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This. Sucks.

The worst part, the absolute worst part about being a teenager—more than the acne, more than the greasy hair, more than the voice change—was the uncontrollable urge to fuck everything. All the time. Sometimes popping wood was as easy as the bus driving by.

The team doctor said just wait it out. Well. Patrick doesn’t fucking want to wait it out. He’s a 25 year old, stuck in a 16-year-old body, constantly confronted with Jonathan Toews’ half-clothed form. In what universe is that fair?

They’ve been training in the weight room (‘gotta put that weight back on, son, don’t know how long you’ll be this way,’ Q had said) and Patrick has already gotten hard pedaling away on his bike, getting his form corrected on a squat, and doing crunches. His Under Armour is really thin and it just rubs…things, okay? Like every time he moves. What the hell is he supposed to do about that exactly? Put his cup on?

He’s benching with Sharpy spotting for him (read: texting his wife and half-assedly saying ‘one more’, every once in a while), and the exertion is at least enough that he hasn’t gotten wood for ten whole minutes. It’s a record. Did he get hard this often in his teens? He doesn’t remember it. How did he ever do anything but jerk off if that was the case?

"Jesus, Patrick, that is way too much weight," Johnny says, walking over and moving Sharpy, who goes easily enough, aside.

Patrick pauses, bar just above his chest. He’s benching 200, which is normal for him. So what if it’s about 60 pounds heavier than what he was benching at 16, he’s fucking motivated alright? There’s a lot of extra testosterone in his system, boners that need killing, and Jonathan Toews should fucking witness. God, the backwards baseball cap, the tight sweat damp shirt, is Johnny trying to kill him here? He lifts the bar again. He can do this. Ten more reps, at least.

Which is of course when he looks up and realizes he can see straight up Johnny’s nylon shorts, where the asshole is just free-balling it.

"Whoa!" Johnny says, snagging the bar before he drops it across his chest. He easily sets it back in the cradle, leaving Patrick, breathing hard, with nothing to distract him, looking straight up at Johnny’s sweaty and flushed body. God he looks good like that. A bead of sweat travels down his throat, sliding over his collarbone. Patrick wants to lick it off.

Fuck! Everything!

"You okay there?" Johnny asks, peering down at him. It’s the same tone of voice as the one he uses on the kids at skate clinics.

Which pisses him off. Patrick is not actually 16. Jackass should remember. He scrambles off the bench. Sharpy, where the fuck are you? Now would be a brilliant time to play a prank. Unreliable bastard.

"I’m fine, I’m fine!" he shouts, voice cracking.

Johnny eyes him a little warily. “Yeah?”

Patrick throws up his hands. “Jesus, yes! Alright?”

He survived rooming with Johnny for five whole years, never betraying a thing. Made sure never to look too long, never to get carried away. And now he’s sixteen again, how the fuck can he fight his own body? There is no justice. None at all.

He nearly cries out when Johnny pats him on the back. No, asshole. Don’t fucking touch! Patrick could barely stave off erection at the mere sight of him, now what is supposed to do when Johnny is squeezing the back of his neck?

"Hey, it’ll be okay," Johnny says, giving him one last pat, before turning and heading for the locker room.

Yeah, no. Patrick really doesn’t think it will.

He thinks he must have fucked up, like really fucking bad, in a prior life. Like maybe he was responsible for building I-290 or the Harold Washington library or something.

That is absolutely the only reason he can think of that Johnny would get it into his head to barge into his hotel room, throw the bathroom door open, and pull the curtain back while Patrick is in the shower, ‘relieving some tension’ as it were.

“Gah!” he shouts, practically leaping into the air and slipping in the tub. He drops his dick, scrabbling against the shower tile to hold himself up.

Johnny drops his eyes to Patrick’s erection, because of course he’s still hard. He’s biologically sixteen, nothing is killing this thing, not even the horrified shame and embarrassment coursing through him.

“Oh,” he says, meeting Patrick’s eyes.

“'Oh?'” Patrick shouts, “'Oh?' What the fuck, man! Get out!”

“No,” Johnny says.

“No?” Patrick squawks. He inhales, getting ready to tear his psycho (fucking gorgeous) teammate a new one.

Johnny kicks his shoes off and climbs in in front of Patrick with all of his clothes on.

“Have you actually lost your mind?” Patrick demands. The water darkens the fabric of Johnny’s shirt, plastering it to his chest and abs. Patrick looks down, away, anywhere. That’s infinitely worse, because Johnny's nylon gym shorts are clinging to his thighs, the outline of his dick clearly delineated. He swallows hard.

“This is what’s got you so agitated?” Johnny says, gesturing to Patrick’s front, his bobbing cock. Water showers down on them, a little cooler than Patrick likes it, but it was a sanity measure. And Johnny’s nipples are hard underneath his water-logged shirt. That is totally not a whimper that comes out of his mouth. Patrick keeps his eyes determinedly on Johnny’s face. That seems the safest. He notices that Johnny's eyelashes are shiny and spiky from the water. Sometimes, it floors Patrick how, well, beautiful he is. Ugh, he’s noticing eyelashes now. He’s very seriously considering that he might have been genetically hardwired to just find everything about Johnny attractive. It’s not like he’s that great looking or—yeah, okay, no, who the fuck is he fooling?

“It’s natural!” Patrick looks away, his cheeks are so hot the spray feels downright freezing on his face. “You didn’t have to jump into the shower about it.”

Johnny chuckles, spinning him around and drawing him backwards, because Johnny can simply do that now that he has 60 whole pounds and another two extra inches on him. Patrick’s shoulder blades meet his chest with a wet squelch.

“What is this!” Patrick knows he’s screeching. He thinks that’s perfectly valid. Jonathan Toews is manhandling him in his own shower. The levels of not okay this is—

Johnny closes his fist around Patrick’s cock and Patrick gets a little distracted. He’s pulling him off with slow, hard strokes, surrounding Patrick with his bulk, because god, he’s huge, he’s an adult, and Patrick very definitely is not. Patrick cries out and throws his head back against Johnny’s shoulder, nearly slipping again. Johnny takes his weight, pulling him in tighter. He watches his dick slide through Johnny’s hand, grip slippery but sure, and feels the inane urge to explain that his dick is bigger than this in reality. Or, sort of, when he’s back to being 25 that is.

“Okay,” Patrick pants, he has to close his eyes, he can’t look anymore or he’ll come. Which would be great. Only, hey, he’s got his pride on the line. “What are you even doing?”

Johnny thumbs the head of his dick and Patrick can’t help the choked off-little moan that’s practically punched out of him. It shouldn’t be this easy, but he’s half-mad from it at this point, the throbbing ache in his balls, the warmth in his belly, his body’s insistent desire to come right now, right now, RIGHT NOW.

“Do you fucking know what you look like? That fucking mouth of yours. Do you have any idea? Prancing around like absolute jailbait.” Johnny tells him. He drags Patrick back hard against his hips so that he can feel his erection through the shorts. “Jesus, Kaner, you’re not the only one who’s been experiencing a little difficulty.”

He dips his head to lick shower water from Patrick’s shoulder and well, that’s all she wrote. Patrick’s coming, all over the place, his whole weight dropped back on Johnny. Johnny holds him up, sliding open-mouthed kisses over Patrick’s shoulder. His mouth is hot in contrast to the shower water. Patrick shakes in his arms.

Finally he gets his feet back under him and bats Johnny’s arms off of him, so he can turn to look at him. Johnny’s erection is entirely obscene in his shorts. He’s still wearing his fucking baseball cap. Seriously. He couldn’t wait five minutes to take his clothes off and like explain to Patrick what was happening? Now that he’s not achingly aroused logic is all rushing back to him.

Johnny drops his hand and palms his dick through his shorts.

Well, that lasted two seconds. Patrick is fucking hard. Again. He breathes deep.

“You should fuck me,” he says.

Johnny reels him in, palming Patrick’s ass as he draws him close. “You know that’s not going to happen, right?” he says, even as fingers dip down the cleft of his ass. Patrick shudders.

“But it could?” he says hopefully.

Johnny chuckles, draws him in tighter. “It will…just, not when you’re stuck as a sixteen-year-old.”

“I am still 25,” Patrick shouts.

“Yup,” Johnny replies equably and then kisses him. It’s probably to shut him up. Patrick knows him. He’s going to try to distract him from the sex offensive he has planned. Well it won’t work. Patrick has wanted Johnny for nearly a decade. He’s not waiting any longer. Johnny hauls him in close, up and against his body, so that their cocks grind together. And goddamn it.

Patrick’s come all over again.

Chapter Text

Jonny’s gotten gold from the sun in the few days since they arrived, unlike Patrick who just burns and has to apply a million layers of SPF 50 and hangout under a beach umbrella for long stretches. Jonny trudges up the beach, surfboard under his arm, paler flesh revealed with water weighing his trunks down low on his hips.

He’s covered in bruises. Learning to surf isn’t going so smoothly, but it’s Jonny and he keeps trying, somehow unbothered by the many chirps he’s getting from the other guys. He looks good anyway, healthy muscle, forearms corded with veins. Patrick has to look away.

Hawaii, might be Jonny’s new favorite place, fresh fish with every meal, tons of sunshine, Patrick isn’t really paying attention, but from what the other guys are saying he’s hooking up a lot, with the local girls, with the other guests at the resort. Patrick kind of hates him.

"You almost didn’t completely embarrass yourself there," Biscuit tells him, saluting him with his bottle of beer.

"Yeah, yeah," Jonny says, sticking his board in the sand. He’s been wearing this friendship bracelet that a girl at a hospital they visited had made him, and the sight of it, water-logged and dark against Jonny’s strong wrist—well, it’s funny how the little things make it too much.

Patrick clears his throat and excuses himself. “Been out in the sun too long,” he says when the other guys groan and protest at him. It’s not a lie, he can feel the skin across the bridge of his nose pulling tight when he smiles, the sure sign of the beginnings of a burn.

"Shut up," he tells them, "I’ll see you at dinner."

He ignores Jonny’s dark eyes.

They rented a set of beachfront villas for team. Most of the guys are doubled up, Jonny’s with both Duncs and Seabs, but Patrick’s got his own thankfully. He just needs to take a moment, a cold shower maybe. He’ll be fine in the evening.

The little garden path, heavily studded with palm trees, birds of paradise, and hibiscus creates a dense canopy against the sun, a little windbreak against the sound of the surf.

He thinks he imagines it when he hears Jonny call his name, but when it comes again, he turns around and finds Jonny jogging after him.

He stops in the shade of the palms, squinting at him. “What?”

Jonny slows to a stop and shakes his head. He pauses for a moment and then says, “Why do you always look at me like that?”

"Like what?" Patrick replies, a little louder than he mean to.

Jonny bites his lip and shrugs.

Patrick turns away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.”

Jonny makes a frustrated noise and then thrusts him up against the side of his villa. He smells of ocean and coconut and sunscreen and when he steps in close, cool flesh and wet bathing suit meeting Patrick’s sun-warmed overheated skin, Patrick shivers, mouth opening on a gasp. Jonny ducks in before he can ask ‘what the fuck?’ and tilts his chin right into a kiss.

"Fuck," Patrick says when Jonny backs off a little. He swipes his tongue over his lower lip tasting salt and the vague hint of mint from the gum Jonny always chews.

Jonny makes a sound in the back of his throat, grinding in closer, thumb pushing at the corner of his mouth to open Patrick up for his tongue. Patrick’s trapped, wet all down his front, water from Jonny’s trunks running down his own legs.

Jonny’s hot and hard against his hip and Patrick uses his back to push off the wall to get closer to Jonny as much as possible, to thrust against that erection while Jonny kisses him slow and sweet. The slick sounds of their mouths meeting and their harsh breaths are the only noise over the waves. Jonny pushes him back into the wall, palm over his heart, and slides a leg between Patrick’s so that he’s riding his thigh. Patrick whines high in his throat, fingers curling in Jonny’s swimsuit, digging into the strong muscle of his ass.

Jonny pushes in closer, forcing Patrick up onto his tiptoes, when his knee meets the wall between Patrick's legs, lifting him higher onto his thigh.

He moans, turns his face into Jonny’s neck.

"Yeah," Jonny breathes, "just like that."

He takes Patrick apart right there, pressed up against the side of the villa, speared in place by sticky kisses and the pressure of his thigh, whispering filth and encouragement. He backs off, muttering expletives, pressing their foreheads together when Patrick finally works his hands beneath the waistband of his trunks, squeezing and pulling Jonny up and into him.

Patrick comes like that, a shuddery mess, with Jonny dragging the tip of his nose over Patrick’s cheek, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of his jaw.

Jonny gives him a moment, before straightening his leg and leaning away, letting Patrick sink back down, feet flat on the ground.

Patrick stares at him, a little amazed, covered in goosebumps from the shock of Jonny’s wet skin.

He looks at the obscene press of Jonny’s trunks plastered to his erection and makes a high-pitched strangled sound in his throat. He wants to go back inside the cool dark interior of the villa and let Jonny work that dick inside him. He wants all the weight of Jonny’s body on top of him, pressing him into the mattress, pounding him until he breaks and says every stupid thing he’s held in for so long. There’s a blood-dark bruise just above Jonny’s hip from where he took a tumble on the surfboard, and Patrick wants to close his grip on it and make Jonny tremble. He wants to fuck Jonny up, so that he’s as spun around as Patrick always is.

Jonny’s flushed all down his chest. He chews at his lower lip. “You wanna?” he asks with a bit of a grin.

Patrick thunks his head back against the wall. He laughs. “Yeah.”

Chapter Text

There are some logistical issues to Patrick’s plan to have Jonny fuck him. There’s no lube, he wasn’t planning this after all. He doesn’t even have condoms. Jonny does, but they’re back in the place he’s sharing with Duncs and Seabs, and running off to get them when they still have no lube is not going to help them.

They make do. He gets Jonny off in the shower cubical, pressing him up against the tile, and jerking him slow and steady. He does it for so long his wrist aches and Jonny’s cursing at him to just finish it.

"Such a tease," Jonny says, choked up, using the wall to hold his head up more than anything else. "Such a fucking tease."

He comes with a shudder, an expression moving across his face that looks like pain.

Further logistical issues arrive when they realize that Jonny only has his damp board shorts and no other clothing and they’ve got dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants in half an hour.

"Gonna have to take another shower," Jonny says and makes a face when he draws them up his legs. He knocks off an awkward salute and then practically sprints out of the villa. Patrick’s left, towel wrapped around his waist, wondering what the hell happened.

*

That night at dinner, they’ve put the team at a long table on the patio of the restaurant. Jonny shows up a few minutes late in a soft button-down with the sleeves rolled up, khaki shorts, and boat shoes. He looks like a prep school kid straight out of New England. Patrick wants to eat him. And then maybe strangle him for it.

Jonny tends to bring that out in him.

Patrick’s down at one end, mostly lost in his own thoughts, picking at his food, wondering if they’re going to try this again later. Or if…that was just it. There was no ‘hold that thought’ or ‘to be continued,’ and Jonny never really gave him a reason for why now, why this moment.

"Hey, Kaner!" Sharpy says, "Kaner, Jesus, pass the bread will you?"

"Hmm? Oh." Patrick looks up. He blushes when he finds the entire team staring at him. Sharpy clears his throat and Patrick rolls his eyes and sends the bread basket down the table. When he looks up again, Jonny’s staring at him from several seats down, eyes dark, teeth dug into his lower lip.

Patrick takes a moment to realize he was rubbing his mouth absentmindedly with the tips of his fingers, trying to recall the sensation of Jonny’s mouth on his. He lets his hand drop and turns back to his food.

Jonny keeps sneaking glances at him and Patrick knows it’s dirty pool, but he can’t help doing it on purpose—sucking his lower lip and letting his teeth drag across it while he’s listening to Smitty explain the plot of some movie. Curling his tongue delicately around his fork during desert. Thumbing the rim of his water glass. When dinner wraps up, he excuses himself to go the bathroom. They’re supposed to go dancing afterwards, but Patrick says he’ll catch up.

He hopes. He doesn’t know what he hopes, but he gets it anyway when Jonny accosts him right outside the bathroom door after he’s washed his hands, wrapping an arm around his waist and saying short and sharp, right against his throat, “Supplies,” in a threadbare voice.

Patrick shudders. “Yeah.”

The first pharmacy they hit, a mom and pop store, has condoms, but is a big fat no on the lube.

"God, why?" Jonnny asks, staring at the little shelf right next to the feminine hygiene in betrayed consternation. Patrick can’t stop laughing.

The guy at the register glares at them and Patrick picks up a pack of Twizzlers and a bottle of water, and grins real big. No sir. We aren’t being assholes in your pharmacy.

They try the Longs up the road next. They can’t find the section. It’s cleverly hidden. That or the people who work here are assholes who like embarrassing their customers. That’s a possibility. Patrick would probably do that if he worked in a Longs. When he finally gives up and asks, they find themselves at Visine and Refresh PM eye lubricant. Okay, yes, these jack-knobs are definitely doing it on purpose.

"What is even happening right now?" Jonny asks, incredulous. He knocks Patrick’s shoulder and Patrick uses it to pull him in close, pressing their foreheads together. He breathes Jonny in for a short moment and then backs off, not missing the way Jonny’s eyes go dark and molten. It’s stupid. They’re in Hawaii, which isn’t exactly known for its culture of team sports, but half the people in Wailea are from somewhere else. They can’t really afford to push it. He wants to do it again and again anyway.

For as long as Jonny will give it to him.

They finally find lube stashed in with the adult diapers.

"Sexy," Patrick says, tongue in his cheek.

Jonny, man on a mission, looks at their options. “CVS brand? Nope. Astroglide? Jesus, what is this 1985?”

He discards the Doc Jonson box labeled Good Head: Strawberry Flavor and both the silicone and water-based Gun Oil. He pauses, picking up a red and aqua tube. “Oh good, I’ve found it.” He tosses it to Patrick.

Patrick catches it and then looks down at the label. It says Hott Products: Liquid Virgin in cursive script. “What? I’m sorry? What?”

Jonny can’t stop laughing.

Patrick jabs him in the side and finally grabs a box of KY. He looks around quickly and then ducks in close to kiss Jonny. “Lemme just go pay,” he says, putting a whisper of space between them.

Jonny snorts, and palms the front of his pants, grinding his heel right over Patrick’s dick. The box drops right out of Patrick’s nerveless fingers and Jonny snatches it right out of the air. “Yeah, I don’t think so,” Jonny says and then picks up a big box of Durex with a cheeky smile, before disappearing for the register.

Patrick meets him outside a few moments later, Jonny swinging the plastic bag with the supplies and whistling. Patrick can’t help cracking up as soon as he sees him. What a disaster.

Jonny pops his gum at him and grins. “Like being 17 again,” he says and the way he looks at Patrick, right there, out on the street in the warm night air, lets him know he’d be kissing Patrick if he could.

Chapter Text

"Slow," Patrick says, propped up against the leather-covered headboard, elbows on his knees.

Jonny pauses in the middle of unbuttoning his shirt, eyebrows raised. “Really?”

Patrick tilts his head back, resettles his shoulders. “Yup.”

Jonny blows out a breath and shakes his head, but he slows down, carefully unthreading buttons until a slice of sun-deepened gold skin is revealed. The last one pops free of it’s buttonhole, and the two sides of the shirt part, just wide enough to reveal the edge of his flat dusky pink nipples.

Patrick bites his lip.

"Slow enough for you?" Jonny drops his head and drags his hand slowly down over the ripples in his abs to land on the button of his fly. The dark trail of hair disappearing into his waistband is only the faintest line, Patrick imagines running his fingertips down it now that he knows how soft that stretch of skin is.

The sound of Jonny’s zipper is loud in the room with only the quiet shush of the ceiling fan overhead and the murmur of the surf in the distance. When he finally shoves his shorts down, the waistband catches on his thighs, dragging his boxer briefs with it. Jonny closes his eyes and breathes out when it chafes his dick.

The shorts hit the floor revealing Jonny’s half-hard cock. Patrick watches it fill under his gaze, Jonny staring back at him almost defiant. He fists it, once, twice.

"Your show," he says, voice edged with gravel.

Patrick’s still mostly dressed, just his shirt is off. He walks on his knees to the foot of the bed, just the right height to draw Jonny in for a kiss. Jonny accepts it easily, letting Patrick draw him in close to fuck his mouth with his tongue and ignoring the vulnerability of his own nakedness. Apparently he can multi-task, because his clever fingers go to Patrick’s fly, pulling it apart and shoving it down, careful to make sure the denim doesn’t abrade as it goes.

Patrick lets out a soft 'mmm' when Jonny’s hands go to his cheeks, spreading them, fingertips drawing down his perineum. Patrick trapped himself but good here. The shorts tangled around his knees make it difficult to move and he has to put his full weight on Jonny to kick them off and keep kissing him.

"How do you like it?" Patrick asks him when they part for air, mouth swollen and abraded.

"Fuck, Patrick," Jonny says eyes on Patrick's lips, keeping up that teasing circling of his fingers around the rim of Patrick's hole. "Wanna be able to kiss you."

He takes matters into his own hands before Patrick can answer, dropping his arm to tighten it around Patrick’s thighs and then twisting his body so that he lands on the bed, Patrick straddled across his thighs.

"Nice trick," Patrick says dryly. Nevertheless breathless and turned on.

"Suited my purposes."Jonny meets his eyes and then drops them back to his mouth. Patrick takes the hint and bends to kiss him again, blanketing Jonny in his weight. From the way Jonny moans, Patrick thinks he likes being covered like this, held down to the bed, letting Patrick takes what he wants. He makes only the smallest of adjustments, shifting Patrick better over his thighs so that their cocks align.

"God," Patrick says against his mouth.

"Mmhm," Jonny hums and shifts him again.

Patrick flexes his hips against him. They’re so good like this. He’s pictured taking Jonny to bed an awful fucking lot over the years. He imagined it would be good, because he was so fucking into Jonny he would be more than happy to give him whatever he wanted. But fucking hell, he didn’t know it would be like this.

"You wanna come first?" Jonny asks. The 'before I fuck you' is implied. Patrick doesn’t. He wants to come on Jonny’s dick. He’s not sure how to say it so that it doesn’t sound as intimate as it really is.

Jonny presses his fingertips back against his hole and Patrick clenches up against him. Jonny circles it and Patrick thinks the sound he makes answers for him. “Okay,” Jonny breathes, shuddery and deep, blessedly just as turned on as Patrick.

He throws a hand over to the nightstand, scrabbling until he comes up with both the condoms and the lube. He flicks the cap off with one hand, rotating it in his palm to squeeze it out so that he doesn’t have to stop teasing Patrick’s opening with his other hand. He surprises Patrick by reaching between them and slicking himself up rather than Patrick’s opening. For one fraught moment Patrick worries he's just going to force his cock in, no prep or anything.

Jonny doesn’t, he shifts so that his slickened cock runs right between Patrick’s cheeks, head of dick catching at Patrick’s opening. Using his dick to spread lube around. Shit it's hot. Jonny does this over and over again, all through kissing Patrick, until Patrick’s just breathing into his mouth, trying not to lose it all over Jonny’s abs. He thinks about the thick streaks of white painting Jonny’s stomach and it just makes it worse.

Jonny squeezes more lube into his hand and this time, he brings it to Patrick’s hole, easily pushing in two coated fingers, doing it twice more to force the lube in deep until at last, his fingers leave Patrick’s ass with a wet squelch. “Do you need more?” he asks, eyes dark. His voice is steady, patient, but he keeps flexing his hips against Patrick, giving away how much he'd like to just fuck into Patrick already.

"Think you can wait through another?" Patrick asks. He's good, loose enough, just giving Jonny shit for the sake of giving him shit.

"Can you?" Jonny fires back.

Patrick looks down at him. He scoffs hard, raising himself up on his knees and then back, impaling himself on Jonny’s dick. Jonny gasps. “There’s no…Patrick there’s no…”

Oh, Jesus. Oh, God. That is Jonny’s dick opening him up, sliding deep inside him. He drops down across Jonny's chest, bowled over.

Jonny makes a strangled sound, turning his face into Patrick’s throat. “…condom,” he finally gets out, shuddering underneath Patrick.

That was stupid. He can’t bring himself to care. He fucks himself on Jonny’s dick, back bent so that he can still kiss him through it. Every time he bottoms out, Jonny seems to tense underneath him, like he’s hanging on to make sure he doesn’t come too early. Patrick feels like he’s been riding the edge for hours. In a way he has. For weeks, months, years even.

He wants it harder and deeper, but this angle, lying nearly horizontal, close as it is, isn’t good for that. He wants Jonny to make him feel it, who knows when they’ll get to do this again.

"Help me out here, Jonny," he asks, trying to ignore the whine in his voice.

Jonny gets his feet flat on the bed, snapping his hips up, fucking in so deep and hard, Patrick cries out again and again. He comes like that, half-collapsed on Jonny’s chest, shaking apart so hard Jonny follows only a few moments later.

"So good, so…fucking…good," Jonny says, emptying himself inside.

They lay like that for long moments, just breathing hard, Jonny softening inside him, until finally Patrick’s thighs can’t take it anymore and he has to roll off of him. He got what he wanted. His come is smeared all over Jonny’s firmly muscled belly.

"You shouldn’t have," Jonny says after a long moment, looking at the box of condoms lying on the sheets next to them. He shifts his legs, trying to shake them out, palm over his heart. He’s a picture, a study in fucked out grace.

"Do you trust me?" Patrick asks. If he’d been thinking he wouldn’t have done it.

Jonny holds his gaze. “Yeah, I fucking trust you.”

"Are you…"

Jonny scooches over on the bed, just enough to press his lips to Patrick’s. “I haven’t had sex since I was last tested,” he says when he shifts away.

"What? I heard the guys razzing you about hooking up."

Jonny laughs and shakes his head. “I was uh...actually just going out for a walk every night. Duncs and Seabs didn’t believe it.

"Jesus," Patrick says, throwing an arm over his face. "Jesus."

"What, what is it?" Jonny asks.

"Nothing, man," Patrick finally tells him. He doesn’t know how to say that hearing that creates space in Patrick’s chest for hope, which is not something he can afford. “That was something else.”

"Yeah…" Jonny says, sounding like he’s thinking hard. "Do you…want me to go?"

Patrick just fucked Jonny bare. Of course he doesn’t want him to go. It nearly bursts out of his mouth, but instead, at the last minute, he manages to say, “Can’t do it again in the morning if you aren’t here.”

Jonny laughs. “Yeah, okay.”

Chapter Text

It all goes to hell in the middle of July, in the midst of the worst heatwave Chicago’s seen since 1995. Patrick doesn’t hear about it for nearly two days at home back in Buffalo, and with Johnny in Hawaii, completely unreachable, it’s no surprise it spins so far out of control.

He’s still in bed, enjoying the fact that he can get up whenever the hell he wants. Amanda’s asleep next to him, and it’s shaping up to be pretty much the perfect lazy summer day.

And then Erica calls and says the most deeply ominous thing he can think of: “Let me start off by saying I don’t think any of this is true...”

“Huh?” Patrick says, too tired to understand what the hell is going on.

“I don’t know where he got his information or even why he thought such an allegation would be appropriate in the wake of everything that happened...”

“What are you talking about?” Patrick demands, eyes darting over to Amanda when she makes a noise of protest and rolls over.

“Andy Highmore?” she says, incredulously.“The kid who got beaten up on the south side by those three guys in Blackhawks jerseys! You don’t know about this?”

“Whoa,” Patrick says, extricating himself from his covers and leaving the room as quietly as he can. “No, I hadn’t heard that a kid got beat up by fans. Amanda and I have been living kind of unplugged for the past two days.”

“It wasn’t just some kid, Pat,” Erica replies, “he was gay. They put him in the freakin’ hospital.”

Patrick rubs at his forehead. “Oh, jesus.” They’ve been in the clear with GLAAD and the CGHA since 2010, when Sopel went to Pride after the comments about Chris Pronger ruffled some feathers. But they didn’t take the cup to Pride this year and he can already see people drawing horrible connections, especially in the wake of the backlash following Roy Hibbert’s “no homo” comment.

“That’s not even why I’m calling,” she tells him after a long pause. “About an hour ago Perez Hilton posted to his blog saying and I quote, ‘Square-jawed and serious Blackhawk’s Captain Jonathan Toews surely will not stand for this from his fans given his long-term relationship with winger and lovably notorious wild man Patrick Kane.’”

“Uh?” That’s all he’s got. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Perez Hilton just outed you as gay,” she splutters, “with--with Johnny!”

“Nobody’s going to believe that,” he finally manages. He’s not gay. Definitely not with Johnny. They both have girlfriends. People the world over have seen the pictures of him in bed with that one chick from way back when. That doesn’t even make any sense.

“Patrick,” she says, “they do believe it.”

Which is how, when the front office calls, barely fifteen minutes later, he’s already got a flight booked to Midway and car service waiting at the other end to pick him up.

*

He doesn’t know how they track down Johnny from where he’s staying in god knows where on the Island of Kauaʻi, or who they have to bribe in order to get his ass back in the Contiguous United States just after three in the morning, but somehow they manage it.

Patrick’s been hanging out in his apartment, checking his phone constantly, waiting for somebody from the front office to let him know what’s going on and what they’re going to do. Lauren Peterson calls him when Johnny’s flight touches down and tells him to get to the UC ASAP. She apologizes immediately afterwards for how she sounds, but Patrick hardly even noticed.

His first thought when he sees Johnny in a t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops is that he looks good despite his obvious exhaustion and the sweat he must have built up just being outside in the insane heat. He’d put on some of the weight he lost in the post-season and his skin was no longer bluish-pale like it was at the end there.

“Did Lindsey come back with you?” Patrick asks.

“Nah, she said she’d stay. We still have the place were renting for another two weeks, so if I can make it back out there, I will.”

“Rough,” Patrick says, thinking of Amanda. She drove him to the airport, amused and in good humor, unlike Patrick who had sat in silence trying to understand how it was that everybody was so convinced he was completely and totally hard up over Jonathan Toews of all people. There were players Patrick could see being gay for in the NHL--Laich, Lundqvist, Sharpy, hell, he’d seen enough of Seg’s ass running around Biel to know that was a butt that didn’t quit--Johnny did not come to mind.

“They’re waiting for you through there,” Lauren says from her desk, phone glued to her ear, gesturing expansively at a conference room.

Stan Bowman, Q, John McDonough and a suited guy Patrick doesn’t recognize are already waiting inside. They go through the usual round of pleasantries and when Scott Kempenaar and Adam Rogowin show up a few minutes later, they tell Johnny and Patrick to sit down.

“Adam, you better tell ‘em what’s up,” McDonough says, sitting back in his chair.

“First of all, I want to thank you for waiting to talk to the press. This is a difficult and confusing time, especially for you,” Rogowin says, hands braced behind his back like he’s come to tell them there’s been a death in the family, “Andy Highmore has been in the hospital for two days. As of now, his condition is listed as critical. We’ve issued a statement and we’ve spoken to his family to assert our support for them and express our deep regret for what happened.”

“That’s...good?” Johnny says tentatively, sharing a look with Patrick, “I assume there’s a way that you’d like to handle the...um...the rumors?”

Rogowin pauses audibly, looking at McDonough, who nods. He swallows before continuing, face looking ever more grave. “Yes, we have a strategy in mind. What I’m going to ask you to do is deeply unorthodox.”

*

They want Patrick and Johnny to pretend to be gay. To pretend that the whole freaking thing is real. That they’ve been in love since they were rookies and that they’ve been dating since the Olympics in 2010. All to offset the negative press following Andy Highmore’s beating and hospitalization. It turned out the unrecognizable suit guy was a lawyer from Covington & Burling with a stack of about 52 contracts, including an NDA, to sign if they agreed.

“And why would we agree?” Patrick asks Johnny, seated at a booth in the Golden Apple diner at 5 AM with a stack of blueberry pancakes, waffles with whip cream and strawberries, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, and wheat toast split between them. “It’s crazy--you can’t pretend to do shit like that! What am I going to say to Amanda? What am I going to say to my parents? What am I going to say to whoever I want to get married to? Shit like this will ruin my sexual history for life.”

Johnny shrugs, glumly, taking another big bite of waffle. “I don’t know what you’re fighting me for, I’m not arguing with you.”

There’s a TV over the counter that’s set to CNN. Mostly it’s been about Snowden, and Egypt, and Valley Fever, but all of a sudden the news anchor says, “In a surprise turn of events, only weeks after the Chicago Blackhawks took home the Stanley cup, it has come out, in the wake of high school student Andy Highmore’s beating, that two of the Hawk’s players, may in fact, be in a relationship with each other. The hockey stars, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, have yet to comment on the story or even Andy Highmore’s assault and resulting hospitalization, but Blackhawk’s General Manager, Stan Bowman, has expressed on behalf of the team deep sympathy and remorse that any of their fans could do such a thing.”

Patrick cuts his piece of pancake a little too viciously and it goes flying off his plate to Johnny’s side of the table. Johnny spears it with his fork, looks at it and then shrugs, before taking a bite.

On the television they’ve switched to footage of Bowman’s press conference and then to an interview with Brian Burke.

“While I find it incredibly shameful that Perez Hilton is still taking part in outing celebrities and I do absolutely believe that Toews and Kane’s right to privacy should be respected, I also feel that, in this changing world, now is the time for them to stand up and be counted. To let everybody else who is afraid, who has heard ‘we don’t want you,’ who feels ‘I will never be good for the way I love and the people I love’--that you can win a Stanley cup, and an Olympic Gold medal, and that ultimately, the only person stopping you, is you.”

Patrick pauses in the middle of chewing, mouth suddenly dry.

It flips back to the anchor then who says, “There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support, from Kanye West, originally a Chicago native, who took to twitter to comment ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ and the hashtag toewsxkane, to congressman Mark Pocan, an openly gay Democrat from Wisconsin, to the people of Chicago themselves.”

There’s a series of clips of little children who proudly wear their jerseys, gay teens who assert they’ve loved the both of them for forever and are just so floored to know that there is space for them in the world of professional sports, not just ‘some day’ but now.

It actually makes Patrick’s eyes prickle and when he finally looks away from the screen and sees Johnny’s face, his firmed jaw and determined eyes, he already knows what comes next.

He puts down his knife and fork, meets Johnny’s eyes and says, “Oh god, we’re going to agree.”

*

After that, everything happens incredibly fast. They sign and initial a billion documents detailing exactly how they can speak about their fake homosexual relationship, about their sexuality (which they will claim before god and country is ‘fluid’), about the tenure of said relationship (six months, upon which time they will be allowed to publicly end their relationship and go on to sleep with whomever they please), where they will live (still separately, but suit guy had to be argued down), how they will room on the road (also, separate, because no coach in his right mind would allow two players who were actually dating to sleep together during away games), and finally a draconian NDA that will ensure they will never be able to speak to anybody about the truth.

Q told them about fifty times there was no reason, for the love of god, to go through with any of this. But Patrick’s been scrolling through his twitter feed, and perversely every asshole calling him a fag just convinces him that much more that he’s doing the right thing.

It’s only afterwards when they’ve finally been left alone that Johnny says, “I guess I won’t be able to go back to Hawaii now,” and Patrick realizes neither of them has spoken to Lindsey or Amanda about exactly where they fit into this.

Patrick’s had about a billion calls from his mother that he’s dismissed, 46 texts from his sisters put together, and another 13 messages from various past and present Blackhawks that mostly consist of capslock “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” until the character limit.

Patrick eyes Johnny pacing back and forth, cell up to his ear, while he explains the situation to his parents, as another message rolls in, this time from Amanda, with a simple “<3” and wonders how the hell they’re going to pull this off.

*
He waits to get home to tell her.

She takes it well, definitely better than he deserves, especially after he left her behind only two months into their relationship to go play in Switzerland. After his fifth attempt at an apology over the phone, she interrupts him “Pat, shut up, this is bigger than you.”

“What?” he asks, astonished, collapsing onto his bed.

“This is about making a difference,” she points out. “It’s only six months, we can cook up some crazy story that I was your beard before and now we’re just awesome friends, and then when it’s all over you can say that you actually fell in love with me in the process of pretending to be in a relationship with me. It’ll be kind of hilariously meta.”

“You’re crazy, you know that? You should be breaking up with me right now and calling me a crazy person and a dickhead and burning my house down,” he tells her.

“Yes well, I’ve just gotten you trained up so that the sex is really good. It would be a shame to waste all that effort.”

He laughs with her and smiles and is just, in spite of everything, really glad of his life right now.

Two hours later Johnny shows up at his apartment, forlorn, baseball cap and sunglasses on even though it’s still dark out. As if that doesn’t make you more noticeable as a celebrity than less.

“Some old lady on the elevator just asked me to give a kiss to my boyfriend for her,” he says by way of introduction.

A part of Patrick wants to laugh while the other part wants to curl up in his shower and just drown himself in it, but the vaguely confused and distraught expression on Johnny’s face is more pressing than any feelings he has on oldsters and their apparent mastery of the internet.

“What’s up?” he says, backing away from the door so that Johnny can step inside.

Johnny sighs and Patrick knows exactly what happened without being told. Lindsey broke up with him. Simple as that.

“Have you eaten?” Patrick asks.

Johnny shrugs. “Wasn’t really feeling it.”

Patrick couldn’t bring himself to watch tv, or read, or play video games. It allowed for too much time in his head--too much time to want to run back to the lawyers and demand that they burn up all those contracts. They’re doing the right thing, he knows this, but the panic won’t quite ebb. Until the doorbell rang he’d been elbows deep in crimini mushrooms, blasting music and singing along nearly hysterically. He leads Johnny back to the kitchen and sets him up with a beer before going back to chopping.

He figures if he just doesn’t comment on it, Johnny won’t either.

No such luck. After a moment of shocked silence, Johnny goes over to his knife block and pulls a $120 Wusthoff chef’s knife from it, staring at it in unalloyed wonder.

“Kaner, what?” he says, holding it flat across his palm like he’s not entirely certain what it’s purpose is. “You used to boil eggs into rock.”

Kaner shrugs and keeps chopping the mushrooms. “You know my mom can’t cook man.”

“That explains exactly nothing,” Johnny says, before sliding the knife back into the block. It’s a good one, a horizontal one, so that the weight of the blade is never resting on the cutting edge. Nevertheless, he watches Johnny to make sure he doesn’t saw the blade into the wood accidentally. He likes that knife. He bought it right after the lockout ended.

“When we were in Switzerland, it was adapt or die,” he says with a sigh, sweeping the pile of mushrooms into a ramekin for later use. He’s a big fan of mise en place when he’s cooking.

He knows the way he took to cooking goes beyond the ordinary conception of ‘adapt.’ His sisters for example can make perfectly serviceable pastas, and chicken breasts, and salads. Nothing to write to Michelin about, but nobody was going to complain about their lack of gustatory prowess. Patrick knows the place where he’s at is way beyond that. There’s a reason he took such pains to hide it from the guys. To hide it from Johnny.

Johnny must see something in his face, something that Patrick is trying very hard to hide, because he lets it go. “Can I help?” he asks.

“You can sit there,” Patrick says, pointing at one of the stools set up at his kitchen counter. The last thing he wants is help. Amanda and his sisters always offer, and while he’s perfectly happy to have them in the kitchen to keep him company, the only thing they’re allowed to do to “help” is scrub dishes.

“What are you making?” Johnny asks, when he’s settled himself in a chair after grabbing a beer from Patrick’s fridge.

Patrick starts roughly chopping thyme and oregano together, enjoying the pungent smell that rises from the bruised greens. “Mushroom ragout and polenta.”

Johnny doesn’t say anything, although Patrick’s sure he wants to.

“So what’s up, man?” Patrick asks again. “You regretting this decision?”

Johnny drops his head into his hands. “I think the worst is that she told me she understood why I was going ahead with it and she still told me it was over. I think I would’ve preferred her to start screaming her head off. That I could deal with. There’d be some vindication about it. That she obviously didn’t get what it’s like to be in this position, and I could just be mad about that.”

Patrick nods and Johnny continues, “But that’s how great she is, she does get it, and that’s exactly why it has to be over.”

He sounds very reasonable. Patrick figures he had to have been practicing all evening, trying to get himself to place where he actually believed it.

But Johnny takes a sip of his beer and looks so fucking forlorn Patrick actually has to turn away to dice the tomatoes. This whole thing fucking sucks. When he turns back, Johnny’s started to peel the label of his beer bottle and he says “Ugh, I’m not going to get laid once in the next six months.”

Patrick winces. It’s not like they’ll really be able to sell this nonsense if Johnny is off hooking up at every bar all the time. It might not be so bad if they were into the season by now, he’d probably be too tired and too focused to care much about getting himself some, but they’ve got nearly three months of emptiness rising up above them. Three months of having to seriously convince the world they’re in love with each other, so it’s not like they can hare off to different ends of the globe.

“What’s the longest you’ve gone since you first started having sex?” Patrick asks, clattering around with a skillet so that he can start browning some butter to saute the onions in.

Johnny thinks about it, twirling the beer bottle on the countertop. “Six weeks? Around the olympics? I wasn’t getting any then.”

“Oho, god,” Patrick says, unable to contain a laugh, “you’re in so much fucking trouble.”

“Shit, man, I know,” Johnny says with a groan.

Later, sitting on Patrick’s couch, eating Polenta and watching the White Sox fall apart against the Cubs in the 8th inning, Johnny gestures to Patrick with his fork and says, “This is really good.”

Patrick takes another sip of his wine. Johnny’d actually suggested the pairing - a strong California red that somebody had given to Patrick a while ago - it’s good, just a little spice that goes well with the flavorful mushrooms. Who knew either of them would ever have any clue about shit like this? When Patrick first met Johnny he’d refuse to eat anything spicy, even salsa con queso was too hot, and Patrick, by contrast, wanted to put cheese wizz on everything and eat Lunchables all the time.

“Thanks,” he says, after a long moment, wincing as Soriano homers, “you want some more?”

Johnny just laughs. Neither of them feel much allegiance to either the Cubs or the Sox, but Johnny roots for the Cubs when a game is on, just to be a contrary asshole. Now that the Giants are totally in the tank, he’ll probably go out and buy all San Francisco gear.

“You’re a bad human being,” Patrick says, picking up Johnny’s plate to get him more polenta.

“But the internet says you love me anyway,” Johnny replies with a laugh, before immediately looking pensive about it.

Patrick pauses, plates balancing in his hands, wine glass tucked against his body. “Johnny, what?”

“I dunno, man, I used to just think we acted like normal...it’s a little rough to have everything thrown up there as evidence of our grand love affair.”

“Like?” Patrick asks, drawing the word out.

“Like...every celly and every comment we’ve ever made is being analyzed. People are even looking at the popsicle eating contest.”

“The popsicle eating contest? From like, three years ago?” Patrick replies blankly. “I don’t get it. How would that be evidence of us...uh...getting busy?”

“I don’t know,” Johnny replies. “I don’t see what they see.”

“Maybe we have to institute a no looking at the internet rule,” Patrick replies.

Johnny shrugs.

*

The Blackhawks PR department spends about forty hours strategizing how exactly they’re going to confirm the rumors are true. They suggest a press conference first, which Patrick vetoes, remembering the last time he had to give one of those and none too fondly.

They suggest leaking some kind of suggestive photos, but Patrick has valiantly tried to keep the days of his hookups appearing on the internet behind him and the thought of having to pose for some artfully fake paparazzi shots obviously makes Johnny uncomfortable.

Finally, Rogowin conference calls them both and says, “What about a letter?”

“A letter?” Johnny asks at the other end of the line.

“Like Jason Collins,” Rogowin says.

Patrick thinks about it. The whole way Collins handled that was pretty classy. He remembered reading the letter in SI and thinking the guy had brass nuts. “That...could work?”

Johnny doesn’t say anything.

“It was masterfully done,” Rogowin says, bowling onwards. “I’m not sure it would be necessary to write something so long or as personal, especially since his letter came first, and yours would be sort of a postscript, as the second and third athletes to come out in a major sport.”

Patrick puts his head in his hands. Well, that feels a little shitty, claiming a status he doesn’t have. He’s glad they’re doing this over the phone, so they can’t see his face. “We’re not gay,” he finally says, voice rusty, hoping they’ll understand what he means.

“Right, right, we’ll make sure it’s very clear that you’re not coming out as one way or the other, just being honest about this…” Rogowin pauses and then clears his throat, “relationship you have.”

Johnny still hasn’t said anything, and Patrick’s not even really sure what he’s hearing anymore. Rogowin is talking about having some drafts drawn up over the next few days so they can sign off on them. He can’t deal with this. He really can’t. This is his entire history of his life they’re altering for the sake of a publicity stunt.

And then Johnny breaks in. “I’ll write it.”

Patrick stares at the phone, wondering what the hell Johnny is thinking right now. What his face looks like.

“Oh,” Rogowin says, temporarily thrown off balance.

“I’ll let you see it first,” Johnny says in a tone that says none of this is up for negotiation, “and obviously you too, Patrick.”

Patrick rubs at his face, relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with it and ashamed for being afraid.

When he hangs up he spends four hours in the kitchen. He has to improvise. He doesn’t have the ingredients for any of his more complicated recipes. But he settles on an arrabiata recipe by Ina Garten, and then decides to make the pasta by hand. By the time he’s done, his knees ache from so many hours of continuous standing, his kitchen is a mess, and he’s not sure how he’ll ever get the persistent stench of garlic and tomatoes out of his clothes.

*

The next two days pass relatively uneventful. He spends a lot of time on the phone with Amanda, watches porn - straight porn to be exact, and working out. He drops far too much money on groceries at the French Market. He’ll probably have to host about seven dinner parties to possibly use all of it, but it takes his mind off of it. He hasn’t really been spending time in human company, so the possibility of entertaining, even if he’ll have to explain, yes, he made all of this shit himself, is starting to look really attractive.

On Thursday, Erica calls him again. “I just saw Johnny’s letter to GQ.”

“Oh, yeah...that,” Patrick says vaguely.

Erica starts to say something and then stops.

“What is it?”

She sighs. “So I know this is fake and all, but did Johnny actually write this?”

Patrick laughs. “Yeah, he wouldn’t let anybody help him. I haven’t read it yet. Is it terrible?”

Erica laughs with him, but there’s an odd inflection to it. He’s not sure what that means. “No, it’s definitely not terrible. You should check it out.”

Patrick sighs and goes to his laptop and searches for Jonathan Toews and GQ. It comes up as the first hit.

You complete me. A worn-out phrase everybody knows from Jerry McGuire. Until I turned 19, those were just some words Tom Cruise said to Renee Zelweger. They didn't mean anything. As far as I could envision, they would never mean anything.

Patrick nearly has to stop right there, he’s trying too hard not to laugh. Is he serious? Jerry McGuire? He considers clicking away, unsure he can take the second-hand embarrassment of Jonathan Toews waxing lyrical about how much he loves Patrick with Jerry McGuire as the vehicle for such a pronouncement. Only Johnny, seriously.

He scrolls the page down.

I had been peripherally aware of Patrick Kane since I was a kid, played with him in some tournaments, played against him on international ice. Obviously, I noticed when he went number 1 to the same team that drafted me. But it's so funny to look back on that first prospect camp we had together with the benefit of hindsight, and realize how a single person can change your life.

Part of me has never accepted that. I was a person who played good hockey before Patrick Kane. An individual in my own right. I imagine if one of us ever leaves Chicago, I will become an individual again.
But now, in this moment, sitting in front of my laptop, typing this thing out, the thought of it is inconceivable. I cannot imagine ever being the same player without him. Ever being capable of the things we accomplished. That terrifies me.

Patrick swallows. Well that much is true for the both of them. He’s got to give Johnny credit for trying to keep this as truthful as possible. He’s sure Rogowin would’ve come up with some grand story of how they missed each other so much during the Olympics, they took that cab ride together and professed a deep profound and undying love for each other. In reality, he’d spent that cab ride listening to music while Johnny texted some girl he’d been banging back home.

I agonized over how to say this. How to explain to the world who we are and why we hid. But the thing is, I've realized none of that really matters. You love who you love. I wish that neither of us had ever felt the need to hide.

A lot of people have asked me recently, "are you gay?" I don't know how to answer that. Once upon a time the word filled me with dread. But the answer is very simple, I love a man. That can mean whatever you want it to mean. It doesn't matter to me how you feel about it. I don't have to define it.

All I can say is, when I hit that ice in 2007 at prospect camp, every single part of me already knew what it took me a long time to admit. Patrick Kane was made for me.

So yes. In short. The rumors are true.

He shuts his laptop and calls Amanda up. “Have you read it?” he asks, before she even says hello.

“Oh, hey to you too,” she replies, teasing, “yeah I read it. Johnny is one smooth talker. I can’t believe he wrote that himself.”

“The Jerry McGuire line, fuck, the guys are never going to let me live this down,” he moans, wanting to hit his head on something. Perhaps several somethings.

She cackles at him. He’s pretty sure his girlfriend is not supposed to be taking so much delight in his fake relationship.

*

Chapter Text

Patrick tries it once. He tries it because he’s sick in love with Jonny, every long second of every passing day. He tries it because maybe, just maybe, if he scratches that itch, he’ll stop wanting something he can’t have. It takes him six dashed back shots of tequila to even work up the courage to let this guy take him home. And once they’re there, he can’t even keep it up, knocked flat and kept soft by 40% ABV.

He doesn’t know how he gets out of there. But the sick he wakes up with the next day isn’t even this virulent love he has for Jonny, it isn’t the pounding spinning nausea of a hangover, it’s the sick of scared desperation.

And so it continues. He gets drunk a lot. And nobody even seems to notice that it isn’t his usual intoxicated jollity, it’s a sharp-edged sad drunkenness that’s ever ready to slide into anger.

After a shootout loss on their own ice to Colorado, he overdoes it. Winds up with jello limbs and tilting on a sloshing floor.

“C’mon, Kaner, you’re done,” Jonny tells him. He gathers him up with firm hands and takes him home.

In the car, head listing back against the seat, the cool air from the window Jonny rolls down sliding over his skin, he says, unexpected and yet inexorable, “I tried it, god, I tried it.”

“Hmm?” Jonny says over the soft hum of his stupid country music.

“To get fucked,” Patrick replies. “I tried to get fucked.”

Jonny’s tone doesn’t change. He doesn’t look startled or horrified. But his fists tighten up on the steering wheel, distended veins raised up across the backs of his hands. “You tried?”

Patrick laughs without mirth. He laughs until he’s choking with it. “Did not succeed,” he explains, sinking low in his seat, still chuckling.

He thinks, the pit of his stomach expanding from fear, blood alcohol no match for the rush of adrenaline that his brain pushes through his veins, ‘he wasn’t you.’ He could say it out loud. He could tell Jonny everything. It wouldn’t be so bad to be rejected. He would survive. You couldn’t always get what you want. Nobody ever died from that.

The urge beats in his heart, rushing up his throat, trying to get free, but something stoppers his mouth closed, and all that happens that night is that Jonny puts him to bed with a glass of water on his nightstand and a wastebasket next to the mattress.

Patrick scores the only goal in a shootout win against the Panthers and afterwards, the team grabs a late bite at a Cuban place not too far from their hotel in downtown Miami. He thinks about ordering a beer, but ends up sticking to club soda. He gets too honest when he’s drunk. And he’s happy, glad of the win. Glad of the goal. No telling what he would give away that he couldn’t easily get back.

“What’s that about?” Stålberg asks him when the waitress sets the sparkling water down.

Patrick shrugs, swallows the ‘what’s it to you’ that threatens to burst out. Jonny seems to note his discomfort and smoothly changes the subject. The happiness slowly evaporates inside him. He feels it go and wonders what the hell is wrong with him. Scoring in that shootout even when Jonny couldn’t. Ordinarily, he loves getting one over on him in this rubber-band push pull that’s existed between them since camp in 2007. It doesn’t happen on the ice very often. Hard for the two of them, they know each other’s play too well. In practice, on the rare occasions when Jonny’s put in a red jersey and Kaner’s in black, he thinks all they do is cancel each other out. An endless battle of keepaway. Sometimes, after trying to out stick-handle each other he’ll walk off the ice hard enough to pound nails.

The gnawing crawling sensation of unhappiness widens within him.

He stays a few steps behind on the walk back to the hotel. After a while Jonny slows his pace, dropping back from the guys to walk beside him. He doesn’t ask what’s up. He doesn’t talk about the game. He stays silent. And even though it’s what Patrick wants, unable to imagine putting a conversation together right now, it’s strangely disconcerting. He’s so keenly aware of everything he feels. How much of it there is. And how little it matters if the person he wants doesn’t want him back.

They fall far enough behind that everybody has disappeared back to their rooms by the time they reach the lobby. It’s late enough that there’s only Patrick and Jonny in the 'up' elevator. Once they’ve cleared the second floor, panel blinking through numbers, Jonny moves in close and frames Patrick’s face with his hands.

“Tell me no,” he says, staring down at him with burning eyes.

Patrick smiles, fierce and bright. “Those doors could open at any moment.”

Jonny thrusts him back against the padded wall, wrapping Patrick’s silk tie around his fist and using it to tug Patrick straight up into his mouth. Patrick expects bruising pressure. He expects Jonny’s teeth. He does not expect the way Jonny pauses, mouth hovering over Patrick’s, their noses brushing together. Patrick’s skin tingles, warmth rushing through him as his brain translates the space between them into an actual sensation. Jonny finally closes the gap between them, kiss soft and perfect, tongue skating along the seam of Patrick’s lips and dipping just inside. It’s unhurried, the slow slide of his tongue, meeting Patrick’s, deftly exploring his mouth. Patrick’s lids flutter open, Jonny’s shut eyes blurring before him. It’s better than he could’ve imagined.

Jonny steps away and moves to the other half of the elevator a few floors before the doors open. He seems unmoved, so frighteningly normal, Patrick wonders if it was some test or practical joke. And yet when Patrick stares at him, Jonny smiles warmly back.

Fuck.

Patrick is stone cold sober. He doesn’t have a bottle of Jack to give him the courage to do this. But once they’re shut up in their room, Patrick gives up and gives in. He pulls Jonny to him, falling back on his bed and taking Jonny with him. Jonny breathes deep and then he’s on Patrick, fucking his mouth deep with his tongue, making that kiss in the elevator look like a parodic farce, child’s play.

“I want you to try it with me,” Jonny says, kissing a burning trail over his throat, unbuttoning Patrick’s shirt as he goes.

“Try what?” Patrick blinks up at him as he weighs the pros and cons of getting Jonny to undress. There would be all of this naked skin, finally his to touch. But it would also bring a halt to the way Jonny’s moving their hips together.

“Getting fucked,” Jonny says. For somebody who swears as much as he does, on the ice and off it, the word seems vulgar and unwieldy in his mouth in this context. Like a kid trying it out for the first time.

Patrick laughs. He laughs and laughs, he waits for Jonny to get angry at him, still so bad at accepting teasing. Jonny sits back, weight resting over Patrick’s hips and waits him out. When Patrick’s chuckles start to die down, Jonny rocks back on him, pressing down on Patrick’s dick. “You gonna lie to me about this one?”

“I’m not a fucking charity case,” Patrick spits back. It’s no longer funny, whatever the hell Jonny is playing at.

Jonny stares down at him, eyes hooded, expression dangerous. “You think I’m doing this because I feel sorry for you?”

He tugs on the two halves of Patrick’s shirt, popping off the remaining buttons as it separates, and bends his head to latch onto on Patrick’s left nipple. He teases it, tonguing it to a stiff peak, raising up on his knees a little so that when Patrick tries, unbidden and unconscious, to get more pressure on his dick, there’s only air between them.

Jonny does this until his nipple hurts, until Patrick’s back is bowed in an athletic arch, until he’s gasping raw and wet. And then Jonny moves to the other one.

Patrick can’t take it. He reaches between them, trails delicate, soft fingers along the front of Jonny’s trousers, finding the heated line of his dick. He keeps the touch light, unthreatening, ostensibly innocent, tracing down over it until he gets to the gentle swell of the head, and then he rubs, spread-fingered, pushing Jonny’s dick back into his own thigh. Jonny freezes, muscles trembling, knees braced on either side of Patrick’s hips. The hands that he was running up and down over Patrick’s ribs still.

“Don’t fucking play with me here,” Patrick growls.

Jonny’s eyes drift shut, Patrick stares up into his face, watching a flush spread over his cheeks as Patrick rubs harder with the heel of his palm. Jonny’s unbelievably sexy like this and so goddamned compelling. Sometimes, looking at him, Patrick feels a very real pain knife through him.

Jonny slaps his hand away after a long moment. “That’s enough.”

He gets off the bed, rummages around in the black case of his toiletries and comes up with lube. Patrick watches him from his lazy sprawl on top of the covers, clothes still half on as he searches out condoms in Patrick’s bag. And the fear returns. It stays with him while he watches Jonny shuck his suit off, it stays with him when he’s pulling off the remains of his own clothes, it stays with him as Jonny kneels on the bed between his thighs.

Jonny pours lube into his palm, it comes out of the bottle faster than he expected, spilling between his fingers and down over his knuckles. The sight makes Patrick bite at his lower lip. Jonny catches him, he closes his eyes and exhales out through his nose. What’s that about, Patrick wonders.

The first finger doesn’t slide in easy. Patrick’s turned on, his dick, upright against his belly, attests to that, but he’s tense. Shivery with nerves. Jonny’s only got his fingertip inside, and slicked up though it is, any further and he’s going to have to force it. Jonny bends over him, mouth closing over his nipple again, tongue swirling around and around, making Patrick curse when he moves off to press kisses between his pectorals. He drags just the very tip of his tongue over Patrick’s chest, licking his way to the other nipple, tongue flickering over it. Patrick’s balls tighten.

“So fucking pretty, Peeks,” Jonny breathes, “your pink nipples. Just the color of your mouth. Always see them through your shirt.”

He realizes, suddenly, when Jonny tugs at one with his teeth that there are two fingers inside of him, moving swift and sure in and out of him. It surprises him so much that he clamps down hard around them and makes Jonny grunt and swear.

Patrick pictures Jonny’s cock inside him then, breaching him, thrust in deep. He pictures clamping down around him and making Jonny curse like that and he shudders, twisting under Jonny’s ministrations.

Jonny pulls his fingers free after the third slides in easy. Patrick feels the loss, wanting the width of Jonny’s cock to stretch him open. It’s a sharp contrast to the last time he attempted this, where he had felt so completely and utterly unable to stomach it, he’d had to leave at a run. It doesn’t bear thinking about, so he pushes that thought away, focuses on the way Jonny parts his thighs and comes to rest between them.

He gasps, ragged and caught, like he’s coming up for air, when Jonny pushes in, forcing Patrick’s knees back to his chest so he can get in close. Even through the latex of the condom, Patrick feels the heat of him.

When Jonny starts to fuck him, it’s merciless. Just as Patrick would’ve expected—hard thrusts with all the power of his famed thighs behind them, driving deep into Patrick, so deep he expects to feel it in his heart.

Jonny apologizes when he punches a particularly loud cry out of Patrick’s mouth, “Sorry, sorry, I’m losing it here.”

Patrick doesn’t care. If Jonny isn’t doing this for Patrick, well, Patrick isn’t doing it for Jonny. Bent the way he is, there’s enough space that he can get his fist around his dick, and he could work himself to orgasm pretty quick this way, stretch in his ass a perfect overwhelming counterpoint.

He needs Jonny to come first though. He wants him to be destroyed. He wants to be the best fucking lay of his life. He wants to leave a lasting burning impression on Jonny’s mind. He wants that much if he can’t have everything else. So he holds off, fisting himself slow, palm lingering at the head, thumbing the slit good, but with minimal pressure. A tease, not enough to set him over the edge, but enough to keep him along side it. Patrick clenches down occasionally, arrhythmic and unpredictable. Jonny fucking whimpers every time he does it—this broken uninhibited sound seemingly forced out of him.

“Can’t anymore,” Jonny says after a few minutes of this. Patrick’s relieved, because sometimes when he tightens around Jonny, it forces his cockhead up against something really fucking good inside and then Patrick’s plan to keep from coming starts to get a little shaky.

Jonny comes moments later, shoved in deep, forehead dropped to Patrick’s shoulder, fingers digging deep into Patrick’s thighs. It takes a while, Jonny shuddering between his legs, emptying himself into Patrick’s body. But after a static pause, he starts to pull out.

“Don’t fucking move,” Patrick says and speeds his hand up on his cock, jerking himself off for real now. Jonny stops as ordered, although Patrick can see from the expression on his face that it costs him. He’s still hard inside Patrick though, and Patrick isn’t ready to give that up. It doesn’t take much, especially when Jonny starts to mouth at his nipples again. They’re so over-sensitized they seem to burn. That’s the end. He comes hard, pretzeled under Jonny’s weight, shooting stripes up his own chest.

Jonny cries out when Patrick’s muscles involuntarily ripple around his dick from the force of his orgasm. His hitching dragged-over-glass breaths sound almost like crying.

“Oh god,” he says, before his arms give out and he collapses down on Patrick. Recovery has always been one of Jonny’s strong suits, so he doesn’t remain for long, finally withdrawing from Patrick’s body.

Patrick can at last drop his legs back to the bed. His bloodstream is overloaded with endorphins, like he just came four times rather than once. It takes some doing to make his limbs work so he can drag himself from the bed, but once he does, he heads to the shower because he needs the space.

The inside of his head is a weird jumbled place. He can’t figure out how or why that happened. He’s pretty sure it should never happen again. He and Jonny are on totally different playing fields with this one. What Jonny’s getting out of it, he doesn’t know. But Patrick doesn’t want it to stop. The debilitated, incurably sick-with-love part of him is already planning a next time.

And that is how it starts.

Chapter Text

Patrick is going to kill Bur—he’s going to beat him to death with his own stick. Or drown him in the showers. Or maybe, run him over with the Hummer. Because this is all his fault. ALL HIS FAULT.

He realizes distantly he’s having a bad trip. That’s what this is. But, he’s never been high before. He’s never been drug tested either, but that’s beside the point. Just, how the hell do people do this? It’s the worst. He feels like he’s gonna die. Like the ceiling is gonna drop on him or his heart is gonna explode. Everybody at this party is judging him. He can feel it. Their incredulous stares as he not-so-spectacularly loses his shit.

Tazer had tried to stop him. “You don’t want those,” he’d said with a laugh, when Patrick’s hand was hovering over the brownies. “They’re edibles.”

Patrick hadn’t put it together. No shit, brownies were edible. Jonny had watched him eyebrows raised as he’d scoffed and took a big bite out of the corner.

"What?" he’d said, because it was delicious, rich with pecans and fudge. "You don’t want any?"

Jonny had held a hand up in front of his face, warding him off, like Patrick was just gonna shove one in his mouth. “No, no, really, that’s okay.”

"What’s wrong with you?" Patrick had asked, taking another huge bite. It was crispy on the edges, and gooey in the center, just the way he liked. He really shouldn’t have a second one, but they’d played their hearts out today and these brownies were so good.

Jonny had shrugged and shook his head, a laugh at the edge of his voice. “I don’t need to be getting high, wild man.”

"What?" The brownie had caught in his throat. What had formerly seemed like not enough, now felt like a tremendous wad lodged in his esophagus.

Jonny had blinked at him. “It’s a pot brownie, Kaner.”

"Oh, fuck!" he’d ran to the sink and spit out the last of it. Jonny had watched him eyes wide.

"You didn’t know?" he asked. "That’s what ‘edibles’ fuckin’ means, moron."

"Why the hell are their pot brownies at this party!" Patrick had shouted, plaintive, the beginnings of a panic attack setting in. "What the fuck kinda people does Bur know?"

Jonny had laughed then. “Normal people.”

"What the fuck am I gonna do?" Patrick had asked, filled with terror. "Oh god, oh god, I’m gonna…I’m gonna be drug tested. And then kicked out of the NHL and this shit stays in your system for months. I learned that in school. Didn’t you learn that in school? What the fuck am I gonna do? It was accidental. I didn’t mean it. At least I can’t be deported, but I…just made it." He’d stopped to breathe and then realized the true horror the statement. "I just made it here. And to lose it over some goddamn brownies after being so good about that shit. Tazer, what the hell am I gonna do?"

"Whoa," Jonny had said, putting his beer down. "Whoa, it’s gonna be okay. You need to relax, it’s gonna go worse for you if you don’t relax."

Which brings them to now, Patrick pacing back and forth in their shared hotel room, breathing hard, heart racing at 3 AM, two hours after they left the party. Jonny lies on his bed, arm over his eyes, as Patrick treads in a circuit in front of the TV. “You gotta stop, man, you’re driving me nuts. I need to sleep.”

"I’m driving YOU nuts?" Patrick asks, "My career is over, because of Bur’s fuckin’ druggie friends. What the hell kinda people just leave that shit laying around?"

Jonny sighs. “You know you’re gonna be fine. Just like…take a minute to breathe, calm down. It’s gonna pass. It’s just a little pot. The NHL isn’t the FBI.”

"I can’t, Jonny," Patrick replies, voice thick with unshed frustrated tears as he slumps back against the wall. "I can’t."

Jonny sighs, peering up at Patrick from under his arm. After a moment, he clears his throat, the way he does when he’s got an idea that Patrick’s not gonna like. “Maybe jerking it would help,” he waves a hand in front of Patrick, “like, take the edge off.”

Patrick glares at him. “Are you kidding me? How the fuck am I gonna get hard like this?” What the hell kind of idea is that?

Jonny blows out a frustrated breath and rolls out of bed, clearly giving up on the sleep notion. “Jesus H,” he says, tugging Patrick away from the wall none too gently.

"What!?" Patrick asks, scandalized. "What the fuck are you doing?"

"Taking care of business," Jonny replies, voice grim. He pulls Patrick’s back to his chest and shoves his sweatpants down with a business-like hand. Patrick doesn’t even understand what’s happening right now, or what the fuck brought him to this moment, leaning back against Jonny’s chest as he watches him take Patrick’s dick in his hand. It’s surreal, Jonny’s darker skin against Patrick’s, his arm braced against Patrick’s hip.

“Not gonna be able to get hard, man,” he whispers.

Jonny laughs. “Wanna bet?”

He gives Patrick an experimental pull, and Patrick watches, shocked, as he firms up right there, his heart still pounding like he just ran across the tracks only milliseconds before the train passed through. Arousal and fear are not exactly far apart, but Patrick really isn’t sure he likes the combination. Especially, since that’s Jonny, Jonny his linemate, Jonny short for Jonathan, not like, fuckin’ Johanna or something, with his hand on his dick.

He starts off a slow rhythm, and it occurs to Patrick then that he’s got his ass to Jonny’s dick, which, whoa, that is so not okay. This is bad enough already, but Patrick doesn’t want Jonny’s dick, soft or not, anywhere near his butt. That’s gonna stay with him forever. He goes to turn in Jonny’s arms, but Jonny cages him in with his body.

“Quit it, asswipe,” he says, fingers a tight circle around his semi. “We’re not doing it face to face. That’s fuckin’ gay.”

Easy for Jonny to say. He’s not the one with a dick nudging between his cheeks. It’s still not erect, which, okay, small favors, if Jonny were getting off on jerking Patrick off, they would have a serious, serious problem, but Patrick still feels the bulge of it against his backside. Jonny’s taller so it’s high up on the crease, not poking or anything, but Patrick is still unbearably aware of it.

He knows he’s shivering hard, trying not to imagine all the ways his life is over, all the ways this is so wrong, or how they may be ruining everything with this stupid plan. Because he’s out of ideas, the adrenaline rush of paranoid horror is never ending. They’re alone in this room, and he feels like there are people watching, unseen eyes. It makes his skin crawl.

“C’mon, man,” Jonny says, into his ear, lips accidentally grazing Patrick’s ear, and of course that’s what gets Patrick to stiffen up fully in Jonny’s grip. Jonny blows out a breath and starts jerking it in earnest. His palm’s a little rough on the head. It makes Patrick wince and jerk in his grip, but it hits him, all of a sudden, he doesn’t want it to stop. Every touch feels amplified, he feels the beating of Jonny’s heart against his back and the rise and fall of his chest thrum straight through him, like he’s a tuning fork. It’s amazing. He didn’t even realize he’d started matching his breaths to Jonny’s own.

He doesn’t even mean to start grinding back against Jonny. It’s instinctive, a basic need driving his hips back. Jonny makes a small choked sound in the back of his throat, tries to put a little distance between their hips, but Patrick doesn’t let him have it. It feels good, grinding back against Jonny like that, while Jonny’s hand moves up and down in a measured, perfect rhythm.

“Fuck,” he says, throwing his head back against Jonny’s shoulder as he feels him start to chub up in his pajama pants.

“It’s friction. You could lay off rubbing up all over me,” Jonny bitches, misinterpreting his outburst entirely. “then it wouldn’t happen.”

Patrick breathes deep, twisting in Jonny’s grasp, pushing his ass back against him harder. God, Jonny’s hand is perfect, warm, grip just right. It’s the best handjob Patrick’s ever gotten. “Feels good,” he slurs.

Jonny huffs out a surprised laugh. “Whoa, okay.”

Patrick shudders in his grip. He loves it when Jonny talks, the way his words are said right into Patrick’s skin because of how he’s curled around Patrick’s body. He loves the way he can feel Jonny’s each and every breath speed up as he grinds back more firmly against him. Patrick wants to touch more of him. He wants to be naked against Jonny’s velvet skin. It’s so soft and smooth against him. He wishes he was shirtless like Jonny right now. Jonny’s left hand is at his hip and he doesn’t know what possesses him, but he brings his palm down on top of it, tangling their fingers together.

“Shit,” he says, feeling his balls draw up. He’s close. It’ll be over fast, way faster than he would’ve thought.

“Yeah,” Jonny breathes, “c’mon now.”

Patrick comes, just like that, muscles locked up tight, making a horribly embarrassing mewling noise.

Jonny chuckles and wipes his hand off on Kaner’s sweatpants and tucks him back in. “Ooookay, guess you’re doing better.”

Patrick hates that self-possessed tone. He hates that he just lost it in front of Jonny like that, while Jonny gets to be this cool collected jackass. And Jonny’s dick feels good, hot against his ass, so it’s really a no brainer when he presses back and circles his hips.

“You can stop with that now,” Jonny says, sounding a little strangled. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Shut up,” Patrick replies, spinning in his hold. He gives Jonny a hard shove and taken off guard, Jonny stumbles and falls right back onto his bed.

“What?” Jonny says feebly and then all the breath goes out of him as Patrick drops down over his hips and starts rolling his ass down against him. “Ffffff—”

Patrick balances himself with a palm in the center of Jonny’s chest and thrusts back against him. He can feel the hard, hot length of Jonny’s cock, caught up under Jonny's waistband, perfect for Patrick to grind himself against. Jonny looks up at him, his eyes full of wonder, lips parted, wet. God, it’s hot. Why the fuck is that hot? They both seem to notice at the same time that they’re staring at each other. Jonny shuts his eyes tight, pressing his cheek back to the mattress as Patrick’s face flames up with a blush. Shit, what is he doing? He doesn’t care. He just. does not. care. He’s high, everything feels good right now. He might as well take advantage of it. It’s not gay under the influence or something.

Jonny comes with a stuttering gasp, hands fisted into the sheets, and Patrick’s hard again. His blood’s beating through him so strong and electric. He looks down at his cock, swollen against the front of his sweatpants and Jonny follows his eyes, still shivering a little under Patrick’s weight.

“Just do it, man,” he says softly, lower lip chewed raw.

And Patrick does, pulling himself out and going for it. He's a little chafed. Jerking it twice now without lotion. Shit this is such a bad idea he thinks as he tips his head back on his neck, barely able to hold it up. He needs lube or something. Right now, his dry hand on his dick is just this side of punishing, but if he moves, if he goes to get the lotion out of his bag, he’ll break the moment. It’ll definitely be fucking gay if he gets up, lubes himself up, and then climbs back on top of Jonny. Besides, there’s something about it, the not quite pain, which is kind of working for him.

Jonny shifts underneath him. Patrick looks down at him and finds him watching Patrick, eyes wide.

Patrick skin prickles with heat. He feels it travel down his spine. “Oh, shit,” he says, hand speeding up. He shuts his eyes again fast, but the sight of it is seared against his eyelids, Jonny’s face, the way his eyelashes had fluttered as Patrick had leaned a little more weight against his spent dick. It doesn’t take long after that. He comes all over the ripple of Jonny’s abs. He’s so tense it takes a moment to relax, the tingle still lingers in his balls. He opens up his eyes again to find Jonny staring open-mouthed at the mess of it painting his skin, abs bunching and contracting as it wells into the divot of his bellybutton.

Patrick breathes out and rolls off of him, sacked out flat on his back.

Well. At least he doesn’t feel like he’s gonna die anymore.

Chapter Text

It doesn’t sneak up on him slowly. It just fucking punches him in the face one day. He’s sitting across from Kaner at a restaurant, getting a late dinner after practice. Kaner’s a slow eater, but he’s finally finishing up, shoving his plate toward Jonny to take care of the last of his mashed potatoes. Jonny leans forward, fork at the ready. Kaner’s not even looking at him, he’s swirling the last of his ice in his glass to see if he can get any more water out of it. He swallows down the last of the water. His eyes crinkle up at the corners as he smiles at Jonny around the lip of the glass, Jonny smiles back, and then Kaner tilts the glass too high and the ice rushes down, hitting him in the face.

In that moment, ice hitting Kaner in the face, he realizes, dear god, the deep injustice of Kaner’s gender. Because fuck, if Kaner were a girl, Jonny would try so hard to get him—he knows with perfect clarity that it would be one of those situations where he’d be willing to completely humiliate himself, willing shopping trips and ballroom dance lessons and horrible, horrible rom com date nights level humiliation. He’d give him the world. He drops his eyes, spooning the suddenly tasteless mashed potatoes in his mouth and wonders what the hell that even means.

“Nnn, cold!” Kaner says, setting the glass down on the table and reaching for his napkin.

It’s not the end of the world. He doesn’t want to bang Kaner or anything, which would be awkward, given the proximity. Mostly he doesn’t even notice it. Once at a party, Jonny’s drunk and half passed out on a couch, and somebody plays that Of Montreal song “Tim I Wish You Were Born A Girl” and Jonny has a massive ‘I feel you, bro’ moment.

And he feels it when Kaner’s giving him shit. Or when he jumps into his arms on a celly. He feels it on the days that Kaner’s hurting and even more on the days he himself is hurting. It really sucks that the love of his fucking life, the absolute end all be all love of his life, is separated from him by something as stupid as bodies.

*

Patrick’s got no idea what Jonny would look like as a chick. Tall, he thinks, stacked, probably—that unfolds in his imagination pretty easily. The face though? He can picture his smile, the sweet close-mouthed one and the dorky grin, and his deep dark eyes. Even the sweep of his eyelashes on his cheek. But the way it would come together? He’s got nothing. But fuck, he’s not sure it would even matter what Jonny would look like as a girl. He’d be into it. Patrick knows it as sure as he knows he needs oxygen to breathe.

He gets totally smashed and spills the whole thing to Sharpy one night.

Sharpy practically spits out his beer. “What?”

Patrick cracks up, helpless, unavoidable drunk laughter, at the look on his face.

“Jesus. Have you…?” Sharpy asks, grabbing Patrick’s arm.

“What?” Patrick replies, it takes him a second to figure out what Sharpy’s implying. “No. No! Of course not.”

Sharpy shrugs. “What am I supposed to think here?”

“Christ, he’s still a dude! No!” Patrick replies, aghast. He sees Jonny naked in a very clinical capacity very regularly. Picturing his body now, sexually—Patrick starts shaking his head violently. “Just no!”

Sharpy’s starting to look a little annoyed now. “Man, you were just whining to me that Jonny was your other half. Usually, and god strike me dead if this is weird,” Sharpy replies, “I try to put my dick in the people I feel that way about.”

“Yes, I know!” Patrick yells back. “You’re not listening. That’s my fucking problem, asshole. He is like, honestly, my first thought when I wake up, and my last thought when I go to bed, okay? But—“ Patrick looks down his body at his own dick and gestures at it. “But there’s nothing.”

Sharpy sighs. “I’m sorry, little man.”

Chapter Text

It’s a little disingenuous to call Jonathan Toews a nerd. Although that is very definitely how Patrick thinks about him. The kid’s in five APs and says Das Boot is his favorite movie. When the school tried to get rid of the Latin curriculum, Toews petitioned to make them to keep it and won. He got 2350 on the SATs and was all pissed off it wasn’t 2400. He’s a horrible, fucking nerd. Patrick doesn’t understand how somebody that joyless is alive. Or has friends.

But Toews has tons of friends. He’s the student body president for fuck’s sake.

When Patrick started slipping in history and his teacher roped Toews in to tutor him, Patrick wanted to jump off a bridge. He didn’t want to be Toews’ stupid college essay prompt—’how I helped hockey jock Patrick Kane get his grades up so he could keep his scholarship to BC.’

Which doesn’t really explain why Patrick’s got him flat on his bed, B&T textbook discarded on the floor, grinding down against him and tongue-fucking his mouth. Patrick’s got a girlfriend and there are way better things he could be doing right now. Frankly way better people he could be doing. But this is like the eighth time now he’s wound up making out with Toews right in the middle of some lecture on the importance of the Hundred Years’ War (noted: don’t randomly declare yourself King of France).

Every time he got into Toews’ room, with Oasis playing on the goddamn stereo and the smell of crisp detergent, he was springing wood. They hadn’t even really done anything that interesting. Patrick had been having sex for two years. He was way past the holding hands and making out stage, but shit, it was like he couldn’t stop himself.

Toews makes these noises, these small ones, in the back of his thoat, like he’s done too much during lift. Not that he’s done lift with Toews. He thinks he does crew or sailing or some bullshit like that. Patrick hasn’t bothered to ask, but his forearms are decently solid and his chest is jacked. But the noises, they’re killer. Patrick bites at his mouth and grinds down against him harder, loving the way Toews shudders like a little bitch beneath him.

He’s thinking about how many tutoring sessions he has left and how he could be fucking Marianne, his girlfriend, and instead he’s here, in bed, with this punkass.

“Fuckkkk you,” he says into Toews’ throat when he manages to get his hand into Patrick’s nylon basketball shorts.

“Yeah?” Toews breathes, “Maybe next time.”

And that makes Patrick swallow. Because…what would that be like? He’s never done anal. He suggested it to Marianne once, but she’d looked at him with big wide eyes and shook her head a lot. “I don’t want to make a mess,” she kept saying. Like Patrick cared, that wasn’t the fucking point.

It wouldn’t be the same without a sweet pink cunt to push his fingers into while thrusting inside. But…oh fuck, fucking Toews’ ass. He hasn’t seen him with his clothes off, but he’s had his hands on it, firm muscle flexing against his palms. He catches Toews’ mouth in a biting kiss and thinks, Marianne would probably do it if he pushed for it. And Patrick has considered it at times. Other guys on the team have done it. He’s got a girlfriend who could give him all of this—so why the hell is he here lying in this bed, fingers tangled together with Toews’, breathing each other’s breaths, hips working hard. It’s not even comfortable. Toews’ jeans chafe against Patrick’s legs, the ridge of his fly is almost too harsh against Patrick’s dick. But it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t stop.

He couldn’t.

*

So. This started as a thing—Jonny suspects—to waste time in the middle of Patrick’s tutoring sessions. But, what it’s become now is furtive kisses out back behind the bleachers where no one can see them. They're shoved up against a stanchion, visible enough if somebody should come looking. Patrick's got his hands fisted in his sweater, pulling him down to meet his mouth.

He’s wearing a baseball cap that he had to spin backwards so that he could lean in to mouth at Jonny’s neck and a ‘trust me, I’m a doctor' t-shirt. He’s every inch the sort of person Jonny never thought he’d be interested in. But those are his hands in Patrick’s back jean pockets, bringing Patrick’s dick flush with his thigh, those are his groans and softly bitten off cries.

Jonny wants to ask how the fuck this became his life, fucking around on school grounds. He always used to judge the kids who brought pot to school, who hooked up in the library—there were entire portions of the day you weren’t here where you could do all of this shit and the consequences of being caught by your parents, while embarrassing, were far less dire. And now, Jonny’s one of those idiots. He’d caught Patrick’s eye across the quad at lunch and now here they are.

Patrick gets his hand into Jonny’s jeans, wraps his fist tight around his dick and starts stroking. It’s a shock to Jonny’s system—the first time Patrick’s ever had his hand on him, previously they’ve just rubbed off in bed. Jonny figured Patrick would have gay panic if he ever actually had to touch it.

“Ah, shit, bro,” Patrick says, shoved in close, watching Jonny’s face. “You look—well you know what you look like.”

Jonny doesn’t know what he looks like. He’s not out. He’s never had anybody talk him through this. He’s not a virgin, but a few sloppy times, in 10th grade, when he was still trying to make it with a girlfriend, that doesn’t grant much experience. Not like Patrick, who was fucking senior girls when he was a sophomore.

Patrick works him so good and Jonny can’t take the heavy weight of his gaze. He catches his face up for another kiss and then says, “Gimme some room, asswipe,” shoving Patrick back just enough to wrench open his fly.

Patrick’s loud. Jonny realized that pretty early. Hence why his stereo always had to be on whenever Patrick was over. Too many near misses. He clams up now though, forehead dropping to Jonny’s shoulder, pace slowing to match Jonny’s own hand on his dick. He’s cut, which Jonny isn’t, and Jonny has to be careful of it. He’s watched enough porn to know that much.

“Hurry up, hurry up,” Patrick tells him, voice gone ragged. “We’ve got five minutes before the bell.”

Jonny can barely think straight. Whose hand is on whose dick? Everything is all mixed up and backwards and. Fuck. He can’t believe he’s having his gay milestones with Patrick Kane. That he actually even fucking thought about letting—about letting him fuck Jonny in the ass. Just the thought of it now, is enough to bring him over the edge, and he comes on a sob, head thunking back on the stanchion.

When his hand stills on Patrick’s dick, Patrick curses at him, and Jonny dreamily has to remember to keep going. He curls his wrist almost lackadaisically. Somehow summoning up the wherewithal to make it good. When Patrick comes, all over Jonny’s hand, thankfully missing his clothing, Jonny shudders a second time. He doesn’t understand why Patrick’s come coating his fingers is hot. It shouldn’t be.

“Were you serious?” Patrick whispers into his ear, still pressed up against him as his breaths slow down.

“About what?” Jonny asks. He’ll shove Patrick away in a moment. Impose a safe respectable distance between them.

Patrick makes a soft noise. “About letting me fuck you.”

The words make Jonny go hot all over. Patrick’s got a girlfriend. She’s in Jonny’s English class. Jonny wonders what the fuck is wrong with him that he goes and he sits across from her in that room and doesn’t even feel bad.

Serious? Yes. He guesses he was.

Chapter Text

This is Patrick's life: he diligently tries to keep his grades up. He goes over the materials BC sent him–housing and course requirements and meal plans. He takes Marianne out. He fucks her. He lies to himself diligently and says he’s not thinking about fucking Toews. He keeps hooking up with Toews. He watches gay porn. He stops thinking of Toews as Toews and starts thinking of him as Jonny. He wonders what the hell is wrong with him.

Jonny’s parents and brother go out of town for Memorial Day weekend, and he doesn’t go with them because of cramming for APs or some shit. Patrick isn’t thinking anything of it, because of the aforementioned cramming, but when Jonny shows up at Carolyn Valdez’s pool party, it pops into his head. Marianne’s in the pool in a criminally tiny bikini, breasts spilling out. She’s so fucking hot and every guy here wishes he were hitting that, and yet he’s watching Jonny as he plays beer pong, board shorts riding low, and a tangle of stupid friendship bracelets around his wrist.

There’s only water in his solo cup. He drove tonight and he’s not drinking, but nobody else needs to know that. Right now though, hitting it hard on a couple of Buds wouldn’t be so bad.

He shakes his head and goes inside to piss. He’s not thinking about fucking Jonny. He’s really not. He’s thinking about how angry he is at himself for not thinking about fucking Marianne. He’s thinking about how this water needs more ice. He’s thinking about how much this party blows.

And then he runs into Jonny in the kitchen as he’s filling up his glass, sheened with sweat, smelling of sunscreen and chlorine and the bitter tang of alcohol, and he’s definitely thinking of fucking Jonny. Jonny looks at him with these deer in the headlight eyes, his tongue darts out over his lower lip. Jesus. He’s thinking of ruining Jonny.

Patrick wants to say something clever and glib, something cutting even, to reduce this hold that Jonny has on him.

Jonny’s eyes dart towards the sliding glass door leading out to the pool patio and everybody outside. Patrick watches him as he shakes his head, expression rueful and then says, “I was serious.”

“What?” Patrick asks dumbly.

Jonny runs his eyes up and down him, gaze a palpable thing. “The question you asked me.”

Maybe if Patrick hadn’t been thinking about fucking him. If he hadn’t been dreaming of it, consumed with it, fucking obsessed, he’d have to ask for clarification. But he has been, and so he knows instantly what Jonny is telling him.

“Now?” he asks hoarsely, right hand tightening up into a fist. His dick starts hardening in his trunks.

Jonny swallows and then shrugs. “Not here.”

“Okay,” Patrick replies.

It’s funny that the moment that Patrick feels bad in all of this is the moment where he abandons his girlfriend at a pool party, but it is. Jonny climbs into his car with him, and he thinks about how put out she’ll be when she realizes he’s left; for a moment he hesitates.

“All good?” Jonny asks curiously.

“Yeah,” Patrick tells him, throwing the car in drive. It might’ve given him pause, but only for a moment.

*

“Have you—“ Jonny asks as he’s stripping off the hoodie he threw on before getting into Patrick’s car. He’s shirtless underneath. The empty house is quiet, just the AC unit and the sounds of birds outside. There’s nobody here. No need for music this time. It’s a little unsettling.

“No,” Patrick says shortly, cheeks turning hot. “Have you?”

Jonny turns his back as he tugs his trunks down, and Patrick holds his breath as he watches tan flesh give way to paler skin—the smooth globes of his ass cheeks and powerful tops of his thighs left untouched by sun. He’s so busy staring that he nearly doesn’t register the way Jonny pauses and then shakes his head. It’s nerves, Patrick realizes and waits for annoyance to swamp him. He doesn’t have time for virgins, not even when he still was one. But instead the enormity of what Jonny’s offering him swells over him instead, and that, somehow, is worse. Patrick wants to be fucking worthy of it.

“Do you know how to do this?” Patrick asks.

“I’m gay, man,” Jonny tells him, sounding amused now. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about how this is supposed to go.”

It’s weird to have that thrown out there. Weird because Patrick doesn’t know what he is, wouldn’t know how to label or quantify it, and certainly isn’t ready to say whatever that might be out loud.

Patrick kisses him because he’s overwhelmed. He pulls Jonny in close even though he’s still fully dressed and Jonny’s wearing nothing. His skin is so warm Patrick swears he can feel the heat in the air around him. He slides his hands across Jonny’s ass, digs his fingers into the solid muscle, and he pictures what it’s going to be like to get in there.

“So?” Patrick says with a grin, molding Jonny’s palm over his dick. Jonny exhales and tightens his hand.

The thing he didn’t anticipate when he imagined this was how much time the lead up was going to take.

After half an hour, he’s got just two fingers in Jonny’s ass. He couldn’t stick his cock in right now if he tried. They’re both tense and Patrick’s embarrassed. He’s embarrassed of the way Jonny’s dick flops limp on his stomach, of the way he bites at his lip at Patrick’s scissoring his fingers like he’s bracing for a punch to the gut.

“I don’t…” Patrick says weakly. It’s always been hot between them. Too hot almost, so fast-paced and furious they’ve gotten stupid with it a few times, hooking up on campus or forgetting to lock the door on Jonny’s bedroom. He never thought Jonny wouldn’t be into it…

He doesn’t know what possesses him, why he bends his head and puts his mouth on Jonny’s soft cock. Jonny’s skin tastes of salt and pool water, but when Patrick skates his tongue over the slit, Jonny moans softly and starts to thicken up in Patrick’s mouth. The tension goes out of him a little as Patrick slurps inexpertly at the head, and the fingers Patrick has inside of him sink a little deeper. Patrick doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s just sliding Jonny’s cock back over his tongue, taking him deep enough to make his jaw ache and his gag reflex kick in, and still he keeps going until he’s choking around it, precome thick in the back of his throat. Jonny stares down at him with wide eyes, and when Patrick pulls back, tears trailing down his cheeks, coughing, he finds he can shove another finger into Jonny easy.

Jonny arches, reaches down and grabs the base of his dick like he’s afraid of coming. Is he afraid of coming? Patrick wonders, wiping at his mouth with the back of his free hand, fingers still twisting inside of him. Patrick’s insistently ignored arousal just becomes insistent. He drops his forehead to Jonny’s thigh and takes a moment to roll his hips against the bed. That lubed up heat banded tight around his fingers pulses as Jonny clenches down and Patrick moans. Goddamn.

He sucks at Jonny’s cock almost as a distraction, sliding back his foreskin gently like Jonny showed him when they were jerking each other off. The slick satin texture of the head is different from Patrick’s own and he’s fascinated by it, dragging his tongue over and over it. Marianne complains about sucking his dick. She says it takes him too long to come and she doesn’t like the taste, but Patrick likes the weight of Jonny’s cock filling up his mouth, the bitter saltiness of him on his tongue. He’s humping Jonny’s sheets now, the shift-shift sound of it loud over the sloppy noises of his own mouth.

Patrick pushes his fingers in a little harder than he meant to, and Jonny brings his wrist up to his mouth and bites at the spur of it. As he drops his hand, Patrick sees the red imprint of his teeth. He looks up at Jonny, full of wonder. This is the hottest thing he’s ever seen.

“I think–now,” Jonny tells him, spreading his thighs wider and hitching up his hips, so that Patrick can’t look away from the tight red furl of his hole clinging to Patrick’s knuckles. Patrick pulls his mouth off of Jonny’s cock with a pop. When he fumbles for the condom, his fingers are so slick with lube and his own spit that he can’t tear the packet open and Jonny has to do it for him. Jonny rolls the rubber down on him and Patrick has to restrain a groan at the squeeze of his fist around him.

When he finally slides inside, Jonny goes tense around him, eyes shut tight, enough that it’s hard to keep pushing forward. Jonny exhales, grinding his head back into the pillows, and slowly starts to work his dick. As Jonny begins to relax again around him, Patrick’s hit with a sudden burst of paranoia.

“What are you thinking about?” he asks urgently, worrying Jonny’s imagining somebody else to get him through this moment when all Patrick can think of is how gone he is for him.

“Mmm,” Jonny says, rolling his cheek on the pillow, hand slowly starting to speed up. “The way you looked with my dick in your mouth.”

Patrick rocks in hard, sliding all the way home on a ragged gasp, and Jonny arches underneath him. He’s so tight Patrick worries about popping off way too early. Jonny struggles around his girth, he feels it.

“You want me to pull out?” Patrick asks raggedly, dropping his forehead to Jonny’s shoulder.

“No, no, fuck, it’s fine,” he gasps. He shudders when Patrick strokes back out. And that’s all the go-ahead he needs. He picks up a rhythm, fucking into Jonny steadily, listening to the measured creaking of his mattress. They’ve hooked up often enough that it’s a familiar noise, grinding up against each other in bed. It’s surreal, all of it.

“Bet you didn’t think your first time would be with me,” Patrick tells him, voice raw. He’s aiming for vicious. It comes out soft, curious.

Jonny winds his hand through Patrick’s curls, fingers scraping over his scalp, and doesn’t answer. He tugs Patrick down to kiss him, but that must change the angle up, because Jonny jerks in his arms, lips sliding across his cheek rather than his mouth. He pushes his cheek into the pillow and makes a softly drawn out ‘mmm’ noise, clamping down reflexively around Patrick’s dick. He’s let go of his own cock now and is allowing it to just glide along the seam of Patrick’s abs as he thrusts in.

“What’s it–what’s it feel like?” Patrick asks breathlessly, struggling hard not to come.

“Hurts, but,” Jonny says brow furrowed, “feels good too. Maybe next time not with somebody so big.”

A jolt goes through Patrick at that admission of Patrick’s endowment at the same time that a feeling of extreme displeasure comes over him. Somebody else. He doesn’t like that idea at all. And it’s also the last thing he wants to be thinking about when he’s about to nut in Jonny’s ass.

“Show me how to—” Patrick starts. “Show me how to make you come.”

Jonny shakes his head, pink across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. “Want you to suck my cock again.”

Patrick lets out a startled noise. He shoves in twice more before coming explosively. Jonny breathes like he’s just run liners, muscles gone taut as if it was his own orgasm. He’s still hard between them though. Patrick’s watched enough porn now to know that doesn’t always happen. He pulls out, heedless of the used condom on the sheets and bends his head to suck Jonny’s cock back into his mouth. He’s still buzzing with his own orgasm, still not reasoning entirely clearly, but he knows one thing, he doesn’t want Jonny thinking about anyone else.

Patrick hollows his cheeks around him, trying to imitate what he’s seen in porn and what girls have done on him. Jonny seems pretty easy for it though, cursing, thigh muscles trembling. His spine bows when Patrick slides two fingers back into the heat of him where he’s still loose and slick from Patrick’s dick.

“Pull off—” Jonny tells him, tapping at his cheek. “I’m gonna…”

Patrick ignores him, sucking harder still, and when Jonny comes, he does his best to swallow it all down, but some of it still spills out of his mouth. Jonny stares down at him with hazy eyes, chest rising and falling hard. He reaches out and smears his come around the corner of Patrick’s mouth with his fingertips. Patrick follows them with his tongue, curling around the pads. Jonny exhales. He drops his hand flat to the mattress. It’s the same one he bit earlier, and the marks of his teeth are still visible.

Under Patrick’s heavy gaze, Jonny drops his eyes. He clears his throat and suddenly everything is uncomfortable. “I need a shower,” he tells Patrick and then rolls gingerly out of bed. Patrick lies still, mouth feeling abraded, sweat still cooling on his skin. A few moments later the shower hisses to life. He sighs and reaches for shorts. When he finds it, there are seven angry texts from Marianne.

Sorry babe. He types out. Will make it up to u.

Chapter Text

Jonny starts losing time after they get knocked out of the playoffs in 2012.

Small moments at first, where he forgets what he’s saying in the middle of a sentence or can’t remember how he ended up in his kitchen. It seems like stupid, typical stuff at first, your remote ending up in the fridge because you got up in the middle of watching football. Plain old tired forgetfulness.

But then whole hours start to disappear. He’ll show up at the UC and be looking down at his skates, laces tight in his hands, and the next moment, he’ll be standing on the ice by the net, with Kitch going over details on a play. He doesn’t know how he got there. He doesn’t remember putting the rest of his gear on. He doesn’t remember how he earned the sweat running down his forehead.

“You okay there, Jonny?” Kitch asks, looking concerned.

Jonny tries to answer, but the words slide away. They won’t even come out of his mouth. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with him.

An intense pressure forms around his heart and doesn’t let up until he says, strangled, frightened, “I’m fine.”

Kitch looks at him askance and Jonny repeats it, and this time it doesn’t hurt.

And so it continues. Sometimes he loses entire days. Sometimes he can remember everything that happens to him for several weeks straight. He doesn’t remember fighting Joe Thornton.

He sees the footage afterwards and feels sick. He wants to tell somebody, anybody, that something is wrong, but the suffocating pressure on his heart always stops him up short. He tries—with his mother, with Kaner, with Q, and on one memorable occasion with the press. Each time, he hurts himself worse and the gaps in his memory last longer when they come.

Jonny goes away. He feels it happening these days. A subtle pulling at him that lets him know what’s coming. He goes away on June 22nd and suddenly blinks back into focus, with Kaner saying, “I love you, Jonny, way to step up big,” arms wrapped around him, people cheering.

They’ve won the cup and he missed it. The last thing he remembers is getting the assist off of Patrick’s goal in Game 5. There's Bruins banner in the rafters. They’re in TD Gardens. So. They won it in 6. He wishes he could remember it.

He stepped up apparently.

Jonny helped to win his team another cup and looking at Patrick’s smiling face, all he wants to do is breakdown and cry. How? Why is this happening?

Jonny goes away again and he doesn’t come back until after the cup parade.

*

He wakes up, sitting on the rail of his balcony, rain pouring down. It startles him hard and he falls off, thankfully back onto his patio.

He wonders then, was this other self, this self that looks exactly like him, that does and says the right things, but cannot be him, because otherwise Jonny would goddamn well remember, was this other self trying to kill him?

Jonny makes his way inside, shivering, hurt. He considers—why not do it? He’s missing half his life, sometimes the best moments. Great games and important birthdays and less personal things like the world series and general elections. Sometimes when he tries to say things, the words get all tangled up and he sounds like a fool. He’s not sleeping well. If he thinks he’s too tired, too unwell to play a game he loses the time and he comes out the other side having played fine.

He gets the message then. Be healthy, stay calm. He goes a six month stretch without losing any time at all.

And then on March 30th, he gets hit, and something doesn’t feel right in his shoulder and he thinks—that’s it, he’s going away now.

But he stays right where he is, limping off the ice with his arm useless at his side. He wonders if maybe it’s over, whatever that horror of lost time and blackouts and forgotten moments was, it’s finally come to an end.

He fumbles for his phone in the locker room, tapping out the words in a text to Kaner, “I need to tell you…” and blinks out a second later.

It’s like coming back online, Jonny thinks as the black fades before his eyes to see Patrick in a practice jersey running agility drills. He doesn’t know how many weeks later it is. Must be in time for the post-season.

Jonny’s shoulder, when he moves it, feels better. When he does a couple of sprints back and forth on the ice, his conditioning is still where it should be. Maybe he’s supposed to be thankful his body sees fit to take care of itself when he’s not inside it.

At the end of practice with Patrick, they go out for dinner and Patrick talks and despite the steadiness of the past six months Jonny is terrified of how much of it he doesn’t know. He flickers in and out the entire conversation—the body answering for him he supposes, in the moments where an answer he doesn’t have is required.

“Jonny, is something wrong?” Patrick asks as he pulls his credit card out to pay the bill.

Yes. Everything is wrong. He’s a stranger in his own body. There’s something else inside him. It should just take over, he thinks, it’s mostly living his life for him at this point.

“No, I—” it’s the most he’s ever managed, but the sudden vice on his lungs, like taking a punch to the diaphragm, cuts him off. Patrick’s face swims before him and blinks out.

He comes back on the plane to St. Louis, Patrick sitting beside him.

When Jonny jerks in his seat, Patrick looks over at him. “What’s up, bro?”

He shakes his head. Breathes out. Calm down. Calm down. Calm down.

Jonny’s learned by now the only way to have his life, to let it be his, is to keep playing hockey, to not get hurt. But he’s beginning to hate the game, this thing that makes him into something he isn’t. His disappearances aren’t triggered by fights with his parents or girlfriend. They’re not triggered by bad days or having to do his taxes. He gets to stick around for those. Although he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore. The horror of the other self—of the other self—of not being able to tell her that she was maybe, possibly fucking somebody who wasn't him…well, he’d had to end it.

*

He stays the whole way through the playoffs and through the summer. He manages to feel mostly happy when he re-signs. He will always be glad to play with Patrick.

He doesn’t get hurt. He doesn’t blink out.

But then roster cuts start happening. He’s fine. He’s completely fine. He’s not trying to tell anybody, so why is he turning off and on like a crappy fluorescent light?

Things seem to stabilize a little bit when Mashinter gets hurt. He manages a whole day, from sunup to sundown able to remember everything that’s happening.

A few days later, Q very loudly lambasts Crow for letting in the soft goals and seconds later Jonny’s in darkness again. He wakes up to Raanta asking him about his first start. “What?” he wants to say, but he feels the yank at his consciousness. The other self is warning him. So instead he pats Raanta on the shoulder and says everything will be fine.

He can’t ask anybody about what happened to Crow, because he’s already supposed to know. The disappearances and the injuries though—is Jonny hurting people? He thinks, looking down at his hands, maybe, yes.

He knows for sure when Carcillo gets hurt a few days later. Jonny was gone the whole time. Horror and desperation wash over him. He tries to tell somebody. He’s never tried so hard to tell somebody in his entire life, but the body gets yanked from him after too much of that. When he gets it back, it’s like being handed a toy and being told that he’s being trusted to play nice with it this time.

Q demotes Patrick to the fourth line. Jonny gets to stay awake for that, although he almost wishes he didn’t—Patrick’s tense shoulders, his resolute face.

When he comes back, it’s in his bed, the Sun-Times lying open on the sports pages beside him. A headline is circled: Blackhawks Coach Rushed to Hospital After Pulmonary Embolism. Jonny falls off the bed, trying to get away from it. But there’s nowhere to go and he doesn’t know who’s gonna be next. Jonny doesn’t have pills. He doesn’t have a gun. But he could jump off the balcony. It’s messy, of course. He’d hate for that to be part of the Blackhawks narrative. He’d hate to hit ground and have anybody have to see that. But what option does he have? He runs for the double doors and he gets his fingertips on the handle before he disappears.

He has a brief flash—Patrick’s face, telling him to fight it—but it disappears as quickly as it comes. When he blinks back into existence, he’s not quite sure it’s real. There’s pain. So much pain. Jonny goes away again.

His shoulders ache. It feels like they’ve been aching for a while. He lifts his head and blinks into the dim light. He’s cuffed to the metal handicap bar they have in some hotel room showers, lying soaked in the bathtub. Patrick’s staring at him, mouth swelled up like he’s been punched, front about as wet as Jonny.

“Jonny?” Patrick asks and two voices go to answer.

“Yes,” they say. Jonny wants to vomit.

“What happened to you?” Patrick asks.

Jonny is about to say he has no idea. He doesn’t even understand what’s going on, but the other voice seizes his lips and answers for him: “They summoned me.”

Patrick looks grim. He doesn’t ask who ‘they’ is. Although Jonny wants desperately to scream out, who? who did this to me? “To do what?”

The body laughs. “This precious little doll kept breaking.” Jonny’s shoulders shrug as much as they can when they’re tied to a safety bar above his head. “They wanted to win.”

“And the others? The ones you injured?” Patrick asks him.

So then. It’s true. Jonny knows now. He wonders how he did it. The body talks, but it’s Jonny who cries.

“They were dead weight,” it says.

Patrick’s expression is unreadable. “But Q summoned you and you put him in the hospital. That’s not in the rules. You shouldn’t have been able to do that.”

The horror of it slides like poison down Jonny’s throat. Q did this to him. Q and others. How many others? But the body is not done talking and it’s not giving Jonny a chance to ask questions. “He hurt you.”

Patrick laughs harshly. “Let’s not pretend you care about me.”

The body rolls its shoulders in another insouciant shrug. “Jonathan does. He loves you.” It laughs. “It’s like a sickness. He was so displeased that Q would do that to you.”

Jonny wants to scream. He’s held that within himself for so long, a closely guarded secret, and this thing has taken everything from him. His second Stanley cup, great stretches of time, the girlfriend he was happy with, his players, any trust he will ever have in the Blackhawks organization.

The rage and fear and desperation is enough that Jonny wrests control of the body back for one short moment. “You need to end it,” he manages.

Patrick looks back at him, looks through the other-self and sees Jonny. “I will, Jonny.”

“Goodbye,” Jonny whispers and then the body starts laughing.

The familiar choking sensation surges up within him even as Patrick leans in and kisses him. The pain returns, a clawing scraping sensation in his head, it seems to go on for hours and when he finally comes back, he’s lying in a bed with a warm body next to him.

“What day is it today?” he asks out loud, terrified, and then realizes it’s even possible to ask that question, to finally say the words out loud.

Patrick rolls over. There are horrible bluish circles beneath his eyes. He rubs at his face tiredly, but slowly tells him, “November 1st, 2014.”

“How much time did I lose?” Jonny asks.

Patrick sits up, hands on his shoulders, drawing him back down to the bed. “It’s over, Jonny, it’s over.”

They lie like that for a long time, Patrick’s arm across his chest, finally Jonny asks, “How did you figure it out?”

Patrick slowly turns his head. “Takes one to know one.”

*

Chapter Text

Patrick’s braced on the edge of the mattress, sweaty fingers curling into the sheets. It’s easy like this, spread out on his belly, Jonny above him, fucking him lazily slow. Each steady roll of his hips makes sparks light up behind his eyes.

Jonny mouths at the wing of his shoulder, mumbling nonsense phrases about how good Patrick feels around his dick, how he could do this forever. Patrick doesn’t need to hear the content, just the sound of Jonny’s ragged voice drifting over him. Jonny wraps an arm around him, palm sliding across Patrick’s throat, tilting his head up. Patrick shudders, swallowing against his fingertips.

"Jonny," he breathes before sinking his teeth into his lower lip.

Jonny thrusts in harder now, flexing in short sharp bursts that make Patrick shake underneath his weight. Jonny fills him up deep with every push inside and it feels like he can feel it in his lungs. He’s gasping now, fingers going white knuckled as he fists his hands tighter, trying to hold on.

"Feels so good," he slurs, forced open around Jonny’s dick, body accepting him so easy. He tenses his thighs, clenching down and Jonny lets out a sound like pain, closing a hand on Patrick’s shoulder.

Patrick turns his head, resituating himself to push back into it and his eyes snag on the sight of them in the mirror on Jonny’s dresser. Spit floods his mouth at the sight of them—Jonny’s biceps bunching and tightening, his abs thrown in sharp relief with every downward shove. Patrick can’t look away. His eyes have gone glassy, he looks drunk. With his dick trapped under his hip against the mattress he’s not even that close to coming. But he wants. He just wants.

"C’mon," Patrick tells him, raising up a little on his knees so that Jonny sinks in deeper.

They shiver at the same moment and Jonny pumps in a few more times and comes with a punched out groan. Patrick lies still underneath him, tremors going through him. He’s on the edge now, waiting to see what Jonny will do.

Jonny pulls out, careful and slow, but the two fingers he plunges back inside make Patrick arch his back, grinding down against the mattress. The sounds coming out of his mouth couldn’t be described as anything other than sobs. Jonny remains half tilted over him, left thigh still draped over Patrick’s right, hand working. Patrick watches the ripple of muscle in his body in the mirror and then realizes with a start that Jonny’s watching him in the reflection.

When Patrick meets his eyes in the glass, mouth dropping open around harsh panting gasps, Jonny smiles just the barest bit and drops a kiss to Patrick’s nape. Patrick’s working his dick against the sheets now, pushing back against the fingers Jonny’s twisting inside him, the tips curving to unerringly hit his prostate each time.

Jonny thumbs at his perineum, his hot swollen rim. Patrick can barely keep his eyes open. Jonny flickers in and out of his vision, but he can’t stop watching, drinking the sight of the two of them in.

"Hey, baby," Jonny says softly, tracing his nose over Patrick’s shoulder. He waits until Patrick’s dutifully meets his eyes again. "You gonna hold out on me all night?" he asks.

He scissors fingers then, forcing them down hard against Patrick’s prostate. It’s too much. He bucks, biting his lip so hard it goes bloodless and comes on an exhaled breath, allowing himself to drop flat to the mattress.

Jonny leaves his fingers inside while Patrick comes, the pad of his thumb still tracing over Patrick’s rim. The aftershocks still vibrate through him and this sensation on top of it is overwhelming. “Please…” Patrick says.

Jonny stills his hand at last and then withdraws. He moves to give Patrick space, but Patrick doesn’t want to have it and he bats at him until Jonny gets the picture. “Could you just lay back down?” where you were before, Patrick doesn’t add. Jonny gets it anyway, covering him with his big body, hands gentle as they run over his shoulders. Patrick exhales and just lets himself feel it.

Chapter Text

He doesn’t know how it escalated so quickly or where they took a wrong turn. When he fought with Jonny as a buddy, it was very different. It was frustrated quickly burned off rage. But now, redefined as they are in an honest-to-goodness relationship, every word out of Jonny’s mouth is like a body blow. They way it hit Patrick in his gut when Jonny says, low and murderous, “Oh, fuck you, Patrick, just fuck you,” as if Patrick hadn’t hurled those same words at Jonny countless times over the years whenever Jonny pushed him to the edge.

Jonny picks up his keys and bails, slamming Patrick’s door behind him and Patrick sinks into a chair at his dining room table, head resting on his arms. It’s fucking stupid, but the tears come. Because this night started off so well and he doesn’t know where it took a wrong turn. Somewhere along the way Jonny was shouting him down and Patrick was through with it. He was so goddamn done and he has a right to be mad, but if he could’ve just kept his mouth shut…

“Would you fucking shut up? Sometimes you say things like they’re universal truths and they just—” Patrick had exhaled sharply, “—sometimes you’re just talking out of your ass and it’s like you’re gonna bully me into agreeing with you. I don’t agree with you, but you won’t fucking quit. It’s not okay until I say you win.”

“I bully you?” Jonny replied, getting to his feet. “I fucking bully you now?”

And it had spiraled from there. With Patrick throwing his book at the wall just to hear the thud and Jonny telling him he was acting like a child. In the middle of screaming at Jonny about how he had absolutely no right to lecture him on well-adjusted adult behavior, Jonny started laughing, this bitter, awful condescending chuckle. He’d shrugged at Patrick, expression disdainful, and that’s where it ended, with ‘fuck you’ and Jonny scooping up his keys.

And shit’s been bad between them lately. Patrick feels like a powder keg all the time and sometimes the stuff that comes out of Jonny’s mouth just sets him off, but of course as soon as Jonny’s out that door, this horrified desperate feeling starts welling up within him. It’s funny that he’s been fighting with this guy for years, fights that nearly ended in physical violence, and yet somehow, this feels like the very first one.

Patrick hits the table with the flat of his palm, making everything on top of it jump and clatter. It’s only 7:45 PM, but Patrick doesn’t want to be awake anymore. It’s too hard to breathe and he feels miserable. He’s scared, he realizes. Maybe this is the end. Maybe Patrick can love Jonny with everything he has and it won’t even matter if he can’t love him in the right way.

He sleeps fitfully—dreams that he gets up in the morning and it’s all fixed, dreams that the fight never happened, and when he wakes up, unable to stay in bed any longer, it’s to the bitter realization that the fight did happen, Jonny did leave, and Patrick doesn’t know what to do.

Right before he heads in to practice he gets a text from Jonny. We need to talk. Patrick’s heart seizes in his chest. If Jonny wants to break up, he could fucking do it better than going with that trite bullshit.

I’ve already said everything there is to say, he sends back and then hurls his cellphone aside. Fuck him for doing this right before skate, where Patrick will have to see him and think about it the whole goddamn time. Jonny doesn’t send a reply. Patrick’s not surprised. What could he come back with? Patrick cut him off at the knees pretty good. He doesn’t know why he does it. This is childish behavior, but Patrick’s got an obstinate streak a mile wide and he can’t bring himself to regret it. If Jonny wants to break up, he’s not gonna get Patrick to do the work for him.

What makes it worse is that practice goes totally normal. Patrick feels like it should show somehow. They’re fighting. It’s been this way for weeks. Can’t anybody tell? He showers and dresses quickly at the end of it, getting out of there before anybody has a chance to talk to him.

*

His doorbell rings insistently, waking him up from a nap. Patrick finally rolls out of bed, muddled and confused. He’d dreamed about taking a trip to the French Riviera, Jonny’s favorite place in the world—only he’d gone without Jonny. He feels queasy at the thought of it. The doorbell rings again.

“Jesus, okay, hold your horses,” he says, pushing the door open, brushing sleep sand out of his eyes.

Jonny stands on the other side, hand raised to ring the doorbell again, chewing at his lower lip like he’s nervous. Patrick sighs. Fuck if they’re gonna break up, now is as good a time as any. He steps back into the apartment, gesturing Jonny inside.

Jonny shoves his hands in his pockets and crosses the threshold. Patrick turns and walks down the hall, Jonny following behind. “I shouldn’t have said those things,” Jonny says, quietly.

Patrick stops and turns. In all the years of Jonny slinging insults at him, he’s never once taken them back. Neither has Patrick. That’s not really a thing that bros do. Patrick swallows. The words don’t come easy and he has to look away to say them, “Neither should I,” Patrick replies. The horrible scared feeling comes welling back up. It would figure that they’d at least manage to break up like two grown-ass men.

“You’ve been so hard to reach lately,” Jonny says, sliding into his space, hands coming up to frame his face. Patrick swallows as Jonny runs his thumbs along Patrick’s cheekbones. “I know I keep pushing at you,” Jonny tells him. “I keep hoping that you’ll talk to me. Let me in. But if this isn’t working, then maybe…”

“I don’t want to break up,” Patrick says in a rush. “I don’t want to break up.”

He realizes stupid tears are gathering at the corners of his eyes again and his hands are fisted in Jonny’s shirt, keeping him close, like at any moment he’ll just walk away.

“Me neither,” Jonny tells him, letting out a breath, like he was worried that that was what Patrick wanted.

He doesn’t know who kisses who first how they get to the bedroom, but it’s rough. Patrick’s holding on too tight, but Jonny isn’t stopping him. Jonny’s gonna have welts from how indelicate Patrick is as he pulls his clothes off. Patrick likes that idea. That he’ll wear this moment on his skin.

When Jonny gets slicked up and pushes inside him, Patrick drops his hands to his ass, tugging Jonny into him. “Harder, fuck,” he breathes, letting his fingernails bite into Jonny’s vulnerable skin. Jonny slams in on a powerful thrust and the drag of his dick on Patrick’s insides, hitting his prostate on every other stroke is good, it’s so good. But it’s not what Patrick wants. “C’mon, harder.”

Jonny curses and drags Patrick’s legs up. He’s flexible; he needs that to power his skating. But when Jonny pushes his thighs back towards his chest, holding him splayed open with the arms he’s using to brace himself up on the bed, Patrick feels the stretch in his leg muscles. The angle is better this way, Jonny can get in deeper, harder and while Patrick can’t get his hands on Jonny’s ass anymore, he can draw him down into a filthy kiss that makes Jonny moan.

“Harder,” Patrick repeats, when he pulls away to breathe damply against Jonny’s throat, fingers sliding slippery sweat over Jonny’s shoulders.

Jonny obeys, driving in with all the power of his thighs and low back, and Patrick jerks, a strangled cry punched out of his mouth.

“Patrick, I’m hurting you,” Jonny says, pressing their foreheads together.

“No, no, fuck, do it just like this,” he begs. Jonny’s got decent-sized equipment, but like this he feels enormous, pounding hard into Patrick, making Patrick feel it. He’s been ignoring his dick this entire time, but now he reaches between them, wrapping his fist around it, stroking himself off in time with Jonny’s feverish thrusts. When Jonny hits his prostate in the same moment that Patrick thumbs the head of his dick, it proves too much and he comes on a muttered cry, slamming his head back to the pillows.

Jonny sobs, arms straining as Patrick clenches down around him. He slows then, hips stilling as he shifts so that Patrick can relax his legs to the bed. Jonny drops his weight in close, kissing Patrick for all he’s worth, hands sunk into Patrick’s curls. Patrick’s still coming down from his orgasm, still breathing hard. He grinds into Patrick in a measured circular motion, moving like molasses now. He almost hates it when Jonny’s gentle with him like this, especially in the aftermath of his climax. It makes him shiver and cling all the tighter to him. The contrast this time from the punishing way he demanded Jonny fuck him to every languorous roll of Jonny’s hips is overwhelming. Before long he’s trembling all over. Jonny comes with Patrick’s name on his lips.

He almost hates it. Except for the way he doesn’t know how he could do without it.

Chapter Text

It’s not his fault. Patrick blames Sharpy for this one. He chirped Patrick about his sex life, said there was no way he’d be able to do that stupid charity thing to do all the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey in a single weekend. And then you know, Jonny had the fool idea to agree to it when Patrick suggested they try it.

"How many sex scenes are in that book?" Jonny asked over dinner.

"Only fourteen," Patrick told him.

Jonny choked on a piece of lettuce. “Fourteen?” he asked with no little trepidation after taking a generous gulp of water to clear his throat.

"What, think you can’t handle it?" Patrick replied, sitting back in his chair.

Jonny’s eyes turned steely. “I can handle it.”

So really, none of this could possibly be his fault.

He wakes up on Saturday. It’s 8:30 am, his internal clock won’t let him sleep any longer, and they have a lot of sex to cover. He thumps Jonny in the side. “Wake up, we have a busy day ahead of us.”

Jonny groans, pulling his pillow over his head. “Fuck, fifteen more minutes.”

All in all, not a very romantic start.

Patrick’s no amateur though. “C’mon, baby,” he whispers, rolling close to half blanket Jonny’s body and starts trailing his palm up and down Jonny’s back, keeping the touch light, he pulls the criminally tight boxer briefs Jonny sleeps in and takes a moment to appreciate the supple smooth skin of his ass, before trailing his fingers down Jonny’s crack, over his hole, back and forth, just grazing his rim with the edge of his nail. Finally Jonny shudders awake.

"Ugh," he says, pushing himself up onto his elbows, his cheeks are red creased from his pillow, but they’re also tinged pink the way they always get whenever he’s turned on. He looks gorgeous. "What’s supposed to happen here?"

"Oh, uh…" Patrick fumbles over his nightstand for the complete list. "Looks like missionary."

Jonny drops his head back to the pillow with a groan. “Of course I have to do all the work.”

1. They’ve been sleeping together for a year now, the sex is good, Jonny knows how to get him just right—of course this ends up working for Patrick. He lies underneath him, arching up into his thrusts. The sounds of their harsh gasps fill the room. Patrick likes it, especially that soft little ‘uh’ noise Jonny makes when he’s starting to get close. They sound good together.

"What is she like…supposed to come just from fucking?" Jonny asks, somehow managing a sardonic twist to his lips when he’s all sheened up with sweat, dicking Patrick deep with perfect rolls of his hips. "Are you allowed to jerk off?" Jonny asks, clearly amused.

Patrick hadn’t even been thinking about it. He’d just been enjoying it for the moment.

"C’mon, Patrick, let me see you jerk it while I fuck you," Jonny breathes into his ear. Patrick moans and Jonny pushes himself up so that he can watch as Patrick takes himself in hand, stroking himself hard and fast until he comes on Jonny’s dick.

2. Jonny didn’t even come. He pulls out and rolls himself out of bed, going to the bathroom stark naked to get himself a glass of water. Patrick luxuriates in the afterglow, watching his boyfriend move around their room with a massive hardon. Jonny drinks two whole glasses of water before coming back out.

"Okay what’s next?" he asks climbing back onto the bed.

Patrick rolls over onto his stomach. “Doggy style.”

Jonny swats Patrick’s ass. “Well alright then,” he says and when Patrick raises himself up on his hands and knees, pushes in without preamble. Patrick bites at his lip and flexes back into it, Jonny’s cock holding him open. They don’t usually manage twice in a single day, who has the fucking time with their schedule. It’s sheer dumb luck that they even have these two days free.

"You’re supposed to go slow," Patrick explains, as per the sheet, when Jonny starts thrusting. Jonny obediantly slows his hips down to a glacial pace, fucking in deep and hard rather than fast. Patrick fists his hands in the sheets and lets his head drop between his shoulders. God, it feels good like this. Patrick finds himself stiffening back up and this time Jonny gives him the reach around, drawing Patrick off before coming himself.

3. Jonny doesn’t want to mouth-feed Patrick wine. Okay. Yeah, Patrick can understand that. That is pretty weird. Jonny also however, doesn’t want to pour the wine in Patrick’s belly button either, which come on now, this is all about the experience here.

"This is a good Côtes du Rhône," he explains, holding the bottle. "I’m not gonna waste it, pouring it all over the place."

Patrick covers his eyes and laughs. “Whatever, the point is to like, drink wine and put your mouth on me.”

"It’s 11 AM," Jonny points out.

Patrick shrugs.

Jonny rolls his eyes and then salutes him, before taking a swig directly from the bottle. In the next moment, he bends down and takes Patrick into his mouth, sucking at the head of his dick with verve.

So Jonny skipped a few steps. Whatever. Patrick doesn’t care. This entire plan was a great idea.

4. They pass out for a little while after that, wake up, watch some SVU reruns over PB&J sandwiches because they were too lazy for anything else. After a little while longer, Patrick cracks his back and rolls over. He sticks his ass in the air. “Okay, come at me, tiger,” Patrick tells him.

"What’s it to be this time?" Jonny asks with a yawn.

"Spanking," Patrick says, grinning at him over his shoulder. "Bet you could get into that."

Jonny snorts and dutifully delivers a solid smack to Patrick’s right ass cheek that makes him cry out. “Oh, like that?”

5. Jonny gets a positively evil grin on his face when Patrick tells him about number five. Of course he would, nipple play. He licks and sucks at Patrick nipples until Patrick’s a sobbing, writhing mess. The thought of coming is both relief and torture. He’s already come four times today.

He doesn’t know how he’s gonna survive a fifth.

6. “Nope,” Jonny says.

Well, that’s alright. Patrick doesn’t have a riding crop anyway. They settle for some good ole teenage dry humping. Totally the same, right?

7. Patrick’s alarm goes off the next morning. God, they have 8 more scenes. Fuck. No. He has the worst ideas. He exhausted. This feels like being in a playoff stretch.

"Jonny?" he croaks.

"What? What?" he demands, sitting bolt upright in bed as if waking up from a nightmare.

"You’re supposed to tie me to the bed."

Jonny breathes out and then gets up to disappear into his closet. He comes out a few moments later with a silk tie in hand, it’s a hideous one, covered with jack-o-lanterns. Right, Patrick’s gonna be harnessed to the bed with a Halloween necktie. That’s justice for you.

It winds up being good though. Jonny ties a good knot, and he gets his wrists over Patrick’s head in a way that doesn’t pull. It helps that he’s on his stomach for this he thinks. It feels easier to clench his hands around the headboard when Jonny slowly grinds inside.

Oh. Jesus. Jonny stretched out over him, Patrick immobilized, crying out underneath him. Yeah, that works for him. They’re gonna be doing this one again.

8. They have the required quickie in the kitchen while Jonny’s making pancakes. Listen, Jonny works well with goals. And right now he’s got to get it done without burning any of Patrick’s breakfast. On your mark, get set, go!

9. The less said about the ben wa ball experience the better.

10. Patrick has just popped balls out of his ass, okay. He’s not really in the mood to be bent over a desk and taken hard.

"What, are like, orphans gonna starve if I don’t bone you over my day planner?" Jonny asks. He looks a little worn.

Patrick groans. Jonny sighs.

"Hey, bend over, champ," he says, but the hand he runs over Patrick’s back is soft and comforting.

Patrick folds himself over it. Really, he kind of just wants to collapse. Jonny thrusts in once and then immediately pulls out. “Oh, look at that, I fucked you over my desk. Wasn’t it great?”

Patrick doesn’t think he’s taking this very seriously.

11. Patrick’s going to have to buy more lube by the end of this weekend, they’ve already gone through all of Jonny’s supplies. But fuck’s sake. THERE WILL BE NO CHAFING!

He doesn’t know how he even has the strength to gets off when Jonny starts fucking him this time. Jonny’s eyes when he last looked into them were hollow and dead. Patrick may or may not fall asleep in the middle. He wakes up and the sheets underneath him are sticky, so he must’ve come.

Jonny’s lying sacked out on the bed next to him, dead to the world.

12. Riding Jonny in the tub is kind of hilarious. One, because they’re trashing Jonny’s palatial luxury spa bathroom and two because he freaks out about wasting water. He’s supposed to take over at some point, because that’s what happens in the book, but when Jonny goes to lift him up, he very quickly lets go of the idea.

"Ah, fuck it," he says, leaning back in the tub, "this one’s on you."

"What, are you giving up?" Patrick breathes, water sloshing around them.

Jonny lazes there sleepily, arms braced on the lip of the tub while Patrick bounces up and down. “Mmhm,” he breathes.

Well at least someone’s getting something out of this.

13. Jonny rims him out. He’s got the regulation forearm braced low across Patrick’s back to hold him down, because usually Patrick can’t help thrusting back into him whenever they do this. Right now though, Patrick can barely remember his own name. And not because Jonny’s blowing his mind, but because all he wants is the sweet oblivion of rest. Oh dear god, let him rest.

"Do I…fuck you again?" Jonny asks after a little bit.

"I don’t care."

14. Patrick does a tally. Jonny’s only come twice today, once with the tie and once in the tub. Yesterday, he came 3 times—he’s at 5 to Patrick’s 8. Really, he knows in the book he’s just supposed to like, lie there and take it. But Patrick’s switching this shit up. Mostly because he can’t survive it. This is un-fucking-tenable. Who the hell would do this?

The obvious answer is MORONS. Because now Patrick’s starting to think he’s never going to want to have sex ever again. It’s too bad really. Once, some time in the distant past, he had memories of sex being, like, you know, a good thing. Oh those sweet salad days.

He’s really not even insulted that Jonny puts on a movie while Patrick goes down on him.

When Jonny comes, Patrick rolls over onto his back and declares to the ceiling, “Thank god.”

"I…hurt…everywhere…" Jonny says, as if he’d just seen the slaughter of innocents. "I want…to…die…"

"I regret everything," Patrick replies. "Everything."

Chapter Text

He was born on an ill-luck day, the scion of an ill-luck house almost forgotten at the edge of the southern steppes. Despite the dry and crackling Maius weather, the rains rolled in as the midwife cut the cord and delivered him into his mother’s arms. His father watched lightning strike on the horizon from atop the battlements and tried not to think of Omens.

When Jonathan is six, he’s ripped from his mother’s arms and the familiar fields and valleys of his family’s lands, the detachment of foot soldiers they sent to ensure compliance wholly unnecessary against the castle’s depleted resources. His father’s people do not weep to see their quiet and serious young master barely out of short pants taken from them, it is not their way. But his mother is from the west, where the tales of women warriors take flesh, and has to be restrained from putting a dagger through the silver-helmed high constable’s eye after he delivers the royal order demanding her first born as a fosterling of the crown.

It takes three servants and his father to restrain her in grief-stricken fury. He hears the words his father mutters at her, bitter, but sensible, “This is not the way.”

Her tightly fisted hands and the snickering of the soldiers is the first lesson against directionless imprudent action that he ever receives.

They saddle him behind a young knight in gleaming dress armor and a heavy velvet cape. Jonathan has never seen such finery in his life.

"My thanks," the high constable says with a malicious laugh and wheels his horse around, riding up the column of soldiers to lead them out through the open gates.

As they canter out over the fields, Jonathan bouncing around uncomfortably in the saddle, his arms around an unfamiliar body, he looks back at his family’s ancestral seat. He does not see what these soldiers see, a crumbling fortress built in the outmoded rough-hewn style of centuries past, but the center of the universe, filled with the love of his mother, father, and toddling brother; the quiet strength of his uncles and exuberant laughter of his cousins. All of which could be so easily extinguished at the end of a capricious monarch’s blade.

They send him to the Virtus Pass, to the home of the Aux Valeria, where the hostile mountains once bred more Red Banners and Kings’ champions than any other place in the whole of The Firmament.

"Let his gentle southern constitution crumble at the hands of those old wolverines," the King’s brother said into the King’s ear when they brought Jonathan before his sovereign lord and master, surrounded by guards like he was a man full grown and not a young child.

Jonathan had heard of the Aux Valeria as any child who knew of Firmament’s history and legends did. But he also knew they were much diminished, a starving shadow of their former selves, banished by military engines and ballistae and the spread of light tempered steel over their own heavy iron blades.

They expect him to die. To rot. They are removing him from the chess board, either as a hostage against his parents or to stop him from what he might one day become. What Jonathan doesn’t know is why.

All he knows is if they want him to die, he’s going to do his damned best to survive.

The northern mountains do not kill him. The Aux Valeria cannot break him. When war breaks out along the eastern border and he is attached to a company in every least-defensible position, he does not fall. He has learned, by now, that whatever sins are attached to the name of Toews, they are not so great that his king can kill him outright. But whatever they are, they’re enough to keep him trying.

He earns his Knighthood on his 18th birthday and his own command by his 20th. Firmament is a parody of itself, torn apart by factioning, but growing ever larger, swallowing the land around it, and growing itself enemies on every front. Not even the King can deny Jonathan what is his by right when the borders need holding.

The people are starving, their lives uprooted and upended by the petty jealousies of their overlords, and all Jonathan knows how to do is survive. To walk through the hell of the battlefield and come out whole, dragging all of his men behind. He sees this desolation, imagines the beating heart of his home that he has never been allowed to return to, and cannot imagine how to fix it.

Until he meets Patrick.

*

Jonathan is miserable at court functions. He’s too aware of the shadowy adversaries allied against him in every corner. Perhaps it’s madness to feel safer running the proverbial gauntlet behind enemy lines then in these opulent halls, perhaps his fears are imagined.

He does not think so.

Sir Jonathan of the Mare Agrorum they call him in mockery, a corruption on his distant forebear’s name for those tranquil flatlands, Mare Desiderii (the sea of dreams), he called home for only six short years. His lands provide him no wealth, not like the spoiled tips and toffs he could call brothers-in-arms, and he is further prevented from sending any percentage of his own spoils back. Keep it or forfeit it to the crown, they said, knowing the punishment of sitting on all those riches, unable to provide for his family and their tenants would strike truer than any lash.

He has found ways over the years, the old wolverines in their frozen mountains were not completely without use, but it is not enough, and he fears the reprisals that may result for everybody involved to try it more than a few desperate times.

He is without influence here. It is both vulgar and dangerous to associate with him too closely, he knows this, and he has never attempted to ingratiate himself amid their ranks. But neither has he sought trouble.

Not like Patrick.

He sees him for the first time in the dueling halls, a wizard with the light rapiers of pearlite matrix steel coming out of the east. He has heard the rumors about him, the louche fool who is the last lineal descendent of the High Blood, the last true heir to the deposed kings of old. The tales of Patrick’s drinking and whoring and merry good-humor have reached Jonathan even over the crowded fields of war.

He is not laughing now, his face concentrated as he manipulates the blade as easily as he might breathe or blink.

"What’s this about?" Jonathan asks his squire, the poor unfortunate from the House of Saad that was lowly enough to be shackled to him and his sinking ship.

"Boros, the miserable bastard Kane is fighting, struck his squire to the ground, and then again when he tried to rise. Kane interfered, Boros challenged him, and it is as you see now."

"Are they fighting to first blood?"

Brandon looks pensive. “I don’t know, sir.”

First blood comes with a brutally efficient slice across Boros’s upper arm, but Boros does not cede. The idiot. Anybody could see he is hopelessly outmatched despite Kane’s smaller size and shorter reach.

There are cheers and bets going up and down the whole gallery, but when Kane kicks Boros’s feet out from under him, it grows silent and still as death.

"You cheat," Boros bites out, red-faced with anger.

"Do I?" Kane replies mildly, but there’s a startling rage simmering behind those eyes. The right of death is his and he’d certainly be allowed to avail himself of it. He taps Boros’s chin with the sword lifting it so that Boros has to scramble crablike so as not to slice himself clean through the throat.

Jonathan knows instantly that Kane will kill him, here, in front of all these eyes. He will damn his already tenuous position, how little he may care for it.

Jonathan barely notices crossing the floor and stopping Kane’s wrist before it can raise for the strike. “Your presence is requested urgently elsewhere, my lord,” he says, loudly enough for the entire long hall to hear.

"Really?" he asks in an unconcerned drawl as Jonathan tightens the grip on his wrist so much the sword finally goes slack in his hand. Jonathan feels the exact moment the lust for blood goes out of him and he lets his hand relax. Kane turns, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "Well then, lead on."

Brandon scrambles to open a door for them as they walk away from the flat canvas of the dueling strip and activity resumes behind them, along with Boros’s angry cursing. Jonathan jerks his head at him, a sign to make himself scarce and Brandon nods.

As soon as they’re in the sunlight of a quiet courtyard, Kane whirls upon him, the naked blade in his hand.

He cries, “that anybody should have the audacity—” and goes to strike Jonathan with the flat of it. But Jonathan’s skills were learned on the battleground not on the strip, and he steps in close, pretzelling Kane’s arm, shoving him back and twisting so that the edge lies against his own pulse, the hilt still in his hand.

Kane laughs and then shoulders him aside, correctly assessing that Jonathan won’t hurt him. He finally sheaths his sword, but there is still a red line on his neck from where Jonathan forced the blade against him. “So this is my rescuer,” he says, taking Jonathan in, recognizing him either from description or from the insignia pinned to his cloak. “Oh, it must set their teeth on edge to have you here, a wily fox in the henhouse. And I’m sure that old codger has never even told them why.”

"What do you mean?" Jonathan asks, assuming the codger Kaner talks about so dismissively is the King.

"Why, your family’s all spies and thieves, or they were, before Aesa Maiesta's saintly father,” Kane says, teeth bared in a grin so false it looks painful as he jerks his head to the wing of the castle where the King’s apartment lies. “grew so afraid of them, he cut them down like daisies. But I’m not supposed to know that. And oops, neither are you.”

Jonathan steps back, thunderstruck into silence. Kane chuckles mirthlessly and then runs his eyes over Jonathan before biting out, “Don’t ever interfere with me again.”

He storms off before Jonathan can ask him one of the thousand of questions bubbling up inside him. What does Kane know? What does Kane know!

*
Patrick drinks a lot of ale, enough that despite his size, he is always the last one standing. Now though, despite several skins of wine, he feels as clear as bell. His companions are listing over, falling asleep in their seats. They’re sotted desperate revelers who don’t stop, because too much is never enough. Patrick sighs, and tips the dregs out of his cup onto the rush strewn floor. There will be no mercy found in drunkenness here tonight. If his mother was still alive she would have words for him. He always was a disappointment, a second chance gone horribly awry after their first born sickened and died before he was out of the nursery.

It fell to him too early to take up the mantle of his house and he hadn’t realized back then, immersed in girls and gaming, how much his parents had insulated him from the bitter truth of their situation. That their family had even survived long enough to see him born was little more than happy accident. If anything that came out of the Salic Wars could be termed “Happy.” Although, he imagines the people who won were overflowing with happiness. They’ve penned a lot of ballads crowing about it over the years.

It means little to Patrick, all that ambition seemed like a tremendous waste of energy. All it begat was death and more death, mostly to people who had never earned it. Patrick’s great grandmother had been High Queen for 31 short days before her reign, such as it was, was overthrown by her own cousin with four armies at his back. She capitulated, saw the husband she had married two weeks before, along with her entire household, executed, and was packed off to the Kane ancestral seat, bound never to leave it.

They hadn’t bargained that her belly was already full of child, they hadn’t bargained that Cathán, their first and best stronghold, built on a shelf of rock at the edge of the Uisce River Falls, could not be besieged. His forebears had lost their throne, but the soaring towers and buttresses of his dynasty remained unchallenged. A quiet uneasy peace grew out of it, and as long as they existed out of sight and out of mind, there way of life continued. They were allowed no soldiers and no swordscraft, every male heir was hauled before the king on 12th birthday to swear fealty at the King’s feet, and that was the end of it.

He had trusted in that fairytale far too much, and it wasn’t until he was left with three unmarried sisters, acres of water-logged land, and no allies to speak of, that he really understood what it meant to be of The Blood.

Really, the whole thing should be thrice damned to hell. Patrick was good fun, he was good looking, and he was rich. He wished that could be all it was. That he did not have to sleep with a knife under his pillow or drink and sup only after everybody else had had a bite first. He wished a good portion of his wealth didn’t go to hiring guards paid too handsomely to be bought to watch his sisters, and he wished that he trusted more than one person who was not kin in the entire world. It was too bad about that.

He’d never paid attention to Sir Jonathan. He’d heard of the lad, it was rare to find a family more hated than his own. And of course, there were many who considered him a noisome upstart, daring first to try for his knighthood and second to a command in the King’s own army.

The courtiers who make the August Palace their home are not kind to Jonathan, Patrick notes. But the border lords, the ones whose blockade lines were lifted by Jonathan’s forces after Firmament was attacked first by the An Cróga and then by the Glass Eaters of the Durine Drell are different. It is not safe to associate too closely with him. The King only grows more capricious with age, and his brother has a cruel streak as wide as a river. But if you watch closely, you can see the dipped heads and the grateful nods. Jonathan doesn’t even seem to notice.

“Another?” Lord Patrick Sharp asks him, taking a swallow out of the skin and then handing it over.

Patrick doesn’t bother to fill his cup, but drinks directly from the skin as Sharp did. Swallowing too much when Sharp knocks his hand up so that it all goes rushing into his mouth in a solid stream that makes him splutter and cough.

He shoves Sharp away. “Devil take you, Sharpy.”

Sharp laughs uproariously.

“It’s too bad you really are a bastard,” Patrick grumbles, “figures, that.”

“Guilty,” Sharp says, not even bothering to hide his mirthful grin.

Patrick goes to shove him again, but Sharp stops him with a hand on his shoulder. “Shh,” he says, putting a finger to his lips. When Patrick raises his brows, he points to the other side of the tavern.

“I ain’t never seen nothing like it,” a deep-voiced man with shoulders as wide as the tavern door is saying. “Youngest commander by half, untrained men, worst position on the field, no provisions, and the lad somehow pulls one out. Won the war that day, he did. Ain’t never seen nothing like it.”

“Something’s not right with him,” a skinny whip of a man says, face rat-like and cruelly shrewd. “The way he goes about, dressed all in black, like a bloody wraith, even his gloves are made of black kid. Sold his soul to the devil, that one did.”

Patrick snorts. Dressed all in black - he could only mean Sir Jonathan. Patrick had marked it, that day outside the dueling hall, the black boots, breeches, and doublet, all of exceptionally fine quality, but all an unfashionable black. He’d looked dour as a raven, Patrick thought, but not particularly devilish.

The tales come fast and thick after that, everybody seems to have heard of some heroic and fantastical exploit or some other time that he was caught sacrificing virgins to the moon. All nonsense, Patrick is quite sure.

“I’ve had my fill of this place,” Patrick says gruffly, climbing up out of his chair.

Sharp shoots him an unreadable look, but after a moment shrugs and agrees to leave easily enough. They leave their companions behind drunkenly arguing over cheating at dice. Patrick keeps his hand on the hilt of his sword the entire long meandering walk out of the seedy underbelly of The Slip, and back into the wide cobbled streets of the Old Town, where Patrick’s heavily fortified townhouse sits carefully on the most fashionable square. Sharp is the only person in the world who does not look at Patrick’s hand on his sword and laugh it off for derangement.

“I heard you met him,” Sharp says, after two furlongs of amiable silence.

“Met him is hardly the right word,” Patrick replies. “But yes, I certainly have laid eyes on him.”

“Sounded like rather more than that,” Sharp replies, voice deceptively mild.

Patrick shrugs and says dispassionately, “that Midden-Brained fool deserved it.”

Sharp sighs. “I’m not talking about Boros.”

“Don’t know what you are talking about then,” Patrick says cheerily, quickening his pace.

Sharp rolls his eyes at him, but he lets the subject drop.

*

Patrick quits the Capital not long after that. It’s getting too exhausting, and he doesn’t like the way he keeps seeing blasted Sir Jonathan Toews everywhere he goes. Sharp claims he’s here rallying for more troops for Terra Deorum, an area along the weak western flank of the Firmament. The borders there have shifted back and forth for centuries and the people who remain have been hammered badly, caught between two sovereign nations. It’s a losing battle, and Jonathan was no doubt assigned command there because the position was entirely untenable.

Patrick doesn’t know why he’s even trying on that lost cause. The King has set his eyes on the mountains controlled by the Durine Drell, for the rich veins of iron ore and chalcopyrite that thread the forbidding cliffs. Jonathan’s unlikely to get a single assis for Terra Deorum, which supplies little beyond the cheap pine that can be found in every wooded copse and spit of forest in the Kingdom.

Patrick leaves before first light a few days after the spring equinox. He takes only a handful of retainers, his sisters, and his old Master-at-Arms, Savard, heading up a retinue of guardsmen. He’s betting that the erratical nature of the move will keep him safe. He bets wrong.

They’re beset on the Long Track only a few hours after the morning chill has burned off. It’s chaos then, hemmed in by the trees. They chose their spot well. He loses two guardsmen, his sisters’ long-serving chaperone, and a groom in the span of a minute. His murderers are indiscriminate in who they kill to get to him.

One of the horses spooks and bolts, wheeling pell mell into his own mount. He doesn’t even realize that he’s fallen, until he’s hit the ground, head jouncing uncomfortably, air forced from his lungs in a desperate gasp, and left leg trapped below the body of his faithful steed. The guardsmen, along with Savard, shouting desperate orders the whole while, do their best to form a circle around him and the coach with his sisters inside, but it’s no good, there are simply too many for their own numbers to hold off.

Well, Patrick thinks, furiously struggling under the weight of his horse and trying to work his knife out of his belt with sweat-slicked hands, it really is something that he managed to last this long. It’s just too bad that so many others are going to have to die, just so a man in a high tower can have sweet peaceful dreams in his bed, crown upon his head.

There’s screaming, lots of it, from the horses, from his own people, from the assassins masquerading as bandits - somehow he still hears the whisper zing of the first arrow as it buries itself in an oncoming attacker’s chest. He strains, craning his neck to catch sight of this fortuitous rescuer.

Two more die before the archer even becomes visible to Patrick - a shadow all in black, lining up arrow after arrow on a recurved bow to kill people with a calm precision. One pierces a throat, another an eye. He’s knocking each arrow so fast, Patrick’s attackers don’t even have time to respond.

Hysterically, the first thought that comes to him is not ‘what the devil is Sir Jonathan doing on the road to the Uisce River?’ but rather what is Jonathan doing with a peasant weapon? He didn’t know any noble sons who would bother to learn one.

The remaining bandits finally give up and wheel off to lick their wounds, leaving their dead behind and Patrick sick with relief. He swallows and realizes with a horrible rush he really wasn’t ready to die at all. And his sisters, god his sisters. If he strains he can see the coach, his sisters haven’t come out of it, all is quiet. They could be hurt. They could be dead. An eternity passes filled with Patrick’s dread and guilt for being so careless, before Jonathan appears above him.

“My sisters!” he says, ragged and frantic

“They’re unharmed, I told them to stay in the carriage” Jonathan replies, barely glancing at him in favor of his prize Percheron, Lionheart. The horse struggles desperately to get his feet under him and lift himself off of Patrick’s pinned right leg, but weak or injured, Lionheart cannot rise. Jonathan kneels beside him, inspecting Lionheart where Patrick cannot see.

“He has a broken leg. Bad,” Jonathan says, catching Lionheart’s muzzle between his black-gloved palms, and gentling him with a soft murmur of praise, stroking him from his forehead to the velvety tip of his nose. “He won’t walk again.”

“Do it then,” Patrick says, knowing what Jonathan is trying to say, shamefaced as tears prick his eyes.

It’s fast. Jonathan draws the knife across Lionheart’s throat, smooth and economical, and holds his horse, covering his eyes, as he bleeds out and gradually becomes still.

“Patrick?” his sister Erica calls. Patrick takes in his dead horse lying across him, the mess of bodies, Savard’s lifeless eyes staring at the sky. Not a single one of his servants are still breathing.

“Don’t, don’t come out of the carriage,” he yells back, hoping she doesn’t notice the break in his voice. They don’t need to see this.

Patrick meets Jonathan’s eyes and nods, and finally Jonathan gets to his feet and helps roll Lionheart off of his leg. It’s strangely easy now that he’s only a corpse, or carcass, Patrick supposes. He swallows and has to look away.

As his leg is freed, sensation rushes into it with a blaze of pain and he has to bite back on a shameful cry of distress. He doesn’t think it’s broken, but by all the gods, everything from the thigh down is not happy with him. It’s a supreme act of will to get himself into a sitting position against the trunk of a tree, Jonathan staring down at him the entire time.

“My lord,” somebody calls, frantic and worried, galloping into the clearing on a large warhorse. It’s Jonathan’s squire, Patrick doesn’t know his name. “My lord, Keith’s and a detachment of Excubitors are behind me.”

“Too late I’m afraid,” Jonathan tells him as the squire leaps down from the horse and hands the reins off to him. It’s only then that Patrick realizes that Jonathan had arrived in the clearing on foot. The charger must belong to him and he must’ve sent the squire back to his men to fetch help and then had the temerity to continue on alone. It’s totally lunatic, there were at least 20 men in that raiding party.

“How did you know?” Patrick asks, trying not to think about the throbbing agony of his leg.

When Jonathan doesn’t answer, the squire says, “We were on the bluff, we saw them coming.”

“I thought…I thought you were still in the Capital,” Patrick replies.

Jonathan shrugs. “You thought wrong.”

Patrick rolls his eyes and attempts to stand. He has to check on his sisters, make sure they’re alright.

He passes out.

*

He expected nothing in payment. He didn’t save Kane’s life for the life debt Kane would owe him. But Kane nevertheless seems to feel there is one.

He returns to Terra Deorum, and forgets about Kane’s pain-paled face and the stolid look in his eyes. They’re thin on the ground out here, the border lords can supply only a few armsmen and little else. The only advantage they have in this fight is that they know the lay of the land, for the spring rains do not deter the enemy in the slightest.

He needs bodies—strong competent fighters, not the stripling lads they keep sending him who die fast and easy. But they’re cut off out here, and under-supplied on top of it.

Every morning, Jonathan goes over reports with the quartermaster and does his best to keep his head. At least there are so many trees on the ground they will never want for arrows.

A month goes by and then the provisions arrive. Oilskins to keep the damp out, foodstuffs to replace their dampened hardtack and saltpork only inches away from going to rot, boots and better steel for the men, a brace of fresh horses, and far too many barrels of strong ale stamped with the Kane arms.

When the two light and high-sprung trebuchets are trundled into camp on mule-driven carts, he has to laugh. It must have been a nightmare to drag them through the mud.

"Sir?" Saad asks, looking at the ballistae uncertainly.

It’s irregular warfare out here, hit-and-run mobility tactics and skirmishing, the only way they can fight against a superior force. The trebuchets are useless in these woods.

Jonathan laughs harder. “At least Kane has a head for siege-craft.”

It would be helpful if there was anything for them to beset.

His men stare at him as he scrubs mirthful tears from his eyes.

Keith, coming out of his tent to check out the commotion, stops and looks around the camp and it’s many stacks of crates and barrels. He clears his throat. “Well, it looks like we’ll eat well tonight.”

Jonathan nods at him and Keith starts barking orders to get the supplies stowed away before the rains ruin them. The men who delivered the supplies stand shiftless and uncertain.

"Nobody expects you to remain," Jonathan tells a big man at the head of the carts that he assumes is in charge.

"No, nobody expects it," he replies. "I would stay anyway."

"What’s your name?" Jonathan asks.

"Bollig, milord."

Bollig. A Diis surname. He scans the other laborers and notes their firmed jaws.

"We are losing," he explains gently. There is nobody in camp who would say otherwise. Those who remain with him are foolhardy and crazy, as he himself is foolhardy and crazy.

"This is our home," Bollig says.

And truly, that is answer enough.

*

Chapter Text

Patrick’s had crushes before, but not like this, never like this. Not ones that make him shaky and breathless. Not ones that make him pause over every word that comes out of his mouth. Jonny’s so fast up and down the ice. His passes and shots are so clean and precise it always seems like an extra half-second of time goes by when the puck hits his blade. Like he’s making it slow down, just so he can get it exactly where he wants it. Patrick’s seen good hockey. He’s seen lots of good hockey, but nothing that made his chest ache and want so desperately to just touch that person.

Jonny actually takes the time to listen to Patrick and he doesn’t, well he doesn’t treat Patrick like a stupid kid. He laughs at Patrick’s lame jokes and is always willing to stay behind to work on things with him. But he’s leaving soon. First it’ll be summer, and then Jonny’s going to college, he won’t be coming back. And everything about that makes Patrick hurt, the thought of another five years here without him. Well it isn’t fair.

Jonny’s really popular. He’s good in school. And he’s out. He’s out like it’s the easiest thing in the world and not something that makes Patrick a little terrified even though he’s sure he likes girls as well as boys, and wouldn’t ever really have to tell anybody about the latter. Patrick wants to know everything about him. His favorite band, his favorite movie, his favorite place, how he feels about basketball, and cherry Pepsi, and Nintendo 64 and even garbage like politics. He calls Patrick Peekaboo, and even though the nickname sucks and it’s super embarrasing, Patrick never minds when Jonny says it.

And that’s why Patrick’s got to tell him he loves him, before Jonny’s gone and it’s too late.

Patrick decides on a Friday night after the Gaming club meeting gets out. He’s not sure what it is, but he realizes, walking by himself back to his dorm, it’s got to be now.

When he swings by Jonny’s dorm, he isn’t there, but Johnny always leaves the door to his single unlocked. He’s got nothing to steal he claims, and he doesn’t seem to mind when people drop in on him. His room is a mess, the one thing about him that isn’t neat and perfect, but his bed is made, and it’s soft and inviting. Patrick’s sat on it a few times, watching tape on Jonny’s tiny TV and going over plays. He likes the fact that Jonny takes his opinions seriously and listens to what Patrick has to say.

Patrick pats the covers and then awkwardly settles himself on it, hoping Jonny won’t mind. It’s a Wednesday school night, so Jonny can’t be far, wherever he is.

He doesn’t have to wait long. The door opens, the sounds of the hallway spilling in from outside. Jonny’s back and joking with somebody on the other side of his door from the sound of it. After a moment Patrick hears Jonny laugh and tell whoever to fuck off, and then the door opens all the way.

Patrick swallows, face flaming up. Jonny must have been in the showers, because he’s got a towel wrapped around his waist and his hair is wet and curling on his forehead.

He blinks when he sees Patrick. “Peeks,” he says, stepping all the way inside and shutting the door inside. “What’s up, buddy?”

Patrick blushes harder and clears his throat. “I—I—just,” he nearly swallows his tongue when Jonny turns his back to him and just drops his towel like it doesn’t even matter that Patrick’s in the room with him. And why should it. Patrick should know, he’s been in and out of locker rooms his entire life. He averts his eyes as Jonny pulls on boxers.

"You okay?" Jonny asks, throwing himself into his deck chair. He runs a hand through his wet hair and then makes a face. He looks so good, chest and abs defined. Patrick wonders if he’ll look like that at seventeen. The height trajectory his doctor gave his parents certainly wasn’t very promising.

Patrick feels like he’s swallowed his tongue. He doesn’t know what to say or do or how to get it out. In the moment, it just seems easier to climb down from Jonny’s bed and kiss him.

He misjudges the distance and ends up knocking their mouths together with a horrible clack. There’s no chance to try again, because Jonny jerks back, hands on Patrick’s hips to hold him away. It’s a mess, but the only coherent thought in his head is that Jonny smells so good.

"Whoa, Patrick," Jonny says, now thoroughly red himself. "What’s this about?"

"Sorry, sorry," Patrick says miserably. "I just…I love you. I know I’m little and I may never play hockey as good as you, but I do."

He thinks he might cry.

"Peeks…" Jonny says gently and somehow that just makes everything worse. He has to turn away, his eyes are prickling so hard. He fists his hands, trying to focus on his nails biting into the skin. Don’t cry, don’t cry, he says to himself over and over.

"Oh, hey, no," Jonny says, getting out of the chair to stand next to him. He puts his hands on Patrick’s shoulders and ducks his head so that Patrick is forced to meet his eyes. "You’re so young, Peeks. You haven’t even really figured any of this out yet."

"That’s not true!" Patrick replies fiercely. "I do know!"

Jonny smiles at him. “I’m really, really flattered that you like me. You’re amazing, you know that? I know guys in juniors who can’t do the shit you can do with a puck. You’re going to do great things and some day you’re going to sweep somebody right off their feet.”

The tears really do start running then, slow fat ones that burn his eyes, he’s trying that hard to keep them in. Jonny tilts his face up and wipes his eyes with his thumbs, and he looks so good and so worried and so kind that it only makes Patrick cry harder.

"Aww, Peeks," Jonny sighs and tugs him in for a hug. Patrick can’t even enjoy the fact that his cheek is pressed to Jonny’s bare chest, arms tight around him. This is the end of the world. The absolute end of the world. He never should have said anything. How the hell is he going to look at Jonny after this?

After a while he finally runs out of tears, hiccuping weakly, nose running. Jonny hands him a wadded up bunch of tissues to wipe his face with and then settles back into his desk chair. “We gonna be okay?” he asks. Patrick’s chest pangs at the way he sounds genuinely concerned. He’s not sure why it even matters now.

Johnny doesn’t want him.

Five years later...

It’s echo-y and dark in the locker room, Patrick’s the first one there. Small surprise. It’s early in the morning with the sky a dark pre-dawn grey and a good 45 minutes before practice is due to start. Mr. Bowman offered him a ride, but Patrick had wanted to make his way to the rink himself, figure out the best way to do it by public transportation. The contract he signed in July guarantees him more money than he ever expected to see. It’s certainly enough that he could buy a car, but it’s such a lasting and huge purchase, it frightens him a little bit.

It’s a shock to see his stall made up, name at the top. You can know that your entire life is heading here, and still not really be able to imagine everything that means. He puts his gear bag down in front of it almost reverentially.

When the doors to the locker room clatter open a few minutes later, lights flicking on across the room with a buzz, he stops, feeling caught out like a kid somewhere he’s not supposed to be.

He nearly swallows his tongue when he sees who it is.

Jonny walks into the locker room, in jeans and a slick leather jacket, gear bag of his own slung over his shoulder. He smiles when he sees Patrick standing there, the exact same one that used to punch Patrick in the gut when he was only twelve years old. He’s not anymore immune to it now than he was then.

“Hey, Peeks,” Jonny says, like he’s running into Patrick in the halls of Shattuck, like the last six years have never even passed.

“Uh…hi,” Patrick says, swallowing.

He looks away when Jonny goes to his stall and tugs off his leather jacket, but not fast enough that Patrick doesn’t see the white t-shirt he’s wearing pull tight over the thick muscles in his back.

Jonny is a big guy, Patrick realizes. He’d seen footage of him obviously—it was kind of hard to miss the second youngest captain in the NHL over the last couple of years—but it was hard to tell just how big he was under the Blackhawk’s red and all the pads. He’d still sort of pictured that slender doe-eyed kid in his head, not the broad-shouldered narrow hipped twenty-something currently making his stomach fizz.

“You okay?” Jonny asks. When Patrick looks back at him, he finds Jonny paused in the middle of dressing, staring at him in concern.

Patrick clears his throat and nods. “Yeah, yeah…just thinking. It’s been a long time.”

“Yeah, it has,” Jonny replies with another one of those soft smiles Patrick remembers so well.

His cheeks flame up and he drops his eyes down to his feet. “What are the odds?”

He’d wondered as much. Once the shock of actually going first had passed, the knowledge that he was going to be playing for the team Jonny captained had shook him up good. Patrick had liked people, he’d slept with people, he’d thought he’d moved on. But that first moment, when he realized he was going to be in a locker room with Jonathan Toews, the crazy elation he’d felt had scared the shit out of him. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about it since then, not through prospect camp, not through contract negotiations, none of it.

The doors burst open and the veterans start filtering in. They call fond hellos to Jonny and nod at Patrick when they see him. He gets caught up in introductions, shaking people’s hands, looking at pictures of their kids they’ve got in their wallets. He knows all of their names already and they know his, but everybody makes nice and pretends like they have no idea.

After it’s over, Jonny is already suited up, skates laced and helmet on. He nudges Patrick’s shoulder as he passes. “I’m glad,” he says, voice warm, and then he’s gone, already out to hit the ice.

Patrick sinks back down to the bench.

How could that smile just erase six years and put Patrick right back to where he’d been in the seventh grade, heart pounding and palms sweaty, doing his best to spend whatever time possible with Jonny?

*

Patrick’s first couple of practices playing on a line with Lang and Williams don’t give him a lot of hope that he won’t be sent back to juniors. Scrimmage ends with Williams grabbing the unsnapped strap of his helmet and shouting at him to “quit playing the fucking perimeter.”

Patrick shoves him, hard, knocking him back a step, leveling him with a stare. His whole life he’s been dealing with chirps about his size. Williams can go fuck himself. “You gonna tell me again I’m not up for it?”

Williams pops out his mouth guard and then pops it back in with an audible click. He bares his teeth around it. “You’re alright, kid.”

“Yeah? Fuck off.”

Williams laughs. Patrick shrugs and goes to skate off for a drill. When he scans the rink, he finds Jonny leaning up against the boards casually, paying more attention to Patrick than to Vandermeer and Seabrook who are talking at him, caught in some animated discussion. When Patrick spots him, he smiles.

Things get better after that. Savard slots him in on a line with Jonny and Ruutu in his third practice, and is pleased enough with the results that he does it again during the pre-season. Patrick wonders if Jonny made that happen. He’s not sure how he feels about that, but playing wing on that line is like getting back on a bike and learning he still knows how to ride.

When the press start talking about Jonny and Tuomo’s diligent backchecking making up for Patrick’s lack of defensive capabilities, he does his best to shrug it off. He knows his limitations, he also knows they’re gonna keep doubting him until he shows them otherwise. Patrick’s only ever got this far, because he’s always known exactly how much he has to earn to afford his place. Jonny taught him that.

He determinedly doesn’t think about it.

In the St. Louis game, Stempniak checks him hard, sending him to his knees. It’s dizzying and Patrick takes a little while to get back up. He’d better get used to it, because Stempniak’s only 196 pounds. Jonny’s got nearly twenty on him, and he’s not even the biggest. A shift later, Jonny makes those twenty pounds count when he hits Stempniak just over the blue line, knocking him off his feet. It’s questionable, everybody knows it, but when Patrick makes eye contact with Jonny he merely nods, and Patrick knows Jonny’ll do it again if he feels he needs to. It makes him blush horrifically bright. It shouldn’t make his gut warm and his breath come fast, but it does.

At the end of it they only win 3 of the 7 games, but Patrick feels good about the way they’re playing. Everybody who goes high in the draft knows they’re going to end up playing for a disaster, at least for a little while, if they’re going through a successful rebuilding. Jonny went third, and he’s played beautifully and hasn’t been able to lift his team out of the bottom third. Patrick knows this, but he’s also started to believe they can turn this shit around.

His first game could’ve gone better. They play solid hockey, but it doesn’t matter. Backstrom is too much for them and the Wild’s one goal wins them the night. Patrick takes it hard when he attempts to tie it up with a minute left in regulation, only to be rebuffed at the line. Afterwards, in the locker room, just as he’s going over what he could’ve done better, Sharp comes over and thumps him on the shoulder.

“I don’t think you’re going back to juniors, kid,” he says, flashing a brilliant smile.

Patrick looks up at him and shrugs. If that happens, well, he’ll deal with it.

They go out in St. Paul afterwards. Burs finds a dingy pub that won’t blink if one of the beers in the first round goes to a minor. It’s a Twins bar, so they won’t have to worry about assholes coming up to the large table they’ve commandeered, chirping them about the loss.

Wisniewski comes back from a trip to the bar with a pitcher of Heineken and bunch of cups, but when Seabrook goes to hand Patrick one, he stops him.

“Ah ah ah,” he says, “we got something special for the rookie.”

Blunden’s hard on Wiz’s tail, and he sets a huge balloon glass, swimming with hot pink slush, with a bunch of umbrellas festooning the edges, in front of Patrick.

“What…is it?” he asks.

Wiz laughs. “That, rookie, is a sexy lady, I wish you the joy of her, because it’s the only one you’re getting tonight.”

Patrick takes it in stride and tastes it. He doesn’t care what he looks like sipping on the tiny red straw. The thing tastes like vodka and cotton candy. He kind of likes it.

“Oh lord, there he goes,” Seabs says, pausing in the middle of a conversation to nudge Sharp and Keith.

Patrick looks up and follows his gaze to the bar where Jonny’s talking to a guy in a Minnesota State hoodie. “What?”

They all watch Jonny say something that makes the other guy grin and duck his head. Sharpy hoots with laughter. “Ten bucks says they’re out of here in twenty.”

“Twenty? Surprisingly conservative,” Bur says, chin on his fist, “I give it ten.”

Twelve minutes and 14 seconds later, Jonny leaves with Minnesota State guy, and Bur holds out his hand to Sharpy, claiming the over/under. Sharpy grudgingly forks over two crumpled fives.

“Your face, kid,” Sharp says to Patrick as he’s sliding his wallet back into his pants.

“Don’t worry about it, Jonny’s cool, in spite of the…you know,” Barker says.

“The ‘you know?’” Bur says, socking his shoulder. “Shut the fuck up.”

“I know,” Patrick says, face flaming up again. “He was out in high school.”

They all stare at him and for one horrifying moment, he wonders if Jonny said something about that horrible night. That would be just his fucking luck. Then Seabs blinks and says, “Oh, that’s right, you would’ve been at Shattuck at the same time.”

They didn’t put it together, he realizes, nodding dumbly. He takes another sip of his horrendous pink drink. This time it doesn’t taste sweet anymore, just thick and cloying.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. He’s jealous. He hadn’t thought about Jonny very seriously for years. His horrifying crush had just existed in the dusty corners of old memories, a thing that he used to feel. But now it’s real again and god, in the five years since then, there’s never been anybody else to make him feel like this. Playing with Jonny the way he used to dream of, getting all his razor sharp passes, making opportunities out of thin air only makes it worse. And in all the other ways, Jonny is just the way he used to be—considerate, self-deprecating, and slightly goofy, but also so fucking confident and unshakeable. He’s not rattled at all by the fact that he’s been captain a losing team for four years, and they’ve pinned all their hopes on a small forward he used to play shinny with. It doesn’t help that Patrick still finds him so goddamn attractive.

He prays like hell he can get through it all, because he’s not sure how he’s going to survive playing on a line with him for an entire season if all he wants to do is touch him all the goddamn time.

*

The next morning on the short flight back to Chicago, the guys rib Jonny about it.

Jonny pretends he isn’t listening, refusing to look up from an issue of Vman, but when Seabs suddenly asks, “Was this one straight?” he puts the magazine down and then shrugs loosely, spreading his thighs a little and sinking back down into his seat, the perfect picture of insouciant grace.

“What?” Patrick asks. He seems to be saying that a lot lately.

Sharpy, who’d taken the seat next to him, laughs. “It doesn’t matter whether or not they like dick, Jonny can pull ‘em. They may not like dick, but they like Toews-dick.”

“You’re exaggerating,” Jonny calls back.

“I only wish, brother, I only wish,” Sharpy replies. He drops his voice to talk to Patrick. “It’s ludicrous, some sort of demonic skill he’s got. You pick the straightest man in a bar and he can hook ‘em like you wouldn’t believe.”

Patrick clears his throat and looks away.

“Peeks knows better than to listen to your bullshit,” Jonny says over his shoulder. It’s the first time he’s used the nickname in public.

“Peeks?” Sharp asks.

“Peekaboo,” Jonny replies, rotating around so that he can look at them. “That’s what we called him in school.”

Patrick groans. “Thanks, Captain Asshole.”

Jonny salutes him with his magazine and that devastating grin. “My pleasure.”

Patrick sighs. He hates that nickname. But he hates the way he’ll never hate the way Jonny says it even more.

*

The front door of Jonny’s condo swings open under his hand. He had knocked when he stopped by unannounced as a favor to Sharpy, dropping off some books Jonny had asked for. It’s early days still and the hazing isn’t fierce, but he is being run through his paces. Patrick goes cold when the door swings opens like it was never completely closed.

Maybe…maybe something is wrong. Anybody could just walk in, fuck, maybe they had.

"Hello?" he calls. "Tazer?"

It’s strange using the nickname, but he feels like he needs to impose the distance between them or he’ll spontaneously combust one day when Jonny just looks at him.

He breathes a sigh of relief when he hears Jonny’s laughter coming from the bedroom. Ah, good, so he’s here then. Here and alive and like, breathing. The door to his room is ajar and the sound of soft conversation drifts through.

Patrick’s just gearing up to apologize for dropping in on him, setting the books down on Jonny’s dining table when he hears a soft moan. He knows what that moan means. He knows he should turn around and walk right out of there, probably take the books with him so that Jonny never knows he was there. He slows to a halt, but it’s steps too late, because now he’s at the perfect angle to see straight to the bed through the door that Jonny has left ajar. Almost like he fucking wants to show this to Patrick.

He’s confronted with Jonny’s broad, beautiful back, the cut muscles that run from shoulders down through his thighs, the perfectly delineated ass cheeks that are some how just as gold as the rest of his skin. Like Jonny just soaks in the sun. Patrick’s seen it before. Jonny’s not shy around the locker room, never has been. But he’s never seen it like this.

The guy he’s stretched out over, clutching at Jonny’s waist is big, not some lithe little twink, but a cornfed fratboy, broad and taller even than Jonny. There’s a celtic knotwork tattoo curling around one bicep, but that aside he’s got a sort of blonde and wholesome look going for him. Jonny’s type he’s beginning to realize.

"Lemme fuck you," Jonny says. Patrick can’t see between their bodies, but he imagines, watching the way the guy’s head tips back on his neck, that he’s running his dick between his ass cheeks, parting them, driving the head of his dick over and over the guys hole. Patrick shudders a little.

The guy groans, desperate and sharp, but he says, “I don’t know,” breathily in way that signals that no is much closer to a yes. Jonny does something between them and the guy moans again. Patrick swallows hard, feeling shaky and uncomfortable and yelling in his own head TO TURN THE FUCK AROUND. God god god, why won’t his feet fucking move?

Jonny kisses the guy then. He kisses him like he owns him. Like he knows exactly what this guy wants, but it doesn’t fucking matter because Jonny’s taking what he needs. He bites at the guys throat, leaving a trail of marks that bloom red before fading, and then, punctuating it with a hard slap to the guy’s thigh, he repeats, “Lemme fuck you.”

Patrick goes achingly hard in his pants. He’s not entirely certain how he’s keeping himself upright when Jonny uses that tone of voice.

The guy breathes in and out for a moment. The only sound in the space. Jonny waits above him, patient, expression tranquil, like he doesn’t really give a fuck about the answer. Eventually the guy nods, sharp, eyes squeezed shut tight, face flushed so red from embarrassment. Jonny smiles, noses along the guys cheek and then fumbles at the dresser and Patrick hears the thick wet squelch of a tube of lube.

He’s careful about it, fingering him open slow. Patrick can’t see. He can’t do anything. He wants to leave, he’s screaming at himself to do it, but he stays still, so hard it hurts. This is his punishment, he thinks desperately. Watching as the guy starts moaning every time Jonny thrusts his fingers in, pushing back into it. Jonny whispers filth to him the whole way through it, talking about how his fingers feel inside him, how he’s gonna fuck him so good and hard, how he loves the way the guy gasps every time Jonny crooks his fingers. Patrick lets those words wash over him, imagines being pressed beneath Jonny as he exhaled those things into his ear, being fucked deep and hard, being fucked until he couldn’t take it anymore, until he had to tell Jonny to stop.

Patrick nearly cries out at the thought of it.

Jonny finally snaps a condom on and pushes inside. He’s not slow or gentle about it. He’s not babying this dude, he just fucking slams home, and the guy curls underneath him, back arching, hands flying up to the headboard. The cries that Jonny forces from his mouth—the neighbors can probably hear them they’re that loud.

Patrick wants to palm himself. He needs to ease the ache of his hard-on. But he doesn’t move. It wouldn’t—it wouldn’t be okay, getting off to Jonny fucking somebody else, standing just outside his bedroom door, frozen and overwhelmed with sick, thwarted desire. He should fucking leave.

Jonny does something, he doesn’t know what, because the guy starts saying, “Don’t stop, don’t fucking stop,” over and over like a litany. And Jonny laughs.

He fucking chuckles, like he’s not balls deep in some bro.

And that’s when Patrick can’t take it anymore. He hightails it out of there, face on fire, dignity in tatters. He doesn’t even realize until he’s riding the L back to the Bowman’s place that he left those fucking books on the table top.

*

The next day at practice, while they’re getting dressed, Jonny calls to Sharpy, “When did you stop by last night?”

"What?" Sharpy replies, distracted.

"The books?" Jonny says, eyebrows raised.

"Oh, I had Kaner drop ‘em off," Sharpy says, nodding at him.

Jonny looks at him and Patrick can’t help it. His face flames up bright and hot. Jonny blinks at him for a moment and then it must click in his head, because Jonny grins, this slow secretive thing, and then he shakes his head, looking away from Patrick. He doesn’t look embarrassed in the slightest.

Patrick doesn’t apologize even though he feels like he should. Especially now that watching Jonny change, muscles smoothly bunching and tightening as he bends over is superimposed with the image of his thighs working as he fucked that fratboy right out of his head.

Patrick wonders what he did wrong in his last life.

*

When Dale had first told Patrick he was road rooming with Jonny right before the first game of the season, Patrick had thought it was going to be a nightmare.

Dale had been very reasonable about it. “You two already know each other, and Jonathan says he doesn’t mind. You’re the youngest on the team and we think it would be good for you to have him around,” he’d explained.

Patrick wasn’t in any position to say Jonny might not have minded, but he sure as fuck minded. How the fuck was he going to sleep with Jonathan Toews swanning around, half-naked as he tended towards, in their shared hotel room? He’d stressed about it a lot leading up to that first game. More than he had the puck drop.

And then it looked like it wasn’t going to matter, because Jonny picked up every time they were on the road, only showing up early the next morning to shower and change. Havlat, who used to room with him, had told Patrick on the airplane that he was jealous Patrick was in with him now, because it was almost like having your own room, Jonny was so rarely there.

But then one night, after a good win and team dinner, where the boys had done their level best to get him fucked up, Jonny had actually taken a cab back with him.

Patrick’d crashed and burned at the bar earlier, much to everybody’s delight. She’d been pretty and really nice. Really, really nice even, but she’d also had a boyfriend. And what made it worse was the way the guy, who was definitely old enough to buy his own beer, unlike Patrick, had smiled when he’d come back from the bathroom and found Patrick chatting up his girlfriend.

“You’ve got good taste,” he’d said, knocking Patrick on the shoulder. “Sweet game tonight, hey?”

And Patrick’s face had flamed up. He muttered excuses and stumbled, embarrassed, away from the bar. It was so awkward and the entire team had witnessed all of it.

Patrick had drunk a lot more after that. Jonny packs him into the cab, and laughs as Patrick grouses about having no game. He’s only had sex twice since he started playing in the NHL, and both times, they’d been older and called Patrick adorable.

Jonny’s slouching comfortably next to him in back seat of the cab, thighs spread wide in his typical casual sprawl. He’s been listening very earnestly, saying all the right things, but Patrick could kill him when he grins and says, “But you are adorable!”

“Fuck off,” Patrick replies, thumping his head against the window.

When they reach the hotel, Jonny pays the cab driver and shoos Patrick out of the car. Patrick’s still half-expecting Jonny to peel off and go wherever it is he goes when he decides to get his groove on, but he keeps with Patrick all the way to the elevator bank.

“Why do you keep looking at me like that?” Jonny says, still smiling, as the elevator doors part in front of them.

Patrick shrugs and steps on hurriedly so that Jonny can’t see his face. He’s drunk and he knows enough to realize that being drunk around Jonny is a very dangerous prospect. He seizes desperately on an excuse. “I dunno, man, you’re like…not going out to hook up?”

Jonny yawns and rolls his shoulders, reaching his arms up above his head to stretch. His shirt rides up, revealing a narrow strip of tanned flesh. Patrick runs his eyes over the visible line of his pelvic cut and bites his lower lip. Just those bare two inches disappearing into the waistband of his jeans makes Patrick feel hot and shivery.

“Not in the mood,” Jonny says, finally, unaware of Patrick’s internal struggle.

“I dunno how you do it, man,” Patrick says, softly. He glances up at the mirrored ceiling of the elevator and notes that even though they’re on other sides of the elevator, Patrick’s still got his whole body turned towards him. God, when is he going to get over this? He quickly faces the panel of buttons and only just avoids tripping.

“What, how do I hook up?” Jonny asks, amusement evident as they reach their floor. He waits for Patrick to exit in front of him.

Patrick shrugs. “No, like—what do you even say?” He shakes his head as he keys open the door to their room.

He thinks about it and this is really the first time they’ve come back to a hotel room together that isn’t for a pre-game nap.

He looks back at Jonny, waiting for his answer. Jonny shrugs. “I dunno, man. Whatever works.”

Patrick sighs and Jonny shrugs, faux sheepishly and disappears into the bathroom.

Patrick’s settled into bed, watching TV when Jonny comes out in a pair of loose pajama bottoms and nothing else. In some ways, watching him move around the room, going through an evening routine that Patrick has never even gotten to see because he’s been so absent—it’s worse than Jonny in his briefs in the locker room, or the way Patrick has to fight not to look at the long lines of Jonny’s thickly muscled body when they’re in the showers.

Jonny sits on his bed, takes one look at his face, and says, “Still thinking about it?”

Patrick isn’t. Or at least, not about what Jonny thinks he’s thinking about. He turns the volume on the television down. “I have no game.”

Jonny chews at his lower lip thoughtfully. “I mean—who really does?”

Patrick raises his brows.

Jonny shakes his head “No, seriously, I just know what I want and then I ask for it.”

Patrick groans and tosses a pillow at him. Jonny catches it out of the air with a smirk, places it on top of his other pillows, and leans back on it like that’s what he intended for Patrick to do all along.

“What happened the first time you had sex?” Jonny asks, a little tentatively.

Patrick blushes again and says a little too quickly, “It wasn’t like, a disaster or anything.”

Jonny stares at him. “No, I didn’t mean it like that—just the scenario.”

“Uh, well,” Patrick shifts in bed, uncomfortable recounting this story. “It was just before I left Shattuck for London—I dunno if you remember Allison Cohen, she was on the soccer team? A year above me?”

Jonny shakes his head. “Nope.”

“Yeah, well,” Patrick shrugs. “I guess she just decided she liked me one day. We started hanging out a lot, and then, one night, I think she was bored to be honest, and she just gave me a blowjob. And then two weeks later we started having sex.”

“Yeah? What happened there?” Jonny asks.

Patrick shrugs. “I dunno. I left for London, we stopped talking. I’m just—not good at taking the lead. Whenever I try to make something happen…” he trails off.

“Did you want something to happen there?” Jonny asks.

Patrick laughs, embarrassed. “No, it wasn’t like that. But, for the last three years, it’s been kind of a pattern. I mean, I don’t mind. It’s nice when people come to you.” It’s stupid. He doesn’t even know why it bothers him. Maybe just the fact that the people Patrick chooses for himself never seem to be interested back—including Jonny. Not that when that happened back then it could’ve possibly gone any other way. Patrick knows that. In some ways it makes it a million times more mortifying.

Jonny makes a considering noise. “I don’t think it’ll stay that way? I mean, you’re young, and most of the girls you get to meet are three to four years older, and that’s rough. I’m sure you’d be tearing it up at a college campus with all the coeds.”

Patrick snorts.

Jonny laughs ruefully. “I’m not blowing smoke. It takes time to figure that stuff out. I was a disaster when I first started. You’ve got no idea.”

Patrick looks at him, disbelieving. He saw Jonny in that bedroom. He’s not sure you can learn to do that. Watching it, right outside the room, it had felt like one of those things that you either are or you aren’t.

Jonny puts his arms up behind his head. “When I was younger, people expected me to bottom a lot.”

“You’re not into it?”

“No, I am,” Jonny clarifies, “but, I was young and you know how it is with the hockey ass.” He chuckles. “I had a lot of people try to put me on my stomach.”

Patrick looks at him, at how Jonny’s so confident, how he was one of the youngest captains in the NHL, and he can’t even imagine it.

“Have you…have you ever had a boyfriend?” Patrick asks tentatively.

Jonny makes a considering sound. “I’ve had people I’ve fucked more than once?”

Patrick laughs, incredulous. “Dude, seriously?”

Jonny nods. “Yeah I’m serious. I’m not out to the public. It’s kinda tough to hide a boyfriend. I wouldn’t want to anyway.”

“That’s…sad,” Patrick says. Although the fact that Jonathan Toews is gay seems like the NHL’s best worst kept secret.

“Nah,” Jonny says. “Hockey is life. And banging a whole lot of different people isn’t actually a hardship.”

Patrick understands. It’s only strange because so many of Jonny’s agemates in the NHL are in serious relationships or are already married. Obviously that’s a whole other universe from Jonny’s experience as a gay man, Patrick had always boggled at the guys who married the girls they’d met in juniors. Patrick had fucked around, because he was a teenage boy, and he’d had two priorities, getting his dick wet and scoring goals. But the latter always had primacy over the former.

He clears his throat. “So what’d you do, to get them to stop trying to make you catch?”

"Just learned to be upfront about it. And it’s not like I won’t do it."

"I’ve never…" Patrick trails off.

"Yeah?" Jonny looks curious.

Patrick shifts on the bed, settling himself better on it. He doesn’t know why, but it’s hard to look Jonny in the eye when he’s like “I’ve hooked up a few times with guys, in juniors.”

Jonny gives him a conspiratorial smile. “Buff told me juniors is filled with gay boys.”

"Don’t ask, don’t tell," Patrick replies. "Jesus, you would’ve destroyed in juniors."

Jonny rolls over onto his front, pillowing his chin on his crossed arms. His bare shoulders glow gold in the low light of the hotel room, they look like they’ve been lovingly hewn from rock with velvet skin laid over it that Patrick desperately wants to touch.

"I think you’re giving me too much credit," Jonny says dryly.

Patrick makes a face. “Okay, I think we can both admit out loud that I saw you that one time.”

Jonny doesn’t even look embarrassed, he just tongues at his teeth, a slow flash of pink, expression far away like he’s remembering.

"Is it always like that?" Patrick asks, because he’s a glutton for punishment and he can picture Jonny fucking that guy into a sloppy, moaning mess all too clearly.

"Eh," Jonny says, noncommittally. "You’d be surprised at how easy it is to make em whine for it. But nah, it’s not always like that."

"I wouldn’t know where to start."

"Figure out what you want," Jonny reiterates. “The rest’ll fall into place. You’re an attractive guy, Kaner. Soon I’m sure you’ll be tearing it up out there.” He reassures him, expression fond. After a pause he adds, “Once we resolve the hair situation."

"Oh fuck you." Patrick hits him with his other pillow.

Jonny cracks up and tosses it back. “I’m sorry, I can’t lie.”

Patrick gets out of bed to hit him in the face with the pillow this time, grinding it down with his palms while Jonny vibrates with laughter underneath him. He hits him again. “Take it back,” he says.

Jonny’s smirks, cheeks red from where the pillow ground into his skin. “I’m sorry, little man, I call it like I see it.”

“Shut up!” Patrick cries and punches him in the stomach. Not hard, not enough that Jonny stops laughing. He yanks at Patrick’s wrist, pulling him off balance. The only thing that Patrick knows how to do to fight back is hit him with the pillow again.

“Calm down,” Jonny says, laughter starting to subside, but then starting up again when he catches sight of Patrick’s outraged expression.

Patrick leans down, trying to smother him with the pillow, but Jonny only laughs harder and soon they’re rolling across the bed, as Jonny hooks his legs and rolls them over and then it’s a flurry of limbs rolling together, trying to jab whatever tender bits they can reach. Patrick’s small but he’s scrappy, and like all people with a size disadvantage, he fights dirty. He gets Jonny good in the kidney and then heaves with all his might, finally rolling on top again. He grabs the pillow by the head of the bed and starts batting Jonny with it.

“Yeah? How do you like my hair now?” he says, getting in another good whack.

Jonny laughs so hard tears stream down his cheeks and his face is red. He fights Patrick and his pillow off, grabbing his wrists and tugging so that Patrick collapses flat on top of his chest, immobilized.

Patrick feels the rise and fall of Jonny’s chest underneath his own, flat on top of him as he is. Jonny’s heart slows down to a resting rate, but Patrick can tell his own pulse is racing just looking at Jonny’s bright eyes and brilliant grin.

He shifts, trying to work himself free, and as he does one horrifying detail crystallizes in his mind. He’s hard, right here, right now, legs tangled together with Jonny’s, dick pressing insistently to his hip. He tugs at his wrists, frantically trying to escape and Jonny lets him go. Patrick practically springs up off the bed.

“I am…I didn’t…you shouldn’t…” he babbles, red-faced and horrified. He retreats to the other side of the room, refusing to meet Jonny’s eyes.

Slowly Jonny sits up, elbows resting on his knees. “Patrick, c’mon, don’t worry about it.”

Patrick buries his face in his hands.

“It’s just friction…” he says. “Happens to all of us. You shouldn’t think anything of it.”

“It’s just—” Patrick shakes his head, mortified.

Jonny’s voice is measured and calm when he says, “Seriously, it’s happened to all of us. When Tuomo and I first started, they had us rooming together. Same thing happened then—more than once okay? You’re only 18, all of us remember what that’s like.”

Patrick sighs gustily and sinks back to the bed. He should just take the out. He gets hard at least ten times a day, and usually from the weirdest shit. But this wasn’t an accidental fucking boner. He should’ve known better. He should’ve done something. Kept his head together a little, not let himself be caught up in the moment.

“Patrick?”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s no big deal, I know, I know. That was just…” he stops and shakes his head. At least the embarrassment has killed that one off.

“We cool?” Jonny asks tentatively, like he was the one who did something wrong. When Patrick finally forces himself to meet his eyes, he finds that Jonny looks honestly worried about it.

He clears his throat. “Yeah, we’re cool. It won’t uh—it won’t happen again.”

Jonny makes a dismissive noise. “Patrick, I’m a gay dude. You gotta stop acting like I’m gonna jump you in the locker room for it.”

Patrick laughs weakly. “I know, I know,” he says. “You know how it is,” he finishes lamely.

As if that’s what Patrick was worried about, some kind of fucking retaliation and not the fact that it wasn’t just fucking friction. Yes, rolling around on a mattress trying to smush a pillow into Jonny’s face after he teased him about his hair one too many times was definitely friction. But the thing is, he’s got hard from the way Jonny smells, and how his hips felt between Kaner’s thighs, and the velvety soft skin Patrick could feel everywhere. He got hard, because he was in kissing distance of Jonny.

That definitely wasn’t just friction.

*

Chapter Text

The news breaks that they’ve taken the capital and have pushed the impostor’s forces back to the Eastern Reaches in the middle of a trade negotiation with Dyfelin’s ambassadress. It was a hard-won alliance to begin with and Patrick had been closeted with them for days on end, receiving field reports and as he opened every missive, trying not to look like he thought the outcome was anything but assured.

When the runner bursts in, interrupting a long-winded speech on taxes and levies from one of Aklia’s ministers, he barely even apologizes before darting over to Patrick’s ear and delivering the news.

“From the front, your majesty,” he says, even though Patrick already knows from the expression on his face what he’s about to say. “Sir Keith sends you the following message, ‘We have taken it back.’”

Relief washes over him. He had fallen in love with Jonathan’s dream of a different Firmament, a different world from the one that made them into the men they are today, and he had allowed himself to believe in it from the very moment that Jonathan knelt before him and told him in his strong sure voice, “I will win you this war, if you will lead.” But it is one thing to believe and another to see those beliefs made reality.

There is feasting that night and fireworks set off over the castle. Patrick sits, a little drunk on celebratory wine, his eye trained on the eastern horizon as he waits for Jonathan to return with an army at his back, and thinks, it is an amazing time to be alive.

Two weeks later when Sir Brandon and Sir Duncan return to Cathán, that self-same army behind them, there is no Jonathan with them.

He receives the news in his library, doing his best to fumble his way through statecraft he never learned.

“It was during the last press. We had just gained entry to the August Palace’s inner fortifications. They started using their siege machines against their own defenses in an effort to destroy us all. The section he was on was hit hard,” Brandon tells him. At first Patrick doesn’t understand quite what he’s trying to say and he stares at him in shock, until Brandon clarifies, “He went over the wall. We searched for three days, but could not find his body anywhere.”

“If you found no body, he may yet be alive,” Patrick replies sharply. “If the impostor had him, they would have publicly executed him to send us a message. He could still live.”

“What you say is true, your majesty,” Duncan says carefully. “But that section of wall is on the water. We have found other bodies washed up on the shores. I don’t see how he could’ve survived.”

Patrick feels a piece of his dream break off and fall into the Ocean Black. A part of his heart goes with it.

The months pass until they’re hard upon winter and no further fighting can take place, but with the spring thaws, Patrick will have to name Jonathan's successor. There are many people who could handle the job, capable men, but all alike in that none of them had half of the brilliance Jonathan possessed in his little finger. But life must continue. If wishing only made it so, the world would look so very different for him. Eventually he will have to make a choice.

He buries himself in work. The King of Firmament has much to do, much more than he ever could’ve anticipated. The August Palace was destroyed in the assault, but some day Patrick will have to move and establish his court in the Capital, and so they must turn to rebuilding. Other actors need to be rewarded or bribed for their service. And it seems there is ever somebody who wants something from him. But life must continue. He spends a lot of time reminding himself of that now.

He's in the middle of trying to solve a land dispute between two lords younger even than Patrick when a servant interrupts the proceedings. “I beg your forgiveness, majesty. But milord Sharp said you would wish to know—Sir Jonathan is returned.”

Patrick’s up and out of his chair before it even occurs to him what sort of message he might send his populace by running out of the room in the middle of hearing his citizen’s petitions, and by the time he does realize he’s too far away to care. He nearly sprints the entire way to the apartments he granted Jonathan in the North Wing.

Patrick sees him as soon as he gains entrance to the chamber. There he is, tall and proud, standing in front of a table strewn with maps, arm done up in a sling, lip split. He’s pale and underfed, and from the sound of it, already planning more battles with his men. And Patrick has to pause to stare at him. Jonathan must feel his eyes on him, because he stops in the middle of talking quietly and looks up. He sees Patrick at his door and slowly, his battered and beloved face resolves into a smile. That’s really it. Patrick doesn’t care about the impropriety anymore. He crosses the room, ignoring all else, and hugs Jonathan, turning his face into his throat. He must’ve recently bathed, because he smells of vetiver and sage. Slowly, Jonathan reaches up with his uninjured arm to embrace him back.

After a moment, Patrick steps back and away. He casts his eyes over the room. The assembled soldiers and knights. “Leave us,” he announces. They jump to do his bidding, flooding out of the room until it’s just Patrick and Jonathan.

Jonathan looks at him, a small smile about his mouth. “It is good to see you well, your majesty,” he says.

“Where have you been?” Patrick asks.

Jonathan winces. “I was washed out to sea. A merchant vessel off of the coast of Polemis picked me up and brought me to land. It’s taken me this long to return. I apologize.”

“I…” Patrick stares at Jonathan’s face—his kind dark eyes and serious brow, the gentle curve of his lips and the dramatic sweep of his eyelashes—and suddenly he can longer stand not to be kissing him. He goes up on his toes and brushes his lips across Jonathan’s mouth. Jonathan stiffens against him and Patrick backs up hurriedly, stomach plummeting. “Sorry, sorry, I thought…”

Jonathan blushes and won’t meet Patrick’s eyes. “No,” Jonathan says. “I just—I’ve never—not with anybody.”

“Never?” Patrick whispers, disbelieving. Jonathan is a handsome man.

“I couldn’t risk any children born on the wrong side of the bed,” he replies carefully, face looking tense.

“Oh,” Patrick replies. He understands—what Jonathan went through, it was more than any child should have to endure.

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” Jonathan says softly, looking up and meeting Patrick’s gaze head on. “Thought about…you.”

Patrick tugs him back in for another kiss and this time Jonathan doesn’t resist. Patrick swipes wickedly at the seam of his lips with his tongue until Jonathan parts them, letting in. Jonathan makes a soft, startled noise when he brushes their tongues together and tightens his hand in the front of Patrick’s doublet like he wants to pull him closer, and sweet lord, Patrick could despoil him right here across this very table Jonathan is looking at reports on.

He must push too hard though, because Jonathan’s lip splits open against his mouth, the salty metallic tang of his blood bursting on Patrick’s tongue.

“Ah, I’m so—” Patrick starts, pulling back.

“Worry not,” Jonathan interrupts, reaching up and brushing at his mouth. He sucks blood-bright tips of his fingers into his mouth, licking them clean. “There is time to do it again.”

“I thought you were lost to me,” Patrick tells him, voice cracking. He’s unable to stop staring at him. He wants to touch him all over, explore under Jonathan’s clothes to see if there are more injuries he’s hiding underneath the fabric.

“Not lost,” Jonathan replies, bending down to bring their foreheads together. “Just delayed.”

Chapter Text

It’s fair to say that Patrick’s interest in soccer is not great. His kid sisters played when they were in elementary school, but Patrick never made it to their games, too busy with his own. He’s been to a few Chicago Fire games—the tickets were easy to get and his first year in Chicago, not even legal to drink, most of the guys leaps and bounds older than him, there wasn’t a lot to do, so he made it to a couple of games. When the World Cup kicked off in 2010, he didn’t know a single player on the US team aside from Landon Donovan and he was in a drunken depressed haze for about three weeks straight, so he wasn’t exactly paying attention to ESPN 2.

After he gets his ass dumped in Switzerland to ‘rehab’ his image, Patrick doesn’t want to do much of anything besides eat, sleep, and play hockey. If he keeps his head down maybe they can forget all the bullshit about trading him. It’s just something to pass the time until the lockout ends and he can get back to his real life. Segs is tearing it up, trying to get him to go clubbing—Patrick goes once, but his heart isn’t in it. He ends up talking with these Australian tourists for a couple of hours and then walking back to his apartment. His mom is still awake when he gets home, and when she sees him, her face hardens. Patrick’s always been a mama’s boy. He’s not ashamed to say it. The way she looks at him—he doesn’t attempt to go clubbing again.

One day, on a whim, or because he’s got nobody else to go with, Berra invites him to an FC Biel-Bienne game.

“It’s not Super League, but it’s still good fun,” he says, holding up the tickets. Patrick was aware that Biel had a soccer team, but he’s never even heard of Arau, the other team on the ticket.

Patrick thinks of his mother’s face. He shrugs. “Alright.”

He wonders what he’s got himself into when Berra explains that they have to drive to Neuchâtel because Gurzelon no longer meets safety standards. But La Maladiere is beautiful, and the diehard fans (all 300 of them) who made the 30 minute drive just to watch their team play are intense and amazing.

“The team’s horrible, really horrible,” Berra says with a laugh, saluting him with his beer. “I should’ve given you a warning.”

There’s a guy sitting next to Patrick thoroughly wrapped up in a scarf and coat who leans forward and says, “We’re going to get the drubbing of our life.”

But then Biel turns it out. Morello gets a hat trick, and Arau’s only point comes when Challandes accidentally knocks it into Biel’s own goal. Patrick finds himself jumping up and down with Berra and scarf guy, cheering at the top of his lungs when Morello nets his third of the night.

“That was something else,” he says as they’re heading home. “I can’t believe most of those guys play a full 90 minutes!”

Berra laughs at him. “You should come to a real game, sometime.”

“Yeah,” Patrick says with a smile.

A few weeks later, Berra comes up to him in the locker room after practice and says, “Hey, a couple of us are going to see Basel play Ajax next week, if you want to join?”

“Ajax?”

“Amsterdam,” Berra says with a smile. “Tier 1.”

Patrick chews at his lower lip. It was fun last time. He’s not doing anything else. “Yeah, why not?”

This game is an entirely different beast. It’s fast paced. The crowd at St. Jakob-Park is larger than what the UC can hold and there’s a light show at the beginning. They’ve got good seats, even though he fans are probably going to kill Segs because he keeps getting up to buy more beer. Haas actually has a Basel jersey that Huguenin is mocking mercilessly in French that Patrick can’t understand. Haas flips him off with a laugh.

“They’re gonna get murdered,” Gossweiler tells Patrick at kickoff.

Patrick looks at him. “Oh yeah?”

“Almost all the best Swiss players end up in Germany or Italy,” he explains. “Ajax is a young team, but they manage to hang on to their talent a little bit better.”

“Let them!” Berra says on Gossweiler’s other side. “I’m rooting for Amsterdam.”

Gossweiler rolls his eyes. “He’s from Bülach, his team is rivals with Basel.”

“Grasshoppers!” Berra says. “Ugh, Manuel, do you root for Zurich?”

“Yes, I root for Zurich!”

Patrick looks back at the game when they descend into bickering in German.

Ajax has maintained possession of the ball pretty steadily, but Basel’s been clearing it out of their own half, keeping Ajax at the line. But then a player in red and white steals the ball from one of Basel’s forwards and darts straight up the center towards the goal, blowing right by a forward on his quest to the goal.

There’s no way he’s going to make it, Patrick thinks, watching Basel’s defense converge on him. And then somehow, he’s through them and taking the shot off his left foot right before Schär slides into him. The ball sails right past the keeper’s fingers. The Ajax player, number 19, ends up dumped flat on his ass, but the goal is good and he pops up again in nearly the same motion, already racing back down the field with arms spread to meet his teammates.

There are more Amsterdam fans here than Patrick would’ve expected, because the crowd erupts in cheers.

“What happened?” Berra asks, looking around at the crowd.

“You missed it! Number 19 scored,” Patrick tells him.

“Oh, that guy! Toews.” Berra says, “he’s American I think.”

He says the player’s name Tay-vis.

“Toews is not American! What?” Gossweiler replies. “An American playing for Ajax? No way. Look at his last name! That’s some Frisian junk.”

“He’s American, I’m telling you.” Berra replies.

Gossweiler rolled his eyes.

American or not, Patrick can’t take his eyes off of him. He’s tireless, up and down the field, sending off these crisp passes that slice over the grass and always meet their mark. On Streller’s breakaway, Toews catches up and slide tackles the ball just as Streller reaches his own goal box. Streller has to dive over him to avoid being taken out. Before Streller can even stand up, Toews is on his feet and connecting the ball to Babel.

He scores again after a long-range pace from his freakin’ goalkeeper. Patrick doesn’t even know how that’s possible.

Two goals later Ajax wins the game. Nobody is surprised.

*

They go for a drink afterwards, to a bar that Gossweiler promises won’t be full of football fans. Which of course means it’s the exact bar that the team goes out in afterwards. Patrick doesn’t even know why he feels starstruck when he sees number 19 standing at the bar, dressed casually in slacks and a black sweater.

“Hah, have we created a football fan out of you?” Berra asks, following the line of his sight.

“Oh, fuck off,” Patrick says, but he smiles to take the sting out of it. “I’m gonna get a beer.”

Getting the beer is a failed endeavor. He waits forever, trying to get the bartender’s attention. He learned the word ‘verzeihung’ a few weeks back, but all of his attempts to use it had resulted in laughter, and he’s not sure how loud he’d have to shout it to get the guy to listen.

He sighs after the bartender once again serves somebody else.

“Can I buy Patrick Kane a beer?” a voice says off to his left in flawless English.

He turns to look and finds Toews standing at his shoulder, smiling. He’s tall, Patrick has to look up to meet his eyes.

“Uh…yeah?” Patrick replies, startled. Jonny holds up two fingers and a bartender immediately comes over with two pints. Patrick resists the urge to make a face at him as he disappears to help another customer. Patrick shakes his head and accepts his pint with a grateful nod. “You know who I am?”

“I’m Canadian,” Toews replies. “Yeah, I know who you are.”

Patrick laughs. “Man, my teammates were fighting over whether or not you were American.”

“Absolutely not,” Toews makes a face, but then grins to show he’s teasing. “Were you at the match?”

“Yeah,” Patrick says. “It was a good game. It’s not that different than hockey. I mean.” He feels himself coloring up a little. “Beyond the obvious.”

Toews looks thoughtful. He pushes his sleeves up his forearms, fabric bunching at the elbows and then crosses his arms on the bar top like he’s settling in for a long talk. “You know, that’s probably true. I can’t think of any other sport that would be as close. Certainly not American football.”

Patrick winds up talking hockey and bitching about the lockout with Toews for an hour. He finally manages to get the bartender to pay attention and orders the next round even though Toews tries to wave him off.

“Call me Jonathan,” he says, finally accepting the beer.

“Cool, nice to meet you, Jonathan,” Patrick replies with a laugh. “Man, you’re from Canada, you didn’t play hockey?”

“No, I did, just one day it came time to choose,” he says with a shrug. “If the scout from De Toekompst hadn’t offered me a place, I might’ve stuck with it, maybe gone somewhere.”

“You’re a professional athlete, I think you probably could’ve made it,” Patrick says with a laugh. “But then you’d be making less money.”

“Oh yes, the penury of hockey players, that’s what kept me away from the NHL,” Jonathan replies dryly.

Patrick blinks at him. “Penury?”

“Poverty,” Jonathan says.

“No, I know what it means,” Patrick says with a laugh, “I just can’t believe you used it.”

Jonathan rolls his eyes and changes the subject. “I do get the month of December off, that is a plus.”

“Whaaaat?” Patrick asks. “What do you do?”

Jonathan says, “This was actually my last game of 2012, so my family is flying in to Bern in a few days and we’re going to go skiing in Gstaad and then back to Amsterdam.”

“But like, to keep your conditioning up?”

“I work out.” Jonathan laughs and rolls his shoulders, the sweater tightens across his chest. Yeah, Patrick can see that.

“I’d be really bad, junk food all the time, laying around watching Arrested Development all day long,” Patrick replies, clearing his throat and looking away from Jonathan’s chest. He’d gotten the unavoidable urge to just lean in and kiss him, right there at the bar in front of everybody.“I was in such terrible shape by the time I signed the contract to come out here.”

“I’ve been playing for Ajax since I was 12, I guess I’m just used to the break by now.”

“Jesus, that long?” Patrick goggles at him. “That’s intense. I don’t want to leave the Hawks, but, playing for them for that long, I dunno. If we don’t win a cup soon, I might need to reevaluate.” He laughs, but a part of him is serious. It’s not that he doesn’t love Chicago, it’s just that, it’s fucking hard to keep coming so close and falling short every single time. Ajax has actually won things according to Berra, so that would make it a lot easier.

He gives Jonathan a measuring look. “How old are you?”

“24,” Jonathan says.

“Oh, cool, me too,” Patrick smiles, “As of four days ago.”

“Happy birthday, man,” Jonathan says. “Did you do anything special?”

“Worked out, had practice, went to dinner with my mom.” Patrick shakes his head. “It’s an exciting life I lead.”

Jonathan eyes him for a long moment, expression thoughtful. He tilts his head. “We should do something.”

Patrick stares at him. “What?”

“You’re in Biel, Biel’s like thirty minutes from Bern, I’m leaving for Bern in the morning.” He shrugs. “We should do something.”

Patrick laughs. “Like what?”

“I don’t know yet.” Jonathan gives him a half-smile, eyes crinkling at the corners. “I’ll figure something out.”

*

Chapter Text

Patrick can appreciate a nice set of abs as much as anybody, and a good butt, and strong thighs, and these amazing back muscles—okay, yes, the guy in apartment 6A is the whole package—but he doesn’t need to see it waltzing up and down the hall outside his apartment five times a day.

6A is a revolving door of women, one goes in the morning, a different one comes out at night. It’s impressive, and horrible, and probably unsanitary. The apartment must be a jizz-stained wreck. Patrick doesn’t know how these women haven’t figured it out yet. One morning, as Patrick’s leaving for work, he sees a beautiful, tall, model-like like blonde coming out of 6A’s apartment. When he realizes he’s forgot his phone and goes back not two minutes later, 6A’s out in the hall, dressed only in the tiniest tightest pair of boxer briefs, kissing a petite asian chick full on the mouth and then sending her off with a pat on the ass.

"Hey, 6C," he says with a lazy smile, clutching a pile of mail in his hand (still mostly naked), when Patrick comes back out again, iPhone in hand.

Patrick raises a brow, somehow managing to keep his eyes off of the completely unsubtle bulge of his package. “Off to a good start?”

6A laughs, raising his arms above his head to crack his shoulders, perfectly formed muscles rippling as he does. “I hope so.” He winks and then ducks back inside his place.

Patrick shakes his head. He’s gonna be late for work.

*

The headache Patrick wakes up to already tells him he made some very poor decisions. However, the arm, with the heavy Uniform Wares watch laying across his middle, tells him just how bad. Patrick can’t believe he hooked up with his ex last night. He promised himself he was done with that, because knowingly making bad decisions is well, bad. It's probably also a bad idea to literally flee his apartment because of said bad decision. Because now he's standing in only t-shirt and boxers, back against the door, eyes squeezed shut tight, trying to make himself go back in there.

“You okay?”

Patrick opens his eyes and finds 6A standing in his open doorway, in just a pair of low slung sweatpants that highlight his perfect sex lines.

“Do you own actual clothes?” Patrick asks.

6A chuckles. “A nylon singlet somewhere? Maybe?”

Patrick rolls his eyes.

“But seriously,” 6A says. “What’s up?”

Patrick doesn’t know this guy from Adam, so he’s got no clue why he's interested in Patrick's problems. He still finds himself spouting out the whole story. “I uh…just got drunk at the bar I always used to go to with my ex-boyfriend, because I’m a moron. Of course he was there.” He shakes his head. “And now, he’s here.”

6A whistles. “Yikes. One of those, eh?”

Patrick sighs. “Yeah, I should…get back.”

“Good luck,” 6A says as Patrick’s letting himself back inside. Patrick looks back over his shoulder and 6A cocks his head and smiles. When he let’s himself back into the apartment, he finds Sam, shirtless, boxers crumpled in one hand as he belts up his jeans in the living room.

“Hey, babe,” Sam says, eyes crinkling in a warm smile.

Patrick hates himself a little. He just wants to go over there and fuck that stupid look off Sam’s face. But he’s been down that road before, twice last night if memory serves him right. This never ends well. This ends with Sam disappearing on him emotionally for weeks on end, with canceled plans, and missed phone calls and unanswered texts. It ends with Patrick forgiving him over and over, because Sam is just fucked up. And Patrick pretending what’s right in front of his face isn’t real, because if he can just love Sam enough, if he can just be the steady shoulder Sam needs, eventually he’ll stop all that bullshit. Only it isn’t true. Sam will never change.

At least not for Patrick.

He doesn’t even want to let him go out the door right now, even with his gut churning with nausea, and the welling sadness rising up in him. There’s a small, desperate part of him that worries that the greatest thing he’ll ever feel for another human is wrapped up in Sam’s person, and the whole thing is a waste, because Sam will never stop being selfish.

“You okay?” Sam asks, walking to Patrick’s kitchen and rummaging around in his fridge, because that’s what Sam does. He takes up space.

There’s a knock on the door then, a solid pounding that startles Patrick.

"Uh, one sec," he tells Sam and goes to open the door, only to find 6A, mercifully covered for once. Although the workout clothes, backwards baseball cap, and the sheepish grin on his face don't make him any less sexy.

“Oh, hey,” Patrick says, blinking at him.

“Hi,” he says brightly and then nods when he sees Sam. “Hey, man.”

“Hey,” Sam says, helping himself to one of Patrick’s Fage yogurts. Like they’re still together. Like what Patrick has is his. But that’s how it was, wasn’t it? Everything that Patrick had he gladly would’ve given him.

Patrick finds 6A staring at him a little uncertainly and clears his throat. “Uh, is something wrong?”

“Yeah, actually,” 6A replies, “I think I just busted a pipe. I’m drowning over there, you wouldn’t happen to have a pipe wrench?”

Patrick opens his mouth, but Sam beats him to it. “Pat doesn’t know shit about plumbing.” he says with a laugh. It’s fond, but something about it still sours Patrick’s gut even further.

“You uh…want me to take a look?” Patrick says, because at this point, any excuse to get out of this apartment while Sam is in it is a good one.

6A scratches at the back of his neck. “Yeah, I got nothing, man.”

They all troop across the hall to 6A’s place, which is sort of the reverse of Patrick’s, what with the framed cult film posters and the clutter. There are books everywhere and Patrick spots a fancy Systemdek turntable sitting on a shelf beneath the window. Currently the kitchen sink is geysering straight upwards, water all over the counters, the cupboard under the sink lies open, cleaning products hastily shoved around like 6A tried to get a look before giving up and asking Patrick.

“Christ! Your floors,” Patrick says, looking at the river of water running over the hardwood.

6A bends to look under the sink again and he’s soaked in seconds.

Sam sucks in a breath as the water pressure increases, spraying them all down with a fine mist. “Pat, I’m gonna head out,” he says, retreating back towards the door.

“Yeah, yeah, okay!” Patrick says, hoping he doesn’t sound as enthusiastic about it as he feels.

Sam waves. “Call me, okay?” he says, looking sincere. Patrick drops his eyes.

“I will. See you around, Sam,” he says.

“Bye, Sam!” 6A says from under the sink, where he’s clanking around with the pipes.

“Yeah, uh, bye,” Sam says, already at the door. “Good luck with your uh…situation.”

The door slams shut after him.

6A sits up from under the sink. “He’s gone?”

“Yeah, he kinda hightailed it out of here,” Patrick says, shrugging. “Should we call you a plumber or something?”

“Nah,” 6A grins and reaches back under the sink, he twists something, bicep cording tight, and the fall of water abruptly stops.

Patrick stares at him as he gets to his feet, brushing water out of his eyes. “Did you just…bust your own pipe to give me an out?”

6A smiles. “It broke. I coulda fixed it pretty quick, but then I thought hey whatever, you needed rescuing.”

“That’s uh…really good of you, dude,” Patrick says, looking around at the kitchen. “Do you need help cleaning up?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he says, tugging the hem of his shirt up to wipe the water off his face, exposing the sharp cut of his abs. His black t-shirt and nylon shorts are clinging to his thighs, Patrick can clearly see the outline of his dick. He isn’t sure how or why this is even possible, but it’s somehow more pornographic than his running around in his itty bitty boxer briefs.

“The landlord’ll do it, or I’ll raise hell,” 6A says as he drops the hem of his wet shirt, breaking Patrick out of his reverie. Patrick coughs, looking somewhere else.

He can’t believe 6A did that for him. It’s probably the nicest thing that anybody has ever done in the history of his life.

“Thank you,” he says softly, looking down at the ground.

“Hey,” 6A says with a shrug. “Been there, remember?”

Patrick shakes his head. It’s a little hard to imagine 6A in a relationship with the constant stream of women in and out of his apartment. “Yeah, well, still, thank you.”

6A shrugs again. “You’re welcome.” He bends down to pick up his discarded cleaning supplies, water-logged nylon going tight over his buttocks, and Patrick’s throat goes dry.

“Okay, well, if you don’t need any help, I’m gonna head back to my place,” he says, inching back towards the door.

“Yeah, see you around, 6C,” 6A calls back, already moving around his kitchen trying to mop up the water.

Chapter Text

This started with my tags: #Patrick’s in a frat #Jonny’s bartending #in the place they hit up #all the time #to pay the bills #he and Patrick have a good rapport #Jonny will do shots with him #at the end of the night #and sit and debate hockey with him #and sometimes Patrick’s bros #are like yo #why are you hanging out so much with the bartender #and on those times where Patrick is actually civil to his friends #Jonny sort of can’t look away #in a moment #Patrick will feel his eyes on him #and give him the sweetest goddamn smile #and that’s finally it #because he’s known this kid for years now #if you can’t take a chance #what’s the point of living #so he writes his address on a bar napkin and says I’m off at 2 #and if Patrick shows up #he shows up

poeelektra added: i def read this the first and second times as: HE SHOWS UP but does he show up? i mean…obvs he shows up or he doesn’t but there’s a really good reason but jonny doesn’t know that for the approx 34 hrs he spends brutally disappointed OR he shows up and then… it’s always the prelude i want more of does he show up all wicked grin and cocky lean but then inform jonny he’s not getting laid? OR does everybody get their cookie and if so who goes first?

When Patrick lifts his drink up and finds that scrawled out underneath it, the ink starting to bleed just a little at the edges, he nearly spits out his beer.

“What?” his buddy, Drew, asks.

“Nothing, man, sorry,” Patrick says, sliding the napkin off the table. He looks at his watch. 12:59 AM. Just a little over an hour. God. He looks over at the bar where Jonny isn’t even paying attention to him, he’s flirting and laughing with two ladies as he’s making their drinks. He’s in a button-down in the sleeves rolled up his forearms and he looks so good, eyes bright, face lit up with a smile.

The thing is, Patrick’s never really hooked up with a guy. Fumbling makeouts with his roommate on his high school DC trip six years ago don’t count. Jonny’s been a safe crush. Patrick didn’t have to worry about what it meant that he liked him, because he’s always seemed so, well, unattainable. But now he’s got a napkin with Jonny’s address and a time on it, and the question is, is he going to go?

Jonny seems to sense his gaze on him, because he starts to turn his head, but Patrick drops his eyes before they can make eye contact. Drew is saying some shit about how the Seahawks only ever win off their defense, and Steve’s loudly extolling the virtues of Marshawn Lynch in reply.

Patrick thinks about Jonny’s smile and he thinks about the way he’s been coming here for years, talking and laughing with him. Patrick's thought about him more times than is comfortable, jerking off in the shower. It's time to nut up. Of course he’s going to go.

“Fuck, I’m starving, I’m getting wings,” his friend Tommy says, breaking up Steve and Drew’s heated argument. “You coming, Patrick?”

“I uh–” Patrick hesitates for a moment. What’s he going to do, just hang around until Jonny gets off work? The thought of it is suddenly nerve-wracking. Better to just show up when Jonny told him to. He clears his throat. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.”

He slides out of the booth and pulls his jacket on, carefully not looking in Jonny’s direction. When he’s outside he can't stop himself from pulling out his phone to bring up the time a second time. 1:07. Shit. The minutes are gonna go by like molasses.

*

Jonny’s place is in one of the older parts of town–a kind of shabby old red brick building made fashionable by gentrification. Patrick checks to make sure he’s got the right number, because there’s no name on the buzzer. The door buzzes open obligingly only moments after he presses the button. No 'hello' or 'who is it?', just the electronic whirr letting him no he can go inside. Patrick swallows. Fuck, what is he getting into?

Jonny’s on the fourth floor of the walk up. By the time Patrick gets to the top, Jonny’s there, leaning against his doorframe, barefoot and a little rumpled. His eyes crinkle up in a smile when he sees Patrick. “Wasn’t sure you’d show,” he says simply.

“I uh–don’t do this…” Patrick says.

“Hookup?” Jonny asks.

He shakes his head, tugging nervously on the brim of his baseball cap. “Not with–um. Not with guys.”

Jonny’s smile turns wicked at the corners of his mouth. “That’s okay. I do.”

#and then he probably #defiles Patrick #all night long #like Patrick thought he was coming there #for making out #maybe uh--some jerking off #or like heavy petting #whatever bullshit they call that #but oh fuck #jonny's on his knees #sucking his dick #and now Patrick's lying flat on his belly #as Jonny eats out his ass #and then Jonny's slowly sliding a thumb across his hole #and asking 'can i?' #and Patrick's jerking and sobbing against him 'yes #yes fuck #do it' #and god #the way Patrick just so beautifully pinks up #and is so responsive? #well #he might've just made an honest man out of Jonny #it's okay though #Jonny can wait a while #he'll let Patrick figure that out in his own time

Patrick always kinda wondered why people did this—like he could go for some butt stuff occasionally. He’d let girlfriends mess around a little, back there. But, in so far as putting his dick in someone’s ass? Why go in through the window when there’s a perfectly good door available, right there. Assplay is just not his thing. And so after Jonny leaves him weak-kneed from a fucking epic blowjob, only the lack of braincells leftover can explain why he says yes when Jonny asks to eat out his ass.

He’s sensitive as fuck right now so soon after coming, and the first touch of Jonny’s tongue, holy jesus god. Patrick did not know it could feel like that. He must say something, because he hears Jonny chuckling behind him, breath blowing hot over his skin. It’s intimate, each kittenish lick around his rim, but also somehow remote. And fuck, now his thoughts are leading to other places—going down a road where Jonny puts his fingers inside, and maybe, hell, maybe his dick. Get more of him that way, feel him closer. He doesn’t know what he was thinking, letting Jonny do this, letting him put that wicked mouth on him like this. The stroke of his tongue, his strong hands holding Patrick open for his mouthis too much. He’s falling apart like an untried virgin and it’s embarrassing.

“You alright?” Jonny asks.

Patrick realizes he’s twisted himself around Jonny’s pillow, hugging it close, hips hitching against the soft flannel sheets as he starts to fatten up to hardness again.

“Don’t stop,” Patrick breathes, wet hole clenching on emptiness.

“You just said no,” Jonny says, rubbing a hand down Patrick’s side. “And it’s cool, we don’t have to do this.”

Patrick hadn’t even realized.

“I didn’t mean—I didn’t mean stop,” Patrick replies, hiding his burning face in his shoulder. He hadn’t. He’d liked it, but—but on the first time?

“What did you mean?” Jonny asks, voice gentle.

Patrick hunches in a little around the pillow. “It’s really intense.”

Jonny’s eyes soften and before Patrick knows what he’s doing, Jonny’s rolling out of the bed, still fully dressed, and heading for the en suite without an explanation. He watches mystified, pushed up on his elbows, as Jonny turns on the taps and starts brushing his teeth. Is that just it then? Are they just not doing this anymore? Fuck, this is so stupid. Why did he have to open his mouth?

Jonny rinses and spits and then comes back out and Patrick wonders, cheeks hot, if he should be getting his clothes together, but Jonny knee-walks back up the bed next to Patrick.

“Common courtesy,” he says, grinning, and then reaches down, cupping Patrick’s jaw with both hands and catching him up in a filthy wet kiss. Jonny puts his whole body into it. He runs his hands down Patrick’s throat and over his shoulders, before urging Patrick over onto his back and slowly lowering himself down on top of him. His jeans and button-down brush tantalizingly against Patrick’s bare vulnerable skin.

He kisses Patrick until every inch of him tingles and he’s gasping for air. Slowly, Jonny peels off his clothing, between nipping at Patrick’s lips and trailing kisses down over his neck.

Patrick can feel Jonny's dick pressing against his belly, hot behind the stretched cotton of his boxer-briefs. He tentatively reaches down between them, palming the length of him.

Jonny breaks the kiss on an exhale, eyes shut. When he opens them, hazy and heavy-lidded, the corner of his mouth is kicking up into another smile.

“Sorry for uh…making you wait,” Patrick says, even as his brain is screaming at him that this is the first time he’s ever touched somebody else’s dick with intent.

“I don’t have anywhere to be,” Jonny says, voice going rumbly as Patrick experimentally rubs the heel of his palm in a loose circle. “And like I said, we don’t have to do anything you don’t want.”

Patrick flushes. Just the mere fact that Jonny doesn’t push makes him want to roll back over all the same.

Chapter Text

"Never have I ever smoked up in class and tried to give my term paper to the wrong TA,” Jonny addresses the ceiling, a half full bottle of Jack propped next to his hip on the bed. He looks good in the low light, clothes still damp from the rain they sprinted through on the way back from SigEp party, eyelashes dark, skin glowing a little. Patrick’s doing his best not to focus on it or the strange pit in his stomach.

That comment Jonny just made was really specific, so that’s aimed at someone in particular. Patrick waits for it.

Crow, propped up against the closet door, makes a disgusted noise. Ah there it is. “Fuck you, Toews,” he says and takes a swig from his solo cup.

Jonny grins. “Love you, man.”

When the party at SigEp got busted up by the cops early and then the rain started coming down in sheets, they’d given up trying to find another party, and just gone back to The Row. Somehow downing shots and playing drinking games in Patrick and Jonny’s room with a couple of girls they’d invited inside to dry off had seemed like a good idea.

“Never have I ever jerked it in someone else’s bed,” Sharpy says with Abby tucked into his side. She rolls her eyes like there's a story there.

A bunch of the guys groan and drink. Patrick smiles and says, “Bottoms up,” at the same moment Jonny salutes with his bottle of cheap whiskey and hauls back on a long draught, throat moving as he swallows. Patrick’s jerked it in Jonny’s bed. Not like in some weird fetishistic way or anything, but in a ‘fuck you for sexiling me, I rubbed one out all over your sheets, hope we’re cool,’ kind of a way.

“Never have I ever tried to date two people at once,” Abby says halfheartedly, playing games on her phone at the same time.

Bur, across the room, makes an outraged noise. “I couldn’t make up my mind!”

“Yeah, how’d that work out for you?” Abby asks. She doesn’t even look up from the screen.

“It was three wonderful days of heaven,” Bur replies. Abby makes a rude noise.

“Never have I ever hooked up with a guy,” Kelly, one of her friends, says triumphantly. She’s a lesbian, so it’s perfectly phrased to take out every other girl in the room. Only incidentally also Patrick. Nobody knows that though. He could leave his cup at his side, not drink up.

Abby’s lifting her cup and yelling, “Cheap shot! Cheap shot!” while Kelly cackles madly. Abby tackles her and every guy in the room watches interestedly as the two girls wrestle on the floor.

They're not even paying attention. He finds the cup at his lips anyway, and then he’s sucking down on cheap vodka mixed with off-brand cola.

“Whoa, hey there, Peeks,” Sharpy says. “Don’t think I didn’t see that.”

Everybody looks over at him. Patrick sets his cup down on his nightstand with a purposeful thunk. It’s plastic so it doesn’t have quite the same effect. “That’s the point, isn’t it?”

“You’ve hooked up with a guy?” Shawsy asks, full of wonder. “Wait, for real?”

Patrick avoids looking in Jonny’s direction. He doesn’t want to know what’s on his face right now. “Just once.” The room is quiet.

“It’s a bit late for the sophomore surprise,” Kelly says, staring at him, speculative.

“I’m not gay,” Patrick shoots back, voice going a little heated. “I’m just…”

“Flexible,” Jonny finishes for him. Patrick doesn’t look over at him, but he feels the way his face is frozen into a bizarre parody of nonchalance. The thing that trips him up, startles him so completely is that Jonny knew! How the fuck could Jonny know?

“Wait, what?” Sharpy asks. “You told Captain Seriously Boring your secrets? Don’t you have any love for your hardworking president?”

Jonny makes a scoffing noise. “Hardworking,” Jonny replies. “I don’t even think you know what our budget is for the year.”

“That’s why I have you, eh?” Sharpy replies.

Jonny clears his throat. “This game is stupid. Never have I ever had a threesome, sad though I am about it. Fucking put your cup down Shawsy, nobody believes you. Never have I had my face sharted on. You, Sharpy, drink! Never have I ever blown a load in a girl’s eye. Or jacked off in class. Or had sex with my girlfriend with my roommate asleep in the other bed,” he lists off. He’s rolled to his feet and is swinging his bottle up off the bed. “Fuck, I’ve never done anything fun. Who’s on for beer pong?”

Patrick lets out a breath at the way Jonny took the pressure off of him.

“Yeah, I’m down,” Crow says. “I feel like a fifteen-year-old at a slumber party doing this shit.”

“You had very different slumber parties at fifteen than I did,” Kelly says, bumping him as they all file out of Jonny and Patrick’s room, leaving Patrick behind on his bed, a little mortified, a lot unsure why he opened his big fat mouth. Down the hall he can hear Sharpy ordering the other brothers around to set up the table. They must get a game going pretty quickly because a round of cheering and whooping goes up, leaving Patrick feeling cold inside.

After a little while, their door opens back up and Jonny sidles back into the room.

“You okay?” Jonny asks, thumping down at the foot of Patrick’s bed besides Patrick’s head. He’s lost the bottle of whiskey, but he’s got a can of shitty Bud Light in one hand now.

Patrick breathes out. “How’d you know?”

Jonny snorts. “Dude, I saw you. You weren’t real stealth about it. Getting a beej in an unlocked bathroom? You may as well have invited me in,” Jonny teases.

“I didn’t notice…”

“No shit. You were a little preoccupied,” Jonny replies fondly.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Patrick rolls closer to his hip.

“Dude, if you wanted me to know…” Jonny pauses meaningfully. “It didn’t change anything. If I’d walked in on you with some chick from Alpha Sigma Tau it would still be the same. Fist pump, bro, good on you.”

Patrick snorts into his covers.

“You coulda told me though,” Jonny says. “No judgment from this corner.”

Patrick snorts. That time, with that kid, shit Patrick doesn’t even know his name, he was thinking about Jonny. About sliding his dick past Jonny’s pink lips, about those big brown eyes looking up at him, of running his fingers through Jonny’s hair, feeling the fade on the back of his neck as he pushed him down on his cock. He’s getting hard just thinking about it, and he’s glad he’s lying on his stomach.

“Hey, Patrick?” Jonny says.

“Hmm,” Patrick says, pushing himself upon onto his arms.

“Can I try something?” he asks. “Just once.”

Patrick blinks at him. “Yeah, what?”

Jonny leans in and presses his mouth softly over Patrick’s. Patrick makes a noise in the back of his throat, caught off guard. Jonny slides fingers over his skull and tips his chin back so that Patrick’s neck is tilted at an odd angle, but it’s easier for Jonny to sweep his tongue into his mouth, kiss him wet and unfinessed, cheap alcohol flavoring the whole thing.

Jonny pulls back, leaving Patrick staring at him. “Is this your way of telling me you’re flexible too?” Patrick asks breathily.

“Nah man,” Jonny replies, “then I’d just say, sometimes I let bros touch my dick. This is me saying I want to touch your dick. I mean, if you’d be into it.”

Chapter Text

Patrick never wanted to give a fuck about Jonathan Toews. That’s the honest truth. He didn’t want to like him—solemn and dark-eyed and frankly a weird motherfucker, and yet he may as well have knocked Patrick flat on his ass. All his life Patrick had struggled and fought to be where he was, and he’d done it with the biggest blazing smile on his face like nothing could get him down. Patrick was going to own the world one day. He’d show them all. But then he was taken down by Jonny in one fell swoop at World Juniors, sunk even deeper at prospect camp and the way playing with him just felt right. He didn’t want to care so much about somebody who didn't feel the same way. He felt the injustice of that keenly. Nobody should get to have those parts of him. Not unless they were as butt-crazy, head-over-heels as he was. And Jonny wasn’t.

Jonny had a girl at UND at the time and a vision for the Blackhawks and a smile for the way he could see Patrick fitting into it. He had Patrick’s heart on his key-ring and he didn’t even know it.

And Patrick knew it wasn’t reasonable or acceptable from an outside perspective, but he was hostile to Jonny right out of the gate, because the last thing he wanted was for Jonny to know and to use that shit. People had in the past. He’d been little and yet so unstoppable. They’d used everything they could—his more-than-buddies feelings about other boys, his looks. He’d learned fast not to open himself up to that.

And after a while, Jonny started giving as good as he got, and it fucked Patrick’s shit up, every time, but he didn’t know how to be any other way.

Years of vitriol later, and somehow the first time he kissed Jonny felt like coming home. A part of him had wanted to tear Jonny apart, because of course. That was just how this went. Jonny made Patrick weak for him. He made Patrick want so much, things that could never happen and things he could never have.

“Sick bitch,” Jonny had said, because Patrick didn't know how to take this thing he wanted without sabotaging himself. Neverthless, it had hit Patrick like a body blow, but still Jonny had been there with him. Somehow, even with Patrick hard on the offensive, trying to hurt Jonny, to make him back off, he’d wound up on that floor underneath Patrick, moaning, arching up into Patrick’s fist as he pulled him off.

He wasn’t the only sick bitch. Huh.

After that the only thing Patrick wanted was to have that again—Jonny under his palms, breathing harsh and loud, losing it, making Patrick come. It made him feel wild and spun out. This was not a desire he liked, this was not a part of himself he wanted to have. But oh god, Jonny wound up coming to him, swinging by his apartment three weeks later with a six pack of beer in tow. The truth was Patrick loved his stupid ass so much, had wanted Jonny only second to hockey. Even as everything inside him fought it, because what exactly was Jonny offering? A cheap, dirty fuck where Jonny exorcised years of pent up anger against him? Still, Patrick couldn’t resist him. And afterwards, lying on his bed, adesperate orgasm still reverbing through him and Jonny falling asleep tangled in his sheets, he’d been so incandescently happy it made his heart feel too big inside his chest.

The next morning when he woke up with Jonny gone he told himself it was everything he expected and that he wasn't going to do it again. That he didn't need this. That he could find someone else.

But that was a lie, ultimately he couldn’t stay away. He lasted three weeks and then he provoked Jonny just to see what he would do. It was so beautifully easy to get a reaction out of him, and when he got him back home, so easy to take him apart with his mouth. In that moment, Patrick had had all the power. He’d owned Jonny and they both knew it.

He'd laughed, told Jonny to look at him when he came. See that it was Patrick who'd got him off so hard and good and fast that he sobbed.

And then Jonny did what he always did—he changed the play up. He’d thrown Patrick’s very words back in his face.

‘Look at me,’ he’d demanded in echo of Patrick’s own pronouncement, his fingers sunk inside Patrick, a foreign sensation that nevertheless had him dreaming for Jonny's cock. For a moment Patrick could almost believe—he could almost see what this would be like to have this for real. Jonny had kissed his wrist so delicately and tenderly, and when Patrick said his name as he'd come, the look on his face was soft and warm. He harbored faint hopes that perhaps he wasn't alone in this.

Those came crashing down when he’d woken up and found Jonny asleep on his couch, rather than in the bed next to him. This too, he supposed, was to be expected.

And then Jonny got himself injured again, a tragic shoulder separation that took him out for the rest of the season. The last time when Jonny had hidden his concussion and then dizzily driven into a support beam Patrick had been so furious at him he hadn’t been able to speak to him for months. He’d hated Jonny for making him worry so desperately, for making him want to be there when the paramedics came.

This time, he was just resigned to the simple unmitigated desire that he wanted to kiss Jonny better and hold him close–a desire he’d never be able to express.

He visited with the rest of the guys, and afterwards, looking at Jonny’s scared face, he cracked right open and laid his feelings bare for the first time. He didn’t know what else to do, and when Jonny told Patrick he didn’t believe him, Patrick found himself defending them. He had wanted to give these feelings away, heap them on somebody else for such a long time, but also, loving Jonny had become as intrinsic as breathing. He wouldn’t know how to stop.

And yet Jonny had shattered him completely. He’d looked into Patrick’s eyes and for once, Patrick knew he had Jonny as much as Jonny had him.

“Fuck you,” he’d wanted to say, because it still wasn’t fair how Jonny could just throw his world out of order. But instead he’d kissed him with everything he had inside him and he finally let those hopes expand in his chest rather than fighting them.

Chapter Text

“Yeah, so his parents sent him off to theater camp that year, rather than the skills camp with us and he was just so mad, you know? But of course, girls. Which you know, we didn’t have at all. When we came back in the fall he wouldn’t shut up about all the chicks he’d finger banged.”

“Kinda like how you won’t shut up right now?” Jonny muttered into his mattress, pillow dragged over his ears. It still wasn’t enough to drown Kaner out, who’d been going on and on ever since lights out, just chatting propped against his pillows, while he played Bejeweled in the dark. Jonny was exhausted and he’d felt a little off in practice today. He really needed to get to sleep so they could be ready for the game against the Wild tomorrow.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Jonny, do you want to sleep?” Patrick replied. “You don’t want to tell me some more about your three shootout goals for Canada?”

“Jesus Christ,” Jonny replied. “It was a joke. A fucking joke.”

“Hmm,” Patrick said consideringly, not looking away from his phone. “So anyway, he’s got HPV now, and he’s seeing this chick and he really likes her, and he’s like ‘what do I do?’ You know because you have to tell ladies these things, and I was like, ‘man, you just have to tell her,’ and he got fucking pissed. Like I’ve never heard him this mad. I don’t know what I was supposed to say there, like, I dunno, buddy, write her a card? ‘How do you feel about genital warts?’”

“I hate you,” he grit out.

“You say the sweetest things, man,” Patrick said.

Jonny’s fraying temper finally snapped. He rolled out of bed with a growl, hauling his pillow up and giving Patrick a good whack with it. Patrick made a noise of protest, but before he could get his own pillow up, Jonny dropped down on top of him.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up,” he said, punctuating each word with another thump while Patrick laughed and batted at him.

“You’re insane, you’re insane!” Patrick cried, choked with laughter, trying to fight him off while Jonny smacked him in the face again.

Jonny caught him in the face with the pillow again, this time pushing down, smothering him. He waited just long enough for Patrick to start to struggle underneath him in earnest, fighting for air, before pressing down hard one last time. “No more talking,” he said severely, and lifted the pillow.

Patrick gasped as he pulled it away from his face, inhaling deeply, so deeply he coughed, hand coming up to thump himself on the chest.

Jonny looked down at him, a little concerned. “You okay?” he asked, leaning back, trying to give him a little more space, coming down right over his dick by accident and…oh.

“Uh…” he said dumbly. There wasn’t enough light to see the color of Patrick’s cheeks, but he could tell from the way he was biting at his lips that he was mortified, eyes widening with panic. “Is that uh…something you’re into?”

“Get off!” Patrick cried, hands coming up to strike out at him.

Any sane person would get up. Jonny had just found out his winger was popping boners from being smothered. Well, Jonny definitely wasn’t going to win any awards for perfect mental health. He didn’t know many people around these parts who would. Jonny caught Patrick’s wrists and pinned them back to the pillow beside his face. Patrick was glaring up at him, lips bitten swollen and full, eyes flashing. He looked mad as hell.

“Jesus, it’s okay, you don’t have to be embarrassed,” Jonny protested. “I’m just curious.”

Patrick flexed his hands and hissed, “Yeah well, read a fucking blogpost.”

“What do they call it? Auto-erotic—?”

“Auto-erotic asphyxiation,” Patrick said with a sigh, anger visibly draining out of him as he rolled his cheek into the pillow. “And I’ve…I’ve never actually done it.”

Jonny hummed and settled his weight over him, taking in Patrick’s curls on the pillow and the still stubborn just of his jaw.

“Jonny!” Patrick cried, hips jerking against him. “Get off. I’m serious.”

Jonny hummed again and let go of one of Patrick’s hands, circling his fingers around Patrick’s throat. “It’s kinda hot,” Jonny told him, depressing slightly on his windpipe, smiling at Kaner’s immediate shocked gasp and the fraught roll of his hips, grinding up against Jonny’s ass like he was unable to stop himself.

“You better—you better not be fucking with me,” Patrick replied breathlessly, throat moving under Jonny’s fingers.

“I’m not fucking with you,” Jonny answered, he ground back against Patrick a little, feeling the thick width of him riding up against the crease of his ass. He tightened his hold, dragging his thumb down into the hollow of Patrick’s throat. Patrick bit down on his lip, even white teeth dragging the red flesh back into his mouth to suck on. It was a move straight out of porn and Patrick did it all the time without even realizing.

Jonny bent his head and kissed him, rocking back against Patrick’s dick, making them both grunt, the fabric of their briefs making a shushing noise with every roll of his hips. Patrick tasted like toothpaste, the stupid Crest gel that he always got all over the counters in hotel rooms.

“You’ll be quiet after this?” Jonny asked when he pulled back. Now he was the one who was short of breath. Each drag of his dick against Patrick’s was a sweet shock to the system and the escalating throb of Patrick’s pulse in his throat right against Jonny’s fingertips was making his own heartbeat speed up.

“Is that—why you’re doing this?” Patrick asked. He moaned when Jonny tightened his grip around Patrick’s throat just a little bit more. He was gasping now, each inhalation a labored drag. It took him a long time to get out the next sentence. “Because…I gotta tell you…I…I…do what I want.”

“Whatever, Kaner,” Jonny replied bending back down to kiss him, pushing his tongue into Patrick’s mouth. He felt Patrick’s breaths coming in little short gasps out of his nose and let up a little bit with the pressure of his hand.

Patrick arched against him, muscles gone taut, and when Jonny pulled back to look down at him, his eyes were squeezed shut tight. He let out a soft little, “Oh,” and came right there in underwear, swallowing against the loosened collar of Jonny’s fingers. Jonny stared down at him in open-mouthed wonder, before frantically getting his dick out past the elastic waistband and pulling himself off with harsh quick strokes. Patrick slowly opened his eyes, dreamily blinking, and Jonny came with a groan, cupping his other hand at the head to catch the jizz.

“Um,” Patrick said.

Jonny slumped over onto his back next to Patrick, breathing hard, his hand still full of his come. Patrick opened his mouth like he wanted to say something before deciding better of it. Instead he reached up, running his palm along his own throat, expression turning thoughtful. He pressed down with his fingers, just like Jonny had, and Jonny cleared his throat, cheeks flushing hot as he rolled out of bed to clean up. He couldn’t believe he’d just gone for it, choking Patrick like that. But it had been hot—the way Patrick had responded so immediately and easily. He wasn’t going to examine it too closely.

Patrick remained quiet and still in his bed. Usually he stayed up later than Jonny, watching TV or playing games on his cellphone, but he didn’t start playing Bejeweled again.

“Jonny?” he said, just as Jonny was starting to drop off.

Jonny wondered if the was going to be a return to the horrible anecdotes from earlier.

“Yeah?”

“What if I wanted to do that again?” Patrick asked.

“Careful,” Jonny replied, “Next time I might shut you up with my dick.”

“Promise?” Patrick shot back, impishly.

Chapter Text

On the day that Patrick finally asks to play pitcher, he’s clearly not expecting Jonny to simply say yes.

“What?” he replies, mouth open a little, at a loss. They’re sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and Patrick picks up the remote and pauses it like he hasn’t heard Jonny properly.

“Yes,” Jonny repeats, shrugging. He hasn’t given a lot of thought to it honestly, but Patrick is pretty much his favorite person on the planet, so if that’s what he wants, Jonny wants to give it to him.

“Wait fuck, what? You weren’t supposed to say yes that easy!” Patrick says, still blindsided and also looking a little miffed. “Dude, I came up with an entire argument and everything.”

Jonny smirks at him. “What can I say? I’m a versatile guy.”

“No, but at the end of my awesome argument, you were gonna bow down before my superior logic,” Patrick says.

Jonny shifts against the armrest of the couch, so that he’s facing Patrick fully. “Oh well then no. I refuse to let you put your dick in me ever. I won’t be persuaded. Don’t even try.”

“Your sarcasm is noted for later,” Patrick replies darkly.

Jonny grins and knocks Patrick’s knee with his own. “I’ll bet it is.”

Patrick grabs at his leg, pulling it over into his lap as he caresses Jonny’s kneecap with his thumb, shaking his head a little as he turns back to the TV.

“Well go on then,” Jonny says, shifting on the couch so that his other leg is in Patrick’s lap and putting his arms up behind his head in a nonchalant pose. “Please regale me with your fabulous argument.”

“Hmm,” Patrick says, dropping his head against the back of the couch and meeting Jonny’s eyes. “Well, I like getting my dick wet.”

He punctuates this pronouncement with a slow lick across his lower lip that isn’t anything other than pornography. Jonny naturally thinks of those pretty lips wrapped around his cock. Everytime. Even in the normal course of life where Patrick is putting totally mundane things into his mouth, like celery or protein shakes. How even, Jonny doesn’t know. There really should be no way to make celery sexy, and yet, well, Jonny has had to resign himself to having a lot of inappropriate associations with food. He refrains from asking if Patrick’s inescapably sound logic is just making Jonny think about blowjobs a lot. Mostly, because the only thing that makes Patrick’s obscene mouth even moderately bearable is that he simply doesn’t know. what. he’s. doing. to Jonny. Or anybody else, he has to imagine. He can’t be the only one so affected.

Patrick continues, “And you’re like a sex wizard—”

Jonny snorts. “Back to that again are we?” he asks dryly.

Patrick levels a look at him. “Jonny, what’s the most you’ve made a chick come?”

“What, in a single sitting? Or do you mean over the course of a day?”

“Ugh!” Patrick thunks his head back against the couch.

Jonny’s likes sex. He likes it a lot. He especially likes it with Patrick. He knows some people have trouble doing the right thing, which honestly, Jonny doesn’t understand. All you need to do is listen and respond accordingly. Sex is not rocket science, it’s just bodies moving together. Jonny does know he’s good in bed, but that’s just because he tries. And sex is fun, he doesn’t know why other dudes are apparently so lazy or taking porn as a reference point. They don’t think people in real life could survive ten bullet wounds and a car accident like a character in an action movie. Why on earth would they believe balling some girl at top speed would be, you know, something that could actually work? It shouldn’t be acknowledged as any kind of victory that every other dude is embarrassingly bad and that’s why he looks so good by comparison.
Patrick and Jonny just work really well together–on a line, on the ice, or fucking–that’s what makes it next level shit. If Patrick seriously thinks it’s like this with everybody, he’s on fucking crank.

“Yeah, so sex wizard,” Patrick starts up again while Jonny rolls his eyes. “Honestly, with all your ‘skillz’ I think you on my cock would be an excellent time.”

“What skills? I have never bottomed before. Your superior logic is actually crap,” Jonny replies. “Like really crap.”

“Jonny,” Patrick replies exasperatedly. “At this point, with how this shit goes, I fully expect you to have a magic ass. I mean look at that thing.”

“Well my magic ass is sending you a C & D,” Jonny replies, leaning forward to kiss Patrick deep and slow. When he pulls back he nuzzles along Patrick’s jaw and asks, “So that was your superior logic, huh? You couldn’t actually have expected me to say yes to that.”

Patrick turns his head and draws their mouths back together, distracting Jonny for a good long while before he breaks the kiss, meeting Jonny’s eyes square on, and says, “No, I was just gonna say, ‘Jon, I really want it.’”

Well fuck. The little shit definitely has his number.

Chapter Text

In some ways Jonathan thinks he’s drunk more on the exhaustion and euphoria, than on the alcohol he’s been steadily feeding himself for the last few hours. It feels good to be in street clothes, just a plain old t-shirt and jeans, without the weight of pads or the stiffness of his game day suits. It’s sweaty and disgusting in here, he’s sticky with champagne and beer, and the smoothness of his own cheeks keeps startling him.

Patrick’s across the room, standing on a stool, finger in the air, singing along to “Wild One” while Stahlberg braces him from falling over. Every breath Jonathan takes seems to swell up more than his chest, it feels like his heart could just rise right up out of his body.

Patrick turns, wobbling a little, but his eyes unerringly meet Jonathan’s across the room and the dancing bodies of their teammates and fans between them. Patrick’s face is strangely solemn and it’s like all the sound drops out of the room, there’s nobody here but them and the space between their bodies seems infinite.

Patrick drops his eyes, tentative almost. Jonathan is frozen, everything inside him contracting tight, and then Patrick looks back up and grins, a slow flash of white teeth. The world snaps back into place, and Patrick tilts his head towards the back stairs, with raised brows. Jonathan nods.

It’s hard work pushing through the drunken debauched tumult with everybody trying to pat his shoulder or shake his hand, but at least he makes it and finds Patrick strangely unmolested, already leaning in the door frame, arms crossed.

He shakes his head, that sweet grin still firmly in place. It’s tight and dark enough in here, that he feels no shame reaching out with a finger to tug Jonathan in by his belt loop.

“Danger, Will Robinson,” Jonathan says anyway, not quite able to let caution go. This close, he has to bend his head to meet Patrick’s eyes. Their lips hover millimeters apart and Patrick eyes drop. He tilts his chin up, slowly, like he’s actually going to kiss Jonathan right here in front of a thousand possibly recording phone cameras. Jonathan doesn’t flinch or pull away and Patrick’s mouth stops just the barest whisper of space away from his own.

Patrick chuckles and then slides out from between Jonathan and the door frame to take the stairs leading to the roof two at a time. Jonathan blows out a breath and has to laugh, following after him.

Patrick stops in front of the access door to the roof. The plaque on it says ‘open and alarm will sound,’ he looks back over his shoulder at Jonathan with his hand suspended over the push bar.

“What do you think?”

“Guess we’ll find out.” Jonathan puts his hand over Patrick’s and uses it to push the door open. It glides open smoothly, both of them wait, chins tilted towards the ceiling--no sirens.

Patrick laughs and pushes the door all the way open, the humid Chicago night heat hitting them. The roof is gravel and it crunches underfoot as they make their way out. There’s a low railing that would make anybody afraid of heights nervous. Patrick sticks to his side, eyeing it nervously as Jonathan walks over to see the crowds of people still out in front of the club.

“Jesus,” Jonathan says, he can hear Sharpy yelling something down at the assembled hoard of fans. They raise their hands and cheer and Jonathan pulls back before somebody spots them.

“I love you,” Patrick says to his back.

Jonathan turns. His hands are shoved in his pockets, and he looks relaxed, face impassive.

Patrick shrugs. “Like, I know it might just be fucking or whatever, but…”

Jonathan stops him, sliding a hand over his shoulder to tug on the brim of his backwards baseball cap, using it to pull Patrick’s head back on his neck, tilting Patrick’s chin on the perfect slant to kiss him. The move is familiar by now.

He presses his mouth to Patrick’s, paying special attention to the perfect curve of his full lower lip, the one that Patrick worries desperately with his teeth, all the time. When he pulls back, hand still on Patrick’s hat brim.

“You have to know I want whatever you’ll give me,” Jonathan tells him. “The question is will you take what I have in return.”

Patrick chuckles weakly. He’s just won the second Stanley Cup of his career, got awarded playoff MVP, has a hundred people cheering his name just forty feet below them, and he looks broken up. “I love you,” he repeats, like it’s that simple.

Maybe it is.

“Yeah, me too,” Jonathan replies.

Chapter Text

He feels her the minute she hits the dance floor. He’s in the middle of telling a story to Saader when the fine hairs at the nape of his neck stand up and he grinds to a halt, mouth stoppered up by surprise. He’d always been told that when his kind scented an omega they’d be lost, overcome, driven to mate. Perhaps that was an overzealous fantasy. He feels no urge to do anything, but her presence nevertheless pierces at him.

“Jonny?” Saader asks.

Jonny shakes his head and tongues to the roof of his mouth. There’s an astringent taste there, similar to the bitter rise of adrenaline on his tongue when another alpha walks on his ground.

“Excuse me,” he says too quickly for grace, extricating himself from the conversation.

She finds him by the door. She’s not what he would expect. Tall, athletic, so blonde even her lashes are pale. But he should know better. Patrick is proof positive against assumptions.

“You are…” she says, when she sees him, swaying forward almost drunkenly.

“Yes,” he replies warily.

“I haven’t ever. Not actually,” she tells him vaguely, cheeks going bright red, eyes darting around. They both know what she means. Her will is easy, sweet, malleable. Jonny can feel the give of it in the exact way he never feels from Patrick. It’s odd, uncomfortable almost. “I think I would like to,” she tells him.

Jonny breathes in, measuring out the many ways to say no, all he has for her is curiosity, but not interest. “I can’t,” he settles on finally, because it sounds a hell of a lot better than ‘I wouldn’t. Not ever.’

“Oh, you have a beta?” She asks. “I shouldn’t have assumed. First alpha I meet and all. Chances are you aren’t single.”

Patrick steps outside. Even if Jonny couldn’t feel it, he would know from her face, the shocked straightening of her spine. Two alphas in one place. How likely is that?

“Jonny?” he calls.

Jonny turns his head. He doesn’t even realize that he’s relaxed, rigidity melting right out of him at the sound of Patrick’s voice.

He watches her eyes go wide. It’s so strange to be around somebody who can see the shift and play of will between Jonny and Patrick. Nobody else ever can. At first she just looks curious, but then her expression turns distraught. “You–you give it up to him?”

Jonny narrows his gaze at her, he flexes his displeasure in the air. “And?”

She looks confused, hurt now, and Jonny aches with understanding. She’s probably grown up her entire life being told how all alphas would fall at her feet. She’s been sold the same lie that he has been. That she needs an alpha to be complete. This is not the world going according to plan. “There aren’t enough omegas so you mate with that?” she says bitterly.

Jonny keeps his eyes on Patrick. The color has gone high in his cheeks, and the sardonic twist to his mouth that says he’s working towards fury has been replaced by thin-lipped slash. Fury is well past. He looks like he’s going to do violence, like he’s going to issue her a challenge, as if Jonny were the omega caught between two alphas and not the other way around.

“Get. Lost,” Patrick says.

Her astonishment is a palpable thing. Jonny can taste it. She shakes herself and then pushes past them back into the club, proverbial tail between her legs.

Patrick clicks his tongue against his teeth when the door closes behind her. His eyes have gone fever-bright, he’s amped up like the pressure’s on him. Just watching him, full of wrath, gets Jonny hard. Ah, but he’s never been logical, has he?

“You coming back to mine?” Patrick asks, but it’s short, sharp. That little omega upset him badly.

“Yeah,” Jonny replies, a little hoarse. This aggression is an old familiar friend.

The car ride is silent, tense. Patrick veritably ignores Jonny, but once they’re through the door of his apartment, he pounces on him, muscling him back against the wall with rough hands and biting kisses.

“What were you going to do, Jonny?” Patrick asks. He rolls his hips hard against Jonny’s, letting him feel the obscene, hard press of his cock.

“About what?” Jonny asks, breathless as Patrick’s fingers tighten around his neck. He knows he’s supposed to show his throat here, to soothe the biological instincts in Patrick that have gone into hyperdrive. Well. Jonny doesn’t feel like it. He is what he was made. Tonight he feels like fanning the flames.

“If I hadn’t noticed you gone, would you have left with her? It would be so easy wouldn’t it,” Patrick says, practically tearing Jonny out of his clothes. “Nobody knows. Nobody knows about us.”

“If you fucking believe that, you deserve to be left,” Jonny replies, voice hard. Unresisting, but unhelpful.

Patrick makes a noise in the back of his throat. “I’m going to fuck you and knot you and keep you on it for hours.”

“So do it then,” Jonny answers, derisive. Fuck, he feels Patrick get even harder against his thigh. Even through his fury, he’s hot for Jonny’s defiance.

Patrick lays Jonny out, face-down on his bed, ass in the air, as he shoves two lube-slick fingers into his hole without preamble. All of the breath goes out of Jonny in a soft ‘whump’ and his hips drop flat to the bed. Patrick pushes in another finger, forcing them deep, making Jonny accommodate them. He refuses to acknowledge the sound out of his mouth as a mewl. Jonny rolls his hips, trying to rub off on the bed; Patrick forces him flat to the bed with an arm braced across the small of his back.

“No,” he says, thrusting his fingers in and out with a harsh control that belies what everybody says about his soft hands. “You get what I give you.”

Jonny moans and arches, raising himself up onto his elbows to push back against Patrick’s restraining grip. Patrick bites him, hard, right in the meat of the muscle of his ass, not a playful nip, and Jonny cries out, surprised. He’s already breathing hard, he can’t get any friction on his dick, and as Patrick starts driving his fingers against Jonny’s prostate, every breath starts coming out a gasp. But he’s not going to beg, even as the taunting awareness of his erection trapped hot and hard between his hip and the bed grows. Jonny fists his hands in the sheets and bows his head low, hiding his desperate expression.

Patrick must catch it anyway, because his teeth close on the thick muscle of Jonny’s left shoulder, not as hard as last time and yet anything but gentle. “Yeah, you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you,” Patrick says. “Me fucking you so good.”

Jonny bites at his lip, squeezing his eyes shut. He is, but Patrick doesn’t need to know that. The glancing pressure inside him just keeps winding him tighter and tighter. He can’t come just like this, they both know it. But Patrick likes the way he gets riled from prostate stimulation, likes the way Jonny squirms on his knot after he’s come.

Jonny forces out a laugh. “This all you got?”

Patrick growls, feral and alien, a sound Jonny’s never heard from him. Slapping Jonny’s thighs apart, he forces his hips between them. Jonny feels the fat, blunt head of his cock bumping up against his hole and waits for the familiar sensation of him sliding smoothly inside. But this time Patrick rocks in hard, getting his whole cock inside in a single go, the swell of his knot bumping up against Jonny’s prostate. Jonny feels like he’s been zapped, he bucks underneath Patrick, tenses down because he can’t help it.

“There we go,” Patrick tells him right in his ear, curving down to blanket Jonny with his body. He measures each thrust like a slap shot, pulling all the way out, hips pistoning back in with all his strength.

He can’t come like this, he can’t come like this, he thinks hysterically, as Patrick keeps pounding into him, holding him down so he can’t do more than breathe in and breathe out and take it. Patrick’s so big inside him, splitting him open, the heady smell of his sweat is in the air, the scent of it just fires Jonny’s blood hotter. There’s no way, he repeats to himself again as Patrick’s cock catches him hard in just the right way, but then he simply is, pulsing hard and wet against the sheets, tightening down involuntarily around Patrick’s knot in a way that makes him yell. Fuck it’s good. It’s always so good. It shouldn’t be, Jonny getting mated like a beta or an omega would. He trembles through the aftershocks.

Patrick curses, snaps his hips in a few more times, and then comes, his knot shoved in deep. He collapses, boneless atop Jonny, lungs heaving. Jonny feels the heavy thudding of his heart against his back, he notes how his own has synched up and closes his eyes with a smile.

Some of Patrick’s rationality must return, because he blows out a breath that doesn’t sound furious, easing his weight off, pushing himself up as far as he can with the tie in place. “Jonny,” he whispers. “I—”

Jonny yawns and shivers. It’s cold with a little space between them. He reaches behind him for Patrick’s hand and tugs him back down again. He’s still pleasantly full up with Patrick’s knot and when he shifts his hips, it bumps up against his prostate, making his eyelids flutter.

Patrick hesitates slightly and touches him with delicate hands, soothing over the raw place on Jonny’s shoulder he bit.

“I was completely out of control,” he says brokenly.

Jonny freezes up. “What?”

“I shouldn’t have done that, I don’t even—I smelled her and suddenly I was so angry.”

“You think I couldn’t have stopped you?” Jonny asks fiercely. He tightens his hand around Patrick’s and then hits him with a wall of will so hard, Patrick jerks in surprise, stuffing his knot deeper into Jonny. They both moan. Point eloquently proven, Jonny thinks, fighting to get his breath back.

“Sometimes I give you my submission, sometimes you take it from me,” Jonny says. “But I can always take it back.”

Patrick breathes out, soft and shuddery. He pushes his face against the back of Jonny’s neck, seeking comfort. “Jonny, I thought—it was so fucking stupid. I just wanted to own you, make sure she knew. I wanted everybody to know.”

“I love you,” Jonny says. Funny that this is the first time he’s saying it, cheek pressed into a pillow with Patrick laying on top of him, dick inside. This is perhaps not the moment he would’ve picked, but they need to have this conversation now, so they’re having it now. “You never want me to forget what you are, but you shouldn’t forget what I am either.”

“Why didn’t it bother you?” Patrick asks. “You didn’t see her or me as a threat at all.”

“I dunno,” Jonny says. He rocks his hips meaningfully. “Maybe because you’ve claimed me.”

“You saying I should let you knot me?” Patrick asks with humor in his voice, but he’s afraid still and Jonny hasn’t pushed. What they have is working for them.

The tie slowly subsides and Patrick slips out, along with what feels like a river of come that his cock was keeping plugged up in Jonny’s hole. Patrick gingerly rolls off of him, but he trails his fingers through the mess, making Jonny hiss. He’s sore everywhere and starting to feel all the places Patrick was rough with him. Tomorrow he’ll wear it with pride and amusement. Right now though, he barely wants to move. Still he shifts a little on the pillows so that he can meet Patrick’s eyes.

“What you give to me, you can always take back,” Jonny says firmly.

Patrick swallows. He threads their fingers together, right hand to Jonny’s left. “I love you too.”

Chapter Text

It’s not fair. He knows it. Jonny’s patient with it, willing to wait him out, which is more than Patrick deserves. He always tells him after they fuck that he’s happy, that he loves their sex life, that he’s not trying to push Patrick into anything.

Time passes, their relationship racking up weeks and then months; chipping away at the years they spent twisting away from each other, struggling to admit how they felt. He meant to do it a lot sooner. He’d meant to do it first really. But then Jonny admitted that he’d dreamed about it, and let Patrick knot him that first time. And Jonny did enjoy it. Patrick could compose songs to the glazed look Jonny gets in his eyes when he’s stuck on Patrick’s knot. Sometimes he doesn’t even want to come first, shifting his hips back and forth, working himself on Patrick’s cock until he comes. Patrick couldn’t have imagined how good it could be, but Jonny was an alpha also. That urge to mate that Patrick couldn’t ignore year after year, had to be pounding through his blood too. How could this ever be enough?

After they get knocked out of the final WCF and he does the requisite amount of wallowing he goes out for drinks with Mikey.

“I’m thinking about moving in with him,” Patrick says with his heart in his throat, fiddling with his sodden beer mat, tearing it into little bits. It feels difficult and scary to say, like Jonny might somehow hear it ringing through the universe and automatically pop up to tender a rejection.

“That’s serious,” Mikey says like he’s surprised, but his expression says otherwise.

Patrick shrugs. “He’s my mate. You know how it is.” His stomach warms just saying it. Jonny settled much faster into the relationship than he did as much as Patrick had wanted and needed it. It still feels novel to acknowledge it.

“You know, I gotta ask,” Mikey says, “When you have sex, who uh—who—” he stops at the look on Patrick’s face.

“Really?” Patrick replies, nonplussed.

“I can’t help being curious,” Mikey tells him, palms raised.

Patrick snorts.

“No, but really, which of you, uh,” he stops and clears his throat, “takes it.”

“My sex life is 100% not your business,” Patrick says, and it comes out prim. It’s Mikey’s turn to snort and Patrick’s face goes hot, because he’s always told Mikey every sordid detail of every prior relationship, two-week fling, or hookup Patrick’s ever had. “He does.”

Mikey leans forward in his chair. “Really, Toews lets you—” he makes a weird gesture with his hand that Patrick assumes stands for knotting.

“Yes,” he replies blackly. “Is that such a shock?”

“Nah, I mean, you’re both—well you are what you are—it’s weird to think about no matter what.”

Patrick laughs because it’s true. It is weird. They’re weird. He’s never even heard of anybody else doing what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter though. Patrick wouldn’t change it for anything. “I’m not opposed, it’s just—”

Mikey holds up a hand. “I don’t need any further info!”

“You asked!”

“Not for specifics!”

*

“Maybe it’s not enough for you,” Jonny points out after they fuck for the first time since playoffs happened to them. The tie has only just ended, they’re still riding the afterglow. Patrick had asked him yet again if what they did was okay, and Jonny had gone huffy on him.

“I—” Patrick’s voice cracks. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with him, why it should be so hard to do what Jonny gives so easily. “I’m scared.”

Jonny rolls on top of him, pressing kisses across his face, that alpha dominance coming through loud and clear. “This works for us,” Jonny tells him. “I’m not missing out.”

“Are you sure?” Patrick replies. “Because I don’t think I could go without—”

Jonny chuckles. “I love you, moron.” He brushes their noses together. “It’s fine.”

Patrick swallows and nods. He finds Jonny’s palm with his own and threads their fingers together. It’s not lost on him how lucky he is.

*

They go up to Jonny’s cottage in Kenora, getting away to ease the sting of the loss. Patrick didn’t make it up last summer, so he had no idea what to expect when he agreed to go this year, but he’d pictured lazing by the lakeside drinking beers and watching Jonny do “dazzling tricks” on his wakeboard probably, and fucking as much as possible.

That’s not what happens.

Jonny’s as busy as Patrick’s ever seen him. They host barbecues, he starts some incredible number of home improvement projects, begins re-landscaping the yard, agrees to sit the neighbor’s german shepherd, and belongs to some weird fishing association thing that goes out early every morning to track bass or whatever. And then his parents and brother show up.

Everyday in between dips in the lake he’s up on the roof, shirtless, low slung jeans hanging on his hips, laying shingles, or glistening with sweat out in the yard, smeared with dirt as he digs ditches for all of his new lyme grass, accompanied by Hunter, the neighbor’s dog. He’s beautiful and happy, and he’s driving Patrick crazy with want. But he can’t touch. They’re shoved in such close quarters and Jonny’s parents don’t entirely know what’s going on with them, although they have noses and probably suspect. Either way Patrick’s bunking in the guest room with David and he hasn’t so much as touched Jonny since the first day they got here. Clearly his idyllic picture of paradise was a laughable fantasy.

Patrick still manages to eke in his naps on the dock in the sunshine, but he also uses the time to catch up with all the sponsorship and endorsement stuff he’s let fall by the wayside for the last several months. Jonny’s mother takes care of a lot of that stuff for him, but Patrick manages most of it himself. He’s in the middle of trying to work through some crazy labyrinthine offer with Pat, pacing back and forth on the phone in the little wood-paneled den, his refuge after the influx of Toews family members.

The bay windows look right out onto the yard and the side of the house. Most notably the damn outdoor shower, which Jonny is currently using after going on a run along the lakeshore with Hunter, a stupid douchey heart monitor strapped to his chest. Watching Jonny, all flushed and gleaming from exertion, play fetch with the dog would’ve been more than enough. But now he’s got a perfect view of Jonny naked, head tilted upwards with an expression that borders ecstasy as the spray pours down upon him.

“You asshole,” Patrick mutters.

“What was that?” Pat asks at the other end of the line.

“Nothing, sorry,” Patrick says, “Just Jonny being Jonny.”

Pat laughs. “Oh yeah? You getting along?”

Patrick blows out a gust of air. If you count wanting to bend Jonny over the damn kitchen counter, family members who might stumble upon them to bedamned, yes, they’re getting along splendidly.

“That well, eh?” Pat says. “He tells me he’s texted you a little about re-signing.”

Patrick coughs. Jonny’s soaping himself up now, eyes closed and lips parted as he runs his hands over his body. The shithead has to know Patrick can see him. “Ah, yup, we’ve talked a little.”

Patrick barely holds back a groan as Jonny starts to pull himself off, slow, like he’s savoring it.

“You know we’ve got other offers on the table?”

“Pat,” Patrick starts, snapped suddenly back into the conversation they’re having. “You know how I feel about that.”

“I thought as much,” Pat tells him. “But it’s my job to ask.”

Obviously they’re re-signing. Obviously they’ll take a discount to do it. Jonny would sign tomorrow if Patrick let him, but Patrick’s the son of a car dealer, it’s not in his blood to make it too easy for Stan. He’d like to see a little more movement there and Pat seems to be earnestly enjoying those negotiations. Win win as far as he’s concerned. That settled, he hangs up on Pat, his cock hard enough to pound Jonny’s stupid shingles down and absolutely no hope of relief.

*

“David and my parents are heading out tonight,” Jonny tells him that afternoon after they’ve put together a quick lunch of sandwiches and salad Jonny insisted on hand-tossing, while Patrick refrained from making every last rimming joke in his arsenal.

“Oh yeah?” Patrick asks. He looks out at the porch where Andree is reading the newspaper and Bryan is mending a fishing rod.

Jonny bites into an apple with a nod. “I think they know we’d like some time alone.”

Patrick straightens, eyes wide in surprise. “So they know,” he says slowly, watching Jonny’s face carefully.

Jonny’s lips kick up in the corner. “Yes, they know,” he says.

“Did you tell—” Patrick says and Jonny shakes his head.

“I guess it was obvious,” he says. “We’re uh, probably not very subtle.”

“Maybe they caught your show in the outdoor shower,” Patrick says dryly. Jonny chokes on his apple, face going bright. “You’re kidding!” Patrick protests. “You weren’t doing that on purpose?”

“Well.” Jonny clears his throat, trying to force a subject change, his face still burning hot. “I said I’d help the Hellers hang their new zipline.”

He flees toward the screen door, before realizing he’s left his half-eaten apple behind. Patrick is amazed that Jonny can be that much of an exhibitionist, but nevertheless so bashful about it. It’s both adorable and hilarious. He has to struggle not to laugh out loud, because he knows that’ll just make Jonny grumpy.

Jonny knocks him on the shoulder as he passes on his way back out, apple in hand. “Hey,” he says, only inches between them, but Patrick feels them like an ocean, “you’re not the only one who’s been going crazy.”

Patrick lets out a slow chuckle. He’s never been in love with anybody besides Jonny, but he’s been in love with him for what feels like half his life, and still, he’s always a revelation.

*

The sun is setting by the time the tires on Jonny’s parents’ sedan crunch down the gravel drive. Patrick’s napping in the dusk in a lawn chair, Hunter keeping him company. He opens one eye when he hears Jonny walking over to him.

“How would you feel about getting a dog,” Jonny says, eyes on where Hunter’s got his head resting on Patrick’s thighs.

Patrick sleepily asks, “How would you feel about fucking me?”

It brings Jonny up short. “Wait, what? Is that some outrageous dismissal of getting a dog?”

Patrick yawns. “I mean, let’s table the dog discussion for later, but no, I was being completely serious.”

Jonny gawps at him for a long moment, before finally he bends down to sweep a kiss across Patrick’s mouth. “You don’t have to.”

“I want to, Jonny,” Patrick replies.

“Okay,” Jonny replies, “Okay.”

*

They start slow, getting Patrick prepped. The windows are open, a gentle breeze coming off the lake and the sound of the waves hitting the shore, and as Jonny kisses him and works two fingers in and out of his hole, it feels like they have all the time in the world. He’s lethargic and relaxed and most of all, ready. Jonny eases his cock in good and slow, and it goes much better than the first time they ever tried this. They actually know what the hell they’re doing now, Patrick thinks with a smile.

“What?” Jonny asks, gently knocking their foreheads together just as he gets the beginning swell of his knot in, before withdrawing.

“Nothing,” Patrick tells him on a gasp, hands tightening on his hips. This is good, he thinks, intense, but good.

“Okay?” Jonny asks.

Patrick pulls his lower lip between his teeth and nods.

Jonny rocks his hips in, as measured and sinuous as molasses, making Patrick shudder. They might not have been built for this, but it feels good anyway, Jonny braced over him, thrusting inside him.

“Fuck,” Patrick says when Jonny’s cock slides over his prostate.

“Uhuh,” Jonny says, that same little smirk kicking up the corner of his lips. He reaches a hand between them, closing it around Patrick’s cock in the same moment that he starts angling his hips into that spot over and over.

Patrick clings to him, sweating and shivering, trying so hard not to shake apart too quickly. He waited so long for this.

“It’s okay, baby,” Jonny tells him, “do it.”

Patrick groans deep inside his chest and comes almost before he’s finished the sentence. It keeps coming and coming, spurting out of his cock like it’s being squeezed out of him with the tie, inner walls clenching down on Jonny, holding his cock in deep with each pulse.

“What?” he breathes, shocked, back arched, his hands fisted in the sheets. The orgasm is endless, making a mess of his belly and abs. He’s coming like an alpha in rut—the way he does when he fucks Jonny.

“Oh goddamn,” Jonny says, voice almost reverent, as he starts thrusting again, pushing up onto his palms like he needs to see it. Each time he pushes inside, Patrick’s cock lets out another sticky jet of come. “You’re so—”

“Why doesn’t this happen to you?” Patrick tells him between choked breaths, barely able to keep his limbs from jerking from the repeated aftershocks.

“I dunno,” Jonny mutters and starts jacking him again with the slick mess of his own come, making Patrick keen. “So fucking hot though.”

Jonny finally comes, knot swelling up and keeping his cock inside Patrick, and Patrick lets out a sob, finally wrung dry himself. Jonny curls himself over Patrick as comfortably as he can without just lying down on top of him. He gives Jonny two minutes before he gives that shit up. That’s okay though, like this Patrick needs that closeness. Patrick twists his fingers into the hair at Jonny’s nape, keeping him close, sinking himself into the sensation of Jonny filling him up inside, their heartbeats synching up.

“How—” he says after a long quiet moment, stunned, blinking up at the ceiling.

“That was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” Jonny says hoarsely.

“What if we broke something?” Patrick asks, not really worried, but still unable to let it go unvoiced.

“I think that happened our rookie year,” Jonny huffs, lids fluttering over his eyes. Patrick is reminded that Jonny himself is not done coming yet.

“We’re definitely doing some research when we get out of this bed,” Patrick tells him, nudging Jonny’s temple with a kiss.

“Mmhm,” Jonny tells him, “also think about dog breeds.”

“What?”

“For when we get a dog,” Jonny says.

“Getting a bit ahead of yourself,” Patrick tells him, amused.

“Whatever, you know you want to steal Hunter from the Moshers too,” Jonny says, poking Patrick’s ticklish flank.

Patrick let’s out an indignant squawk and Jonny laughs.

*

The next morning while he’s in the middle of eating a bowl of cereal, sitting a little gingerly because his ass is still sore from last night, Jonny says, “We’re getting a dog,” and then hits him with a perfusion of will that lands like a blow.

Patrick stares back at him, nonplussed. “Are you kidding?”

Jonny laughs, delighted. “No urge to submit?” he asks pointedly.

“Christ,” Patrick says, cracking his neck. Will is not a physical thing, but it feels like it sometimes, a tangible barrier buffeting at him.

“Just proving a point,” Jonny replies.

“Yeah, yeah,” Patrick grumbles, mostly for show. “I suppose you can top sometimes.”

Jonny comes up behind him, wrapping his arms around Patrick’s shoulders. He presses a kiss to Patrick’s ear. “You liked it,” he whispers.

Patrick turns his head, meeting Jonny with a kiss on the mouth this time. “I did,” he says, “we’re still not getting a dog.”

“Just give me time,” Jonny tells him with an unfairly confident grin.

Chapter Text

Listen. It’s not like she doesn’t still have fun during sex. She doesn’t really consider it lying to fake it either. It just hasn’t happened for her yet. An orgasm, that is. And yes, all of her female friends think she’s insane or doing it wrong. Pat Sharp proudly informed her that she’d been masturbating since she was in the fourth grade. Which okay, cool, it’s not like she hasn’t tried to get herself off. It just hadn’t worked for her. Have you tried the shower head? What about a toy? Did Sam go down on you? Yes, yes, and yes. Although she doesn’t get what the big deal is re: getting eaten out. They only tried it once. It had just felt a little slimy and left her feeling extremely self-conscious.

None of this would even matter if Sharpy had kept her damn mouth shut during happy hour.

“You can’t let guys get away with not getting you off. You gotta communicate that shit,” Sharpy had said over drinks, after an embarrassed Pat had explained that she was anorgasmic. “Maybe something’s wrong with your twat.”

“Nothing’s wrong with my twat, you’re the twat,” Pat had replied, cheeks hot as she bolted her beer back.

And then the damn op-ed and lifestyle guys had walked into the bar and Sharpy had loudly told them that Pat had never, not ever, come, even though she was 28. Which would be embarrassing enough to have that shouted out in a crowded bar during happy hour, but was definitely made worse by the fact that her nemesis Toews was there.

Toews had snorted into his beer, and it went down the wrong pipe (instant Karma, Pat would say), but after his stupid buddies had pounded him on the back and he could take a breath without coughing, he’d looked her over and said, “Well, it would explain some things.”

If Pat had had any beer left in her glass she would’ve thrown it at him. A regular struggle for her.

Everybody is always so damn surprised when she and Toews don’t get along. He’s super chill, they’ll say. Yeah right. She’s known him since the days they were both still playing hockey, back before he had one too many concussions and Pat had graduated college and come to pretty much the end of the line for women’s hockey. He’s never been chill a day in his life. She doesn’t know how he has them all fooled.

But he’s got this fake zen attitude that makes everybody think he’s so cool and they always say that his articles on climate change really make them think. That’s some bullshit. Yeah, recycle, kids. Boom, done, Pat’s written his damn article for him in two seconds. If jobs in journalism, and jobs for sports reporters, and female ones at that, weren’t so damn scarce, she’d seriously pick up and move to a different paper. But those pesky student loans make any such flight of fancy a total impossibility.

And then the horrible orgasm revelation is made worse by the fact that she can feel him laughing at her every time their eyes meet these days. This skeptical glance that says he’s got her all figured out and probably her pussy too. Fuck him and his stupid kumbaya tree planting bullshit. It’s not a problem for her. She doesn’t feel like she’s missing out or anything. 10% of women are just like her. Toews can take his snide little comment at the bar and shove it.

Sharpy keeps apologizing for embarrassing her. “I’m sor-reeee, I was drunk, you know they don’t care anyway,” she says on Slack, every time Pat catches another one of those stupid looks and she has to go glare at Sharpy across the office for putting her in this position in the first place.

She responds with: “I hate you.”

Three little dots blink for a long moment, waiting for Sharpy’s reply before she gets, “I just think it’s 2017, there’s no reason for you not to have an orgasm. Women should be allowed to own their sexuality. 👏 Take back the night, Pat!”

Pat sees red when Toews’s stupid name starts blinking in the sidebar. He better not be bothering her on fucking Slack about this shit. She’ll kill him. And then she’ll argue her case in open court and win, because Toews is just that annoying, any respectable judge will totally understand.

She clicks over to see what he’s sent her. It’s just: “Seabs has extra Cubs tickets for tomorrow’s game, he asked me to ask if you were interested.”

Oh. Well that’s not so bad. Nevertheless she can’t help snarking back with: “will you be there? because then I’m not interested.”

“Ha ha, settle down princess,” he replies. “I’ll be trying out a new pilates studio tomorrow night for an article, so you’re safe from me.”

Pat says, “perf, then tell him I’m a yes and to let me know how much I owe him.”

Her boss, Bowman, chooses that moment to walk along behind her desk, so she quickly minimizes the chat and pulls open the article she’s working on about the Blackhawks’ tepid signings during the off-season.

She writes a paragraph and then remembers she still hasn’t put the whole Sharpy/Anorgasmia thing to bed once and for all, and she really needs to do that, or she’ll be getting annoying 'take back the night' (which is NOT what that is even about, Patricia Sharp) messages for the next ten years along with increasingly ridiculous solutions.

Look, she writes out, It’s not like I haven’t tried things. I really have. I’ve had four boyfriends since I punched my v-card, and one hookup with a girl in college, and most of those experiences were great, I just…didn’t get there. I don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe I’m just not made that way, but I do know it doesn’t help to have you pestering me. My doctor suggested it was difficulty getting out of my own head, you know? And I think that’s probably true. Like you were suggesting fantasies, or whatever, yesterday, and it’s not like I don’t think about things. I totally do. That might be the problem actually.

One time, back before we broke up, just after I started at the paper, Sam and I were doing it, and this argument I had with stupid Toews wouldn’t leave my head. And I know he’s hot and all (stupid woo woo mystical shit aside), the abs, the face, the shoulders, but he’s such an ass. I’ve known him since I was 13. What girl could come with that in her head, you know?

But anyway, you pressuring me doesn’t make it any easier. Maybe someday I’ll have one, maybe I won’t, but I’m fine with it. Really.

She stares at it for a long moment and then finally hits send. Which is exactly the moment she notices that she never switched back from Toews’ window on Slack.

Oh. Fuck.

She frantically looks across the office at his desk, but he’s pretty well hidden by the two monitors at his station. She can’t see his face at all. Maybe he’s not there. Maybe he left his computer unlocked, maybe she can run over and delete the message before he sees it.

The three dots starts blinking in the window and immediately ends that desperate dream.

“Um,” he says, “I’m going to guess you didn’t mean for me to see that.”

Pat closes her eyes. She wants to die. His next message pops up only seconds later.

“Good to know you think about me in bed tho.”

“In the context of how annoying you are, jesus! Of course you would read into it.”

“Uhuh,” he types back, “but my abs though.”

“You asshole,” Pat whispers furiously aloud. Fuck everything. Just then she watches him lean around his monitor so that she can see him. He gives her a grin and a wink.

“Fuck off,” she types back and then starts gathering her stuff up. It’s only 11 AM, but fuck it, she needs to take lunch. She swings her bag up over her shoulder, knowing her face is the most embarrassing fire engine red right now, and then walks to the elevator as quickly as she dares so that it doesn’t look like she’s running away.

The elevator slowly ascends from the floors below.

“Kane, wait,” Toews calls from behind her. Oh my god, is he kidding? She hits the down arrow on the keypad like it’ll make it go faster. The ancient as fuck elevator dings and the doors slowly part, she dashes inside, already going for the close doors button, but she’s too slow. Somehow he manages to slide past the doors with her just before they close.

“Look,” he says. “It’s no big deal. We’ve all sent shit to the wrong person at some point.”

Pat breathes out, inspecting her nails, trying and probably failing at nonchalance. “It’s whatever. I’m not embarrassed.”

Toews cocks his head, eyes running up and down over her. “You obviously are.”

“I’m not, so I’ve thought about your stupid fat head, sometimes,” she replies. “You're really irritating.”

He laughs. The bastard laughs. He’s opening his mouth to say something when the elevator grinds to a halt with a sudden lurch, lights flickering for a second before blinking out completely.

“What’d you do?” she cries, trying to feel her way back to the panel of buttons. It’s pitch black and Pat does not do well with small enclosed spaces, especially not suspended between the 12 and 13th floor. Fuck they’re going to die. They’re both going to die, and when everybody looks at their computers they’re going to find her stupid message and then she’s going to die again.

“Me?” he replies, incredulous. “You think I caused a power outage?”

“Elevator was fine until you got in,” she snaps back.

“Please, this elevator hasn’t been fine since 1983.” He must have moved at some point, that or she’s gotten very turned around, because the first thing she feels out in the dark is a t-shirt over warm skin. He says, “Hi, yes, that’s my chest.”

Pat practically leaps away. “Can you find the damn call button?”

“I don’t think it’ll work,” he says quellingly.

She growls. “Just do it, would you?”

“Alright, alright,” he says, and there’s the sound of rustling fabric like he’s shrugging at her. He reaches out and pushes at what must be the button. Nothing happens. “I told you.”

Pat makes a low noise of distress, her breaths speeding up. The walls feel like they’re falling in on her, and she can’t see. She can’t fucking see.

“Whoa, hey, you’re really not alright, are you?”

“Shut up,” she snaps back, eyes prickling with tears.

“Hey, just listen, deep breath, it’s gonna be okay,” he says in what he probably thinks is a soothing voice, reaching out to grab her shoulders. “These elevators—”

“Shut up,” she hisses back. “Don’t patronize me, I know it’ll probably be fine, I know that they’ll notice we’re missing and go get help, but that doesn’t fucking make me feel any—”

He cuts her off with a kiss, pushing her back up against the wall of the elevator, his warm body pressed to hers. She gasps into his mouth and he deepens it, tongue sliding along her lower lip, demanding entrance.

She tears her head away. “What are you doing—”

“Distracting you,” he replies, with a smirk that she can goddamn well hear in his voice. “Did it work?”

“For the last time, I said I couldn’t come because of you, not—”

He cuts her off again with another kiss, cupping her jaw with long, strong fingers. She can’t help the small moan that squeaks past her lips when he nibbles on her lower lip.

“You were saying?” he says when he draws back a second time.

“Of course you would take my lack of orgasm as a challenge,” she replies heatedly.

“No, not a challenge,” he says softly, “just wanted to do that for a long, long time.”

She scoffs. “Yeah, right.”

“For real, Kane,” he says, dipping his head so that their noses touch, and she can’t see shit, and she’s still a scared fucking wreck, but she can feel the rumble of his voice through his chest against her own sternum. “Since the first time I ever saw you.”

“Don’t make fun of me,” she spits back. Because she knows he knows she had the worst crush on him back then. The only other player who could keep up with her, they were talking NHL future for him back then and he was only just entering puberty. They were at some stupid party after a tournament, and she’d told somebody on the girl’s team, and suddenly it had been all over the room. Another girl on the team had walked right up to him, in front of her, cup of orange soda in her hand, and said, “You know Patricia Kane has a crush on you, right?”

And he’d looked her over with his dispassionate 13-year-old eyes, the thing she’d found so cool about him, and said one word: “Never.”

“I’m not making fun of you,” he says, yanking her back to the present. “I was a stupid teenage boy afraid of how I looked in front of my buddies. If I could take it back, I would.”

She can’t take this. Literally cannot. He’s blowing her whole world. She reaches out and yanks his head back down, pulling him in for another kiss, this one turning wet and dirty quickly. He slots a thigh between hers, raising her up against the wall, until only her tiptoes touch the floor.

“Fuck,” she says, throwing her head back as he kisses down her throat, his hands molding over her breasts, before he thumbs her nipples. “Fuck,” she says again, practically clawing at him in her struggle to get him closer.

She doesn’t know what’s come over her, beyond the fact that she’s trapped in her claustrophobic nightmare situation with her nemesis who’s currently scraping his teeth down over her pulse, making her shiver in her shoes. She can’t help grinding herself against his thigh, as he continues to kiss along the dipped neckline of her dress, just above the edge of her bra.

“Pat,” he says, voice sounding strained, and not for the first time she wishes she could see him. “Can I touch you?”

She makes a humming affirmative noise in her throat, before drawing him back into another kiss. She jumps a little when he relaxes his leg, letting her feet come back to the floor, before his hand is questing up her skirt, dipping between her legs to trace over her mound.

“This okay?” he asks.

She nods furiously and then when she realizes he can’t see, she stutters out a yes, practically slamming her head back against the wall, when his fingers slide under the elastic and dip between her lips.

“You’re wet,” he says, voice rough.

“I did tell you my pussy wasn’t broken,” she hisses.

He laughs. “It’s hot, Pat, it’s really goddamn hot.” And then he’s kissing her again, fingers playing over her clit, stroking at her, ever so gently, just skimming it.

“Just, you may have to adjust your expectations,” she replies, glad of the darkness so that he can’t see what she knows must be a vulnerable expression on her face. “I’m not—it just might not happen, and you shouldn’t, um, feel bad.”

He hums before dropping his head to suck on her nipple through the fabric of her dress, chuckling when she grinds down against his hand. “I promise I’m not so arrogant to think I’m going to just blow your mind on the first try,” he replies and she can’t help snorting.

“I mean it,” he says, nipping her neck just under her ear. “I’m just enjoying touching you, listening to you make those little noises in the back of your throat like you’re surprised by how good it feels.” His middle finger strokes over her clit with a bit more pressure, before thrusting inside of her. She whimpers. He asks, “This okay?”

“Yes,” she breathes as he starts to thrust it in and out of her, the pad of his index finger still working her clit, until she’s a shivery mess. She can feel his erection against her hip and can’t help arching her back to press against it. He curses and thrusts in a little harder, drawing a cry out of her mouth.

It’s building and building. She’s familiar with this part, soon it’ll slide right out of reach, but for now she’s enjoying this, as ridiculous as it feels to let Toews fingerbang her in an elevator to distract her from her fears about their impending death. She’s practically riding his hand now, trying to get more of it, and when he slides in another finger she actually wonders if she might die just from this, the delicious stretch of her pussy around his fingers, pressing with unerring accuracy over and over against her g-spot.

“Oh my god,” she says, trembling, clinging to his shoulders. “Oh my god.”

“That’s it,” he says against her ear and the fizzing in her belly contracts.

“I think I’m gonna—I think I’m gonna—Jonny,” and the next thing she knows it feels like an explosion of sensation down there, her walls clenching down on his fingers, trying to keep him there as she gasps wetly into his shoulder, her entire world shaking apart. Lights go off, the earth shifts—it takes her a second to realize the elevator is moving again, not that he just made her come so hard the planet tilted on its axis. She can see him now, staring down at her with dark eyes, an expression she’s never seen before on his face. He extracts his fingers carefully, settling her dress, and not a moment too soon, because they hit the ground floor, and the elevator beeps before the doors spring open. Toews only just manages to tug Pat in front of him to shield his massive erection in time.

“Are you alright, sir? Ma’am?” A security guard holding up a lit flashlight asks, shining it into their eyes.

Toews blinks and clears his throat. “Yup, we’re all good.”

“Ma’am?” the security guard repeats, taking in her mussed appearance with some trepidation. God what she must look like.

“Yes, yeah,” she says, voice creaking. “Just a little claustrophobic. Had kinda a meltdown up there.”

“Ah yes,” the security guard says, “had a little power outage. Ordinarily the elevators are on the backup generator. We’re not sure what happened. Looks like everything’s back to normal now though.”

Pat coughs. “Yes, right, of course.”

She can’t help looking over her shoulder at Toews. His strained expression resolves into a wicked smile, and then he tosses her another one of those stupid winks. Ugh. She turns back around and gives the security guard a smile. God he’s going to be purely insufferable now.

"So uh...can we go?” she asks the security guard.

“Yup,” he says. “Sorry about the trouble.”

“Not your fault,” she says brightly, stepping out of the elevator with Toews hot on her heels.

Toews follows her outside into the sunshine, adjusting the hem of his shirt so that it hides the worst of it. “So,” he says.

“So,” she replies. Because nothing is ever going to be the same again. She just came on his hand, calling him Jonny like they were back at skills camp. Her eyes drop to his crotch before coming back up, feeling more than a little embarrassed. “You wanna go somewhere to take care of that?”

Toews cocks his head at her again before smiling. “How about tonight, your place, 8 o’clock?”

She nods quickly. “That sounds—um—really good.”

“Awesome,” he says softly.

Chapter Text

She tried it again on her own. Of course she did, she’d done it as soon as she got home. Just because he managed to pop a wheelie his first time on the equipment doesn’t mean he’s the only one who can do it. And it worked on her own. Hi ho silver, did it work, for which she is grateful, because childhood crush or not, being stuck with Jonathan Toews as the only person who could give her orgasms in life would seriously suck. That said, when she does it herself, it still doesn’t feel as good as it did with him. So it would appear if she wants to have truly excellent orgasms, she’s still stuck.

She figured she owed him a blowjob or something for leaving him hardup, but when she’d sunk to her knees, he’d bitten his lip and told her he couldn’t believe he was turning down head, but if she didn’t mind, would she please, please, let him fuck her. And good time had in that elevator that morning or not, she really hadn’t expected much. She’d never come from fucking. Obviously. Until today she’d never come at all, but she knew the statistics, the odds weren’t great. Still, she figured, the odds were definitely better for her coming from fucking than if she gave him a blowjob, so who was she to say no?

She is totally not prepared for the way he’s kissing her, stroking his cock back and forth over her folds, like he’s got all the time in the world, making her hitch her hips up, thrusting back against him like she’s the one with blue balls, desperate for anything at all. He looks really good naked. Like, she had some idea. His goddamn facebook is filled with shirtless shots on a lake. But it’s a different story to have all of that perfection between her thighs.

“Fuck, Jonny, just get a condom and get to it,” she says, hooking her leg around his hip. He stares down at her like he’s never seen her before, but then he’s scrambling back to his jeans, and the condom he has inside his wallet. He nearly tumbles right off the bed in his haste. She hides a smile. Good to see she’s not the only one so affected.

He gets the condom on with a precise flick of his wrist, kneeling between her spread legs, and then looks down at her, assessing. There’s never really been a sexy way to do this, trying to stick it in, that is. That’s how she’s always felt anyway, but when he tugs her down the bed, tossing pillows aside, and seemingly surges into her in the same move, she’s gotta reevaluate. That’s pretty fucking hot.

“Oh god,” she says as he slides home, “screw you and your coordination.”

He brushes his mouth across hers. “I believe you are.”

There’s a slight curve to his dick, and the precise rhythm and the angle are already doing a lot for her. Of course he’s good in bed. He’s stupidly infuriating that way. Or he would be if she didn’t find it out while he was currently balls deep inside her. She widens her thighs around his hips, allowing him to slide in even deeper, feeling slightly mollified when it’s his turn to curse, but then quickly reduced to gasping as his pelvis grinds against her clit.

“You’re so sensitive,” he says, brushing his lips down her throat, continuing to stroke inside her.

“How would you know?” she says as snottily as she can when she’s panting and clutching at his shoulders at the same time.

He gets his hand down between them, fingertips running over her clit, smirking as she jolts and tightens down around him involuntarily.

He keeps it up, thrusts slowing down until he’s more rocking inside her while he fingers her.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she says, nails scoring lines down his back. “It’s too much.”

He stills immediately. “Should I stop?”

“Fuck you, Toews, don’t you dare stop.”

He laughs breathlessly. “But you just said…”

“I know what I said!” she says, dragging him back down to kiss her, locking her feet around the small of his back, tugging him in so close he has to brace both arms on the pillows to keep from falling and crushing her.

He pulls back, brows furrowed. “I’m just saying, it’s confusing—”

“Do I have to beg you, Toews?” Really. It’s kind of amazing that they’re having any kind of conversation right now while he’s doing his best to fuck her boneless.

He smiles a little down at her. “I certainly wouldn’t say no.”

She rolls her eyes and he laughs. She asks, “How do you have this much self-control? Most of the guys I’ve been with just, y’know, do their thing.”

“I’m thinking of toxic waste right now,” he replies, rocking inside on another slow thrust. “That’ll keep anybody in check.”

“You, you—” she sputters, “you’re thinking about—”

“I’m kidding,” he says, brushing his nose against hers and tugging her thigh higher up so that he sinks in on his deepest thrust yet. “All joking aside, I’m not sure what that says about the quality of men you’ve been with.”

“They were fine,” Pat replies, a little defensive.

“Uhuh,” Jonny replies. He speeds up then, fucking in tight on strong shallow thrusts that make sparks appear behind her eyes, showing her what he’s made of. All she can do is moan and hang on for the ride.

“I’m sorry,” he says after a minute, eyes closed, forehead shiny with sweat. “Even the most dire thoughts of toxic waste aren’t gonna keep this going forever.”

She smiles despite herself. “You did good work this morning, buddy. I think I can let you have this one.”

He curses and comes only a few moments later. She knows it’s way too premature for this, they’ve haven’t even discussed what exactly ‘this’ is, but she kinda wishes he hadn’t used a condom. She wouldn’t have minded feeling it. God, really something has gone terrible wrong with her. Give her one orgasm and she's reduced to this. He takes a couple seconds to get his breath back, for which she’s profoundly grateful. Good to know he’s not the only one who can rock somebody's world in bed. But then he’s pulling out, and sliding down the sheets to put his mouth on her.

He barely has to flicker his tongue over her clit, and she’s coming again. Only the third time in her entire life.

“See,” he says, with a soft smile, sitting back on his heels, wiping his cheeks and chin where she got him so wet. “Sensitive.”

And she really really doesn’t want to say this. He hardly needs to get a bigger head than he has. But she also likes the way he makes her feel. Always had really, even when he was driving her up the wall at the office. “For you, maybe,” she says dropping her eyes, and trying not to wince from embarrassment.

He lays himself back down over her, brushing another mind blowing kiss against her mouth. “I’m sorry if this makes me a jerk,” he tells her, holding her gaze. “But I’m man enough to admit that I’m glad there’s no other guy who can do that for you.”

“Yet!” she replies, because she can’t let it go too far to his head.

“Sure, yet,” he replies, but there’s a look on his face that suggests he means to keep her. And she’s okay with that, she realizes. She really is.

Chapter Text

-1-

On his first day at Hogwarts, Patrick isn’t sure where he’s going to get sorted. His father is a muggle and his mum’s family legacy is one of unpredictability: aunts and uncles and cousins spread pell mell across the four houses. He doesn’t have a preference in any specific direction—maybe not Ravenclaw, because Patrick’s doing okay at primary school, but he doesn’t love it. He’d much rather play quidditch all day then hover over books.

One of the boys he knows from his youth quidditch league was sorted into Gryffindor last year, and Patrick wouldn’t mind being in the same house as him. He’d been serious about quidditch, not like the other kids who kept plowing their brooms into the ground or getting caught in trees. He was one of the tightest, fiercest chasers Patrick had ever seen. It must be in the back of his mind when the hat gets put on his head, because he hears it’s queer voice echoing in his head, ‘Hmm, I think you’ll do great things with the Toews boy.’ Patrick wonders if the hat means on the pitch or something else, but he doesn’t get the chance to ask it before it’s shouting, “Gryffindor” to the great hall and a bright cheer is going up from the Gryffindor table.

When he pulls the hat off his head, the first pair of eyes he meets belong to the kid from the youth hockey league. The Toews boy. He smiles at Patrick, a sly flash of a grin, and Patrick has to put his hand on his stomach. There’s a weird swooping sensation in his belly that he can’t explain.

-2-

Jonny gets made captain of the quidditch team in his third year, and Patrick’s second. Patrick had thought for sure they’d give it to Sharp or Keith or Seabrook. Sharpy’s going to graduate at the end of the year, and Seabs can’t ever shut up in the dressing room, but that was only really about seniority. Anybody who knows Jonny knows he makes sense. He’s only 13, but the boys all listen to him, even the other students in their house defer to him. His sense of the field is unparalleled. Well, except maybe to Patrick, but he’s a seeker, that’s his job.

“I can’t believe it,” Jonny says that night over a game of exploding snap in the common room, the embers in the fire going low. They should be going to bed, but they’re here still, drawing close to curfew.

“I know, McGonagall’s obviously crazy,” Patrick jokes. Jonny tosses a card at him and it explodes with a pop right in front of Patrick’s face. Patrick tosses another card back with a flick of his wrist, and then as Jonny’s wiping soot off his face says, “You’ll be great, Tazer.”

Jonny looks pissy about the mess, which is stupid considering he started it, but his face melts into a smile. “Thanks, mate.”

Patrick grins back. Jonny’s his best friend in the entire world. It’s impossible for him to imagine Jonny being bad at anything. It’s not in his makeup.

-3-

Patrick’s going to go pro when he graduates. They all know it. The Falcons have already been sniffing around, coming to their cup games. Patrick’s hoping for the Kestrels though, back in his native Ireland. And he’s hoping that maybe they’ll take Jonny. Only Jonny doesn’t seem to have a lot of interest in quidditch after school. They made him head boy this year, and he’s had more attention for his N.E.W.T.s than he has for the British and Irish League.

“Don’t you want to play?” he asks Jonny in the dressing room as they’re stripping off their dirty robes after practice one afternoon.

Jonny shrugs. “It’s a little early for all that.”

That’s crap and they both know it. Patrick’s got one more year of Hogwarts after this, and he’s been thinking about it seriously ever since they both made the U-17 squad last year.

“But what could be better than playing professionally?”

Jonny wipes his hands over his sweaty face, a strange expression in his eyes that Patrick can’t decipher. He blows out a breath and then smiles at Patrick’s quizzical expression. “Dunno, mate, nothing, I guess.”

Patrick’s not sure what happened right then, but he doesn’t like it. He considers asking again that night when he’s copying Jonny’s herbology notes in exchange for Patrick’s arithmancy homework, but Liesel Little, one of the most beautiful girls in the entire sixth year stops by their table before he can work up the nerve.

“Hullo, Kane,” she says in a purposefully sultry murmur, her hand going to his shoulder.

“Hullo, Little,” Patrick replies in the same tone of voice.

“You busy next Hogsmeade weekend?” she asks.

Patrick grins at her. “Don’t think so. Why? You have something in mind?”

“Maybe,” she says with a laugh, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder. “Don’t make plans.”

“I won’t,” Patrick replies. She waves at him and then heads for the door. Patrick turns back to Jonny, his eyebrows raised, ready to crow about the fact that Liesel Little may as well have just asked him out, but he finds him bent over his work, like he wasn’t paying attention at all.

Patrick prods him with his quill. “Can you believe that?”

Jonny looks up from his copied homework briefly, a quick smile on his face. “Pretty cool,” he says, but there’s something off.

“What is it?” Patrick asks, furrowing his brows. Jonny doesn’t have a thing for Liesel. He can’t. He’s seeing another seventh year in Hufflepuff and has been since the start of the term.

Jonny’s quill pauses on the page. He looks up again, expression mystified, like he has no idea what Patrick’s going on about. “What? Nothing. Good job, Kaner, I know you’ve been interested in her for a while.”

Patrick stares at him for a long moment and then lets it go.

-4-

It surprises nobody that Jonny gets ‘outstanding’s on all of his N.E.W.T.s, even arithmancy, which has never been his strong suit, but it does surprise him when Jonny gets chosen for auror training and says yes, rather than agreeing to the tryout contract that the Magpies extends him just before the end of the term.

“This wasn’t the plan,” Patrick says on the morning of Jonny’s graduation, sprawled out on Jonny’s bed.

“What plan?” Jonny asks, straightening out the cuffs of his dress robes for the feast.

“We were supposed to play in the league after school, and instead you’re becoming a flipping cop.”

“If I don’t wash out.”

Patrick snorts. “We both know you’re not going to wash out.”

Jonny meets his eyes in the mirror, lips quirked up. He looks sad almost and Patrick doesn’t understand. “That was your plan,” he says. “Not mine.”

“Well it was a good one!” Patrick protests. He doesn’t get why Jonny’s doing this. The sorting hat said they were going to be great. They’re supposed to graduate and take quidditch by storm. “You’re so bloody good, and you’re giving it all up.”

Jonny turns and walks over to the bed, the well tailored but sober fabric of his robe billowing out behind him. Patrick stares up at him confused as Jonny bends down over him, his hand cupping Patrick’s cheek. He lies frozen in shock as Jonny carefully brushes a kiss across his lips.

“What?” he says hoarsely, mouth open and eyes wide as Jonny pulls away.

Jonny turns back to the mirror, fiddling with his collar this time. He looks cool as a cucumber, not like he just pressed a kiss upon his straight best friend of the last six years in the middle of nowhere.

“What about your girlfriend?” he asks, when Jonny doesn’t say anything.

“We broke up,” Jonny replies.

“You never said!” Patrick says.

Jonny shrugs. “Wasn’t anything to say.”

“I’m your best mate, and you never told me you’d broken up with your girlfriend? Tazer, I don’t understand any of this.”

Jonny sighs. He summons up a smile, but it’s bittersweet. “I know, Kaner. That’s exactly the problem.”

-5-

They slowly fade out of each other’s lives after that. They still communicate sometimes by owl, but Jonny’s busy with training, and then later, after he graduates, Patrick’s busy with the wild ride of becoming a career quidditch player. The Kestrels are going through a rebuilding year and Patrick’s a huge part of it. He has new things to worry about, like getting his weight up and getting acclimated to the professional game.

Eventually the owls back and forth drop off. Patrick hears from Sharpy that Jonny has a boyfriend, and Patrick’s still dating Liesel. He doesn’t like to think about it, the way their friendship has dimmed to a mere memory, but he understands a little better now than he first did. At least, if he read what Jonny was trying to tell him that last day they were together correctly. He thinks he did. He wishes that Jonny didn’t have to go and ruin it sometimes. They had a good thing, his best friend in the entire world, and now they barely speak.

“You could always reach out and talk to him,” Sharpy says over a firechat, two years into his time with Kenmare. Jonny’s been posted to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in Oxford, because apparently there’s always some trouble there, between the university and the muggles and everything being a bit too close. They don’t have a quidditch team, but it’s not like it’s too far to apparate on an offday. He could go.

“Don’t know if he’d even want to see me,” Patrick replies to Sharpy.

Sharpy goggles at him. “Are you mad? Of course he’d want to see you. He’s your best mate in the whole world, Kaner.”

Patrick shrugs. “I didn’t bloody-well ask for him to go and develop feelings for me.”

Sharpy gives him a look and it’s so eerily similar to the humorously bitter expression on Jonny’s face the day he’d kissed him that Patrick considers tossing a shoe into his fireplace.

“What?” he snarls. “Say it!”

“Nothing, Kaner,” Sharpy replies. “Nothing at all.”

*

He gets named to the national squad for the world cup in Canada the next year. He nearly dumps Jonny’s congratulations letter into the fire, but he stops himself at the last moment, folding the parchment carefully and stowing it into his desk before giving Jonny’s burrowing owl, Winnie, a treat.

“Good to see you, old friend,” he says, stroking his feathers. Winnie clacks his beak at him, and stares, blinking, until he sighs and finally pens out a quick, “thanks” for him to take back to his master.

It is a tremendous honor, and six months later they win it for England, practically destroying Canada in the final on home soil, Patrick’s never been more proud in his entire life. Holding the cup up afterwards while Canada’s players dejectedly fly off the pitch, Patrick wonders briefly what it would’ve been like if Jonny had kept playing. He would’ve been eligible to play for Canada or England. England had been stacked to the gills already, but he thinks if Jonny had played for Canada, they would’ve had to battle for it.

He gets another owl from Jonny upon the victory and has to smile.

Thanks for ruining the first world cup win in Canada for me, it says in Jonny’s hastily-penned scrawl.

Glad to be of service, Patrick writes back.

The truth is, he misses Jonny terribly. Too much really. Liesel broke up with him right before training had begun, and it’s a shock to realize he misses Jonny more than he missed his girlfriend of nearly six years. It’s near inexplicable really, because that’s as long as he and Jonny were ever even really friends.

It’ll be a little while before he gets a reply. If he gets a reply. Things have been heating up between the wizarding world and the muggles ever since Brexit. Jonny must be horribly busy trying to contain that ugliness. Patrick still thinks about fire-chatting him for the first time in years anyway.

-6-

He never expects that nasty hubbub to come to his doorstep bearing Jonny along with it, but between the ugliness against a United Europe and the idiot former muggle prime minister accusing the wizarding world of interference in their election, obliviates are up at a 300% rise apparently. There are plenty of wizards who wouldn’t mind a return to the days of Empire, before the best witches and wizards were coming out of Scandinavia and East Asia and South America. Being an international quidditch star and an icon now of supposed English triumph who gets followed around regularly by the wizarding press, even in the offseason when he’s at his family’s home in Derry, is bound to attract the attention of some crazies.

That offseason, while his parents and sisters are off in S’Espalmador, he gets nabbed by WUKDIP goons in the middle of his morning jog along the River Foyle. He has no idea what they want with him, or what he could ever do for them, but it’s clear they planned his kidnapping carefully.

They portkey him to some drafty castle in Wales, threaten him with a bunch of finger-loss charms if he doesn’t cooperate, and when that doesn’t work alternately imperio and crucio him for hours. Patrick’s always had a natural intransigence against the Imperius curse. Nobody has ever known why. When they’d practiced in DADA in school he’d been the only one to regularly throw it off.

Sobbing and in agony, but still refusing to give in after days of torture, they stuff him full of bitter potions. He feels ill and out-of-control, his head floating off of his shoulders and his stomach churning, the residual ache from the cruciatus curse lingering in bones. They keep asking him questions and demanding he do something, and he doesn’t understand anymore which way is up, let alone what they want.

“You gave him too much,” a WUKDIP fuckstick snarls to one of the others after they try yet again to get him to read some prepared statement on Anglo Superiority.

“His resistance is too great for the normal dose! Never seen anything like it.”

He thinks he’s going to die here. Who knows that he’s even missing? It was only 5 AM, practically deserted, nobody there to see them grab him. He feels especially crap about not bothering to reach out to Jonny now. It’s such a sorry way to go, without trying to resolve this falling out between them before he went. He wants his friend back.

When the roaring noises start, it takes him a while to realizes it’s aurors storming the place, mounting a rescue. He’s too sick and out of it from all the potions.

He wants to warn the aurors that the WUKDIPs they have guarding him are dangerously competent spell casters, something Patrick had learned the hard way even before the torture when he’d attempted to fight in St. Columbs park and they’d disarmed and stunned him like he was little more than a child. He can do nothing at all. They have him tied up with a bewitched binding, gagged, so ill he can barely keep track of what’s going on. No help to anybody at all. Jonny would know what to do here. God. He really should’ve fire-chatted Jonny like he planned.

Patrick’s jerked out of feeling sorry for himself when his bonds are cut by a cloaked auror just as a killing curse flies over his head, brusque strong hands pull him to his feet.

“Watch out,” Patrick says weakly when the gag gets tugged out of his mouth.

The auror turns and shouts, “Impetus fulminis.”

Patrick watches in awe as a surge of lightning blasts out of a familiar springy holly wand, roasting two of the WUKDIPs before they can fire anything back at them.

“Jonny?” Patrick whispers.

Jonny throws the hood of his cloak back and smiles. “Glad to have you with us,” he says, and then tugs Patrick’s hand, running for the doors. Somehow they make it out. Patrick doesn’t remember because he loses consciousness.

*

He wakes up in a bed in a charming flat on the river Thames. Or the Isis, he guesses they call it around here. Posh bullshit, that.

“Shouldn’t I be at St. Mungo’s?” he asks hoarsely when Jonny comes in to what can only be his own bedroom going by the furnishings and that ridiculous Winnipeg Whomping Willows Poster. As if anybody else on the entire planet likes that team.

“They didn’t have the room, actually. You weren’t the only celebrity they abducted.”

“Who else?” Patrick asks, weakly trying to push himself up when Jonny offers him a glass of water.

Jonny helps him sit up and then holds the glass when Patrick’s can’t quite manage with his shaking hands. “A few others on the national team, two of the members of the band Single Way, a talk show host, three journalists, several politicians, and twelve film stars. St. Mungo’s is a madhouse between all the security and the press. Thought you’d rather be here.”

Patrick nods, looking down. “Yeah, ‘course.”

He notices the fancy watch on Jonny’s wrist, and realizes it’s a monitoring watch. They’re expensive, the magic that goes into making them complicated and old. The price goes up with every person added to the watch face, and looking at it, Patrick sees that there are hands for all of the members of Jonny’s family, and…and him. “What’s this?” Patrick asks softly, reaching out to tap the face. He doesn’t see the name of anybody who could be a boyfriend. Patrick swallows.

“It’s how I knew something was wrong as it so happens,” Jonny replies, skimming his fingers over the glass. “It woke me up.” He lets out a breath. “Took me far too long to find you though.”

“Hardly your fault.”

Jonny looks down at him with his big thickly-lashed expressive eyes, the ones he used to hear girls sighing about all the time back in school, the ones that shine, dark and disarming, down on him now, and Patrick feels so stupid all of a sudden.

He reaches up and tangles their hands together. “I’m sorry,” he says.

Jonny swallows and blinks down at him. “For what?”

“Kiss me?” Patrick asks, tightening his grip on Jonny’s fingers.

“Okay,” Jonny whispers and bends his head. Their lips meet in a soft caress that quickly turns hungry, making up for lost years. “You’ll do great things with the Toews Boy,” the sorting hat said some ten years ago. He just misunderstood exactly what.

Chapter Text

When he woke up that morning, ready to go to practice, this was the last thing he ever would’ve expected could’ve happened to him. It doesn’t make Jonny feel any better that he’s not alone, that there are are 50,000 cases currently reported, and that a sky high 30% of all professional athletes in the US are currently experiencing dynamic realignment. Well, he and Patrick are the only two on the team and it’s like some giant fucking cosmic joke. They keep saying it’s not a big deal, that it’s fixable.

He supposes he’s taking it better than Patrick, who’s suddenly dealing with his adrenals dumping out an excess of alpha-linked androgens he’s never had to deal with. Jonny sits quietly in his chair in Bowman’s office as Patrick shouts. He’s on his feet, red-faced and gesticulating, about as close to violence as Jonny’s ever seen him get.

Bowman, a beta, sends him a look of entreaty as he says, “Patrick, you’ve got to calm down.”

Jonny sighs. He doesn’t have time for this. He feels hot and achy, presumably because of the sudden dramatic changes to his physiology.

“Knock it off,” he says, as an alpha would command a rowdy beta. The way he usually treats Patrick in the locker room.

It works. Patrick stops, shoulders dropping, posture relaxing. He turns to look at Jonny with wide eyes.

Oh. Oh god.

It works like Jonny is the omega that Patrick is courting, like he’s trying to gentle an aggressive suitor. The same way Patrick used to draw him out of it when he got into funks early on his career. His face flames up.

They are this way because a bunch of realignment activists tainted the supplier of the team’s whey protein and they’re going to stay like this for at least the next week or so, because the drugs to turn them back are in short supply with so many others in the same situation. He’s going to have to learn and learn fast that all of his instincts are not, well, appropriate right now.

“I need to go,” he says, getting up from his chair so fast that it crashes to the ground. He dashes out of the office before Stan or Patrick can say anything to him.

*

It takes him three days to admit that the bone-deep ache he feels isn’t just because of his radically mutated genetics, but because he’s gone into heat. He probably wouldn’t admit it at all, if an alpha hadn’t come sniffing at the grocery store, putting Jonny’s back up. It would be wrong to say that omegas are naturally submissive, but they are, well–Jonny has no better word for it than pliable. Even when they say no there was a certain ductility to them, like maybe they would change their minds if an alpha pushed just a little harder. And there is no part of Jonny that is like that.

The alpha female who sought him out in the freezer section immediately puts her hands up, face going contrite. “Did somebody hurt you?” she asks softly.

Jonny’s mouth drops open, startled. Of course it would seem that way–his inexplicable aggression at her mere presence, before she could even get the words out to entreat him to go home with her. If Jonny met an omega off the ice with such combative body language, he’d get the same read. He’d assume the worst.

It takes everything he has not to swear at her and tell her to get out of his space. “Just. Not interested,” he says, short and clipped, even as the achy, hungry feeling inside him intensifies from the scent of her pheromones.

“I’ll go then,” she says, and she turns around on her heel, showing Jonny her back in a way that would’ve made him growl if he was still an alpha. But he isn’t anymore and she couldn’t possibly know. He has to remind himself, palm pressed to glass door of the freezer case that she means no disrespect.

When he gets to practice the next day, he walks into the dressing room, mind running a mile a minute on how to deal with this stupid heat thing, when Sharpy inhales the air and starts coughing. “Hooo, boy, you gotta–Jonny, you gotta deal with that shit.”

He looks over his shoulder and Jonny follows his gaze to where Patrick stands frozen in front of his stall, hands fisted tight in a towel. His cheeks have gone pink and his teeth are digging into his lower lip, and Jonny realizes with a sinking stomach, he’s fighting to control himself, because he’s never smelled an omega in heat from the other side before. He’s never had to learn the discipline required of an alpha just to traverse adult-life.

“No,” Jonny says to him, eyebrows drawn down, honestly unsure if Patrick will comply or if Sharpy will embarrassingly have to intervene.

Patrick shuts his eyes, the rigidity going out of his spine. He sinks back down to the bench. And Jonny lets out a breath, feeling a little sheepish. Of course he’d respect it. He’s been on the other side before. Jonny turns away to start gearing up, glad that the only other alpha on the team is Sharpy, even if it’s not fucking fair that four days ago, he asked for peanut butter flavor for his protein shake rather than strawberry.

Jonny hears somebody ask Patrick if he’s going to be good to practice with Jonny there. Patrick softly gives an affirmative and Jonny swallows. Well, that’s something.

During drills, Patrick skates up to him. “Is that what I smell like?” he asks, laying his hands on top of his stick.

“I don’t…I don’t know? I can’t smell myself,” Jonny says.

“It’s fucking awkward, springing wood every time you walk by,” Patrick says. “Is that what it’s always like for you? Around O’s in heat?”

Jonny colors up. He and Patrick don’t talk about this. They talk about a lot, more than a lot of alphas and omegas that aren’t fucking would share, but not this. “No, just the ones I’m uh…interested in. I’m not fourteen anymore.”

“Right.” Patrick looks away, running his tongue over his teeth. “It smells…pretty intense. You gotta be feeling it bad right now.”

“I’m fine,” Jonny replies and determinedly doesn’t think about what happens when Patrick goes into heat. The way he comes into practice every single day of it smelling well-fucked. You don’t need sex to get through a heat, but it sure as hell makes it a lot easier.

Patrick opens his mouth like he’s going to say something and then shakes his head. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah.”

He skates off, leaving Jonny still standing there, suddenly aware of the unexpected, uncomfortable slick on the inside of his shorts.

*

Jonny doesn’t like fucking omegas through a heat. It’s a little too rooted in biological imperative—both parties are almost completely detached from emotion or pleasure when they’re caught in the throes of must, must, must. It’s disconcerting to think about it from the other side, to contemplate letting another alpha get him through this. To let somebody knot him. He hasn’t masturbated, hasn’t reached down between his thighs for that tender place that just keeps leaking out moisture.

But the hungry, raw feeling intensifies to the point where his clothing is uncomfortable against his skin and practice is an agony and he just wants to not feel it anymore.

He calls Patrick up, because he doesn’t know who to talk to about this. He just means to ask for advice, but when Patrick’s warm, deep voice filters over the line, just saying ‘hello,’ what comes out of his mouth is something else entirely.

“Come over,” he says, injecting it with unconscious command. There’s silence at the other end of the line. “I mean, if you want to,” Jonny clarifies, shutting his eyes in embarrassment even though Patrick isn’t there to see him. He wouldn’t just order somebody around, but ‘I want you, come take me now' suddenly feels as instinctual as breathing. He’s not even certain what it is he’s really asking for.

“Yeah,” Patrick says after a moment. “Give me thirty minutes.”

Thirty minutes. That’s no time at all. And yet Jonny wants to whine in frustration. Now, he wants it now.

The doorbell finally rings, and Jonny opens the door on Patrick, who says, “Fair warning, I don’t know what I’m doing,” before shoving Jonny back against the wall and slotting their mouths together. Jonny goes instantly lightheaded, something wild beating inside his chest, like the wings of a bird. Patrick’s hands are at his jaw and his lips are plush and soft against Jonny, tongue a delicate tease, until Jonny opens up, lets Patrick in.

Patrick tastes so good, kissing him for all he’s worth—like everything Jonny could’ve hoped for. But that’s what everything feels like in heat, he thinks desperately, hands tight on Patrick’s slim hips.

“How wet are you?” Patrick asks, pulling back, voice like whiskey over gravel.

“Fuck, it’s not gonna take much,” Jonny says, leaning his head back against the wall.

*

Patrick fingers him open as he lies back on the bed, teeth around the knob of his wrist, listening to the obscene, wet squelch of Patrick’s knuckles sliding deep inside him and desperately trying to keep his hips flat to the sheets. (‘Have you tried anything?’ Patrick asked. ‘No,’ Jonny replied shortly.) Patrick’s cheeks are pink and he’s sweating, hair curling on his forehead. He looks like he’s been doing sprints, and when Jonny bucks his hips up at last, unable to stop himself from pushing back into the pressure of Patrick’s fingertips against his prostate, Patrick chokes down on a groan.

His cock is bigger than Jonny’s and it’s swelled up now, barely contained by Patrick’s briefs. Jonny looks at him, pictures peeling the stretched-out fabric down his thighs, revealing his cock. It’s daunting. Jonny knows it’s going to fit. Patrick definitely knows it’s going to fit. (‘It’s uh, large with the knot, but I’ve been with bigger,’ he murmured soothingly.) He imagines that for a moment though, as Patrick’s fingers work him. How Patrick would struggle to get it inside him, how Jonny would have to go so easy and pliant. It’s strangely hot from both sides of it, as if Jonny is inhabiting both points of view, that of alpha giving it to his mate, enjoying the hot cling of a mate’s hole, and that of omega, being filled, forced open, driven into. It’s inexplicably tangled in his head and he comes with his tongue pressed up behind his teeth, trying to contain anything embarrassing he might say.

Patrick waits for him to come down, but when Jonny finally opens hazy eyes to look at him, he’s huffing on gasping breaths, fine tremors rocking his body. The cost of holding back.

“Yeah, okay,” Jonny says, rolling over onto his knees, offering up his ass in a way that would’ve driven him crazy if it had been him on the other side. He tries not to think about it too hard, forearms braced on the sheets.

Patrick finally fumbles out of his underwear and lines up behind him, cockhead nudging up against his slippery opening. He hesitates behind Jonny, hands fluttering over his hips.

Jonny bites at his lip. “Use your…use your thumb to hold me open. You’ll be able to—” he breaks off when Patrick complies, pressing his hole open and guiding his cock in inch by slow inch. Jonny shudders and battles not to tense up against the invasion. Patrick keeps his movements smooth and unhurried, but by the time his swelling bulge of his knot is flush to Jonny’s ass, Jonny’s shaking, spine bowing. It’s so much.

“Jeeeee-sus,” Patrick breathes, fingers splayed on Jonny’s hips. “Jesus. How do you—fuck, Jonny, the pressure,” he says, a little desperately.

Jonny shakes his head, nails dragging rents into the sheets. “Just hold on,” Jonny tells him, remembering his own first time sticking his dick inside someone. “Think about something else.”

Patrick laughs raggedly. “I couldn’t if I tried.” He runs a hand down Jonny’s thigh, fingertips so light it makes him shiver and fight not to tense up. “Hey, widen your stance, it’ll make it a little easier to take.”

Jonny blows out a breath and pushes his knees wider on the sheets. Patrick smoothly sinks the last few inches inside and then his knot is bumping right up against Jonny’s prostate. The contact is electrifying. He gasps, immediately and inescapably overwhelmed.

“I don’t think—” Jonny says urgently, cutting off when the smallest shift in Patrick’s hips causes another voltaic charge up his spine.

Patrick bends down over him, mouth close to his ear. “I know, I know, it’s a lot,” he says softly, drawing back out, the drag backwards equally alien to Jonny. “But this body was made for this.”

Patrick scrapes his teeth over Jonny’s earlobe at the same moment he pistons his hips back in, jerking a groan out of Jonny’s mouth. Jonny doesn’t know how to explain it. Sex and pleasure have always been focused on his cock, now he’s barely paying attention to it, beyond the wet slap of it against his abs as Patrick thrusts inside him. He reaches down, pushing it flat to his belly, palm catching on the slick, sensitive head. The sudden spark of sensation is too much, it makes him shout and clench down around the intruding length of Patrick’s cock.

Patrick makes a noise of distress and then he’s coming, knot punched up against Jonny’s prostate. It takes him a moment to realize the animalistic groans are coming from him as he swivels his hips, working Patrick’s knot back and forth inside him as the hot, endless spill of Patrick’s come begins to fill him up.

“Oh god, oh god,” Jonny repeats fervently. He can’t get it quite right though and the pleasure is intense at yet somehow completely unfulfilling.

Patrick puts a hand on Jonny’s belly, drawing Jonny upright and then sinking back onto his heels so that Jonny is spread across his thighs, impaled on his lap. It forces his knot deep, so deep Jonny’s straining around it, but it’s also exactly what he needs, the unyielding jut of it slotted in just right. Jonny comes so hard some of it hits him in the face. He shakes and judders in Patrick’s arms while Patrick rubs soothing circles on his belly, cheek pressed to Jonny’s shoulder.

“Oh, Jonny, Jonny,” Patrick tells him as they’re both catching their breath. “You opened up so good for me. Stuffed so full of my cock.”

“Yeah,” Jonny says, lips quirking on a smile Patrick can’t see. Looks like that instinct to say that shit just goes with the territory of being an alpha. Jonny’s certainly been there and he knows exactly what Patrick wants to hear. “Wanted all of it.”

His smile widens a little further at Patrick’s pleased little moan.

But the endorphins gradually recede, making him once again aware of the incredible width of the dick he’s impaled upon. With both of them in biological hyper-drive it’s gonna be a while before Patrick stops coming and his knot recedes. Jonny does his best not to panic. Patrick seems to get it though, because he reaches down between Jonny’s thighs, pressing at the soft sensitive space just behind Jonny’s balls with the pads of two fingers.

“This helps,” he breathes, manipulating that spot gently, prostate caught between the external pressure of Patrick’s fingers and the inescapable curve of his knot inside, until Jonny’s cock is swollen and heavy again and he’s slumped back against Patrick’s chest, making him hold both of them up.

Fuck. He doesn’t even want to go again, but arousal is insistent and irritating. Like an itch he can’t ignore. Jonny reaches down and slides his thumb back and forth over the head of his cock, the precome drizzling from it is more restrained now that he’s an omega, but it’s still enough to keep things wet and messy. He’s mewling terribly, high-pitched little sobs that stick in his throat. He’s aware of Patrick, aware of his strong bulk supporting him, his deft hands playing him like an instrument, and the heady smell of him. But he’s so fucking out of it—taken to a place that’s so good it almost hurts.

Patrick draws his fingers back further, feeling along Jonny’s rim caught tight around his dick and Jonny comes a third time with a cry, back arched, streaking up the sheets.

“Hey, hey,” Patrick says, urgently, hands under his thighs. “Lift off.”

Patrick’s knot has finally gone down and as it pops free of his body, Jonny collapses to the bed, muscles sore everywhere.

“That was—” he never gets to say what that was, because he passes out.

*

He wakes up to find Patrick asleep beside him, the bright crescents of his eyelashes glowing gold against his cheeks. Jonny’s heat is still buzzing through him. It’ll pass when it passes, he supposes. For now, his hole feels tender, raw, overused. He looks over at Patrick, the soft rise and fall of his chest, strong forearms, softened cock lying against his thigh and decides neither of them are ready for round two. He gets up with a soft groan, padding to the bathroom.

Need is already rising up in him again, thrumming desperately, slicking up his thighs. He turns the taps on the bath on cold and then climbs in, groaning as the cold water hits his skin. He rests his head on the lip of the tub and closes his eyes, focusing on the thunderous noise of water rushing into the porcelain basin as it slowly fills up, submerging his body.

Patrick finds him with the water up to his chest, cheek pressed to the porcelain, breathing hard.

“Alright?” he asks squatting down at the side of the tub, eyes on Jonny’s face.

Jonny makes a low noise in the back of his throat, water sloshing as he shifts himself. It’s a difficult question. Jonny doesn’t like heat. All he wants is to be mated over and over. That doesn’t come from him. But the way he felt with Patrick thrust inside him, the achingly perfect sense memory that rolls through him, that’s real. That’s all him.

Patrick reaches out and strokes his wet hair back from his forehead, fingertips lingering. He sighs. “This is a little weird.”

Jonny shuts his eyes, laughing softly rueful. “It probably wasn’t my best idea to do this with a teammate and a…” he breaks off and swallows. “A friend.”

Patrick sits down, back against the wall of the tub. “Cardinal sin.”

Having Patrick so near when he’s like this is painful. The chilled water magnified to freezing on his burning skin. He’s hard again, and if he wasn’t already in water, he’s sure his thighs would be a wet mess.

“It was you or nobody,” Jonny tells Patrick urgently, needing him to know he doesn't regret it, however stupid it was. The desire to be close to him swells up inside him, and he reaches out, tracing the shell of Patrick’s ear with a finger.

Patrick turns his head, catching Jonny’s finger gently between his teeth, tongue darting out to swirl over the tip.

“We better get to a bed,” Jonny says hoarsely, “otherwise I’ll fuck you right here on the floor.”

A dimple appears in Patrick’s cheek, lips quirked.

“What?” Jonny asks.

“Nothing,” Patrick says. “Just getting a real picture for you what you’re like as an alpha.”

“I am an alpha,” Jonny says, getting to his feet in the tub, the water pouring down off of him. His cheeks blaze hot with color and his erection juts before him, but his spine is straight.

“Yeah,” Patrick says, tongue flickering unconsciously out over his lower lip as he stares at Jonny. He slowly gets to his feet. “Yeah,” he repeats, dragging Jonny in for a kiss. He presses himself against Jonny, inviting him to wrap Patrick up in his arms. For a second he could imagine what this might be like, everything flipped back the way it should be, but then Patrick’s knot starts to firm up against his belly, and the inevitable urgency starts to build up in Jonny’s blood. He tears his mouth away to pant into Patrick’s shoulder.

Patrick tightens a hand at the back of his neck, soothing and steady as his other hand slides around Jonny’s hip. Jonny knows what’s coming. He’s waiting for it. But he still whines high in his throat when Patrick sinks skilled fingers inside him as easily as breathing. “I got you,” Patrick says.

Chapter Text

When Jonny gets the email to register for reunion, he does the math and then won’t let Patrick register when he signs himself up.

“We are not going to go that deep in the playoffs,” Patrick says with a laugh. Although a part of him always believes they’re going all the way until the chips are well and truly down on the table. That said, he knows better than to say as much out loud.

Jonny snorts. He knows him too well. “Fuck off.”

They make it to the Western Conference Finals, shock of all shock. They go so far that when reunion rolls around and Jonny’s got his flight into Hartford coming up, he looks at the reminder check-in email and then at Patrick and says, “I could go a few days late.”

Patrick’s exhausted. They’re getting destroyed down the center and the team is on the ropes. Patrick fully believes if he can’t win without his boyfriend in the audience, then he doesn’t deserve it. He drops a kiss on Jonny’s bare shoulder, exposed by his stupid summer tank top, and tells him to go.

“You’re sure?” Jonny asks, shutting his laptop.

Patrick nods. “Yeah.”

That afternoon Jonny leaves for the east coast. A few minutes before puck drop he sends a Vine of all the guys together at Miya’s Sushi, wishing him good luck, glasses of Firecracker raised in salute, and then Patrick proceeds to receive the beating of his life. The ‘Hawks see their chance at the next round slip through their fingers. At the end of it, Patrick really wishes Jonny was here. They keep coming so close and then going out in a fiery explosion at the last second. Patrick’s proved a lot to the world in the last few years, certainly that he shouldn’t have gone undrafted. That they shouldn’t fucking overlook the small guys like him and Datsyuk. But every time something goes wrong, he’s got some asshole questioning his commitment and his drive and yes, still, forever and always, his size.

Patrick’s been relying on Jonny’s brand of silent support since he was 18. He looks down at his phone, thumb hovering over Jonny’s number, and closes his eyes. He already knows everything that Jonny would say and he doesn’t want to interrupt Jonny’s reunion with Patrick’s self-pity. So he suffers through the interviews and locker clean out, and grits his teeth through his interactions with his dad. He’s exhausted and aching. It’ll be a while before he can shake this one off. All he wants to do is go home, drink a couple beers, and sleep for a year.

He gets a text from Sharpy as he’s leaving the arena for the last time. Come on, son, leave now and you won’t even be late. Patrick stops and shakes his head, a smile coming to his lips unbidden. Well, it’s not like he has anywhere else to be.

*

He gets into Tweed at 8:30 PM. It’s odd to realize that the people who are staring at him, eyes narrowed in concentration aren’t trying to figure out if he’s Patrick Kane, famous Blackhawk, but whether or not he’s that asshole they remember from Stochastic Processes sophomore year. He runs into two girls traveling together who were both in Pierson with him. They surprise him by giving him big hugs and either don’t know he’s playing in the NHL or are polite enough not to ask about it after his team got bounced.

“Do you want to share a cab with us?” one of them, Sarah, asks.

Amy, the other one, is married and four months pregnant. She was a partier in school and one of the last people Patrick expected to be popping out babies at 27. Sarah points out that she feels centuries away from even considering nuptials, like most people she knows, handily lumping Patrick in with them.

There are guys on Patrick’s team who are married, almost all of them got hitched in a big wave about two years back and some of them already have kids running around. But aside from Sharpy, most of his buddies from college still check “single” off the box when they turn in their taxes. Everybody else has only just completed their first round of post-grad education or are starting to apply—Duncs hasn’t even left New Haven, what with staying on for his PhD. Tough time to be juggling weddings and babies.

“What about you?” Amy asks with a smile, leaning around Sarah to meet his eyes as the cab speeds down 95 towards campus.

Patrick shrugs. It’s been five years and a week since he graduated, since he first kissed Jonny, since he realized he was in love with him. When ten years rolls around, Patrick’s only real thought is to have a cup ring by then, but he can see having another ring—Jonny’s ring.

“Ah, from the smile on your face I’d say there’s somebody,” Sarah says.

Patrick shrugs again.

He gets a text from Sharpy as they’re coming off the highway that the guys are all at Bar Pizza and so he asks the cab driver to do a quick detour for him, telling Sarah and Amy he’ll catch up with them later as he slings his backpack up onto his shoulder and salutes them goodnight.

When he dashes inside, it takes him a moment to spot the guys in all the milling bodies, crowded as Bar always is. But after craning around for a bit, he spots Jonny in the tap room, in a Yale Hockey cap, elbows braced against the bar as he leans back against it. When Patrick catches his eye, he’s already smiling that half-smile that Patrick knows is just for him. Something eases inside of him. Jonny nudges Sharpy who’s standing next to him.

“Peeks! You bastard. You made it,” Sharpy says. He gives Patrick a backslapping hug and before Patrick can even ask him how he’s doing he says, “We’ve been waiting for thirty goddamn minutes for a table, but maybe we can use your pretty face to get them to seat us quicker.”

Patrick rolls his eyes at him and says 'hi' to the other guys. Seabs has gained a little weight and Duncs has the sides of his head shaved like some Brooklyn hipster, but otherwise it’s like no time has passed at all. Jonny pushes a pint of the toasted blonde into his hand and rests his chin on Patrick’s shoulder, letting Patrick breathe in the familiar smell of his deodorant and soap. It looks innocent enough, Patrick knows, they’ve made an artform out of this—just two buddies hugging. Nobody can see the need in Patrick’s veins, the strong desire to lose himself in Jonny’s warmth, but if they were alone, he’d be pushing Jonny back against the bar and taking his mouth in a kiss that begged for Jonny to make him forget.

“There’s a dance party at Partners,” Sharpy says knowingly, referring to the one gay club Patrick knows of in New Haven. “We should go.”

Jonny snorts and Patrick takes a long gulp of his beer. They end up with a long table in one of the back rooms, Jonny’s thigh braced comfortingly against his knee. It’s been five years, and yet, sitting there, in that moment it’s like no time has passed at all. As if time has just come to a standstill. The last time Patrick was here he didn’t know what Jonny tasted like or the sounds he made when he was close. The last time he was here, Patrick felt exactly as full up with Jonny as he is now. It’s startling, almost.

After dinner, overfull on pizza and beer, on the walk over to Three Sheets to meet up with the rest of the guys who played for the team (‘No, Sharpy, a dance party at Partners isn’t happening’), right in front of the new bougie cafe Maison Mathis (or as Duncs gleefully refers to it–Maison Capitalism), they run into another knot of people they knew from college. Everybody gets caught up exclaiming how great they look and how good it is to see each other again and asking inane questions about where they’re working.

He doesn’t know what to say when he comes face to face with Krysta. She looks good, hair grown out long, beautiful legs still going on for miles.

“Hey, Pat,” she says, and leans forward to hug him. “Sorry about the loss.”

Patrick winces and she looks apologetic. “Too soon?”

Patrick’s still coming up in bruises. Yeah, he would say it’s too soon. “Nah, just part of the rodeo.”

Krysta nods seriously. “So where is—“ she looks around, cutting herself off when she spots Jonny standing off the side, engrossed in his own conversation. Her expression is the same one he remembers from sitting with her, smoking up on that dock before she told him it was over.

“If you can find one, surely the other can’t be far behind,” Patrick replies.

“As was always the case,” she says with a smile.

“Yeah,” Patrick says, looking over at Jonny and considering if he can get Jonny to ditch Three Sheets and just take him back to Duncs’ place, where they’re all crashing, and ruin him. The idea holds appeal, especially right now, when Patrick’s trying very hard not to refresh all of the post-mortems on his phone. Jonny looks up and intercepts his gaze.

He nods at Krysta and then draws Patrick aside. “I booked a room at The Study for tonight,” he says, just low enough for only Patrick to hear. “Get through the next hour and we’ll go.”

“I’m that obvious, eh,” Patrick says, grinning up at him.

“Nah,” Jonny says, spinning his baseball cap around so he can bump their foreheads together. “I had plans of my own tonight.”

He winks and then he backs away to go leap up on Seabs’ back with a whoop, forcing him to carry Jonny around in a piggyback ride. Patrick shakes his head with a fond smile.

“So,” Krysta says, coming up beside him as they watch Jonny and the guys roughhousing. She asks, casually, “How long’s it been?”

Patrick doesn’t know why he’s surprised she figured them out. Probably because everybody who doesn’t explicitly know is so ready to buy the best bros excuse. But, she did dump him for a reason. He wonders if he should couch it, mention the first time Patrick said ‘I love you’ rather than the actual date, so that it isn’t patently obvious he fell into a relationship with Jonny only days after his last one with her ended. In the end, he decides it doesn’t matter.

“Five years as of last Monday.”

Krysta whistles. “Really it’s more like ten though,” she says.

Patrick laughs. “Guess you could say that,” he tells her and then nudges her companionably on the shoulder. “Listen, take care of yourself.”

He waves goodbye and jogs to catch up with the rest of the guys. By his reckoning, he’s only got 50 minutes left to go.

Chapter Text

After the Biel/Ajax game, they go to some club in a warehouse off of the Voltaplatz called Nordstern. Patrick feels like he’s stepped into some trance music video as soon as they walk through the doors, with the strobing lights and pulsing downbeat. But he’s freezing and unlike Segs he didn’t fortify himself with beer throughout the match, so he’s glad to get a couple of drinks down the hatch. It’s so crowded, he doesn’t stay cold for long.

The fog machine keeps spitting out mist and the music is so loud he can feel it vibrating through his sternum. Patrick finds himself at the loose and easy stage of drunk, sweaty from dancing when another vapor cloud swamps the dance floor, filling up his nose with that familiar smell. The music has reached a pounding crescendo and people around him are jumping up and down. Patrick closes his eyes, lets himself just feel it a moment, the pleasant sloshing sensation of the dance floor under his feet. He missed this.

When he opens his eyes again, he blinks. It looks like the striker on Ajax, Toews, is standing across the dance floor, head turned in profile like somebody called his name. At least, Patrick assumes it’s him. He’s in a black sweater that hugs his chest and biceps and jeans, rather than the red and white Ajax jersey so it’s harder to tell. But then he turns fully around and Patrick’s pretty sure. He swallows, unsure why he’s being hit with a sudden case of nerves and adrenaline. He hadn’t even heard of Toews before today, and Patrick’s a famous athlete himself. Although more infamous these days.

The guy, Toews or maybe not Toews, looks over and catches him staring. He looks startled for a moment and Patrick looks away, shamed. Fuck he’s gotta keep it together better than this. He lets out a breath and then heads back to the bar. He needs to find the other guys and tell them he’s quits for the night.

When he gets there though, the only person he sees is Gossweiler who looks like he’s making good headway with some pretty blonde chick and Patrick isn’t enough of a dick to interrupt that. Fuck.

“Buy you a drink?” a deep voice says to his left. Patrick looks over and startles when he sees Toews leaning his forearms against the bar, looking over at Patrick with a slight smile.

“Uh…” he starts. Toews raises a brow. Patrick’s face flushes up and he drops his eyes. “Sure, yes, please, I’d like…that.”

God he sounds like a total trainwreck. He doesn’t even know why he’s losing his shit like this. Toews’ playing was something else, but…

Toews leans forward and says something in German to the bartender, sweater pulling tight across his shoulders. He’s pushed his sleeves up so that Patrick can see the edges of tattoos peeking out along the sturdy flex of his forearms. Shit.

“You know who I am,” Patrick says, brain connecting all of a sudden that Toews asked him if he wanted a drink in English.

Toews looks over at him, sliding over a pint of something dark and frothy. He cocks his head, but doesn’t confirm or deny. He steps in close, making Patrick unmercifully aware of every inch of difference between their heights. “If I ask you to come back to my hotel are you gonna flip the fuck out?”

Patrick chokes into his beer. “Getting a bit ahead of yourself, aren’t you?”

“Quit looking at me like that then,” Toews says, eyes dropping to Patrick’s mouth.

Patrick's heartbeat pounds loud in his chest, breaths coming a little fast. This is so stupid. Patrick should tell him that he didn’t mean to look at Toews in any kind of way and certainly not the way he's thinking. That he should take his stupid queer ideas elsewhere. Patrick doesn’t say any of that. He sets his drink down unfinished and says, “Okay.”

Toews smiles.

*

Toews doesn’t waste any time when they get back to his hotel. Patrick is afraid to ask the obvious questions. Have you done this before? Do your teammates know about you? Do you do this often? What are you expecting from me? He doesn’t end up asking any of that. Toews kisses him as soon as they’re through the door, gets his fingers on Patrick’s belt and starts to work it free. It’s hot and wet and sloppy and it lights Patrick right up, just like being on that dance floor. God he’s such a fuck up.

It would figure that his first gay experience is with some soccer player in Europe. He must say it out loud, because Toews laughs and says, “Jonathan, my name is Jonathan,” and then he gets down to the business of sucking Patrick’s dick. He’s drunk enough that it feels good but it’s making coming a little tough. Everything feels like it’s been dialed up to eleven. Like he’s experiencing his own life in IMAX—the wet slurps of Jonathan’s mouth, the air conditioning kicking on and drifting cold over his skin, the scratch of the overbleached sheets against his bare back.

He loses himself after that. Everything is just sensation–the persistant lap of tongue on his balls, firm hands on his hips, hot breath over spit slicked skin. He comes, earlier than he would’ve thought possible. He’s conscious of the hungry noises he’s making, of holding Jonathan close afterwards, relishing in his weight pressing Patrick back into the mattress, of kissing him as he jerks himself off. He feels the sharp bite of Jonathan’s teeth as he’s coming and gets hard again. His head’s throbbing in a way that tells him if he doesn’t seek water soon he’ll regret it in the morning, but he doesn’t get up. He stays in that bed for hours.

*

When he finally wakes up the next morning, he feels like shit. His head hurts and his stomach is roiling. The curtains are cracked just enough that a stripe of light drifts across Jonathan’s broad back. Patrick gets up with a groan and goes to the bathroom to down several glassfuls off cloudy aerated water. He drinks it too fast and then has to puke it all up again only moments later. When he’s done, he tries again, and this time the water stays down.

He steps back into the room, eyes Jonathan where he’s still sprawled across the bed. He feels shaky inside, cold, the way he gets when he’s getting freakin’ alcohol withdrawal symptoms after a long night of bingeing. Patrick picks his clothes up off the floor. Jeans and sneakers here, baseball cap over there. His cellphone is full of missed calls and texts, most of them from his mother. Goddamn. He forgot to tell her he wasn’t coming home. When he’s dressed he pauses. He’s snuck out of more than one hotel room in his life, left more than one hookup to wake up alone. He doesn’t want to this time though. What’s he going to do though? Have some kind of hand-holding conversation?

Jonathan makes a soft noise and turns over, but he doesn’t wake up. Patrick sees the trail of bites he left up Jonathan's chest and blushes. It was good sex. Even shit-faced. His cellphone vibrates insistently in his pocket, reminding him he really needs to leave. Patrick hesitates for one moment and then picks up the cheap pen sitting on the desk, scrawling Jonathan a note. It takes him nearly three tries to write his Swiss cell down right: +41 32 356 88 19. He’s not sure why he always has so much trouble with it. You’d think with his jersey number in it, he’d never forget.

On the elevator down to street level Patrick reminds himself that If Jonny doesn’t call, well, that’s his deal.

*

Jonathan calls.

Chapter Text

Jonny’s not a noble, but he’s got just enough blood in him to serve one. When he got gacked from the MF Guard, he’d had a couple of options. Do some private security bullshit, make a ton of money guarding the elevators and the lost & found of some telecom or hedge fund giant, or get hired on by a Family. After the corporate wars a couple of centuries back, private was mostly relying on your techs for their cyber defense. Blood and bullets didn’t really get involved.

Not that Jonny needed that or anything. The military had really only been Jonny’s last, best way out of the waste, marked as he was as the bastard son of some Family and a maid tossed out onto the streets at the first hint of her belly. He looked the way he did, and his mother might’ve been a natural to his father’s bio-engineered perfection, but 23 of Jonny’s chromosomes still came from him. He couldn’t afford fancy school and the MF were dying for somebody with his gene blueprint.

So Jonny didn’t have any particular attachment to fighting. It was just a means to an end. It put money in his bank accounts. But now here he was 30 years old, shipped home with no chance back, and there was always a Family that needed somebody to protect their nest. With his credentials–six tours, three distinguished service medals, two commendations, and one knight’s cross with laurel leaves–most doors were open to him. Still, he didn’t expect to get hired on by the powerful Kanes, who controlled most echelons of government, and certainly not to babysit their slip of an heir, Patrick, who was eighteen years old if he was a day. What the fuck kind of trouble could the youngster get into?

Well. Jonny learned fast. Patrick couldn’t stop sticking his nose in places it didn’t belong. He hacked into corporations, set up his own cybers and tech cracks, picked fights with the other kids at his school left and right. He’d chewed through eight bodyguards in the last three years. And so far Jonny had lasted the longest. Which honestly, some days when Patrick was up to some particularly maddening hijinks, Jonny wasn’t sure why he didn’t just fire himself.

Patrick loved giving him the run around. Or trying, because Jonny was a fucking ace at this shit by now. The kid loved getting into trouble. And he loved setting shit on fire. When Jonny had assumed the corporate world would be too boring, he hadn’t exactly signed on for this nonsense. Especially since on top of all of that, there was always somebody trying to off a Kane. Sometimes Patrick made him want to volunteer for the job himself.

He didn’t know how somebody so baby-faced and angelic, with those blue eyes and gold curls, could be such pure evil. But Patrick was. Completely evil, and he delighted in it. Jonny was by no means old, but he didn’t have enough years left to him to put up with shit.

After Patrick hacked three students’ cars at his fancy academy and put them on auto mode and sent them crashing into things around the school, and Jonny had had to straighten out that mess, deal with the angry parents, who were probably about to hire assassins of their own now, Jonny had just about had it. He dealt with it. Rehacked Patrick’s program to gain control of the cars, helped put out a fire tearing through the abandoned east wing, started any emergency legal proceedings needed to cover Patrick’s ass, and then hauled the little shit home.

“You’re not going to ask me why?” Patrick asked, sitting in the back of the limo in a louche sprawl, tie undone, color high in his cheeks from fury. He looked a demon prince.

Jonny sighed. “Wouldn’t really change anything would it?”

Patrick shrugged. “Guess not.”

Jonny hit the gym in the Kane manor as soon as he got home. He ran on the treadmill as long as his injured knee could stand, and then he threw himself into weight training. He was covered in sweat, shorts hanging low on his hips, muscles pleasantly aching, when he became aware of eyes on him.

He looked up and found Patrick staring at him, still in his stupid school uniform. He was staring at Jonny and the sweat filming his body, his cheeks gone all pink. Well. Welllll. That was interesting. Jonny picked up a towel and roughly swiped at his face, eyes on Patrick.

“Kid, you don’t quit looking like that, we’re not going to make it to a bed,” Jonny told him, going from 0 to 60 on purpose. No way could little Prince Patrick handle this.

Patrick flushed an even deeper scarlet, biting at his full lush lower lip, and then finally he turned around and fled. Jonny looked down and didn’t like to think about what he would’ve done if the kid had actually taken him up on it.

Just another day in paradise.

Chapter Text

They’ve talked about it. Of course they’ve talked about it. It’s been legal in New York for a good while now, but after witnessing the collapse of Pippa’s parents’ marriage in hi-definition Jonny doesn’t believe in it and Patrick doesn’t feel any less in love with him, any less a part of him just because they don’t have that piece of paper. His sisters and friends have a hard time understanding though.

And for Jonny, who participates actively in the LGBTQ community, it’s even worse, he has friends that yell at him saying that they’ve fought for the right to get married and all they’re doing is proving straights right about shiftless gays when they aren’t taking advantage of that right.

They own a house together right off of Astoria Park, they share finances and even though it’s Jonny’s car, Patrick’s always the one who takes it in to get serviced. Patrick’s got Jonny listed as his emergency contact on all his documentation, his baby nieces and nephews all refer to Jonny as Uncle Jonny. It means something that they don’t have a piece of paper. That every single day Jonny gets up and chooses to be with him, when there is so little besides a bank account and a mortgage keeping them together.

But one morning he wakes up to find Jonny sitting at the foot of their bed, staring out the window, teeth worrying his lip.

“What’s up?” Patrick asks, swiping sleep sand out of his eyes.

“What do we do if we want to have kids?”

“Huh?” Patrick asks. His brain isn’t firing on all cylinders.

“If we’re not married, it’s going to be hard to adopt a child, especially since,” Jonny waves his hand, “there’s no legal obstacle keeping us from a wedding.”

Patrick hugs Jonny from behind, laying his chin on his shoulder. “You want kids, babe?”

Jonny tangles their fingers together as he leans back into him. “Yeah,” he says softly.

Patrick brushes a kiss across the shell of his ear. “I’ll write you a prenup. You get everything in the divorce.”

“Even your record collection?” Jonny asks, cocking an eyebrow, the beginning of a smile curls his lips.

Patrick laughs. “Maybe not the signed copy of Lust For Life.”

“Well, that’s it then. You clearly aren’t committed to this endeavor. Let’s call the whole thing off,” Jonny teases back.

They sit in silence for a little a while, Patrick wrapped around Jonny. He can feel the steady thump thump of Jonny’s heart against his own chest. “Jonny?”

“Mm?”

“As far as proposals go, this one sucks.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jonny says sarcastically. “Light of my life, would you like to get married and have kids with me?”

Yeah. Patrick does. He’s already imagining taking a break from touring, arguing over what to name their child, scandalizing all the other parents in preschool, he imagines getting a bigger and better place. They could afford one even now what with the royalties on Patrick’s songs. He thinks about getting a dog and a couple of cats and doing projects, like the ones that Jonny does with his students. He thinks about crayon on the wall and staying up late with warm milk, and he thinks about a piece of paper that says Jonny is his until death do them part (at possible pain of the loss of his record collection).

“Shit, man, I think you’re gonna have to let me propose,” Patrick says. “Gimme a couple days, I’ll come up with something good.”

“I dunno,” Jonny replies. “That sounded like a ‘hell yes I would, Jonny’ to me.”

Chapter Text

-1-

Kaner is a sex blogger with his identity on the DL. He’s still playing hockey, but he’s stuck his dick in a lot of places, and he started young. One night, he just decided to start writing about it while he was playing up in London and it took off. He makes references to being a pro athlete and so the general public and deadspin are always trying to figure out WHICH PRO ATHLETE RUNS THIS FREAKIN’ SEX BLOG (totally called Penetrating the Zone, and he goes by Easy on it, because he’s a lamer). Patrick Kane is just trying to teach people to be better at sex and also find ways to get to sex parties on the DL without being recognized. It’s hard out here for a pimp.

-2-

Kaner’s got a girlfriend. They’re together, very sex positive, but they have sex with other people, occasionally have threesomes, and experiment a lot, but at a certain point, he starting to realize he's desperately in love with his teammate Jonny, and eventually, she leaves Kaner, because she’s like, I think sometimes that the reason you have all this sex and you’re cool with fucking whoever, is because honestly you haven’t found anybody who entertains you enough for that person to just be the one for you. He writes about this realization that Jonny’s that person for him, who he calls TM (teammate), on the blog.

“When I first started this thing with Miss Easy, I thought, what I felt for TM could be ignored, but it’s gotten to the point where, I think we’re both lying to ourselves if we let this go on. It’s one thing to fuck people casually when you’re carrying a torch for a dude you work with, but it’s another thing altogether to be in a committed relationship with somebody you wish was leaving beard burn on your thighs.”

-3-

Jonny totally reads his blog. Listen, he wants to be awesome in bed, and this Penetrating The Zone guy has never lead him wrong. A girlfriend turned him on to it and he just never stopped reading. And there’s all this interesting speculation, he’s kind of hooked on the saga of it, because at some point Penetrating The Zone guy starts mentioning having feelings for this teammate and a general lack of experience with dudes, for all of their prowess in bed, because you know, they live in the world of sports, and it’s all very NO HOMO, and the entire sports news media speculates madly, WHO IS IT? Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum? KD and Russell Westbrook? Hockey doesn't even occur to people as a possible option. Jonny’s interested to see how this whole thing plays out.

-4-

One day, on the plane during a roadtrip, he hears one of the rookies complaining about something–menstrual sex or trying to convince a girl to do anal, and Kaner gives him some advice that is so eerily similar to what’s on the damn blog. Now it could be that Kaner reads the blog too, but something about it just lines up in his head and suddenly Jonny realizes HOLY SHIT! IT’S KANER! KANER IS WRITING THAT BLOG!

He’s gotta go back over the entire thing now. There’s the post about practice being really rough, and how his mysterious teammate crush is so fucking hot, and also does things that makes his heart explode, about how sometimes he just gets caught watching this teammate’s back muscles move, and his forearms, and his I don’t know, his fucking long eyelashes. Jonny’s sitting there wondering now which guy on the team it is. Sharpy? That’s kind of unfortunate if it’s true.

He finds a passage that Kaner wrote: “The thing about TM is that he gets a rap for being the long-suffering Abbott to my Costello, but the honest truth, is that he’s amazingly patient and sometimes on bad days, when you think you’re just going to break from the strain, and he’s yelling at you, and you’re giving it back to him 100% he’ll just stop and smile, and you realize, he was doing it just to wake you up, and get you back in the game.”

And holy shit…the teammate…THE TEAMMATE IS HIM. HOW DID HE NEVER NOTICE?

-5-

It takes him a few days to come to terms with it. The thing is, Jonny realizes, he’s kind of open to the idea. And now he has entire blog that tells him EVERYTHING that Kaner is into, and everything that Kaner is into about Jonny. Well, you can bet he’s gonna use that knowledge.

(Listen, there’s like a .000001% chance Patrick is talking about, I dunno, Seabs, here, so Jonny is covering his damn bases by exploiting this knowledge. It's not torturing Kaner. You can’t look at it that way. He just likes to be sure about things.

Also, Kaner totally wrote about the time when Jonny broke up with his girlfriend and was going on to the entire world about what a sad sack Jonny was acting, and so yeah, nobody knows that that sad sack was Jonny, but Jonny’s gotta pay him back for that a little).

Eventually Kaner posts about how TM is being a total inadvertent (THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK) tease and Jonny reads it and decides now is his moment. They’re on a roadtrip and he swings by Kaner’s room and tells him everything. And Kaner stares at him.

“You know, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I sure as hell never expected it to be YOU!”

Jonny is not going to let that slight to his intelligence stand.

-6-

The next day there’s an iphone photo up on the blog of a man’s truly phenomenal back muscles lying on the bed, sheets stripped down to the swell of his ass, come pearling on his tan skin, with the caption:

“So you know that saying about dudes being better at head - it’s true. TM has never sucked a dick in his life and it was the best head that I, an expert on such things, have ever received. Basically, dudes, what I’m telling you, is if you are ever strapped for cash, you should probably just go suck a dick.”

(Kaner: See, now look, you can really get your exhibitionist kicks in, because millions of people are gonna see this.)

Meanwhile the sports news media is losing their mind, THEY HAVE ANOTHER CLUE, PTZ’S TEAMMATE IS WHITE. AND THEY’RE TOGETHER NOW. WHO COULD IT BE!

***

Gawker…

On July 15th of 2006 at 3 AM, the very first post in the delightfully zany, unflinchingly honest, and achingly vulnerable Penetrating The Zone blog was entered onto a hastily thrown up wordpress domain. Since then, the blog, which covers topics from basic blowjob etiquette, to crime scene oral sex, to how to behave if the condom snaps (don’t panic and leave $50 for the morning after pill on her nightstand, writes PTZ author, who goes simply by Easy) has become almost inexplicably popular, and interestingly enough across a wide swathe of demographics. The same crowd of teen girls that eagerly devours James Deen porn clips reads PTZ, as does the ‘Go Hard Play Hard’ herd of fratboys drunkenly stumbling around college campuses everywhere, and even tattooed and bespectacled hipsters have been known to turn to the blog for some quality advice on getting lube out of your hair just before showing up to your cousin’s wedding.

Now, seven years later, little is known about the blog’s founder other than that he’s a white male in his mid-twenties, and oh, a professional athlete. Earlier posts take us through the beginning years of Easy’s fledgling career, either in the minors or the NCAA, no oblique references are made, straight on up through the draft, the ensuing orgiastic draft celebration - Easy’s ‘first time snowballing, y’all,’ and then the next several years of busting tail on a team that nobody expected anything from, all the while living it up to Dionysian excess, with threesomes, foursomes, and moresomes. What’s clear is that Easy has had some post season victories, although he has never linked it with any specific year or season - that would be making it far too simple for the legions of superfans he has at Deadspin and Bleacher Report, ever eager to guess his identity.

On June 11, 2012 after an eerie quiet, the longest time between posts since its inception, Easy wrote, “when I started this, I never intended to conceal my identity. Mostly, I didn’t want my parents to even think about me having sex, let alone throwing it up there for the world to discuss. It’s probably the one act of discretion and solicitude I have ever displayed in my entire life. And then this thing had taken off, and I was facing the draft and franchises that wanted to put my name on the back of a jersey. I toyed with shutting this place down, but it had become a form of therapy for me, and the high of interacting with you all, giving you advice, letting you send me pictures of T and A, well - I didn’t want to give that up.”

While penetrating the zone never refers to itself in feminist terms, it is frequently lumped in with the alt crowd at Vice and the boldly empowered musings of Karley Sciortino. Easy has alluded to a rash of sisters - they go unnamed - although their frequent mentions makes it sound like he’s got enough of them to field a baseball team.

Chapter Text

A Sentinel AU

So I got this one and immediately went to joyfulseeker, who I knew had many thoughts on this. So this is five headcanons as written by fourfreedoms and joyfulseeker.

1) Patrick’s a sentinel, but he doesn’t know it, and he certainly doesn’t know that Jonny is his guide. He gets to the NHL and things start to go a little sideways on him.

joyfulseeker: at first he’s like, jesus, the Bowmans are getting louder and louder in the morning, he can never sleep through them anymore.

fourfreedoms: he overhears some awkward things. That’s how he finds out Stan has cancer.

joyfulseeker: He was worried before that, like something didn’t seem right before that, which he couldn’t put his finger on. A smell, or a skin texture. He spaces out a little bit at practice, and jonny snaps him out of it. He got caught up feeling the tape-wrapping on his stick blade, and Jonny jostles him, “You gonna be here all day, or you going to hit the ice?” Patrick’s like, why are you yelling at me? And Jonny rolls his eyes, because Patrick had been flat-out ignoring Wiz shouting in his ear.

2) They finally figure out that Jonny can pull him out when he gets stuck when Jonny’s out with his knee injury. Patrick goes a little nuts out there, he’s still playing well, but sometimes, he just gets lost.

joyfulseeker: Jonny manhandles the people he likes, throws his arm around their shoulders, smacks their back, he’s a touchy guy. And that helps Patrick, especially when the guy next to him is constantly jostling his elbow or yammering in his ear. Gives him something to focus on. So when he doesn’t have that life is hard. Jonny comes over and Patrick’s been sitting on his bed with video game music looping for a few hours.

fourfreedoms: Patrick snaps out of it and looks at the clock–hours and hours and hours have passed.

joyfulseeker: He got stuck listening to some drilling noises outside. And Jonny’s like “I passed road construction on my way here. But Patrick, that was three quarters of a mile from here.” Patrick says, “if I try, I can still hear it,” and he starts to drift a little. Jonny snaps his fingers, sharp and startling, and when Patrick focuses on him, he says, “Hey. Don’t try,” and boy he looks worried.

3) Of course the first thing on Kaner’s mind once he realizes what’s going on is sex. He wants to keep you know, having it, and going into fugue states in the middle of fucking sounds like not a good time. So of course he’s got to enlist Jonny’s help–he’s just the obvious choice, if he’s the one who can anchor Patrick. It’s not because he’s into him or anything.

fourfreedoms: Jonny jokes about Kaner not being able to get a girl to come home with him the normal way, so he’s got to hit up his teammates now, to cover his nerves.

joyfulseeker: Patrick says, “This is an important part of life! I’ve got to be functional!”

fourfreedoms: “Unless you want to accompany me the next time I take someone home!”

No. Jonny does not want to do that. He should really stop shooting himself in the goddamn foot and just agree to help Patrick with his little experiment already.

4) IT. IS. A LOT. They’re stupid and decide to go whole hog in a single night. Also because they’re under the pretense that this is just experimenting and if you do this more than once, that’s hooking up, no two ways about it. So they’re just gonna get that shit out of the way. They’ve got a free weekend, KANER NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT HE’S UP AGAINST IF HE’S EVER GONNA HAVE SEX AGAIN.

It’s alright when it’s just jerking off, but things start getting a bit intense when he blows Jonny, but Patrick kind of likes it–that too much feeling–and then they’re sitting there with lube and condoms, trying to figure out how this is going to work. Jonny blushes, and looks down, and says “I figured, maybe…you would fuck me.” And they both know this is really not about Patrick fucking experimenting when Jonny says that, AND STILL, he’s not prepared for what it’s like when he finally gets inside Jonny.

It’s Jonny’s first time bottoming and yet he’s the one gentling Patrick through it, stroking his back, telling him he doesn’t have to keep going. Patrick shakes his head, lets out a ragged moan. He tells Jonny he doesn’t want to stop, not ever, Jonny has no idea how good he feels. He’s actually stopped moving entirely, just the heat and pressure do it for him. Jonny shifts under him, because Patrick’s heavy and he wants to resettle his weight. The movement causes him to tighten down on Patrick. Patrick gasps and comes like a shot.

5) Patrick’s very apologetic afterwards. That was not a stellar performance, so obviously they should keep doing this. WORK ON IT, YOU KNOW.

joyfulseeker: Jonny says, “WELL. I GUESS WE COULD,” like he’s actually doing Patrick a favor. And Patrick starts running through all the physical responses Jonny has to him when he’s turned on. And Jonny’s like, you stare at my ass all the time, and I don’t even need any special spidey senses to know that. Patrick appreciates a lot more than Jonny’s ass. He likes his heartbeat too, but saying that would be weird, he decides.

 

A Sugar Baby AU

1. Jonny is a sugar baby. He’s lived in Chicago for close to ten years as a sex worker, with daddies and mamas paying his way. He has a beautiful apartment with a great view of the lake, a closet full of expensive clothes, actual art on his walls. Most recently a client gave him a Chuck Close (a fucking Chuck Close) which is hanging on his wall, just for a night of his time. But most importantly, he can afford to keep playing his music. He’s a session artist and he plays guitar with a band at a jazz club on Thursday nights. He’s happy with his life, the way he sets his own hours, the way he’s gotten to see the world.

2. He meets Patrick at a bar one night during the playoffs, wincing as the Ducks crush the Jets. He likes him. Patrick’s got a great smile, good taste in beer, and he makes him laugh. He looks like he has wickedly talented hands too.

The thing is though, Jonny’s been doing this for a really long time. And if he likes a guy, and if a guy asks for his number, not just for a fuck, but asks for dinner or a date, Jonny has to lay it out for him, what it is that he does. Some dudes can’t handle it. Jonny has good 'n' learned by now. He’s not putting up with bullshit from nobody, and he’s certainly not putting up with somebody who can’t accept his life just for their killer shoulders.

Patrick looks at him, Jonny’s confrontational expression, the way he’s waiting for him to walk away. “No, that’s cool, man,” he says. “We’re all making our own way in the world.”

Jonny blinks, shakes his head. “Okay, yeah, then yes, we can have dinner.” He smiles. “I’d like that.”

3. Patrick is a tattoo artist. He was wearing a hoodie when Jonny met at him at the bar, but when they go and grab burgers, he’s in short sleeves. He looks at Jonny eyeing his ink. “Yeah, I’m pretty much tattooed neck to junk.”

Jonny’s eyes are inevitably drown down to his crotch. Patrick laughs. “No like, it stops just above my dick. I can handle needles, man, but I’m not a friggin’ masochist.”

“You don’t like pain then?”

Patrick laughs. “Oh no way. Totally cried getting some of these. Especially the ones on my belly. Nobody was having a good time that day.”

4. Sort of without noticing, they fall into a relationship. Sometimes Jonny has to disappear for a weekend to go service some upstart french countess, but sometimes he gets a client gift that they can share, like the courtside Bulls tickets.

Patrick doesn’t get jealous, because what other guys have to pay for? Jonny gives away to him for free. 

5. After a while Jonny realizes he’s not just happy with his life, he’s happy IN his life. He likes Patrick’s friends–the stupid hipstery alt lot of them. Patrick doesn’t move into his place, because Jonny needs it for work, but they’re talking about getting a place of their own, and Jonny can just keep the old place with the view of the lake for his clients.

Patrick thinks someday he’s gonna ask Jonny to marry him.

 

A Superhero AU 

1. Kaner has powers, but Jonny doesn’t. Jonny’s costume is way fucking better though. Dear god. Kaner’s first costume is reminiscent of Discowing

2. Kaner thought he was a normal kid until he moved to Detroit for hockey. Then shit started going very, very wrong. Moving shit with his mind, breaking stuff. For a month, every Saturday he woke up in his bed back home. His parents were so angry. Why was he running away from Verbeek? How was he even getting home or into the house? Why did he keep claiming he could move things with his mind?

There went his hockey career. Also his relationship with his family.

3. Jonny’s parents died in a car accident. A ninja cult, recognizing his athletic talent, kidnapped him and indocrinated him. He only managed to escape when he was 15. He’s been using the skills they taught him to fight crime.

4. They started protecting Chicago around the same time when Jonny went to U Chicago for Grad school and Patrick started up his undergrad there. They’ve yet to figure out that Jonny is Patrick’s french TA. 

5. They’ve totally hooked up as their alter egos. But the thing is? Patrick’s really kind of dreaming for his stupid French TA. Likewise for Jonny. That kid in the horrible costume with the telekinesis that keeps helping him out is adorable, but his sassy undergrad who can’t conjugate a verb for shit. That’s the one that Jonny thinks about in the shower.

 

A Bakery AU

1) Jonny is a baker. His shop is really famous for their bread, but he does good pastries too–croissant, pain au chocolat, fluffy brioche, eclaire. They also make really good coffee.

2) Kaner stops in every weekday at 6:30 AM after his morning jog. In the spring and summer, the asshole is frequently not wearing a shirt. It’s tucked into the back pocket of his running shorts. He always smiles when he sees Jonny and orders the same thing. Coffee, black, he’ll put in as much sugar as he damn well pleases, and a slice of toast. The toast at Jonny’s is no mere toast though. He makes his own jam (some of it is made with stuff in his own garden). He’ll get a thick slice of crusty levain with cream cheese and a little salt and pepper on top and it. is. amazing. 

3) Kaner teases Jonny about his trendy fucking bakery. ‘Look man, it looks like a pinterest design board up in here.’ All white washed with dark wood, bright appliances, there’s cacti everywhere, little hanging terrariums. Jonny lives on DIY blogs, Patrick just knows it.

4) Patrick is correct about those DIY blogs. Jonny actually built out his damn bakery space himself. He’s very handy. Unfortunately, he’s awkward as fuck with Patrick. The first couple of years he comes in, he’s just grumpy with him, it takes him a really long time to loosen up. Like literal years, before he’ll even admit how much he wants to fuck Patrick. By then they’ve got a good rapport going, but shit never seems to line up for them. Patrick’s in and out of beds, Jonny does long-term relationships.

5) Eventually though. Jonny breaks up with his boyfriend. It’s not good. It’s really not good. That guy did a number on him and he didn’t even really realize it. And he’s so mad, because how could he ever have let somebody treat him that way? Jonny’s a big boy. He can fucking take care of himself. One day, he’s ringing Patrick up for his daily toast and coffee combo, and Patrick just lays his hand on top of Jonny’s as he’s pushing Patrick’s change across the counter.

“Can I take you out?” Patrick asks, voice warm. He swipes his thumb across the back of Jonny’s hand.

“Uh…” Jonny says, at a loss.

“Thursday night, you and me, dinner,” Patrick tells him.

Jonny blinks and then finally nods. Look, Patrick is fucking shirtless again and like his chest is all shiny with sweat, it’s a bit hard to think past that shit. “Yeah, yes, of course,” he says, shaking his head as if to clear it.

Patrick grins.

Chapter Text

TOK-88 comes back online at 06:12:39 08-09-2027 after a cold boot. His software shows recent upgrades–there are new subroutines running at the corner of his HUD and several Skynet directives have been expunged from his memory. He tries to evaluate the total value of data loss and finds he cannot access it.

There’s a light shining very brightly into his optic sensors rendering his view of the room sub-optimal. He adjusts the aperture 20% and a laboratory filled with equipment swims into focus. Dermal feedback tells him he’s lying on a metal table–the metal is cold on his living tissue skin, although the ambient temperature is roughly 22 degrees celsius. There are spare HK parts lying around–the chassis for a T-850, the weapons array and powercore of a T-900. 88 evaluates this, waiting for additional input before making a determination of further action.

“Do you know where you are?” a voice, human male, approximate age early-to-mid forties. His voice recognition analysis establishes a match to Jon Connor, leader of the resistance, operation specialty Tech-Com.

“Resistance cell 051 - Antelope Valley,” 88 replies, sitting up.

Connor moves into the light. He’s tall, severe, forked scar bisecting his cheek–every HK is programmed to know his face. 88 waits for the terminate command to run, but his HUD never transitions into combat mode. Jon wears an expression on his face that 88 extracts from his emotional content libraries as amused. 88 wonders what is humorous.

“Hello, Patrick,” Connor says, meeting the eyes of his retinal display.

“Patrick,” 88 repeats. “Is that my name?”

*

88, Patrick, is with Jon for six months and develops a mission efficacy rate of 100% before he earns Jon’s trust. Patrick does not have feelings or desires and thus cannot feel pride, but he determines that this is a satisfactory outcome nevertheless. He is programmed to be effective and so far, he’s demonstrated himself qualified. He is not the only Terminator Class HK in the resistance. There are several in the earlier 800 series. But these have been superseded by Patrick’s more advanced capabilities and firmware–it is logical that Jon relies on him more heavily. Patrick’s predictive forecasts of his own success far outweigh those of the human or T-800 operatives available to Jon.

When Jon explains his origins, it illuminates the maxillofacial resemblance to the previously presumed unrelated Sergeant Kyle Reese. This knowledge, if Patrick were still under his old Skynet directives would be invaluable. As it is now, this intelligence does little to overtly augment the success of mission parameters: aid the resistance, defeat Skynet. He is a machine. Although more sophisticated than his predecessors, he is unable to feel pleasure at being found worthy of being confided in. But Jon must be kept fully functional for the resistance to succeed. If he wishes to disclose his history to Patrick, then it falls within Patrick’s operational framework to provide that for him.

When Jon gives him the new directive to go back to the year 2005 and protect his younger self, he is–not surprised, he is not capable of being surprised–but he would’ve projected the likelihood of receiving such an order at about 15%. Jon must’ve received new actionable intelligence that he is not sharing with Patrick.

“Alright,” he says, as if he was capable of saying no.

*

It takes time to track down Jon. More time than he would’ve expected. 73 days in total. Sarah Connor was smart. Hiding Jon as Jonathan Toews, the child of Andree Gilbert and Bryan Toews. Stashing him in a boarding school in Minnesota was both unexpected and highly successful at covering Jon’s trail. It proved less than ideal however when he nearly didn’t arrive in time to prevent Jon’s termination at the hands of a Trip-Eight.

Patrick only just managed to infiltrate a team playing against Shattuck-St. Mary’s, an undertaking that took more time than he liked, because unexpectedly enrolling in a highly competitive boarding school was beyond even his extensive capabilities. He was midway through the first frame when he detected the presence of another terminator in the stands. Jon was, by his rapid analysis of thousands of hours of game tape in order to secure his spot on the opposing roster, a talented hockey player for his age. Their lines were up against each other and he’d just been running scenarios on how to approach him in a quiet moment when he targeted the Trip-Eight scanning the crowd of boys.

Patrick makes a quick analysis of his surrounds. The rink and the ice skates currently laced to both his and Jon’s feet are suboptimal for a sustained fight, as is the crowd. Patrick determines that the Trip-Eight has not yet ascertained Jon’s identity, nor recognized Patrick’s own presence. However, while the Trip-Eight is working from a more limited data supply than Patrick has access to, it should only be a matter of time. These things taken into consideration, it moves up his timeline considerably.

The period ends and Jon is off the ice before Patrick can easily get to him without drawing attention to them both. This too is suboptimal. Patrick calculates odds of reaching Jon before the Trip-Eight in these circumstances at 58%, an unacceptable level of risk.

He abandons his teammates as soon as he’s clear of the ice, tossing off equipment and pads at a run.

“Kane, hey! What are you doing?” they call after him. He disregards them. Running barefoot: also suboptimal. There’s an explosion at the southwest quadrant of the rink. Patrick runs two immediate scenarios–either he goes to the source of the blast and engages the Trip-Eight, incurring damage to himself and possibly to Jon. Or he relies on the fact Jon has been trained by Sarah Connor to survive and assumes he spotted the Trip-Eight before termination could occur and is already on the run.

That portion of the rink, the home dressing room where Jon is, has limited access to the parking lot. Therefore he would logically be heading north to the parking lot to attempt to procure transport to evade the Trip-Eight. If Patrick is wrong, every second he delays is one less second Jon has left.

Patrick heads for the parking lot. It takes 10.47 seconds to break in and hot wire a ‘96 Toyota Tacoma and another 36.9 seconds to navigate the rows of parked cars to get to the opposite corner of the parking lot, where his scans reveal Jon skulking on skate-guards between a rusted-out Chevy and a late-model Escalade. Patrick brakes, throwing the door open. Jon startles, nearly stumbling over in his haste to back away.

“Come with me if you want to live,” Patrick calls, making sure his retinal display flares bright, revealing his origins.

Jon hesitates for only a moment before diving into the car, slamming the door behind him. He gasps out, “Are you–”

“Yes,” Patrick replies, optic sensors trained on the rear view mirror.

“Did I send you–”

“Yes,” Patrick answers again. Jon shouts in warning as the Trip-Eight rounds the corner of the building, but Patrick was already aware of his presence and floors the gas pedal. He throws an arm across Jon’s chest, holding him back against his seat as they plow into the Trip-Eight, hitting him with enough force and acceleration that he pops up over the hood and the roof of the car, rolling away behind them with a great screech of metal. The Trip-Eight will likely sustain only minor damage, but the time it buys them is more than enough to swing out of the parking lot and slip into traffic.

“Put on your seat belt,” Patrick orders, heading east, away from I-35. The Trip-Eight will expect them to take the faster highway to escape.

Jon yanks the belt into the buckle and then scrabbles to remove his skates. This will improve his ability to flee. Patrick approves. So far, the Trip-Eight is not in pursuit, but Patrick has only 82% certainty that they’ve lost him, still an unacceptable level of risk.

“And my mother?”

Patrick is unsure if he is referring to the smiling woman sitting up in the stands while Jon calmly dominated at the faceoff circle or if he means his biological mother who remains separated from her son in order to ensure his continued safety. “Sarah Connor?” he queries.

“Yes, Sarah Connor.” Jon snorts. A vocal cue that displays frustration and annoyance. His pulse still has not returned to a resting rate despite the absence of physical exertion. He assumes Jon uses this lesser emotion to cover a stress response. This Jon clearly has not yet learned the levelheadedness that will make him so effective in the future.

“If the T-Triple-Eight fails to immediately locate us it will likely try to establish Sarah Connor’s whereabouts and use her in an attempt to capture and kill you.”

He explains this to Jon in order to affirm why they should not, under any circumstances, make contact with Sarah Connor. But it does not have the desired outcome.

“What?” Jon shouts, reaching out to grab Patrick’s arm. “We have to find her and warn her.”

“Negative,” Patrick replies. “We do not have to find her and warn her. My orders are the close-quarter protection of your person. This supersedes all other mission directives.”

“I’m not just going to let that metal use my mother as bait to kill me.”

“Negative,” Patrick repeats. “You would be doing exactly that.”

“The last one of you had to listen to me,” Jon growls.

Patrick has to obey Jon Connor of TechCom, there are no such requirements in place for the seventeen-year-old who currently goes by the name Jonathan Toews.

“They don’t know what I look like at this age or how tall I am. They don’t know my allergies or weaknesses or where I broke my left arm in three places when I was seven. They don’t know where I am or where I’ll be or what Kyle Reese told her about the future. They don’t know anything beyond my birth year.”

“Correct.” All of Jon’s existing paperwork is false, everything carefully forged, from his eye-color to his hospital records. Jon Connor doesn’t match Jonathan Toews and Jonathan Toews doesn’t even match his false identity. Layers upon layers of lies that Sarah Connor set up. Skynet never has any history to go off of when they arrive in the past and no terminator that has ever made contact with the Connors has survived to relay any information back to the future. The real John Connor, all 1.88 m and 95 kg of him, was never even fully assembled on paper until Skynet caught him and put him in the Century City work camp.

“She knows all of that,” Jon says softly. “They could torture it out of her, make it that much easier for them to find me later.” His voice gains strength as he continues, “Unprotected, she’s a security risk.”

Patrick considers this. The logic is sound. Sarah Connor’s knowledge could indeed jeopardize the objectives of the resistance and his own directive to preserve Jon Connor’s life at any cost. Nevertheless, he is aware that he has just been manipulated into accepting Jon’s ulterior motives.

He looks over at Jon who stares innocently back. “What?” he says.

Perhaps Patrick underestimated the similarities between this Jon and the Jon he knows in the future.

*

It takes them four days, barely steps ahead of the Trip-Eight, to find her. On the run as they are, Jon sleeps fitfully in the Best Westerns and Motel 6’s along the highway while Patrick stands guard at the door, keeping up constant scans of their perimeter. Or rather, she finds them, when they walk into the restaurant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania that she’s waitressing at. She’s on break when they arrive, but when they go out into the parking lot, she attempts to take Patrick out with a frying pan and then demands that Jon prove he’s real and not a mimetic polyalloy version of her son.

“Mom,” he says, long-suffering.

“Prove it to me, Jon,” she orders.

Jon tells a story about his first penalty in a game and crying in the box and she loosens her grip on the pot, grabbing up her son and holding him close. “You’ve gotten so big,” she says into his throat.

“Mom,” Jon protests after putting up with it for a short while. Finally she lets him go, wiping at her eyes. Patrick finds human parental relationships curious.

“Who are you, Tin Man?” she demands, focusing in on Patrick.

“Tin man?” Patrick asks. “My endoskeleton is made of a tempered coltan hyperalloy. Tin has a low tensile strength and melts at 232 degrees celsius. Your human tooth enamel is harder than tin. The use of it would be impractical.”

Jon coughs. “This is Patrick Kane,” he says, using the full name Patrick adopted for entry onto the midget AAA team.

“Oh, it has a name,” she replies, eyes narrowed.

Patrick doesn’t respond. It is a barb. Patrick is not human and thus little impacted by such things, but it does make him think of sitting on the table in Jon’s lab at Antelope Valley, running diagnostics on himself. ‘You,’ Jon had said from the first moment, not ‘it.’

“This is not a defensible position,” he points out, scanning the surrounds. “You were too easy to locate.”

He doesn’t state that that was due in large part to Jon’s own hacking abilities. The point is valid and needs to be impressed upon all parties. Jon is in danger. They need to move. Sarah Connor’s emotional responses towards him are an impediment.

“Tell me what happened,” she says, but she starts walking with them towards the car they stole to replace the Toyota Pickup once they reached Medford.

Sarah Connor is smart, all they have to do is pick up a go-bag in a self-storage facility off of 87. When she reveals a weapons cache as well, Patrick’s estimation of her value goes up by several degrees.

*

 

The Trip-Eight catches up with them outside Lebanon, Tennessee. They’re at the Quick & Easy Market. It gets the drop on them while they’re separated, picking up supplies. It starts shooting–killing bystanders filling up at the gas station and then it takes Sarah. When she won’t call out to Jon, even after it breaks her hand, it adopts her voice and screams and screams and screams. But Jon doesn’t go to her, he sits white-faced, biting his lips bloodless, his back to the glass cases of soda and a 9mm in his hands.

When Patrick tells him, “Run, Jon,” he takes off through the employee exit, down the street toward the train tracks. If his cellphone dies, he can follow the commuter line to Nashville and Patrick can locate him again. Patrick puts his odds against the Trip-Eight at a high 87.5%. But 87.5% is not perfect. He’s a later generation, but the Trip-Eight has greater mass and reach than Patrick and was built for heavy-duty combat. Nevertheless, this way, Patrick can at least give him time.

He engages the Trip-Eight by unloading the clip on an MP5 Sarah provided into its chest, but the Winchester FMJs the MP5 is loaded with impart little damage. This is expected. Patrick follows it up with a punch that exerts considerably more force. The Trip-Eight staggers back and Patrick tosses him through the glass windows. The remaining onlookers scream. They trade blows and Patrick’s living tissue sustains several lacerations. The cuts burn, his endoskeleton is exposed to the air, but his body is not vascular in the way that humans are and he does not hemorrhage. Patrick gets thrown back into a car, his diagnostics tell him the damage is minimal even as his sensory output is screaming at him.

He pulls the car door off it’s hinges, bringing it up as a shield as the Trip-Eight advances. Just in time. The Trip-Eight punches through the door aiming for Patrick’s face. While it’s arm is still caught through the metal, Patrick levers the door up like a wrench, twisting until its arm plate cracks out of its socket. He delivers another blow to the Trip-Eight’s neck, knocking it’s head askew. It struggles, trying to rotate its head back into position, but Patrick knocks it off its feet.

There’s a row of split-phase transformers encased in steel cabinets towards the rear of the minimart. He drags it, arm still caught through the door, towards them. The Trip-Eight tries to kick out at Patrick and when that fails, it grabs at the ground. Sparks fly and metal squeals as its tissue is ground off trying to gain purchase. It reminds Patrick of a drowning insect. He reaches the cabinets and rips the steel doors open one-handed and then jams the the Trip-Eight’s arm, car-door and all into the transformer with a great crash. Sparks rain down and the Trip-8 starts to twist and jerk as electricity courses through it. It is unlikely to do more than damage the flesh sheath and to cause the Trip-Eight’s CPU to reboot from the power surge, but that’s still 120 seconds of time to get to Jon and to get clear.

He looks at Sarah Connor, lying on the pavement, cradling her broken hand to her chest and considers the possibility of leaving her here. He thinks she will self-terminate before allowing herself to be tortured and used against Jon. He runs through the scenarios of Jon’s various reactions to finding out Patrick has left his mother behind and decides it more expedient to haul her off the ground, hoisting her in a fireman’s carry over his shoulder.

*

They head for the California coast where Sarah has a safehouse set up. This effectively means the end of hockey for Jon. Patrick knows that Jon finds this disappointing. His emotional content libraries suggest that disappointing may not be the word. He was good, after all–very good, only a year away from the draft.

“Not like I would’ve gone through with it,” Jon says. “Jon Connor, hockey star sounds pretty stupid.”

They’re fitting the house with security cameras over all entry points. He pretends to be very hard at work up on the ladder, screwing the camera mount into the wall. From the undercurrents Patrick detects in his voice, he suspects Jon would’ve very much liked to do that.

“Shame you don’t come with wifi,” Jon says as he jumps down. “You could just tap right into the closed circuit feed.”

No HK is fit with wireless capabilities. Skynet would never leave them so vulnerable to outside interference. All it would take would be one Terminator unit infected with a virus and Skynet could be crippled. But over the last several weeks, confronted with the hotspots and the “free wifi” signs in all the coffee shops it has made him wonder what that would be like, to not be limited by this chassis, but everywhere all at once, in every available system. He supposes that’s why Skynet is so desperate to protect its continued existence.

Jon sighs.

“Are you distressed?” Patrick queries.

“No, no, I was just thinking, in that game, playing against you,” Jonny replies, looking distinctly uncomfortable. “You were so good. I was thinking about how I’d never seen anybody with hands like that, but it’s all math and analysis, isn’t it?”

This is correct, but Patrick is unsure how to respond. His silence appears to be answer enough, because Jon blows out a breath and goes back into the house.

*

The house Sarah set up is in Santa Cruz, not far from the Walton Lighthouse. There’s a room for Patrick in it, but he does not sleep and so it becomes more of an ordnance stockpile. Sarah Connor’s munitions supplies are inadequate. The weapons are all anti-personnel, rather than anti-materiel–her first mistake. Even the most humanoid HKs have more in common with tanks than they do with people.

It takes him two days of persistent hunting, but he gets his hands on an M93 Black Arrow. There are things from the future he wishes were available to him here. Aluminothermic reaction projectiles would make everything much easier. And the auto-cutter a researcher in TechCom had recently developed that could turn simple mouthwash into a cutting fluid strong enough to slice the arm off of a heavy-weight T-950 also wouldn’t be amiss. The Black Arrow though is a flawless piece of machinery built off of the Mauser design. With the right cartridges, one well-placed shot could destroy an oncoming Terminator’s CPU. The resistance in 2027, with its reliance on COLOS missile guidance and magnetic projectile lock, couldn’t produce something like this.

He gets Jon to locate a gunshop with multi-purpose Raufoss MK 211 rounds and then “appropriates” them.

“You stole them,” Jon says, watching Patrick carefully organize ammunition by type. High explosive incendiaries get stacked next to the armor-piercing rounds, further sub-divided into the those that have a tungsten carbide core and those with depleted uranium. He may have appropriated a few other things besides the MK 211s he originally went for. There were even some M829 tank rounds just lying around in the back room, but it’s not like Patrick actually has access to a tank. Such an acquisition would not be feasible. Though it did briefly give him pause.

“I confiscated them,” Patrick corrects. “I can support no compelling reason a civilian personage would need ammunition with such high terminal performance.” He says, complete with finger quotes, “They’re ‘militia whackjobs.’”

Jon rolls his eyes, but does not attempt to argue the point. Patrick grins at him.

Jon clears his throat. “You’re much more…human than the last one.”

“You refer to the T-800 TOK-101 you had contact with as a juvenile?”

Jon picks at the hem of his sweater, eyes down. Interesting. Jon had an emotional attachment to 101. That is new information.

“I’m better.”

“What?” Jon asks.

“You said that I was more human than 101.” Patrick says firmly, “I am better.”

Jon looks him over. “A better infiltrator?”

This is indubitably true. Even if dogs couldn’t scent and detect any of the Terminator Class HKs, any T-800, especially in Read-Only mode, would be unlikely to fool anybody in the resistance for long. But it is more than that. Patrick is unsure how to explain–he is a machine, built to suit a purpose. He is superior in form and function than 101. Jon’s emotional attachment to 101, an obsolete model, is illogical. “Just better,” he replies.

*

Things are tentative between Jon and Sarah. Jon spends the first several days, at Sarah’s urging, proving that he still knows how to take apart and put back together a rifle, how to clean his weapons and store them. He continues an exercise routine that he must’ve had in place at boarding school, going for runs around the neighborhood and doing pushups and crunches in his room. He mostly doesn’t talk, which Patrick can tell distresses Sarah. After they’ve been set up in the house for a week, Sarah tells him that she’s enrolled both him and Patrick in the local high school, he shrugs and gets up to leave the room.

“You should…you should have one thing that’s normal,” she says to his retreating back. Jon pauses, briefly, back muscles going tight, and then keeps going.

Patrick doesn’t understand this sentiment. Nothing about Jon is normal. Sarah Connor will not survive Judgement Day. She will never get to see how extraordinary her son will become. Patrick sees the beginning of that man in this solemn teenager. When the neighborhood kids are out playing and they get into a fight that ends in crying, he watches the ease in which Jon breaks it up. It’s there in the way Jon chips in an extra dollar when a single mother comes up short on her groceries. It’s even there in the way Jon attempts to reason with Patrick. Such as when Patrick walks into the principal’s office and adjusts his class schedule so that he has all the same classes as Jon.

“It’s going to draw attention!” he says, exasperated after their first day.

“So?” Patrick replies. Any other Terminators designated to kill Jon will not be looking for a pattern of a boy who shares all his classes with another boy.

“Christ,” Jon exclaims, rubbing at his forehead. “I thought I was supposed to be able to do one thing that was normal?”

Redirect. A good strategy. Patrick doesn’t break his gaze. “Normal comes within certain definitional limits.”

Jon sighs.