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Brothers Forever

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Jordie is a really easy-going guy, usually. He likes what he likes which includes hockey, fishing, the outdoors and his family. Mixed up in all of that is what he feels for Jamie. Obviously, he loves him but it’s more than that. The pride he feels in his accomplishments and the protectiveness he feels towards his younger brother sometimes overwhelms him. Now that Jamie is bigger than him, Jordie knows that he shouldn’t feel the way he did when Jamie was a teenager and needed protection. But, everyone knows that if you want to rile Jordie up, just cut down Jamie to his face. Jordie is ashamed to say that it works especially well when other players chirp him on the ice. A favorite target of the other players is the relationship between Jamie and Tyler. The Bruins especially get in his face about that. After one particularly brutal shift, Lucic starts asking if Jordie joined in with Tyler & Jamie. Jordie leveled him with one punch and skated away. So, he is used to people saying shit about Jamie. What he isn’t used to is people saying that he is only in the NHL because of Jamie. Jordie knows that he isn’t a Norris caliber defenseman, but hey, he isn’t Wade Redden either. So, when they play the Ducks and Cory Perry chirps him with “How does it feel to only be here because of your brother” it literally stops him in his tracks. He thinks he recovers quickly enough but of course, Perry pulls away from him and buries the puck in the back of the net. As he skates to embrace his teammates, Perry gives him a shit-eating grin and Jordie wants to sink into the ice.

After the game, which they win despite Perry’s goal, Jordie is quiet while getting changed. The team is pretty hyped up because, hey, they beat the Ducks and Jason is putting together a group to head out for some drinks. When Jamie asks him if he is going, he says no, that he is tired. Jamie gives him a speculative look and just says OK, they will catch up tomorrow. Jordie can only hope that Jamie can’t read his face as well as he can read Jamie’s. Jordie heads into the shower and by the time he gets out, he thinks he is alone. Surprisingly (or not), Jamie is sitting in front of his locker, dressed and playing on his phone.

Jordie takes a deep breath and says “Chubbs. What the hell? I thought you were going out?”

Jamie looks up from his phone and raises his eyebrows. “What did Perry say to you?”

Jordie is startled and says “What do you mean? When?”

Jamie sighs and says “Right before he scored that goal. You guys were in the corner and all of sudden, your face fell and he pulled away. I know he didn’t hit you so obviously he said something. Spill.”

Jordie walks over to his locker and starts to dry off. While still facing his locker, Jordie nonchalantly says “Just the usual shit. We suck. Dallas sucks. You suck.”

Jamie doesn’t reply and finally Jordie turns to look at him. Jamie has his captain’s face on, the one that always makes Jordie laugh while making him intensely proud as well.

“What?” Jordie says

“You gonna tell me the truth?” Jamie asks.

Jordie replies “That is the truth. I just lost focus for a minute. It’s fine”

Jamie decides not to push and instead stands up says “Hurry up. We have to meet everyone at the bar. Because, you are going out tonight.”

Jordie just shrugs and gives in. This isn’t a conversation he wants to have with Jamie-now or ever.

*****

Apparently, Cory Perry has a lot of friends because over the next few weeks, he hears variations of the same chirp when they are playing Colorado, St. Louis and Toronto. But it’s when they are facing the Kings, that he finally loses it. LA is pinching and he finds himself covering Drew Doughty. As they are battling along the boards, Drew whispers in his ear “I hear that Jamie has it in his contract that you have to stay up with Stars. There is no way you are good enough to play in the NHL.” That is the last straw and he and Doughty start to go. At the end of their scrum, Doughty is bloody and Jordie is looking for more. He skates over to the box and Jamie trails him with his gloves and helmet. When Jamie gets there, he throws Jordie’s gloves at him, hard, and says “We are talking about this later. Do you understand?” Jordie is a mess of emotions but he still feels humiliated since the penalty box attendant clearly hears what Jamie says. In fact, when Jamie skates away, the attendant (who is a cool guy) looks at Jordie and whistles and says “Do you think he is going to tell your mom and dad on you?” This makes Jordie laugh and actually calms him a bit. He is able to chirp back “I hope not! I don’t want to be grounded.”

After the game, another victory, when Tyler and Jason start to round up a group to head out, Jamie pointedly says that he and Jordie are heading home. Tyler gets a concerned look on his face and pulls Jamie aside and asks if he wants him to be there. Jamie gets his stupid-Tyler-heart-eyes face on and puts his hand on Tyler’s arm. “No, it’s OK. Go out and have fun. Text me when you get home” Tyler looks in Jamie’s eyes and says “Call me if you need me”. He then puts his hand on Jamie’s hip and squeezes it a little bit, gives him a smile and walks away. Jamie watches him go and Jordie watches Jamie. Jordie lets out a sigh and shakes his head. Those boys! Jamie shakes his head like he is clearing it and looks for Jordie. “I want to leave tonight, Jordie. Can you please get dressed?” Jordie just gives him a dirty look and continues to get dressed at the same pace. “Be ready in a few, brother.”

Jamie tells Jordie that they will go to Jordie’s apartment and they follow each other there. Once inside, Jamie goes into the kitchen like he lives there, grabs two waters and heads into the living room. He plops down on the couch likes he owns it, which he probably does since he left it there when he moved out. A few minutes later, Jordie joins him on the other end and takes the water Jamie holds out to him.

Jamie looks at him and says “Jordie, please tell me what is going on. You know you can tell me anything. You know that, right?”

Jordie is staring at the carpet and sort of grunts a yes. But then, he is silent.

Jamie waits a few minutes and then gives an annoyed huff and moves down to Jordie’s end of the couch and crowds him into the corner. He puts his arm around his brother and is basically draped over him. “Now, speak” he commands.

Jordie prays he won’t cry and starts to talk. “It’s stupid. Perry and Doughty, they just keep saying that the only reason I am in the NHL is because of you”

Jamie says “Well, they are right.”

Jordie jerks and says “What?”

Jamie continues. “Playing in the NHL was never your goal. It was my goal. It was really me pushing you because all I wanted was to play on the same team with you in the show. That’s really ALL I ever wanted. So I annoyed you so much, you kept with it and became a really good defenseman and now I have everything I want, except a Stanley Cup.”

Jordie shakes his head and says “No. You aren’t understanding me. They keep saying that there is a clause in your contract that says I have to stay up here with you and the Stars can’t send me down. That you bought me my career because you are so good and because I suck so bad.”

Jamie is shocked. These aren’t the types of chirps that are said on the ice. A player’s looks, sexuality and family are fair game but everyone usually stays away from chirping about talent. Now Jamie knows why Jordie was so shaken up.

Jamie pulls his brother into a hug and chooses his words carefully. “Jordie, you know they are wrong. Right? You got to Stars on your own. Even if I had the power, which I don’t, I would never do that to you. I would never take away your pride like that. And, you don’t need me to. They are just douchebags and they know how to get to you. Usually it’s through me—“

Jordie says quickly “Not true.”

Jamie laughs and says “Do you think I don’t know what people say about me and Tyler? I hear it too. And I see you put big hits on people who are saying shit to me. “

Jordie takes this opportunity to say to Jamie “You know you can tell me anything, too, right? Like what is going on between you and Tyler?”

Jamie blushes and says “There is nothing going on between us. Jordie, you know I would tell you because I don’t lie to you and I don’t keep secrets from you. We are just friends. But sometimes, he looks at me and I don’t know. I feel things.”

Jordie says carefully “I didn’t know you were into dudes.”

Jamie replies “I’m not, but I’m into Tyler, I guess. I have been around naked guys my whole life and couldn’t care less. But, Tyler, man. I don’t know.”

Jordie shrugs his shoulders and says “I don’t know either. Maybe he is just the one who floats your boat.”

Jamie stammers a bit and says “Wha- what would you think?”

Jordie says “About what? You and Tyler doing the nasty? Same thing I think about you doing the nasty with anyone. Gross! “

Jamie starts laughing and pushes away from Jordie. “How the hell did this conversation about you turn into a conversation about me and Tyler boning? Anyway, please tell me you believe me. You made the Stars on your own merits and I didn’t have anything to do with it. Oh, wait. They did ask me before they signed you to your AHL contract if I had a problem with my brother in the organization.”

Jordie looks at him and says “And you said?”

Jamie says “I told ‘em no fuckin’ way do I want to play with your lame ass. So, now you really see how much pull I have with management!”

Jordie starts to laugh and grabs a throw pillow and throws it at Jamie. This quickly evolves into an epic Benn Brothers wrestling match which hurts a lot more than when they were teenagers, especially when they roll off the couch onto the floor. When Jordie has finally forced Jamie to say “uncle” while straddling his stomach and pinning his arms behind his head, he rolls off of him and lays beside him. Once they have caught their breath, Jamie reaches over and grabs Jordie’s hand and gives it a quick squeeze and lets go.

“You know I love you, right? And, I think I lied earlier. I think I would probably do anything I could to keep you up here with me and I know that is selfish but now that I know what it is like to play with you as an adult, I don’t want to do it without you.”

Jordie is quiet for a minute and says “I love you, too, Chubbs and playing with you has been the greatest. But you have to promise me that you won’t do anything like that for me. I mean, if the Stars want to trade me or anything like that , you have to let things work out the way they will.”

Jordie feels like he could cry, thinking about playing without Jamie and when he glances at his brother, he sees that Jamie is silently crying. Jordie rolls over and grabs Jamie’s face and rains kisses all over it like their mother used to when they were small while repeating “No crying! Jamie can’t cry!” As expected, Jamie starts to laugh and pushes him away.

“God, Jordie! Stop!” Jamie yells.

Jordie starts laughing and then says mock seriously “Chubbs, I will kiss your face all day if it stops you from crying.”

Jamie hits him and says “I will never cry again”

Epilogue
When Jordie, of all people, scores the winning goal in the 2016 Stanley Cup finals, Jamie knows he won’t be able to help himself-he’s gonna cry. After Bettman gives Jamie the Cup, he wishes he could give it to Jordie second but knows that he should hand it off to his “A”s. But, when he skates over to Fidds, Vern shakes his head. Jamie then skates over to Trevor who also won’t take it. Trevor looks at him and mouths “Jordie”. Tyler sees what is happening and pushes Jordie to front of the group of players. When Jamie hands him the Cup, he can barely see him to do so with the tears that are streaming down his face. Jordie takes it, does his lap and hands it off to Fidds and immediately goes to find Jamie. No surprise, Jamie is hanging onto Tyler but when he sees Jordie coming, he meets him in the middle of the ice and just engulfs him in a hug.

“We did it, bro!” Jamie screams into his ear. “And you scored the winner!”

Jordie yells back “We fuckin’ did! And, we did it together!”

The hug seems to last ten minutes with them both just saying “I love you” to the other over and over again and when they break apart, Jordie can see that Jamie is crying again. Jordie looks at him and says “Do I have to kiss your face?” Jamie knows exactly what he means and quickly stops crying and says “Umm…no, thanks. I’m done crying”

Jordie just laughs and says “I doubt it” as he skates away to celebrate with his teammates.