenya’s cock feels cold in the evening air, unattended and wanting. “I know what you’re capable of. I know what you can do, when you want to.”

“Want,” Zhenya grates out. 

“Not enough,” Sid says, and that makes Zhenya’s legs quake against the spreader bar again. “And I need you to control yourself. If you can’t, then I will.”

Sid pushes his fingers so deep into Zhenya until he can’t anymore, and then he curls them. 

Sid breathes against Zhenya’s neck as Zhenya makes noises, whining and groaning and shaking in his hold. Sid’s fingertips rub purposefully over his prostate again, teasing it like he hasn’t thoroughly abused it over the last month. 

“You don’t need to react,” Sid says darkly against Zhenya’s skin. He sounds like a beast, like a wolf in human clothes. “You don’t, but you do anyway.”

“Sid,” Zhenya begs. 

“If you’re gonna be angry,” Sid tells him, “then you need to be good.”

The noise that escapes Zhenya when Sid pulls his fingers out is embarrassing. It’s needy and wanting and Sid just pours more lube onto his fingers until they’re dripping with it. 

He slides three fingers into Zheya so easily that Zhenya’s momentarily left breathless, until Sid’s other wet hand finally strokes up his cock. 

“You’re so much better than that, Geno, you’re so good. Can you be good for me?” Sid asks.

“Yes,” Zhenya gasps, and Sid looks down at him, at where Zhenya’s hands are digging into the bedsheets. 

“Then don’t come,” Sid says, and he starts thrusting his hand between Zhenya’s legs, making Zhenya’s hips rock on the bed, his tapered fingertips rubbing against Zhenya’s swollen prostate with every movement. His other hand starts stroking Zhenya’s cock in long tugs, urging Zhenya’s hips into the swell of each thrust.

“Sid,” Zhenya says again, his voice starting to shake. It’s embarrassing. It’s the exact thing Sid wants him to control, it’s his emotions billowing up inside him until they burst out of him, and Sid’s wet fingers are stroking Zhenya so good, are fucking him open, and Zhenya’s legs are splayed wide—Sid could do anything to him, and Zhenya would let him.

He has to close his eyes when he sees Sid staring at him. Even behind his eyelids, he can picture Sid’s intense stare, or the concentrated moue Sid’s lips fall into, slightly open and puckered, so tempting that Zhenya wants those swollen lips around his cock, or pressed around where Sid’s fingers are splitting him wide.

“Hang on,” Sid says, and his voice is rough. “Geno, hang on right now.” 

Zhenya’s fingers dig into the mattress so hard his knuckles hurt. His heels dig into the bed, his thighs quaking as he lets the spreader bar take his force as he tries to squeeze his legs together to trap Sid’s hand up against him. He can’t. Sid has him. If Sid wanted to, he could hold the bar with one hand and hold Zhenya’s hip with the other, keeping Zhenya splayed for him as he fucked into him. He could leave Zhenya open for as long as he wanted, he could tease Zhenya to the brink every time, and Zhenya would take it, because for Sid, Zhenya would be anything. 

Even good.

“Sid, pozhaluysta!” Zhenya begs.

“I said hang on,” Sid demands, steeled against the Russian that can sometimes sway him. 

Zhenya sets his teeth into his lower lip, clenching his jaw, and tries to banish it all—the wet noises of Sid’s hands on and in his body, the knowing press of Sid’s fingertips against where he wanted them, the practiced touch around Zhenya’s cock. 

His vision starts to fuzz at the edges, a blinding white, and he gasps in a desperate, painful breath, and—

“Alright,” Sid says, and he leans down and takes Zhenya’s cock as far into his mouth as he can.

Zhenya comes back to his senses abruptly. He opens his eyes, blinking away the tears that had gathered on his eyelashes. His heart is racing, and his ass is gaping and open and Sid is kneeling up above him on the bed, a hand furiously working over his cock until he lets out a choked-out sound and comes. 

His cum spills onto Zhenya’s stomach, joining the sticky mess Zhenya had left on himself. 

Sid rests back on his heels, chest heaving. His sweats are shoved down beneath his balls, and Zhenya licks his lips tiredly, spent but enjoying the sight. He wishes he had seen more. He wishes he could have touched. 

For a minute or two, it’s just the sound of their slowly-calming breathing. Sid pats Zhenya’s bare thigh with a sticky hand.

“Attaboy, Geno,” Sid tells him. 

Zhenya heaves out a sigh and melts into the bed.

He’s useless—he’ll trade the teasing Sid will subject him to tomorrow, calling him lazy, a pillow princess, in exchange for the way Sid carefully undoes the buckles around his ankles and then drops the bar over the side of the bed, how he goes into the bathroom for a washcloth and wipes Zhenya down. 

Sid elbows him out of the wet spot, which Zhenya will appreciate tomorrow but grumbles about in the moment, and settles himself against Zhenya.

Zhenya turns his head, pressing his nose into Sid’s skin, taking in a comforting breath that smells like sweat and salt and home. 

Tomorrow, they’ll rise and try again.

Tonight, Zhenya curls a protective arm around Sid and sleeps.