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All Of Me Loves All Of You

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2025

Sid was half-awake, lying in bed. The sun was warm coming in the window. He opened his eyes and looked at the clock, 9:00 am. A strange sensation swept over him. Shit. I’m late. It’s a game day and I’m missing morning skate. Then his brain woke up. And he remembered. He didn’t have to be there. No more game days. No more practices. No more morning skates. This was going to be hard to get used to.

He heard the bedroom door open and felt the mattress sink as a small body climbed up and curled herself up against him. He wrapped his arm around her and kissed her forehead.

“Good morning, Sunshine.” He was surprised that Sunshine had stuck as a nickname since neither of them could say it without thinking of Beau. Beau who now played for the Kings. Who was back home in Los Angeles. He’d been there, what, five years now, Sid realized. Time goes by too fast, he thought.

“I’m hungry. Make me pancakes?”

“Of course. How ‘bout you go downstairs and watch some TV. I’ll be down in a minute and you can help me.”

He watched as his six-year-old daughter climbed down, a huge smile on her face. She ran out the door and he heard her thumping down the stairs. A short time later she was sitting at the kitchen counter, slopping pancake batter everywhere, as he sipped on his cup of coffee.

“Where’s daddy?”

“At the rink, he has a game tonight. First one of the season, remember, I told you we were gonna go watch him tonight.”

“Oh yeah. How come you aren’t there?”

“Cause I don’t play anymore. I retired.” He knew it was a difficult thing for a six-year-old to understand. “I’m gonna be home with you now.”

“All day?”

“Yep. Every day.”

She giggled.

“Papa, tell me my story again.” He looked at the small face. So like his. They had both donated sperm for the surrogacy, but it was clear that she was her daddy’s girl. They have the same eyes.

“Your story. You’ve heard it so many times. Are you sure you want to hear it again?”

“It’s my favorite story, please.”

“Your story is a very special story. It’s the story of a King and how he fell in love with a dashing Knight and they had a daughter, their little Princess.”

“I’m the Princess! And Daddy is the King. And you are the Knight.” His daughter giggled when Sid put on his best pouty face.

He reached over and tickled her belly. “Silly, you know that’s not right. Do you want me to tell this story or not?”

She giggled again. “You are the King! Please tell me the story!”

“Okay then, it all started nine years ago, the handsome king loved ruling over his kingdom, but he was very lonely…”

Chapter Text

2016

Mike Sullivan and Mario Lemieux sat in Jim Rutherford’s office as they took a conference call with the GM of the Anaheim Ducks. Mike was smiling. Mario was smiling. Jim Rutherford was dealing. It was the middle of the night in Pittsburgh. Sullivan had just arrived, getting in late from a road game. He had wanted to just go home, but a text from Rutherford had brought him to the office instead.

“So, you are sure about this? We get Hagelin in exchange for Perron and Clendening. That’s what we had offered.”

“That’s right,” replied Bob Murray. “Oh, and one more thing. We have a kid from our AHL team we’d be willing to toss in on the deal if you’re interested. Left-winger we picked up in the fifth round last year. Good kid, has potential. He just isn’t fitting in to our system. We’d like to find him a good team, so I thought I’d offer him to you.”

Sullivan notices that Rutherford is smiling. He winks at Mario and asks Murry, “What’s his name?”

“Jamie Marsh. Played for Edmonton in the WHL last two years. He’s 18. Big kid, lots of speed, too. A good prospect, but like I said, just not right for our system.”

“I have Mario and Sullivan here, Bob. How ‘bout you give me a few to talk it over with them and I’ll call you right back.”

“Sure, Jim. No problem. Talk to you in a few.” Murray hangs up.

“I don’t know, Jim. Why are they throwing him in at the last minute? Something’s up here.” Sullivan says. “Besides, we have all those kids at Wilkes-Barre that we can call up. Do we need another prospect?”

Rutherford nods towards Mario who has a wide grin on his face. Suddenly it dawns on Sullivan, they knew Anaheim was going to offer this Marsh kid in the trade.

“It’s Bill Marsh’s kid, Sully.” It’s all Mario needs to say, he knows it’s a done deal, but he still feels he needs to voice his opposition.

“Great. That’s what I need, another problem child.” Sullivan sat back in his chair with a huff. Sullivan had only been the coach for a month. He wasn’t sure he needed to add another issue when he was trying to turn the Pens’ season around.

“I don’t think he’s gonna be a problem, Sully,” Mario stated matter-of-factly.

“He broke Luc St. Croix’ nose for christ’s sake. He’s got a reputation of being a loose cannon since Bill passed. Underage drinking charge. DUI. Why in god’s name are we even talking about this?” Mike just shook his head. He knew Rutherford and Lemieux had already made up their minds on this one and he was just trying to vent before the inevitable happened.

“St. Croix is an ass. He deserved to get his nose broken. Gretz knows some of the people on the Oil Kings’ staff. You know about the fight, but do you know what caused it?” Mario knew the mention of Gretzky would get Sullivan’s attention. “Gretz says that it was about St. Croix’ son.”

“His son? The one that died in an accident?” Sullivan was puzzled.

“Yeah. And… Kyle was gay. Word is he was in a relationship with Marsh. And his death wasn’t an accident. Suicide.”

“But the family said,” Sullivan was starting to get the picture. “I know Luc. I’m guessing he wasn’t too happy with a gay son?”

“Speculation is Luc found out. The fight was over the relationship. Marsh sticking up for Kyle or something. Can’t find anybody who knows the story for sure. Well, no one willing to talk about it.”

“So this kid is gay. That makes sense then as to why Anaheim is trading him. Why did they draft him to begin with? Can’t see them getting anywhere near a guy that isn’t a flaming heterosexual. And what about the underage and DUI? How’d they overlook that?”

“Don’t think they knew about him being gay,” Rutherford offered. “We scouted this kid last year and we didn’t know anything about the St. Croix boy. As for the drinking, we checked it out. It happened two weeks after Bill and Jean were killed. My guess it was a one-time shot, at least I hope, so. We’ll see.”

Mario leaned forward. “It’s Bill’s kid. Obviously there’s something Anaheim isn’t saying about why they are dumping him. I think he needs a good home. He’s coming here.”

“Call Murray,” Sullivan knew the discussion was done, “tell him we’ll take the kid, too. Just one thing, are you bringing him here or sending him to Wilkes-Barre?”

“I want him here at first,” Mario said. “Until the All-Star break at least.”

Well, that settles that, thought Sullivan.

Jim Rutherford dialed the phone number for Bob Murray. It was the middle of the night in Pittsburgh already, but only 11 pm in California. “Bob, it’s a deal. Make the announcement.”

---

Sidney Crosby opened his eyes. What was that noise. He had been sound asleep. It took him a few minutes to realize his phone was ringing. He rolled over and picked it up off the dresser.

“What time is it?”

“6 AM. Sorry to wake you so early. I have some news.”

Oh crap, Sidney thought, Mario’s calling me at 6 am.

“Who got traded?”

“Perron and Clendening. To Anaheim.”

“And who’s coming here?”

“Carl Hagelin.”

“Hags? Really? After the playoffs last year?”

“Well, at least Flower will be happy he won’t get beat by him again.”

“Right. You called me at 6 am to tell me this. It couldn’t have waited? I mean, you do know we didn’t get in until almost 2 last night?”

“I know. I was still up. We were making the trade. And, we got a second player, too. His name is Jamie Marsh. He’s 18. A left-winger. Which is why I’m calling you now. I need you to get up and come over. I need to talk to you about him. Nathalie will make you breakfast. We’ll see you at 8.”

Sidney knew that was an order, not a request. He sighed, “Okay. Pancakes?”

“Waffles?”

“Even better. See you in a couple then.”

---

 

Sid set his alarm and rolled back over. He was asleep again in minutes. When his alarm went off an hour and a half later, he reluctantly shut it off and climbed out of his nice warm bed. He took a quick shower and threw on some clothes. He walked in to the Lemieux house a few minutes after 8.

He walked in to the kitchen and gave Nathalie Lemieux a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Smells wonderful in here.”

“Tough loss last night, honey,” she said lovingly. “I can’t believe he got you up so early, either.” She gave her husband, who was seated at the kitchen table, her best mean look.

“I know, but it’s okay if I get some of your homemade waffles. With some jam?”

“Already on the table waiting. There’s OJ, too. And, coffee.” She said.

He poured himself a cup and went to sit with Mario. “Okay dad. I’m here, as ordered. What do you need to talk to me about again?”

Mario gave him the ‘knock it off look’ that only Mario can give. “You remember I told you about the trade, right?”

“Yeah, Hags is coming here. I’ll play nice with the enemy and make sure the boys do as well, especially Flower.”

“And the other player, Jamie Marsh.”

“He’s coming here? I did a quick check on him. He’s with their AHL team now. Aren’t we sending him down with the baby Pens?”

“No. He’s coming here. And I have a favor to ask you. Well, I have this idea and it involves you.”

Uh, oh. He recognized that look and Mario’s tone. This wasn’t going to be a favor. Mario had made up his mind that Sid was going to do something he knew Sid wouldn’t like. Saying Sid would be doing him a favor was his way of telling Sid that.

“Why do I not have a good feeling about this.” Sid looked at Nathalie for support, but she just kept her back turned to him.

“I think it’s time you paid me back for taking you in when you came to Pittsburgh. Time for you to pay it forward as they say.”

Oh shit. Sid looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

“You what? You want me to offer to take this kid in, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“You do know what I’m like. And you seriously are asking me to do this?”

“I’m not asking.”

Other than his father, Mario Lemieux was the only person who could tell Sid what to do.

“Why. Why me? Why this kid? Why now? Come on. I’m just getting my season turned around and you want to do this to me? Wasn’t Johnston enough? You saw what that did.” Sid put his head in his hands.

Mario also played on Sid’s guilt complex, his feeling of obligation to repay a debt and his feeling of obligation to carry on one of hockey’s better traditions, veterans housing young players just entering the league. Then he hit his obligation as Captain. Finally, he threw out there the card he knew Sidney couldn’t argue against.

“Because he reminds me of someone I know. I think he needs a good mentor who will understand him. Who can show him how to conduct himself in the league,” Mario leaned forward and put his hand on Sid’s arm, “Someone who can relate personally to his situation.”

Sid looked up. “He’s…” He stopped.

“Yes, I think he was in a relationship with Luc St. Croix’ son.”

“He’s the one that broke St. Croix’ nose.” Sid laughed, finally putting the pieces together as to why the kid’s name had sounded familiar. He remembered reading the story. “My guess is that asshole deserved it. Will have to ask the kid about it.” Then Sid’s eyes lit up. “He’s Bill’s kid.”

“Yes.”

Sidney suddenly understood. While nobody in hockey really liked Luc St. Croix, everyone that knew him loved Bill Marsh. Mario loved Bill Marsh. He had been an assistant coach with Team Canada in 2002, when Mario helped them win an Olympic gold.

Nathalie came over with a plate full of waffles. She ruffled Sid’s hair and smiled at him. “I think it’s a good idea, too.”

“Okay. Tell me about him.” Sid sighed reluctantly as he stabbed a couple of waffles with his fork.

Sid and Mario spent the next hour talking as Mario filled him in on what he knew about Jamie Marsh. Sid ate more waffles than he should have, but they were really good and he was feeling really stressed at the moment. Nathalie’s cooking had always made him feel better. Just like his mom’s shepherd’s pie and meatloaf.

By the end of the conversation, Sid agreed to take this kid in to his home. On a trial basis, he told Mario. At least until the All-Star break, but if it wasn’t working out, Mario would open his home to Marsh instead.

After Sid left, Nathalie sat down to talk to her husband.

“You know he’s going to go home and try to find a reason not to have to keep this kid in his home regardless of what he told you.”

“I know. But at least I got him to give it a chance.”

“Are you sure about what you’re doing? I mean, you haven’t met this kid and you’re doing this?”

“I just have a feeling about it. I know how I think Bill would have raised him. I’m sure he’s a good kid who’s just had a tough year. If he broke St. Croix’ nose for the reason I’ve heard, then I definitely know Bill raised him right. And besides, our boy’s been so lonely. I know he watches his friends, all happy, all married or engaged, having kids. He wants that life, too. He just hasn’t found the right person.”

“So you are going to play matchmaker, eh? You don’t think the age difference will be a problem?” Mario just smiled at her, “Well, you always have seemed to know what has been best for Sid. Well other than the Johnston thing, of course. I hope you’re right this time.” She got up and started doing the breakfast dishes.

Chapter Text

On Friday, January 15, Jamie Marsh was a San Diego Gulls player. His team played that night and lost to the Ontario Reign 5-0. Jamie and his teammates then had a two-hour bus ride back down to San Diego. That night Jamie went to sleep planning on getting up the next morning and playing Saturday night against the Texas Stars. However, when he woke up Saturday morning he was no longer a Gull, he was a Penguin. Jamie was part of a four-player trade by the Anaheim Ducks, the Gulls NHL affiliate, that sent wingers Carl Hagelin and Jamie to Pittsburgh in exchange for winger David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening.

When he got news of the trade he texted a few people to let them know. One in particular, Tristan Jarry, a former teammate from Edmonton was now with his new team.

Jamie: Hey Jar, guess who’s headed east baby!

Jarry: I heard Marshie! Can’t wait to see you!

Jamie: Can’t wait to get out of CA, What kinda org is Pens like?

Jarry: The best! Ur gonna luv it here, Marshie! You can room with me and Matt Murray, the other goalie.

Jamie: Me with 2 sieves? I can’t wait.., LOL! Will talk when I see you. Probably Sunday or Monday.

Jarry: Later Loser!

The airplane landed in Pittsburgh. It had been a long flight from California and despite his excitement at the thought of getting to play for the Penguins, and getting out of Anaheim, Jamie Marsh was very tired. At first he thought he would be going to Wilkes Barre – Scranton, to the baby Pens as they were called. Then he was told that no, the Pens wanted him to fly to Pittsburgh.

His travel plans had been changed several times over the weekend. First he was going to fly to Pittsburgh on Sunday, then his flight was cancelled due to weather. The next flight they could get him on would get him to Pittsburgh on Monday, but the Pens would be in St. Louis. He could have flown to St. Louis and met them there, but he was told that the Pens management would rather he fly in to Pittsburgh when the team was at home. Finally, it was decided he would fly out early Tuesday morning and get in to Pittsburgh that evening around 7 pm. The delay was actually good. Jamie had a chance to pack all of his meager belongings.

Jamie retrieved his luggage, a gear bag and his sticks, as well as his guitar and another bag. He also had his carry-on bag. It was almost everything he owned. He walked towards the exit pushing a luggage cart, expecting to see a car waiting for him. The last word he’d gotten from a Pens’ representative was that someone would pick him up at the airport. He’d texted the number they gave him to tell his ride that his flight had landed and he had his luggage. He about fell over when he saw a Range Rover and a very recognizable driver waiting for him.

“You must be Jamie Marsh. Here, let me help you with that.”

“What gave me away, the hockey sticks?” Jamie tried to joke to cover his nervousness. “I’m a bit surprised. I expected a service to pick me up, not the captain of the team.”

“Sidney Crosby, pleased to meet you Jamie.” The Penguins’ captain held out his hand.

Jamie shook the offered hand, then handed Sidney his guitar and carry-on bag. “Thanks. I really can’t believe that you’re here to pick me up. I was looking forward to getting to meet you tomorrow, though.”

“Well, you get to meet me tonight. I thought it would be nice if you didn’t have to stay in a hotel by yourself tonight. I’m sure you’ll be more comfortable at my place.” Sid opened the back door of the Rover and helped Jamie store all his gear. His warm smile and genuine friendliness was quickly putting Jamie at ease. “It was a long flight. You hungry? Or did you actually eat the airline food?”

“I didn’t eat much of it, so yeah, I’m pretty hungry.”

“Do you want to go out some place? Or just hit a drive-thru?”

“I’m pretty tired, too. I’m not a good flyer and I left California at about 6 am this morning, their time. So I’d be happy with drive-thru at this point. Or, a pizza even. Is there a Little Caesar’s around?”

“Really? Little Caesar’s?”

“It’s cheap. And you don’t have to wait.”

“Tell you what, I’ll call and order a pizza from a great place I know. We’ll stop and pick it up on the way to the house. It’ll take us about a half an hour to get to Sewickley with the traffic and weather tonight, so it should be ready about the time we get there. What do you want on it?”

“Anything but fish.”

Sid laughed, “Okay, no ‘chovies it is.” He called and ordered the pizza. When they got to the pizza shop, Sid ran in to get their order. It was a short drive from there to his house.

Jamie didn’t get to see much of Sewickley or even Sid’s house in the dark. He could tell that it appeared to be a really beautiful two-story house. Sid carried the pizza in the house and Jamie’s guitar, while Jamie carried in everything else.

The home was beautiful inside, and pretty immaculate. “Don’t be too impressed,” Sid had remarked, “I had someone come clean because you were coming.”

Sid retrieved a bottle of water for himself and a Gatorade for Jamie. Sid had two slices of pizza. Jamie finished off the rest of it. They talked a little about the trade. Sid told Jamie that Pittsburgh was happy to get him. What he didn’t tell him was that Sid knew that Anaheim had thrown Jamie in on the trade, had offered him without Pittsburgh even asking for more than Hagelin in the trade. He knew that Mario had specifically asked for Jamie to be assigned to Pittsburgh to play with them at least until the All-Star break. What he told Jamie was that they just wanted to see him at a practice before they decided where he would play. After they ate, Sid showed Jamie to a guest room so he could get some sleep. They’d leave for the training center at about 8:00 in the morning.

---

Jamie had heard a lot about this new state-of-the-art sports complex UPMC and the Penguins had built. A beautiful place sitting on a hill top greeted him.

“Coach Sullivan is looking forward to meeting you,” Sidney said as he guided Jamie to the locker room area. “Dana Heinze and his staff will get you set up with your Pens’ stuff. Just ask if you need something and it’ll magically appear.”

Sidney walked Jamie through the complex, stopping to introduce him to various people. Bill Guerin and Rick Tocchet among them. Jamie was in awe. Hockey legends, he was among hockey legends here. And, although he’d played at Anaheim for a few weeks this year, this trip to the NHL somehow felt very different. Not that the Ducks weren’t a great team, but these were the Penguins. Hockey elite in his opinion.

They walked in to the locker room that was a complete copy of the locker room at Consol Energy Center. Jamie thought it was huge for just a practice center and certainly bigger than the Gull’s locker room. He recognized some of the players around the room. Fleury, Letang, Malkin – they were there.

“Hey guys,” Sidney said, bringing heads up around the room to see what their captain wanted. “Like to introduce you to Jamie Marsh, new left winger. Make him feel welcomed boys.”

Jamie nodded at the room and mouthed a quick ‘hey’ at everybody. He was trying to take it all in while still maintaining some sense of composure. He turned and found himself standing face to face with Evgeni Malkin.

“Welcome Penguins,” Geno said in his thick Russian accent. “Think you will like here. Good team. Good guys.”

“I hope so,” was all Jamie could stutter out. He’d always thought Geno looked huge on TV when he watched games. Standing there, he realized the he was actually slightly taller and bigger built than Malkin.

Geno motioned for someone to come over. “Dana Heinze – Jamie Marsh,” Geno introduced him to the Head Equipment Manager. “Dana take care of him.” It came out sounding like an order from the big Russian, but Dana Heinze just laughed and said ‘okay.’

“You wore number 20 with the Gulls, right,” Heinze asked him. “We have that number available if you want it. Mike, Coach Sullivan, and Mr. Rutherford said to ask you before we just assigned you a number.”

“Thanks, that would be great,” Jaime said. “I was kind of hoping I would get to keep that number. It’s been lucky for me so far.”

“Okay, I’ll get the guys started on getting your name on your sweaters. What size? You have your own pads and stuff with you or do we need to get you fitted? What size pants, too. How about skates? Need your blades sharpened? Sticks? I see you have a few. We stock those. Let me know how you want them cut and we can get the right curve in the blade. Wait…” Heinze picked up a stick. “Jesus, there’s no curve there, is there? You like a flat stick? Just like Sid, huh. Okay. I’m sure I’m overwhelming you a little here, but lots to do to get you all set for Thursday night’s game. As of now, Sully told me you’d be starting.”

He turned to see the momentary stunned look on Jamie’s face. “It’s okay kid, breathe.”

That shook Jamie out of the moment. He told Dana Heinze all his sizes and they went over what equipment he’d managed to bring and what he would need new with the Pens.

Jamie thought he’d managed to get everything packed. Then he’s remembered what he had forgotten to pack. He was a bit embarrassed. He hadn’t given it a thought until this morning when he was going through his equipment bag. Maybe he would just stop at a store and buy a new one. Oh crap. Dana was looking at him strangely, trying to figure out what he had forgotten, what had made the kid stop in mid-sentence.

“Um. I don’t have… my jock. I couldn’t find it in my stuff this morning.” Jamie blushed again. Damn it, he thought. “I’ll make do today and I’ll just stop and buy a couple of new ones later.”

Heinze broke out into a deep laugh. A warm, friendly laugh. “That’s okay. I think we have one here that should fit you. Extra small, right?” Heinze winked at him and Jamie’s face got even redder, if that was possible. “I mean we wouldn’t want you to hurt anything important during your first practice, right. Wait… you do have a cup with you don’t you? And garters?”

When he saw Jamie dip his head and sheepishly reply, “Yeah, I have my cup and garters. I have no idea how I lost my jock.” Dana Heinze laughed and slapped the kid on the shoulder as he walked away. Heinze had already decided he liked this kid.

As Heinze walked away, Jamie looked over at Sid, who’s locker was a couple of spaces down from his.

“I’m starting Thursday night? You said I was just here for a practice.”

“Oh, sorry. Um, yeah, welcome to Pittsburgh, you’ll be playing against the Flyers,” Sid laughed. “You were pretty excited already last night and I didn’t think you’d get any rest if I said that you’d been assigned here for the foreseeable future.”

Jamie looked around the room and saw a familiar face, he walked up to the other former Duck in the room. Jamie had met him when he’d been called up to Anaheim.

“Hags, good to see ya again,” he said to Carl Hagelin.

Hagelin shook Jamie’s hand. “Marsh. Heard you were part of the trade. I hope the change in scenery, and teammates, is good for both of us.”

“I didn’t get a chance to thank you in Anaheim. I mean, for what you did. Wonder if that’s what got us both traded. You know I’m still not sure exactly what happened, but...”

“No problem. It needed said. And if it was what got us traded… well… I wish I’d said it in October.”

Jamie recognized Coach Mike Sullivan approaching them from across the room. Sullivan smiled as he stuck his hand out to shake Jamie’s. “Welcome to Pittsburgh, Jamie. I’ve been watching some video of your games with Anaheim and the Gulls. Pretty impressive skating.”

“Thanks, Coach Sullivan. I’m happy to be here. Looking forward to playing for you.”

“Just Coach, or Mike, or Sully is fine. Unless I’m yelling at you, of course. Then all I’d better hear is ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘No Sir’” Jamie got a puzzled look, not sure if the coach was being serious, then Sullivan winked at him. “Come on back to my office. I’d like to just get to know you a bit before practice.”

Sullivan closed the door and settled in behind his desk. Jamie sat down across from him.

“Sid said something about me playing Thursday night. I’m kinda confused about it. I really thought I’d be going to Wilkes-Barre.”

“We want to give you a try out here, first. We liked your stats at Edmonton and so far this year, you’ve been doing pretty well. I was told that the Pens would have liked to pick you up last year in the draft or would have hoped you wouldn’t have gone until this year. Buy Anaheim snatched you up.” It was all true, thought Sullivan, but just not the real reason he was here. Well, we don’t need to tell the kid everything on the first day.

“I talked to some Pens scouts last year. I thought about sitting out the draft another year, especially after my folks’ accident and everything, but then Anaheim told me they were interested if I was available.” Jamie stated.

“We needed a left-winger with speed, so we picked up Hags. We were also a bit surprised when Anaheim added you to the trade. Not like them to give up a top prospect just like that.” Sully watched Jamie’s head drop. “We made a few calls.”

“What did you hear?”

“The real reason Luc St. Croix’ nose got broken. And that means you probably didn’t fit Anaheim’s system. So, first thing you need to know I guess, before you tell me your side of it, is that neither myself nor the Pens give a rat’s ass if you are gay. And, I’ve talked to Hags. From what he says of you from camp and those weeks you were in Anaheim, you aren’t the problem player Anaheim, or everybody else, seems to think you are. So I’m guessing there’s a lot more to your story.”

Jamie shrugged his shoulders. Something Sullivan had said, the Pens didn’t give a rat’s ass if he was gay, did catch his attention. And it wasn’t in Jamie to be anything less than honest.

Jamie looked up. “First, I’m not gay. I’m,” he took a breath, just say it, he thought, “I’m bisexual.” He waited for a reaction.

“Okay. Well, like I said, you don’t have to worry about anything here. Are you out, though? If not, that’s fine, all this stays in this room. If you are, or want to be, that’s fine too. We’ll get you some help navigating the media if needed.”

“I just want to play hockey. I was hoping I could just put the last year or so behind me. Start fresh here, in Wilkes-Barre actually was what I was thinking. And no, I’m not out openly about liking guys, too. I like my privacy.” Jamie looked back up.

“Okay. About the underage and DUI. Do you have your license back or will we have to do something about making sure you have transportation?”

“Served my suspension. I have my license back. Actually, I just got my California license in December, after I got my Canadian license back. I guess I need to look in to getting one here, now.”

“That’s good. We can help you out with that. As for the drinking. Is there a problem we need to know about?” Sullivan figured he might as well be direct.

“No. I was. It was right after my parents were killed in an accident. I was, it was a mistake. I think I’ve only actually drank one time since then. Some of the guys had a party in a hotel room while we had a few days off in December. Said it was to celebrate my getting called up. They said it would be, what’s the word they used, unteamly, if I didn’t have a few.”

Okay, so that’s what Mario had figured. Fair enough. Wow, he thought, the kid looks like I’m gonna take his head off.

“First. I don’t care if you do have a drink now and then. I’ve always felt that 18 was a reasonable age to drink, and you’d be legal in parts of Canada. Just don’t ever show up at a practice or game, or any team function for that matter, either drunk or hungover. And, if you want to go out with your teammates to celebrate or blow off steam at any point, you can. PA allows minors in bars that serve food if they are with a guardian. The guys know where they can take you and where they can’t, even on the road. But. If I find out that you were drinking with them, I’ll suspend all of you. I mean, it’s not like I would ever condone them sneaking a teammate a shot or two, or a beer.” Sullivan winked at Jamie and gave him a warm smile. “Got it?”

Jamie relaxed a little. “Yes sir. Got it.”

“So. Ready to go hit the ice and meet the team?” So far Sullivan liked what he saw in this kid’s attitude and personality. And he seemed to be honest and upfront with Mike, even though he’d just met him. Maybe Mario was right about him and everything would be okay.

“Um,” Jamie looked at the floor and then back at Sullivan. “I guess there’s something else you should know. About when I was in Anaheim.”

Crap. Here comes the ‘why I’m really a problem child’ moment. “What do I need to know?”

“There was an incident in December, when I was called up to Anaheim. Another player was, um, the team called it a hazing incident. They managed to keep it out of the press and off the NHL gossip mill.” Jamie tried to keep his emotions checked, but it was hard. “He found out I had been in a relationship with a guy. It was the night they had the party. I had a few too many. They had a keg. I guess I should have paid attention. I think they just kept filling my cup and before I knew it I was pretty drunk. That’s when…” Jamie dipped his chin to his chest. Sully saw him swallow hard a couple of times.

“What happened? What did this guy do?”

“I ended up back at his hotel room, not mine. Knowing myself and how shitfaced I was, I probably said yes. I think I did. Anyway, he kept saying it was okay, just his way of welcoming me to the team. He wanted a blowjob.” His voice was barely audible. “I know that I, I did that.” Jamie’s face was a bright red as he talked to his new coach. Sullivan tried not to make his embarrassment worse, but he felt his anger at Anaheim rising as Jamie told him about the incident. “But then there was something else, I think I can remember trying to say no. I remember hearing him say something else, then I think I blacked out. I really don’t know for sure, most of it is just flashes, feelings. I was really shitfaced.” Jamie finally looked up at Sullivan. His face was red, but his emotions were under control otherwise.

“What? Who the hell was it? And Anaheim kept it quiet?” Sullivan knew that they had tried, but the NHL gossip line was quicker than a bunch of old women at a beauty parlor. He already knew who it was, he was waiting to see how Marsh handled the situation.

“No. I’m not gonna say. It happened. It’s over with. And like I said, I very well could have been a most willing participant.” Jamie ducked his head a little and looked up at Sullivan through his long, thick lashes. “I mean. I like sex.” Sullivan tried not to laugh at that very honest statement from an 18-year-old.

“But there’s this unknown in my head, about just what exactly happened.” Jamie raised his head back up, looking at Sullivan. “Another player heard about it and went to the coach, though. I guess there had been other incidents with other players. The initiation shit, and he decided to say something finally. The player, the one who did the, who you know, anyway, he says it was consensual. His exact words I believe were ‘the drunk fucking faggot wanted it’ and ‘what the hell it was just a fucking initiation, it’s not the first time we’ve done it’ so that was that. I figured I must have said yes at that point. Either way, I just tried to forget about it. I got sent back down to San Diego right before the first of the year. Next thing I know I’m traded.”

“Hazing? Like that? I have no respect for teams that overlook that kind of stuff.” Sullivan was fuming. He’d heard stories about some of the antics of a few of the Ducks’ players and their team initiations, but this went beyond anything he’d heard.

“It’s okay. Please. I didn’t tell you to get you mad. And please, it’s not something that anybody needs to do something about. I really don’t need more publicity and you know it would be bad. I don’t care what the league or the teams say, or You Can Play says. It would be bad. And I, I can’t deal with that. I’m still trying to deal with everything else that’s happened in the last year. I’m talking to a counselor actually. I have been since the DUI. Trying to keep my head straight. She said I should tell you, in case I had a bad day or something. So you’d know. About all the crap I was dealing with. My folks. St. Croix that asshole, losing Kyle the way he, well just everything. It was bad for a while, right after my folks died. I almost walked away from it all, if you know what I mean.” Jamie’s eyes were glistening as he struggled to control his emotions all of the sudden. He wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. “The DUI. That night, I almost, well, let’s just say that’s the night I almost walked away. I don’t ever want it to be that bad or to be in that place again. My counselor said I need to trust you guys then, to be open, so you would be able to watch for warning signs. Whatever happened that I can’t remember, that I’m blocking I think, well, ever since I went back to San Diego, I’ve had trouble sleeping. And I’m not so crazy about guys crowding me, in the locker room, on the ice it’s been okay so far. I thought you should know.”

“I think your counselor is absolutely right. We can’t help you if we don’t know there is a problem, so you need to keep being open with us about what’s going on. You’ll have our complete support. As for what happened in Anaheim, that is not going to happen here. Nothing like that would be tolerated by the Pens. They may have a party to welcome you, but they aren’t going to take advantage of you or expect you to do anything to welcome you to the team. But, are you sure. I mean about not saying something to the league, that is something they should know about and should deal with. This guy needs suspended, or banned. It’s not something that should be tolerated.” Sullivan was still upset. Then he looked at Jamie and saw the begging look on his face. The look of a scared kid all of the sudden, not the confident young man who’d walked in to his office. It was as if one more bad thing would make his whole world shatter.

“Okay, Jamie. I understand. I’m not happy about it, but I understand. And again, you were right in telling me all this. If you have any problems, any time, you can come to me. We’ll make sure you get whatever you need to deal with any issues you are having. Alright? Are you going to be able keep talking to your counselor or do we need to set you up with somebody local?”

“She gave me the name of someone here and someone in Scranton. I planned on calling after I got settled wherever I got assigned.”

“Alright, then. Are you okay now? Need a few minutes before heading back to the locker room?”

Jamie stood and wiped his eyes again and took a few deep breathes. “I’m okay. Thanks again for understanding.” He held his hand out for Sullivan to shake. His eyes were drying and he had a faint smile on his lips. “I’m just really happy to be here and will try to do my best.”

Sully shook his hand. He knew Mario was right. Sullivan was a firm believer that young players often got lost in the system, or didn’t reach their potential, if there wasn’t a good fit between them and the organization they were with. Had Jamie stayed in Anaheim, Sullivan knew, or gone somewhere else, his NHL carrier could have been over before it started. The kid needed to be in Pittsburgh, an organization that worked hard to develop and take care of its young talent. “Alright, we’ll talk some more after practice.”

Sullivan went to find Sidney and let him know what Marsh had told him, that Sid’s information had been right. Anaheim might have thought they kept the incident quiet, but when Sidney Crosby wanted to know something, people talked. Sullivan and Crosby were both impressed with the kid’s directness. He hadn’t needed to say anything, but he did. It was a sign of the maturity that gets players to the NHL at such a young age. You didn’t get here at 18 if you weren’t older than your years it seemed. As for Marsh and his new coach, first impressions meant a lot to Mike Sullivan and so far, he liked what he saw in this kid. He’d have to let Mario and Jim know.

After practice, Jamie went through his routine cool down workout, then showered and got dressed. He texted Jarry with his news. The goalie was happy for him and said they’d catch up soon. Sidney came over as he was sitting in front of his locker, putting his gear away.

“Come on,” Sid said, “I’ll give you a tour and introduce you to some more people.”

Jamie nodded his okay and trailed after Sidney. The tour took longer than he thought. The place was huge. The medical end of it was really impressive. Orthopedics, concussion, performance – all covered. A one-stop shop, Jamie thought. And two full-size rinks. Really impressive.

Sid stopped and walked into a rather impressive looking office. He just smiled at the administrative assistant in the outer office and walked in to the main office with Jamie in tow. Seated at the desk was Jim Rutherford, General Manager of the Pens.

“Hey, Jim. Thought I’d bring our newest guy to meet you.” Sid shook the older man’s hand as Rutherford stood up.

“Sorry I didn’t get down to the locker room to greet you there, Jamie. I hope everything is going okay so far, I just talked to Sully and he said you had a good practice.” Jamie shook Rutherford’s hand.

“Thank you for bringing me here, Mr. Rutherford. I’m looking forward to playing for the Pens. And yeah, so far everyone has been very nice. This is quite the training center. Can’t wait to see Consol, too.” Jamie wasn’t quite sure what to say to his boss.

“We were very pleased when Anaheim offered you as part of the trade. Excited to see what you can do. I think you’ll find that we are a very player oriented organization. If you need anything, you go to Sid here, or Sully. Or,” he smiled, “you can always come to see me. I have an open door policy with my players. I like to know what’s going on with the team and their life outside the game, sometime it helps to be able to talk to someone who isn’t a teammate or coach about stuff. So stop in once and while and chat, I’ve got some stories about your dad you’d probably get a chuckle out of.”

“I’d like that. I’ll stop back, then.”

“Okay, we’d better let you get back to work then, boss. I’m gonna take Jamie back down so Sully can go over a few things. I’ll stop back myself tomorrow if that’s okay?” Rutherford shook the boys’ hands again.

“Anytime, Sid.”

The boys wound their way back down to the Pens’ locker room. Jamie followed Sidney in to Mike Sullivan’s office.

“Have a seat, boys.” Sullivan smiled at them. “Like the center, Jamie?”

“Wow. All I can say is, wow.” Jamie said as he settled into one of the chairs opposite the coach.

“Thought it was a good first practice. You seemed to settle in pretty quick and fit in well with Fehr’s line. What do you think, Sidney?” He looked to his team captain.

“I think we found ourselves a good winger at a bargain price.” Sid winked at Jamie. “Lots of speed and from what I saw, you seem to read the ice really well. You can adjust to the play changes really well.”

Jamie blushed. “Thank you both. I was just trying to keep up most of the time, feeling the jet lag.”

“Well you did really well,” Sullivan wondered if this kid knew how good he really was.

Sullivan smiled at him. “Okay, now about your living arrangements. Sidney has offered to take on a boarder if you would like to stay with him.” Jamie almost fell out of the chair.

“It’s a big tradition at this level,” Sid said to him. “Older players taking in younger players when they enter the league. Kind of like staying with a family when you played Juniors. A family did it for Mario Lemieux, he did it for me. Geno lived with Sergei Gonchar when he started. Players all over have roomed with vets when they came up. So I decided to step up and pass along that tradition. I mean, I’ve been here a while now, guess I’m an old guy.” Sidney grinned. “That’s why I picked you up last night, too. So your stuff would already be at the house if you said yes.”

Mike looked at Jamie, “Yeah, 28 is an old guy. Any way, it gives you some structure and routine that you might not get rooming with the other single guys or by yourself.”

Sullivan continued, “Plus, Sid can fill you in on what life in the NHL is all about and team rules and responsibilities. Show you the ropes so to speak. Based on just what I’ve seen in the tapes and in practice today, I think you’re gonna be around for a while. So, what do you think. This arrangement going to be okay with you? If not, we’ll look at some other options if you want.”

Holy shit. Jamie’s heart was pounding. He was trying not to show just how excited he was. Calm, Jamie boy, calm, he thought to himself.

What he managed to say out loud was, “Thanks for the offer, Sidney. It would be really great getting to stay with you. I’ve pretty much lived on my own for a while now, would be nice to have a roommate and some company around again.”

Sid and Mike laughed. “Guess that’s settled then. Sidney has all your team orientation materials. He’ll go over everything with you. See you boys at the morning skate tomorrow.”

Sid stood to leave. He stopped when Jamie didn’t get up.

“Does Sidney know anything about what I told you?”

The question took Sullivan and Sidney by surprise.

“Sid, you want to answer that one?”

“Yes. I heard the rumors and I talked to some players I know out in Anaheim about you. And then Sully and I talked after you talked to him. I think it’s important that I know, to help you out with getting set up with a counselor, and to help out, at practice, or anytime you get stressed over stuff because of what happened. You can come to me. I can run interference with any of the guys, too. If needed. I was going to tell you at the house. That I knew.”

Sullivan looked at Jamie. “Sid’s a great captain. You can trust him. I think you’ll find out you have a lot in common.”

Jamie wasn’t sure what Sullivan meant by that last part.

Sullivan looked over his newest winger. This kid reminded him a lot of Sidney and how Mario had said Sid was at 18. He had worried a bit about Sid taking him in, more because it would be a disruption to Sid’s routine and that could be hard on everyone. No, he thought, I’m sure this kid wasn’t a problem. It was a lame ass excuse. He hoped that as Jamie got comfortable with his new team he’d open up a little about what had happened. He also knew that since Jamie was bisexual, Sidney was absolutely the right person to mentor him.

“Okay. I was hoping you knew,” Jamie looked up at Sid. “Not sure I wanted to go through having to tell that again. I was going to ask you to do it, Sully.” He smiled at his new coach. “Guess we both are happy that he knows then.”

Sullivan laughed. “I guess so.”

Sully stood and shook Jamie’s hand, “Again, welcome to Pittsburgh, Jamie.”

Chapter Text

It hadn’t been an easy decision, at first, for Sid to agree to open his home to this kid. Well he really didn’t have a choice at first. He wasn’t happy at all that Mario was making him do it. He’d spent some time talking to Gonch about it. What was it like to open your home, to be on the other side of that situation? He’d talked to Geno about it, because G had opened his home to Plotnikov this season when he’d come over from the KHL.

All of his friends thought he was nuts for even considering the idea, because of, well, because he was Sid. Sid who liked routine. Sid who hated change. Sid who, despite all he said, was highly superstitious about having his routine. Sid who guarded his privacy like it was gold in Fort Knox. Sid who had a hard time letting people in to his life. What was Mario thinking, they wondered. Well, they thought, if it’s only for a couple of weeks, maybe Sid could get through it okay.

Flower had sworn a few times in French. “You know I’m the one he’s going to come bitching to all the time about his routine being all out of control,” he had lamented to the others.

But they knew that he was doing this for the other things that made him Sidney Crosby, as well. All the things Mario had pointed out to Sid as well. He felt obligated to carry on a hockey tradition. He felt obligated to give back to the team. He was the team Captain and this was an 18-year-old rookie coming to the team, it was his job.

They’d had a few teenagers join the team over the last few years. Beau had linked up with Bort his first year, for whatever reason. Olli had Jussi around to help him adjust. This wasn’t like most of the guys from Wilkes-Barre who’d been called up, either. They were all in their early twenties. It would be easier on them on their own or paired up with one another, they all knew each other. But this kid would be all alone. So they knew Sid was doing it because he would think he was the only one capable of doing it. That was Sidney. Everything was his responsibility.

Sid had also called Ryan Getzlaf, Captain of the Anaheim Ducks, and a friend from Team Canada. He asked Getzlaf what he knew about the kid. Getzlaf said he was a good kid, that he knew Jamie had just turned 18 prior to training camp, and that he’d impressed the coaches enough that the Ducks had sent him to the AHL in San Diego instead of back down to the Western Hockey League.

“So why’d they trade him,” Sid asked. He was fishing for information about what Mario had told him.

“I’m not sure, Sid.” Getz said.

Sid heard something in Ryan’s voice. “What aren’t you saying? I already know they were actively shopping the kid, Getz. Why dump a top prospect?”

“Well, let’s just say that the Ducks organization might not be as accepting of players like Jamie,” Ryan paused, “and you, if you know what I mean, Sid. Personally, I thought the kid had his head on pretty straight at camp, and while he was here in December, and that actually, he probably keeps his private life as private as you do. But…”

“But what?” Sid pushed Ryan to go on.

“Let’s just say we have some assholes on our team,” Ryan paused again, “and one of them did, well what the team is calling an initiation.”

“What the fuck?” Sid wasn’t sure he heard Getzlaf right.

“Well, rumor had it that Marsh is gay. Kes said Marsh had agreed to it. It was a blowjob, that’s what Kes said anyway. Marsh didn’t deny or say he hadn’t consented, so the team let it go with just a warning to Kesler,” Ryan said. “And before you get in a huff, I put an end to it happening again even if the team didn’t. I told all of them that if I heard about it happening again, I’d go to the league and get them suspended. Management wasn’t happy, but if they don’t like it they can trade me. Wouldn’t want to stay if they kept allowing it anyways.”

“Kesler is an asshole. I should have guessed he’d be the one to do something like that. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from you, Getz. So you think they dumped him because he was gay? Or because of the hazing?” Sid pressed for more information.

“Maybe. I don’t know for sure. I don’t get the idea that Anaheim would be too keen on having a gay player, no matter what they say publicly. Marsh had been called up right after Thanksgiving, was here pretty much all of December. He did really well, but he was just here to cover for some injury time. They sent him back down to San Diego. Sometime late-December, or maybe it was right after the first of the year, they found out about the hazing incident.”

“How’d they find out,” Sid kept pushing Getz for more. And Getz kept talking.

“Think about it Sid. Who else got traded.”

Hagelin.

“That’s interesting, thanks Ryan. I appreciate the info.”

“One more thing, Sid,” Ryan said, “Here’s what you really need to know about Marsh. This kid is good. He got drafted at 17. He was Anaheim’s last pick. I suspect that they thought they’d at least be grabbing the rights to him for the future. I’m sure they figured he’d stay in the WHL or go play at a college, then they’d bring him in to the AHL later. But he came to camp and really impressed everybody. I don’t know how he’d gotten overlooked and wasn’t higher in the draft, except it was the McDavid and Eichel show. And there was the thing with St. Croix and the DUI. Maybe everybody else was afraid to draft him. I don’t know. But, he’s every bit as good as any of the top pics from what I’ve heard from some guys who knew him in the WHL. He’s pretty quiet, low key, however, and you know how it is, the centers get all the hype and glory.”

He heard Sid laugh at that. “And the defensemen get none at all.” Sid said. Ryan laughed, too, at the running joke between the forwards in the league. “So, he’s that good? Really?”

“Yep Sid. Fast. Smart. Reminds me of you in a lot of ways, on and off the ice. But, he can play a physical game if needed.” Getz laughed. Sidney didn’t. “And he’s a sniper, a real threat from both sides from what I saw of him. Check his stats in the WHL, impressive. I really think Anaheim is gonna regret this trade in the future. More closed-minded on some issues, not as supportive as the Pens, or Canada, in any respect.” Getzlaf said.

“Okay. Thanks again, Getz. See you after the break.” Sidney knew exactly what Getz had meant about Jamie not being a good fit with the Ducks organization if he was in fact gay. Sidney had indeed been very lucky he’d been drafted by the Pens. They were very supportive of his lifestyle. He also was very protective of his private life, and they supported that, too.

Finally, Sid had called Hags, to welcome him to the team, but also to find out what he knew from the limited time he’d been around Marsh. And. to see what he’d say about the hazing incident. Hags didn’t like Anaheim and he wasn’t quiet about his hatred. He’d had issues with the team ever since the Rangers traded him there. It wasn’t a good fit was all he’d say. Too many assholes. However, he liked the kid. Like Getz, he was impressed with his hockey skills.

Sid asked Hags about the hazing incident. Hags confirmed that he’d been the one who’d gone to the coach about it. He told Sid that a trainer from San Diego had called him. He’d helped Hags with an injury during training camp. Marsh had confided in the trainer and the trainer had called Hags. Hagelin told Sidney he’d contact the guy and have him call.

Zach Tyler was his name. A short time later, Sid had gotten a phone call from Tyler. And he got the whole story. He was furious that a player, an 18-year-old kid could get treated this way and the team would do nothing. Sid had made the decision at that point to open his home to Jamie Marsh, completely and not just on a trial basis. He’d heard about stuff like this going on, at Juniors or colleges, and sometimes on a pro team. But usually not with such a young player. After what this kid had been through, he’d need the support of the entire organization. He’d need to know not all teams were the same.

Then Sid called Hagelin back.

“What up Cap?”

“I know why you hate Anaheim so much. Kesler did the new guy initiation shit with you.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

Finally, Hags spoke. “They tried. Kesler wanted a blow job for him and Silfverberg. I told them to fuck off. But yeah. Anaheim let them get away with that kind of hazing, especially with the rookies. Fuck them.”

“Did you know it was probably more than just a blowjob with Marsh? They got him drunk and Kesler evidently fucked him. Did you know?”

“Fuck no! Are you serious? Tyler just said they’d hazed the kid, so I went to the coach with just that. Christ. I did hear Kesler said it was a blowjob and the kid had agreed. Cause he was gay Kes said. Fuck Kes. Fuck the Ducks. Fuck them.” Hags kept swearing.

“It’s alright, Hags. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, Sid. I’m fine. Speaking up got me traded. All good.”

“Okay. I wanted to let you know that I knew. And, if you ever need to talk, or need anything, I’m here. Captain,” he paused, “and hopefully as a friend Hags. You know that, right.”

“I know, Sid. I really think I’m gonna like it here. I’ve gotten a bunch of phone calls from guys already, Geno and Letang called, and Kunitz. They have been great about making me feel like part of the team and not the enemy any more.”

“We’re really glad you’re here Hags, especially Flower.” They both laughed.

“Okay. I’ll let you go. Thanks again, Hags.”

He'd called Mario and told him that he’d changed his mind. That he’d do his best to help this kid out.

---

On the drive home from Jamie’s first practice, Sid asked Jamie if he was going to need to fly back to California over the All-Star break to get the rest of his things, or if he needed to have stuff shipped here. Jamie told him that he had brought almost everything with him, but he had packed a couple of boxes and left them with a teammate who said he would ship them to Jamie once he was settled.

The drive from Cranberry to Sewickley took around 20 minutes. Once they got home, Sid gave Jamie the full tour of the house that they had skipped the night before. Jamie was impressed with the size and layout of the house.

“There’s some food in the kitchen. We can run to the store later and get whatever you’d like to have around. I know I gave you Keurig coffee this morning, but there’s a real coffee maker, the whole pot type, in there somewhere, too, but I have no idea where.”

“Well, why don’t you get settled in and unpack. When you get done, we can go for a ride. I’ll show you where G lives, it’s not far. And, we are invited over to Mario’s for dinner. He’s looking forward to meeting you.” Sid saw the stunned look on Jamie’s face.

“Mario? Mario Lemieux?” He stammered. “I’m going to have dinner at Mario Lemieux’ house?”

“Will be the first of many. Nathalie likes having me there. She still thinks I can’t cook for myself, so if we’re at home for more than a day at a time, we’ll probably be there for dinner.”

“I met him once. I was eight. It was so cool. He called when my dad died, just to tell me how sorry he was and that he was sorry he wouldn’t make the funeral.”

Later that day, as they sat at dinner, Sid found himself just watching Jamie. He could see the excited teenager in Jamie’s eyes. Jamie was finding it hard to contain that excitement as he was talking hockey with a living legend. And, Jamie was loving the stories Mario was telling him about his dad at the 2002 Olympics.

Sid was impressed with the kid so far, but it had only been one day. He knew that Jamie had confided in Mike Sullivan about what had happened in Anaheim already. Before he even knew anything about his new coach or team. Jamie had taken a chance, because he knew he needed help. Another good sign. It had been hard, he was sure, but it was the right choice for Jamie to have made. So far, Sid thought, you made the right decision to take him in. So far he was seeing a mature, level headed hockey player.

Thursday morning, they drove in to Pittsburgh to Consol Energy Center for the game day morning skate. When they walked in to the locker room, Jamie looked around for his new locker. It wasn’t hard to find.

Jamie’s face turned bright red. There were about 30 jock straps taped up all over his locker.

“Problem rook?” Sid asked him, trying not to laugh out loud.

“No. No problem.” Jamie went to his locker, which was between next to Brian Dumoulin’s and Matt Cullen’s. He didn’t even touch the jocks, he just sat down and started getting changed.

Geno walked up and looked things over. “Guess Dana didn’t know your size.”

The room burst out in laughter.

Sid leaned over to Jamie laughing, “Today’s lesson, equipment managers can be merciless when they see an opportunity.” Sid knew, however, that Dana had nothing to do with this. But he had agreed to keep Flower’s secret.

Jamie just continued to blush. “Right. I should have known.”

Eventually Jamie took them all down and put them in a neat pile. They were still there when he came in from the skate. Dana Heinze hadn’t said a word about them. So Jamie finally had asked Dana what he wanted him to do with them. Dana told him he had no idea how they got there, but he had a good guess. Jamie asked him for a little help with the payback.

That evening when Marc-Andre Fleury came back to get ready for the game, the jocks were taped to his locker, with a note.

“Flower, thanks for the help. I found my size and thought you’d like these back. They are all too small for me but should easily fit you. Marsh”

Sid had about died laughing when Flower told him.

“You told him. You ratted me out, didn’t you,” Flower had accused.

“Nope. I think he figured it out on his own. I would never rat you out, Flower, I’m not about to bring that kind of rage down on myself,” Sid laughed.

Flower tried to act mad.

“I should have hung his fucking clothes from the rafters.”

He, however, was thinking he might have found a worthy opponent for his pranks, or better yet, another accomplice.

Chapter Text

Jamie Marsh stood bent over the toilet. He was throwing up. Nerves. It was something he’d had to deal with all his life. He had a tendency to toss his cookies when he got really nervous or excited. And just like yesterday, he was really nervous tonight. His first start in the NHL as a Pittsburgh Penguin was about five minutes away. Well at least the warm-up was that close. He wiped his mouth on the towel he’d remembered to grab on his way in to the stall and flushed the toilet.

“Marsh, you okay man?” The voice belonged to Chris Stewart, the Head Athletic Trainer. “Marsh?”

“Yeah, I’m okay. Just nerves.” Jamie opened the door. Stewart had a knowing grin on his face.

“I figured. Had to check, though.”

Jamie rinsed out his mouth, splashed some water on his face and walked back out in to the main locker room. Sidney was waiting for him.

“You okay?” he asked. “You know, I used to play with this kid that was the same way. Got so worked up before a game that he’d puke every time. Every game! Can you believe it. You aren’t like that are you?”

Jamie shook his head no, trying not to throw up all over Crosby. “Okay, let’s go then. Everybody’s ready, just waiting on you.”

Jamie followed Crosby out in to the space where the team waited to go down the runway to the ice. Patric Hornqvist was getting them fired up. Okay, he thought, this isn’t your first NHL start, you’ve done this before. Jamie fought the butterflies down and followed his new teammates out on to the ice at Consol Energy Center. Two laps around the ice and the butterflies were gone completely.

The Pittsburgh fans got their first look at the new kid. Jamie Marsh was big and well put together. Six foot, four inches tall. Two hundred pounds. Lean, but solid. He still had a boyish look about him at 18 years of age. Smokey green eyes, set off by long dark lashes, lit up when he smiled. Strong cheekbones and a square jaw were softened by the peach fuzz that covered his cheeks and deep dimples. Freckles dotted his cheeks and nose, but his skin had a clear, creamy complexion. His smile was infectious, drawing you in, so that you felt like you’d known him your whole life. Short sandy brown hair added to his youthful appearance.

He was good looking. No, good looking wasn’t the word for him. Jamie Marsh was beautiful, or so he’d been told. He’d had women, and men, hitting on him since he turned 16 and started playing at the junior level. And, Jamie had discovered that he enjoyed the sexual attention of both the women, and men, he’d let himself be with. There were definite benefits that both could offer in the bedroom.

Jamie was stretching on the ice when Crosby skated up to him.

“Doing okay, Jamie? Not gonna puke on the ice are you?” It was said with a half-laugh and with a mischievous grin on his face.

“Um, no, I’m good.” He looked up and for a minute forgot where he was. Those beautiful hazel eyes looking down at him. People may have thought Jamie was beautiful, but he thought Sidney Crosby was downright gorgeous. He was definitely one of those men from whom Jamie wouldn’t mind getting some of those benefits. “Holy crap,” he thought, “get your head out of the gutter Marsh. You got a game to play.” He looked down at the ice and when he looked back up Sidney had skated away.

Warm-up ended and it was back to the locker room for last minute stuff. Skates sharp. Stick taped again. And then it was back out on the ice to face the Philadelphia Flyers. Jamie stood with his teammates for the National Anthem. His heart was pounding.

The atmosphere at Consol was electrifying. You could feel the energy in the air. It didn’t matter what kind of season either team was having, a game with the Flyers meant a play-off type atmosphere. It was one of hockey’s fiercest rivalries.

Sullivan had stepped behind him when Jamie sat down on the bench. “You doing okay, Jamie?”

Jamie shook his head yes.

“Okay. You did okay yesterday and today with having guys around you, it seemed. I know you said you've been okay on the ice, but if you get in trouble out there, or get too stressed at any point, let Sid or me know. We’ll pull you out for a while, okay. Just go play like I know you can. It’ll be okay.” He patted Jamie’s shoulders and walked down the bench.

Sidney Crosby’s line was going to start the game. Jamie remembered the puck dropping. Everything for the next few minutes was a blur, the line changes and shifts coming very fast at this level.

Two minutes in to the game, Jamie went over the boards for his first shift as a Penguin. And, he made it a memorable one. The Flyers were changing as well. Their D had tried to send the puck deep in to the Pittsburgh zone while they changed. The pass had gone right in front of Jamie as he hit the ice.

In the blink of an eye he was in full stride with the puck on the end of his stick. A breakaway with the trailing defenseman now scrambling to get back with him. It wasn’t even fair at this point. Jamie was flying. Jamie ignored the d-man, he knew he had him beat. He kept his head up, watching the goalie, trying to read his moves.

Steve Mason was an All-Star caliber goalie, but Jamie saw an opening. He deked left and then went right. Mason was beat. He had been sure the left-handed shooting winger coming at him would go for the wrist shot from his strong side. He fell for the deke and got beat by a backhand shot from the right side that elevated over his leg pads ever so slightly.

The horn indicating a goal sounded but Jamie hardly heard it. He was mugged by his line mates who’d barely been on the ice five seconds. He was too excited to mind being trapped in the middle of all of them. After they let him go, Jamie skated towards the bench to high-five his teammates, taking it all in, his first NHL goal on his first shift with the Penguins.

Jamie had seen Sid get the puck from the linesman and give it to Dana Heinze. Heinze was grinning from ear to ear.

Jamie skated around and took his spot on the edge of the center circle for the face-off. Mike Sullivan was keeping the third line on the ice for a bit longer. Eric Fehr took the face-off. The puck went back to defenseman Ben Lovejoy. Jamie fell back behind the Pens blue line and fell in to the rush as the Pens moved the puck into the Flyers’ zone. He took a pass from Fehr and skated around a Flyer, taking the puck around the back of the net with ease. Then he got checked. Hard. Radko Gudas, the defenseman he’d beaten had him pressed against the boards.

“Welcome to the NHL, you little fucker,” Gudas said in his ear, in a thick Czech accent. “Make goalie look bad your first fucking shift. Not be so fun for you the rest of the game.” He pushed his stick into Jamie’s back.

“Damn,” Jamie thought, “not so fun at the moment is right.” Gudas kept checking him. Jamie started to feel like he was trapped. Just then Bryan Rust got there and joined the scrum for the puck. Rust emerged with the puck in short order and tried to center a quick pass to Fehr but it was intercepted by the Flyers who started back down ice.

Jamie scrambled to get his feet under him and headed after the Flyers and the puck. Trying to not think about having been caged in by Gudas. He was trying to focus on the play. Just as he hit mid-ice, Brian Dumoulin intercepted a pass and sent the puck back towards the Flyers’ end. The Pens needed to change lines again and Jamie stepped through the door in to the bench area. He got a congratulatory pat on the back from his coach.

Before he knew it the first period was over. Jamie’s goal was the only score so far and the Pens took a 1-0 lead in to the locker room for the first intermission.

When the Pens came out for the second period Jamie was on a new line. He was playing on the top line with Crosby and Hornqvist. Mike Sullivan had liked what he’d seen so far. In addition to the goal, Jamie had several other good breakaways and shot opportunities. He also seemed to have an uncanny sense of where his line mates were on the ice, dropping precise passes without even looking.

It was the same kind of skill Sullivan saw from Crosby and Malkin. Just this feel for the plays being made, reading the ice and the defense on the fly. Yep, Sullivan thought, this kid is going to be a good addition. So he’d put him up on his Captain’s line. The change paid off in short fashion.

On their third shift together Sidney stole the puck from Wayne Simmonds as he crossed the blue line in to the Pens zone and the race was on. Jamie saw the steal and turned on a dime to go with Crosby towards the Flyers’ end. Jamie knew Crosby knew he was there, to his left and just a half step behind his captain. It was a two-on-two breakaway. The Flyers’ defense had gotten caught flat-footed again however.

Crosby guided the puck across the Flyers’ blue line and hesitated for just a second to make sure Jamie had cleared the line before he lasered a pass to the end of his stick. Jamie caught it and flew around the defenseman in front of him. The second d-man now had a tough choice, defend against a pass back to Crosby or a shot from Jamie. It was Gudas again. And again, he got beat. He slid over to his right to put himself between Jamie and the goal when he saw the winger start to set for a slap shot. Jamie faked the shot. Instead the puck made a direct line to Crosby. The pass was perfect. Sidney sent a wrist shot top-shelf on Mason, just over his left shoulder, and buried the puck in the back of the net. This time Jamie heard the horn sounding as he celebrated with his teammates.

He skated by Gudas. “Seems like I’m still having fun.”

The rest of the second period and the third flew by. Geno scored twice in the third period to cap off the scoring. The Pens ended up beating the Flyers 4-3.

---

As they walked out to the parking garage Sidney watched Jamie closely. He’d been doing that a lot since he met him he realized. He was captivated with this kid. He knew what he’d been through, but the kid was doing okay, he thought. He’d played a great game tonight. Seeming to forget about everything and settle in quickly. He’d watched him during the game, making sure he was okay after he came off the boards during a check. The kid had looked nervous just once or twice. The rest of the time he seemed focused on the game.

He was looking forward to the up-coming All-Star break and spending time just getting to know Jamie Marsh, the person, away from hockey for a while.

Sid could see that something was on Jamie’s mind right now. He looked like he wanted to ask Sidney something but didn’t know how.

“So, what’s got you so deep in thought?” Sid said as they reached his vehicle.

“Nothing,” Jamie didn’t sound very convincing.

Sidney tried to think of what could be wrong. The kid had a great game. Nothing bad happened. He didn’t think Jamie would keep an injury or anything from him. So what… then he realized what was up.

“I didn’t even think when the guys asked me if I wanted to go out that you might like to go.” That was it, Jamie’s head had come up to look at him. This was the teenager side that Sid had only seen a couple of times over the past day. Jamie wanted to go, but didn’t know how to ask. “Did you want to go?”

“No, that’s okay.” Jamie still didn’t sound very convincing to Sid. He gave Jamie a ‘don’t bullshit me’ look.

“Maybe. It’s okay. They said they were just going out to grab something to eat. I thought maybe, it would give me a chance to get to know them. And you’d be with me, so it’d be okay. But, you don’t want to go though, and I’m with you, so, it’s okay” Jamie looked at him with those green eyes. Dear lord, Sidney thought, is he giving me puppy dog eyes. He almost laughed out loud.

Right about then a group of players walked out in to the parking garage. They were all headed out to celebrate. Sidney gave in to the puppy dog eyes.

“Hey, change of plans, I think we’ll go with you guys after all.” Sid yelled over to them. “We’ll see you there.”

He knew where they’d be headed, no need to ask. It was a quiet bar that Pens players often frequented after games. They could go there and get something to drink, get something to eat and nobody would bother them. Jamie wasn’t technically old enough to be there, but Sid knew that as long as he was with the team no one would say anything about it. Sid and Geno had been drinking there, curtesy of their teammates sneaking them beers and shots, since before they were 21.

Sid turned back to look at Jamie who was now all smiles.

“Are you sure?” Jamie asked Sid.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Sidney decided that it would be good for the kid to go out with his teammates.

As they sat in the bar, Sid watched the young man sitting across from him eating fries and a very greasy hamburger, talking about hockey. Someone said something Sid didn’t hear but it made Jamie blush. He really embarrasses easily, Sid thought.

Sidney had seen Jamie blush a couple of times now when he’d thrown an off-handed complement his way. He’d watched his eyes light up when Sidney had said they’d go out with the guys. Those beautiful green eyes with the long, curled lashes. It was going to be tough to resist those puppy dog eyes, that was already evident to Sidney.

What he was sure of was that Jamie would be staying in Pittsburgh for the rest of the season. He knew he had plenty of time to get closer to him and figure out what he was feeling.

Chapter Text

The next morning Sidney woke to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and bacon cooking. It was 8:30 am. Sidney loved having an off day and getting to sleep in just a little bit. He would have liked to be going to the All-Star game with Geno and Tanger, but he was also looking forward to having that whole week off soon. He got up, threw on some shorts and a sweatshirt and headed to his kitchen. He found Jamie, showered, dressed, and fixing bacon and eggs.

“Jesus, what time did you get up?” He asked.

“Around five. I went for a run. Came back and got dressed, then decided to fix breakfast.” Jamie turned to look at Sidney. “There’s plenty. I found your coffee pot, too. I’m not big on those one cup things, so I made a whole pot.”

“You went for a run? You didn’t get lost, that’s good. How far did you run?” Sid poured himself a cup of coffee.

“I don’t know. I just run until I get hungry. Around nine or ten miles I guess. It was fucking cold out this morning and I’m still hyped from the game, so I was running a quicker pace, maybe I ran even farther.” Jamie buttered the toast that had popped up.

“Are you kidding me? You ran 10 miles already? Trinca’s gonna love you.” Sid was referring to Alex Trinca, the Pens’ strength and conditioning coach. Damn workout freaks, Sid thought, just like Tanger. Sid smiled, cause in reality he was one of the freaks, too.

“I like to run. It helps clear my head. I don’t usually run that far, but I was feeling good today so I just kept running.” Jamie dished up the eggs and bacon he’d fixed.

“Smells and looks good,” Sid said as he took his plate. “You know, breakfast is my favorite meal. We need to do omelets sometime. I make a wicked omelet.”

As they sat down to breakfast Jamie told Sid about his life. Jamie had been born in Minnesota. When he was three his father, an engineer, had taken a job in Edmonton, Canada. He had started playing hockey at five. His mother had died of cancer when Jamie was just six. His father, overwrought with grief, had killed himself two months later, leaving Jamie with no family.

Jamie’s hockey coach, Bill Marsh, and his wife Jean, had taken him in. It was after he’d been an assistant with Team Canada. Bill loved Mario, he talked about him often, Jamie said. He was also a big fan of Sidney’s. Bill had taken Jamie to watch the Pens play in Edmonton a couple of times. Bill and Jean had never been able to have children, and when Jamie turned eight, they had legally adopted him.

Bill had nurtured the natural talent he saw in Jamie, always encouraging him. It was Bill who saw Jamie’s potential as a left-winger. He was the one who showed him about using a flatter stick to help his backhand shots, just like Sidney Crosby, Bill told him. Sid smiled at that. It had made Jamie a deadly sniper from either side of the ice.

Bill had called some of his friends with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL when Jamie turned 15 and got him a try-out. He made the team, playing fulltime with them when he turned 16. Jamie was playing with them when Anaheim drafted him.

“I looked up your stats at Edmonton. Holy shooter. 47 goals and 62 assists your first full year? How the hell did you get overlooked in the draft?” Sid laughed at Jamie. Jamie blushed.

“I didn’t do so well the next year, and it doesn’t help your draft ranking if you break your coach’s nose.”

“St. Croix’ an ass. You have to tell me about it sometime.”

Tragically Bill and Jean had been killed in a car accident just under a year ago, Jamie told Sid. They never got to see Jamie get drafted or play in the NHL. Sid told Jamie he remembered how upset Mario had been.

“I hear you know Caitlyn McMasters.” Sid had offered. “My sister Taylor knows her. They played on a few teams together. I was telling Taylor about you staying with me and she recognized your name. Said Cat has talked about you, a lot. You and Kyle St. Croix, T said, actually.”

Jamie blushed. “Yeah. I know Cat pretty well. Cat, Kicks and I all grew up together. She’s a hell of a goalie, too, just like Taylor I hear.”

“Yeah. T likes her,” Sid smiled and asked, ‘Kicks?”

“Kyle St. Croix. Everybody else called him Crow. I was the only one he let call him Kicks. It was an inside joke.” Jamie paused, smiling and blushing at the memory of his friend and his nickname. “When we were little we’d sleep over at each other’s houses. In the middle of the night, he’d kick me. In his sleep. So I started calling him Kicks.” Sid laughed. “And he did it when he was older, too. Never stopped as long as I knew him.”

“I’ve heard that you two were close. Sorry to hear about his accident.”

“We were close.” Jamie wondered how much he should tell Sid. Sid knew he was bisexual and so far it didn’t seem like it mattered. His counselor had told him it might be good to talk about Kicks to people he felt he could trust, instead of trying to keep it bottled up. So far Sidney had not given him a reason not to trust him. Come on, it was Sidney Fucking Crosby, his captain and now, evidently his mentor, too.

“We were together for over a year. In a relationship. Kicks was the first real love of my life.”

“I’m really sorry, then. Were you together when he had his accident?”

“It wasn’t an accident. Kicks,” it was still hard to talk about it, “Kicks killed himself.”

“Shit. But I remember reading the news story that said it was a car accident.”

“I was on the phone with him. When he did it. He purposely drove into the tree at about 100 miles per hour.” Sid saw the tears coming to Jamie’s eyes. He reached across the table and put his hand on his arm.

“Jamie. I’m so sorry. Do you,” Sid wasn’t sure what to say, “It’s been what, over a year, but do you want to talk about it, do you want to tell me what happened? If not, it’s okay.”

Jamie sat back and took a deep breath, getting himself back in control. “His dad found out about us. That’s what lead to the fight where I broke his nose. There’s a lot more to it, but it was partly because he was sending Kicks away to play juniors with a team in Ontario. He said that if we were on opposite sides of the country Kicks would get this fag thing out of his system.”

“Like I said, I’ve always thought Luc was an asshole.”

“Yeah. Anyway, Kicks was struggling. I knew it. I talked to him every day. He was getting harassed by his teammates, homophobic pricks it turns out. I told him I’d come, but he kept saying his dad would kill him if he found out. I know he believed it, I think I did, too. He called me. He was driving a rental. He’d had a bad time at the rink and he was really upset. He’d had another fight with his dad, he’d told him he was going to quit hockey. That he was coming home. His dad, well his dad didn’t take it very well. Kicks was so upset. We talked. I could hear it in his voice that something was really wrong. He kept saying he was done. He couldn’t do it anymore. Then he got really quiet.” Jamie’s voice faltered. “He asked me to tell him I loved him. Just one last time he said. I begged him to come, that I’d tell him in person when he got home. He could stay with my family. I begged him.”

“Christ,” Sid said under his breath.

Jamie wiped his eyes. “He asked me again. I could hear the car accelerate over the phone. I finally said I loved him. I would always love him.” Jamie paused, his head down, he was looking at his hands, trying to control his emotions. “He said good-bye. And then I heard the impact, I fucking heard the impact.”

Jamie took a napkin and wiped his eyes “You’re the first person, other than my counselor, that I’ve ever told the truth about what happened. His family didn’t want to hear it and it really didn’t matter to anybody else. Kicks was dead.” He took a few deep breaths. “God I miss him. So much.”

“It’s okay to miss him. And it’s okay to cry about it. I’m glad you felt you could tell me about him. I think you needed to get that out.”

When he got himself together, Jamie continued. “Cat’s pretty special, too. When Mom and Dad died, the Oil Kings had a problem with me living alone. Well, I guess the underage drinking and DUI thing didn’t help. Cat was home from college, she’d gotten hurt and was taking a semester off. She moved in with me so there’d be an adult in the house, she was 20. The team said okay, which surprised us both.”

“That was nice of her.”

“Yeah. I was hoping she’d go to California with me, but she went back to school. She’s gonna flip when I tell her I’m staying with Sidney fucking Crosby.”

Sid laughed, “Does everyone in hockey always refer to me that way?”

“Well, yeah.” Jamie grinned. “Anyway, thanks for listening.” With that Jamie stood up. “You think we could go grocery shopping today. You really don’t have much to eat here.”

Sid guessed that was the signal that Jamie didn’t want to talk about his life anymore right now.

“Yeah, I’d better go get dressed.”

Jamie cleared the dishes and started to load them in the dishwasher.

---

The Pens won their last two games before the All-Star break, beating Vancouver and New Jersey. Jamie had an assist in each game. They had wished Geno and Tanger good luck at the All-Star game after the New Jersey game and headed home to enjoy a week off.

Over the All-Star break Sidney got to know Jamie some more. The more he learned about this kid, the more he liked him as well. Jamie was pretty grounded for an 18-year-old, but Sidney thought that was relatively true of most kids that entered the league at a young age. They all seemed older than their years. He found that Jamie did like to run and was up every morning around five to hit the pavement. Sid told him he could use the treadmill he had, but Jamie said he preferred to run outside even on the coldest days. Sidney would have gotten up and run with him, but not when it was 15 degrees outside. He thought Jamie wasn’t right in the head to want to run outside when it was that cold.

They had done the routine stuff to get Jamie settled in to his new life in Pittsburgh. Sid had taken him to his bank and set up an account. Jamie had transferred what little money he had from his account in California. It wasn’t much but he figured he could get the few things he needed to tide him over until he got his first pay from the Pens.

They’d also contacted the counselor whose name Jamie had been given. Sullivan hadn’t pushed Jamie on the issue until after the game against the Devils on Tuesday. He figured Jamie was settled in with Sid by then. Also, it was clear that Jamie was staying in Pittsburgh, so it was time to get him into counseling again. Jamie had his first appointment on Thursday. It had gone well, he’d told Sid.

He’d asked Sidney if they could go clothes shopping. Jamie reminded Sid that he was coming from California to the middle of the frozen wilderness. Sid had laughed at that. Pittsburgh, a wilderness? But he agreed to go because Jamie did need to get some winter clothes, in particular some good cold weather gear so he could keep running outside on those cold days.

Jamie also got a couple of new suits, and a dressier winter jacket. In the pros now, got to look the part, Sid told him. Sid had paid for the clothes when he’d seen Jamie wincing at the price tags. AHL players didn’t make a lot, he knew. He’d seen just how little Jamie did have to transfer to his new bank account. The clothes were a ‘welcome to the league’ gift he told Jamie. The kid was all smiles.

What Jamie learned about Sidney Crosby those first few days was that he could be very generous to those he liked. And, he already liked Jamie it seemed.

On that Friday, Sid had told Jamie they had a special errand to run. Jamie was surprised when they pulled in to a car dealership that afternoon. Sid obviously new the salesperson very well. He introduced Jamie, “Joey, this is Jamie Marsh, the kid I told you about. Jamie, this is Joey Kincaid.”

Jamie shook the older man’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”

“You, too,” Kincaid said, “Welcome to Pittsburgh and to the Penguins. Pretty good first game you had the other night.”

“Thanks.”

“So Sid, shall we go sign the paperwork?” He turned and motioned for the two men to come sit down at his desk.

“We have everything ready, just a few things we need from Jamie.”

Jamie wasn’t sure what was going on at the moment. He looked at Sidney who just smiled.

“Right,” Sid said. “They need your driver’s license Jamie. I think that was it, Joey, right?”

“Yep,” Kincaid replied. “That and a few signatures.”

Jamie took his license out of his wallet and handed it to Kincaid who took it to make a copy. While he was gone, Jamie questioned Sid.

“What’s going on?”

“Well, much as I’ve loved chauffeuring your ass all over the last couple of weeks, it’s not really practical for me to have to do it all the time. I bought a Jeep so you’d have it to use. Both our names are both on the title, though, it’s easier for the insurance that way. I’ll cover the insurance until you get some money coming in and then you can pick up the payments if that’s okay. I just bought it outright because I don’t like having to pay interest if I don’t have to, and well, I don’t have to.” Sid winked at Jamie, who had a shocked look on his face. “One of the benefits of being Sidney fucking Crosby.”

“But you hardly know me, or how long I’ll be staying here in Pittsburgh. Geez, this is… this is… way too generous. I can’t let you do this. I’ll use Uber or get a rental, like I did in California. Really. Wow, this is just too much. This isn’t some suits and sweats, man.” Jamie couldn’t believe Sidney was offering to basically buy him a car, well already had evidently.

“Look, you understand about my privacy thing, don’t want a bunch of Uber drivers with my address, no offense. And you don’t need to waste money on a rental car. So I thought about this and I talked to Mario and some people. They thought it was a good idea.” Sidney’s arguments seemed to make sense to Jamie.

That was the end of the discussion. Jamie had a Jeep to drive whenever he needed or wanted to go somewhere on his own. Sid had even made sure it had a GPS so that Jamie wouldn’t get lost in this vast wilderness.

Early on, Sid realized that he wouldn’t need to set up a curfew or any major house rules for Jamie. The kid was pretty self-disciplined. He’d gone out with some of the boys to watch the All-Star skills competition on Saturday night. The boys had gone to a local sports bar that was actually a family friendly place so wives and kids had gone with them. Jamie was home by 11 pm.

Sunday they’d joined Pascal Dupuis, Marc-Andre Fleury and their families at Chris Kunitz’ house to watch the game and have a party. Jamie had driven them in his new Jeep. He’d been so excited showing off the vehicle to Duper, Kuni and Flower. He was all smiles. Sidney liked that.

He watched Jamie sitting on the couch at Chris’ house. All three of Kuni’s youngsters, and Duper’s youngest child were piled up either beside or on top of Jamie. He was taking it all in stride. Two-year-old Estelle Fleury was trying to squeeze on to his lap as well now. Sid wasn’t sure there was room.

“Stell, you don’t need to be bothering Jamie. There’s not enough room for you.” Marc-Andre started to get up to retrieve his oldest daughter.

“It’s okay, Flower,” Jamie reached down and picked up Estelle Fleury. “Come here girlie girl, we’ll find room.” Estelle giggled with delight as Jamie sat her down on his lap.

Maureen Kunitz was taking a picture of Jamie and the kids. “They really like you,” she said to Jamie.

“Thanks Mrs. Kunitz,” Jamie said blushing. “Could I get you to email me that pic.”

“It’s Maureen, Jamie,” She said. “Give me your email before you leave and I’d be happy to send it.”

She got up to walk out to the kitchen to visit with the other wives. She stopped and leaned down to whisper in Sid’s ear on the way past him, “He’s really nice. And, cute.” This time it was Sidney’s turn to blush.

His friends noticed a change in Sidney. They talked about it after he and Jamie left. Sidney seemed happier somehow the past few days when they’d talked to him. Relaxed. Not the uptight asshole he could get to be this time of the season. Maybe they’d been wrong to worry about Sid breaking his routine and taking in a boarder.

They had caught Sid just sitting and watching Jamie instead of the game. They saw something in the way their friend was looking at the rookie. They had watched Sidney for years, chasing after that thing they had all found in their lives. That one person who made him truly happy. They knew it was harder for Sidney, because he was fighting who he was in order to be what others thought he should be. They had watched him, painfully at times, go through relationship after relationship. Never being able to open up to anyone.

They all felt their friend deserved to be happier, to be with someone he was in love with, someone who was in love with him. They all thought that maybe Sidney was figuring that out, too. Figuring out that he had a right to be with whomever he chose, man or woman, regardless of what anyone thought. It had only been two-weeks, but they could tell something was going on with Sid, and it was apparently because of this new person he was letting in to his life.

Chapter Text

The Penguins picked up right where they had left off before the All-Star break, beating Ottawa in Pittsburgh. Next up was a road trip to Tampa Bay and Florida. They lost to the Lightning and beat the Panthers. Jamie racked up a goal and an assist over the four games. He also became a fixture on Sidney Crosby’s line. Chris Kunitz had moved down to the third line. But it didn’t really matter, the lines were practically interchangeable, even the line of Malkin, Hagelin, and Kessel, which was the hottest line in the NHL at the moment. They all played together every game, changing things up often.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Jamie got to experience part of what he’d heard from others about the Pens being one of the best organizations in the league. Players and their families gathered at the training center in Cranberry for a party to watch the game. Jamie learned that Sid was big into fantasy football and had won the team’s league this year. Jamie got to meet a lot of the other wives and family. What he liked most was the family skate time.

He was on the ice taking some passes from Pascal Dupruis’ girls when he saw the small form trying to make a mad dash at him as fast as her little legs could carry her.

“Stelly belly!” He looked at Maeve and Zoe Dupruis and nodded toward Estelle Fleury. Maeve took his stick so he could skate to Estelle with his arms wide open.

“Come on, girly girl!” He threw his arms around her and lifted her up in to a big hug.

“You skate with me,” she demanded, in French, as she wiggled out of his arms. She took his hand and started pulling him across the ice, at least she tried to pull him.

Veronique Fleury tried to stop her daughter. Jamie waved her off. “It’s okay, Vero, we’re gonna skate together.”

Estelle had taken to Jamie right away at the All-Star party. For the week in-between it and the super bowl party, all she had done was talk about seeing Jamie, asking her mom every day if Jamie could come to the house. Marc-Andre and Veronique had tried to curtail her enthusiasm today, but it wasn’t working. The minute she saw him when she walked in she had run to sit on his lap. When her dad had tried to take her to get something to eat, she had refused and insisted that Jamie take her. He had willing indulged her. He had gotten a break while Flower had gotten her into her tiny hockey uniform.

“Jamie, really?”

“Yeah, we’re good.”

Flower was skating around the ice with baby Scarlet in his arms. He caught up to his daughter and Jamie.

“If she is a problem, we can take her. She really likes you, though.”

“I like kids. She’s fine.” Jamie smiled at the nearly three-year-old struggling to pull him around. “I volunteered a lot in Edmonton to help with kids’ events. I didn’t get much of a chance in San Diego. I have missed family times, too. With the Oil Kings, all the host families would get together and have parties for the players. They were some of my favorite memories from there.”

Flower smiled at Jamie. He’d only known him for a couple of weeks, but he could see why Sid liked him. Estelle wasn’t the only one infatuated with Jamie Marsh, he knew.

About that time, Alexander Letang, Kris’ son, came up behind Jamie and ran into his legs. Kris, Jamie knew, would be right behind him.

He reached down and took Alexander’s hand with his free one. “Hey buddy, you gonna skate with us, too. Okay.” He pulled Alexander around so he was in front of him next to Estelle. Jamie squatted down on his skates. “Mush doggies! Pull!”

He looked up. Flower and Tanger were laughing. “Jamie,” Flower said, “you need to learn French.”

"Mush pitous! Tirez!" Kris said in French.

Jamie repeated the phrase. Alexander and Estelle tried their hardest to keep pulling.

Jamie asked Kris a question about how to say something else in French. He then stood up and repeated that phrase.

"J'vais vous tirer tous les deux à la place, ok?" He skated between them and started pulling them around the rink. They squeeled with delight.

Jamie soon had a train of kids attached to him. Duper’s kids, Kuni’s kids, the whole bunch. Jamie was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled them around, Estelle and Alexander now up in his arms. Sid came out from watching the game to see where his housemate had gone. Duper was standing in the bench area watching the on-ice antics while drinking a glass of wine.

“He’s pretty nice, Sid,” he said as Sid walked up. “How are things going?”

“It’s been pretty nice having him around, actually. He’s very quiet, kind of shy actually, when he’s not on the ice. We’ve sat and talked a few times, about his family, stuff he’s been through the last year. He’s had a lot of loss. I’m surprised he’s doing as well as he is, but yeah, so far we seem to be getting off to a good start. I’m kind of liking this mentor shit actually. Kind of like the off-season with Nate.”

“And you have bullied him into following your regimented routine, already I have noticed. He has all ten-thousand superstitious rituals down pat?”

“Funny, Duper. Ha. Ha. But yeah, he just tags along for stuff, extra practice, conditioning, game tapes, whatever. I know you guys were all worried, hell I was worried, but it really hasn’t been a huge disruption to my life like I thought it would be. It’s been good. But it’s only been a few weeks.”

“How’s his counseling going? He seems to be more relaxed in the locker room. Any problems?”

Sid shook his head no. “No. If you know, you can see him tense sometimes. And he waits until most of the guys are done before he showers. But he seems to be doing okay. He talks with Sully daily, have you noticed that. So I’m sure if Sully needed to tell me anything he would. But I’m not going to keep pushing him on it, you know me.”

“Oui. I do. And I know what you are thinking about him.” Sid blushed at the comment.

“He’s a kid, Duper. I’m not gonna get involved with him that way. Especially after what happened. Jesus, your teammates make you give them blowjobs to welcome you to the NHL, and then on your next team your Captain hits on you, that’s just not right.” Sid said as he turned to walk away.

“I think he can separate the two things. I also think he likes you that way. At least that’s how I’ve seen him look at you.”

“Abuse of power, Duper. Not my thing. And, remember the last time. I don’t need that again. I’m gonna go find Phil and rub it in again that I won the fantasy league.”

Duper just shook his head and smiled. He knew his friend. Sid was trying to deny what he was feeling, like always. He was finding what he thought was a logical reason not to pursue a relationship. He did remember Sid and the last time he let himself become involved with a teammate. It hadn’t ended well. Duper also sensed that this relationship might be different than the others, than that relationship, if Sid could ever see it. At least, he hoped.

Chapter Text

The Monday after the Super Bowl party the Penguins were scheduled to play the Anaheim Ducks. Jamie sat in his stall before the game, fidgeting with his equipment. He looked extremely nervous, more so than Sid had ever seen him. Sid watched Hags come up and say something to Jamie and nod his head towards a training room. Jamie got up and followed Hags in to the room, closing the door behind them. About 10 minutes later they came back out. Jamie seemed a little better. Hags patted Jamie on the back and then went over to his own stall and started putting on his equipment.

Mike Sullivan came in about then. “Sid, you got a minute.” Mike looked a little nervous to Sid, too. But maybe that was because he had just interrupted Sid’s pre-game routine. Sid got up and followed Sullivan in to his office.

“Is our boy okay? He’s was a bit on edge at morning skate.”

Sid shrugged. “I’m not sure. He was quiet on the drive in. And he’s looked nervous. Hags just took him in one of the training rooms for a talk I think. Jamie looked better when he came out.”

“Should we scratch him? I mean. How will he be on the ice with Kesler? With facing those guys. Cause you know, they’re gonna chirp him, hard, try to get into his head and they’ll use what happened against him.”

“I don’t think we need to scratch him. I think he’ll be okay. The guys and I will all be watching out for him.” Sullivan knew that when he said ‘the guys’ Sidney meant Tanger, Kuni, and Geno, and then add Hags in to the mix as well. “I can’t think of any time he’ll be on the ice that one of us won’t be out there with him based on how you’ve run the lines the last couple of games. Tanger especially is out there with him almost all the time. And Flower is always out there. He’ll be watching him the way he does any of the rest of us if we are playing with an injury or issue that might be bothering us. If any of us see a problem, we’ll let you know and you can get him off the ice. Okay.”

“Sounds like a plan. You’ve thought this out already. Sign of a good captain Sid.” Sullivan winked at him.

“Flattery will get you everywhere, ya know,” Sid laughed.

“I know, gotta keep that big ego of yours happy.” It had become an inside joke between the two of them ever since Sullivan joined the team. He’d been told Sid had an ego and would try to run the team every chance he got. Sullivan had found the opposite to be true. What he found was that Sidney was an exceptional captain who worked with Sullivan to bring out the best from his teammates.

Sid only stepped in and politely disagreed with Sullivan if he truly thought that what Mike was doing wasn’t working to help a player. Mike had come to realize that when Sid did step in, which wasn’t very often, Sid always ended up being right about the situation. He realized that Sid knew his teammates well. Better than Mike did at this point, so Mike learned to defer to Sid when Sid stepped in. It made them a good working team as coach and captain.

Now he was deffering to Sidney’s opinion about Jamie. Even though Mike talked to Jamie every day, Sidney would have the better read. Simply because Sid saw him every day away from the ice, when Jamie wouldn’t have the hockey to focus on instead of any of the issues he was dealing with. And, Sid’s thoughts were sound. Jamie would always have at least one person Sid was close to and trusted on the ice with him.

Sid watched Jamie during warm-ups. He saw him glare at Kesler a few times. He saw Getz say something, though, that had made Jamie laugh and smile at Getz as he skated past him. Sid knew Getz would try to control Kesler, had probably warned him not to say anything to Jamie about the incident. Sid also knew Kesler was an asshole. He knew what would be coming out of his mouth at some point in the game.

The first period was uneventful. The Pens were ahead by one at the intermission. Jamie and Kesler hadn’t really been on the ice together very much. And none of the other Ducks had made any chirps at Jamie, so far. That changed in the second period.

It was an odd line taking the face-off for the second period. Sid wasn’t sure why Sullivan had done it. But Kris was out there with Jamie, so he thought it would be okay. Matt Cullen would be taking the face-off with Kessel and Jamie as his wingers. They were waiting for the officials, there was a technical problem with the official clock. Sid saw Kessel talking to Silfverberg and laughing. He saw Jamie not too far from them. Suddenly Jamie’s face went white. He looked like someone had hit him in the gut. He watched Jamie skate away from them, circling down around the goal. Jamie skated past Flower. Jamie kept his head down and was biting his lower lip. Flower looked over at Sid with a worried look in his eyes. Sid tried to motion to Tanger, but the officials came out and called everybody to the circle for the face-off.

Sid watched Jamie take his shift. Whatever they’d said that upset him, he had gotten it out of his head when the puck dropped. Sid cleared the boards and hit the ice for his first shift of the period as Jamie stepped off. He looked okay. Sid turned his focus back to the game.

On his third shift of the period, Jamie was finally back out with his regular line of Sid and Horny. Jamie was chasing down a chip in by Tanger when he got boarded behind the Ducks’ net. Sid looked at the number of the guy pressing Jamie to the boards as they fought to get the puck out. Kesler. Fuck. He could see him chirping at Jamie. Then he saw Jamie freeze completely. Hornqvist was closer. Sid tried to yell for him to help Jamie. He knew he wouldn’t understand, though, Jamie should have been okay in a scrum on the boards. Horny waited in front of the net, looking for the puck to come out. Sid was still across the ice. Then he saw Tanger come in hard against Kesler, knocking him off Jamie. Tanger was swinging at Kesler’s head. The officials blew the whistle and went in to break up the fight. Patric had gone in, too, when he saw Tanger swing at Kesler. Jamie was down on his knees against the boards, gasping for air. Sid skated to him.

“Fuck. Jamie? Are you okay? Come on, get up.” The official skated over and asked if they needed the trainer. Sid shook his head no. “Just give him a minute. He’s okay.”

Jamie didn’t look up, he simply let Sid and Olli help him up and skate him to the bench. He sat down, visibly shaking and on the verge of hyperventilating. Chris Stewart was talking in his ear. Tanger skated over then, escorted by the linesman.

“Fucking asshole,” he said as he stepped off the ice. He had blood on his lip. Sid looked at him. “Five minute major. And a game misconduct. Lovejoy is serving my penalty. Kesler is on his way to the locker room. His fucking lip is worse than mine.” Tanger smiled at Sid. Sid got some pleasure out of hearing that Kesler got the worst of it.

Stewart looked up when Tanger mentioned his lip. “Grab his other arm, I’m taking him in the locker room, too. I don’t know what’s wrong, he’s not saying anything.”

Tanger looked at Jamie, he was still shaking but his breathing had at least slowed down. He leaned down and said something in Jamie’s ear. Jamie stood up and let them lead him down the runway to the locker room. Kris looked over his shoulder at Sid and mouthed the words, “I’ll stay with him.” Sid nodded and turned back to the game. He skated down to the other end of the bench.

“I’m gonna kill him,” he said to Sullivan.

“Tanger did the right thing. We’ll kill the penalty, it’ll be okay.”

“Not Tanger. Fucking Kesler if he comes back on the ice.”

“No you’re not. I can’t lose a third player at the moment.”

“Okay. For you. I’ll wait and kill him closer to the end of the game.” With that Sid skated out to take the face-off to start the Pens’ penalty kill efforts.

Kesler never returned to the game. Neither did Jamie. The Pens ended up winning 4-2. When Sid had gone in for the second intermission Jamie and Kris were in one of the training rooms. The door was locked. Kris came and opened it slightly when Sid had knocked and asked to come in.

“No. He doesn’t want to see anyone at the moment. Not even you. I just got him calmed down.” Kris then simply shut the door in Sid’s face.

When he came back in at the end of the game Jamie and Kris were sitting together at Jamie’s stall. They had both showered and changed into their street clothes. Kris had his arm around Jamie and was talking to him softly. As everyone started coming in, they stood up and walked towards one of the training rooms again. They stopped to talk to Sid.

“We are going to get out of here before the media come in.” Kris said.

“Are you okay, Jamie?” Sid put his hand on Jamie’s shoulder. Jamie shuddered. He kept his head down and didn’t say anything.

“We’re okay. Just, not talking yet.” Kris put his arm around Jamie and led him into the other room.

It was all Sid could do to focus on the media scrum around him and answer their questions coherently. His mind was on Jamie. When he was finally free from the media, he finished stripping down and headed to the showers. He saw Kessel talking to Hags. Hags looked thoroughly pissed. He heard him say ‘fuck you’ and walk away from Kessel.

When he got back to his stall, Flower came over.

“Kris took Jamie out into the hallway to wait for you. Sully talked to them for a few minutes before they went out. Jamie wouldn’t say what Kesler said that upset him so much.”

“Thanks, Flower.”

Sid got dressed. He was putting his shoes on when he noticed Phil leave the locker room. About 30 seconds later, there was a huge commotion outside the locker room in the hallway. He could hear Kris yelling. He could hear Kessel yelling. He ran out to see what had happened.

Kessel was on the ground. Jamie was on top of him punching Kessel in the face. Phil was yelling. Kris was trying to get a hold of Jamie’s arm. Suddenly Tommy Kuhnhackl came around Sid and grabbed Jamie from behind, pulling him off Phil and pinning him to the ground. Sid and Tanger both tried to yell at Tommy to stop.

Jamie suddenly stopped struggling and his whole body tensed. About that time Brian Dumoulin was beside Tommy, pressing down on Jamie as well.

“Get of me! Please! Get off me!” Jamie yelled. His eyes filling with tears. His yelling changing to pleading. Sobbing the words out. “Please! Oh god! Please don’t hurt me! Please! Please get off! Please! Please don’t hurt me.”

Tanger, Flower and Kuni pulled Tommy and Brian off Jamie. Sid dropped down to his knees beside Jamie. As soon as the weight was off him, Jamie curled up in a fetal position. Shaking and sobbing. “Please don’t hurt me. Please.”

“It’s okay, Jamie. It’s Sid. I’m right here, nobody’s going to hurt you. I’m right here.” He rubbed Jamie’s back. “It’s okay.”

Jamie just laid there, sobbing uncontrollably.

Tommy and Brian looked shell-shocked. Phil had gotten up. His lip was bleeding and he was going to have one hell of a shiner.

Sullivan got there. “What the hell happened? Phil? Kris?”

“I was just kidding Marsh and he came unglued, jumped on me and started hitting me.” Phil looked at Sid. “What the fuck’s wrong with him?”

“What did you say,” Sid said through his teeth. “Something Silfverberg said to you?”

Tanger spoke up. “Tommy, Dumo, it’s okay. Why don’t you boys go on back in the locker room. It’s okay. I’ll be in, in a few minutes.” He looked at all the others standing around. “Go on. Everybody, clear out, okay.”

Sid was still trying to calm Jamie. Chris Stewart had arrived. He was bent over talking in Jamie’s ear. From what Sid could hear, he knew that Chris knew what was wrong with Jamie finally. He got Jamie to roll over on his back. Jamie kept his knees pulled up and his eyes closed. He reached out a hand towards Sid, who took it. Jamie pulled Sid’s hand down against his chest and held on to it tightly, like a security blanket.

“Phil, my office.” Sullivan said. As Phil walked away, Sullivan looked at Kris. “What happened?”

“I don’t know for sure. I was across the hall talking to Catherine, telling her I would be late because I was going to go to Sid’s for a while so we could both be with Jamie for a bit, to talk to him about what happened on the ice. Next thing I know Jamie is on top of Phil. Then Tommy and Brian pulled him off and had him pinned to the ground. They didn’t know. I need to go talk to them. To everybody else.”

“Okay. Yeah. You, Flower and Kuni go handle the rest of the team. Let them know what’s going on. Maybe they should have known before now, but it’s too late to worry about that.” Sullivan squatted down next to Jamie as the others walked away.

“Jamie? It’s Sully. What happened, can you tell me?” He reached down and brushed Jamie’s hair back.

“Kessel.” Jamie was still trying to breathe between soft sobs. “Fucking Kessel.” He opened his eyes and looked at the men around him. He sat up, pulling his knees to his chest. He let go of Sid’s hand and wrapped his arms around his knees. “Fucking asshole.”

Jamie took a few deep breathes. Sullivan waited for him to be able to talk. “Okay? What happened? What did he say to you?”

“I was standing out here, waiting for Sid with Tanger. I was holding my stick, the one I cracked in the first period. I was gonna take it home. Phil walks by and says ‘see you’re talking home a new sex toy for Sidney to play with’”

“He said what?” Sullivan wasn’t sure he heard Jamie right.

“What the fuck?” Sid said under his breath.

“He said that I was taking the stick home as a sex toy.”

“Why would he say that, Jamie” Sullivan still wasn’t sure what was going on.

“On the ice, at the start of the second period. I heard him, talking to Silfverberg. Kessel said the only reason I was on Sid’s line was because I was living with him. Silfverberg said that I was probably fucking Sid. Then he laughed and said that I was a sweet fuck, and that I liked getting fucked with a hockey stick. Phil laughed and said Sid probably was having fun with me then, getting to have sex and hockey at the same time. That’s when I skated away. I thought Silfverberg was joking, just saying that for whatever reason.”

“What did Kesler say to you on the ice that had you so upset?” Sid asked.

“He had me pinned. He kept saying ‘remember how this feels, just like when I fucked your brains out’ and he’d press against me harder. I don’t think he actually tried for the puck at all. All I could think about was what he was saying and then all the memories came flooding back… he and Silfverberg… and that fucking hockey stick they used… all of it… then Phil says that to me as he walked by. Fucking asshole.”

Sullivan and Sid looked at each other, Jamie had never said anything about Silfverberg being there to anyone. All he’d ever said was Kesler was the one when he had finally felt he could tell them. That was what he’d remembered, he’d said. At least until tonight.

“Okay. I’m gonna go have a chat with Phil. Sid, take him home. Take the day off tomorrow, both of you. I’ll call you.” Sullivan got up and left.

“I’ve got him Chris, thanks,” Sid said to Stewart once Jamie had completely settled down again.

Tommy and Dumo came back out. Dumo squatted down beside Jamie. “I’m so sorry, Jamie. Kris told us. We had no idea, we were just trying to get you off Phil.”

“Yeah, I’m so sorry Jamie,” Tommy added, “are you okay?”

Jamie nodded. “It’s okay. You didn’t know.”

Kris and Flower came out then.

“Okay. Tommy. Dumo. We’re gonna take off. It’s okay, you didn’t know.” Sid said as he helped Jamie get up. Dumo helped him, too.

Jamie smiled and wiped his eyes. “It’s okay, thanks. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

Flower patted Tommy on the back as they walked by. Flower handed Sid his coat and the four of them headed out to the parking garage. “Kuni’s talking to Hags. He’ll call in a little bit.” Flower said to Sid.

Tanger and Flower ended up sleeping at Sid’s that night. They had stayed up until 1 am talking to Jamie. He had finally been able to fall asleep on the couch.

Geno had left before the ruckus, but word of the fight spread quickly among the players who hadn’t been there. When he called Sid he told him he was going to kill Silfverberg and Kesler. He had connections he said.

“Russians. Make bodies disappear Sid. No one hurt Marshmallow again.” Sid told him that wasn’t necessary, Jamie was doing better. It would be okay.

“Okay, Sid. But if change mind. Let me know.” Geno had laughed then.

Kuni had called. Hags said Kessel had joked to him about what Silfverberg had said. Hags had been pissed and was going to tell Sid about it, but then there’d been the fight.

Hags called. Kuhnhackl texted. Dumo called. Before long, Sid had fielded calls or texts from the whole team. And Ryan Getzlaf. He apologized to Sid for what happened on the ice.

Sullivan didn’t wait until the next day to call either. He’d had a long discussion with Phil about teammates and what that word meant. He wanted to know how Jamie was doing before he doled out any disciplinary action, however. Sid told him Jamie seemed to be doing better. He had talked to them about what he now remembered happened at Anaheim. He would call his counselor tomorrow.

Sid told him it was more the flood of memories than actually having Kesler against him. Jamie’d thought Silfverberg had been kidding about the stick, but then it had all come back. He told him Jamie was finally asleep.

“He still doesn’t want anything done. Says it happened and he’s okay.” Sid told Sully. “I’d like them arrested, but I won’t push the issue.”

“I know, me too, We have to respect Jamie’s wishes. From what I’ve learned, that’s a pretty common reaction in situations like this. All we can do is keep giving him support.”

The big test, Sid told him, was if Jamie went for a run.

“I haven’t seen him miss a day yet,” Sid said. “So that should be a good indicator of how he’s doing.”

“Okay. Sid,” Sullivan paused. “I know there isn’t anything between you two. But I have to ask. Because of what Phil said. So there isn’t anything, yet, is there?”

“No, Sully, there isn't.” Sid had missed the yet part of Sully’s question.

“Okay. That’s what I thought. I’ll talk to you tomorrow then, night Sid.” Sullivan was a bit relieved that nothing was happening yet. Phil couldn’t use that argument at least. He knew though, it might not be the case in the future.

The next morning Sid got up and came downstairs about 6:30. He’d had a hard time sleeping. Tanger and Flower were already up and drinking coffee. He looked at them with a confused look.

“We have kids,” Flower said. Sid understood.

“He’s not on the couch, or in his room,” Tanger took a sip of coffee, “we checked.”

Sid went and looked by the front door. When he came back he said, “His running shoes are gone. That’s a good sign.”

Tanger and Flower left before Jamie got back. Sid told them he’d text to let them know Jamie was back okay.

It was almost 8 am when Sid heard the front door open and close again. He heard Jamie kick off his shoes before he came in to the kitchen. Jamie poured a cup of coffee and started rooting around in the fridge before either of them said anything.

“How far?”

“To the training center and back.”

Sid did a quick calculation in his head based on the route he knew Jamie ran to the center. Shit, that’s about a five-minute mile pace. Faster than Sid would have run it. Way faster and yet Jamie hardly seemed out of breath.

“And. How are you doing this morning.”

“Fine. Do we have any eggs?” Jamie kept his head buried in the fridge.

“I don’t think so. Sully gave us both the day off. Why don’t we go get dressed and I’ll take you out for breakfast?”

Jamie stood up and closed the fridge door. He picked up his coffee cup and went to sit down with Sid at the table.

“I want to go skate. At 11 right? I know it was optional for everybody anyways, and I know Sully said to take the day off, but I’d like to go skate. If that’s okay. I texted Knuckles and Dumes. They are going. I asked them to run some boarding drills with me. They weren’t sure at first, but said okay.”

He wants to run boarding drills, Sid thought? After what happened?

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea today. After last night,”

“I need to do it. With them. They need to know it’s okay. I told you, it wasn’t the boarding from Kesler. But it was having Tommy and Dumes on top of me that made me fall apart. They didn’t know, I got that. But, I can remember the look on their faces. Shit. I’d have freaked out if my teammate had done what I did. And I’m fine today. Ran it out of my head. That’s what I’ve been doing for months. About everything. I run it out of my head. If you’ve paid attention,” Jamie already knew that Sid did, “you’ve realized there’s a connection between how good a day I’m having and how far I run. Good days, it’s my usual loop and I’m back in under an hour. Bad days, I’m gone longer. I’m running the pain or the memory or whatever out of my head.”

Sid thought about it. He did pay attention to how long Jamie was gone some mornings. He also noticed that Jamie was quieter on days when he was gone longer. What he said suddenly made sense to what Sid had observed.

Jamie went on, “And I’ll call my counselor today to talk, just to make sure. Really. I’m fine today. Some how it's good that it happened. I mean, that unknown feeling or worry seems to have lifted. I know what happened now, and I can deal with it now. And, we don’t play those assholes again. So I need to get back on the ice with my teammates. I need to have them up behind me and the only real place to do that is on the ice. I mean, I can’t really ask them to pile on top of me in the locker room, can I?”

“No. I don’t think that’s an option at the moment. Okay. But let’s go have breakfast first, wait a minute,” Sid stood up and went over to his phone. Jamie listened to Sid’s side of the call, “Hey, are you guys up? Yeah. No, he’s okay this morning. Yeah. I know. We’re gonna go to the optional practice anyway. Yeah. I know, but he says it’ll be okay. Anyway. Was wondering if the diner was open for breakfast this morning. We’re out of eggs evidently. And you’ll be able to judge for yourself how he’s doing, worry wart. Okay. Half hour? Sounds good. Tell Nathalie I said she was a life saver. Okay. See you in a bit. Je tamie.”

“We’re gonna go next door for breakfast. Mario said half an hour, don’t be late.”

Sid texted Sully and told him they’d be at practice and he’d fill him in on how Jamie was doing there.

---

Sid stood on the ice talking to Sullivan and Rick Tocchet. The rest of the team was filtering on to the ice. At least everybody who had opted to come to practice instead of taking the day off. Normally that would have been just the rookies and some of the younger guys, but today Geno, Tanger, Flower, and Kuni had also come. After Sid texted them and told them he and Jamie would be there they had all said they’d come.

The three men watched Jamie take some warm-up laps. Dumo was skating with him. Jamie was laughing. All seemed to be going okay so far. Sullivan had talked to Jamie a little bit when he and Sid had gotten to the center. Tocchet had talked to him, too. They were impressed with how well he had rebounded after the wreck he’d been the night before. They watched as Tommy hit the ice and quickly fell in beside Jamie and Dumo.

The three boys skated a few more laps, absent-mindedly slapping at a puck when they passed in front of the empty goal. By their fourth time around, Zatkoff was in the crease. He chirped at them on the way by. The coaches and Sid watched as the boys casually knocked a couple of pucks out in front of the net. Then they watched them each pick up some speed as they came back around. Tommy shot first, then Dumo and then Jamie. Three hard slap shots, in fast succession, right at Zats’ head. He threw his glove up trying to block them and swore at the trio. The boys were all bent over laughing.

“I think things are okay,” Sully said. He slapped Sid on the back. “You wanna run things today? Pick some drills for the kids? I see you got your posse to show up.”

“I was going to ask if you’d mind? Jamie wants to run some boarding drills and a few scrums. Then thought we’d play some games since it’s an optional practice. Nothing too serious, have some fun and break some tension after last night.”

“That sounds like a good plan, Captain Crosby.”

After the practice, Jamie came over to Sid’s stall as he was getting dressed.

“Hey, Tommy, Dumes and I are gonna go to Primanti’s. Is that okay? Dumes said he’d drive me home later. We might find something to do, a movie or something.”

“Go have fun, I’ll see you later.” He watched the three of them walk out, laughing at some stupid thing Flower had said to them on the way by.

By game time the next night, you’d have never known Jamie had had a meltdown during the last game. He had a good game, but they lost to the Rangers. Phil Kessel had been a healthy scratch for the Pens, his warning for the comments to Jamie and about Sid. An attitude adjustment Sully had called it. Sid hadn’t missed him at all.

Chapter Text

Every season the Penguin organization planned a special road trip. The players’, coaches’ and staff’s fathers had been invited to travel with the team to Carolina and Florida this year for a two game road trip in early February. The Dad Trip.

Sid’s dad was waiting for them when they got home from the Rangers game. He had flown in to Pittsburgh that evening and Sidney had arranged for a service to drive him out to Sewickley.

“Hey, we’re home,” Sid yelled as they walked through the door. He looked around for his dad.

“In the kitchen, boys.”

Troy Crosby was sitting at the table reading the Pittsburgh papers Sidney had left for him. He stood up and gave his son a hug and kiss on the cheek.

“Tough loss tonight I heard. I was listening to the end as we drove over from the airport.” He turned to Jamie and stuck his hand out. “You must be Jamie. Nice to meet you. Sid’s told his mother and me a lot about you.”

“It’s nice to meet you, too, Mr. Crosby,” Jamie shook the older Crosby’s hand. He’s just an older version of Sid, Jamie thought. A bit taller, closer to Jamie’s height than to Sid’s 5’ 11”. And heavier, but it was still clear that they were father and son. There was an obvious family resemblance.

“He’s being a good host I hope,” Troy said, “And you can call me Troy, Mr. Crosby was my father.”

“Sid’s been great. More than generous with opening his home and everything.” Jamie said.

Troy Crosby looked over at Sidney, reading the look his son was giving him.

“Sid said your parents were killed in an accident last year, I’m sorry for your loss. It’s kinda tough being on these trips without a dad, when everybody else is paling around with their dad. Tell you what, Jamie,” he smiled at the youngster, “how ‘bout this weekend I have two sons on the trip. I’ll tell them to count me as your dad, too. How would that be?”

“That would be very nice of you, Mister, I mean Troy. Thank you.”

“Alright then, you boys too tired or do you want to visit for a while before turning in.”

Sid looked at Jamie.

“I’m not tired. Still pumped from the game.” Jamie said. “And I’m kinda hungry. Think I’ll have a snack.”

“Oh my god, you just ate an hour ago.” Sid said with a laugh. He looked at his dad, “was I like that? How did you ever afford to feed me at that age?”

Troy Crosby laughed. “You weren’t cheap to keep, that’s for sure.”

They fixed some snacks and sat around the kitchen table talking for a couple of hours, finally calling it a night around 1 am. Troy Crosby had noticed that his son had hardly taken his eyes off his young teammate. He’d have to pay attention this weekend to see if he was reading the signs right.

The next day the Penguins and their dads flew to Carolina. The first game of the trip would be Friday night against the Hurricanes.

---

The Pens beat Carolina 2-1 in a shoot-out. Tanger had buried a backhand shot past Cam Ward for the win.

After the game, the team and dads flew to south Florida for the next game of the trip. It would be on Monday, which meant the team would have at least one off day. Saturday was spent on the beach, enjoying the sun and the time with their dads.

Troy Crosby and Sidney were watching a hard fought game of horseshoes. Flower and Kuni were taking on Dumo and his dad Pete. Jamie was in the water body surfing with Ollie and Hags.

Troy looked over at his son. Sid was deep in thought, his eyes on his house guest. “So, you wanna pitch some shoes when these guys are done?”

He got no response.

“Sidney?”

Sid looked at him, “What? Did you say something?”

“I was wondering if you wanted to pitch some horseshoes? But you seemed to be a bit distracted.” Troy noticed Sid had already turned his attention back to the activity in the water.

“Hey,” he said, taking Sid by the arm, “let’s go for a walk.”

When they were out of earshot of the rest of the team, and anyone else who might be hanging around the beach, Troy stopped. He noticed that Sid kept looking back, keeping track of where Jamie was.

“What’s going on, Sidney?” he asked his son. Troy figured he already knew.

“I don’t understand, what’s going on with what?”

“With you, what’s going on with you,” Troy paused, “and Jamie?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“Because I’ve been paying attention. You hardly ever take your eyes off him. And, I don’t know. You seem to be, happier, when he’s around. So what’s going on?” he asked again.

“Nothing. I mean, I don’t know. I like him. I guess I really like having him around. I’m glad I offered to let him stay with me. Maybe I’m feeling like I need to watch out for him. Kinda new at this mentoring thing, ya know.” Sid was hoping his dad was buying his story. He brought his gaze back from Jamie to his dad. The look said it all, Troy Crosby had bought none of it.

Troy put his hand on Sid’s shoulder, “I can see it. I can see what you aren’t saying. And if I can see it, so can others.”

“See what?” Sid was still trying to brush off his dad’s observations.

“Sidney Patrick,” uh oh, Sid thought, middle name time, “you are smitten with him. It’s more than that though, isn’t it? So, what are you going to do about it? One, he’s your teammate. I know, it wouldn’t be the first time you’ve, well it wouldn’t be the first time. But, he’s only 18.”

“I’m not smitten.” Sid said, probably louder than he intended. He shook his head and dropped his chin to his chest. Crap, he thought. “I don’t know what I’m feeling. And, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. He’s a year younger that Taylor. I feel like some dirty old man sometimes, for what I think when I look at him.”

Sid looked down the beach, Jamie and the boys had gotten out of the water and joined a beach volleyball game. He looked at his dad, “The thing is, I’ve seen him looking at me, the same way I guess I’ve been looking at him. But, there’s a lot of reasons that it wouldn’t be a good thing to be more than friends. So you know I’m not going to let this go anywhere. It wouldn’t be right.”

Troy looked at Sid, “He’s 18 and in the NHL, something tells me he’s more mature than a typical 18-year-old. I don’t think the age is a problem. He seems older than you did at 18. And don’t be so stubborn as to think you can’t have a relationship with a teammate because you are the captain. You are very capable of separating your on-ice life from your off-ice life if you really want to. I just don’t think you’ve ever wanted to or you’d be married like your friends and I’d have grandkids.”

“Oh god, don’t start with the grandkids thing. I get enough grief from Mom over that.” Sid laughed at his dad. He knew he was right though. One of the reasons Sid’s relationships hadn’t worked may have been that he was too focused on hockey all the time. None of his partners had ever been able to get in to his hockey life. With Jamie, the issue would be different. It would be him allowing Jamie in to his off-ice life instead of trying to get someone to understand his on-ice life.

“I’m going to say this, Sidney, I don’t want you getting hurt again. And don’t look at me like that, you may be 28, but you will always be my little boy and I will always worry about you. I’ve seen you go through a lot in relationships. I’ve seen you hurt before. But that was a different situation than this, you know that, you can see it. But still, just be careful with this one. That’s all I’m saying. And for the record, I like him.”

Sid smiled at his dad’s last comment. “I guess I need to do a better job of hiding my interest in him, huh. Anyway. I will be careful. I just. I can’t explain what it is about him. It just seems, so, so familiar and comfortable to be around him already. It’s strange. I don’t think I’ve ever been like that with anybody before, not even with...” Sid looked for Jamie again and found him standing, looking at Sid and his dad. Jamie waved and Sid waved back. Jamie turned back to the volleyball game. “Not even before, not like this, Dad.”

They talked for a few more minutes before heading back to join everyone.

Jamie had asked and gotten permission to bring his guitar along on the trip. As the guys and their dad’s sat around some fire rings after dinner, Jamie had played some songs. Sid realized he did more than just ‘get by’ as he’d said. Jamie was very good, and he could sing, something Sidney actually sucked at. Some of the other guys who played guitar took turns playing, too. It had been a great day all around.

Monday night the Pens took on the Florida Panthers. Sid had one goal on an assist from Jamie, but they lost in overtime. In the stands, with the other dads, Troy Crosby sat and watched his son and Jamie play.

Troy had worn Sid’s jersey on Friday. On Monday, he wore Jamie’s number 20. He and Sidney had several talks over the weekend. And, he had watched how Jamie was around Sidney. He discovered that Jamie seemed to watch Sid just as much as Sid watched Jamie. They were always aware of where the other was and what they were doing. He watched Jamie blush around Sid, often. He saw the looks.

He knew by Monday that Sid was right, there was something about this young man. He knew his son would pursue this. There was a good chance that Jamie Marsh was going to be a part of his son’s life for a long time to come. So, he had worn Jamie’s jersey. It had made Jamie happy, which had made Sidney happy, and that was all that mattered to Troy.

Chapter Text

February was turning in to an up and down month.  They came back from their loss in Florida to beat the Red Wings in Pittsburgh.  Then they lost to the Lightning in the home half of back-to-back games. They flew out after that game for Buffalo.  Normally, the team would fly to Buffalo then come home and fly to Boston from there because they had a two-day break between games.  But there was a change in travel plans and they’d fly direct from Buffalo to Boston, so they’d have a day off in Boston.  More importantly to Jamie on this trip would be the hotel arrangements.  After practice on Friday before the trip they’d had a players meeting.  Mike Sullivan stood in the center of the locker room. 

“Okay, a suggestion has been made to make the upcoming trip to Buffalo & Boston a “throwback” trip of sorts.  At least as far as hotel rooms go.  We’re going to have a day off in Boston instead of at home.”  He saw a couple of puzzled looks.  “You guys have really come together as a team.  But,” he paused. 

“But there are a lot of guys that weren’t at training camp or weren’t here for a good part of the season.  So it was brought up that maybe we could do a team bonding trip, for the Boston stay since we have a day off there.”  He saw lots of positive head nodding.

“Anyway, it will be forwards rooming with forwards, d with d, and well… sorry Zats but you are stuck with Flower.”  Everybody laughed.

“By the CBA you guys are to get single rooms so this has to be a voluntary thing on your part.  You can opt out, but I’m really hoping everybody participates.  I think it could be good to help us keep building on our team unity.  We’re gonna go around the room.  If you don’t want in, now’s the chance to opt out.  If you say yes, we’ll set up the stay in Boston for two to a room.” Nobody opted out. 

“Okay then, we’ll pick roommates.  We’re gonna try to room guys with more experience in the League or with the Pens with the younger guys or newer guys to the team.  We are gonna keep the d pairings roomed together, too.  Everybody okay with that?”  Again all nods of agreement. 

Jamie was a little worried at first.  He wasn’t too keen on having a roommate on the road.  He wondered if he should say something to Sully or Sid about who he might end up rooming with.  Then he thought about it.  They wouldn’t put him with just anyone.  And actually, he thought, other than Kessel there wasn’t really anyone on the team he would be upset about having as a roommate. 

He did, however, know who he wanted as a roommate. After a month Jamie felt really comfortable around Sid.  Well, more than comfortable, there was an attraction there that he couldn’t explain.  He had caught Sid looking at him several times.  He knew Sidney was attracted to him, he was sure of it.  Jamie had been hit on by too many women and men not to recognize the signs. There was an attraction.  He knew.  Sidney was in to men.

What Jamie didn’t know was that he was going to get his wish.  He didn’t know that it was Sid who had gone to Mike Sullivan and Jim Rutherford to suggest the roommate weekend.  He didn’t know it was Sid who had said it would be a good team bonding experience.  He didn’t know it was Sid who had gone to all the veterans and pitched the idea to them so that they would agree to it.  Jamie did know that on the Pens, the Captain got what he wanted.  He didn’t know that the Captain had decided he wanted him.

The rumors had long been around in the media and with fans of other teams.  Sidney Crosby was gay.  If he had a girlfriend, they reasoned, it was all a sham.  A lot of it stemmed from jealousy of course.  Sidney was the best player in the world and like all great players, if he wasn’t on your favorite team you hated him and tried to find something to make him less great in your opinion.  All the while you were wishing that he played for your favorite team.  To insinuate that Sidney was gay was one way in which people could knock him down in their opinion.  At least that is the way it had been historically. 

Then in 2012, the NHL joined in the support of the “You Can Play” campaign which supported acceptance of all differences in people, including race, religion, and sexual orientation.  But while he publicly endorsed the movement, to Sidney it wasn’t an issue of whether you were open in public or not.  To Sidney it was about keeping his private life, private.  He kept his life private no matter who he was with at the time.  Therefore, not many people knew much about Sidney’s sexual preference, maybe a handful of his closest friends and some current and former teammates.  The truth about his preferences was that while he’d had several girlfriends off and on over the years, he’d also had the occasional tryst with other men. 

Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby had all been teammates for a long time.  They had won the cup together in 2009.  They were the tight-knit core that the Penguins organization had built a team around.  These were Sid’s friends and they were his confidants.  They were the first he had approached about the roommate trip.

They were sitting around the living room at Kris Letang’s place.  His wife, Catherine, had taken their son to visit their parents for a couple of weeks. 

“So who are you and what have you done with Sidney Crosby,” Kuni asked first.  “I mean, you hate a break from routine and you suggest this?  Besides, you hate having a roommate.  Christ, you make me lock the door to the adjoining room so you can have privacy.  What’s up with this ‘let’s have a roommate trip’ all of the sudden?”  Chris knew exactly what was up with it and he was all for it, but he was gonna bust Sidney’s balls over it anyway.

Kris was the first to openly bring up Sidney’s true motives. 

“Sidney, if you want the kid just go tell him.  I mean he gets a hard on every time you talk to him.” Kris said.  “Besides he’s living with you.  Can’t you hit on him at your house?  Do we need to do this roommate thing?”

Flower laughed at Letang, then added, “Tanger’s right Sid, the kid has it bad for you.  And, it’s pretty obvious to those of us that know you that you have a case on Jamie, too.”

Flower, always the joker of the group, kept goading his friend, “Besides, have you seen him dancing on the ice at practice or in the locker room?  That tight little ass even turns me on.  If you don’t hit that I might.”  He waggled his eyebrows at Sid.

They all laughed at that one, except Sidney.  He looked at his friends.  “Nice Flower.  You can say that after what Kesler did?”

“Yeah.  Cause he’s my grasshopper.  I’ve said it to him and he laughs and blushes.  It’s our thing.  So lighten up.  I think it’s a sign he may actually be moving past what happened.”  Flower wasn’t one to let Sid shame him over anything.  He, above all the others, would always push back at Sid. 

“I’m sorry, Flower.  I know Jamie has gotten close to you, to all of you.  He likes you guys.  I think he feels safe with all of us.  I don’t know.  I just can’t explain this.  I mean, I know it’s probably wrong, but… I don’t know.  I’m a little concerned about it.  I don’t want to do something to break that trust.  And then there’s the age difference.  He’s only 18.  I’m 28.  That’s a big difference.”

There it was.  This was the Sidney they knew.  The Sidney who could talk himself out of a relationship before he was even in a relationship.

“Look my friend,” Duper was sitting next to Sid on the couch.  He put his arm on Sid’s shoulder, “I’ve known you a long time.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look at anyone the way you look at Jamie.  And they are right, he looks at you the same way.  We’ve talked about the age thing.  It’s not a big deal.” 

Pascal could see what Sidney couldn’t express, his friend was falling in love with Jamie Marsh and it scared him a little.  The last time he’d loved a teammate, he’d had his heart broken.  But, that was a long time ago. 

Geno shook his head in agreement with Pascal, “I see Tanger point, you know, Marsh live with you, why not just say something at home?  But, I see Sid point too, you know.  You think easier to make move on road.  I say okay.  Roommates is okay.  That best for Sid.  Then that best.  Sid best.  Marshmallow best for Sid.  You deserve happy.”

“Don’t worry about the age thing.  He’s an old 18.  Like Olli was when he came.  But not like Beau.  Christ if you’d felt this way about Sunshine we’d have had to kill you for being a pediophile.”  Tanger said and they all laughed.

“Yeah.  Sunshine still seem young at 24.  But he good kid.  All like him.  Tanger right.  Marshmallow older, like Olli.   Age no problem.  All good.”  Geno stated.

“What about the Anaheim incident.  I told you Duper, isn’t it wrong for a captain to hit on a teammate knowing what I know Jamie went through?  I mean, come on.  Two weeks ago he fell apart on the ice about it.”

“That was what, in December when it happened?  He’s been talking to a counselor.  What I’ve seen and learned about him in the past month is that he’s pretty level headed about things.  I would give you even money that he has talked about you to his counselor, about the way he feels about you.  Cause, again, mon amie, the kid has it bad for you.  If he’s not ready to have a relationship, sexual or otherwise, he’s gonna be straightforward and honest with you about it.  He may just say he needs some time for a physical thing.  You aren’t going to know unless you ask him about his feelings.”  Tanger, always the one to see the whole picture.

“You aren’t Kesler.  We’ve said that to you.  He knows the difference between what happened and what you two could have.  And he’s been great these past two weeks.  I don’t think it’s an issue either, Sid.”  Duper said.  “Or an excuse.”

“Duper right, Sid.  Jamie know difference between what Kesler do and what he feel for you.  No excuse not see about he like you.”  Geno wanted his friend to find someone to love.  And he really liked Marshmallow.  He truly thought they’d be a great couple.

“I’m not looking for excuses.”  Sid, sighed,

“Bullshit” Tanger and Flower coughed the word into their hands at the same time.

Sid looked at his friends.

Kuni spoke up.  “You know we have your back, always.  We’ve all seen how you are around Jamie and we all like him.  And, he likes you, that is very obvious.  Quit over thinking things, okay.  For once, just see what happens before you worry yourself out of a relationship, okay.” 

Chris Kunitz hadn’t seen his friend like this in a long time.  He too could see it was obvious that Sidney was falling in love again, for the first time in so very long.

After the others had left, Sidney stayed to talk with Kris.  While they were all close, what the others didn’t know was that Kris and Sidney were more than just friends and teammates.  And that they had been more for a number of years now.

“So, I need to tell you something,” Kris said.  “I heard about the rumors about him being gay.”

“And?”

“I hit on him.  The week after the All-Star game.  That first road trip to Florida.”  Kris looked down.  “I didn’t know how you felt about him.  And, you hadn’t told me the whole story about Anaheim yet.”

He looked up and Sid was grinning.  “That’s funny.  I mean that we’d both be attracted to him.  And that you’d hit on him, you hound.”

Kris laughed, relieved that Sid wasn’t offended that Kris had hit on Jamie.  “Yeah, but I’m just after sex.  You, Sidney, are falling in love.”

Sid blushed.  “That obvious, huh?”  Kris shook his head yes.  “So, did you get lucky with him?”

“No.  Well, at first.  He’s a great kisser, I’ll tell you, but then he pulled away.  He said that he wasn’t sure he should with a married teammate.  I tried to convince him, but he wouldn’t.  That was his hesitation, not that he’d been assaulted by a teammate.  I mean, he didn’t seem upset when I hit on him at all.  Of course, he wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t plying him with alcohol, so maybe that’s why he didn’t freak either.  He just said he wasn’t interested in anything.”  He saw a concerned look come over Sid.  “But, I’m not you.  I’m not the one he seems to have the hots for, which I can’t imagine since I’m much sexier than you.” 

Sid laughed at that.

“If you really feel this way about him, then let him know.  I’m sure he’s got the same feelings for you.”  Kris smiled at his friend.  “And, he’d be getting a pretty good thing in you.”

Sid grinned.  “Yeah, he would.  But, well, what if it’s like the last time.  With G?  I don’t think I can go through that again, Tanger.”

“He’s not G.  Sid, G never looked at you the way Jamie does. So stop comparing them and let yourself be open to seeing where this might go.  Okay.  Besides, you’ll always have me to fall back to, ton meilleur fuckfriend, oui??”

“Oui.  So,” he looked around the house, “we have the place to ourselves, do we?” 

“Oui. Est-ce que tu veux me fucker ou quoi?"” Kris propositioned Sid in French.

“Oui.”  Sid said as he got up and followed him upstairs.

---

They barely got out of Buffalo following their Sunday afternoon game, however, as a strong winter storm was heading in off of Lake Erie.  Their departure was delayed a couple of hours, so they arrived in Boston late Sunday night. 

Sidney had been bombarded with texts the whole flight.  The whole group was involved in the conversation and were having fun at their Captain’s expense.

Geno had started it.  So, Sid.  You pack all things need for trip?

Sid missed his point.  What?  Yeah I packed my stuff.

Flower caught on right away.  Are you sure?  We could make a stop if you need.

Kris had caught on, too.  Yeah.  We can have bus stop at drug store for you.

Sometimes Sid was really dense.  What?  I have my toothbrush.  I didn’t forget it this time.

Kuni’s turn to chime in.  Okay, you remembered your toothbrush.  But did you pack the other essentials for this trip?

Tanger.  Hey, did you pack the black and gold one?  Wonder if he’ll like it?

Geno.  Oh, forgot black and gold.  That good one Sid.  Marshmallow like.  It your best, I think.

OH FUCK!  Sid suddenly caught on.  Fuck off!  Assholes.

Flower.  Back to first question.  Do you have essentials?  Remember his ass looks tight.  You have the good stuff?

Kuni.  I hear those ones that react when you mix them.  hot & cold.  That would drive the kid wild.

Kris.  Didn’t Sid try some of those before?  About burned his dick off if I remember.

Flower.   And froze his hand.

Geno.  I remember.  That best Sid story.  Funny.

Sid.  Fucking fuckers.  Isn’t there a rule that you are not allowed to chirp your captain?

Kuni.  Did you bring the ribbed kind?  Or, oh, the glow in the dark.  I hear kids are in to those.

Sid.  Just kill me now.

Flower.  Now did you watch some educational films?  Refreshers?  It’s been long time you know?

Geno.  Pornhub good place.  Best girls.

Kris.  Not the right porn G.  But yeah.  Best girls.

Chris.  Those won’t help him, though.

Flower.  Best gay porn too!

Sid.  Oh god.  Please stop.

Chris.  Flower, how do you know that?

Flower.  Sid told me.

Geno laughs out loud at that.  Those not in the conversation wonder what amused the big Russian so much.  It draws Jamie’s attention.  He watches Sid and the guys.  They are obviously all texting back and forth.  Sid elbows Flower.  Jamie has no idea what is going on.  He makes a mental note to ask Sid later.

Sid.  Enough.  You are all gonna pay for this.  I see suicides in your future!

Kris.  So did you bring the b & g?  Maybe he like that?

Geno.  If like, Sid happy.  Sid like toys.  Match perfect to Marshmallow.

Kuni.  Remember the time at the Olympics.  When it got stuck?

Geno.  Oh fuck!  That best sex story.  Sid have toy in ass!  Stuck in big ass!  Need help get out! Best!

Kuni.  Maybe we should tell M.  Tell him he may have to help Sidney extract the black and gold from ass at some point.

Flower: What if Sid got b & g stuck in M’s ass?  It is a tight looking ass you know.

Sid.  I just want to die now.  Fuckers.

They all knew way too much about each other’s sex lives.  Especially about Sid’s, or his lack of one.  The texts went on until they reached the hotel in Boston.

Jamie didn’t get any sleep on the flight, unlike some of his teammates.  He’d always been a bit of an uneasy flyer and the rough weather from the storm hadn’t helped.  He’d also been busy watching the guys text back and forth.  Whatever they were talking about, they had all laughed a few times and Sid had been bright red most of the flight.  Embarrassed red, not mad red.  Thankfully it was a relatively short flight.  He was also a bit nervous about finding out who he’d be rooming with in Boston.  They hadn’t announced the pairings for the forwards yet, they said they’d do that at the hotel when keys got handed out.

He hadn’t talked to Sidney about who his roommate would be.  He also wondered if Sid would have suggested that Jamie room with someone else, to get to know another teammate better, because he was already around Sid all the time at home.  Then he thought, no, they won’t do that to me.  Not after Anaheim.  He knew he’d be rooming with Sid. 

Jamie was waiting to get his room key when Sidney walked up to him from across the hotel lobby. 

“Looks like it is you and me, Marshmallow,” he said, calling him by the nickname that Geno had come up with for the rookie.  “If it’s bunk beds, I get the top.” 

He gave Jamie a sly grin, wondering if he picked up on the innuendo he had made.  He watched the kid’s cheeks turn bright red and his head dip to avoid eye-contact.  “Oh yeah,” Sidney thought, “this is gonna be fun.” 

Once they got in their room Jamie threw his suitcase up on one of the two double beds.  “Okay if I take this one?” he asked.  Sidney nodded and threw his bags up on the other bed.

“I was hoping for bunk beds,” Sid kidded Jamie.  “Guess we’ll have to make do with these.  I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get out of this suit and relax.”

“I’m for that,” Jamie stated as he started to undo his tie.  Jamie shed his jacket, dress shirt and pants in short order. 

He carefully hung each piece of clothing up.  He’d only packed the one suit to wear and it had to make it for one more game and the flight home.  He turned around after hanging the last item, clad only in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, and noticed Sidney was just sitting in one of the chairs in the room, watching him. 

Chapter Text

“Still a little wound up from the game, how ‘bout you? What do you want to do?  I mean, we can stay up for a bit since we can sleep in tomorrow.”  Jamie offered.

Sid knew Jamie wouldn’t sleep in but would be up and off for a run at 5 am sharp. 

“Want to get something to eat, I know a few 24 hour places we could walk to?”  What Sidney really wanted to do was to talk, hopefully about whatever this was between them and to see where it was going.

“So, is there something in particular you want to talk about?” Jamie climbed onto his bed, sitting with his back up against the head board and his legs stretched out.   “I mean this thing between us.”

Sidney was caught off-guard.  He hadn’t expected Jamie to bring up the attraction.  This was the mature, confident in his actions Jamie Marsh sitting there looking him square in the eye.  The Jamie Marsh that Sid had started seeing more of since the game with Anaheim. 

“What do you mean?” Sid asked, a bit hesitant.

“I mean that I’m attracted to you and you’re attracted to me.”

“What makes you think that?”  Sidney was trying not to act nervous now.  This wasn’t how this was supposed to be going.  He was the one that was supposed to be making Jamie nervous, remember.  The bunk beds comment and all.

“Come on.  You know what it’s like, Sid, having women, and men, hitting on you all the time.  Either because you’re a hockey player or because, well in your case, because you are really good looking.”  Jamie blushed at having admitted to Sid he found him good looking.  “I know the looks you give me.  And I know how you react when I give you certain looks.  I’m 18, but I can flirt like a pro.  And, so can you.”  Jamie waggled his eyebrows at Sid and winked.  “So the question is, are you just being friendly, or is there something more to it.  Am I reading the signals wrong?  I guess I mean.  I’ve heard the rumors before, are you gay?” 

Sid didn’t say anything.  He looked down at the floor.

Jamie watched Sid’s reaction, gauging if he should say what he was thinking he needed to say next.  What the hell, Jamie thought, just say it. 

“Look, you know I’m bisexual.  You know about my relationship with Kicks.  Well, I was in a relationship with Cat McMasters, too.  And I’ve had some one or two time hook-ups, too.  Point is, I’ve been with enough people,” Sid looked up at him with an odd expression on his face, “okay don’t look at me like that, enough isn’t a whole lot, but enough, to know that I like sex, with women and men, but I prefer sex with men.”

He waited for a response.

“So do I.”

It wasn’t quite the response Jamie expected, but it was the one he wanted.

“Then I have been reading your actions right,” Jamie said, “there is something going on here.” 

“Yes.  There is.  And I’m not gay.  I’m bisexual, too.  I’ve had relationships with women and men.  I’ve only ever let the ones with women be out there in the public.”

Jamie looked at Sid, “Okay then.  Here we are.  So, what are we going to do about this attraction I know we are both feeling.  I mean, I’ve tried.  I’ve tried to keep my feelings under control, but I can’t any more.  I have always found you attractive, and the minute I met you in person I fell in love.  Yes, I believe in love at first sight.  I believe that some people just have this strong attraction, that they are meant to be together.  But I’ve been worried about acting on my feelings.”

Sid thought he already knew what Jamie’s worry was, but he wanted him to say it.  “Why?”

“I don’t know what would happen if the Pens found out, I’m sure you’d be okay, but I could be jeopardizing my whole future.  What happens if people find out.  Do I get traded again, or cut completely?  I know what Sully said about the team not caring and they’ve been really supportive.  I know the NHL says it’s supposed to support gay players, but I’ve already seen that what teams say and what they do are two different things.”

Sid stood up.  He walked over and sat on the bed next to Jamie’s out-stretched legs.

“First, you don’t have to worry about the Pens doing what Anaheim did.  They are actually very supportive of, different lifestyles, shall we say, whatever it is that is different about a player’s lifestyle.  And, trust me, I’ve seen some different lifestyles over the years.”  Jamie smiled at that.

“As for us, the truth is that I arranged for us to room together on this trip.  I thought that this talk might go better if we weren’t at the house.  I don’t know why for sure.”

Sid reached up and caressed Jamie’s cheek lightly for a minute.  “So.  Yes.  I feel the way you do about us.  I have over the past few weeks fallen in love with you.  I’m not sure I should act on my feelings either, though.  Partly because of what I know about what happened in Anaheim.  I don’t want you to do anything, or feel like you have to do anything with me you don’t want to do.  Just because I’m your captain, or because you are staying at my house, or anything.” He dropped his hand to his side again. 

“You’re not Kesler.  And you aren’t forcing me to do anything.  I wouldn’t have said anything to you about how I feel if I didn’t want it to go further.  I also don’t get the feeling from you that I’d just be another fuck to you.  I used the word relationship for a reason.  I really want to fuck you, yeah, but I am hoping I’m reading this right and we have started a relationship. I’m not looking for a fuck buddy.”

Sid patted Jamie’s leg, “I’m not looking for some fling, either.  So, I need to say a few things.  You knew before you met me that I kept my private life pretty private.  You’ve seen that in person over the last few weeks.  It’s not that I think there would be an issue with the Pens or with the whole NHL if the world knew I liked guys, it isn’t about being open.  There are people that know.  Teammates.  Friends.  Family.  That’s not an issue so you shouldn’t worry about it.  It’s about privacy.  Why should people have to know.  Do you understand that?  It’s about always being in the spotlight.  With the Pens.  With Team Canada.  Always having people watching your every move.  I want to have something in my life that is just mine.  Something not out there for the whole world to scrutinize and judge.”

“Yeah, I get it.  I have always felt pretty much the same way about my life off the ice, about keeping it private.  But I certainly haven’t been under the microscope the way you have,” Jamie said.  Sid remembered what Ryan Getzlaf had said about Jamie being quiet, not a publicity seeker, so he knew Jamie was telling him the truth.

“If we do this, I mean if we see where this all goes, it has to be a private thing.  The only restriction the Pens might put up is that we not bring this on the ice.  Work has to be work.  We are together off the ice, but on the ice it is strictly teammates.  I know that I really don’t have to tell you that, you know it, but yeah, I guess I have to say it for me.  Also, I’m not big on the public knowing, so no public displays of affection.  Actually, I’ve never liked that even with my girlfriends.  And, you have to watch what you say around the media.  I’m gonna tell you that Potash, Errey, Lange and some of the others know, but that’s about it.  Most of the team knows that I have had relationships with guys.  I don’t know who needs to know if you and I are together, though, at least not right away.  There are a few that you can be totally open around when we aren’t on the ice or in the locker room.”

“Tanger, Kuni, Geno, Flower, and Duper.  Not hard to figure that one out.” Jamie said. The lightbulb went on.  “So I’m guessing this was the topic of all the texts?”  It suddenly made sense.

“Yes.  Fuckers.  But as for who knows about this weekend.  Hags, too.  He knows.  Are you okay with all that?  It’s a lot, I know, but it’s the way I feel.” 

“I understand.  And, I think you did need to say all that.  I expected it.  It’s what I’ve learned about Sidney Fucking Crosby in the last month.  You spell things out in black and white.  It’s who you are. But I agree, I think we should both know exactly what to expect or what not to expect from this before we go any further.”  Jamie took a deep breath and let it out.  “So here’s what I need to say.  I may only be 18, but I know what I want.  I’ve always known what I wanted anytime I was in a relationship.  I just didn’t always get it.  So with you, I know I want to be more than just teammates when we are off the ice.  I want to be with you.  And I don’t think that the whole world, or everyone in our locker room for that matter, needs to know if we are together.”

Sid looked into Jamie’s dark green eyes and knew there was no turning back now.

“Do you have any idea how good looking you are?”  He watched Jamie’s cheeks fill with red.  He loved that blush.  Sid stood up next to the bed, he reached down and let his hands cup Jamie’s face.  He leaned down and pressed his lips to Jamie’s, letting his tongue press into Jamie’s lips, seeking a response, seeking permission to go further. 

And he got the response he wanted.  Jamie’s lips parted and he allowed Sidney to deepen the kiss.  Sidney slid one hand around to the back of Jamie’s head and pulled him in to the kiss.  When he heard a slight murmur of pleasure come from Jamie he slowly pulled his head back and looked at the teenager.  Jamie had his eyes closed and his face was bright red.  Sidney leaned in and kissed those soft, warm lips again.

When he finally pulled away from the kiss, he straightened back up.  “So.  Seems pretty obvious we both want this.  That we both want to see where this goes.  Are you sure?  Are you sure you are okay with us doing this?  I mean, well,” Sid was suddenly blushing and stuttering, “with the physical part of all this.  Are you okay with it?”

Jamie stood up and let his arms wrap around Sidney.  He pulled his body close.  He could feel his hard muscles.  He slid his hands down to Sidney’s ass.  He pulled Sidney closer, letting their hips come together.  He could feel Sidney’s hard shaft against him.  His own dick already hard, too, and pushing against the fabric of his boxer shorts.  He moved his hips slightly, slowly grinding into Sidney. 

“You gonna keep talking or are you gonna fuck me,” Jamie said. 

Holy direct and to the point, Sid thought.  So much for shy and quiet. 

“Fuck,” was his answer.

Sidney separated himself from Jamie.  He had Jamie sit down on the edge of the bed.  He stood in front of him and started to undo his tie.  Jamie reached up to help Sidney.  He finished removing the tie as Sidney slid out of his jacket, tossing it to the other bed. 

Jamie then slowly unbuttoned Sidney’s dress shirt, sliding it off and tossing it with the jacket.  Sidney pulled his t-shirt over his head and dropped it to the floor.  He let his hands go to Jamie’s head, caressing his face, sliding his fingers through his short sandy blonde hair.

Jamie leaned in and kissed Sidney’s abs.  His hand worked the belt of Sidney’s dress pants, undoing it, the button and zipper.  He trailed wet kisses down Sidney’s abdomen.  He let the pants fall to the ground and wrapped his hands around to pull Sidney’s buttocks to him.  He let his mouth find Sidney’s hardness through his boxers.  He kissed it gently, then blew his warm breath on him.  This time it was Sidney who moaned lowly with pleasure.  He gently encouraged Jamie to keep going by pulling his head to his hips. 

Jamie worked Sidney through the fabric, running his lips up and down the shaft and nipping lightly at the head.  Jamie slipped his thumbs inside the waistband of Sidney’s boxers and pulled them down.  Sidney kicked out of his pants and the boxers so that he was now standing naked in front of Jamie.  Jamie had seen Sidney naked before in the locker room.  He enjoyed watching him shower.  Thick black hair.  Dark eyes.  That crooked smile.  He was solidly built with broad shoulders and a smooth chest.  And that ass, that beautiful ass.  Sidney was not small and now that hard dick was fully erect and just waiting there for Jamie to enjoy.

The foreskin was pulled back exposing the sensitive head of his dick.  Jamie pressed his lips against Sidney’s dick and his lips parted letting him slide his warm mouth around the head.  His tongue flicked back and forth lightly, then ran along the underside.  Sidney caressed the back of Jamie’s head as he looked down, watching that beautiful mouth envelope his dick. 

“Oh my god,” he whispered.  He gently tried to pull Jamie’s head to him, encouraging him to take more of the swollen shaft in to that perfect mouth.

Jamie pulled back.  “No rushing, we have to take this slow and enjoy it.”  He moved Sidney back and stood up.  He told Sidney to lie down on his back on the bed.  Once he was there, Jamie slid out of his t-shirt and boxer shorts.  He climbed onto the bed and straddled Sidney’s hips.  He bent down and kissed his chest.  His tongue moved smoothly across the taught muscles to a nipple. 

Sidney tried to reach up to rub his hands on Jamie’s arms, but Jamie grabbed his wrists and held both of Sidney’s hands down at his sides.  Sid suddenly became very aware of how much taller and bigger Jamie was than him.  Jamie had easily pinned Sid to the bed.  This was not necessarily a bad thing, Sid thought.  It was, familiar in a way.  Was that what he was attracted to about Jamie, that he was built like...  Fuck, he thought, quit thinking Crosby, just enjoy.

Jamie took the nipple in his teeth, playfully sucking and biting it.  After what seemed an eternity to Sidney he released it and moved to the other nipple.  He did the same to it.  Licking.  Sucking.  Biting.  Low moans of pleasure were coming from Sidney.  He was arching his hips towards Jamie, trying to find relief for the mounting pressure.  Jamie kept his hips up, just out of Sid’s reach.

 

He left the nipple and kissed his way up Sidney’s chest.  Jamie buried his face into Sid’s neck, kissing and sucking his skin.  He lifted his head and teasingly brushed his lips against Sidney’s mouth. 

“I want you so bad,” he whispered.  “What do you want me to do?  Tell me.”

Sidney opened his eyes and looked into those green eyes that were now looking at him with burning lust.  What did he want him to do?  What didn’t he want him to do.  He lifted his head and kissed Jamie.  His mouth pushing into Jamie.  His tongue parting Jamie’s lips, seeking Jamie’s tongue.  He moved his mouth against Jamie’s with intensity, kissing him deeply and completely.  When he released him, he turned and whispered in his ear.  “Suck me.  Please, suck me some more.”  Then he brought his mouth to Jamie’s again, kissing him deeply.

Jamie sat back and looked down at Sid.  “You have to lie still.  No moving your arms, just lie there and enjoy.  Okay?” 

Sid nodded his okay, then laid his head back against the pillows.

Jamie started at Sidney’s neck again, kissing and licking the warm skin.  He trailed kisses down and licked each nipple on the way past.  He kissed down his stomach, following a light path of soft downy hair towards Sid’s hips.  He expertly shimmied his own legs and hips down around Sid’s knees so that his head was over Sid’s hips.  He eased his hips down so that his hardness rested on Sid’s leg.  Sid moaned at the sensation, raising his leg to grind against Jamie. 

“Unh Uh… no moving.” Jamie raised his hips.  

Jamie kissed the base of Sidney’s hard shaft working his way around and kissing his balls.  He took each side into his mouth, sucking on them one at a time.  Lifting them with his hand to lick and kiss the underside, letting Sid’s dick brush against his cheek as he did.  Then he put his tongue at the base of Sid’s shaft and slowly dragged it up the underside.  He let his hand wrap around the shaft and gently squeezed.  “Oh god,” Sidney moaned, his hips twitching in response.  Jamie took him into his mouth.  Just the head.  And he sucked in. 

Sidney’s hands grabbed at the bed cover and his whole body tensed.  Jamie let up but kept his mouth on Sidney.  He let it slide down the shaft as he moved his hand away, taking all of Sidney into his mouth.  He felt the head of Sid’s dick against the back of his throat and paused letting himself adjust to the sensation.  He held him like that for a second and then let his tongue go to work.  It licked back and forth across the underside of the shaft.  It licked up and down.  It pressed against Sidney.  It was driving Sidney crazy.

“Oh Christ.  Oh Christ.  That is so good.”  Moans of pleasure came from Sidney’s throat.  “Jamie please.  Don’t stop.  Oh god!”

Jamie let his mouth start working up and down the shaft.  His thumb and index finger wrapping around the base to massage it as he did.  He came up slowly up until just the tip was in his mouth, then pressed his lips tight and slid down until his mouth met his hand.  Up and down.  Slowly.  His tongue licking endlessly, back and forth, up and down.  He felt Sidney arch his hips.  He felt the pressure building in his dick.  Sidney pulled at the bed cover but kept his hands at his sides.  “Oh god Jamie, you’re gonna make me come.”

Jamie stopped moving.  He just held Sidney’s dick in his mouth.  Sidney read the movement and stopped arching his hips.  He tried to let his muscles relax, but Jamie had him so ready to explode.  Once Jamie felt Sid relax he released his dick and sat up.  He let his hands play across Sid’s chest. 

“Do you know what I want, Sid,” he looked down at the man he thought was the most perfect ever.  “I want you.  I want you inside me.  I want you fucking me.”  Then he leaned forward so that he was stretched out over Sidney.  “But all in due time.” 

He let his body turn as he laid down next to Sid.  He slid his left arm under Sid’s head and pulled him over with his right arm so they were laying face to face.  He brought his mouth to Sidney’s again.  Kissing him deeply.  He let his fingertips trace little circles on Sid’s chest back and forth between his nipples, only stopping to take one of the tender little nubs between his fingers to pinch and pull it.  Sidney was happily reciprocating, rubbing and teasing Jamie’s hard nipples.  Sidney was so focused on playing with Jamie’s nipples and the pure roughness of Jamie’s mouth on his, their dicks rubbing together between their bodies that he didn’t realize that Jamie’s hand had moved down his body until he felt Jamie’s hand wrap around both their dicks and start working them together.

Sidney sucked in sharply, every nerve ending in his body igniting.  He rocked his hips into Jamie’s hand, his arms going around Jamie and pulling their bodies together.  All he wanted was to be as close to Jamie as possible.  The heat from Jamie’s body feeding the fire burning Sid’s nerve endings.  Jamie’s hand stroked them both creating a friction and sensations that made Sid’s whole body quiver slightly.  All Sid could think was how good this felt, how right.  Sid had been with other men and women, but this, this feeling was what he wanted and needed deep down in his soul.  But even at that, this was a completely different feeling than he’d ever had with any partner.  This was pure bliss.

It took all of Sidney’s will power to pull his mouth away from Jamie’s. He leaned his head back, breathless.  “Do you have any idea what you are doing to me.  God, I’m not normally like this.  I’m normally the one in control, but you,” he tried to voice what he wanted, but he was lost in those green eyes again. 

“What do you want,” Jamie half moaned to him.  “Tell me.”

“I want to taste you.  I just want to take in all of you.”  Sidney pushed Jamie over on to his back.  Jamie released their dicks and brought his hands up to cup Sid’s face.  

“I’m yours, Sid,” Jamie said as he kissed Sid.  “Do whatever you want to me, with me.”

Sidney moved so that he was straddling Jamie with his hips towards Jamie’s head and his head was over Jamie’s hips.  He rested on his elbows which were on either side of Jamie.  He took a moment to admire the male form below him, there for his pleasure, there for his taking.  Jamie was rock hard. 

The tip was wet, dripping with precome brought out by the hand job he’d been giving the two of them.  Sidney shifted his weight to his left arm.  His right hand came up to Jamie’s dick.  He let his index finger rub against the tip, spreading the wetness around the head.  He pressed in to the slit and Jamie moaned.  He ran his fingertip up and down the underside of the shaft, admiring how it twitched with each pass.  He bent his head down and let his tongue continue the work his finger had been doing, slowly licking up and down the shaft as it laid there. 

Sidney felt Jamie reach up and wrap his hand around Sidney’s dick and begin to stroke him slowly.  Sidney wrapped his fingers around Jamie and lifted his dick to his mouth.  Sidney wrapped his lips around the head of Jamie’s dick. 

Oh god he tastes so good he thought.  He started working Jamie in and out of his mouth, letting his dick come all the way out of his mouth, taking it in deeper each time he went down.  Once he had most of it in his mouth he stopped and held it there, doing to Jamie what Jamie had done to him, just sucking and licking gently.  His hand now cupping Jamie’s balls massaged them, working them up against the shaft of Jamie’s dick.  That was when Sidney felt a new sensation as Jamie’s thumb pressed against his asshole.  He froze. 

Jamie was working Sidney’s dick with his hand while Sidney was sucking on Jamie’s dick.  He used the palm of the other hand to press and rub Sidney’s balls.  He looked up and that big ass was spread in front of him.  Jamie didn’t think about whether he should or not, whether Sidney was into it or not, he simply slid his thumb up and pressed it against that little pink bud between those stunning ass cheeks.  He felt Sidney tense and stop sucking his dick.  “Oh crap,” he thought, that was one step too far.  Then he heard Sidney.  “Please, don’t stop.”

“Please, don’t stop.”  Sid had no control at this point, this young man had complete control over him.  Sid had only ever let one other person do to him what Jamie was doing.  He felt Jamie press his thumb against his opening again.  Then his thumb pushed in.  Sidney’s mind reeled at the rush of pleasure that filled his body.  Jamie worked Sid’s tight opening until his whole thumb was inside him and his fingers were working on his balls.  He wiggled his thumb and Sidney moaned, too totally engrossed with these sensations to be able to continue sucking on Jamie’s dick. 

Jamie rocked his hips up, searching for Sidney’s attention again.  Sidney regained his bearings and started working Jamie’s dick in his mouth. 

The multiple stimulation from so many areas was driving Sidney to the edge.  He rocked his hips into Jamie’s hands, thrilling at the finger fucking he was getting.  “Oh god, Jamie, I’m gonna explode.” 

 

“Not yet, Sid,” Jamie said as he stopped and took his hands away.  He slapped Sidney’s ass.  “Turn around.”  Jamie spread his legs as Sidney started to turn around, forcing him to kneel between them. 

“Hold on,” Sid scrambled off the bed and foraged in his carry-on bad for a minute.  Jamie heard him swear under his breath. 

“Those fuckers were right.” 

Jamie looked confused.  “I forgot to pack a fucking condom.  Do you have any?” 

“Yeah.  Actually, Flower gave me a couple.  He said I needed to be prepared in case I got lucky and picked up somebody.  There in my bag, front zip pocket.”

“Fucker.”  He’d have to remember to thank Flower, however, which would bring a new round of texts about how Sid had in fact forgotten to pack the essentials.

Sid retrieved the condom and a bottle of lube, plain K-Y, none of the reactive stuff.  Bad memory there.

He climbed back between Jamie’s knees and slipped the condom on.  He started to open the lube.

“You don’t need that.  Just fuck me.  Fuck me now, Sid.”

“Don’t I need to loosen you up first?” Sidney asked.

“No.  It’ll be fine.  Just fuck me.”  His eyes locked with Sidney’s.  “Fuck me.”

Sidney took his dick in his hand and guided the head to Jamie’s opening.  He pushed against it and Jamie moaned.  Sid paused, god he didn’t want to hurt the kid, all the other times the guy had had him finger him to stretch the tight muscles or he’d had lube.  “Jamie let me get some lube at least.”

“Fuck me.  Do it.  Fuck me, Sid. Trust me.  Just listen to me and do it the way I say.”

Sidney pushed forward again, the head of his dick sliding in to Jamie.  “That’s it Sid, keep going.”  Sidney pushed more.  With his dick in Jamie he could use his hands to lift Jamie’s legs, making his hips roll even further up and provide an even better angle to fuck him.  He pushed in deeper.  “That’s it.  Push it in.” 

He looked down at Jamie’s face and saw that Jamie was watching him.  Those eyes.  So intense.  Focused on Sidney’s face and what was happening.  Sidney pushed again so that his entire length was in Jamie, his balls pressed against Jamie’s ass. 

“Okay.  Stop.”  Sid looked puzzled at that. 

“No, I mean don’t stop.  Just don’t move for a minute.  Just hold your dick in me.”  Sid did as was requested. 

Jamie’s breath was coming sharp and fast, Sid realized he was trying to focus, making his body relax around the pressure from Sidney’s dick.  Then he felt Jamie’s ass muscles tighten around him and then relax.  Then tighten and relax.  And again.  Oh holy fuck, Sidney about lost his load right then.  He looked at Jamie who was grinning.  A truly wicked grin.

“That’s nice, right Sid.  Oh my god that’s so good. Okay.  Now.  Fuck me hard.”  Sid wasn’t sure but he did as Jamie asked and pulled his hips back until his dick was almost out, then he drove it hard back in to Jamie.  “Oh god.”  He watched Jamie throw his head back into the pillow.  His breathing coming in short gasps again.  He started to rock his hips, pounding his dick deep into that remarkable ass with every thrust. 

Jamie reached down and took his dick into his hand and started stroking himself in rhythm with Sidney’s thrusts.  Faster and faster.  “Hard Sid.  Fuck me hard.  Oh god.  That’s it.  Come in my ass.  Come with me Sid.” 

Sidney’s pace quickened, they were both breathing hard now.  Jamie could feel himself ready to cum.  “Sid.  Please.” 

Sidney thrust hard and he felt himself come deep in Jamie’s ass.  Jamie let himself come then, his fluid squirting onto his abdomen.  He kept jerking as Sidney kept thrusting until they were both spent.  Sid pulled out and collapsed on top of Jamie.

“Holy fuck.  What the hell, Jamie.”  Sidney was spent, completely drained.  “What the fuck have you done to me.”

Jamie wrapped his arms around Sidney and pressed his lips against his forehead.  “Damn.  That was better than I had ever dreamed.”

Sid slipped down and stretched out next to Jamie.  He slipped the condom off and tossed it towards where he thought the waste can had been.  He rolled Jamie over so he faced away from him. Slipped his left arm under his head and wrapped his right around Jamie, pulling him close. 

Sid nuzzled the back of Jamie’s neck.  “I’m so wasted.  We probably need to get some sleep.  I’m gonna need some rest if I’m gonna do this again.”

After a few minutes, they got up.  Jamie went to the bathroom and cleaned himself up while Sid turned down the other bed.  Then he went in and cleaned up.  When he came out Jamie was stretched out under the sheets and bed cover.  Sid climbed in next to him and had Jamie roll over on his side with his back to Sid.  Sidney wrapped his arm over Jamie and pulled him tight.  Jamie put his arm over Sidney’s and laced his fingers into the older man’s.  Sidney laid there marveling at this, whatever this was, that he had found in Jamie Marsh. 

“You okay like this?”  Sid asked as he kissed the back of Jamie’s neck lightly.

“Mmmmm, yeah.  This is fine.”  Jamie pulled Sid’s hand up to his lips and kissed it.  “As long as it’s you up behind me it’s fine.”

Sid realized how much he missed cuddling, especially when he got to be the big spoon.

For whatever reason, he just wanted to hold Jamie.  Hold him tight.  This was new ground for Sidney Crosby.  He listened to Jamie’s breathing become softer and realized he had fallen asleep.  Sid buried his head against Jamie’s shoulder and was soon fast asleep himself.

Chapter Text

Sidney rolled over and was surprised to find that Jamie wasn’t still in bed next to him.  He let his eyes adjust to the dim lighting in the room.  He looked to the other bed to see if maybe Jamie had just moved over there to sleep.  Nope, the bed was still made up.

He looked at the clock.  Five-Thirty. 

“Are you kidding me?” Sid said out loud.  He knew where Jamie was.  Jamie had gone for a run.  In Boston.  At five in the morning.  In the middle of winter.

He rolled back over and went back to sleep.  Jamie wouldn’t be back for at least a half hour, maybe even an hour. 

When Sid woke up again he heard the water running in the hotel shower.  He looked at the clock again.  Seven.  He was a little surprised Jamie hadn’t gotten him up when he came back from his run.  But then again, he thought, Jamie does know you like to sleep in on off days.

Sid got up and walked in to the bathroom.  “Good morning,” he said as he lifted the toilet seat to relieve himself.

“Good morning.  Coming in?”  Jamie peeked around the shower curtain.  “Lots of room in here.”

Sidney finished and climbed in the shower with Jamie.  Shower sex, he thought, a good way to start the day.  An hour later they climbed out of the shower.  After they had dried off, the towels were discarded on the floor and they stretched out on the bed together.  Jamie laying with his head on Sid’s chest.

Sid ran his fingers over a mark on the center of Jamie’s chest.  He’d noticed before and thought it was just a birthmark.  It hadn’t been until last night that he’d noticed it was a tattoo.  A very small heart and the word “Kicks” below it in tiny print.  You wouldn’t even notice it if you just glanced at Jamie’s bare chest.  It was over his heart.

Jamie didn’t look up, but let his hand fall over Sid’s.  “We got them just before he left for Quebec.  Our last day together, actually.  Kicks was a bit more daring.  His was on his ass.  And he had two extra words.  His said “Property of”.  I think it was his own silent way of rebelling against his father.”

“It’s nice.  A nice way to remember now.”  Sid kissed Jamie’s forehead and Jamie sighed.  Sid knew he needed to change the subject.  He pulled his hand back and ruffled Jamie’s hair.

“So what should we do today?” Sid asked.  “And no, staying in and fucking all day is not an option.  I would at least like to go out to get something to eat.  Breakfast or dinner.  Maybe even both.”

“Damn.  And I was so looking forward to that all day fuck.”  Jamie laughed as his cellphone rang.  It was a text from Brian Dumoulin.  He and Jamie had become closer friends since the incident after the Anaheim game.  In fact, Brian had become his running partner on the road, because Sullivan didn’t like Jamie running alone in most of the cities they visited.  He figured that nobody would bother the two 6’ 4” men if they were together.

“Dumes says everybody is going to breakfast.  Down in the hotel restaurant at nine.”  He looked up and saw that Sidney had gotten a text too.

“Yeah.  That’s what Tanger said, too.  He said that Flower, Kuni & Geno are going.  Guess we’d better go.”

“Not until nine, huh,” Jamie started playfully nipping at Sid’s chest.  “That’s almost a whole hour away.”

He reached down and let his fingers start to trace lines up and down Sidney’s dick. 

“You are insatiable boy.  Really.”  Sidney let his hand come to rest on  back of Jamie’s head.

“Yeah, look who’s calling who insatiable.”  Jamie watched Sidney’s dick start to get hard.  He let Sidney’s hand guide his head lower.          

Jamie took Sidney’s semi-erect dick in his mouth.  He let his tongue flick back and forth just under the tip.  Then he let Sid slide out of his mouth.  He took his dick and held it in his hand, holding it while he kissed up and down the shaft.  He felt Sidney getting harder.  He slid his mouth back over the tip, gently sucking it in a way he had quickly discovered Sidney really liked.

“Mmmmm, that feels so good,” Sidney murmured.

Jamie let his mouth slide down the shaft of Sidney’s dick until his lips touched the base.  He slowly started sucking on him, stopping occasionally to let his throat relax and swallow to keep his gag reflex down.  When he felt Sid’s hand near his face he let his mouth slide back up to the tip.  Sidney wrapped his hand around his own dick.

“Just hold me there,” he said to Jamie.  “Let me jack off in your mouth.”

Jamie did as he was told, holding the head of Sidney’s dick in his mouth as Sidney started stroking up and down on the shaft.  He let his tongue lick and press along the underside. 

Sidney worked his dick slow and steady with his right hand.  He let his left hand rest on the back of Jamie’s head, running his fingers through Jamie’s hair. 

“Oh god that’s good,” he whispered.  “You strokin’ yourself?”  He knew Jamie was, he could feel it against his leg.

Jamie murmured a yes as he kept his mouth tight on Sidney’s dick.  Sidney started stroking a little faster, letting himself start to build to an orgasm.  Jamie stroked his own dick faster, keeping pace.

“That’s right, keep sucking.”  Sid was getting close.  “Jamie, are you okay with me coming in your mouth?”

Jamie answered by sucking faster and harder. 

“Holy shit, guess that’s a yes.”  Sidney stroked himself faster.  His head was propped up enough that he could look down and watch Jamie sucking the head of his dick.  Jamie opened his eyes and looked up at Sid.  That was it, Sid was undone.

“Here it comes.  Oh god!” He felt his dick come in Jamie’s mouth.  He expected Jamie to pull his mouth up and just off his dick when he came, so the come would run out and down over Sidney.  To his surprise, Jamie held him tight and kept sucking until Sidney was spent and his dick started to go limp.  Then Jamie swallowed.  Sid almost lost it.   He certainly hadn’t expected that.

“That was nice.”

“Mmmm, yep,” was the answer he got. 

He felt Jamie still working his own dick.  Now that he had gotten Sidney off, Jamie rolled over and gave it his sole attention.  He worked it harder and faster, feeling his own release building.  He shot his load all over his leg.  He stroked himself until he quit coming.

“Well,” Sid said, “guess we need another shower before breakfast.”

Jamie stood up and headed to the shower.  Sid followed and smacked him on the ass.  “No fooling around though.  We gotta get down there.”

---

They walked in to the restaurant together.  Jamie went to sit with the younger guys.  Sid went to sit with his friends. 

“So Sid,” Geno spoke first, “you look like cat that swallow canary.”

“Yeah Sid,” Tanger said, “and how did that canary taste.”

Sid blushed and grinned at them.  Then he looked over at Jamie.  Jamie looked up and smiled when he saw Sidney watching him.

“Very good,” he said to the group.

They all smiled and laughed at their friend, very pleased to see him so happy.

“So Sid,” Flower said with an evil grin, “anything else you want to tell us?”

“Fucker.  You already know, don’t you?”

“My young apprentice texted me this morning.  Said thank you, that they had in fact come in handy.”

Sid looked around the table, they all had stupid ‘we know you well’ smiles on their faces.  “Fuckers.  You all know?”

“Flower has taught young Grasshopper well.  He text us all.  Said he figured out what we were all laughing about on the plane.” Kris laughed.

Sid turned bright red.  “I hate you all.”

After he got done eating, Jamie got up and went over and pulled up a chair next to Sidney at that table. 

“What up, Marshmallow,” Geno said.  “I hear you good sleep with.  Sid sleep well last night.”

The others choked back laughs. 

“Subtle G,” Kuni said under his breath.

Jamie blushed.

“Hey, a group of guys are going sight-seeing and Potash and the camera crew are going along for IPH.  I’m guessing none of you want to go, but is it okay if I go? They asked if I wanted to go,” he looked at Sid.

“You don’t need his permission,” Flower said with a grin, well a bigger grin than normal.  “You have my permission Grasshopper.  You have pleased Master Flower by providing me with chirping material for at least a month of practices.”

“Flower,” Sid tried to look mad.  “There will be no chirping at your captain.”

Jamie blushed.  Sid knew Jamie liked Sid’s group of friends.  He was comfortable around them because of Sid, but there were times Jamie was still uncomfortable around other teammates, most notably when they were on the road.  It would do him good to go out with them.

“Go on and have some fun,” Sid said.  “You’ve never been to Boston before, right?  So go see the sights.  It’s a pretty cool town, lots of historic places to see.”

Jamie smiled and stood up.

“We were all talking and we think we’re going to suggest that we all go out to dinner together as a team.  This being a team bonding trip and all.  There is this great steak and seafood place about four blocks from here.  Pass the word to the guys you’re going with, okay.”  Sid gave him a wink.  “Okay, get out of here.”

Sid watched Jamie walk out, knowing he was headed to their room to get his coat.  He fought the urge to go after him.

He turned back to his friends.  They were all looking at him with those same smartass grins on their faces.

Kuni was sitting next to Sid.  He reached over and put his hand on his shoulder.  “Relax. We like him,” he said. “He fits right in with our little family.”  The others nodded in agreement.

“That’s why he texted us,” Kris added, “because he does already fit in with us.  Because we can see how he feels about you and how you feel about him.  He is family.  More so than some of the Wilkes-Barre babies.  And definitely more than that asshole Kessel thinks he is.”

“Marshmallow too cute not like,” Geno added.  “Kessel asshole.  Not cute like Marshmallow.  Glad Sidney not love Phil.”

“God G, give me a little credit here,” Sid laughed.  “I’m glad you guys like him.  You’re right, he’s just, comfortable to be around isn’t he.”

“So, was his ass as tight as it looks,” Flower said, breaking them all into another round of laughter.

“Oh my god, really?” Sid rolled his eyes.

It is good to have friends you can trust, Sidney thought.  Kuni is right, we’re more than that, we’re family.

Jamie spent the day sight-seeing.  Sidney spent the day hanging out in Kuni’s room watching TV with the guys. 

Jamie got back around 2 pm.  He and Sid napped the rest of the afternoon away. That evening they all went out to dinner. 

When they got back Sidney and Jamie spent the rest of the evening wrapped up in each other’s arms, discovering new things they liked about the other, finally falling asleep around midnight.

The next morning Jamie got up and went for a run at 5 am. 

Their second day in Boston involved workouts, time with the athletic trainers for stretching and strength training, and a formal practice at TD Garden, home of the Bruins. 

Tuesday night, Jamie and Sid ordered room service and stayed in.  Nobody questioned it, figuring that they were just tired after practice.  A lot of the guys were staying in Tuesday night. 

“Game tomorrow.  No fooling around tonight, okay.  I really need to get some rest.  I was a little too tired at practice this afternoon.” Sid had said after dinner.  He saw a look of disappointment in Jamie’s face, but he’d said it was okay.

“I should have thought this relationship thing with and 18-year-old over a little better.  You have way too much energy.”

“Sorry about that,” Jamie laughed at him.  “I thought you were in better shape.”

“I’m in great shape.  I just haven’t had this much sex in a long time.  And, again, we have a game tomorrow night.  I need to save some of my energy for that.” 

Jamie got up and walked over to his luggage.  He came back with his laptop computer.  He climbed up on the bed and laid down perpendicular to Sid, who was sitting with his back up against the headboard and his legs stretched out.  Jamie laid his head in Sid’s lap and propped the computer on his bent knees.

“How bout we just relax then and watch some game footage of the Bruins.”  Jamie smiled up at Sid who tussled Jamie’s hair.

“Sounds perfect.”

About 9:30 Sid told Jamie that maybe just giving each other a blow job wouldn’t be too taxing.  His reward for watching game footage.  After they finished, they stretched out on the bed together.  Jamie got to be the big spoon, with Sid curled up in his arms.  They slept that way until Jamie rolled out of bed at 5 am for his morning run.  He’d watched Sid half wake up and reach over to grab Jamie’s pillow.  Sid curled up around it and went back to sleep.  Jamie found him still hugging it when he got back.

Unfortunately they lost to the Bruins Wednesday night. 

As he sat next to Flower on the flight back to Pittsburgh Sid thought about how different his life was from when he left Pittsburgh.  He thought about how different his life had become in so many ways since he had opened his home to Jamie.  He was in love with someone who was in love with him.  He thought about the youngster sitting a few seats behind him and smiled.  It had been a good road trip.

Chapter Text

Jamie had grown up in the age of the internet and social media.  Sid dabbled.  His friends told Jamie it was lucky Sid knew how to text at all.  His internet extent was usually games and watching hockey game films.  Jamie decided one day to search google and some of the other web search engines for “Sidney Crosby” and see what he could find.  For fun. 

Sid could hear him laughing from the living room.  He wandered in, “What’s so funny, baby boy?”

“Have you ever heard of fanfiction?”

Oh god, not that, Sid thought.  He’d heard about it, from friends and family, but had never gone to look himself.  There were some very disturbing stories there he’d been told.

“Yeah.  Never gone and looked though.  I suppose you have.”

“Fuck yeah!  This shit is great.  Oh my god, some of this is so fucking funny.  There’s this one.  It’s about a toaster that shoots toast out.  A couple of guys get it and then it gets sent to guys around the league.  Holy crap is it funny.  It ends up with Ovi and he’s shooting toast at the Ducks in the visitor locker room.  Holtby makes a toast save.”  Jamie laughed, and snorted. 

“That does sound funny,” Sid said.  Maybe it wasn’t all bad.  “What else.”

“A lot of you and Geno together.  You guys ending up married in a few.  They also seem to like putting you and Ovi together.  And you and, god help me it makes me want to puke just saying it, but that fucking evil ginger from Philly.” He’s making gagging noises as he says it.

Sid rolls his eyes, “No chance of ever happening in real life, fucking Giroux.”

“Oh, and the Captain doing everything he can to keep his team happy.”  Jamie winked at him then laughed again.

“Oh god.  What?”

“You giving Dumo a blow job.  For the good of the team.”  He laughed and snorted again.

“Fuck me, now.  Where do they come up with this shit?”

“Oh it’s fucking great.  You should see the way they describe you and your… aversion to physical contact except for hockey…. your asexuality I think they called it… your love for G…. think there’s some hook ups with Flower and some others too… you and Jack at school…”

“Is it all just guys?”

“Oh hell no!  There’s a whole other site that is all you and women.  You lead a very active sex life there… very… active…”

Sid knew Jamie wasn’t about to let this go, so he plopped down on the couch next to him.  “Okay.  What else?”

‘The hook-ups in the gay ones are way too funny.  Some of the players they pair with other players.”

“So it’s not just me and G?”

“No.  On other teams.  Ovi and Nicky.  Segs and Jamie Benn.  Giroux, that asshole, and Briere.  Toews and Kane.  It’s like they pick two guys on a team and hook them up.  So fucking funny.  You had a fling with Olli, you know.  Broke his poor heart.  You cad.” 

That made Sid laugh.  “Are you kidding me?  Poor Olli.  I’d never do that.”

“Oh god.  I gotta read some of it to you.  You’re gonna die.”

Jamie spent the next hour reading some of what he thought were the better stories to Sid.  They laughed at the one’s that hooked players from other teams together.  And one that was this on-going who can out do who in the prank contest involving Flower and Ovechkin.  Jamie and Sid agreed that they could so see Flower doing everything he was doing.

There were some sad stories, too.  Jamie didn’t understand why someone would want to write them.  One had Sid dying of a brain tumor in 2018.  One had him growing old and sitting in a coffee shop waiting for someone else, someone who never comes.  When he leaves, a person looks at the cup and it says ‘Geno’.  That made Sid sad.  He could see that happening.

“I can’t believe people write this shit. Of course, I can’t believe you read it.”

Jamie laughed.  He laughed to the point he had tears in his eyes.  “Want me to read you some more?”

“No.  Do you think somebody knows anything about the players in real life?  At least one of those teams was a real couple in real life.”  There were more correct pairs, but he wasn’t going in to that now.

“Who?  Wait, let me guess.  Ovi and Nicky?”  Jamie sat his laptop over on the coffee table.

“No.  Well, I don’t know for sure, but that wasn’t who I meant.  I meant Segs and Benny.”

“No fucking way!  Really?”

“No, Jamie.  I’m making it up.  Yes.  For real.  Segs had the hots for Brownie, but Brownie isn’t interested in anything with Segs, just being friends.  So a few years ago, Segs ends up in Dallas and the next thing you know.  He and Benny are fucking around.  You’ve seen his tweet right?  The ‘I’m not a cow’ tweet?  If you’ve been looking at this stuff, you have to have read articles about Segs’ tweets to Brownie.”

“I saw those.  I thought he was kidding, because of the stories.  So, who else in the league?  You gotta tell me.”

“I don’t know everybody.  I sometimes think Toews and Kane have a thing going.  But I don’t think it’s anything more than fuck buddies.”

“There are some great stories about them.  This whole alternate universe shit, like Twilight or Supernatural shit.  Alphas and Omegas.  Oh and this whole dom sub thing, too.  There’s a lot of that with you.  Sometimes you’re the Alpha or the dom, but mostly you’re somebody’s bitch. That seems about right to me, ya know, since you’re my bitch.”

Sid grabbed a pillow and smacked him with it.  “I am not you’re fucking bitch!”

In a heartbeat Jamie was up and on top of Sid, pushing him over and turning him so that Jamie had Sid on his back on the couch.  Jamie straddled Sid’s hips and then grabbed Sid’s wrists and pinned Sid’s arms above his head.  His actions had been so swift and had caught Sid so off-guard that it took his breath away.  He was breathing in short, quick gasps.

“You were saying, bitch?”  Jamie leaned down and brushed his lips over Sid’s.

Sid tried turning his head, “You asshole.  Just because you have a size advantage does not make me your bitch.  Now get off.” He was still trying to collect himself.

Jamie rocked his hips down against Sid, pressing his growing erection to Sid’s hip.  “Well, I kinda think it does.”  He leaned down and kissed Sid’s cheek before nuzzling into his neck.  “But then again?  Maybe I’d rather be your bitch.”  In one quick move he rolled over off the couch, falling between it and a coffee table.  He pulled Sid with him, so that their positons were now reversed.

“Better.”  Jamie said it as a statement, not a question.  “Sidney?  Make me your bitch,” he said as his eyes locked with Sid’s.  Sid looked down at him and saw the glint of mischief in Jamie’s eyes.  Those green eyes, usually so bright and happy, grew dark and wicked.  Jamie had a lot of looks.  Sid knew them all.  This was his ‘I want fucked’ look.  And Sid couldn’t resist it.

Chapter Text

The Pens bounced back to win their next game Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. 

On Sunday, Sidney and Jamie went to the Lemieux’ for dinner.  Nathalie had fixed chicken and dumplings, along with coleslaw.  Then there had been cheesecake with strawberries for dessert, because Sid told her it was Jamie’s favorite.  They sat around the table talking about most everything but hockey.  Mario and Nathalie couldn’t help but notice the way Sidney was looking at Jamie.  And were very pleased at the way Jamie was looking back at Sid. 

“I’m glad things have worked out so well with you staying with Sid, Jamie.  You settled here in Pittsburgh.” Mario said.  He looked at Sid.  “See.  It was a good idea.”

“So it wasn’t your idea,” Jamie nudged Sid in the ribs, “you lied to me.  You told me you wanted me.”

Sid started to protest then realized Jamie was grinning.  “Shithead. I do want you.”

Mario saw Sid slip his hand under the table and then Jamie’s face blush bright red.

After the boys left, he helped his wife clear the table.

“So, your evil plan is working my love,” she laughed.  “Lucky for you.  If it hadn’t you may have driven our oldest away completely.”

“I told you I had a feeling about this.”

“He certainly looks happy, oui?  And in love.  I am happy for them.  But I am not sure why you thought this would work out in the first place.  It is a big age difference?”

Mario kissed her cheek as he handed her some plates to rinse off.  “Think about it.  Think about all his other relationships.  Well, all but the one.  They were with people who were not hockey people.  They didn’t understand him.  His drive.  His passion for the game.  The routines, the rituals.  He always ended up having to choose between hockey and having a relationship.  He always chose hockey.  It is who he is.  The one time he had the chance to be with someone else who was hockey, well, I wish it could have worked out.  He got hurt.  I was a little worried that he wouldn’t even try this again, but obviously he has.  He doesn’t have to choose with Jamie.  He can have hockey and someone to love.  Jamie is hockey, too.  He’ll understand Sid when Sid is being, well, Sid.”

“Wow.  You are so smart,” she smacked him on the behind with a towel. 

“I know our boy.”

“I wonder when they’ll tell us they are dating, because it was pretty obvious to me that they are together.”

“When they are ready.  One step at a time with Sid, like always.  But I think we are moving in the right direction.”

---

On Monday, the Pens beat Arizona, finally winning two in a row for the first time in three weeks.

After the game, the Pens flew out to Washington to make up their game with the Capitals that had been postponed in January due to weather.  The Caps had been practically unbeatable this season, holding the best record in the NHL.  The Pens gave them everything they could handle, out-skating the Caps through most of the first two periods.  But then the Caps regrouped, and started hitting the Pens every chance they got.  The physicality and having played the night before started to take its toll on the Pens. 

Late in the second period, Jamie got boarded hard by Brooks Orpik.  He hit the ice hard.  It shook him up a bit, but he got up and waved to the bench that he was okay.  Mike Sullivan was trying to double-shift Jamie to get him matched up on the ice against Alexander Ovechkin.  Jamie had been paired against Ovechkin a few times, and so far, he was doing pretty well at taking the league’s leading scorer out of the game.   Ovechkin’s line should have been coming out, so Jamie tried to just shake off the hit and stay. 

Jamie watched Ovechkin come over the boards on to the ice.  Ovechkin started across the ice to go for the puck in the Caps’ end.  Jamie went after him.  He never saw Mike Weber, who stood him up as he crossed the center line.  The hit sent Jamie sprawling across the ice.  This time, he didn’t get up right away.

Jamie laid on the ice, trying to catch his breath.  His whole body hurt from the shock of the hit and then the impact with the ice.  He closed his eyes.  When he opened them Chris Stewart was kneeling next to him.  Jamie tried to focus on Chris.  Everything was blurry.  He knew Chris was saying something, but he couldn’t seem to understand it.

“Jamie.  Jamie.  Look at me.”

Jamie closed his eyes again.  He was still heaving, trying to get air in to his chest.

“Jamie, ya gotta slow down your breathing.  Hold your breath a minute.  Okay, now out.  Slow it down.  Breath, Jamie, in, one, two, three, four, five, okay, let it out slow.  That’s it.  In and out easy.” 

Jamie felt his body start to respond.  He got his breathing under control.  He opened his eyes again.  Well, it isn’t still so blurry, he thought.  He tried to focus on Stewart.

“Everything’s a little blurry, Chris.”

“Okay.  Give it a minute.  Did you hit your head on the ice?”

“I don’t think so.”  Jamie closed his eyes again.  He became aware of somebody else next to him on the ice.  A uniform.  A teammate.  Then he heard the familiar voice.  Sid.

“It’s okay Jamie.  I’m right here.”

“Jamie, can you move your hands?  Okay.  How about your legs?”  Chris watched Jamie, looking for signs of a back or neck injury.  So far, nothing.  “Okay, open your eyes again.”

Jamie opened his eyes.  Things were clear again.  He smiled at Sid.

“Blurries are gone, Chris.  Can I try sitting up?”

Chris and Sid helped Jamie sit up.  He took another deep breath.  He hurt all over.

“How you doing?  Blurry back?  Dizzy?”

“No, I just fucking hurt everywhere.”

Sid and Chris got him to his feet.  The crowd cheered with relief.  It didn’t matter which team they rooted for, fans didn’t like to see players get hurt, well except in Philly.  Jamie leaned on Sid as he skated towards the bench and the runway to the locker room. 

“I’m okay,” he said.  Sid doubted it, but he watched with some relief as Jamie walked on his own to the locker room.

Jamie was undergoing the standard concussion protocol when the team came in for the second intermission.  He seemed to be much better, Chris Stewart told Sid.  Maybe the blurry was just from getting the wind knocked out of him when he hit the ice.  He knew where he was and was answering all their questions okay.  Dr. Vyas, the team’s head physician was with him.

Just before they were getting ready to head back out for the final period, Jamie came in to the locker room.  He still had all his equipment on.  He sat down, and to Sid’s surprise, started to re-tie the laces on his skates instead of just taking them off.

“You’re gonna keep playing?”

“Doc says I’m okay.  Sore as hell at the moment, but okay.” 

“Really?”

“No concussion, Sid.  Just sore.  I’ve played through sore before.”

Jamie’s reassurances didn’t help keep Sid from worrying every time Jamie got hit in the third period.  But he knew, if they were going to be able to keep playing together, he couldn’t let his worry show, or affect his game.

On the plane ride home, Jamie had developed a headache.  Chris and Dr. V had taken him to the back of the plane and put him through an abbreviated concussion test again.  Jamie had passed again.  Still no sign of a head injury, but the headache stayed for the whole trip.  Jamie wished he could have taken something, but knew they didn’t want to have any medication mask the signs or symptoms if the tests were false negatives and he did have a concussion. 

When they got back to Pittsburgh Sidney helped Jamie to their waiting SUV.  Flower, Tanger, Kuni and Geno walked with them.

“You okay,” Tanger asked Jamie as he buckled him in to the passenger seat.  Jamie could hardly keep his head up and his eyes open.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Jamie mumbled.  “Just tired.”

Jamie reached up and put his hand on Kris’ cheek.  “How come you only hit on me once?  I’d have given in you know, if you’d tried again.  You are so damn sexy.”  Jamie leaned in and kissed Kris. 

“Okay.  Now I know you aren’t okay.” Kris said as their lips parted.  He pushed Jamie back against the seat.

Kris closed the door and went to the back of the SUV.  Everybody else had already headed to their vehicles, eager to get home. 

“He says he’s just tired,” Kris told Sid, “but he kissed me.  And told me I’m sexy.  You are going to have fun with him tonight.  Do you need help at the house?  I could swing over before heading home.  It’s not that far out of the way.”

Sid laughed.  “Well he has good taste, you are sexy.  I’ll be okay.  I do think he’s pretty tired.  He was up for a run at 5 and didn’t get much of a nap.  Hopefully, that’s all it is and any concussion isn’t serious.”

Both Sid and Kris had been through serious concussion issues.  Neither wanted Jamie to be hurt.  Kris told Sid to call if he needed him, then they said their good-nights.

Sidney got in the driver’s side and found Jamie already asleep.  He nudged him until he got a response.  Jamie lifted his hand and flipped Sidney off.  Okay, Sid thought, at least it was a response.

“So, you think Tanger is sexy, huh?”

No response.  Jamie was already asleep again, or he was ignoring the comment.  Sid drove them home.  Chris Stewart had said to make sure he woke Jamie up every hour or so to make sure that his head injury didn’t suddenly get worse.  There was always the chance with a concussion that it would get worse over the first 24 hours or so if the brain kept swelling or the hit had been harder than they thought.

Sid let Jamie sleep for the short ride home from the airport.  He woke Jamie up and helped him in to the house.  Jamie was a bit more responsive than he’d been at the airport, maybe he had just been really tired. 

Jamie plopped down on the couch. “I’m hungry.”

“Really?  It’s 2 am, Jamie. You sure you don’t just want to go to bed.”  Sid decided to leave the luggage in the car until morning so he went back and locked the front door.  He returned to find Jamie in the kitchen, bent over with his head in the fridge.  Jamie went to stand up and wobbled.

“Whoa there, baby boy,” Sid said. 

Jamie giggled at Sid. He liked it when Sid used that nickname for him. 

Sid reached out to steady Jamie.  “How about a couple of cookies and some juice for now?  Chris said you really shouldn’t put too much on your stomach tonight.”

Jamie sat down at the table and ate a couple of the homemade oatmeal cookies Nathalie had sent home with them, then drank down the bottle of juice.

“Okay, let’s go to bed,” Sid said.  Jamie didn’t protest as Sid helped him up to the master bedroom they now shared. Sid stripped him down to his boxers and tucked him in.  Sid climbed in next to him.

Jamie woke up at 5 am.  His head hurt.  He thought about going for a run, it might help clear his head.  He sat up and laid back down.  Nope, he decided.  I don’t think I’ll go today.  He rolled over and went back to sleep.

When he finally woke up again it was 8 am.  Sid was still in bed beside him.  He rolled over and sat up on the edge of the bed.  The headache was gone.  He got up and walked to the bathroom.

Sid felt Jamie get up, he’d been lying next to him half-awake for about an hour.  He opened his eyes and watched Jamie as he walked in to the bathroom.  A few minutes later Jamie came back and climbed back in to bed.  He snuggled up next to Sid, who was now sitting up against the headboard.

“How are you feeling this morning?” Sid rubbed Jamie’s back.  “I see you didn’t go for a run.  You okay?”

“Had a headache when I woke up at five.  Decided to stay in bed.  It’s gone now and I feel okay.”

“Do you remember anything from last night?”  Sid had been through the concussion thing, big time.  He knew what questions to ask to judge how Jamie was really doing.

“We lost.  I remember that.”

“How about the flight?  Or driving home?”

“Nope, I’m not sure how I got in bed last night.  Did you take advantage of me?  Wait.  No, I have my shorts on so you didn’t ravage me.”

“You’re being a smartass, aren’t you?”  Sid looked down.  Jamie was grinning.

“We flew home and got in late.  Tanger put me in the Range Rover.  You drove us home.  I said I was hungry.  Cookies and juice, not what I really wanted, but hey, that’s okay.  You brought me up and tucked me in.  You woke me up at least twice.  I woke up by myself around five and had a headache.  I went back to sleep.  I just woke up now, went and took a piss and came back to bed.  Yes.  I am being a smartass.  I am fine.  No lingering effects from the hit.  Okay?”  Jamie gave Sid’s bare chest a playful nip.

“Well then.  Yes.  You are okay.  Asshole.”  Sid kissed the top of Jamie’s head.  “I was just worried about you, ya know.  So do you remember anything else about last night?”

“What?” Jamie said sheepishly.  “You have to admit it, you think he’s damn sexy, too.”

“You kissed him.”

“I was delusional.  The concussion.  I thought it was you.”  Jamie looked up at Sid.  “You buying any of that?”

“No.  But if that’s your story, I guess we’ll just have to let it go at that.”  Sid kissed Jamie’s forehead.  Jamie was right, Sid did think Tanger was sexy. 

“So, what time do we have to be in Cranberry for the follow-up tests?” Jamie asked, changing the subject.

“Not until 10.  I have to be at practice at 1.  I’m guessing they won’t let you skate today even if the tests are okay.”

“Ten, huh.”  Jamie sat up.  “I’m hungry.  Come take a shower with me.”

“Are you up to a shower?”

“Yep.”  Jamie climbed out of bed and headed back to the bathroom, he dropped his shorts as he walked, kicking them on to a chair.  “Think my ass is the only thing that’s not sore today.”

Sid laughed.  He got up, stripped out of his boxers, and followed Jamie in to the shower.  “I don’t think we’ll mention this part to the docs when they ask what you did after you got home.”

They went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and got Jamie breakfast on the way to the training center.  It wasn’t Sid’s favorite, he’d eat at the center, but Jamie was happy.

One of the biggest benefits to having the new UPMC Lemieux sports complex was that all of their medical follow-up testing could be done right at their training center.  When they got there, Sid went with Jamie to the sports medicine side of the complex.  Jamie assured Sid that he didn’t have to come along and hold his hand.  Sid assured Jamie that he did.

Jamie’s tests took about an hour and a half.  Sid had only stayed to talk to the docs and wait until they took Jamie back for a CT scan, then he left to go get ready for practice.  He needed to stretch and do some cardio before he hit the ice.

All of Jamie’s tests were negative. Sid was right, however.  No practice for Jamie today.  He sat and watched Sid and the others practice without him.  Hopefully they’d let him play the next day.  He didn’t like not being on the ice.

Sid was just relieved that Jamie was okay. 

Chapter Text

Jamie had a third round of tests the morning before the game, and all of those tests were clear as well.  The team doctors said he could play.  The Pens went out and beat the Rangers.  There next game would be Saturday against Calgary.

They had the day off on Friday and Jamie asked Sid if they could do something that didn’t involve hockey.  Or working out at all.  At first Sid had protested the no workout, until Jamie had said that he would forego his morning run if Sid would agree.  Then he gave Sid the puppy dog eyes.  Sid gave in, of course.

Friday morning, they got up, fooled around in the shower, and got dressed.  Sid fixed them omelets while Jamie fixed a couple of bowls of fresh fruit.  As they sat eating, Sid asked Jamie what his plans were for their day.

“Museums”

“What?  Where?”  Sid asked.

“I want to go over to the Carnegie Museums.  Is that okay?”

Sid was a little surprised.  “I’d have thought you’d have wanted to just stay home.”

“Nope.  I want to start exploring Pittsburgh.  And can we go out for dinner?”

“Of course.  And where will we be going for dinner.  I’m guessing you have someplace in mind already.”

“Mexican.  There is a place in Oakland called Mad Mex.  Looks pretty good.”

“Okay.  I’m not sure about Mexican the night before…”

“No. No. No.”  Jamie shakes his finger at Sid.  “No talk about work.  At all.”

“Wow, ok.  Sorry.”  Sid just shakes his head.  “Gonna be a long day if I can’t even talk about it.”

“Well maybe you just need some incentive then.  Here’s the deal.  If you can go all day without talking about work, you can have your way with me tonight when we get home.”

“And if I can’t?”

“No sex for you.”

“Really?  That might not be a bad thing.  I could use a night off.”  Sid grinned. 

“So you would be able to just sit and watch me do all sorts of things as I got myself off? Cause that’s what I meant by no sex for you.  If you lose, you have to watch, and you can’t touch yourself either.”  Jamie stood up to carry his dishes to the sink.  He stopped and shook his ass at Sid.  “So, deal?”

“You’re wicked, baby boy.”  Sid’s competitive nature wouldn’t let him say no to this challenge.  “Deal.”

---

They took Jamie’s Jeep, which would be far less conspicuous than the Range Rover.  Sid drove so Jamie could take in the sites.  When they got to the museums, Sid asked Jamie which one was first on the agenda.  Museum of Art was his reply. 

Jamie bought their tickets, while Sid stood a little ways away, trying hard not to look like Sidney Crosby.  Luckily there weren’t many people around. 

“Will you relax,” Jamie chided him as they walked into one of the galleries. 

They spent the next three hours just wandering through the museum.  They both enjoyed the Hall of Architecture the most.  The was also a special exhibit on architecture that they liked.  Amazingly no one came up to Sid looking for an autograph.  Jamie actually thought Sid was a bit disappointed at that.

Next up was the Museum of Natural History.  Sid almost laughed out loud over how excited Jamie got when they walked in to the dinosaur exhibit.  It was as if somebody flipped a switch and transformed Jamie into a five-year-old on Christmas morning.

“I didn’t know you were into dinosaurs.”

“Have been my whole life.  This is great!  Did you see they have a special exhibit all about dinosaurs that flew?  You may have trouble getting me out of here.”

Sid happily followed Jamie around the exhibit hall, listening intently as Jamie told him about each dinosaur in great detail.  Sid never knew there were so many different ones.

“Didn’t you see any of the Jurassic Park movies?”

“No.  Are they any good?”

“Are you kidding?  We definitely have to get them and watch them.  We’ll camp out in the living room and have a Jurassic Park marathon.”

Jamie was right about Sid having trouble getting him out of there.  One of the staff members had finally come up and politely ushered them out so the museum could close for the day.

A short time later they arrived at Mad Mex.  It was still fairly early, so they didn’t have to wait very long to be seated. 

They both ordered water and an order of the Pepita Hummus, which had pumpkin seeds, garlic, and peppers.  Jamie was skeptical about it, but it ended up being really good.

They decided to order a few different things to share.  Sid had no worry about having to take anything home, not the way Jamie could put away food.  They ordered a chicken chickpea chili burrito, a Mad Mex quesadilla with grilled steak, and grilled chicken tacos.  Sid had thought right, Jamie made sure there was no doggie bag needed.  Jamie also talked Sid in to splitting an ice cream burrito.  Sid almost said something about having to skate extra laps to work it off, but stopped.  He wasn’t blowing it this late in the day.

Sid drove them home a different route than normal so Jamie could see some of the pretty lighting along the river.  The whole way home, Jamie rested his hand on Sid’s leg.   They finally walked in the house at about nine o’clock.

Jamie turned around and waited for Sid to lock the door.  When Sidney turned to face him, Jamie had a wicked grin on his face.

“You win.  I’m gonna go up and get ready.  You can use the guest bedroom bathroom.  Come over to our room in a half hour to collect your reward.”  He gave Sid a quick kiss and disappeared up the stairs.

Sid waited a few seconds and followed him up the stairs.  He went to their room and retrieved his toothbrush, tooth paste and a pair of shorts before leaving Jamie alone and heading to the guest room.  Sid did everything he had to, then took a quick shower.  He toweled off and slipped his shorts on.  He walked back to the master bedroom.

He opened the door and was met by a sight that made his dick twitch with desire.  Jamie was kneeling in the middle of the bed, naked.  Beside him laid a bottle of lube and some of Sid’s favorite toys.  Sid walked over and stood at the end of the bed.

“I never knew that not talking about hockey could be so rewarding.”  He said as he climbed up next to Jamie.

Chapter Text

March started out like February, win a game, lose a game.  Over the next week the Pens lost to Calgary, beat New Jersey and then lost to the Islanders.  They had played six games in 9 days, going 3-3-0.  It was not the best way to start March.  They finally got two days between games during the second week of March and they would be in Pittsburgh both days for practice. 

Jamie had talked to Zach Tyler several times since they had both left San Diego.  Zach had gotten a job not too far from Pittsburgh in Erie with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, one of the major junior level leagues within the Canadian Hockey League.  Zach also had a new boyfriend.  He wanted Jamie to come visit some time. 

Right after the road trip to Boston, Jamie had checked the Otter’s schedule to see when he could travel up to Erie to see Zach and catch a game.  The first chance he had was March 9th, the Pens didn’t have a game that night.

Jamie asked Sid if it was okay if he went to the game.  He said that Dumo had said he’d go with him.  To Jamie’s surprise, and delight, Sid said he’d like to go as well.  Hags got word of the trip and asked to go along, saying he’d like to see Zach, too.  Pretty soon it was spread around the locker room that there was a road trip to Erie in the works and more guys decided they’d like to go, too.  It quickly became a caravan.  In addition to Sid, Jamie, Brian, and Carl, there would be, Wilson, Kuhnhackl, Rust, Maata, Pouliot, Sheary, Bennett, Letang, Hornqvist, Dupruis, Kunitz, Malkin, Murray, and Fleury.  Jamie had called and they had been able to get a suite for the game.  He’d booked it using his name hoping it wouldn’t be recognized and throw up any flags.  The boys didn’t want any special treatment or recognition, they just wanted to go and watch the game and relax for a while. 

Jamie told Zach they would be coming and that they didn’t want the Otters to make a fuss over them.  Zach said it was team poster night and the boys would be signing autographs after the game.  Jamie got the guys to all autograph stuff for the players and for Zach.  The guys also all said they’d like to go down and meet the team after the game.  It would mean a late night, but they wouldn’t have to be up and to practice until 11 am the next day.  Then they’d fly to Buffalo and could rest that night before the game on Friday.  The caravan was a go.

The boys decided to eat at Primanti Brothers in Erie.  The waitress about fell over when they all walked in.  Jamie had picked up the check.   

When they walked in to the Erie Insurance Arena Jamie saw a familiar face waiting for them.  Sid watched as Jamie went over and gave a beautiful brunette a bear hug.

“Oh my god you look great,” Jamie said as he hugged the very pregnant woman.

“So do you,” she replied, giving him a kiss on the cheek, “life in the NHL must agree with you.”  She looked over at Sid, “or life with someone does.”

Jamie blushed as he turned to introduce her to everyone.  “Guys, this is Sheryl Markinson,” he patted her tummy, “and baby Markinson.  She’s Zach’s sister.  Sheryl, these are my friends.”

All of them came up and gave her a hug.

“Fluff, shopping time, get your card out man.” Brian said as he and some of the others headed to a concessions area.

“Your card?” she asked.  “And, Fluff?”

“This trip is on the rookie it seems.  The tickets, the food, the gas, and oh yes, we must all buy something, too.  And Fluff, as in Fluffernutter, as in Marshmallow, as in nicknames they seem to think are cute.”   He rolled his eyes.

Sheryl laughed.  “Well it’s good you’re making the big bucks now.  And I love the nickname.  Zach will think it’s great!”

They had purchased sweatshirts, t-shirts, and whatever else they could find to spend the rookie’s money.  Sid had watched Jamie cringe a little every time one of them came up with more stuff.  Jamie was making league minimum now, pro-rated anyway, still a lot more than he’d ever made before, but Sid knew that still hadn’t sunk in completely. 

“Here, I’ll get it,” Sid slipped Jamie a credit card. 

“No, it’s okay.”  Jamie handed it back with a smile.  “Besides, after dinner, what’s another thousand out the door.  I need to remember that I have it to spend now.  At least as long as I don’t splurge too much.”

Jamie made sure he bought something for all the kids, too.  Including a stuffed Otter animal for Estelle.  After he settled up the bill for all that stuff he turned and saw all of them at the food vender. 

“Oh my god, you just ate?”

“Need game snacks Marshmallow,” G offered.

“And drinks, man.  You gotta buy drinks.”  Dumo chimed in.

“He can’t buy the alcohol boys,” Sid reminded them. “I’ll pick that up.  Order up guys, whatever you want.  It’s on me this time.  Everything else is on Jamie though.”

Sheryl just laughed. 

“So what are you doing here?” Jamie asked.

“I got a job in Buffalo.  Figured this might be the last chance we had to come down and see Zach before the baby is born.  Scott has tickets down behind the benches for us.  Zach just wanted me to come say hi to you for him.  He’s so glad you came.”

“We have the autographed stuff in the Jeep, he told you about it didn’t he?”

“Yeah, Scott and I will hold a door for you after the game so you can bring it back in.”

“Great.  Okay.  I need to go pay now.  See you after the game.”  He gave her another big hug and kiss.

They had gotten there early enough that they only got stopped by a few people who recognized them.  They made their way to their suite.  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of yelling at the poor officiating during the game.  It was an exciting game, the Otters had gone down 3-0 and came back to tie it up before finally losing 5-3.  Jamie felt sorry for the team that now had to sit and sign autographs after such a tough loss. 

There had been a lot of talk about some of the guys playing.  Dylan Strome, younger brother of the Islander’s Ryan Strome, was the Otters Captain.  He had gone number three in last year’s draft, behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.  Arizona had sent him back down to Juniors, however.  Sid watched Strome skate and wondered how he ever went ahead of Jamie in the draft.  He still didn’t understand how Jamie never went until the fifth round. 

Jamie and the younger guys couldn’t believe how slow the play seemed.  This was me last year, Jamie thought.  Was play really that slow?  Ollie talked about playing against the Otters when he was with the London Knights.  He didn’t remember it seeming this slow either. 

After the game, Sheryl and her husband Scot met them by one of the exits.  Jamie and some of them ran over to the parking garage and came back with several large boxes.  Sheryl and Scott led them down towards the locker room.   They hung out in there until the crowd had pretty much left.

The Otters players were a little confused when the coaches told them they couldn’t leave right away after all the autograph seekers were gone. 

“Coach T has a surprise for you guys that we think will pick up your spirits a little,” said head coach Kris Knoblauch. 

Zach texted Sheryl that the coast was clear.  The Otters watched the entrance from the locker rooms.  First out, of course, were the goalies.

They recognized Flower.  There was a chorus of “no way” and “holy shit” as the rest of the Pens walked out.  The last two, of course, were Sid and Geno.

“Holy crap, that’s Crosby!” one of them said.  “And, Malkin!”

“Okay boys, here’s the news.  There are some special items in your lockers for you, curteosy of these guys.  If you want to go grab cameras or anything go.  They’re here for a bit so you can get to meet them.  Thanks to a couple of guys I know from when I was in California.  So say a special thanks to Carl Hagelin and Jamie Marsh when you meet them.”

There was a mad scramble and chairs sliding as the team ran to get cellphones to get selfies with the Pens.

Jamie went to Zach and gave him a big hug.  He would have given him a kiss were they in private. 

“You look happy,” Zach said.

“I am,” he turned to Sid, who had followed him over. “Sidney, this is Zach.  Zach, Sid.”

Sid shook his hand.  “Really nice to finally meet you in person.”

“Same here.  Really glad you are taking care of Jamie.  He really deserves some happiness.”

About then the boys came back out and Sid was called for photos.

“Are you happy, Zach,” Jamie asked.

“Very.  I wish it would have worked out.  But, I guess it turned out okay for both of us after all.  You’d like Sean.  He’s great.  He wishes he could have come tonight, but he had to work.” 

“I’m sorry, you know, that you got canned, too.  That wasn’t right.”

“What wasn’t right was what those bastards did.  I wish you’d have let us go to the league and not just the Ducks’ management.”

“Not worth it.  I’m okay,” he looked at Sid, “I’m really okay.”

Hags came over then and gave Zach a big hug.  The three chatted for a few before the two Pens had to go take some more pictures.

When all the boys had gotten all the pictures they wanted, Jamie and Hags said goodbye to Zach.  All the others waived or nodded, too.  They headed out for the long drive back to Pittsburgh.

Jamie texted Sid before they pulled out of the parking garage.  Thank you.  I love you!

Sid sent back I love you!

---

The Pens won their next two games, beating Columbus and the Rangers on the road.  The Columbus game had been a costly game, however.  Geno had taken an awkward hit from Defenseman Dalton Prout, who hit just about every Pen at some point during the game.  Geno had hurt his arm.  He tried to come back, but had to leave after just one shift.  He flew back to Pittsburgh alone instead of with the team to New York to play the Rangers.  The diagnosis the next day, severely strained ligaments, at least six to eight weeks out.  It was a tough blow for the team.

Sid had gone to see Geno on Monday after he got back to Pittsburgh. 

“Fuck, Zhenya.  Just when you get over the groin pull.  This really sucks.” he was looking at the brace on Geno’s arm.

“Suck yes. Hate brace.  Doc say it best for heal.” Geno reached up with his good hand and tussled Sid’s hair.  “You play good in New York, Sid.  Jamie play good.  Team win!” 

Sid smiled, he still loved it when G messed with his hair.

“Missed having you there.  Gonna be tough not having you on the ice the rest of the season.”

“I play playoff.  Arm ok then.  You carry team.  I know tough I not there.  I better leader.  You know.”  Geno winked at Sid. 

“Yeah.  We play good without you, better with though G.  I’m better when you are there.”

“You have Marshmallow now.  You love. Is good.  Make you play good.  You play like I there when you play with Marshmallow.  I see.  Team see.  Sid happy.  Team happy.  What I try say in November when say team mad.  You understand now.”

Sid nodded. 

“I glad you have Marshmallow.  He good kid.  I like you know.  We like kid you about him.  But we all very happy Sid find love.”

When he left, Sid walked home.  While he walked he thought about what could have been.  He knew in his heart that it really never could have been what he wanted it to be.  They had been kids just fooling around.  He had fallen in love.  Geno hadn’t. 

He walked in to the living room.  Jamie was asleep on the couch.  He reached down and gently brushed a few stray strands of hair off Jamie’s forehead.  He thought again about what could have been, and for the first time he realized something as he looked at Jamie.  What his life is now seems so much more than what could have been.

Chapter Text

The Pens won their next two games as well, beating the Islanders and Hurricanes at Consol. 

The game with the ‘Canes had been a struggle. The Pens came out strong in the first period.  Matt Cullen and Bryan Rust scored goals.  In the second period things changed.  The ‘Canes came out after the intermission like a team on a mission.  Jamie gave up the puck twice on bad passes.  Nothing was going right for the Pens.  They only managed three shots on goal the whole period.  At the second intermission, Carolina went in to their locker room up by one having scored three unanswered goals.

Jamie had been in locker rooms before when a team he was on had a bad game or period, but it was nothing like what he experiences during the second intermission of this game.  He had never seen Mike Sullivan this mad.  He’d never actually raised his voice before.  Today he did.

“What the fuck was that?  What the fuck are we taking stupid penalties in the offensive zone for?” 

“And as for the defense,” he looked around the room, “you guys are dropping the ball and leaving your goalie out to dry.  Hell, we’re lucky they didn’t score ten goals on us that period!”

“We need to do a better job through the neutral zone, boys.  Marsh, bad passes are gonna kill us against these guys.”  Jamie kept his head down, not wanting to make eye contact and take more wrath.

“I’m done.  Things had better change during the third period.  What have I been preaching?  We need to play our game.  We need to play the right way.”

Mike Sullivan walked away.  The other coaches followed him. “That ought to fire ‘em up,” he said to Rick Tocchet.

Sidney stood up.

“We’ve fought too hard to turn this season around.  We need these points.  Let’s play like we know we can.”

The locker room was like a morgue for the remainder of the intermission as the guys went about their between period routines.

When the Pens took the ice for the last period, there was a renewed sense of urgency to their play.  They managed to tie the game with eight minutes left in the period.  The two teams battled back and forth.  The goalies were putting on a brilliant display, however, blocking shot after shot.  It looked like the game would be going to overtime with just two minutes left when the ‘Canes dumped the puck into the Pens’ zone.  Kris Letang and Ollie Maata went after it, with Kris beating center Victor Rask to the puck.

Tanger sent the puck around the boards and back towards center ice.  Jamie was there waiting for it.  He grabbed the puck on the end of his stick and started to turn when he felt something against his legs.  His skates came out from underneath him and he went sprawling across the ice.  Then he heard the whistle.   Hurricane winger Jeff Skinner had taken a penalty for tripping.  The Pens were going on a power play for the remainder of the game.

The Pens power play had gotten off to a slow start this season.  They had at times looked, well, pathetic.  But, with the turn-around in their overall play, the power play had come to life.  Just 30 seconds in to the power play, Sid centered a pass to Kunitz who had slid in front of the goal.  The pass was perfect, right to the blade of Kuni’s stick for the redirect through the five hole between the pads of goalie Cam Ward. 

The Pens held on to win the game.  The locker room was a much more pleasant place to be at the end of the game.

---

The Pens had a short morning practice the next day before flying to Philadelphia for what would be the start of a busy weekend with back-to-back games.  First up were the Flyers.  Jamie was looking forward to his first visit to the city of brotherly love, although he was sure there would be no brotherly love on the ice.  Once they checked in to the hotel, the players were on their own until the next day.

On the way to the hotel Jamie had texted Sid.  Hungry!

Sis answered.  Insatiable!

Jamie.  No!  Food hungry.  Take me out to eat!

Sid. What would you like?  Where?

Jamie:  U! In me!

Sid:  ???????

Jamie: Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.  Cheesesteaks.  Know a place??

Sid:  Yes.  Just us, no company.  Ok?

Jamie:  Yeah!!

The hotel doorman hailed the boys a cab.  Nobody questioned that Sidney was taking Jamie out, that it was just the two of them.  In the past month, their teammates had come to realize that the captain and his protégé had a special relationship.  They were close.  Some knew how close.  Some speculated.  But, no one questioned it.  They could see the benefits of this relationship on the ice.  Sid was playing with a renewed passion.  He was having fun.  A major reason, his teammates were sure, was because of his young left-winger.  They saw the chemistry between the two, on the ice and off.

In the two months Sidney had known Jamie, and the month they’d been a couple, some remarkable things had happened.  Remarkable to Sidney’s friends anyway.  Mister All-hockey, All-business had actually loosened up.  His work ethic was legendary, but in the last month especially, Sid had begun to relax his strict regimented routine.  He didn’t seem to need to spend every spare minute watching game film.  He still did extra practice time, mostly because Jamie would stay on the ice with him, doing one-timers or playing one-on-one.  Sid went out more, with teammates, because Jamie wanted to go.  The benefits were evident.  Sid was playing great.  He was having fun on the ice.  Fun like he’d had with Geno the year they won the cup. His friends couldn’t get over the changed Sidney, however. 

Sid took Jamie to a little restaurant Max Talbot had found told him about, not necessarily one of the more well-known cheese steak places in Philly, but one of the best. 

“Is this okay?” he asked.  There were only a handful of customers in line ahead of them.

“Yeah, I looked up a bunch of places on line.  This one had a lot of good ratings.”

They had dressed down to go out.  Jeans, sweatshirts under plain winter coats, nothing with any Pens logos on it in enemy territory.  They also had on toques and sunglasses, hoping no one would recognize them. 

When it was their turn, Sid stepped up to the counter, “Two, whiz, with.” 

Jamie smiled, “You’ve done this once or twice, I gather.”

“Once or twice,” Sid let his hand brush against Jamie’s.  Since the Washington game, Sidney had surprised Jamie by allowing them little gestures in public, too.  Things that were probably imperceptible to anyone but them.  He loved their secret little gestures to each other.

When their order came up, Sid got them each a bottle of water and paid for the meal.  They found a quiet table away from the other customers.

He and Jamie were deep in conversation about which was better, the Philly cheesesteak or a Pittsburgher from Primanti Brothers.  Jamie’s favorite sandwich was the Pittsburgher, with an egg on it, of course.  In his opinion, the cheesesteak just didn’t match up.  Sid looked up and saw an older couple walking towards them.

“Uh oh,” he said to Jamie, “I think we’ve been made.”

“Excuse me,” the woman was almost whispering as she and her husband got to the boys’ table, “but are you… Sid and Jamie?”  She looked around to see if anyone had heard her.  No one seemed to be paying attention.

“Guilty,” Sid said.

The woman’s face lit up.  “See, I told you it was them, Sam,” she said giddily to her husband.  She flashed open her coat revealing a number 87 Pens jersey underneath. 

Sam reached out and shook the boys’ hands. 

“You have no idea what a thrill it is to meet you two.  We are huge Penguins fans.”  He, like his wife, was almost whispering, trying not to draw any attention to the two hockey players who they surmised by their appearance were trying to remain incognito.

“I can’t imagine running in to you while getting a cheesesteak.  I’m Sam.  This is my wife Helen.”  Helen reached out and shook the boys’ hands.

“We’re here, in Philly, for our anniversary,” Helen said.  “We decided to make it a weekend trip and come for the game.  We got tickets on the glass.”

“You boys sure are on a terror,” Sam said.  “We just so enjoy watching you play Sid.”  He turned to Jamie, “And you too, young man.  You’ve been a good addition to the team.”

“Thanks,” Jamie smiled up at the couple.  “What anniversary are you celebrating, if I may ask?”

“Our forty-fifth,” Helen said.  “We’ve lived in Pittsburgh our whole lives.  Imagine that we had to come to Philadelphia to finally meet a Penguin.  We just love you boys.”

Jamie blushed.  He wasn’t used to this fan admiration yet, or being recognized when out in public.  Sidney was taking it all in stride.

“Excuse me,” Sid said as he slid out of the booth past Helen and Sam, “I’ll be right back.”

Jamie chatted with the couple while he watched Sidney walk up to the counter.  He came back with what served as a take-out menu for the restaurant, a photo-copied paper listing their sandwiches.  He also had a pen.

“Excuse me, again,” he said as he slid back in to the booth seat.  He looked up at the woman, “You said it was ‘Helen’ right?  One ‘l’?”

Helen nodded at him, watching as Sidney wrote across the top of the menu, “Happy 45th Anniversary Helen & Sam!  Let’s Go Pens!  Philadelphia 3/19/2016.  #87 Sidney Crosby”

Sid slid the menu to Jamie and handed him the pen.  Jamie wrote a similar message across the side and signed his name.  He handed the menu to Helen.

“Oh my lord,” she could hardly contain her excitement.  “Our friends are never going to believe this.  Sam, can you believe this?”

Sam reached out and shook Sid’s hand again, then Jamie’s, pumping it furiously in his excitement.  “Thank you.  Thank you.”

He wrapped his arm around his wife’s shoulder, “We should go, Helen, and let these boys finish their meal.”

Then Sid surprised Jamie.  He slid over and motioned for the couple to sit down, “That’s okay.  Why don’t you sit down and visit with us for a bit?” 

“Are you sure?” Sam asked hesitantly.  “We don’t want to be any more of a bother.”

“It’s no problem.”  Jamie said as he slid over to make room for Sam.

The couple sat down and the boys spent the next hour just chatting with them.  They talked about Pittsburgh.  About the Pens.  They agreed that the Pittsburgher was the better sandwich.  And about the keys to a long, happy marriage. 

Sid and Jamie exchanged a look of pure love and happiness when Helen was talking about what it was like to be with someone you love for over forty-five years.  It was just a brief moment of openness by them in public, something that they knew they shouldn’t do, but something they really couldn’t help doing.  The look didn’t go unnoticed by Helen, nor Sam, who both just smiled at the boys.

Helen and Sam walked the boys out and waited with them while they hailed a taxi.  As they said their good-byes, Helen leaned up and whispered in Sidney’s ear.  Sid blushed and thanked her.  Helen and Sam watched Sid and Jamie get in to a taxi and waved as they drove away.

“I hope they are together as long as we have been,” Sam said to his wife as he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close.

“You saw that, too,” she asked, smiling lovingly into her husband’s face.

“Yep,” he gave his wife a quick peck on the cheek. 

In the taxi, Jamie asked Sid what Helen had said that made him blush. 

“She said that we made a cute couple.  That I look at you the same way Sam still looks at her.”  He saw a look of concern on Jamie’s face.  “It’s okay.  She said our secret was safe with them.”

“We should do something nice for them for their anniversary.  If they’re on the glass we’ll be able to find them tomorrow.”  Jamie suggested.  Sid agreed.

The next day, Helen and Sam sat in their front row seats at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and watched the Penguins win.  During warm-ups, they had seen Sidney and Jamie pointing them out to their teammates.  They waved and the boys waved back.  Jamie even skated by and hit the glass in front of them with his stick.  During the first intermission, a member of the Pens’ staff came to their seats.  He gave them an envelope marked “Happy Anniversary from Sid and Jamie.”

Inside was a voucher for two tickets to a game in Pittsburgh and a gift certificate for the Pens Gear store.  There was also a hand-written note, “Thanks for chatting with us yesterday.  It made our day!” When Helen and Sam told their friends about meeting the two hockey stars in Philadelphia, they never told them about the look the boys had exchanged or that they knew Sid and Jamie were in love.  The boys secret would always be safe with them.

Chapter Text

The Pens flew home from Philly after the game.  They had yet another back-to-back, playing the Capitals Sunday night.  About five minutes in to the game Jamie found himself on the ice with Mike Weber. He purposely dumped the puck into the Washington zone right in front of Weber along the boards.  As Weber started to play the puck, Jamie hammered him.  Weber went to the ice hard.  It was all a legal hit.  Jamie slapped the puck towards Matt Cullen and looked down at Weber.

“Blind-side me again you fucker and I’ll make sure you don’t get up next time.”

It was game-on between the two from that point forward.  Jamie made sure he kept his head up and watched for Weber to come with a hit.  He managed to slam him a few more times before the end of the game.  Weber only got one real hit in on Jamie.  The Pens jumped out to a lead and as typical the Caps started hitting everything wearing black and gold. 

Ovechkin had tee’d up on Dumo in the third period, putting him hard in to the boards.  Jamie had been on the bench and had about come unglued wanting to go over the boards and after Ovi.  Sullivan’s hand on his shoulder was what stopped him. 

“Not happening Thing.  That’s an automatic out and a major.  Wait.  You’ll have a chance.”  Sullivan had said in his ear.

Dumes had been down on the ice quite a while before he got up and was helped off the ice.  He looked like he was in a lot of pain as the trainers helped him down the runway to the locker room. 

It took a couple of shifts to get them matched up again, but Jamie finally had his chance.  Ovi was bringing the puck through the neutral zone and Jamie stood him up and dumped him.  Ovi went down hard and got up shaking his head.  Next time Jamie skated by him he let him know that was for Dumoulin.  The Caps had tied the game at 2 at one point, but then the Pens exploded.  They knocked goaltender Braydon Holtby out of the game, held the Caps to just 18 shots on goal, and won the game 6-2. 

Ovechkin had chirped at Sid all night.  Things in Russian that Jamie didn’t fully catch, but that Sid seemed to understand.  He kept saying what sounded somewhat like Jenya. 

On the ride home he’d asked Sid about it. 

“It’s Zhenya,” Sid said, then he spelled it for Jamie.  “It’s Russian, a diminutive form for Evgeni.  He was talking about G.”

“He was chirping you all night.  What was he saying?”

“Nothing important.  It’s was just Alex being Alex.  G wasn’t there for him to hit, so he was on me all night.”

“So you speak French and Russian?”

“Some Russian, what I’ve picked up from G over the years.”

“Okay.”

With that, Jamie changed the subject to what they were going to do on their day off.  Sid was happy he didn’t have to really tell Jamie what Ovechkin had been saying.  No need to go there tonight. 

The Pens had a three-day break before their next game.  The coaches decided to give everybody a day off on Monday.  They needed the rest, and they had earned it. 

As usual, Jamie was up and out the door for a run at 5 am.  He had a pretty set route at this point, altering it if he needed to, but keeping it to around five or six miles most days.  He liked Sewickley, where Sid’s house was located.  It was a quiet little community along the Ohio River.  Tree lined streets.  Friendly.  Jamie felt safe running in the early morning hours of this little community.  He had lived and been places where he didn’t feel safe running alone 

Jamie’s route took him past the homes of Pens owner Mario Lemieux and teammate Evgeni Malkin.  He was always surprised at the number of people up and about at this early hour.  Most had come to know who he was and would wave or honk their horn at him as they drove past on their way to work. 

Jamie’s run would sometimes take him through War Memorial Park and Riverfront Park.  The best part of his route was along the river, he always thought.  Because of the feverish schedule of games over the past three weeks, Jamie had tried to keep his running pace around seven or eight minute miles.  He had been known to run five minute miles when he was feeling really good.  But he needed to pace himself a little better he had learned, in order to have energy for workouts, rather intense practices, high energy games, and of course, his extracurricular activities.  The easier pace brought him back to Sid’s in anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour.

This morning he was tired so his run took him almost the whole hour.  He came back and made a pot of coffee.  Jamie looked in the fridge for something to make for breakfast.  Nothing.  No eggs.  No bacon.  No bread.  No fruit even in the house.  Damn, he thought.  We need to go to the store. 

He went up to their bedroom.  Sid was still in bed, stretched out on his stomach hugging Jamie’s pillow.  Jamie often found him that way when he got back from a run.  Sid, he knew, would wake up when Jamie left, reach over, grab his pillow and go back to sleep until he heard Jamie in the shower.  This morning he decided to skip his shower for now.  They had the day off and he wanted to just spend it with Sid, who had agreed to forego his usual day off routine and do what Jamie wanted to do instead.  When he’d texted his friends, they’d about gone in to shock.  “Sid, good for you,” Flower had said, “see a little fucking and you are a changed man.”  Which made the others all laugh, and Sid send a “Fuck you all” text.

Jamie climbed in to the bed.  He leaned down and started nuzzling the back of Sidney’s neck and let his hand rub up and down his back. 
“Sid,” Jamie whispered in Sid’s ear.  “Sid.  I’m hungry.”

Sid murmured something that sounded like ‘go away’ to Jamie.

“Come on, Sid,” Jamie’s hand slid down to massage Sid’s ass.  Damn, he thought, that is the nicest ass.  He nibbled on Sid’s earlobe.  “I’m hungry.”

Sid turned his head away from Jamie.  “It’s sleep in day, damn it.”

Jamie slapped him lightly on the ass.  “Come on, roll over.”

Sid rolled over on to his back.  He looked at Jamie, half awake and still not comprehending what Jamie was saying.

“Don’t we have food.  Jesus, Jamie, just go fix something.”  Sid tried to push the kid away.

“No, Sid.  I mean… I’m hungry,” Jamie brushed his lips against Sid’s.  “You know, insatiable hungry.”  It had become a running joke between them, Jamie’s 18 year-old raging hormone lust for sex, as Sid called it.

Sid groaned, “Oh my god, we have all day.”  Sid tried to roll away from Jamie, but Jamie held his shoulders down.  He pressed his lips against Sid’s, pushing in with his tongue.  Despite his protests, Sidney responded by parting his lips and kissing Jamie back. 

Jamie enjoyed just kissing Sid.  Those soft, full lips.  The warmth of his mouth.  It was difficult to pull himself away from the kiss, but he moved his mouth to kiss Sid’s cheek, then down his neck. 

Sid just laid still, his arms at his side.  His skin tingled where Jamie’s mouth landed each kiss.  He could feel himself getting hard. 

“Jamie, really, can’t we just go back to sleep.” He tried one last time, knowing that at this point he really didn’t want Jamie to stop.  But he wasn’t going to let Jamie know that.  “Aren’t you tired from the games this weekend?  I mean, aren’t you sore?”

Jamie kissed Sid’s throat, then let his tongue trail down to a nipple.  He took it in his teeth, pulling and sucking it gently.  Sid let a moan escape his throat.  Jamie laid his hand on Sid’s stomach, his fingers drawing lazy circles back and forth against the warm skin.  He slid his hand down and wrapped his fingers around Sid’s semi-hard dick. 

Jamie worked his way down Sid’s chest and stomach until his mouth was just above his dick.  He looked up and found Sidney looking back down at him.  “Good morning.”

“You’re terrible,” Sidney said as he brought his hand up to the back of Jamie’s head.  “You’ve got me up now.  What are you going to do with me?”

Jamie took the head of Sidney’s dick into his mouth and pressed against it with his tongue.  Sid threw his head back against the pillow and pushed down slightly on the back of Jamie’s head encouraging him to take more of the swollen member in to his mouth. 

Jamie moved his head down, his lips soon pressed around the base of Sidney’s shaft.  He worked his tongue back and forth, pressing and licking.  He felt Sidney getting harder.  He let his mouth work up and down the shaft, sliding Sidney in and out of his mouth.  Slow.  Then faster. Then slow again. 

Sidney had propped his head up on a pillow so that he could watch Jamie suck him.  “Damn, baby boy, that feels so good.”  He loved watching Jamie suck him, that sweet mouth moving up and down, those red lips pressed tightly against him.  He could feel himself getting even harder.

Sid felt Jamie shift his body slightly and bend his leg to lay it over Sidney’s. He knew what Jamie was doing.  He could picture it in his mind.  He knew that Jamie was now reaching a hand around to his own ass.  Sid could picture Jamie slipping his fingers between the cheeks of his ass.  He could picture Jamie pressing one finger into that tight opening.  Sliding it in and out slowly.  Then slipping in a second finger. 

Sid knew that Jamie would hold his fingers there, willing his muscles to relax around them.  Jamie would then slowly scissor his fingers, stretching the opening.  Loosening the muscles enough to allow Sid’s dick an easy entrance when Jamie was ready to take it.  The mental image and the pressure from Jamie’s mouth nearly sent Sidney over the edge.

“Gonna cum, Jamie,” he moaned.  “You need to take a break if you aren’t ready.”

Jamie let Sidney’s dick slide out of his mouth.  He sat up and straddled Sid’s hip, facing him.  He reached and took Sid’s hand, guiding it to Sid’s hard dick.

“Since you’re so tired, guess I’ll just do all the work.  You can just lay there and be happy.  Hold it steady for me.”

“As it should be.” Sid said with a wicked grin.

Jamie raised his hips slightly.  He shifted until he felt the head of Sid’s dick press against his ass.  He let his hips rock down slightly.  He felt the head press against his opening and brought his hips down more, letting it push in to him.  He sat back until his ass was against Sidney so that his whole dick filled his opening. 

Jamie rested his hands on Sidney’s chest.  He let his body relax.  Then he started doing that trick he had learned that drove Sid crazy.  He tightened himself around Sid’s dick, then released it.  He repeated this simple movement over and over.  Slowly working Sid’s dick with his ass.  It was having the desired effect. 

“Oh my god, Jamie,” Sid pressed his head back into the pillow.  “That is so good.”

Jamie watched Sid’s face, watched Sid enjoy having Jamie on his dick. 

“I want to watch you ride me,” Sid said, looking up into that beautiful face. 

Jamie started rocking his hips up and down slowly, letting Sid slide almost all the way out of his ass.  He would stop every few strokes, with Sid deep inside him, to move his hips in a tight circle before rocking up and down again, slowly fucking his ass on Sid’s dick.

Sid reached down and took Jamie’s hard dick in his hand.  He played with the sensitive head, running his thumb back and forth over the slit.  He looked up.  Jamie was staring at him, focused on Sid’s face. 
“Gonna make me cum, Sid?”

Sidney started stroking Jamie’s hardness with his hand, letting it work in rhythm with the rocking of Jamie’s hips.  He squeezed tighter as his hand moved down the shaft, then let up a little as it moved back up and around the head.

“That’s it,” Jamie let out a deep moan of pleasure.  He arched his back slightly, changing the angle of his hips so that he could take Sid in even deeper.  “Faster, make me cum, Sid.”

Sid looked down to watch his hand move up and down Jamie’s hard dick.  He increased his rhythm.  Stroking faster and faster.  Jamie was breathing hard, sliding his hips up and down on Sid, still slowly, trying not to give in to his desire to end the fuck just yet.  Sid felt Jamie’s dick jump and watched as the cum shot from the head and sprayed all over Sidney’s stomach. 

“Oh Christ, yes,” Jamie cried as he came.  As he felt his body releasing the built up pressure he started rocking faster and harder on Sidney’s dick.  His ass slapping against Sidney’s balls.  Sidney began arching his hips up to meet Jamie’s hips coming down.  Thrusting himself hard and deep into that tight ass.  He could feel himself getting ready to cum.

“Fuck me, Jamie,” Sid moaned.  “Fuck me with that ass.  Oh god, baby boy, fuck me.”

Sid felt himself release into Jamie.  His cum filling Jamie and spreading around his dick, warm and sticky.  He pushed in hard and pulled Jamie’s hips down to him, holding himself deep in Jamie as he came. 

Jamie held Sidney inside his ass as Sidney came, then he slowly worked his muscles again.  When he felt Sidney’s dick relaxing and going limp he released him and collapsed down on to Sid chest.  Both of them breathing heavily.

Jamie rolled off Sid and stretched out on his back next to him.  “Wow.  That was something else.  That might even be better than running for getting the heart going in the morning.”

Sidney turned his body towards Jamie and propped himself up on his right arm.  He let his hand rub Jamie’s chest. 

“So I’m guessing that we have no food in the house, right?  Which led you to come back upstairs.  Which led to that round of wonderful wake-up sex.”  Jamie just grinned as Sid continued, “I’m also guessing that I need to take you out for breakfast because after a run and spending all that energy waking me up you have to be famished.”

Jamie rolled off the bed.  “Joining me in the shower?”  Sid got up and followed him.

---

An hour later they sat down in their usual booth at their favorite diner.

“Good morning, Sid.  Jamie.” The waitress sat a cup of coffee down in front of Jamie and a large orange juice and a water in front of Sid.  “Must have a day off today?  The usual for both of you?”

“Thanks, Grace.  That would be great.” Sid smiled up at her.  “Yeah, they finally gave us a day off.”

“What was up last night, Crosby?  You looked like you were playing for the Caps not against them.”  A burly man said as he stuck his head out of the kitchen.  “You looked like you were asleep on your skates out there.  Ovi beat you like a rented mule.  If not for the kid, they’d have kicked your asses.”

“Come on, Frank.  It wasn’t that bad.  But, then again, Ovi was all over Sid’s ass.”  Jamie laughed as he answered the head cook and owner of the diner.  Frank winked at him, they both knew Sid had played a great game last night.

“Yeah, he was all over it.  And around it.  And under it.”  Frank’s deep rolling laugh filled the restaurant as he went back in to the kitchen.

“Thanks, Jamie, throw me under the bus.”  Sid was laughing, too. 

They knew it was all in fun.  It was part of why Sid liked this diner so much.  Frank and Grace, the owners and husband and wife, kidded with him and treated him just like an ordinary person.  They didn’t fawn all over the ‘hockey star’ like some other places.

It wasn’t long before Grace came back with their food.  An egg-white vegetable omelet and fresh fruit for Sid and steak and eggs, pancakes, hash browns, toast, and an extra side of bacon for Jamie.

“I really can’t get over how you eat.” Sid handed Jamie the ketchup and pepper.  “You have to be Trinca and the nutritionist’s dream and nightmare all at the same time.”

Trinca loved Jamie’s workout ethic, sometimes getting up early and running with him when the Pens were on the road until Jamie had started running with Dumo.  Jamie was also a workout fiend in the gym.  He and Kris Letang regularly had competitions to see who could best who.  But unlike Sid, Jamie didn’t put in extra workouts for conditioning.  And if he missed a day he didn’t seem to care, except for running, Sid noted.  Jamie did not like to miss out on his morning runs.    

But as for Jamie and nutrition, they were fighting an uphill battle to change Jamie’s eating habits.  He ate anything and everything he wanted.  In addition to the nutritionist recommended diet, Jamie ate, well, everything.  Junk food.  Fast food.  Fried food.  Fatty food.  Sweets.  And, he ate a lot.   Trinca couldn’t understand it except that he attributed it to all the exercise and calories Jamie was burning, that and an 18-year-old boy’s metabolism.  Sid didn’t understand it, either.

It didn’t matter what Jamie ate, all his blood work was always perfect, better than Sid’s even and Sid very rarely cheated on his recommended diet.  Well okay, he did have candy on the plane and a few extra cookies here and there, but usually nothing major during the season. 

Jamie had been a very solid, but lean 200 pounds when he joined the Pens.  Trinca had thought it would be good if Jamie gained 10, 15, or even 20 pounds.  He was sure his frame and height could carry the weight no problem, especially if he put it on in muscle.  After two months, Jamie was still only 200 pounds.  He just didn’t seem to gain, no matter what they tried.  The nutritionist had recommended adding protein shakes to Jamie’s diet.  Jamie didn’t like them, so he substituted a vanilla shake from McDonald’s every day.  Sid told him that really wasn’t how things worked. When he told Trinca, the coach just shook his head, because even that wasn’t putting any weight on Jamie. 

“We’re gonna need to stop at the grocery store on the way home,” Jamie poured ketchup on his hash browns and sprinkled pepper all over everything on his plate.  He picked up a piece of bacon and waved it at Sid, “Sure you don’t want some.”

---

When they finally got home, they needed three trips to carry all the groceries in to the house.  Sid surveyed all the bags sitting on their kitchen counter.  This isn’t going to last us all week, he thought.  Most of what they bought was junk food for Jamie.  Sid also made him pick up fresh fruit, salad, and some other healthy items. 

Since they would actually be home until Friday when they’d leave for a two game road trip, Sid thought they could stay in and cook dinner a couple of night.  He’d picked up steaks for dinner tonight and some chicken breasts for Tuesday night.  Wednesday night they were invited out to dinner at the Lemieux’. 

“You put stuff away, rookie,” Sid said.  “I’m gonna go take a nap since I didn’t get a chance to sleep in this morning.”

“Whiney ass,” Jamie said as Sid walked out of the kitchen.

He spent the next half hour unpacking bags and putting things away.  It probably wouldn’t have taken that long, except he ended up cleaning out the fridge while he was doing it.  There was some nasty smelling stuff that had been in there over a week.  When he was done, he went to find Sid.

Jamie found him stretched out on the oversized couch in their living room.  He thought about waking him up again, but then Sid opened his eyes and looked up at Jamie. 

“Not asleep, yet,” he said.  Jamie laid down next to him, resting his head on Sid’s chest.  Sid wrapped his arm around him.  “You hungry again, baby boy?”

“Yes, but it’s okay.  We can take a nap.”  Jamie reached up and pulled a blanket off the back of the couch, covering them both up with it.  He snuggled up tight to Sid.  They slept the afternoon away like that.

Jamie woke up first and looked at his watch.  Four o’clock.  He was hungry, for food.  He tried to get up without waking Sid, but didn’t have much success.

“What time is it?”  Sid yawned and stretched.

“Four.  I was gonna go get something to eat.  Want me to bring you anything?”  Jamie was walking towards the kitchen.

“How about a water and an apple.”

In short order Jamie returned with the water, but not the apple.  He also had a bottle of juice and a bag of cookies.  Sid sat up on the couch. 

“Where’s my apple?”

“I didn’t bring it, cause you wouldn’t eat it anyway.  It would sit there and you’d keep stealing my cookies.  So I just brought the cookies.”  Jamie handed the bag to Sid.

They turned on the TV to the NHL channel to see if there was any news from around the league.  Between the two of them, they polished off the whole bag of cookies.

Once they had finished their snack, Jamie decided it was time to feed his other hunger again.  Sid didn’t protest to a session of mutual blow jobs.  After they had finished, they fell asleep again.

The next time Sid awoke, he could smell steaks cooking.  After a trip to the bathroom, he made his way out to the kitchen to find Jamie cooking two steaks on the indoor grill.  He had also fixed two salads and there were fries baking in the oven.  The table was set for two, complete with candles in the middle. 

Sid walked up behind Jamie and slid his arms around the youngster’s waist.  He kissed the back of Jamie’s neck and then rested his head against the back of Jamie’s shoulder. 

“This is nice,” he said. 

Jamie turned and kissed Sid.  “I know.  Thought you’d like it.”

Sid found himself actually looking forward to the off-season, when he could have more moments like this at home with Jamie.  Days when they could just be themselves.  Days when they could be a couple.  Here in the privacy of their home he could just be Sidney Crosby who was in love with Jamie Marsh.  They didn’t have to hide anything from anyone here. 

“I love you.” Sid whispered in Jamie’s ear. 

After dinner, they found a movie to watch.  Sid sat on the couch while Jamie laid with his head resting in Sid’s lap.  Sid let his fingers play in Jamie’s hair.  It had been good to have a day off, Sid thought.  He looked down at Jamie and smiled. 

 

Chapter Text

The next day was a big day for the Pens.  It was Aces and Ice Casino night, their annual charity fundraiser.  For Jamie and some of the boys, it would be their first event of this type.  Jamie was excited.

They had a regular practice that morning.  After practice, Jamie went home with Dumo so they could work on their blackjack skills.  Sid took advantage of the empty house to ask Tanger and Flower to come over to help him with a problem. 

Knowing Sid, Tanger could only imagine.  They were sure it was nothing, but Sid was being very serious so they weren’t sure. 

“So, what’s wrong?”  Tanger asked as they all sat in Sid’s living room. 

Sid looked nervous.  “You guys know I love Jamie, right.  And, I’ve been really happy this past month.”

Tanger and Flower looked at each other with ‘oh shit’ expressions.  They both had the same thought.  Sid was going do something to blow another relationship.

“But, oh my god. He’s killing me!”

“What?  Jamie is killing you?”  Tanger tries to not to laugh. 

Flower, however, can’t contain his laugh.  “Oh thank god.  I thought it was something serious.”

“This is serious.  I don’t know what to do.”

“Okay, okay,” Tanger nudges Flower, who is sitting next to him on the couch, to get him to quit laughing.  “So how is Jamie killing you?”

“He has too much energy.”

Tanger looks puzzled.

“He’s 18.  He has a lot of energy.  He’s always, you know,” Sid was blushing and starting to fidget in his seat.  His friends now realized what his problem was and they were going to make him actually say it.  Because an embarrassed Sid was so much fun to torment.

“Sex.  He’s killing me with sex, okay.”

His friends started laughing so hard, Sid thought they would fall off the couch.  “It’s not funny, assholes.” 

Flower sat back finally, “What a way to go!  Why would you complain?”

“Yeah, Sid, you’re getting laid regularly, you’re in love.  I don’t really see the problem with that.” Tanger added.

“I really don’t see the problem either, Sid.  I mean you went without so long shouldn’t you be loving this?”  Flower said.

Sid sighed.  “Look.  With the number of games we’re playing, practices, just everything, I need some rest sometime.  And he’s bugging me every day!  Every. Fucking. Day.  Sometimes more than once a day.  Okay.  Always more than once a day. I’d at least been able to put him off on game days.”

“Just tell him to go jerk off, Sid.  To give you a break.”

“I have tried that, Flower.  He does that and is still bugging me.  Oh my god!  I didn’t have that much energy when I was 18.  And he doesn’t seem to be dragging because of our schedule.”

“I still have that much energy,” Flower says.  “Maybe I should call him.”  He winked at Sid.  “You know, that tight little ass.  I’d protect that crease, baby.”

“Flower!  Jesus.  Too much, buddy.”  Tanger hit him with a pillow.

“Maybe we should find him a fuck buddy,” Tanger suggested, “you know to take some of the pressure off you to, uh, perform so much.”

“I’ll be his fuck buddy,” Flower offered again, 

“No!” Tanger and Sid said at the same time.

Flower pretended to pout.  “I never get to have any fun.”

“Or, you could ask him to move over to Mario’s or he could get his own place or room with somebody else,” Kris said, then added quickly as he saw Flower start to say something, “And no, Flower, he cannot come live with you and Vero.”

“No.  I’m not going to ask him to move out.  I don’t know about the fuck buddy thing.  We talked one time.  My worry, ya know, that he’s gonna regret not getting to enjoy all the perks of being young and in the league.  I told him it would be okay if he wanted to have fun, ya know, if he had the chance.  He just said whatever, he was happy having fun with just me.  So I don’t know.”

Sid’s head dropped.  “Shit.  Okay.  So there’s another problem with all this.”

“Oh my god, Sid,” Tanger said in mocked concern, trying to get Sid to lighten up, “did you get him pregnant?”

“Oh, that would be so cool, a little baby Sid running around,” Tanger said.

“Why can’t you two take my problems seriously?  The problem is, well, he tricked me.”

“So he is knocked up.  That sneaky little shit.  He probably told you he couldn’t get pregnant, right.  Bitches always lie to trap you.  Well I guess you’ll just have to marry him now, Sid.”  Flower threw the pillow at Sid.

“Will you just quit.  No.  He tricked me into having sex on a game day.”

That made Tanger and Flower pause a moment.  That was a major rule infraction to Sid.

“And, we won.”

“Oh fuck,” Flower said, adding sarcastically, “That’s bad.  We won a game.”

“I know,” Sidney was being completely serious. “So then, you know, we had to do it again, on a game day.”

“And what happened?” Tanger already knew, they were enjoying a six game win streak.

“We won the fucking game.”  Sid buried his head in his hands.

“Uh oh,” Tanger said, “that’s so not good.”

“Tell me.  So we did it again and we won that fucking game.  Six fucking games in a row.  I mean, what the hell, you don’t have sex on game days.”

“Oh, shit,” Flower swore, then said a few choice words in French that Sid knew.  “You’re screwed.  Literally and figuratively.”

“It’s killing me and yet, every time we do it on a game day we win.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  My whole fucking routine and game day rituals are shot.  I’m happy we’re winning.  But it’s also driving me nuts.  And, I’m fucking tired.”  He flopped his whole body back against the back of the chair, bringing the pillow up to cover his face.

“Maybe you need to end this with him,” it was Tanger who offered this suggestion. Flower shot him an ‘are you stupid’ look.

They thought Sid had stopped breathing he became so still all of the sudden.

“Sid?  Sid?”  Tanger glanced at Flower when Sid didn’t respond.

“Sid?  Come on, it will be okay.”  Flower stood up and walked over to his friend.  “Sid?”

Sid blinked a couple of times and then looked at them.  They saw a look of calm come over his face.

“I love him.  I’m in love with him. He’s gotten me away from a lot of my routines, and nothing bad has happened.  He got me to go to the game in Erie when I should have been taking a rest day because of our hard March schedule.  He talked me in to getting out and walking the autograph line after practice. He has me going out to eat more.  And,” Sid looked at his friends and laughed, “he’s gotten me to break almost every rule, and I’m playing the best fucking hockey I’ve played since before the concussion.”

“So you don’t want out of this relationship?”  Tanger was smiling. 

“No.  I guess I’ll just have to let him kill me.  Like Flower said, what a way to go.”

---

That night, Sidney pulled captain’s rights and didn’t have to deal or work any of the other games.  He instead mingled with the donors.  He spent most of the night playing blackjack at Dumo’s table.  He kept an eye on Jamie, though.  Jamie ended up filling in for guys if they needed a break. 

When Jamie was standing by Duper at the craps table, Sid watched him flirt with a pretty blonde.  Sid watched her slip Jamie a card.  He asked him about it later, while they were getting ready for bed.

“So, got her phone number I’m guessing.”

“Who?”

“The blonde at the craps table.”

“Yeah, but she’s not my type.”

“Oh?  What’s your type?

“Hockey players.”

Chapter Text

2015

Jamie was excited.  The regular season had ended on the 21st and the Kings had secured a wild card spot for the WHL playoffs.  Their first game was the next day.

He left practice and was driving home, eager to talk to his dad about the playoffs and get his thoughts on their opponent, the Brandon Wheat Kings. When he got home, his parents’ car was gone.  Oh well, he thought, they’ll be home soon.

He walked in and chucked his shoes by the door.  He went to the kitchen and rooted through the fridge for a snack.  He found some left over mac and cheese from dinner the night before and warmed it up in the microwave.  He grabbed a Gatorade and went in and flopped down on the couch.  He turned on the TV and found the most recent episode of Supernatural on the DVR.  After he finished his snack, he laid down on the couch to watch the end of the episode.  It didn’t take long before he was fast asleep.

Jamie woke with a start to pounding at the front door.  It was dark outside.  The TV was paused on the menu screen.

“Mom?  Dad?  There’s somebody at the door.  Somebody getting it?”  There was no response.  Jamie rubbed his eyes and got up.  He went to the door and opened it.  There were two RCMP Constables looking at him, their faces telling him all he needed to know.  He felt his knees go weak as they spoke.  He heard the words.  Accident.  Parents.  So sorry for your loss.  He fell to his knees, the tears coming freely.  He felt the arms around him.

The Kings lost to Brandon 4 games to 1.  Jamie didn’t play a single game of the series.

 

2016

Jamie was up at 5 for his usual run.  He left Sid sleeping on the bed, curled around Jamie’s pillow.  They were scheduled for a light practice and then would fly out for Detroit for Saturday’s game.  

As Jamie ran, he couldn’t clear the thoughts from his head.  The pounding at the door.  The way the Constables had looked.  Collapsing onto the floor.

They’d had to keep him sedated for days.  He vaguely remembered the funeral, his teammates standing beside him.  Cat.  Cat had come.  She had been there with him that first week.  He remembered the pain in his chest, his eyes red from crying all the time.  Then she had gone.  She told him she would be back, but the emptiness of the house was too much.  He had gone to stay with his teammate Evan Lodario and his billet family until Cat could come back. 

He thought about those next weeks.  The pills helping him sleep, but not taking away the pain.  He remembered the night he’d gotten in to the liquor cabinet while everyone was out.  Drinking away the pain.  Then driving to his parent’s house, his house.  His empty house.

He’d thought about Kicks. Kicks left him.  His parents left him.  Cat left him.  He felt so alone.  He thought about it.  How.  How to do it.  Drive his car in to a tree like Kicks?  Hanging?  Cutting his wrists.  Shooting himself?  Bill had guns at the house.  He had taken Jamie hunting a few times.  Quick.  Painless?  Guess that really didn’t matter, cause any pain would be only for a second.  Would you even feel it?  Then he’d seen the lights behind him.  Flashing red and blue.

Once he’d sobered up, he’d thought about it again.  But his friends hadn’t left him alone by himself after that night.  The opportunity never came to do it.  Then Cat had come home.  His Cat.  And he’d put it out of his mind.  He could do it.  With Cat he could get through it.

He ran.  And ran.  And ran.  He couldn’t shake the memories today.  Not today.  He knew he needed to get home, but he kept running. 

---

Mike Sullivan got to the training center in Cranberry at 8 am.  He needed to take care of some things before they left for Detroit.  As he pulled in to his parking space, he saw Jamie sitting against the building, his knees pulled up to his chest, his arms hugging his knees and his head buried against them.  He texted Sid.

He’s here.

Thank God!  Be there soon!

He walked over and squatted down next to Jamie, letting his hand rub the young man’s back.

“Tough day, huh.  Come on.”

Jamie got up and followed Sullivan in to the Center.  He kept his head down, watching his coach’s feet as they walked through the locker room and into Sullivan’s office.  Jamie sat down in one of the chairs.

“Want to talk?’  Sully said as he closed the door.

Jamie nodded.  He spent the next two hours talking to his coach about Kicks.  About his parents.  About Anaheim.  About Sid.  About everything but hockey.

Finally  Sullivan looked at the clock.  “Okay.  Tell you what.  I need to get ready for practice.  You and Sid can skip practice.  Go home, get your stuff packed for the trip.  I just want to make sure you’re okay. You’ve been through a lot this past year.  A lot of changes.  And today is a tough day.  The hurt and emptiness will always be there, but you learn to deal with it better as time passes.  That first year is pretty hard, though.  I’d rather you took today off.  I just want to make sure you’re okay to play tomorrow.”

“I’ll be okay.”

“I believe that.  But when Sid called and said you hadn’t come back from your run, well,” Sullivan tried to sound less worried than he’d been, “well I thought the worst, Jamie.  I thought you’d, walked away… isn’t that how you referred to it?  I think you’ve scared the shit out of Sid and half the team, too.  Everybody he called trying to find you.”

“I didn’t think about that.  I’m not.  I don’t feel that way, so I didn’t think about it.  I just.   I couldn’t get my head to quit thinking about that day.  I can’t.”   

“Go home and relax. It's okay.”

When they walked out of the office, Sid was waiting for them.  Some of the other players were filtering in as well.  Sullivan told Sid that everything was okay and that he’d see them at the airport.   

After practice, Sullivan watched thoughtfully as the players went about their routines.  So many of them were so young.  Coaches sometimes forgot that even though they were professional hockey players, they were often still kids.  Sullivan always kept that in mind.  It was part of what made him successful at Wilkes-Barre and now in Pittsburgh.  Jamie wasn’t the only one he’d spent time talking to about life and their off-ice issues.  Even his older players had started coming to him.  They were a family.  He was the head of the family.  They were a team.  It was starting to show in how they were playing.

Sullivan watched Jamie on the flight to Detroit.  He was in his usual spot next to Dumoulin, the two of them in deep conversation.  He saw them texting a few times and heard Flower laughing.  He was sure there was a prank afoot.  Jamie looked towards the back of the plane.  He caught Sullivan’s eye, smiled and winked at his coach.  Obviously Jamie was doing okay.

Chapter Text

Following the incident after the Anaheim game in early February, Jamie and defenseman Brian Dumoulin had bonded, on the ice and off.  They were very similar in some ways.  Both 6’ 4” and about 200 lbs.  Jamie was a much leaner, muscular looking 200, though.  Brian looked stockier. 

They were both described by their teammates as quiet.  But it is the quiet ones that you need to watch out for.  And, they had a mentor on the team.  The team’s renown practical joker Marc-Andre Fleury had taken them under his wing, nicknaming them Grasshopper I and Grasshopper II.  They in turn called him Master Flower.

Their favorite target, like Flower, was ROOT Sports reporter Dan Potash, and they were merciless.  When the Arizona Coyotes came to town, they sprayed Potash with ice in honor of Joe Vitale, a former Pen who used to shower Potash in ice before every game.  Joe wasn’t in the Coyotes’ line-up that night because of an injury, but he’d texted Flower to let him know he saw what the boys did and it was great.  Jamie and Brian were also proficient with shaving cream and Potash had walked out of the locker room several times with some on him somewhere.

Both boys liked food, a lot.  And both ate pretty much what they wanted when they wanted, Brian just chose more of the healthy stuff usually.  They were both lovers of a good steak and spent time looking for the best places to eat in Pittsburgh and on the road when they could.  They shared similar tastes in music, as well.  They had begun sitting together on the plane, often having two sets of headphones hooked to some electronic device with the music blasting. 

They each had a few different nicknames, besides the Grasshopper reference from the TV show Kung Fu, Dumoulin was often called Dumo by his teammates.  Jamie called him Dumes or Dume-ass.  Geno Malkin had given Jamie the Marshmallow nickname pretty quickly. Brian called him Fluffernutter, or just Fluff, after the marshmallow stuff.  Mike Sullivan called them Thing One and Thing Two, from the Cat in the Hat book.

On the ice they could both be physical players, if needed.  They didn’t go looking for it.  They weren’t enforcers or goons, but if push came to shove, they would be the ones doing the shoving.  More than once, each had come to the defense of a teammate, especially Sid, Geno, and Kris, the stars, or Hagelin and Sheary, two of the smaller in stature forwards.  On their skates they were about 6’ 7” and they towered over some players.  They made their statements without dropping their gloves and fighting, they simply hit you… hard.

On the ice, they had also meshed as well all of the sudden.  Mike Sullivan related it to the relationship between Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby on the ice.  They just seemed to play well together, always knowing where the other was on the ice, making ridiculous passes and scoring points.  Dumoulin had become the offensive minded defensemen that the Pens wanted him to be.  Jamie was quickly proving to be a strong two-way forward.  If Dumoulin joined the rush or brought the puck forward, Jamie was there to fall back defensively if needed.  They meshed so well that Sullivan had thought about putting Jamie on a different line to try and get them more playing time together.

They also ran together when they were on the road.  Sullivan didn’t like Jamie running alone, especially in some of the cities they visited.  So Brian had started running with him.  One of those cities was Detroit.  In reality, Sullivan didn’t want the boys running in Detroit at all, but had relented. 

Jamie and Brian were up at 5 am and off for a run before their Saturday afternoon game in March.  They didn’t run far or very long, just a quick four-mile loop.  They were back at the hotel well before 6 am and didn’t have to be at the team breakfast until 8 am. 

They were in Brian’s room watching a cooking show and talking about the strong probability that the Pens would make the playoffs.  Jamie was laying on the bed to Brian’s left.  Brian was sitting with his back against the headboard. 

His question took Jamie by complete surprise.

“What’s it like to kiss a guy?”

“What the hell, Dume-ass, you think I kiss guys?

“I thought,” Brian stuttered, “I thought you were, that you and Sid, I mean.”

“Relax, Dumes.  Yes.  I’ve kissed a guy.  And yes, what you’ve probably heard about Sid and me is true.”

“What’s it like?  I mean is it like kissing a girl?  Have you ever kissed a girl?”  Dumes turned around so he was facing Jamie, sitting with his arms on his drawn up knees.

“Have you ever kissed a guy?” Jamie said sarcastically.  “What kind of question is that, have I ever kissed a girl?  Jeez, Dume-ass.  First you say I’m gay, then you ask me if I’ve ever kissed a girl?  Really?”

“Come on, Fluff, I just was wondering.  How did you know you were gay?  I’ve never known anyone who was gay before, at least not that I know of anyway.”

“First, I’m not gay.” Brian looked confused at Jamie’s statement.

“But, you and Sid.  I thought.”

Jamie sat up.  “I don’t consider myself gay, and I don’t think Sid does either.  I like girls, too.”

“So, you’re bi?”

“Well? Truth?  I think if it walks and talks, I’d fuck it.” 

Jamie laughed at the look on Brian’s face.  “Seriously.  Okay.  No, I’m not out fucking everything that walks.  But, I’ve been with guys and I’ve been with girls.  I discovered that I like being with guys more.  I can’t say for Sid what his preferences are, but he’s slept with both guys and girls, too.  But you can’t say I told you any of that.”

“You’ve slept with a girl?”

“Why are you so surprised by that?”

“So back to my original question then, is it different than kissing a guy?”

“It’s the same to me.  Kissing is kissing.  It’s the sex that’s different.  You know, different equipment to play with and all.”

Brian blushed.  “Yeah, I understand that shithead.  I guess I just was wondering.”

“Have you ever kissed a girl?”  Jamie asked again, still being a bit sarcastic.  He knew Brian had an on again, off again girlfriend.

“Really?  You have to ask?”

Jamie stared at him.  “Yes.  You seem to think it’s okay to ask me if I’m gay, so yeah, I’m gonna ask you.  Brian Dumoulin, are you heterosexual?”

“You’re an asshole, but fair enough.  Yes, I’ve kissed a girl.  Yes, I’ve had sex with girls.  No, I have never kissed a guy.  No, I have never had sex with a guy.  I was just wondering, okay.”

“Okay.  That’s fair, too.  First time I ever had sex, I was 15.  It was with a girl.  She was 18.  Then she left for college and I hooked up with another friend, a guy.  We’d all grown up together in Edmonton, playing hockey.  He was 16.  I was curious, I guess, like you,  But the more times I was with him, the more I realized I liked being with a guy.  It’s just different.  But, I also like sex.  So I think I really would be okay with either a guy, or a girl, or two guys, or two girls, or my hand.”

That brought a laugh from Brian.

“So.  Do you want to?  Kiss a guy, that is.”  Jamie asked, no point not being direct, he thought.

Brian sat there for a minute, not sure how to answer that question.

“Close your eyes,” Jamie said.  Brian started to say no.  “Come on, just close your eyes.  And keep them closed.”

Brian closed his eyes, knowing what was coming.  He wasn’t sure about it, but what the hell, it was Jamie.

Jamie leaned over to Brian and let his lips brush against his teammate’s.  Then he pressed them against Brian’s closed lips.  Brian pulled back slightly.  Then he stopped.  Jamie waited.  After a second, Brian brought his lips back against Jamie’s.  Jamie let his lips part and his tongue press between Brian’s lips.  To his surprise Brian’s lips parted and they were soon engaged in a rather deep kiss.  After a minute or two of kissing, Jamie pulled back.

“See.  Not so different.” Not different and really nice, he was thinking to himself.  Boy, these Penguin boys could kiss.

“No.  That wasn’t different so much.  I guess you are right, kissing is kissing.”

Jamie leaned forward again, bringing his mouth back to Brian’s.  Brian leaned into the kiss this time, bringing his hand up to the back of Jamie’s head, kissing him deeply and a little rougher.  They sat there, just kissing for several minutes before Brian moved his hand and let Jamie pull back.

“Damn Dumes.”  Jamie’s head was spinning.  He certainly hadn’t expected this from his friend.

“Sorry.  I just.”

“Nothing to be sorry about.  That was pretty good,” he paused, waiting for Brian to say something.  “You liked that, didn’t you?  Dumes?  Look, it’s fine.  I told you I was curious and that’s how I hooked up with a guy for the first time.  I mean a little kissing doesn’t make you gay if that’s bothering you.  And as far as I’m concerned, a little sex with whoever doesn’t make you gay or straight.  So, it’s a radical thought, but sex is just sex.”

“I’m not worried about being gay, Fluff.  I really don’t have a problem with that.  It’s just.  You.  I guess I’ve been curious about it for a while now, about what it’s like to be with a guy.  I’ve,” he looked a little embarrassed, “I’ve looked up some gay porn on the internet.  And, well, I kind of thought I could ask you about it and maybe, you know, it wouldn’t be so…”

“Dumes, you been watching gay porn without me?  Shame on you.”

“Asshole.”

“Okay.  I’m sorry, that was too good to pass up.  Look, I’m guessing a lot of guys are curious, but too damn afraid to ask or try.  I think somehow women are often more open to… experimenting along the way at some point.  But guys, there’s this macho thing.  I told you, I’m about the sex.  It feels good, right?  Well then why not try it a lot of different ways?” 

Then the realization hit Jamie.  It was the same reasoning he was using because he was thinking about asking Sid if they could ask Kris to do a three-way.  He was sure Kris was Sid’s fuck buddy. Jamie would feel safe with him.  And Jamie was someone Dumes would feel safe with if he was going to spread his sexual wings.

“Dumes.  If you want to, you know…”

“I’m not sure what I want, Jamie.”

Jamie moved so he was sitting up tight to Brian.  He leaned to him and started kissing him again.  This time, he let his hand run up and down Brian’s chest.  Jamie felt the muscles tighten under his touch when he slid his hand under Brian’s t-shirt.  He leaned back slightly.

“It’s okay.  Just see where it goes.  If you want me to stop at any time cause you’re uncomfortable, or you aren’t liking it, just say so.  No problem and it’ll be okay.  No need to worry about it making things weird between us.  It’s just two friends having some fun, right.”

Brian shook his head in agreement and leaned back in to Jamie’s kiss.  After a couple of minutes Jamie felt Brian’s hand against his chest.  After a second or two, it slid up under his shirt.  Jamie murmured his approval against Brian’s lips.

Jamie let his hand wander down until it gently cupped Brian’s dick.  He felt him wince.  Jamie just held his hand still and waited.  After a short time, he felt Brian relax again.  All the while, Jamie kept kissing Brian, softly and deeply. 

With his left hand, Jamie reached and took a hold of the hand that was caressing his nipples.  Jamie guided Brian’s hand down and placed it over his own semi-hard dick.  He pushed the hand against it.  This time Brian didn’t flinch, but instead let his hand start to massage Jamie. 

After a couple of minutes Brian leaned back, pulling away from Jamie’s kiss.  He brought his hands back to his knees.  Jamie stopped rubbing him.

“You want to stop?” Jamie asked.

“No.  I want to,” he paused, “I want to try going further.  If we could.”

Jamie threw his legs over the side of the bed and stood up.  He stripped out of his t-shirt and sweatpants.  Brian stood up on the other side of the bed and took off his clothes.  Jamie then laid back down and waited for Brian to lay down next to him.

Brian leaned down and kissed Jamie again.  This time his hand went directly to Jamie’s dick and he began to massage it.  Jamie reached down and took Brian into his hand, mimicking his movements.  Jamie pulled his mouth from Brian’s and moved around to whisper in his ear.
“Do you want to just do this?  Or do you want me to suck you?”

“You’d do that?”  Brian whispered back.  “Could we… try that?”

Jamie put his hand on Brian’s shoulder and pushed him over on to his back and rolled himself up onto his side.  He kissed down Brian’s neck and across his chest.  He stopped to suck on a nipple before letting his mouth slide down across Brian’s stomach.  His mouth found the head of Brian’s dick.  Jamie had seen Brian in the shower, he was bigger than Sid he knew.  Shit.  Brian was bigger than anybody Jamie had ever been with.

This would be interesting, he thought, and a bit of a personal challenge.

Jamie slipped his lips around Brian’s dick, which was hard from Jamie’s hand massage.  He worked the head in and out for a few minutes, then started taking it in deeper each time.  Brian arched his hips, pushing in to Jamie’s mouth.  Jamie felt Brian’s dick hit the back of his throat.  He hadn’t been ready and he gaged.  He pulled his mouth off.

“Just lie still Dumes.  Let me do the work for a minute.” 

“Sorry.  But that feels really good.”

Jamie took him back in to his mouth and started working up and down again.  Deeper and deeper.  Slowly this time.  He felt him against the back of his throat.  He paused, making himself relax and breath through his nose.  His lips weren’t quite to the base of Brian’s shaft.  When he knew he was ready, he pushed his head down.  He felt Brian’s dick in his throat.  Breath, Jamie, breath he thought.  Slow.  His lips pressed against Brian.  Jamie made his throat relax.  Then he swallowed and his throat tightened around Brian.

“Holy shit, Jamie,” Brian had propped his head up on a pillow and was watching Jamie.  “Holy shit.”

Jamie let his tongue press up against the shaft, pushing and releasing against it.  Breath, he kept thinking, just breath.  He swallowed again.  Brian tossed his head back at the rush of pleasure it brought. 

Jamie brought his mouth up the shaft again and wrapped his fingers around the bottom part.  He worked it in and out of his mouth at a slow, steady pace.  He would stop to lick up and down the underside or around the head.  Brian let his hand rest on the back of Jamie’s head, encouraging him to keep doing what he was doing. 

After a few minutes, Jamie stopped and looked up at Brian.  “You liking this?  Are we okay?”

“Hell yes.”

Jamie slipped the head of Brian’s dick in his mouth.  He pressed his tongue against the slit.  Then, he pressed it in to the opening.  He felt Brian’s whole body jerk.  He worked his tongue in and out.

“Son-of-a-bitch, Fluff!  Oh holy shit!”

Slowly Jamie started working his hand up and down, stroking the length of Brian’s shaft.  He was rock hard.  Jamie let his mouth work up and down again, sucking on the head of the dick as he brought his mouth up.  His tongue worked the underside. 

Brian could feel himself getting ready to release the built up pressure.  He expected Jamie to lift his head.  He’d never had a girl that liked him to cum in her mouth and that’s what he expected from Jamie, that he’d take his mouth off and just hand-job him until he came.  To his surprise, and pleasure, Jamie kept sucking and licking.

“Oh god, Jamie, gonna cum.”

Jamie increased his pace.  Working Brian faster and taking him a little deeper.  

“Jamie,” Brian moaned, “oh fuck, here it cums.”

Jamie kept sucking through Brian’s orgasm.  Sucking and swallowing.  Brian tensed, his hips arched up a few times until he had released his load.  Jamie licked his dick until it started to grow soft again.

Jamie laid back on the bed next to Brian.  Brian was breathing hard.

“So.  How’d that compare to a girl?”

“Oh holy shit.”

“See.  Gotta have one to know what really feels good, huh?” Jamie was grinning.

“That thing, with your tongue.  Holy shit, Jamie.  And jesus, I’ve never had a girl that could deep throat me.  Jesus, how the hell did you learn to do that.”

“My friend, neither one of us were very experienced of course, so we did what you did, we looked a lot of shit up on the internet.  We’d try stuff we saw or read about.  If it felt good, we’d do it again.”

“Well that certainly felt good.”

Jamie jumped up.  “I gotta get back to my own room.  We’re supposed to be at breakfast in a half hour.”

He threw his sweats back on and looked at Brian.  Dumes was laying on his back just staring at the ceiling.

“Dume-ass?  You were okay with this weren’t you?”

Brian looked over at Jamie.  “Yeah.  Just thinking.  I’ll see you down at breakfast, okay.”

“Okay, I’m gonna sit with the grown-ups today, okay.  Don’t feel like listening to all things Wilkes-Barre.”

“Okay, whatever.”  Brian seemed distracted all of the sudden.  Jamie wondered if he really was okay with what they’d done.

---

Rick Tocchet watched Jamie and Brian during breakfast.  For the past month, where you found one, you found the other.  They were either both at the kids’ table or both at the grown-ups’ table as the Things called the two different groups.  Today, however, Jamie was sitting with Sid and Brian was sitting at the kids’ table. 

Tocchet leaned over to Mike Sullivan, “Wonder what’s up with Thing 1 and Thing 2?”

Sullivan looked up and found the boys.  “Uh oh.  I hope it’s not anything.”

“I’m sure whatever is up, they’ll get over it.  Or, they are setting somebody up for a prank.”  The coaches put it out of their minds for now, but Tocchet made a mental note to see how they acted at game time.

Mike Sullivan stood up.  “Okay fellas, time for a few announcements.  I’m sure you all know all of this, but gotta make sure some of you – Flower – get a reminder about the times.  Game starts at 2 o’clock, first bus leaves at 10:00, then one at 10:30.  Last bus leaves at 11, Flower, make sure you don’t miss it.  I’d suggest some rest time until you catch a bus over to the Joe.  Make sure you have your stuff packed, we fly out right after the game.  Okay.  Here’s the bonus.  I’m gonna let you know today, so you can let your families know.  Monday is an off day at home.  No practice, no workouts.  Take the day and rest okay.  I think you guys have earned it and I think you need it right now.”

There was a round of applause from the team at that announcement. 

When Brian went and sat with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton guys, Jamie was a little confused and a little concerned.  He tried not to let it show in front of Sid.  He was up getting some food from the buffet when Brian came up behind him. 

“Hey, need to talk to you for a minute,” Dumes said in a low voice.  Brian turned and walked over away from the food table a little bit.  He stopped when he was sure they were out of ear-shot of any of their teammates.

“What’s up?  Thought you’d sit at the big table with me.”  Jamie asked.

“I know.  I was,” Dumes dropped his head, “I was feeling a little weird, about what we did.”

Crap, Jamie thought, I knew it.  But then Dumes looked up.

“But, I really liked it.  And, well,” Dumes stopped, he looked down again.

“It’s just sex Dumes.  No big deal.  You’re allowed to like it.”

“I was wondering, um, if you’d want to come back up to my room for a while, before we had to catch a bus.  If you did, maybe we could,” Dumes wasn’t sure how to ask for what he wanted to do, “maybe we could, try something else?” he finally said.

“Let me make sure Sid’s okay with that.  He’ll probably take a quick nap anyway, so he won’t care.”  Jamie gave Dumes a wink, “I’d like to show you some more things.”

A short time later, Jamie sat on the edge of a bed in their room talking to Sid.  It was a little after 9.

“So, you’re just gonna take a quick nap or lay around for a bit?  I think I’m gonna go hang out with Dumes for a while then.  I’ll be back to pack and catch the bus at 11.  When are you gonna go over?”  Jamie was trying not to sound nervous, but it wasn’t working.  He was also looking down and fidgeting.

“I think I’ll catch the 10:30 bus.”

“Thanks.  I’ll see you at the Joe in a while.”  Jamie got up and left.

The game was a blow out.  The Pens scored seven goals and only gave up two.  It had almost been a costly game, though.  Dumoulin had been checked hard into the boards behind the Pens’ goal in the first period.  His face hitting the glass full force.  He’d come away with a bloody nose and had gone off for a while.  He came back out for a few shifts, but when he went in for the first intermission he’d gone right to Chris Stewart.  He was dizzy and he was having trouble breathing.  Jamie was a little concerned when Dumes didn’t come out to start the second period.

Then during the second period, Kuni took a hard hit.  He’d stayed down on the ice for a while before being helped off.  He hadn’t come back out either.

When he went in to the locker room at the end of the game, Jamie was relieved to see Dumes sitting at his stall in his street clothes.  His nose was taped and he had developed some nasty looking bruises under his eyes.  Kuni was also in his street clothes.  Jamie stopped to talk to him first. 

“Okay?”

“Rattled.  Day to day.  Will see how I feel tomorrow and I may be okay to play.”

“That’s good.”  Jamie walked over and sat down in his stall, next to Dumes.

“Hey.  Don’t you look pretty.”  He tried to smile at him.

“Aren’t you funny.  I can’t play tomorrow.  Don’t know about after that.”

“You going to New York with us?  Or are they flying you home?”

“Going to New York, I think.”  Dumes was trying to breathe through his mouth and talk.  It wasn’t working so well.

“I’ll babysit you tonight.  I can make fun of your nose.”

Dumes slugged him in the shoulder.  When Jamie came out of the shower he saw Dumes talking to Sid.  Sid had his hand on his shoulder.  Jamie wondered what they were talking about cause they both looked his way a few times.

On the plane ride to New York, the texts started.  This time Jamie was their target. Of course, it was Flower who started it.

Flower:  So Grasshoppers, what have we learned today?

Jamie and Brian both sent back question marks.

Flower:  No sex on game days.  Is bad juju!

Kris:  Sid had sex on a game day?  Isn’t that against rule 1258?

Chris:  No that is no sex during the playoffs.  You mean rule 1501.

Sid:  I didn’t have sex on a game day.  Thank god!

Geno:  So why Flower say Grasshopper have sex?

Flower:  Cause they did.

Dumes:  How do you know that?

Kris:  Jamie had his I got fucked look on this morning.

Jamie:  What the hell?  I don’t have a look!

Geno:  Yes you do.

Dumes:  Yes you do.

Kris:  Yes you do.

Flower:  Yes you do.

Chris:  Yes you do.

Sid:  Yes you do.

Jamie:  Fuckers. How do you know that I do?  When have you seen this so called look?

Sid, Flower, Kris, Chris, Geno:  Boston

Jamie:  Fuckers.

Kris:  He’s been around you too much Sid.  That’s usually what you text us.

Geno:  Dumo no say where he see look. 

Dumo:  Detroit.

Sid:  See.  Told you I didn’t have sex today.

Flower:  See.  Told you the Grasshoppers did!

Geno:  So Marshmallow had new buddy.  Is good.  Was going to have to tell him to stop trying kill Sid with sex.

Jamie: Oh god!  Fuckers.  What the fuck have you told people Sid?

Sid:  You make Flower look tame, horndog!

Flower:  Hey, I don’t… wait…. nevermind.

Chris:  Wait?  Dumo & Jamie? When did this finally happen?

Kris:  Try to keep up.  Yes.  Jamie and Dumo finally hooked up, so Jamie doesn’t kill Sid with too much sex.

Chris:  I got it now.  About time our plan came together.  Still foggy.

Flower:  Should we text Duper with the happy news?  He’s been worried about Sid.

Jamie:  No!  Fuckers!

Sid:  I already did.  He was relieved.

Jamie:  Fucker!  What the hell?

Jamie:  Wait a minute?  Dumes?  Why are you in on these texts?  How exactly did Master Flower know to include you?  And why are you so all right with all this? 

Dumes:   I plead the 5th.

Jamie:  Sid?  Something you want to say?

Sid:  Nope. 

Jamie:  Flower?

Jamie:  Sid?  What did Kuni mean by ‘our plan’

Sid:  Well, you were killing me.  So…


Flower:  Mon Dieu!  Just tell him.  You were killing Sid so we found you a fuck buddy!

Jamie:  We?  WTF!!! 

Jamie:  Dumes?  Really?  You set me up with Dumes?

Kris: Who would you have rather had?

Dumes:  Yeah.  What’s wrong with me?


Sid:  I don’t know.  Shears is cuter. Maybe we should have gone with him.

Dumes:  Hey!

Sid:  Sorry Dumo.

Flower:  No Shears wouldn’t work.  He’s so fucking small.  Jamie would crush him.

Geno:  Small good.  Have fun with that. Pick up and hold for sex.  Maybe he already do that Sidney.  Sidney small too.

Sid:  Hey.  This is chirp Jamie NOT Sid night!

Kris:  G’s right.  Small is good.  Shears could just full cowgirl him! 

Jamie:  OH MY GOD!  FUCKERS!  ENOUGH!!!

Chris:  What’s that Tanger?  Jamie’s fucking Shears too?

Jamie:  NO!

Chris:  Okay.  Cause I thought we did good with Dumo.  He’s better looking anyways.

Dumes:  Thanks!  I’m liking being in this group.  Much more fun than the kiddies.

Jamie:   I hate you too.  Fuckers!  All of you!

The chirping continued most of the flight.  When they got to New York, Jamie went to Dumes’ room with him.  He’d be his concussion watch dog for the night.  Somebody to be there to wake him every so often and let Stewie or Doc V know if something was wrong. 

“So something you want to tell me,” he said after they were settled in.

“Um.  Like what?”  Dumes looked sheepishly at him. 

“So were you really curious?  Was I your first guy or was that all just an act?”

“No.  You were the first.  And yes, I’d been curious about it.  I’d heard about teammates hooking up, just for sex like it was no big deal, to relieve stress and stuff.  So I asked Sid and Flower one day.  They said to find a fuck buddy.  That it would be okay if it was discrete and all.  Better than picking up girls all the time.  And safer.  Then a couple days later, Flower and Kris came to me and suggested I approach you.  That Sid would be okay with it cause well… you were killing him with sex all the time.”

Jamie rolled his eyes, “Oh my god! Really?”

“I talked to Sid to make sure.  He said you had a lot of energy.  And with the tough schedule, games every other day and practice and everything.  He said it would be good for everybody.  So I thought okay, I’d give it a try.”

Jamie looked at Brian.  That damn black eye and taped nose.  Jamie had a hard time being upset with him. 

“Come here,” he opened his arms and Brian curled up next to him.  “I’m really glad you did, you know.”

“Why.”

“I’m gonna say it, but if you tell those fuckers, I’ll deny it,” Jamie laughed, “but yeah, I was killing Sid with sex all the time.”

Brian laughed.  Then winced in pain.  “Don’t make me laugh, it fucking hurts and then I can’t breathe.”

“Sorry.  Okay, no more sex on game days.  Maybe Flower’s right, bad juju.”

“I don’t know.  I’d be willing to test that theory again.”

“Not right now.  You can’t breathe.  And I’m not gonna risk hurting you more.  Christ, how would I explain that to Sully.  ‘Yeah coach, I watched him all right.  He died trying to give me a blowjob.  Sufficated with my dick in his mouth.”

Dumes started laughing.  “Stop it asshole.  I told you not to make me laugh.”

Jamie kissed him on his forehead as Dumes settled his head down on Jamie’s chest again.

“Night Dume-ass.”

“Night Fluff.”

Chapter Text

The Pens won out their last games in March.  They were in second place in the Metropolitan division, behind the Capitals.  The Pens would close out the regular season with only one home game and four road games.  It would be a tough schedule with games on the road against Metropolitan rivals Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders. 

The Pens won their first game in April on the road against the Islanders.  They were flying home for their last back-to-back of the season, a late afternoon game against the Flyers.

On the flight, Sid was in his usual seat next to Marc-Andre Fleury.  Jamie was several seats back sitting next to Carl Hagelin, because Dumes had wanted to talk to Kuhnhackl about something.  Carl was on Facebook when he saw a post from the NHL.  A fluff piece on the 25 most eligible bachelors in the league.  He clicked to read the article.  As he suspected, there was a familiar name on the list.  He nudged Jamie.

“Hey, your boyfriend is the number three most eligible bachelor in the league,” he whispered as he showed Jamie the article.  “If they only knew he wasn’t so eligible.” 

“Only number three?  What’s it say about him?” Jamie inquired.

“Some of the comments say that they’ve heard he and Kathy split up.  Some say that he has a new girlfriend.  Wow, somebody says they saw him out with an attractive brunette model the last time we were in New York.”  Hags looked at Jamie, “funny, you look more blonde to me.”

Jamie smirked, “Funny Hags.  What else.”

“There are a few comments that speculate about you two.  One reply says they hope it is true cause evidently having a boyfriend makes Sid a better player.” Hagelin continued, “actually there are a lot of positive comments on you and Sid being a couple.”

Jamie texted Sid with the information.  Sid replied that it didn’t matter about the rumors, he’d been through it before. 

It was a short ride home from the airport, even with the heavier than usual traffic at this time of night.  The ride was also a little longer because Jamie made Sidney take him through a McDonald’s drive-thru. 

“You know, it’s not like you didn’t eat on the plane.  I saw what you packed away.”  Sid had said. 

Jamie told him that didn’t matter, he was still hungry.  Jamie ordered a twenty-piece McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce, fries and a large vanilla milkshake.  He was happily munching away on his McNuggets when they pulled in to their driveway.

“So,” Sid said.

“So what?”

“So, do you want to talk about the rumors?  You didn’t seem very happy with my response.”  Sid reached over and stole a McNugget.

“Hey, if you wanted some you should have gotten your own.” Jamie half-heartedly slapped at Sid’s hand.

“I didn’t, but they smell really good.  Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Don’t worry about the rumors.  Things are okay.  Most of the guys know, or think they know something at this point.  Nobody on the team is going to say anything.  Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a rumor about me and a teammate.”

Jamie looked at Sid with a puzzled look on his face.  “Huh?”

“Huh, what?  Don’t worry about it.  Besides, nobody really cares in our locker room.  It’s never been a big deal about anybody that may have been gay, or bisexual, on our team before, so why would it be now.”

Sid went on, “So.  That settles it right.”  He stole another McNugget.  “Okay, since I had to take you to McDonald’s and you’ve forced me to eat two of those things,” Jamie gave Sid his best ‘yeah right look’, “you carry the luggage in.”

Jamie started to protest then stopped.  “Okay, but I’m gonna warn you, I’m still hungry.”

“Oh god.  Insatiable, baby boy.”

The next day, the red hot Pens took the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers.  They beat them 4-0.  It was the last home game of the season.  Jamie got to experience his first ‘shirt off our backs’ where the Pens players literally give a lucky fan their game worn jersey. 

The fan who won Jamie’s jersey was a twenty-year-old college student named Sara.  She was thrilled as he handed it to her.  She asked if she could give him a hug and he said yes.  As they stood there on the carpet that had been laid down on the ice watching the other players hand out their jerseys, she had leaned over and asked him a question.

“Are you Sidney Crosby’s boyfriend?”

Jamie had blushed and hoped she hadn’t noticed.  “No,” he replied.  “Sid doesn’t have a boyfriend, or a girlfriend right now.”

“That’s too bad.” She said.

“Why?”  Jamie was puzzled by her comment.

“All my friends and I think it would be awesome.  We think you two would be the best-looking couple ever.  A lot of people on Facebook and Twitter think so, too.  There’s only a few idiots, well we call them assholes,” she blushed at having said that to Jamie, “that think same-sex relationships are wrong.”

“Really?  There is a lot of positive about it?  I mean about the rumor of it?”  Jamie was surprised.

“Yeah.  A lot of people are saying that they’ve not seen Sid play this well since his rookie year, or the last year the Pens won the cup.  They say it must have to do with you, since you are living with him.”

“I’m just boarding with him.  Like he did with Mario when he first got drafted.”  Jamie tried to sound convincing.

Once the last jersey had been handed out, the players threw t-shirts in to the stands, then waved to the fans once last time and headed in to the locker room.  Jamie looked at Sara, “would you like to meet Sid?”

“Oh wow, would I,” she replied.  “Can you do that, I mean, introduce me?”

Jamie looked for Sid who was standing by the door to the locker room runway.  He took Sara by the arm and led her over to him. 

“Sara, I’d like you to meet Sidney Crosby.  Sid, this is Sara, she’s a real fan.” 

Sid shook Sara’s hand.  “Nice to meet you.  Sorry you got stuck with Jamie’s jersey and not a good player.”

“Are you kidding?  I love it.  The only better jersey would have been yours.  My friends and I love you two.  You guys and Hornqvist are the best line in hockey.” she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“We need to get going, Sara.” Jamie said when he saw one of the Penguins staff motioning for the to send Sara off the ice.  “It was nice meeting you,” he pointed to the staffer, “they’ll show you off the ice.  Congrats, again.”

After she had walked away, Jamie told Sid about his conversation with Sara.  Sid had laughed and said that he agreed, they did make a pretty good-looking couple.  Unlike a lot of their teammates, neither Jamie nor Sid spent time on social media.  Jamie decided that he was going to get on, however, he wanted to be able to read these positive comments.

Chapter Text

If the Pens could win their last three games of the season they would hold on to their second place seed in the Eastern Conference regardless of what any of the other teams in the hunt did.  That task, however, might prove easier said than done.  The Pens faced Ottawa, Washington and Philadelphia.  Three games in five days against strong teams.  It was a daunting task indeed.

The players boarded their flight for Ottawa on Monday afternoon.  Everybody was tired after their grueling schedule over the past month, the players all either went to the hotel restaurant or ordered room service for dinner.  Jamie and Sidney joined their regular group of friends, plus Hagelin, Dumes, Maata, and Hornqvist, in Marc-Andre and Kris Letang’s set of adjoining rooms.  They were all going to order in and watch whatever hockey they could find.  The hotel carried the NHL network so they were hoping to be able to have either the Islanders or, more importantly, the Rangers game on TV.

They all ordered fairly healthy options for the most part, of course, steak or chicken, or fish with vegetables, and pasta or rice.  Jamie ordered a bacon bleu cheese burger, with two orders of fries, coleslaw, and his favorite, a vanilla milkshake.  He also ordered cheesecake for dessert. When the food arrived they all watched in amazement as Jamie sat on the floor with his tray. 

He took the top off his hamburger and piled on some fried and the coleslaw.  “Just like Primanti’s but not nearly as good,” he said when he saw them watching him.

“Where in the world does it all go?” Flower said.

Carl Hagelin watched Jamie eating, “I don’t think I ate like that even when I could eat like that.”

“Marshmallow, how you keep girlie figure eat like that?”  Geno was laughing.  He was traveling with them despite still not being cleared to play.

“Trinca and I have tried,” Sid chimed in.  “I’m guessing that he’s also got a package of oatmeal cookies, chips, and Hostess Ho-Hos stashed in his suitcase for later.” 

Jamie looked up and grinned. “Never travel without supplies.  You never know when you might get stranded in a blizzard in Canada.”

“In April?”  Tanger laughed at the kid.

“Maybe it’s all that extra exercise you get on road trips, eh, Marshmallow?” Marc-Andre was sitting next to Sid on one of the beds.  He gave him a wink and waited for what he knew was coming.

Jamie blushed, his cheeks turning bright red.  They had learned that Jamie blushed easily and his veteran teammates took great joy in getting him to blush at the most inopportune times, usually when he was on camera.  Or, when they had him and Sidney together in a room away from everyone else.  Because they knew, they could also get their Captain to blush then.

Sid cleared his throat, “I don’t think Jamie has any idea of what you are talking about, do you Marshmallow?”

Jamie took the end of a fries in his mouth and sucked it in all at once.  “Nope.  Not a clue.”

“Wow, that’s a talented mouth he has there, Sid,” Tanger noted, “and I have known my share of talented mouths.”

Sid blushed, but came back with a jab to Kris, “Yeah, Tanger.  We know you have.”

Jamie picked up his shake and pulled the straw out, thick vanilla milkshake stuck to it.  He slowly licked it up and down, then sucked the shake from inside it out.  Leaving his lips wrapped around the straw as he looked at Tanger and gave him a wink. 

“You have no idea, Tanger,” Jamie said.  “But it’s only half as talented as my tight ass, right Flower.”

The room broke out in laughter and a few stifled chokes on food as Tanger and Flower both turned bright red.

Jamie just sat there smiling at Sid who looked up from his meal and winked at his young love. 

The teammates had known each other, for the most part, for a lot of years.  They had been through a lot of girlfriends, wives, even one-night stands with puck bunnies – they had always openly kidded each other about their escapades. 

Kris had often been the brunt of a lot of the ribbing before he settled down with Catherine.  He had enjoyed a lot of puck bunnies.  Kidding Jamie and Sid, to all of them, was no different.  The only change was that both parties were around to be taunted, not just one.

After they got done eating Geno, Kuni, Hags, and Horny adjourned to the other room to play cards for a while.  Sid and Jamie stretched out on one of the beds.  Kris sat in a chair with his legs propped up on the edge of the bed.  Flower propped himself up against the headboard of his bed.  They found the Toronto game on TV and got updates from the other games around the league.  Both the Rangers and Islanders won, putting the pressure on Pittsburgh to win against Ottawa to stay ahead of them in the playoff race.

About ten o’clock everybody said good night and headed back to their own rooms.  Sid and Jamie now shared adjoining rooms on the road.  Although the players now got their own rooms, the idea of a roommate carried over in to sets of players sharing adjoining rooms when available.  Sid’s roomie had been Pascal Dupuis.  After Duper’s retirement, Kuni had become Sid’s regular roomie.

In mid-March Kuni had gone to Sid and offered to change roomies with Jamie, so that Sid and Jamie could basically room together on the road.  They had both approached Sullivan and the Pens management.  Kuni made it clear that it was his idea, not Sid’s, so there was no assumption that Sid was trying to get special consideration in order to be with Jamie.   

It wasn’t a hard decision for the Pens. 

Sid was playing some of the best hockey of his career.  He was happy and had found his passion for the game again.  If rooming with Jamie made Sid happy, then they would give it a try.  If it caused problems, they would go back to rooming him with Kuni. 

Jamie opened the door to what was technically Sid’s room. He walked in and flopped himself down on the bed closest to the window.

“So what do you think?” He watched Sid kick off his shoes and flop onto the other bed.  “Do we have a shot at the cup?”

“If you’d asked me that in December I’d have said no,” Sid answered honestly.  “Today, I think we have a good chance.  At least I hope so.”

“I think we get home advantage okay.  I think we can win out.”

“That’s the right attitude, baby boy.  So, you still hungry?” Sid asked, raising an eye brow.

“Always.  How about a little fun in a nice, hot, relaxing shower?”

“Sounds like a plan.” Sid got up and stripped out of his clothes.  He turned to find Jamie just lying there watching him.  “Aren’t you coming?”

“Just admiring that big ass of yours,” he said as he sat up.  Sid turned and walked in the bathroom.  Jamie heard him turn the water on.  Jamie stripped out of his clothes and joined Sid in the shower.

Their relaxing shower ended with Jamie leaning against the wall while Sidney fucked him.  They both slept well that night. 

The next night, the Pens beat the Senators 4-2.  They flew out of Ottawa after the game, getting in to Washington at about one in the morning.   It was after two when they got settled in to their hotel. 

Jamie was up at five and off for a run.  Sid was still sleeping when Jamie got back. They had the morning free, with optional workouts in the afternoon and practice from 5 to 7 pm.  Jamie thought about waking Sid up, but instead just climbed back into bed and fell asleep beside him for a few more hours. 

They woke up about 9 am, showered, got dressed and went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.  That afternoon, Sid went and did some stretching exercises with Alex Trinca.  Jamie joined Kris Letang in a full on work out that included a pull-up contest.  It was close, but Jamie beat Tanger by three pull-ups this time.

Their practice was intense considering their game schedule.  Mike Sullivan was pushing them.  It had worked for the past two months, so he wasn’t changing anything now.  They had finished the practice with a rare shootout, to add some fun.  Geno had won, scoring against Flower on all of his shots.  Jamie only scored once.

Sid asked Jamie what he wanted to do about dinner when he got back to the hotel.  Some of the guys were going out and if Jamie wanted to go, Sid would go along.  Jamie wanted to go, but he could see that Sid was tired.  He knew Sid was also a little sore from a couple of hits he’d taken against the Sens.  He opted to just stay in and order room service.

After they had eaten, Jamie curled up next to Sid on the bed.

“I’m really tired tonight, baby boy,” Sid said as he let his fingers entwine in Jamie hair.  “You could see if Dumo’s up for some fun.”

Jamie thought about it.  He and Dumes had hooked up a couple of times since Detroit.  Jamie had also backed off from bugging Sid so much.  He put some of his extra energy into extra workouts.  He looked at   Sid, though, when Sid suggested Jamie see Dumes.  Sid looked, forlorn, for lack of a better word. 

“I think I’ll just stay in with you,” he said as he went and got his laptop. 

Jamie plopped down on the bed next to Sid and pulled up some game video for them to watch.  He noticed Sid was all smiles.

The next day the Pens beat the Caps in overtime, 3-2.

By the time they flew in to Philadelphia, however, the playoff race had been decided by an Islander loss.  The Pens were going to be the second seed in the Metropolitan Division.  They would play the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

With nothing to be gained, Sid and Kris would be healthy scratches against Philly.  Sid said he was still tired.  Jamie thought again about going to find Dumes, but decided to not bother.  He just spent the evening cuddling with Sid.  The Pens lost to the Flyers 3-1 the next night. 

It was a happy group that flew home to Pittsburgh after the game, however.  They were getting the next day off for some much needed rest.  Practice would resume on Monday.  The quest for Lord Stanley’s cup would begin two days after that.

Chapter Text

The day the Pens clinched their playoff spot, Mario sent out a mass text that there would be a party at the Lemieux house to celebrate the end of the regular season and the Pens making the playoffs.  It would start at 2 pm on the Sunday after the last game.  Some of the players’ wives had contacted Nathalie to suggest that they all pitch in to do the food to make it more of a true team party than just a catered event.  Nathalie had thought that was a great idea.

On the day of the party, Jamie and Sid had gone over early to see if they could help with getting things ready.  What they found was a well-organized set-up underway under the watchful eye of Nathalie.  There was nothing to do she said except to have fun and relax. 

As the day went on, the players and their families filtered in.  It was a beautiful, warm spring day and the took advantage of the weather by hanging outside.  Mario had rented a tent, which was set up in the back yard, just in case.   There was an abundance of food and beverages.  There was a lot of laughing and squealing kids running around.

Sid had been enjoying a game of cornhole.  He and Flower against Rusty and Shears.  The kids were winning.  When they got done, he looked around for Jamie.  He realized he hadn’t seen him in a while.  He found him in the living room, sitting on the couch playing his guitar.  Naturally he had a whole herd of kids gathered around him.  He had them singing and dancing.  Some of the guys and wives were watching them.  Sid went to stand by Matt Cullen.  When he got done with the song he was playing, Jamie looked up and saw Sid.

“Okay gang, time to sing the song I taught you for Uncle Sid.  Everybody ready.”  They all nodded and yelled.

Jamie started…

I told the witch doctor I was in love with you. 

I told the witch doctor I was in love with you. 

And then the witch doctor

He told me what to do He said that

All the kids joined in for the chorus…

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla bing bang...
Ooo eee ,ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla ,bing bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla bing bang

When they finished Sid and all the parents cheered and applauded.  Jamie played a few more songs that he and the kids sang, then despite their pleas, he told them they needed to take a break to get something to eat.

Jamie picked up Estelle Fleury, who had latched on to Jamie the minute she’d arrived, and walked out to the back patio with Sid.  They got a couple of plates of food and something to drink, then found a place to sit and eat.   Flower and Vero had joined them, with Scarlett.  And it wasn’t long before Tanger, Catherine and Alex came to sit with them as well.

By early evening the party was starting to wind down.  The guys with kids were heading home.  Estelle had pouted when they made her leave, but she was so tired that she fell asleep in the car before they were at the end of the block Flower had texted Jamie. 

The group that was left was sitting out on the back patio.  Jamie was sitting in a wicker love seat playing his guitar.  Sid was sitting beside him, his hand absent-mindedly rubbing Jamie’s leg, not really caring who was around.  They were among friends; no one would say anything.

“Sing something,” Sid leaned over and whispered to Jamie.  

Jamie glanced around then started playing, Sid smiled when he recognized the song as Jamie started to sing…

What would I do without your smart mouth?
Drawing me in, and you kicking me out
You've got my head spinning, no kidding, I can't pin you down
What's going on in that beautiful mind
I'm on your magical mystery ride
And I'm so dizzy, don't know what hit me, but I'll be alright

My head's under water
But I'm breathing fine
You're crazy and I'm out of my mind

'Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I'll give my all to you
You're my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I'm winning
'Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh oh

Chapter Text

Late Monday afternoon, Sid and Jamie drove down to the airport to pick up his parents who were flying in for the playoffs.  There was more traffic than normal, Sid thought as they sat at yet another red light. 

“Where do you want to take them to eat?”  He asked Jamie.

When Jamie didn’t answer, Sid turned to look at him.  Jamie was staring out the window.  Sid could see Jamie absent-mindedly playing with the ring on his finger. 

“Did you hear me?  Where do you want to eat?”  Sid said again.  Nothing.

“Jamie!”  That brought the kid back to reality.

“What?  Sorry.  Just thinking.” he said. 

Jamie had been doing a lot of ‘just thinking’ lately.  Sid knew there was a lot going on in Jamie’s head. 

He’d been running longer in the mornings the past couple of weeks, ever since the anniversary of his parents’ accident. 

“Where should we take my folks for dinner?”

“I don’t care, you pick,” was all he got, then Jamie just turned back to the window.

Sid sighed.  He knew something was wrong, but he wouldn’t push Jamie on it.  Jamie was usually pretty forth-coming and not one to keep things bottled up.  He’d tell Sid what the problem was in time.  Sid just had to wait.

---

Sid knew his dad liked Jamie, from the weekend they spent on the dad trip in Florida.  He was sure his mom would love Jamie, too.  She’d been wanting to meet him. 

Sid and Jamie had finally told Mario and Nathalie that they were together the night of the Aces and Ice fundraiser, simply because it was getting too hard to hide it when they were over for dinner.  They had waited, however, until they clinched a playoff spot to tell Sid’s parents and Taylor.  They had done it through a Skype call, so technically Trina Crosby had not yet really met Jamie. 

Trina and Troy Crosby waited nervously in the passenger pick-up area.   They saw an unfamiliar Jeep pull up in front of them and were surprised when Sid got out of the driver’s side and walked around.  Trina watched the handsome young man who got out of the passenger side.

Trina remarked to her husband, “He’s even better looking in person.” 

Troy replied, “He’s so young.”

“Sidney looked a lot younger than that at 18.”

Sid walked up and gave his parents a big hug.  Then stepped back.

“Mom, this is Jamie.” 

She went over and wrapped her arms around Jamie, hugging him tightly and leaning up to give him a kiss on the cheek.  “I’ve been so looking forward to meeting you in person!”

When she stepped away, Troy Crosby stepped forward.  Jamie stuck his hand out, expecting the elder Crosby to just shake it.  Instead, Troy grasped it and pulled Jamie in to a bear hug.  “Glad to see you again, son.”

 They loaded their luggage and headed out.

“I thought we’d go out for dinner if that’s okay,” Sid looked at his parents in the mirror.

“That sounds good honey.  Are you boys hungry now, or are we going by the house first,” his mom said.

“Oh Jamie’s always, hungry,” Sid smirked, “Right, Jamie?”  Jamie turned bright red.  Sid smiled, happy that Jamie seemed to be back in the present.  “We thought we’d just go eat now.  That way when we get home we can all just relax.”

Trina smiled, “that would be great.”

---

The next morning when he came back from his run, Jamie found Trina Crosby sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee.

“Good morning, Mrs. Crosby,” Jamie poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down.  “You’re up early.”

“It’s Trina, Jamie, we had this discussion.  And I like getting up early.  I got in the habit while raising two hockey players.  Now that they are both grown-up, I still like having the quiet time in the morning.”

Jamie smiled, “That’s part of why I like running early, too, Mrs. Crosby, the quiet.”

She gave him that motherly, knock it off smartass look. 

“I want you to know that Troy and I are very happy for you and Sidney. He obviously loves you very much. We haven’t seen him this happy in a very long time.”

“I hope you know how much I love him.”

They spent an hour drinking coffee and talking.  Jamie told her about losing his parents.  He told her about the Dad trip and how Troy had made him feel like family even before he and Sid had been together.  Then he talked about Sidney and she saw his eyes light up.  She asked about house golf, a game Sid told her they made up, and he tried to explain the rules.  The object was to be the first one to put the ball into a series of holes.  The one who won the most holes was the winner.  Trina had laughed when he told her the final hole was the toilet and the loser had to retrieve the balls.  Sid, he told her, had yet to win a game.

Around 7 o’clock Jamie finally stood up.  “Think I’ll go get cleaned up, then I’ll be back for breakfast.  I’m getting hungry.”

“If you’re hungry, you’d better go wake Sid then,” Jamie stopped in his tracks and turned around.  Trina winked at him.

“He didn’t.” Jamie’s face was bright red.

“Oh honey, he tells his mother everything,” she laughed, “but don’t worry, he doesn’t tell Troy everything.”

He went back and kissed Trina on the cheek.  “Thank god for that.”

Chapter Text

Jamie stood bent over a toilet in the Pens locker room.  He was throwing up.  When he was done, he opened the door and Chris Stewart handed him a towel.

“You forgot to grab one. I saw,” Stewart grinned at the rookie, “been so long since you last did this.”  He was being sarcastic of course, it had just been last week in Philadelphia.  Stewart turned and walked away, “they’re waiting on you.”

Jamie walked out in to the locker room and Sidney was standing there waiting on him. 

“You okay?” he asked.  “You know, I used to play with this kid that was the same way.”

Jamie cut him off, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I’ve heard that story before.  I’m fine, let’s go.” 

Jamie walked through the locker room doors to join his teammates.  In unison they all greeted him with a resounding, “Marshmallow!”

“Let’s go, boys.” Was all he said as his teammates let him fall in behind Flower so that he would be the second person on the ice.  As in his first game, a couple of laps around the ice and his nerves were settled.  He was focused on the game ahead.

A short time later, the Pens sat in their locker room, getting ready to take to the ice for the game, Mike Sullivan stood in the center of the locker room.  He surveyed his players.   

“Okay.  Let’s go play some hockey boys.  Starting line for tonight will be Sid, Horny and the Marshmallow.  Tanger and Ollie on D.  Flower in the cage.”

The Pens came out gunning right from the opening face-off.  They put 30 shots on goal over the course of three periods.  The defense and Marc-Andre Fleury shutdown the Rangers’ offense.  Sidney had a goal and Tommy both had a goal and Horny had a hattrick.  The Pens took the first game 5-2.  Consol Energy Center rocked on a normal game night when the Pens played like this.  On a playoff night they practically took the roof off.

---

The Rangers won game two 4-2.  The Pens weren’t happy splitting their home games.  They rallied to win game three in New York, however.  Mike Sullivan decided to give the team a day off instead of practicing on the day between games three and four.  The team took advantage of it by going out together to one of the finer steak houses in New York.  Sid, Geno and Kuni had offered to pick up the tab.  The Captain and Alternate Captains’ way of congratulating the team for making the playoffs.

They sat in the restaurant, off at a group of tables by themselves.  They laughed and talked, joked and kidded with the wait staff.  Relaxing.  Recharging their batteries.  They didn’t notice the dark haired woman across the restaurant watching them, or if they did, they thought she was maybe just a hockey fan.

She recognized the players when they walked in to the restaurant.  Being a Rangers fan, she’d recognized Hagelin the minute she saw him.  When Crosby and Malkin walked in, she realized the whole team was there.  Even if she wasn’t a hockey fan, she would have recognized Crosby because of her work as a gossip columnist.  She was paid to recognize celebrities, even sports stars, when they were out in public.  She watched the team that was in town for round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  As a Rangers fan, she had a very strong dislike of the Pens, made worse at the moment because they were up two games to one in the series.

She paid particular attention to the team Captain.  Dark haired.  Hazel eyed.  He still had the boyish good looks he’d had when he’d entered the league eleven years ago.  It was easy to see why he’d been named one of the NHL’s 25 most eligible bachelors.  She had heard that he and his longtime girlfriend had broken up.   There was something about the way he was behaving that peaked her interest.

She noticed that Sidney didn’t often take his eyes off the young teammate seated next to him.  She noticed that Sid’s eyes followed the young man as he walked across the restaurant to go to the restroom at one point.  Sid had watched him until he disappeared down a hallway.  His gaze had stayed fixed on the hallway until the young man appeared again, then he’d kept his gaze on him until he was once more seated at the table.

She watched the looks the young man gave Sidney, his eyes lighting up every time.  She could have sworn she saw Sid’s hand on the young man’s leg under the table, but she couldn’t be sure.  She watched as Sid leaned back in his chair and draped his arm across the back of this young player’s chair while the group had dessert and coffee.  It was almost a protective, no, she thought, more of a possessive move, as if they were a couple.

This was her livlihood.  She was paid to notice things, behaviors of famous people, things that would tell her who was dating who, or what couples were not getting along.  She would watch them in public and analyze what she saw, then report it to her readers in a weekly column.  She decided that she needed to do some more research before she wrote about her observations from this night, however. 

There had long been rumors about Sidney Crosby’s sexuality.  She needed to make sure that she had her facts on this one, that she wasn’t letting the rumors and her dislike for the Pens make her think she was seeing something that wasn’t there.  And, she wanted to find out more about this young player.  She searched her mind for his name.  He was living with Crosby.  Maybe that was it, Crosby was just being the protective mentor, older brother type.  What was his name.  Marsh.  That was it, Jamie Marsh.  She remembered he played left-wing.

She took a few minutes to study Marsh.  He’s very young, she thought.  While the others had several days of growth on their faces, their playoff beards she knew, he looked clean shaven.  She wondered if he didn’t have to shave at all yet.  He was extremely handsome.  Green eyes.  Sandy brown hair, cut short.  He had beautiful cheek bones she noticed.  She snapped several photos of the group with her cellphone.  She got a couple of close-ups of Crosby and Marsh together.  When the players got up to leave she snapped a few more.

The more she thought about the incident the next day, the more she thought that she had read it wrong.  She did some research and read about Marsh’s parents being killed in a car accident.  She went back and read the articles about Marsh being traded to the Pens, about him living with Sidney.  About it being a tradition for veterans to mentor and take in rookie, especially young players.  That was it probably, that explained the behavior she thought.  Sidney Crosby was being the protective big brother given that Marsh was in the midst of his first playoff run.  Besides she thought, he’d had a girlfriend for a lot of years.  She’d seen them out together a few times, enough to know their relationship had been real and not just a cover.  She wondered if the girlfriend had gotten tired of waiting for a ring after eight years and that was why the relationship had ended.  She decided there wasn’t a story here after all.  She deleted the photos.

The next night the well-rested Pens took the ice for game four against the Rangers.  It wasn’t much of a game.  The Pens dominated. All in all, four different Pens scored goals.  They chased Henrik Lundqvist out of goal just over six minutes into the second period after he gave up his fourth goal of the night.  The Pens got the win, a 5-0 shutout.  They left New York and headed home for game five.

---

“Two years in a row the Rangers have knocked us out of the playoffs,” Sid looked at his team as they prepared to hit the ice for game five.  “That streak ends tonight.”

The Rangers struck first, just over a minute into the game when Rick Nash redirected a shot past Flower.  Sid wasn’t worried as he watched the Rangers celebrate the goal.

Half-way through the period Sid watched Bones pass to Phil who passed to Hags who wristed the puck past Lundqvist.  Tic-Tac-Toe Goal.

Less than a minute later Dominic Moore put one in the Pens net.  Sid wasn’t worried as he watched the Rangers celebrate the goal.

Sid took the faceoff at center ice.  Six seconds later, Fehr got boarded hard and the Pens went on a powerplay.  Sid took a pass from Kris as he came across the blue line into the offensive zone.  He shot the puck towards Jamie coming down the left side.  Jamie tee'd up a slap shot.  Sid watched it hit off the top post and drop behind Lundqvist.

Sid watched his teammates come off the ice at the end of the period with the score tied at 2.  He tapped Flower with his stick.  “Don’t worry.  We got this.”

In the second period, Sid watched King Henry fall apart.  Rusty scored against him first, on a breakaway.  Then it was Culls who caught Marc Staal flat-footed at the Rangers blueline.  His shot went five-whole.  Next up was Rusty again, another tic-tac-toe. This time it was Shears to Tommy to Rusty.  Finally it was Sid’s turn to score.  He took a pass from Jamie this time, skated around the back of the net and slipped a wrap-around past the right pad of Lundqvist just before the end of the period.

Sid watched his teammates come off the ice at the end of the second period leading 6-2.  He tapped Flower with his stick.  “Don’t worry.  We got this.”

Sid watched as Lundqvist sat at the end of the Rangers’ bench when the third period started.  He watched Antti Raanta take over in goal.  Sid wasn’t worried.

Sid watched Raphael Diaz take a shot which deflected off the stick of Chris Krieder and somehow got behind Flower.  Sid wasn’t worried as he watched the Rangers celebrate the goal.

When Tanger took a penalty with four minutes left, Sid skated past Flower on his way to the bench so the penalty kill unit could take the ice.  “Don’t worry.  We got this.”

Sid watched the Rangers pull their goalie with three minutes left and bring on an extra attacker.  He watched Flower stop shot after shot.  He watched Tommy go down on one knee to block a shot.  Sid watched the clock count down.  5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Sid went over the boards with his teammates who mobbed Flower at the net.  He watched the Rangers skate slowly towards their bench and form a line for handshakes.  He congratulated each of them on a good series as he went down the line. 

Sid watched the fans in Consol celebrate as he raised his stick to salute them.  He stood at the door to the runway and watched his teammates come off the ice.  He tapped Flower with his stick.  “Told ya we had this.”

Chapter Text

They got in to the hotel in Washington around 7 pm.  They had done a go-and-practice day, flying out of Pittsburgh this morning and heading straight to the rink for a practice when they got in. 

Jamie was waiting a short distance from the check-in area, knowing that Sid would get his room key as well.  He was looking at all the people coming and going, it was a busy place.  There was a gift store across the lobby from him.  He watched a woman and her child checking out, buying some sort of candy the kid wanted.  He looked past her.  Jamie took a sharp breath.  For a moment he was sure he saw him, but that was impossible.  As he realized who he was looking at, he smiled warmly at the young woman.  She dipped her head and then looked back up at him, smiling sheepishly.

Sid came over with their room keys.  Jamie told him he needed to pick up something at the gift shop and asked Sid if he would take his bag to the rooms.  Sid was a little confused, but handed Jamie his key and took Jamie’s bag.  He watched as Jamie walked over to the shop.  He saw him walk up to a beautiful young woman with short blond hair.  Jamie wrapped his arms around her and gave her a kiss.  Now Sid was really confused.

“I can’t believe you’re here,” Jamie said to the woman.  “Oh my god, Cat.”

“I got a job here, about a month ago.”

Jamie hugged her again.  This time they kissed more intimately. 

Sid watched for a few more minutes before turning and joining Kris and Kuni on the elevator.

“Who’s the girl?  That was a pretty friendly kiss.”  Kuni had noticed her, too.

“Not sure.”  Sid said.  “Guess we wait and see if he introduces us.”

About 15 minutes later Sid heard someone come in to the room adjoining his.  He had already opened his door to that room and a few seconds later the door from the other room opened.  Jamie stepped in to Sid’s room followed by the young woman from the gift shop.  They were holding hands.

“Okay.  I know you saw and it’s killing you,” Jamie said with a laugh, “Sidney Fucking Crosby meet Caitlyn McMasters.”  Jamie turned to her.  “Cat, THE Sidney Fucking Crosby.” 

Sid stood up and went to Cat, giving her a tight hug. 

“Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m getting to meet you, let alone getting a hug from you.”  Cat gave Sid a kiss on the cheek.  “You seem to be taking good care of my boy, too.  Thank you for that.”

“He’s pretty easy to take care of, low maintenance for the most part,” Sid laughed.  “Except he has this insatiable appetite.”  Jamie blushed at Sid’s reference.

“I think that’s enough talk about me,” Jamie interjected quickly.  “Are we free for the night?  I mean, no team dinner or anything, right?”

“Yep.  You are free.  Why don’t you go ahead and get dinner with Cat and spend some time catching up.  I’ll manage to amuse myself.  Probably go over to Kris and Flower’s rooms for dinner and watch some TV.”  Sid said it first, so Jamie didn’t have to ask.  He was giving him the okay to do whatever, and Jamie knew it.

“Okay, thanks.” 

The three of them sat in Sid’s room talking for a while.  Cat was relishing the chance to get to talk hockey with Canada’s national hockey hero.  He was so good looking too, she thought. 

Finally, Jamie asked Cat if she was ready to get some dinner.  He grabbed his suitcase off and started to follow her back in to the other room.  Cat turned and went and hugged Sidney again. 

“I’m so glad I got to meet you,” she said, then she leaned in and whispered in his ear, “I’m so glad he has you, I can see the love there.”

Sid was surprised at her comment, “thanks, I’m glad I got to meet you, too, cause I can see the love there.”

Cat smiled at Sid and walked back in to the other room.

“Are you sure this is okay?” Jamie asked.

Sid nodded, “have fun.  I’m guessing I won’t see you until after your run in the morning, since you’re taking your suitcase.”

“I don’t know.”

Sid walked over and gave Jamie a long kiss.  “I’ll see you in the morning, baby boy.  Have a good time.  I’ll leave the door to my side open just in case, though.”

Jamie walked in to his room and closed the door between the two rooms.  He turned around and Cat was standing in front of him.

“So, do you want to go out or order in?”

Before he can finish, Cat is in his arms, her mouth pressed against his.  Jamie leans in to the kiss which quickly becomes hard and demanding.  He wraps his arms around Cat and pulls her in tight.  Effortlessly he picks her up and carries her to the bed.  He lays down, pulling her with him.

Cat pushes Jamie over on to his back and straddles his legs.  She leans over to kiss him again, their mouths working hot and desperate against each other.  Her hands work at the belt of his dress pants just as desperately. 

Jamie is kissing her lips, her face, her neck.  Trying to touch as much of her as he can.  His Cat is here.   He feels her tug at his pants and arches his hips so she can pull them down, freeing his hardening member.  She pulls her mouth off his and he moans his disappointed as she sits up and looks down at his face.  Her eyes warm and bright, and so like another pair of eyes that had looked at him this same way. 

Jamie put his hands on her hips and rolled them over effortlessly so that he now hovered over her.  His hands dropped to her legs, sliding up under her skirt.  Her skin is warm and soft.  Jamie’s hands reach her hips and he slips his fingers under the fabric of her panties and pulls them down.  He raises up to his knees and she bends her legs to help him slide the panties all the way off.  He drops back down to her, his lips claiming hers again.  Roughly.  Needing to taste her, to feel her against him.

There are no words, only small sounds of pleasure as they cling hungrily to each other.  Cat lets her legs fall open and hooks her heels around the back of Jamie’s thighs.  He shifts his weight so he is resting on one arm, and reaches down with the other.  Cat is already wet, the heat radiating from her.  Jamie takes his dick in his hand and guides it to her opening.  With one quick thrust he is deep inside of her.  The way she moans into his mouth goes right to his dick and he almost cums right away.  He pulls his mouth away from her and she lifts her head, her lips not wanting to release him. 

Their eyes lock for a moment then she puts her hands around his neck and pulls him back to her, kissing him roughly, sloppily, hungrily.  Jamie starts thrusting into her with a hard, fast and erratic pace, driving her hips into the bed.  His hands are tangled in her hair.  Cat has her legs wrapped around him pulling him in, franticly trying to meld their bodies together. 

Jamie pulls his mouth away from Cat’s and buries his head into her neck.  He thrusts hard and deep, once, twice, and his body clenches as he cums deeps inside her.  Cat’s body quivers with her own release as she grasps him tightly, waves of pleasure washing over them both.  Jamie thrusts slow as he eases out of his orgasm.  His whole body relaxes and he collapses into Cat.   

Cat gives Jamie’s shoulder a gentle push and he rolls off of her and on to his back, his breathing slowly returning to normal.  Cat rolls and presses her body against his side, laying her head against his chest.

“Well,” Jamie finally says, “I guess that means we’re ordering in.”

---

Sid had gone over to Flower and Tanger’s rooms for dinner and to spend the evening, finally heading back to his own room around ten.  The room is empty.  He listens for a moment at the door to Jamie’s room. It is quiet, so he thinks maybe they went out.

Sidney goes through his nightly routine, decides to add a shower, then finally crawls under the covers around eleven.  His mind has been working overtime all evening and now it is not letting him fall asleep.  He knows he shouldn’t be worried about her showing up out of the blue.  Jamie said he’s only talked to her a couple of times since she went back to college and didn’t go to California with him. 

Okay, so he was a little jealous when he saw Jamie kiss her in the gift shop.  Then Jamie had looked so happy when he’d brought her up to introduce her to Sid.  So yeah, he’d told Jamie it was okay that he went with her, knowing what would happen.  That didn't mean he wasn't jealous.  He’d been a little concerned with Jamie having a fuck buddy, but he didn’t worry about that anymore, was this much different?  Yeah.  He thinks Jamie had loved her.  No, Sid was sure he had, just from the way Jamie looked at her.  And it hadn’t helped that his friends had been commenting all evening about Jamie kissing her.

He thought about how empty the bed felt without Jamie in it, surprised at how quickly he had gotten used to sleeping with Jamie’s arm and leg sprawled across him.  He rolled over and looked at the clock.  Midnight.  He really needed to get to sleep.  He closed his eyes again, and then he heard the door to Jamie’s room open.  He watched Jamie walk across the room and felt the mattress dip as he climbed into bed with Sid.  Jamie slid over and pressed himself up against Sid’s back, draping an arm over his waist.

“Didn’t think I’d see you til morning.  Everything okay?”

“Yeah, she couldn’t stay.  Thought you were asleep.”  Jamie kissed the back of Sid’s neck.

“Restless.  So, you two gonna get together again while we’re in town?”

“No.  I don’t know if I’ll see her again.  I think,” Jamie’s voice faltered a bit, “I think she came to say good-bye.”

Sid rolled over so they were facing each other.  “What?  Why?”

“It’s too painful.  For both of us.  I think we realized that tonight.  She came because of the way we ended it last year.  It wasn’t pretty when she told me she couldn’t come to California.  I had been, well, I wasn’t very nice to her then.  She didn’t want it to be that way, so she came.  But,” Jamie didn’t finish his sentence.  Sid waited. 

“Her name is Caitlyn St. Croix McMasters.  She’s Kyle’s sister.  Taylor may not have known that.  Cat got married when she was 19, to her coach, it was a bad relationship and they divorced a year later.  She doesn’t tell many people she’s Luc St. Croix’ daughter, or that Kyle was her brother, more because of her dad and the way he is.  She’s so like Kyle in so many ways, but she was always able to stand up to her father. 

Jamie wished he could see Sid’s face, to read his expression. 

“When I saw her downstairs, at first, I thought it was Kyle standing there.  That’s why I think I was so drawn to her.  Why it was so comforting to have her with me after my parents died.  But, she’s not him.  I realized that tonight.”

“Things were okay, though, between you two, when she left?”

“Yeah.  Things are okay.  Are we good?  I’m sorry about not telling you she was Kyle’s sister.”

“It’s okay.  I don’t know that it makes a difference,” Sid wasn’t sure if that sounded convincing. 

“Are we okay?  Are you okay that she and I, well, are we okay?”

“I love you.  I told you it was okay.  It would have been okay even if you had told me all of that before.”  He gave Jamie a quick kiss.  “It’s late, you gotta be tired, and we have a big day tomorrow, so don’t worry about anything more tonight, okay.  Let’s just get some sleep.”

Chapter Text

The Verizon Center was ‘Rockin’ the Red’ alright, Jamie thought as he looked around during the national anthem.  The noise level certainly rivaled that of a playoff crowd at Consol.  Everyone expected this to be a hard fought series, maybe the showcase of the playoffs even.  The top team in the league, the President’s Cup winning Washington Capitals, against their arch rivals and the hottest team in the league since January, the Penguins. 

It was Ovechkin versus Crosby.  Ovechkin versus Malkin.  Would T.J. Oshie, Olympic hero, win it for the Caps.  What about Orpik and Niskanen playing against their former team.  It was the speed and skills of the Penguins against the strength of the Capitals.  It was everything a hockey fan could want.  It was going to be a brutal series.  Jamie hoped that first, they could win, and second, that nobody got hurt.

Geno was back from his injury and healthy.  They were all healthy for the most part, at least the core group was healthy.  That in and of itself was a miracle. 

Sid’s line was out to take the opening faceoff, with Tanger and Ollie on D.  Jamie took his spot at center ice next to Ovechkin. 

“So baby Penguin, I am surprised you make it through first round this year.  So used to Pens losing.”

“So how many cups do you have again Ovi?”

The puck dropped and Sid kicked it back to Tanger.  Jamie dropped back as they set up a rush.  He came across the center line as Sid slid him the puck and was promptly checked by Ovechkin.

“Welcome to playoffs, baby Pen.”

The first period was progressing the way every one predicted.  So far it seemed like speed was winning.  The Pens spent most of the first half of the period in their offensive zone.  Jamie was playing well.  So far no problems.  He’d been on the ice only a couple of times with Ovi.  Ovi hadn’t said anything else.  That was about to change.

They were on the ice together about half-way through the first period.  The puck got chipped into the Caps’ zone and Jamie went after it.  Ovi crashed him to the boards and there was a scrum for the puck.

“So baby Pen, how is fucking Captain going?” Ovi said into Jamie’s ear.

It took Jamie by surprise and was enough to distract him for a split-second.  Ovi got his stick on the puck and cleared it out to Backstrom at center ice.  Nicky took the puck on a breakaway.  Luckily Dumes got back and Backstrom didn’t get a shot off.

On the next shift they were together, Ovi stood next to Jamie for a face-off in the Caps’ zone. 

“You know Captain love to fuck teammates.  You not his first.”

Of course he said it right as the puck was dropped.  The puck came towards Jamie and he missed it.  Ovi grabbed it and started towards the Pens’ zone.  Again, the D bailed Jamie out for his mistake.

His shift ended and he went to the bench, sitting between Sid and Horny. 

“What’s going on?” Sid asked him.  “Get your head in the game.”

“Ovi.  He’s saying stuff.  Does he know about us?”

“I don’t know, maybe G said something.  Ignore him.”

“Yeah.  Okay.”

Easier said than done it seemed.  On the next shift, Ovi skated past him during a stop in play.

“You know Captain love Zhenya.  He first boyfriend on team.”

Jamie tried to ignore him.  But then they were side-by-side for another face-off.

“Zhenya fuck boyfriend.  He said Crosby best fuck he ever have.  But he not love Crosby.  Just fuck.”

“Shut the fuck up Ovi.”

The puck drops.  Culls knocks it back towards Jamie.  Jamie goes to clear it out of the zone, but instead makes a beautiful pass to the Burakovsky.  The Caps forward slaps it past Flower and in to the back of the net.

Jamie skates past Flower with his head down.  There are no words at the moment.

They go to the locker room down by one at the end of the first period.  The chirping gets worse in the second period.  It starts right with the first faceoff.

“Crosby love Zhenya you know.  Zhenya was his first love and he got heart broken.”

Jamie tries to ignore him.  He passes the puck to Brooks Orpik that time.

The puck goes in to the Caps' zone.  Jamie chases it down and gets checked by Ovi, again.

“Crosby never love again he said.  Only in it to fuck teammates now you know.”

Jamie tries to ignore him.  Ovi gets the puck and clears it to Backstrom again.  This time he puts it in the net past Flower.

They are jostling for position by the Pens’ net.

“Captain like to fuck young teammates, baby Pen.  He had baby last year too that he fuck  Ask Dumoulin.”

Jamie’s head snaps to look at Ovi for a split second.  He doesn’t see the shot.  Luckily Flower did.

By the mid-way point of the second period, Jamie’s game has gone to hell.  Sid is yelling at him on the bench.  Sullivan is upset with him.  It doesn’t get any better the rest of the period.  Thankfully Bones and Hags manage to score.  The Pens go to the locker room tied after two periods.

Jamie is on the ice for just 2 shifts and a total of 30 seconds in the third period.  During his second shift, Ovi steals the puck from him in the neutral zone.  The play ends in a Caps’ goal.  Sullivan sits him for the rest of the game.

The Pens manage to come back and tie the game with just three minutes left in regulation.  The Caps end up winning in overtime on a goal by T.J. Oshie.  Ovi grins at Jamie as the Caps celebrate.

Jamie tells Sid he doesn’t want to talk about it.  He sits with Hags on the bus to the hotel, ignoring Dumes as well.  When they get to their rooms, Jamie just goes to his room and shut the adjoining door and locks it.  Sid doesn’t understand.  He texts Ovechkin.

Sid:  What the hell did you say to Marsh?

Ovi:  Just fun chirping at baby Pen.  Too bad he have bad game.

Sid knows he’s not going to get any answers from Ovechkin.  He leaves the door to his room open, hoping Jamie will come back over, and goes to bed.

---

Jamie is mad.  He’s mad at himself.  He’s mad at Ovechkin.  He’s mad at Sid.

He knows he should just go ask Sid about what Ovechkin had been chirping all night.  Ovi had to be lying.  But he knew about Sid and Jamie.  He would have known if Sid had been involved with G.  And Sid had said once Jamie wasn’t the first time he’d been with a teammate, or that there’d been rumors about him and a teammate.  Jamie didn’t know.  Losing hadn’t helped.  Flower was mad at him for the two goals they got off of Jamie’s turnovers.

He’d wait for a while.  Take a shower.  Calm down.  If he talked to Sid now it might not be good.  He’d go over in a bit and climb in bed with him.  They’d talk in the morning, when Jamie could maybe do it without yelling, because right now he just wanted to yell.

Then he got a text.

Ovi:  Baby Pen!  Come celebrate win!  I tell you all about Zhynga and Sidney love story!

Jamie:  Fuck off!  How’d you get my number?

Ovi:  Have ways. 

Then he gets a text with the name and address of a bar.  He throws his phone on the bed and goes to the bathroom.  He comes back out a few minutes later.  He looks at the phone again.  He could get in a lot of trouble.  He grabs his room key and wallet and heads out. 

--

Sid rolls over and looks at the clock, 7 am.  He rubs the sleep out of his eyes and looks around the room.  No Jamie, but the door to his room is open at least.  Sid gets up and goes to the bathroom before he walks in to the other room.

Jamie is passed out on the bed.  Naked, face down.  He reeks of alcohol.  Sid looks around.  There aren’t any empty bottles laying anywhere.  Then he notices something written in marker across Jamie’s ass. 

Nicky was here!

Above it, across Jamie’s lower back is more writing.

Property of #8 Ovechkin the Great!

Chapter Text

“I did not fuck Nicky Backstrom! I did not fuck Ovi!”

“Then you want to explain what’s written on your ass?” Sid demanded, looking at the words written in marker across Jamie’s backside.

Jamie got up and went to look at himself in the mirror in the bathroom. Sid heard him swear. He was pretty sure the whole hotel had heard Jamie.

“That fucking Russian asshole! What the fuck! How the fuck am I supposed to get changed in our locker room with this shit on me! Fucker! God damn fucking asshole!”

“So you’re telling me that this is a joke by Sasha? You didn’t fuck either of them?” Sid asked when Jamie came back out and started rummaging through his stuff for clothes.

“I did not fuck them. Look, I was drunk, I admit that, but my ass knows when it’s been fucked and I can tell you with complete certainty that I did not get fucked last night! Where the hell is my sweatshirt?”

“Where are you going?”

“To get something that will take this god damn marker off my ass! I’m not fucking amused. Then, I’m gonna go kill that fucker!”

Sid looked at Jamie. He had the ‘I got fucked’ look he gets. “Bullshit. You got fucked. It’s all over your face. And I think the marker should stay. Your punishment for going out drinking with the enemy.”

“Fuck you, too. I wouldn’t have gone out with them if Ovi, wait, excuse me, if Saaw Shaaaaaa, hadn’t said something that pissed me off.”

“You were mad at him, so you went out for a drink with him?” Sid wasn’t following Jamie.

“No. I was pissed at you. When exactly were you going to tell me you’re in love with G?”

Sid inhaled sharply. Crap. Fucking Sasha.

“Oh.”

“Oh? Oh is all you can say? He chirps at me in the second period about how my boyfriend is in love with Zhenya. Sidney always love Zhenya. Zhenya Sidney’s first boyfriend. Zhenya break Sidney’s heart, Sidney still in love with Zhenya. On and on. Fuck him. So my head is now out of the game. Every time I look at you or I look at G. All I can fucking think about is what Ovi is saying.” He gives up trying to find his sweatshirt and sits down on the edge of a bed, his elbows on his knees and his head buried in his hands. On top of everything, he has one hell of a hangover and all his yelling isn’t helping it.

“Dumes.”

“What? What about Dumo?”

“I fucked Dumes last night. Or, I guess I should say he fucked me.”

“Are you serious? What? How did you go from being out with the Caps to fucking Dumo?”

“Okay, that’s not the point. The point is, why the hell haven’t you told me about Geno?”

“I did tell you, sort of. I told you there’d been another teammate. I told you I’d been in love once before, but it was a long time ago. A very long time ago. I just never told you it was G. I didn’t think it mattered who it was. It was in the past.”

“That’s another fucking thing! You know all about my past before I ever tell you shit. You knew about Anaheim. You knew about Kyle. You even fucking knew about Cat, didn’t you? You already knew she was Kyle’s siste before I told you I’ll bet. You fucking knew the truth and let me tell you some half-assed version anyway. What the fuck is up with that? How do you get to know all about me and yet you don’t tell me anything about you? What the fucking kind of relationship is that?”

Sidney suddenly realized just how much Jamie used the word fuck when he was upset. He almost laughed at it, but the glare he was getting from Jamie quickly stifled that.

“You want the truth? Okay. I’ll say it the way you do. I’m Sidney Fucking Crosby. The best hockey player in the world. The fucking face of the NHL. The All-star Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. You see how people are around me. How much everybody fucking wants something all the time. You have seen what my life is like. Closed off except for hockey and my friends, my teammates. Closed off to protect myself. To protect all those things you’ve called me over the last few months. It’s what I’ve been. It’s who I’ve been. So when I think about trying to change anything in my life. When I think about doing something that will open my home, open my life to a stranger, I did what I thought I needed to do to make sure I was protecting myself. I checked that person out. I found out about Anaheim. I found out about Kyle and Cat, albeit that was more by accident. But none the less, none of what I found out mattered to. It just made me want to have you billet with me all the more. Cause I also found out you were a hell of a hockey player. I knew that if you stayed with me, if I agreed to take you in despite all we’d heard. About you being a trouble maker. About you being gay. About you having issues. I knew that the Pens would give you a chance to stay and play in Pittsburgh.”

Jamie started to say something, but Sidney stopped him. “I’m not done.” Oh god, Jamie thought, he’s in captain mode. But he sat and listened anyway.

“And I didn’t think it was my place to push you to tell me anything. I knew that when you were ready you’d tell me. But, if I saw something that I thought was caused by what had happened, I’d be able to recognize it. I’ve been heading off issues for you from the start and you haven’t realized it. And as I said. I told you about my past the same way you told me stuff sometimes. Truthful, but vague. So I was vague about G. It was in 2009, the year we won the cup. We were both young. I fell in love. G didn’t. He is much happier with women and I am much happier with men. We were just too different about our personal lives. But I still love him and he still loves me. We’re best friends. He’s the player I freaked out about getting hurt on the ice. He’s the reason the Pens found out about me liking guys as well as girls. That relationship is why they let me take you in. They figured that since I’d been through it that I’d be able to help you if you fell in love with a teammate. I guess they just never expected us to fall in love with each other. Anyway. That’s that. I opened my home to you and I’m so happy I did. You have changed my life. The guys see it. I see it.”

Sid went and sat by Jamie on the bed. He let their knees bump together.

“I should have told you.” His voice softened. “I never dreamed that Sasha would use it to fuck with you. I’m sorry.”

“Okay. I was pissed. Truth is I was probably more mad at myself for letting him fuck up my game. He says come out and have a drink. I met Ovi and Nicky at a bar. They tell the bartender, who they know well, that I’m 21. Ovi keeps pouring vodka down me. He’s telling me how much he’d like to watch Nicky and I together. ‘We show Sid’ he’d say. ‘You fuck Nicky cause he fuck Zhenya’ and shit. When I get up to leave, I’m wobbly. Hell I’m shit-faced. They bring me back to my room. And that’s when they must have written this shit on me. Anyway, they left me passed out on the bed. I’m absolutely sure they didn’t do anything. I woke up about four and went looking for Dumes in his room.”

“You went out and got shit-faced with strangers? After Anaheim? Jamie you know what could have happened.”

“I know. Not the best decision, huh. Just like letting him get in my head, gotta learn to control my emotions better.”

“You do pretty good. Lucky for you we have an off day today. Other than Dumo, I don’t think anybody knows you snuck out and got hammered last night.”

“Oh shit, poor Dumes. I need to call him. I probably traumatized him.”

“Why?” Sid was almost afraid to ask.

“Angry, rough, drunk sex. I think I asked him to do shit that, well..”

“Say no more,” Sid put up his hands in surrender, “I don’t need to hear about it.”

“And you believe me about Ovi and Nicky?”

Sid grinned again, “Well, yeah. Cause Ovi already called me and told me about his joke. He swore he was just kidding with you and wouldn’t take advantage of a drunk rookie.”

“You fucker.” He reached for a pillow and swung it at Sid. Sid shoved at Jamie, but Jamie dropped the pillow and shoved Sid back on the bed. Jamie was bigger and stronger and Sid only man-handled him if Jamie let him. Jamie pressed his body down on top of Sid’s.

“So once again, you’ve known all about my exploits and didn’t tell me you knew?”

“Of course.”

“And you still love me?”

“Of course. Do you still love me?”

“All of you.”

Chapter Text

Even though they had talked, and Sid had assured Jamie that Ovi was just screwing with him about Dumo and any other teammates, except Geno, things were a little strained.  More on Jamie’s part than Sid’s.  It didn’t help that Dumes had avoided him for two days as well, even though he’d told Jamie that all was okay after their night of “porn sex” as Dumes had called it.  Every time Jamie looked at him at morning skate before game two, Dumes would turn bright red and duck his head. 

Jamie was still mad that he’d let Ovi take him out of the game.  It had been a rough few days, getting talks about playoff pressure from Sully, and Hags, and Culls, and Sid, and Geno, and Kuni, and Tanger, and Flower, and, well, just about everybody it seemed.  Thankfully, no one knew about his drunken escapade.  Sid hadn’t told anyone, and Dumes most definitely wasn’t telling anyone.  So far, Ovi hadn’t spilled the beans either.  It took a whole bottle of nail polish remover, and having to endure Sid’s comments, but the marker had come off. 

Game two at the Verizon Center was brutal.  The worst part was when Brooks Orpik hit Ollie.  Jamie and Sid were on the bench when it happened.  Ollie had trouble getting to his feet.  He was most definitely in la la land at the moment.  They watched as Chris Stewart helped Ollie to the locker room.  None of the Pens could believe that Orpik only got a two-minute minor for interference.  The Pens rallied around that moment, though, and took game two 2-1.  The next day it was announced that Orpik had been suspended by the league for three games. 

Jamie had a better game than he’d had the first night.  Surprisingly Ovechkin didn’t chirp him at all.  He noticed Geno glare at Ovi a few times and Ovi just would turn and look away.  Sid also glared at Ovi.  He thought maybe the Russian was feeling guilty, but that would be way out of character from everything he knew about Ovechkin.  He’d thought maybe Ovi was going to chirp him before a faceoff in the third period, but Backstrom had come over and said something to Ovi and that was that, no chirping.  Jamie had been expecting something.  He was actually a little disappointed because he had his come-backs all planned.

The Pens were where they wanted to be.  Back in Pittsburgh for the next two games with the series tied.  Game two started out the way game one ended.  The Pens skating fast, the Caps hitting everything black and gold.  The Pens took a three goal lead into the third period.  The Caps managed to score two in the third to make it close, but the Pens held on for the win, putting them up two games to one in the series.

The bad thing that happened to the Pens in game three was that Tanger did something stupid. Late in the first period, he threw a check on Johansson as he came into the zone.  It was border-line late, not nearly as late as Orpik’s hit on Ollie, but none-the-less, they called Tanger for interference.  They all knew that the league would suspend Tanger.  It was just a question of how many games.  The next day they got the news, a one-game suspension only.

In game four, the Pens defense really stepped up in the absence of Tanger, suspension, and Ollie, upper-body injury.  The teams traded goals in the first and second period, then went scoreless in the third, to set up the second overtime game of the series. Consol erupted when Horny buried a shot in the net just over two minutes in.  It was on to game five in Washington with the Pens having a chance to close out the series.

The Pens knew it would be difficult to beat the Caps four games in a row.  The Washington crowd was loud in their support of the home team, practically willing them to victory.  It would be back to Pittsburgh for game six.  The Pens knew they had to get the job done.  A game seven in D.C. would not be a good thing.

Chapter Text

Jamie stood in a restroom stall, bent over the toilet.  He had a towel thrown over his shoulder.  When he came out, he went and rinsed his mouth.  No sign of Chris Stewart, the trainer had quit checking on him.  If there was an issue, he knew Jamie would come find him.

Sidney, however, was still waiting in the middle of the locker room for him. 

“This is a good sign I’ve decided.”  Jamie looked at him funny.  “If you toss your cookies before a game, we win.  Every time so far.”

“Games in the bag, boys,” he said as they walked out to join their teammates and head out to warm-ups, “Marshmallow tossed ‘em.” 

This, of course, brought about a loud cheer of ‘Go Marshmallow’.

“Assholes,” Jamie said as he walked through the group to follow Flower out on to the ice.

As usual, a few laps around the ice and Jamie was good to go.

Sidney, Hornqvist and Jamie were on the ice for the start of the game.  Ollie was back, but Dumes was starting with Tanger on D.  They were trying to pair him with Ovechkin’s line.  Dumes had been doing a hell of a job shutting Ovi down so far.

Sid won the opening face-off, kicking the puck back to Kris.  The Pens set up their rush.  Kris made a pass to Sid who brought the puck across the Caps blue line.  Sid flipped a quick pass to Hornqvist on his right.  Horny carried the puck a few strides.  Sid swung low towards the crease and then around behind the goal. 

Horny watched Holtby trying to track Sid.  Out of the corner of his eye he caught Jamie coming across the center, right in front of the net.  Jamie tapped the ice with his stick.  Nobody was near the left-winger.  Horny slapped a pass towards Jamie.  It hit his stick perfectly, Jamie wound up for a slap-shot.  Holtby saw him too late.  Jamie buried the puck over the goalie’s left leg pad.  Twenty seconds in to the game, Jamie had put the Pens on the board.

Half-way through the first period Hags stole the puck at mid-ice and beat Holtby on the breakaway.  The Pens took a 2-0 lead in to the locker room for the first intermission. 

The Pens added a goal in the second period, but gave up one, as well.  The third period was almost a disaster for the Pens.  Jamie couldn’t believe it when they took three straight delay of game penalties late in the period.  How on earth did three of them shoot the puck out over the glass while trying to clear it? 

The Caps had finally managed to capitalize on their mistakes with a power play goal to move to within one.  The game went back and forth from end to end in a series of fast paced line rushes. With just a minute and a half left, Backstrom found Carlson in front of the Pens net.  Carlson wristed one top shelf over Flowers glove hand.  The game was tied.

With just under a minute on the clock, the Pens made a line change to try and make a push to score.  Sidney, Geno and Jamie went out offensively.  Letang and Dumes on defense.  The Stars dumped the puck into the Pens zone so they could get their top line on the ice.  Kris went back and retrieved it, setting up the rush. 

They brought the puck in to the Caps zone.  Geno went to the crease.  Sid tried to center a pass and it was blocked.  The puck went to the boards behind the goal, Ovi retrieved it. The Caps set up and brought the puck forward.  Ovi dumped the puck into the Pittsburgh zone.  Kris went back to try and clear it.  He got it part way up the wall to Jamie, who slid in against the wall before the Caps’ forwards could get to the puck to keep it in.  Jamie wheeled and started for the Caps zone.  He saw Wilson coming.  He looked away for a split second when he shot the puck towards Sid.  He looked back up.  He saw white.  Then, the world went black.

Wilson saw Marsh grab the puck and turn for the Caps zone and watched him pass it.  It didn’t matter that Orpik and Letang had both been suspended for late hits.  All he saw was a Pen coming into the zone.  He braced for the hit, and brought his arm up.  Wilson knew exactly what he’d done.  He immediately turned and skated to the Caps bench before any of the Pens could come after him.

Wilson’s forearm came up under Jamie’s chin, snapping his head back.  The force knocked Jamie out and took his helmet off.  Jamie landed on his back, full force, and then his head hit the ice. 

Sidney didn’t see the hit.  Just as he shot the puck, which Holtby blocked, he heard the whistle.  As he turned he saw Jamie on the ice.  Dumes and Geno were trying to get to the Washington bench.  Geno was yelling at Ovi. Kris was headed to Jamie and went down on his knees at Jamie’s head.  Stewie was holding on to Olli and was almost to Jamie.  Jamie wasn’t moving.  Sid skated towards him, but Olli came to intercept him, wrapping his arms around Sid.

“Let them work.”  Olli felt Sid try to push off him.  “Sid.  Let them do what they need to do.  Kris is there.”

“What happened?  What the fuck happened Olli?  Who hit him?”

“Wilson.  He brought his arm up.  I don’t think Jamie saw him coming until it was too late.  He was unconscious, Sid.”

“Fuck!  Olli I need to be over there!” 

Chris Stewart was signaling for a stretcher.  Doc V was kneeling beside Jamie now.  Sid could see them putting a towel under his head.  Kris had moved back to let the medical personnel work.  The Caps' trainer and team doctor were helping. 

Kris turned and looked at Sid.  His face was white.  He skated to Sid and Olli, wrapping his arms around Sid to help Olli restrain him.

“Sid, please.  Let them work.”

“Tanger, how, is he,” Sid’s body pressed against Tanger.

“He was out when I got there.  He finally responded a little bit to Doc V.  His helmet came off and his head hit the ice.  I don’t know how bad it is, for sure.  I did hear Stewie say to Sully that they were going straight to the hospital.”

Sid kept his eyes fixed on Jamie as they immobilized his head and neck and loaded him on the stretcher.  Jamie’s eyes were closed the whole time.  Olli and Tanger finally let Sid go when they started to wheel the stretcher off the ice.  Sid went over and took Jamie’s hand.  He leaned down and said something.  The crowd was on their feet, applauding for Jamie, so no one heard what Sid said.  Sid waited until they disappeared down the hallway, then turned and skated back to the bench.  There was still two seconds on the clock and an overtime to play.

The officials in Toronto called play for the period, two seconds wasn’t enough time for either team to score.  The head linesmen spent some time talking to Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz, as well as the two Captains.  It was decided that the teams would keep playing.  They all headed to their locker rooms to regroup during the intermission.  Wilson was given a game misconduct and a five minute major.  The Pens would start OT on the power play.  Little of that mattered to them right now.

In the locker room, Sid collapsed into his stall, his head buried in his hands.  Dumo was sitting in his stall shaking.  Sullivan came in and went to Sid.

“You need to change and go. Your folks are waiting in the hallway.”

“I can’t.  We have OT.  We need to win this.”

“Sid,” Sullivan put his hand on Sid’s back.  “You need to go.  This isn’t just a teammate getting hurt.  You aren’t going to be any good to us out there.  Go.  What did you tell Flower in game five against the Rangers?  We got this.  Go.  He needs you more than this team does right now.  They need you to be with Jamie.  Look at them.  They will each tell you what I’m telling you.  Go.”

Sid looked at his teammates who had all heard what Sully had said.  They all were nodding in agreement. 

Geno looked at him, “Go Sid.”

His eyes met Flower’s.  “We got this, Sid.”

Sid sat up and started stripping out of his equipment.  Sullivan walked over to Dumo.

“Thing?  Look at me.”  Dumo raised his head, there were tears in his eyes.  He’d seen the hit. 

“Go with Sid.  I’m not gonna play you even if you stay, so don’t argue.”

Dumo nodded.  Tanger leaned over and put his arm around his shoulders.  “It’ll be okay.  You take care of Sid until I get there, okay?”  Dumo started to strip out of his equipment, too.

“Okay everybody,” Sullivan stood up and looked around the room.  “Everybody take a deep breath and regroup.  We’re gonna be short two forwards and a d, but we are gonna do this.  Leave everything else in here when you go back out and put your head in the game.  Think of it like this, the faster you score, the faster you get over to check on Jamie.  If Doc calls with an update, I’ll let you know.  Go out and play our game.”

Sid and Brian had already left by the time the rest of the team went out for the first overtime period.  Six and a half minutes into the OT, Kessel passed to Hags who took a shot.  Holtby blocked it but didn’t control the rebound which bounced right to Bones.  Bones swatted the puck which skipped over Holtby’s right pad and into the net.  Consol erupted as the teams lined up to shake hands. 

The Pens came in to the locker room.  They were supposed to be celebrating.  They’d eliminated the Caps.  They were going on to the conference finals.  And, it was almost midnight which meant it was almost Rusty’s birthday.  But it was a subdued locker room.  They went through their post-game rituals.  They did their media obligations.  The celebration would have to wait.  They all changed as quickly as possible and headed out to UPMC.

The CT and x-rays didn’t show any fractures or cerebral bleeding, but Jamie had not opened his eyes except for a few seconds when he’d been down on the ice.  His vitals had stabilized, Doc V had said.  It was likely a severe concussion.  All they could do was wait, he told Sid.

That night, Sid sat in a darkened hospital room.  He was surrounded by his parents and closest friends.  The rest of his teammates and coaches were in the waiting room down the hall.  Sid’s forehead was resting against Jamie’s arm and he was holding his hand.  All he wanted was to be able to look into those green eyes he loved so much.

Chapter Text

Jamie saw white.  Then, the world went black.

Jamie thought he heard his dad calling his name.

“Jamie!  Jamie!  It’s getting late, we need to get home.”

“In a minute, Dad.  The game’s tied.  Sudden death time!”

He turned around.  He was home.  In Edmonton,  On the St, Croix’ pond.  Cat is standing in front of a homemade net.  She’s tapping her stick on the ice, waiting. 

“Come on, Marshie.  Let’s go so I can win already.”

The voice is warm, soft, familiar.  Jamie turns to his right.  Blonde hair.  Clear blue eyes.  Cheeks red from the cold.  Lips red and chapped.  He can reach out and touch him.

“Kicks?”

“Jamie.  Jamie can you hear me?  Jamie open your eyes.”

Jamie’s eyes flutter open.  “Sid” 

Everything is too bright.  He closes his eyes again.

“Chris tell Sully we’re going straight to the hospital.”

Jamie leans into the kiss, unsure of what he’s doing.  It’s not like he has a lot of experience at this.  Well, at least not with another guy.  After a few minutes he pulls back.

“Marshie, are you sure you want to do this?  I mean, it’s okay if you don’t”

“Shut up already Kicks.  I said I did.”

“Jamie?  Please, baby boy, open your eyes for me.  Please.”

Dr. Vyas puts his hand on Sid’s shoulder.  “Sidney, we need to get him to the hospital.”

Sid watches until the stretcher disappears down the hallway.

“Marshie?  I love you.  Please tell me that you love me.  One more time, just please, tell me.  You love me, right?”

“Please Kicks.  Please.  I’ll tell you when you get here.  Please just come home.  Please.”

“Jamie.  Please, just tell me that you love me.”

“I love you, Kicks.  Always and forever.”

“I love you, too.  Good-bye, Jamie.”

Sid’s forehead is resting against Jamie’s arm and he’s holding his hand.

Jamie’s breathing changes suddenly. 

Sid lifts his head, “Jamie?  Baby boy, wake up.”

Jamie’s eyes flutter again.  His body stiffens, then goes limp again.  His breathing evens out as quickly as it had changed.

Sid’s head goes back down to rest on Jamie’s arm.  He feels a hand rub his back.

“Son, you need to try to get some sleep.  Why don’t you go lay down in the other room they set up for us.  We’ll wake you if he wakes up.”

“No, Mom.  I’m staying here with him.”

Jamie is sitting in his stall in the locker room at Consol.  The room is strangely empty.  He knows they have a game and it’s not just any game.  It’s game six in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Where is everybody?  They should all be here, getting ready. 

Jamie gets up and walks out of the locker room and down the runway to the ice.  No one is there.  No Pens.  No Caps.  No crowd.  No one.  He goes to turn around and leave when he hears the sound of skate blades on ice.

“Marshie, what the hell are you doing here?”

The voice is warm, soft, familiar.

He turns and looks.

“Kicks?”

Kyle skates up to him, showering Jamie with snow as he slides to a stop.

“You shouldn’t be here, Marshie.  You need to go back.”

“Back where, Kicks?”

“To him, you idiot.”  Kicks nods to the other end of the ice.  There is another person on the ice.  “He’s waiting for you.  Can’t you hear him calling your name?”

Jamie closes his eyes and listens.

“He loves you, you know.  Way more than I did, I think.  He’s not going to leave until you come back to him.”

“He won’t leave me?”

“No.  I did, though.  I’m sorry Marshie.  That’s why I know he loves you more.  He’s not about to leave you.  Listen to him calling you.  Can’t you hear him?  Wow.  It’s so loud.  You need to go Jamie.  Go back to him.”

“Jamie?  Come on baby boy.  It’s 5 am.  Time to go for a run.  Come on.  Open your eyes already. Please, Jamie.  Please come back to me.  Don’t leave.  Please.”

Jamie's eyes flutter.

“Jamie?  Jamie, open your eyes.  Mom!  Dad!  I think he’s waking up!”

Jamie turns his face to the sound of Sid’s voice.  His eyes flutter again.  Then he blinks a few times before his eyes open completely.

“Sid?”

“There are those beautiful green eyes”

Chapter Text

The head of the bed is raised so Jamie is sitting up.  The room is still fairly dark.  Light still hurts.  He’s got his laptop turned on.  He shouldn’t be watching anything like this, he knows.  The light from the screen is really hurting his eyes and he feels the headache coming on quickly.  But, he wants to see the video.  It seems a bit surreal.  He watches Kris send the puck up the wall.  He’s got it.  The pass to Sid.  And…  he flips the laptop shut.  He shouldn’t have watched it.  He closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.

When he wakes up again, Sid is sitting in the chair beside him.  He rubs the sleep out of his eyes.

“What time is it?”

“About 3 in the afternoon.  Have a good sleep?”  Sid has the laptop sitting open on the bed stand.

“Yeah.  And a good lunch.  Well as good as hospital food can be.  I’d kill for a vanilla milkshake.”

Sid reaches down and comes back up with a McDonald’s milkshake.  “You watched it didn’t you.  I turned the laptop on and it came up on the screen.  You watched it.”

“I shouldn’t have.  It really wasn’t pretty.”

“That and you know you aren’t supposed to be watching any screens for now.”

“I’m fine, Sid.  Well, other than the light issue.  Can I please have my milkshake?”

Sid hands him the shake.  Jamie happily sucks down several big sips. 

“So how was practice?  Gonna be ready for Tampa Bay tomorrow night?”

“It was good.  Everybody said hi.  I think Dumo is going to stop in later.”

“So… I’m not getting out of here today?”

“No.  Talked to Doc V.  Probably at least one more day, maybe two.  They are still concerned about the light bothering you so much.  You took a pretty hard hit to the back of the head.  Concussions are funny things, Jamie.  Different symptoms for different people.  My problem was motion.  Every time I opened my eyes it was like the whole room was moving.  You are having light problems.”  Sid stood up and sat on the edge of the bed.  “After what I went through, you can bet I’m not taking any chances with you.  What Doc V says goes.  No argument.”  He gave Jamie a quick kiss.  “Or no more milkshakes.”

---

Jamie watches the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals from a hospital bed.  Well he doesn’t watch.  Trina Crosby is sitting with him.  She has his laptop and they are listening to Mike Lange and Phil Bourque call the game.

Jamie throws his water cup across the room when Callahan boards Kris less than five minutes in to the first period.  Trina isn’t amused and tells him she’ll turn off the game if he can’t stay calm.

Jamie pounds his fists into the bed when Tampa Bay scores their first goal.  And their second.  And their third. 

He and Trina celebrate when Horny scores.

In the third period, he throws things again and swears loudly when Dumes gets boarded and leaves the game.  Trina turns the laptop off.  Jamie is still pouting when Sid and Troy get there.

“How bad is he?” He asks Sid, not even waiting for a hello.

“They were still evaluating him when I left.  He was dizzy.  But seemed to know where he was.”

Sid walked over to give Jamie a kiss.  Jamie turned his head away from him.

“What?”

“You lost Crosby.  And, your mother says I’m not allowed to even listen to the next game.  So until you get me out of here and I can actually watch a game you get nothing.  No kisses.  No hugs. No… nothing.”

 Sid looked at his parents, his face turning bright red.  Trina tried not to laugh by looking away.  Troy snorted, trying to hold his laugh in.  He finally gave up.

“Well, damn baby boy.  That’s not fair.  I told you.  Doc controls when you get out of here, not me.”

“Well, then nothing until you tell your mom that I can listen to Monday’s game.”

Sid looked at his mom.  She shook her head no.  “He gets too worked up.”

Sid looked at Jamie, who just crossed his arms over his chest and glared.

Crap, he thought, caught between the boyfriend and the mom.  Not a safe position at all.

 

“This isn’t going to end well for me, is it?”

Chapter Text

Wednesday had been a long day.  Jamie had been in and out of consciousness during the day.  It hadn’t been until evening when he’d finally stayed awake for any length of time.  The good news that night was that he knew who he was, as well as who Sid and everyone else were.  The bad news was he didn’t remember much more than that.  The boys had all filtered in and out during the day.  Going home to change and grab some sleep, then coming back.  Troy and Trina had gone home to get some sleep and get a change of clothes for Sid. 

Sid asked his parents to make a stop at a bakery on their way back.  Later that afternoon when all of the boys were back, Sid had come out of Jamie’s room carrying a birthday cake.  They sang happy birthday to Rusty.  When they finished their cake, Sid had sent them all home with orders to take Rusty out and celebrate his birthday and the win over the Caps.  Captains orders, he said, and he wanted pictures so he could show Jamie.  Reluctantly they had gone, even his friends, when he told them he could watch over Jamie, but he needed them to watch over the rest of their ‘family’ for him.

A follow-up CT scan had shown significant bruising to the back of Jamie’s brain, to the areas that controlled vision and the voluntary nervous system.  Dr. V patiently listened to all of Sid’s questions and tried to answer them.  Finally he had looked at Sid and shook his head.

“I don’t know, Sidney.  His injury is different than yours was when you had your concussion.  You took two big hits and it was more of a generalized trauma to your brain.  Jamie’s appears to be more localized.  And you know, concussions don’t necessarily effect everyone the same way.  We’ll just have to wait and see what issues present and deal with them then.”

Sidney spent Wednesday night sleeping in a chair next to Jamie’s bed.  By Thursday morning Jamie was doing better.  His memory had returned to the point that he remembered they’d had a game.  He didn’t remember playing, or getting hit.  He would ask Sid if they won.  Sid would say yes.  Ten minutes later, Janie would ask again.  As the morning went on, however, Jamie had improved.  He insisted Sid go to practice when he heard Sid mention that he was going to skip it to his Mom and Dad.  When he got back, he found Jamie sitting up.  A big step he knew.  Jamie was also much more alert and less confused than he’d been.  He also seemed to be tolerating having a light on in the room.

Friday was another good day.  Jamie seemed to be able to remember that the next round of playoffs was starting.  Trina had stayed with Jamie while Troy went with Sid to the game.  Friday night, when Sid came in after the game, Jamie seemed much better.  That didn’t keep Sid from spending a fourth night sleeping in a chair next to Jamie’s bed.

Saturday was not a good day.  Jamie woke up around 6 am with a headache, an ‘I want the room dark, don’t touch me, don’t make me move, don’t make any noise, nausea inducing’ headache.  About the third time Jamie had said ‘Sid you’re breathing too loud’, Sid had just gotten up and walked out.

Sid stopped at the nurse’s desk and asked for a piece of paper, a marker and some tape.  Before he left to go to the cafeteria for some coffee he taped a note to the door.  Just in case any of the guys showed up.

Bad Day!  Do Not Disturb!

An hour later he came back up with a cup of coffee and a honey nut muffin from the cafeteria.  Sid gingerly opened the door and walked in to the room.  He watched Jamie for a minute while his eyes adjusted to the darkness.  Jamie’s chest was rising and falling in a slow, regular rhythm.  Sid determined that he was sleeping, so it was safe to come back in and sit down.

The team filtered in throughout the day, stopping just to check in on Jamie.  Nobody stayed very long, Jamie slept through most of the visits.   Those who couldn’t stop had either called or texted Sid. 

Trina and Troy showed up at 6 pm with food for Sid and a milkshake for Jamie.  He hardly touched it, or his dinner.  What he did eat he threw up about ten minutes later. By 7 pm Jamie’s headache returned and Sid thought Jamie seemed more confused than he had.  By 8 pm the headache was so severe again that the nurse called Dr. V and the neurologist.  The rest of the evening was spent with Jamie going for an emergency MRI and possibly a CT scan.

Sid had called or texted everybody to let them know what was up.  Most of them were milling about the waiting area when Dr.V stepped off an elevator.  Sully was with him.

“He’s okay, Sid.  But there’s been a small complication.”  Sid’s heart sank.  Geno was standing next to him.  He put his arm around Sid’s shoulders.  Sid leaned into Geno’s side for support. 

“It looks like there was a small bleed near the brain contusion we saw on the last MRI. It wasn’t severe, and it had stopped already, so we think we can avoid surgery. We’re going to treat it with medication for now.  We have him on something for pain.  We’re also giving him something that will reduce any swelling.  He’s stable and his vital signs are all good.  He’s been awake, talking to us, and is doing just fine.  Because of the medications, though, and the risk that things could change quickly with this if it were to start bleeding, we are moving him to an ICU.”

Sid started to say something, but Sully cut him off, “Before you ask, Sid, they’re gonna let you stay in the room with him tonight. They’ll make an exception for you and there also aren’t a lot of patients in that unit right now.”  He looked at the rest of them. “He’s doing fine right now. There’s not much more to do tonight except wait and see how he responds to the medication.  The best thing would probably be to just go home.  They have my number.  If things change, they’ll call me and I’ll call all of you.” 

He saw Tanger and Flower start to protest.  “No exceptions.  We still have practice tomorrow and a big game Monday.  I know it’s hard to think about that right now, but we have to.”  He let a small smile come out, “Besides, you all know that Jamie will kick your asses when he’s better if we go down another game because of him, right.”  That got them to laugh a little, even Sid.  

Sid gathered his things from Jamie’s room.  He told his parents they should go home, as well.  He gave them a hug and a kiss, and told them to send Taylor his love when they let her know what was happening.  The last to leave were his friends.  They walked with him to the ICU before giving him a hug and leaving for the night.

Jamie was lying with his head elevated slightly.  He was now hooked up to a heart monitor and a couple of IVs.  His eyes were closed.  Sid thought he was sleeping until Jamie slowly opened his eyes and smiled at him.

“You don’t do anything half-assed do you, baby boy.”

“You know me.  Go big or go home.”

Sid pulled up a chair and sat down.  He reached over to hold Jamie’s hand.  “How do you feel?”

“Tired.  But better.  They’ve got me on some kickass pain meds.  Really, kickass.  Best I’ve felt in days surprisingly.”

“That’s good.  Why don’t you try to sleep.  I’m gonna be here.”  Sid was being way too serious for Jamie’s drug induced euphoria.

“Okay.  Sid?”

“Yeah, baby boy?”

“I’m hungry.”

“You are?  You didn’t eat much today.  Think you can keep something down?  Let me get the nurse.”

“No, Sid.  I’m hungry.”  Jamie waggled his eyebrows.

“Oh my god,” Sid blushed, “You’re terrible.” 

"You love me, though."

"Yep.  All of you."

Chapter Text

At some point in the night, Sid had gotten up and gone to the bathroom.  When he came back, he had pulled his chair close to the side of the bed so that he could lay his head down next to Jamie’s side.  Sunday morning Sid woke up with Jamie lazily running his fingers through Sid’s hair. 

Sid smiled and lifted his head to look at Jamie.  Jamie was smiling back at him.

“You seem to be feeling pretty good, still getting happy juice evidently.”

“Evidently.  But I like waking up with you here, too.”  Jamie yawned and stretched.  “Think they’d let me go for a run?”

Sid laughed, “No, baby boy, I don’t think you’re going to get to do any running for a while.”

“Then you think I could get some breakfast?”  He winked at Sid and patted the bed with his hand.

“Food.  All you are getting is food.”  Sid laughed as he got up to find a nurse.

Jamie continued to improve throughout the day.  The neurologist stopped in around 9 am.  He ordered another MRI as a follow-up.  Jamie made Sid go to practice once Trina and Troy showed up.  Sid gave him a kiss and left.

When Sid got back, he found that Jamie had been moved back down to a regular room.  When Sid walked in, Dr. V was there talking to Jamie and Sid’s parents.  Everyone was smiling.

“Good news?” He asked cautiously.

“His MRI was fine.  As I said, it was a small bleed.  But enough with the contusion to cause the severe headache.  There are no new bleeds.  The meds worked very well.  It looks like the contusion is starting to dissipate, as well.  We can continue him on oral steroids and diuretics for a few days just to be sure, but I think we dodged a bullet.  We caught the bleed before it became severe.”  He patted Jamie’s leg. 

“I am going to keep him a few more days to make sure, and no strenuous exercise when he gets home.”  Dr. V, winked at Sid.  “But if things continue to improve he should be able to go home later this week.  Then we’ll just have to go day to day and deal with any concussion symptoms that Jamie has.”

After Dr. V left, Sid sat down on the edge of Jamie’s bed. 

“So, truth.  How are you feeling?”  Sid had noticed the blinds were still pulled and the lights still off.

“Good.  Really.  Just still a little problem with bright lights.  But I haven’t had a headache all day.  And I’m not forgetting things.  So, how was practice?  How’s Dumes?”

“Practice was fine.  I skated with Rusty and Shears.  Dumo’s okay.  He’s planning on coming over later.”

“Giving you some serious speed on your line.  Good move since I’m not gonna be there to pick up your slack.”

“You’re funny.  You know you can’t come home until I get back from Tampa.  I’m gonna tell Doc V he has to keep you until then.  That means Saturday.”

“You’re not serious?”

“Yep, cause I don’t trust you to behave for Mom if you are home.  And, they want to travel to Tampa Bay for the games.  So you can stay here until I’m home, or Dad’s home, to babysit.  And don’t even try the puppy dog eyes.  Not gonna happen.”

Jamie looked at Sid’s parents who both just shook their heads at him. 

---

Later that night, because Jamie had begged and pleaded, or as Sid said, whined like a baby, a bunch of the Pens had gathered in Jamie’s room to watch the first game of the Western Conference final.  Sid said they would try, but if the TV bothered Jamie at all, game over. 

Jamie had asked Dumes to bring him back a pair of sunglasses when he came to watch the game.  Jamie thought maybe they would help with the bright light issue.  And they worked, surprisingly.  They were even able to turn on the lights behind the beds. 

Tanger and Flower brought in pizza.  Geno and Kuni brought in water, Gatorade, and other beverages, all non-alcoholic, of course.  The nursing staff even popped in to the room occasionally to check the score and grab a piece of pizza.  As long as the boys weren’t causing a big disturbance or being loud, they were okay.

Sid had climbed up on the bed and was cuddled up next to Jamie.  He kept a watchful eye on Jamie, looking for any signs that the TV was bothering him or that the company was too much.  Jamie had smiled and laughed all night.  Sid finally relaxed when the game was almost over. 

That night, Jamie insisted that Sid go home and get a good night’s sleep in his own bed.  They had a big game Monday and it was time for Sid to get his mind back on hockey, he said.  Sid had reluctantly agreed.

On the drive home, Troy looked at his son, who was sitting in the passenger seat, looking out the window and smiling.

“What’s on your mind, Sidney?  Thinking about Jamie?  He’s gonna be okay.”

“Yeah.  I know he is.  I was just thinking about something he said tonight.  I’m finding it pretty funny.”

“What’s that?”

“He said I needed to get my mind back on hockey.”

“How’s that funny, Sidney?”

“Dad.  He told me I had to get my mind BACK on HOCKEY.”  Sid emphasized the words.  “I never thought I’d have anything or anyone in my life that would ever make me NOT think about hockey.  But now…”

Troy smiled.  “But now you have something you think about?  Someone more important to you than hockey?”

“Yeah.  Imagine that.  Someone more important to me than hockey.”

Chapter Text

When Sid walked in to Jamie’s room Monday morning his heart stopped for a minute.  Jamie wasn’t there.  Sid’s mind raced as he started to panic, all of the things that could be wrong rushing through his brain at once.  He turned and walked back out in to the hallway, headed to the nurse’s desk.  When he looked down the hallway, his fears slipped away.

There was Jamie, walking next to Rick Joreitz, the team’s physical therapist, headed back to his room.  Jamie looked up at Sid and kind of half smiled.  He had his sunglasses on, a hospital gown, and a pair of socks.  His hair, longer than normal because he hadn’t cut it since they went on a hot streak in March, was sticking out all over the place.  The gown was almost embarrassingly short on his 6’ 4” frame, but at least it was one that covered his ass.  Barely.  To Sid, he looked ridiculous and wonderful at the same time.

It took a couple of minutes for them to reach Sid.  They all went in to the room, Jamie climbed back in to bed. 

“Doc V said we needed to get Jamie up walking.  He asked me to stop in before morning skate and check things out.  See about starting some rehab.”  Rick smiled at Jamie, “He did pretty good.  Didn’t see a lot of issues with balance.  I’ll put together a list of exercises you can do, Jamie.  I’ll probably be able to stop back this afternoon, if that’s okay.”

“That’s fine.  Thanks.” Jamie sounds less than enthusiastic, Sid thinks.

After Joreitz leaves, Sid sits down on the edge of the bed.

“Everything okay?”  Sid rubbed his hand on Jamie’s leg.

“Fine.” It comes out curt and sharp as Jamie jerks his leg away from Sid’s touch.

Sid withdraws his hand.  “Sorry.  What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.  Just.  Nothing.”

“Jamie?  Is there something wrong?  Are you okay?

Jamie just shakes his head and folds his arms across his chest.  “Nothing.  I’m fine.  Don’t you have morning skate?”

“I’ve got a bit yet, before I have to get over there.  What’s with the shades?  Your eyes bothering you?  Headache?  Have you seen any of the doctors this morning?”

“I think too much TV last night maybe.  It’s just like, like they’re tired, and the light’s bothering me.  I saw the neurologist this morning already.  He checked me out and thinks it’s just from the concussion.  I haven’t had any headache with it so far.  Nothing to worry about, so you don’t need to stick around and hover like a mother hen.” 

Again, there’s a hardness in his voice.  A bite that Sid’s not used to hearing.   “And don’t stop back.  You need to go home and get ready for the game.”

“Jamie?  Something’s up.  Do you want to talk about whatever it is that’s obviously bothering you?’

Sid wishes Jamie didn’t have the sunglasses on.  It’s making it hard for him to read Jamie’s face.  The room is fairly dark so Sid just reaches up and takes them off.  Jamie goes to protest but stops.  He just looks down, avoiding eye contact with Sid. 

“Okay.  Talk.”

“Today’s the first day I’ve felt, somewhat normal.  Brain wise.  I mean yesterday was okay, but today I felt kind of like, well, me.  I woke up wanting to go for a run again, I mean really go, not like yesterday.  So I’m wide awake at 5 am laying here with nothing to do but think.”

“That can’t be a good thing.”

“No.  It wasn’t.  But then Dr. Maroon comes in to see how I am.  He’s talking and I’m thinking and,” Jamie looks up.  “I’m not going to play again, am I.”

“This season?  Probably not, Jamie.  I thought maybe you would make it back for the finals if, I mean when, we get there, but after what happened, your season is done.  You are just going to need to rest and let your brain heal.  It’s not worth risking your whole career to push to come back too soon.  Trust me.  Been there, remember.”

“Are you sure my career isn’t already over?”

“What did Maroon say? Is that?  Did he tell you that?”

“No.  He just said that they want to monitor me for a few more days.  To make sure there isn’t another tear or anything that would bleed.  He said sometimes it can be days or weeks from when the injury happens.”

“But he didn’t say anything about you never playing again, did he?”

“No.  But…”

“Then don’t worry about it right now.  Don’t think long term or it will just get you down.  There were days I wondered if I’d ever get back on the ice.  Mario went through it too, with the cancer.  He gave me some of the best advice and support.  One day at a time.  For a while you’ll probably have good days like today is starting out, then bad days.  Your goal right now will be to have two good days in a row.  It might take some time, but then it will happen, Then the goal will be three good days in a row.  Then four.  Each time you have a bad day, you’ll bitch and be mad, but you just start over again. Eventually the bad days become fewer and fewer.  You’ll get there.  You’re young and in great physical condition, that’s a big plus.  You’ll get through this.  We’ll get through this.  And I’ll have to suffer through you being an irritable, whiny, bitchy, brat on your bad days.  Just like everyone had to put up with me.”

That brought a smile to Jamie’s lips.  “How could they tell you weren’t just having a normal day, again?”

“Aren’t you funny.” Sid smacked Jamie’s leg.  “So what exactly did Maroon say?”

“He would like at least four weeks, no strenuous exercise, no skating, no running.  Wants me to work with Joreitz and the concussion people out at the center.  No more TV for a while either.  They aren’t sure if it’s the light or the movement right now.  And Jors was a little concerned about my balance being off.  Having some depth perception issues, all sensory reception issues  is what he said.  All part of my type of injury.”

“Then that’s our first goal.  Four weeks.  We get to four weeks and we see where we stand and then we set the next goal.  Okay?  Don’t think past that.  Or better yet, don’t think past tomorrow for now.”

Sid takes out his phone and dials a number.

“Who are you calling?”

Sid holds up a hand, motioning for Jamie to wait a minute.  He gets one-side of the conversation.  “Sully.  Hey, Yeah, he’s okay this morning.  Look, the skate’s optional, right?  Yeah.  I was going to, but I think I’ll skip it, if that’s okay with you.  No.  No, really, he’s okay.  We’ll be gone four days so I thought I’d just spend this morning with him.  Yeah, nothing wrong, physically he’s having a good day, he said, Okay.  Yep.  See you tonight then.  Thanks, Sully.”

“So you are missing more hockey because of me?  Like that’s got to be going over well with everyone,”

“It’s fine.  Nobody is saying anything about it.  And before you start, we’re not having that discussion today.  Only one issue per day, that’s the new rule, and we’ve already had today’s serious discussion.  Come on, then, slide over.”

Sid stands up and pats Jamie’s side, urging him to roll over on his side.  Sid lies down next to him on the bed so Jamie can curl up next to him, with his head on Sid’s shoulder.  Sid lets one hand rest on Jamie’s head, his fingers lightly rubbing Jamie’s forehead.  He leans down and gives him a light kiss.

“Close your eyes and get some rest, baby boy.  This is going to be okay.  We’ll get through this.”

That night, Jamie listened to Mike Lange and Phil Bourque call game two of Eastern Conference Finals alone in his hospital room.  He told Trina that she needed to just go to the game, he’d be alright.  The nurses came in and out, staying to listen for a few minutes of the game at a time.  They were sure Jamie woke everyone on the floor with the yelling he did when Sid scored the winning goal 40 seconds into the OT.

On Tuesday, Sid stopped in with Dumo and brought breakfast for Jamie from McDonald’s which made him very happy.  They stayed and chatted about the game.  The other guys all stopped in during the morning as well.  Kuni told Jamie and Sid that Maureen and the other wives would be in to check on Jamie while the boys were away.  Flower and Tanger said that Vero and Catherine were going to sneak Stell and Alex in for a visit.  That had brightened Jamie’s mood.  Eventually everyone headed out to practice before flying out to Tampa.

Joreitz came just before lunch and went over some simple exercises for Jamie to do.  Thankfully Sid had brought him some sweats to wear so he didn’t feel like he was giving everyone a free show.  After Jors left, Jamie ate lunch and then slept the afternoon away.  That night, Sid called and they talked for an hour before they reluctantly said good-night.

Chapter Text

Wednesday started off as another okay day.  Jamie woke early and did his physical therapy exercises.  After breakfast he fell back asleep, more out of boredom than anything, but also because everyone that had come in over the last few days kept telling him he just needed to rest and that sleep was a good thing.  Right.  Running would be a good thing.  Hockey would be a good thing.  Sleep was, well sleep was just killing time.

Sid called around 9:30 while everyone else was on the ice for morning skate and he had some free time.  Jamie wanted to get on his case, but Sid and Kris had skated Tuesday’s practice, so Sully gave them Wednesday morning off. 

He was most pleased when Maureen Kunitz and Carole-Lyne Duprius showed up at lunchtime with food.  A wonderful plate of homemade comfort.  Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots.  So much better than the hospital food, which Jamie ate, as well, however.  They had practically been starving him these last few days he’d thought, given what he was used to eating.  That afternoon Nathalie had brought him some homemade cookies.  Okay.  Sid hadn’t brought him anything more than McDonald’s, getting pampered by the wives’ club was definitely an improvement so far.

Dumes had called right after lunch time, before his pre-game nap, to chat with Jamie for a while.  Trinca had gotten up and gone running with him, he said.  Jamie so wished he could be there.  They could have run on the beach. 

At dinner time, it was another group of wives stopping in to check on him.  Jamie got lasagna and garlic bread.  It had him almost wishing that Sid would be gone longer than just four days.   Almost.

Jamie listened to the game over his laptop that night.  He’d had to promise to keep his reactions to a reasonable level or the nurses threatened to take away his laptop and unplug the TV.  Jamie screamed in to a pillow when Sid scored his goal in the third period.  When the Pens ended up winning 4-2 Jamie had a hard time containing his excitement.  But, so did the group of nurses that had gathered in his room to listen to the final minutes of the game.

About 15 minutes after the end of the game his phone rang.  All he could hear was a lot of yelling in the background.  Then a familiar voice said hello.

“Hey, baby boy, you there?  Did you listen to the game?”

“Sid?  Yeah, baby!  Another beautiful goal there Croz!”

He hears Sid saying something but doesn’t think it’s directed at him.

“Shh… hey… shhh… everybody… I’ve got him on the line… hey… Horny… Hags… pay attention… G quit fooling around… hey… everybody ready…”

The background noise faded away.  Jamie wasn’t sure what was going on.

“Jamie, you still there?  Hey… the guys want to say hi.”  Then he hears Sid a little fainter say ‘okay’ and then he hears a big roar.

“MARSHMELLOW!!!”

Sid comes back to the phone. “You hear that?  We all miss having you here.  Nobody threw up before the game so we weren’t sure we were going to win.”  He’s laughing, that weird giggly laugh that gets Jamie laughing at him.

“Tell them I miss being there.  And thanks for the hello.  It was an awesome game, Sid!”

“Hey, I gotta go do the podium tonight, so I can’t talk.  I’ll call tomorrow, okay.  Love you, baby boy.”

Jamie starts to say ‘love you’ back, but Sid is already gone.  His heart aches a little, missing Sid and missing the team.  Jamie falls asleep wishing that Sid was beside him in bed.  Staying behind just sucks.

Thursday morning Jamie wakes up at 5 am.  It’s what his body is conditioned to do.  He should be going for a run at this time.  He lays there, blankly looking at the ceiling wondering what he is going to do until breakfast time.  His exercises?  Surf the net?  Nope, that’s out.  Watch TV?  Nope, that’s out.  So it’s back to exercises.  He really doesn’t want to do them.  He has a headache, not a bad headache, but one just at the fringes, starting to creep into his brain.  Maybe he should just try to go back to sleep.  Fuck.  He’s tired of sleeping all the time.  Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.  Then his phone rings.

“Hey there, I’m guessing I didn’t wake you.”  Sid says in a lazy, sleepy voice.

“What the hell are you doing up this early, geez, if I’d know you could actually roll your ass out of bed at this hour I’d have made you go running with me on the road.” 

“Good morning to you, too, asshole.  I wanted to be the first to say good morning to you.  I missed you last night.  Awfully lonely in my hotel room without you.  I forgot what it was like not to have someone in bed with me.”

“I’m missing you, too.  I really can’t wait to get home.  To get out of this hospital.”  Jamie closes his eyes.  Just the sound of Sid’s voice making him feel better.

“Any word yet?  I’m guessing Saturday.”

“Did you really tell Doc V not to let them release me until you got back?”

“No.  Like I could do that.”  Jamie was sure he could hear Sid’s smirk through the phone.

They spend the next two hours just talking.  About the game.  About the western conference.  About everything.  Jamie feels the headache slip away.  Sid’s voice warm and soothing to him.  God he just wants to be at home with him, his head in Sid’s lap.  Sid brushing his fingers through Jamie’s hair.  They finally hang up when Jamie’s breakfast arrives.

That morning he has PT with Jors again.  Walking.  Some stretching.  Repetative motion exercises.  Testing his balance.  Testing his vision.  Jamie does everything fairly well.  He wears the sunglasses the whole time because the light is like little shards of glass in the back of his brain when he tries to take them off.  Not enough to be an issue, but enough to be uncomfortable without the sunglasses.  Jors doesn’t seem particularly concerned, but Dr. Maroon and Doc V show up right after lunch to do an exam and concussion check.  There don’t seem to be any significant changes from the previous tests.

Mid-afternoon Jamie is half asleep when he’s awakened rather abruptly by a weight coming down on his chest.  He lets out an oof.

“Oncle Jamie, réveillez-vous nous sommes! Là pour vous voir!” 

He keeps his eyes shut and pretends to snore loudly.  A second weight jumps on him.  They bounce on his chest, laughing. Jamie opens his eyes, pretending to be startled.  The two weights giggle harder.

“Is that my Stelly Belly and Alexander the Great?” Jamie grabs each one with a hand and starts tickling them.  They squirm and laugh as he finally pulls them both in for a big hug. 

“Best visitors I’ve had today.  And the best hugs, too.”  

Jamie has a good afternoon, chatting with Vero and Catherine and playing with the kids.  Vero notices that a couple of times Jamie closes his eyes and looks a bit off-kilter, even nauseous when Estelle and Alexander are waving their arms wildly in front of him as they are telling a story.  She looks cautiously at Catherine, who has also seemed to notice it.  Otherwise, Jamie seems fine to them, and he never makes the children stop moving or waving their arms. 

At dinner time, Maureen Kunitz shows up with, god love her, a Pittsburgher from Primanti Brothers and a vanilla milkshake.  Jamie gives her a big hug and tells her that Chris really doesn’t deserve her.   

Sid calls at 9 pm and they chat about their days for almost two hours before Sid finally says good-night.  Jamie chalks Thursday up as an okay day.  He writes himself a note to tell the docs and Jors about the nausea and dizziness that the kids’ activity caused.  Other than that, it’s been an okay day.  Not good, but okay.  Jamie counts it in the win column.

Chapter Text

Friday. Game Day. Sid’s alarm clock goes off at 5 am. He fumbles around trying to find his phone on the table next to the hotel bed. God, he thinks, how do people function this early. He’s sure Jamie is up, and he wants to be the first to say good morning to him, just as if Jamie were in Tampa with him.  He hasn't been able to quit thinking about Jamie for most of this trip.  He is really missing him.

He dials the number. It takes eleven rings before Jamie finally answers. Sid was starting to get concerned. Jamie, however, was just in the bathroom. He offers to give Sid details, because he’s been having digestive issues for the past three days, but Sid politely declines.

And laughs.

That is the wrong thing to do.

Jamie goes off on a profanity filled rant. About the hospital. About his injury. About the medications. About physical therapy. About not playing. About the Capitals. About everything. Sid lets him vent. He remembers days like this all too well. Days where you just hate everyone and everything. It’s only been just over a week and Jamie is ranting like this. God help them.

Jamie finally stops to take a breath.

“Jamie?”

“What, Sid.”

“I love you.”

There is a long pause before Sid hears a deep sigh and Jamie finally says something.

“I love you, too. I’m sorry. I just hate being here.”

“I know. It’s okay. We’ll get through this.”

And that is that, bad mood broken. They talk about that night’s game for a while. Sid finally having to go get ready for a team breakfast.

The Pens have an optional pre-game skate that afternoon that Sid skips, opting for some time on the stationary bike instead. He’s feeling pretty good when he sits down for his pre-game meal of spaghetti. As he’s eating, his mind drifts to thoughts of Jamie, how Jamie kids him about eating just spaghetti and sauce before every game. It’s boring he says, but it’s one routine that Jamie hasn’t gotten him to change, no matter how hard he’s tried.

Sid is sitting taping his stick. Going through his pre-game routine. After he’s got his sticks taped he leans back into his stall and closes his eyes. Time to start preparing mentally, visualizing how things will go.

I’m gonna come out fast for warm-ups, he thinks to himself. Two laps then start shooting pucks at Flower. Stretching. Puck-handling drills. Then it will be back in to the locker room. Re-taping my stick. Get my blades sharpened. Kid a bit with Dana and the boys. Quick snack and water, think I’ll grab a bagel tonight. Maybe two. I’m hungry today. Hungry. I wonder if Jamie’s hungry. I mean, it’s been over a week. No, don’t think about that. Back to the game. Opening ceremonies. Then the opening face-off. Face-off. Face-off. Faces. Smooth skin. Warm green eyes. Soft, warm lips. Kissing those lips. Wait. What the fuck. Jamie. Why am I thinking about Jamie? Jesus, Sidney, head in the game man. Okay. Where was I. Face-off, probably against Boyle. They’ll come out hard. Desperate. Fast. Need to shoot often. Just like my power play goal. The puck gliding right in to my wheelhouse. Feel the stick in my hands. Down on one knee. Down on my knees. Knees. Kneeling in front of Jamie. Hands on his thighs. Kissing him through the fabric of his shorts before pulling them down. Jamie’s hands in my hair. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. No, no, no Crosby. Hockey. Game. Stanley Cup. Fuck it.

Sid opens his eyes. Tanger is standing in front of him with his hand on Sid’s head, as if he was trying to rouse him from whatever dream he was having. Tanger has a strange expression on his face. Flower is grinning. Geno is blushing? He looks down and, what the fuck, he’s got a boner. Clearly visible under his tight fighting shorts.

“You were actually starting to moan,” Tanger smirks. “Must have scored a good, uh, goal in your mind, eh.”

“Fuck. Think I’ll go take a shower real quick.” Sid grabs a towel and covers himself as best he can.

Nobody is really looking at him, all looking down, doing their own routines, but they all also have knowing looks on their faces. Once he’s out of the room, he hears the laughter erupt behind him. He just catches what Flower says before he’s out of earshot.

“Chirping material for weeks. I Love it!”

The Bolts come out fast alright. Hedman takes a shot that Callahan redirects past Murray 27 seconds into the game. By the end of the first period, the Bolts are up by two.

The second period doesn’t go any better for the Pens as they give up another two goals. It is also a pretty brutal period as tempers start to flare on the Pens bench. Sid can see Kris getting more and more emotional with every hit he takes.

With 9:07 left, Callahan hits Dales in the corner in the Pens’ zone. It doesn’t look like a bad hit, but Trevor goes down to the ice awkwardly. Trevor can’t get up, can’t put any weight on his leg, crawls across the ice to the crease. He tries to get up a couple of times before the linesman finally whistle to stop play. Sid and Stewie end up helping him off the ice.

Not even a minute later, Culls takes a holding penalty. Words are exchanged and Kris’ temper gets the better off him. He ends up cross-checking Drouin. That brings the wrath of Boyle on him and Kris swings back. He ends up getting a second minor for roughing. The Bolts score on the power play. They end up putting in a second goal before the end of the period. The Pens go into the intermission down by four.

The locker room is a subdued place because of the concern for Dales. Sullivan is all over them about controlling their emotions – Kris, not taking bad penalties – Kris, and playing the game the right way – Kris. Tanger just sits in his stall with his head down. After Sully walks out, Sid goes around the locker room, talking to the guys individually. He spends some time with Tanger, helping him get settled down, bringing him back to the game.

The third period it is all Penguins one the ice. Sid knows that if they’d have played this way earlier it would be a different score on the board. As it is, the Pens come back and score three goals. But the rally is too little, too late. They simply run out of time.

They have an after-game team meal before heading back to the hotel. It is almost 2 am when they finally get back to the hotel. Sid debates about calling Jamie. He’s tired, though, and sore tonight. Bruises and all the little body aches this time of year always hurt just a bit more after a loss. He changes into a pair of shorts and climbs into bed. He fumbles with his phone for a few minutes before he finally dials the number.

“Sid? What time is it?” Jamie sounds a little hoarse, maybe from sleep, maybe from his meds.

“A little after 2. Sorry to wake you up, but I, I just wanted to call,” he sighs and settles back down into the pillow, “I just wanted to hear your voice.”

“Yeah? That’s okay then, you can wake me up for that. Tough loss tonight. I thought I’d hear from you earlier. I tried to stay up, but I guess I fell asleep. How’s Dales? They know anything for sure?”

“No. He can’t put any weight on it, he’s on crutches. They’re gonna take another look at it when we get back.”

“When are you flying out?”

“Late morning. I’m gonna stop by the house when I get in, to pick you up some clothes. Doc V said he talked to Maroon today, they’re gonna release you tomorrow afternoon.”

“Yay. I really can’t wait to get home. I ended up having a really good day. Maroon did say something about another CT and or an MRI tomorrow morning. I’ve been feeling better every day and it’s 10 days today. So. Hoping.”

Sid clears his throat, a sign he’s usually nervous about something. Jamie starts to ask him, but then Sid starts talking. His voice low and a little husky, “Um, so, whatcha wearing baby boy?”

Jamie wants to laugh. Sid is trying to use his 'sexy voice' which means he wants phone sex.  The problem is that Sid is really bad at phone sex. They’d tried it a couple of times before Jamie and Kuni swapped room assignments. Jamie isn't sure about this.  But bad phone sex Sid is also fun Sid.  He decides to give him a hard time about it though, even though he knows he’s going to give in and do this. “No strenuous activity, Sid. Remember.”

“It’s not strenuous to just talk, is it? I’m just talking. And maybe, you know, thinking about what you’re wearing, or not wearing.”

“What about the no sex during the playoffs rule, Sid?”

“Well, talking about sex isn’t actually having sex, so no rule would technically be broken, right?”

“Whatever you say, Sid.”

Chapter Text

Jamie walks in to Consol Energy Center for the first time in almost two weeks.  It feels good.  It feels normal.  All of his last round of tests had been clear.  He feels really good.  The only lingering effect at this point is the light sensitivity issue.  Which is why he is wearing his sunglasses, inside, like a douchebag, and getting funny looks from people.

Jamie drove in with Troy and Trina instead of Sid.  He gives them a kiss and hug as they go to find the Malkins and get something to eat.  Jamie makes his way down to the locker room.  When he walks in, the room is strangely quiet, no music playing.  The guys are just ignoring him and he’s not sure what’s going on.  Then music fills the room.  Oh god.  He knows this song.  He looks around the room and they are all putting on sunglasses.  Jamie grins and shakes his head as they all start singing along to the song…

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

He’s mobbed by his teammates, who are all hugs, handshakes and smiles.  For the most part, it’s an upbeat locker room as they get ready for game 5 of the conference finals.  The only down point is that Dales is on crutches and gone for the rest of the season with a broken leg.  But, Jamie is there.  So they are all there.  The team that got them this far is together in the locker room, at least.  It gives everybody hope for the game.

Jamie gets the okay to go out to the bench area during warm-ups.  He sits on the bench and watches the team warm-up.  His eyes follow Sid for a little while, but then he finds himself staring at the ice.  At the spot right near the center line where he was laying on the ice after Wilson's hit.  At least that's where he thinks he was.  He closes his eyes and tries to remember.  He sees himself on the ice, but he knows it's a memory of the replay he watched.  Everything else is a blank to him.  He just can't remember the hit.  Maybe that is for the best, he thinks.  About then, he is jolted back to the present by loud cheers and applause coming from the seats behind him.  Jamie turns and waves to the crowd who have recognized him.

It doesn’t take long before one of the Pens’ media relations people comes up to him.  NBC would like an interview.  The Pens don't normally make injured players available to the press, and technically, they don't have to under NHL guidelines and the players' CBA.  But, if it is okay with Jamie, it is okay with the Pens.  Special circumstances they say, because of the playoffs.  Jamie agrees and a few minutes later Pierre Mcguire comes up and sits down next to him on the bench.  Pierre always makes Jamie feel a little weird.  He doesn’t quite know why.  Maybe it is because of all the things he reads about the way Mcguire seems to worship Sid.  Or maybe, it’s just because Mcguire is weird.  Whatever, he thinks, and exchanges handshakes with him.

Mcguire:  So, we’re here with Jamie Marsh, rookie forward for the Pens.  Jamie, good to see you.  This is your first time back here since sustaining a concussion from a hit late in game 6 in the series with the Capitals.  So how are you feeling?

Jamie:  I feel pretty good.  Thanks.  It’s good to be able to be back here and with the team.

Mcguire:  Any word on a time frame?  Are we gonna see you on the ice again this season?

Jamie:  Um, no time frame.  Just really taking it one day at a time.  There were some issues and I ended up staying in the hospital some extra days, but I’m doing fine now.  It’s probably gonna be a while before I’m on the ice again, though. 

Mcguire:  You’ve probably heard, Tom Wilson, the Capital player who applied the hit against you, had a disciplinary hearing the next day.  He’s been given a 20 game suspension which will start at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.  Your thoughts on that?  Do you think that’s a fair outcome?

Jamie:  Well, really that’s not up to me to decide.  He had a hearing and if that’s what the league decided, given Wilson’s history and the severity of the hit, well then that’s that.

Mcguire:  Do you remember the hit?  Or have you seen it?

Jamie:  No.  I don't remember the hit, or much of the game for that matter.  I watched it, though.  Probably shouldn't have.  I don't know.  But he headed right to the bench, so I think he knew he'd done something wrong.  That it wasn't a clean hit.  But like I said, that's really up to the league to judge and I guess they did.

Mcguire:  Did he reach out to contact you after the hit?  He’s been pretty quiet on the whole incident.

Jamie:  Um, no.  I’ve talked to some of the other Caps, but Wilson hasn’t made any attempt to contact me that I know of.  And, I guess I really don’t expect him to.  But it’s okay.  It was what it was.

Mcguire:  Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Jamie.  Really good to see you up and around.  Doc. Eddie.  Back to you.

After the interview, Mcguire wants to chat some more.  Probably looking for him to say something more about Wilson, Jamie thinks.  He’s caught off-guard when Mcguire instead asks him about Sid and comments on how much time Sid spent at the hospital with Jamie.  Mcquire is pretty blunt and to the point when he just comes out and asks Jamie if there is more to their relationship than just teammates.

“Well, he’s become my family, I guess, Pierre,” Jamie says, honestly, well, mostly honestly.  “You know my parents, Bill and Jean Marsh, were killed last year.  I don’t have any other family.  Sid, and his parents, and well, the whole team, have become my family.  They all spent a lot of time at the hospital with me.”Whether he truly believes Jamie or not, Mcguire accepts the answer.  He shakes Jamie’s hand again and then leaves to head back over to his broadcast area between the benches.

---

Jamie watches the game in the owner’s box instead of the press box with the other players that aren’t playing that night.  Mario’s, well really Nathalie’s, insistence.  She hovers around him all night, more of a mother hen than Sidney, even.  It really sucks watching the game from the box, though.  It might even be harder than watching or listening to it at home, Jamie thinks.  He wants to be down there, on the ice.  

It’s a good game, up until the Lightning tie it late in the third period.  Jamie is confident.  They have yet to lose this season when leading going in to the third period, and they were up at that point.  They also haven’t lost back-to-back games since January.  That all changes, however, when Garrison shoots and the freaking puck goes off Johnson’s back and in the net past Flower.  Fifty-three seconds.  It only took fifty-three seconds and now the Pens are facing elimination.

Chapter Text

Monday afternoon Jamie is stretched out on the couch listening to some music while he indulges his secret obsession, reading fanfiction online. Sid and the team are on their way to Tampa Bay for game six. Troy and Trina flew out this morning for Tampa, as well, so Jamie has the house all to himself. He had desperately wanted to go to Tampa, but Dr. Maroon wouldn’t clear him to fly yet.

At least he’s off all of the medications, so he’s rewarding himself with pizza and a beer. Okay, maybe rewarding isn’t the right term, more like drowning his sorrows at being stuck in Pittsburgh. He’s deeply engrossed in a story about Sidney and Ovechkin when his cell phone rings. He doesn’t recognize the number that comes up on the caller ID, debates about answering it for a minute, then swipes his thumb across the screen.

“Hello.”

“Um, Marsh?” A hesitant voice says. “Um, hi. It’s Tom, Tom Wilson.”

Jamie’s head snaps up. He not sure whether to say something or just hang up.

“Um, man, um, I saw your interview, last night, with Pierre. And, um,” Wilson’s voice is shaky.

“The fuck did you get my number?” Jamie interrupts him. He has a good idea. Fucking Russian.

“I, uh, Alex gave it to me, when I asked him if he had it. Look, I just wanted to say…”

“Say what? You’re fucking sorry for nearly killing me? You’re fucking sorry for ending my season? What? I’m really not sure you have anything to fucking say to me. And if you did, you have to wait until after you see me interviewed on TV before you man up and call me? Fuck off.”

“Marsh. Jamie, wait. I, I was going to call you the next day. Or call Crosby. But, I, I don’t know why I didn’t. Then I heard about what happened a couple of days later and well, fuck, I felt terrible. By then it had been so long that I didn’t think you’d want to talk to me.”

“And you think I do now?”

“No. But I need to talk to you. I was a wreck after the game, not so much even because we’d lost, but because of,” Jamie heard Wilson take a deep breath and let it out slowly, “because of what I did.”

When Jamie didn’t say anything, Wilson continued.

“Ask Ovi, or have Crosby ask Orpik. Fuck, ask Latts. I walked off the ice shaking. I kept watching the replay in the locker room, fuck I watched it over and over again on the flight until Latts finally took my phone. I was really upset. I know I have this reputation as a goon, especially after the hit to Sheary’s knee, but trust me, I’m really not out to hurt anyone. I, I was just reacting, you know. You were coming and… I’ve never, I’ve never hurt anyone before, not like that. I really didn’t mean to do it. I was just trying to protect… never mind, it’s not important… I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Whatever. Too little, too late.”

With that Jamie hung-up. He tossed his phone down on the coffee table, reaching for his beer to down the last of it. He looks at the bottle in his hand, just staring at the label. He suddenly throws it across the room. It hits the wall and shatters to the floor.

“Fuck him! Fuck him to hell!”

Jamie sits up and sets his laptop on the coffee table. He leans back into the cushions of the couch, bringing his hands up to cover his face. They’re shaking. His whole body is shaking. Jamie takes several deep breathes, trying to calm himself. His mind’s racing. Images flashing through his brain. Something Wilson says sticking out. Protecting what? He sits back up and picks up his laptop again, setting it on his knees.

He searches for the video and when it comes up he hesitantly hits play. He watches Kris chase the puck down in the Pens’ zone and send it up the boards. He watches himself grab it and turn to clear out of the zone. The pass is beautiful to Sid as he comes across the center. He watches. Then he backs up the video and watches again. And again. He sees what he hasn’t been able to remember.

As he’s clearing the Pens zone, he is looking ahead. Straight ahead. He sees Wilson coming. Knows he’s going to get checked and checked hard. But he looks at Sid to make the pass instead of just sending it to where he thinks Sid is. He looks away. And then… he looks back, and braces for the hit. It is a split second. A split second and a bad decision he now remembers.

Hockey is a fast game. Timed in fractions of a second. He knew Wilson was going to hit him and in that split second, Jamie made two decisions. The first was to look at Sidney for the pass. The second decision might not be obvious to anyone else, but Jamie saw himself do it. Read his body movement. And he remembered. He remembered making the decision.

He’d tensed, bracing himself in that split second. It wasn’t a blind hit. He knew it was coming. He had decided to brace and stand up on Wilson. They were equally matched, in height, in size. He had started to bring his own arms up, but then Wilson’s arm came up faster, catching him under the jaw, snapping his head back. Jamie watched his helmet fly off and his feet come out from under him. Then he watched as he hit the ice.

The look on Wilson’s face said it all. It wasn’t a look of pride or satisfaction. It was shock. He watched Wilson turn and head to the bench. He watched his face as he walked down the runway. Wilson looked stunned. Numb. Jamie realized then what had happened.

“Fuck. Oh, fuck.”

Jamie knew what he had to do then. He had several phone calls to make. He picked up his phone.

He heard the hesitation on the other end. “What?”

“You were protecting yourself. Your head. I was bringing my arm up to hit you and that’s why you raised your arm. I ran into it. You weren’t targeting my head. I watched the video. And I remembered what I was doing.”

He heard Wilson suck in air sharply.

“Did you tell them that? At your hearing?”

“No. I was,” Wilson’s voice is low, barely audible to Jamie, “I was too upset that you got hurt. I didn’t think it mattered. I just wanted to let them do whatever they were going to do at that point.”

“Fuck.”

“Look, it doesn’t matter. I called to apologize, anyway. I’m sorry for the hit. It was late regardless.” Wilson’s voice is a little louder, but still shaky.

“No. It does matter. I had every intention of hitting you. I’m sorry. It was just a bad decision on both our parts, I guess. I need to make some more calls right now. Is it okay if I call you back in a while, we can talk, if that’s okay?” Jamie hopes Wilson says yes.

“Yeah. I guess. I’m really sorry about what happened, Jamie. I hope you know that.”

“Yeah, Tom. I know. I’m sorry, too. I’ll talk to you later, okay.”

Jamie calls Sidney, next, telling him what’s going on and what he’s going to do. Sid asks if he is sure. He’s sure. It’s the right thing to do. Sid agrees. He calls Sullivan and Rutherford. Both agree with his decision. Then he calls the Pens’ media relations people.to give them a head’s up.

After that, he makes his last call, to Stephane Quintal, Director of Player Safety. “Mr. Quintal, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I need to tell you something about Tom Wilson. I’d like you to reconsider his suspension, Sir.”

Later that evening he’s got NHL.com pulled up on his laptop. He’s looking at the headline and smiling.

“Wilson Suspension Repealed Following Appeal By Marsh”

He dials Wilson’s number. Tom answers on the third ring.

“What the hell did you say to them?”

“What you couldn’t.”

Chapter Text

“Jamie?” Sid kicked off his shoes and dropped his bag, as he pushed the front door shut. “Jamie, I’m home baby boy! Where are you?”

He wandered in to the living room. No Jamie. Sid went to the kitchen next, still no Jamie. There was, however, an envelope on the kitchen table that had Sid’s name on it. Inside Sid found a handwritten note and a bottle of lube.

House to ourselves tonight, thanks to Mom & Dad! Oh, and Doc M said today I’m allowed to add some physical activity, if you get my meaning! Sid… I’m hungry! Very… very… hungry…

Sid took the stairs two at a time. When he opened the door to the master bedroom, he froze. “Holy shit,” he whispered under his breath.

Jamie was kneeling in the middle of the bed facing away from Sid. His arms were at his sides. He was wearing one of Sid’s jerseys. Only the jersey, which covered just the top of his ass. When he heard Sid enter the room, Jamie bent over so his arms were resting on the bed and his ass was stuck in the air. When he didn’t hear any further movement behind him, Jamie wiggled his bare ass at Sid.

That was all the prompting Sid needed, he shed his suit in record time and climbed on the bed so that he was kneeling behind Jamie.

Sid laid his hands on Jamie’s ass, squeezing the firm cheeks. He bent his head and kissed each side. He pushed the jersey up and let his tongue lick up the small of Jamie’s back, causing it to arch and thrust Jamie’s ass up against Sid’s chest.

Sid leaned back again. His hands slid back down between the cheeks of Jamie’s ass and he spread them apart, revealing Jamie’s tight, pink opening. He leaned in and ran his nose along the skin just above it, flicking his tongue lightly at the skin, teasing. Jamie moaned lowly, but stayed still.

Sid sat back and opened the bottle of lube, squeezing a generous amount over Jamie. He tossed the bottle aside. Sid pushed his index finger into the lube and pulled some of it down over Jamie’s opening. He traced his finger around it, pushing ever so slightly against it. He slid a second finger through the lube. He ran his fingers down past the opening so they just brushed Jamie’s balls. When he brought them back up, he didn’t hesitate but pushed both of them in to Jamie in one quick movement.

Sid knew what Jamie liked. He heard Jamie suck in his breath sharply, the moan a little louder. Sid held his fingers still until Jamie pushed his ass back against Sid’s hand. Sid worked the fingers in and out, slowly at first, enjoying the tightness and warmth of Jamie around them. Jamie was clenching his ass down around Sid’s fingers every time he pressed them in.

Sid found the lube with his other hand and squeezed some more on his fingers as they slipped out. He pushed a third finger back in with them with the next thrust. He started fucking Jamie with the three fingers, pushing them in hard and fast. Jamie moaned loudly. Sid felt Jamie’s body shudder as Jamie tried to stay still. Sid reached down with his other hand and grasped his own dick. God he was so hard already, watching his fingers fuck into that perfect ass. He stroked himself a few times. He knew once he got into Jamie he wouldn’t last long. He also knew he needed desperately to get his dick into Jamie right now.

He pulled his fingers out and grabbed Jamie’s hips with both hands, lining up the head of his dick against the opening. He pulled back on Jamie’s hips as he thrust his full length in all at once. Sid didn’t wait, just started pumping into Jamie’s ass hard and fast. Sid was breathing heavy, panting as he thrust harder, driving his dick deep, his balls slapping against Jamie’s.

“Oh fuck, Jamie,” he said, finally. “Oh my god, do you know how I’ve wanted this. Fuck.”

Sid reached a hand around and grasped Jamie’s dick, it was hard and wet with precum. He stroked it hard a few times, squeezing at the head. “Come on, baby boy. Cum for me.” Sid felt himself on the edge.

Jamie moaned then, “Fuck me, Sid. Please, oh fuck, make me cum. God it’s been too long, come on.”

Sid stroked hard on Jamie and felt Jamie’s body spasm as he came, shooting warm cum into Sid’s hand.

Sid thrust hard and felt himself break over the edge, shooting his cum deep into Jamie’s ass. He held himself there, feeling the fluids spread around his dick, before he gave in to his body’s need to move through his orgasm, thrusting into Jamie several more times as spasm rocked him.

Jamie collapsed to the bed, pulling himself off Sid. Sid flopped himself down next to Jamie and let his arm drape over Jamie’s back. It took a few minutes for them to catch their breath. Jamie turned his head so he was looking at Sid. He looked wrecked, his pupils blown wide. Sid was sure he didn’t look much better.

Jamie winked at Sid.  "Great win last night."

Sid leaned over and kissed Jamie’s forehead. “You’re so bad. But, god I love you!”

Chapter Text

“What the fuck, Jamie? You lied to me?” Jamie had never seen Sid this mad, at least not at him. “What if you screw up your rehab? If something happened? You were worried your career was over two weeks ago and yet you do something like this?”

“I feel fine. I’ve told them I feel fine.” Jamie stood with his back against the wall in one of the training rooms at Consol.

“Just because you feel fine, doesn’t mean you are fine. Not with a fucking head injury. You can’t just do what you want because you feel fine. It’s part of being a professional, Jamie. Being part of a team. Do you understand that? I should have fuckin’ known you weren’t telling me the truth yesterday.” Sid was fuming. He’d pulled Jamie out of the locker room after he’d heard Dr. Vyas talking to him about no activity for another couple of weeks.

Jamie locked eyes with Sid. “You didn’t seem to question it too hard when you were fucking my ass.” Jamie said it in a hushed voice, barely loud enough for Sid to hear, then added, “I want to play. I want to win the fucking cup,” louder.

Sid stepped up in front of Jamie, bringing his hand up and brushing it lightly over Jamie’s cheek.

“I’m sorry,” Jamie lowered his eyes, looking down at Sid’s chest, “I shouldn’t have. But, I do feel fine. I’ve told everyone out at the center that I’ve seen that I feel fine. No headaches. No dizzy. Nothing. I don’t even feel weird, like Flower was complaining of for a while. I feel, well, normal. I want to go run in the mornings. I want to work out. I want to get back on the ice. And, I, I wanted to be with you. God, I’ve missed you so much. I just wanted to…”

“I missed you, too.” Sid’s tone softened. He let his thumb trace along Jamie’s cheek. “I guess I wanted to believe that you were okay faster than Doc said.”

“That’s just it, Sid, I am. All my tests have been negative since I came home Saturday. Everything. I’ve talked to all the experts, the neurophychologists and everyone else they’ve had me talk to out at the center. I’ve done all the things they’ve asked, answered god knows how many questions, done how many neurological tests. I’ve had no problems with balance or any of the rehab exercises Jors has had me doing. I mean, light is still a little problem, but lots of guys with head issues end up wearing tinted visors, so I don’t think that should be an issue to keep me off the ice.”

“You’ve told everybody that. And what do they say?”

Jamie sighed, “Four weeks. Even then maybe not on the ice right away.”

“Then you need to listen to them.”

“But, fuck, even if we win tonight, that doesn’t get me back for the finals.”

“Is that what’s important to you? Playing in the finals if we get there? Winning the cup?”

“Isn’t that what’s important to you? Isn’t that the most important thing?”

Sid stepped back, running his hands through his hair. He suddenly looked very tired to Jamie. Sid didn’t say a word, just turning and walking out of the room, letting the door slam shut behind him.

---

The final minute was torturous. Jamie stood in the runway behind Duper. Dales was leaning on his crutches between Jamie and Zats. The others, Ports, Willy, Pooh, Oskar, Sunshine, were all there. The Pens held a one goal lead and the Bolts had pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. We can’t go in to overtime, Jamie thought.

You could barely hear yourself think from the noise the crowd was making. Nearly 19,000 all on their feet screaming. The chant of “We Want The Cup” filling the air. It was nearly deafening even in the runway.

“I’ve never heard it like this,” Duper leaned over to tell the younger players crowded around them. “This is too much.”

Jamie looked up at one of the TV screens set up for them to watch. Another stoppage of play. Fuck. Icing. Another face-off to the left of Murray.

“Come on Bones, win another one.” Dales said.

“Come on Muzz. Hold fast, buddy.” Jamie said.

The clock ticked down. Another stoppage. Another face-off. Jamie dropped his head to his chest, saying a silent prayer to the hockey gods. Please. Then he heard the roar, the crowd going to yet another level.

“Hagy on a break. Goal!” Duper yelled. The boys went nuts. That should seal the game.

“No. No. Fuck. No goal. They waved it off.”

Duper was relaying the information he was getting from Flower on the bench. Murray was playing because Flower hadn't felt well all day. They weren't sure if it was a concussion or not, but he'd said he could go in if needed, so he was on the bench not Zats.

“Oh fuck. They said the pass went off somebody on the bench.” He yelled something in French at Flower, who yelled back at him. Duper turned back to the boys. “Off Lovejoy’s stick. Sid is arguing because they are putting five seconds back on the clock. Will be 10 seconds, and another face-off to Murray’s left. Bones still taking it. Culls out there in case they kick Bones out.”

Jamie watches it unfold on the TV. Bones wins the face-off and kicks the puck back. It gets kicked around a bit and then they tie it up on the boards behind the net. The clock runs out and the horn sounds. The team rushes over the boards to mob Muzz.

Duper throws his arms around Jamie in a tight hug. Then Jamie is grabbing Dales. They all make their way out to the bench. Coaches congratulating everyone. Jamie can’t get over how great this feels. God, what will it be like if they win the cup, he thinks. He watches the Pens line up for handshakes. A couple of the lightning skate over by the bench to shake hands with Dales before they skate off.

The team comes over to the bench, taking off their helmets and tossing sticks into a pile. They are hugging Duper, Dales, Jamie, all the guys standing there. Sid comes over and hugs Duper. He hugs Dales. He barely hugs Jamie before skating away. Jamie just stands there, his head dropped.

Dumes skates up to him. “Fluff, can you fucking believe this? We are gonna party tonight, buddy!”

Dumes wraps him up in a tight hug. When Jamie doesn’t hug back, Dumes pulls away a little. “Fluff? You okay? Man you gotta be happy right now.”

Jamie gives him a half-hearted smile. “I’m happy Dume-ass. On to the cup!”

Dumes hugs him again and skates over to chirp Rusty for getting interviewed by Mcguire.

In the locker room they take the team photo with the Prince of Wales Cup. Sid presents Rusty with the Warrior Helmet. Then everybody is talking to the media and making plans to go out and celebrate.

Jamie stands off to the side, texting on his phone. Sid finally walks over and tells Jamie that they’ll go out with the team, but he has to do podium stuff first. Jamie nods and when Sid walks away, Jamie quietly slips out.

Sid is finally done with all the press, dressed and looking around the locker room for Jamie. He’s actually looking forward to going out with the guys. Jamie is feeling better. They’re going to the finals. It’s been a tough two weeks, but things are better.

“Hey, anybody seen Jamie?”

“I think he skipped out a while ago, Sid.” Muzz says. “Hey, you coming out, right? Celebrating my birthday, too, ya know. I heard the Captain was buying the first round.”

“Yeah, Muzz. I’m coming. I’ll see you there.” Sid pulled out his cell phone, checking for messages. There was a text from Jamie.

Going home with your folks. Won’t be waiting up.

He looks up. Brian is sitting in his stall looking at his phone. “Hey, Dumo. Did you get a text from Jamie?”

“Yeah. I was gonna ask you. Said he was tired and going home. Said to make sure you had a good time, though. Is he okay. He seemed kinda, I don’t know, he was happy, but then he got really quiet.”

“I think so. He told me he was tired, too.” It was a convenient lie. “Come on, you can ride with me.”

---

He’d had a couple of beers, restraining himself from partying too hard, that could wait until they won the cup. But he’d wanted to be a good Captain, buying the first two rounds, before making his excuses and leaving. Most of the older guys had followed him out, leaving the kids to enjoy their victory. Duper had draped his arm around Sid's shoulders as the walked to their cars.  He knew what was coming... the lecture.

"You were an asshole.  He told me what happened this morning.  The fight."  When they get to Sid's Rover he turns Sid and puts both hands on Sid's shoulders.  "He should have been here, with us.  So while I know that you think you are in the right here, you're not.  You need to fix this, now.  Go home.  Tell him why you are so worried.  Tell him what you told me while he was laying in the hospital."

"I tried to tell him, to tell him what he means."

"You're very good at most things in your life, Sid.  Expressing your emotions isn't one of them.  Look.  Do you think he is okay?"

"I want to believe him."

"Okay.  Let's try something then.  I think the team doctors have been over cautious with some of the guys.  I think that is because of me, because I tried to hide my problems.  I think that if Jamie thinks he is okay, he should get a second opinion.  Away from the team.  Just like you did when you knew it was more than a concussion.  Why you went outside the team, and that's when they figured out about the neck problem causing your headaches.  So why not see if another doctor has a different opinion about Jamie?  Who's to say he didn't heal faster than expected?  He's young, in great shape, healthy otherwise.  Isn't it possible?"

---

When Sid got home, the house was dark except for a light in the living room he knew his parents had left on for him. Some things never changed.

Sid grabbed a glass of ice water before making his way upstairs, feeling his way in the dark. When he opened the bedroom door his heart sank.

The nightlight in the bathroom shed just enough light into the room that Sid could see that the bed was empty, still made up in fact. He didn’t walk in, just sat his water down on the dresser and turned around.

He walked down the hallway, making his way to the far guest room. Hoping. The door was closed, but the handle turned when he grasped it. That was a good sign, he thought. At least Jamie hadn’t locked the door.

Sid made his way to the edge of the bed. He could make out the figure on the bed in the dim light coming in the windows. Jamie was on his side, back turned towards Sid. Sid didn’t pull the covers down, but simply climbed on the bed and stretched out against Jamie’s back, wrapping his arms around Jamie and pulling him tight to his chest. Sid buried his nose against Jamie’s neck, kissing it softly.

“I know you’re awake. So you can just lay there and listen to me.” He heard Jamie huff. “I love you. I was so worried that I was going to lose you, or that you were hurt really bad. Do you know that the night you got hurt I sat there watching you, praying for just one thing, for you to open your eyes and be okay. Then I went through the same thing on Saturday, when you ended up in the ICU. I realized something that first night and it scared me. I realized that I didn’t care if I ever won another cup as long as you were okay and I didn’t lose you. I love you. I’ve never felt this way about anyone, Jamie. Not even Geno, and it scares me. It scares me how fast all this has happened, too. I can’t lose you. That’s why I worry. That’s why I got so upset that you lied to me. What if you weren’t okay? What if something happened. That’s what I meant when I said I couldn’t deal with it earlier. All I could think about was what if something had happened. I needed to be able to focus on the game. I needed to try and push that worry out of my head. It took everything I had.”

Jamie rolled over to face Sid, bringing his hands to Sid’s chest and letting Sid’s arms stayed wrapped around him. Sid kissed Jamie’s check, and drew back. Jamie’s face was wet with tears.

“I’m sorry.” Jamie sniffled. “I just want to play. And I thought you’d understand when I said I was okay, that you’d trust me. And when we won tonight. I was so fucking happy. I just wanted to get to celebrate with you. Then you all but ignored me, Sid. Fucking ignored me. How the hell was I supposed to feel about that?”

“Ah, baby boy. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was such a shithead after the game. Fuck, I was just so mad and so, so damn worried. And you didn’t seem to be getting it. You asked me something earlier today, in the training room when I asked you if you thought winning the cup was the important thing. You asked me if that was what I thought was important.”

“Yeah. It is the most important thing, Sid.”

“No. Weren’t you listening to me just now. It’s not. You are.” Sid pressed his mouth to Jamie’s forehead, kissing him lightly. “You’re all that matters to me.”

“All of me?”

“Loves all of you.” Sid brushed his lips against Jamie’s. “So, you really are feeling 100 percent?”

“Yes. I know what the doctors say, but I know my body. I am fine.”

“Okay then, I trust you to know.  Tomorrow we'll make some calls.  I'll talk to Doc V.  If we need, we'll go looking for a second opinion, outside UPMC.  Okay.”

"Really?  You're sure."

Sid slid a hand down and cupped Jamie’s ass. “Yes.  So, tonight, how about I make it up to you for being a dick earlier. We can have our own celebration for winning the conference.”

“I don’t know, Crosby. It might take a lot of sucking up. A lot… of… sucking up.” Jamie kissed him lightly.

“I’m counting on it,” Sid murmured into Jamie's mouth.

Chapter Text

Saturday, Jamie was wearing a gold no contact sweater, but at least he was on the ice. Rick Tocchet put Jamie through a series of drills. Jamie didn’t miss a beat.

There were a lot of people standing in the bench area watching him, including Dr. Maroon and another neurosurgeon. A specialist who had flown in at Jamie’s request. On Friday, when Maroon had balked at Jamie’s request to get back on the ice, Jamie had made a phone call to Edmonton.

Matt Wheatley, from the University of Alberta, had been a friend of Bill Marsh. He had watched Jamie skate his whole life. Wheatley agreed to fly to Pittsburgh even though he could have reviewed Jamie’s records from Edmonton, telling Jamie he wanted to examine him in person. Especially if he was going to possibly step on another surgeon’s toes.

Jamie finished the last drill and skated over to the bench, looking hopeful.

“How do you feel? Honestly, Jamie.” Maroon asked.

“Fine. No problems. Like I said, I may try a tinted visor, it’s pretty bright out on the ice with the lights, but other than that, nothing.”

Maroon stepped closer. He raised his finger, having Jamie follow the movement, while the doctor watched his eye reaction. After a minute, Maroon dropped his hand and turned around.

“Dr. Wheatley, your opinion?”

“I took the opportunity to pull Jamie’s records from Edmonton, his baseline exams each year he played. I compared those to all his tests this morning. No significant changes. Also, the MRI and CT from this morning show no signs of the injury. I’ve seen this, in athletes some times. Individuals who don’t fit the norm. They heal faster than the average. It happens. Usually with athletes like Jamie who are in extremely fit condition. I think you guys saw it with Kris Letang, bouncing back from the stroke so fast. If it were my decision. I’d let him play.”

“Full contact, right away?” Vyas asked.

“Full contact. From the MRI, the blood vessels look as healthy and as sound as they were before the injury. I don’t think he’s at any more risk of another accident than he was when he took the ice for his last game.”

Vyas looked at Maroon, who just nodded. “Okay,” he said, “you put that in writing for our records?”

“Yes. Gladly.” Wheatley smiled at Jamie.

“Go change your sweater,” Sully said, clamping his hand down on Jamie’s shoulder. “We’ve got to get ready to win a cup!”

Jamie bolted down the hall to the locker room. His teammates were sitting there, waiting for word on how things went before they headed out to practice.

Jamie dropped his head, putting on a look of disappointment. He shook his head sadly.

“Ah, Jamie. Don’t worry, you’ll be back soon.” Flower stood and put his arm around Jamie’s shoulders.

Jamie looked up and grinned. “Hey Dana, gonna need my black practice jersey today!”

Flower slapped the back of Jamie’s head, “Shithead!”

Jamie didn’t have time to act hurt before being swept up into a team hug to a chorus of “Marshmallow!”

Practice went well, even if Jamie was a half-step slow for the most part. He knew it would all come back quickly.

---

That night Sid, his parents, and Jamie were all invited over to the Lemieux’ for dinner. Geno, Anna, and his parents were there, too. Everyone was excited and congratulating the happy couple on the pending arrival of a baby Malkin.

Anna looked radiant, Sid noticed, and Geno looked happy as he doted on her all evening.

Geno thought Sid looked happier than he’d ever seen him as Sid doted on Jamie all evening.

Sid noticed Mario watching him with a rather smug look on his face. When Mario got up to go get some more drinks from the kitchen Sid followed him.

“You look pretty pleased with yourself,” Sid chided as he pulled a couple of beers from the fridge.

“I am. And you look very happy,” Mario swatted Sid on the behind, “and very much in love, Sidney.”

“Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me for anything.” Mario started to walk out, but Sid stopped him. Sid sat the beers down, and took the tray of drinks from Mario’s hands, setting it down as well. Then Sid wrapped his arms around Mario and pulled him in to a hug. Mario wrapped his arms around Sid and returned the show of affection.

“Yeah. I need to thank you. You knew what you were doing, didn’t you, when you got me to take him in. And you have no idea what that has done for me, for my life.”

“I know, Sidney. I know.”

---

When they walked back out to the patio, Jamie had his guitar and was absently strumming.

“You are going to sing something,” Nathalie prodded. “I like the song you sing for Sid.”

“No!” Geno interjected quickly. “No sappy all me love Sid song. Need happy song tonight.”

Sid sat down next to Jamie on the wicker love seat again. “What’s wrong with love songs, G? He could sing one for you and Anna, it could be your song from us.”

“No!” He patted Anna’s belly. “Baby Malkin needs happy song.”

Jamie looked at Sid and grinned. A truly wicked grin, Sid thought.

Jamie started playing. After a few notes, Sid groaned, as Geno’s deep laugh filled the air. “That is perfect song, Marshmallow!”

Dear future husband, here’s a few things you’ll need to know if you wanna be my one and only… all my life…

Awwwww… Take me on a date, I deserve it, babe… And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary… ‘cause if you’ll treat me right I’ll be the perfect wife… buying groceries… buy-buying what you need…

Troy and Trina start laughing too, as Jamie gives Sid a wink.

You got that 9 to 5… but, baby, so do I… so don’t be thinking I’ll be home and baking apple pies… I never learned to cook, but I can write a hook… sing along with me, sing-sing along with me, hey…

You gotta know how to treat me like a lady, even when I’m acting crazy, tell me everything’s alright…

Awwwww… Dear future husband, here’s a few things you’ll need to know if you wanna be my one and only all my life… Dear future husband, if you wanna get that special lovin’… tell my I’m beautiful each and every night…

Jamie waggles his eyes at Sid, which brings more laughter from Geno as Sid’s face turnes even redder.

After every fight… just apologize… and maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right, right…

Jamie bumps his shoulder against Sid, who moans in exasperation. That brings catcalls from Geno and Mario.

Even if I was wrong, you know I’m never wrong, why disagree, why-why disagree…

If you gotta know how to treat me like a lady even when I’m acting crazy tell me everything’s alright…

Dear future husband, here’s a few things you’ll need to know if you wanna be my one and only all my life, hey baby… Dear future husband, make time for me, don’t leave me lonely, and know we’ll never see your family more than mine…

“Well cause we are your family,” Trina laughs.

I’ll be sleeping on the left side of the bed, hey…

Open doors for me and you might get some… kisses…

Jamie gives Sid the puppy dog eyes. Everyone laughs harder.

Don’t have a dirty mind, just be a classy guy…

Buy me a ring, buy-buy me a ring babe…

Sid slides a hand into his pocket, fingers the two small metal objects there. He wasn’t planning on doing this now. But, Jamie picked this song to make fun of Sid. So, no time like the present.

You gotta know how to treat me like a lady… even when I’m acting crazy… tell me everything’s alright…

Woah… hey…

Dear future husband… here’s a few things you’ll need to know if you wanna be my one and only all my life… If you wanna get that special loving tell me I’m beautiful each and every night…

Sid leans over and kisses Jamie’s cheek.

That’s right… Future husband better love me right…

Everyone applauds as Jamie stands and takes a deep bow. “Thank you. Thank you. I’ll be here all week.”

Sid stands up next to Jamie and motions for everyone to quiet down for a moment. Jamie goes to sit down, but Sid stops him.

“I was going to wait until later, but after that song, this seems like the opportune time for this.” Sid then carefully kneels down on one knee. Jamie laughs, thinking he’s kidding.

Then he sees the look in Sid’s eyes as he looks up at him.

“This thing, us, it’s all happened so fast. I told you that it scared me. But, I also know it is all that I want from life. I want you to be in my life forever. And I hope you feel the same way.” Jamie’s breath hitches. He looks over at Troy & Trina. Trina is wiping a tear from her eye.

“Jamie Marsh, will you marry me?”

Jamie looks around, Geno is practically busting at the seams he looks so happy. Nathalie is wiping a tear away, too. Troy and Mario are nodding.

“I believe that lucky people meet the person they are supposed to be with. The luckiest people meet them early in their life so they get to spend all the more time together. I am one of the luckiest I guess. I’ve been in love with you from the moment I met you. So, yes. I’ll so marry you, Sidney Crosby.”

Sid reaches into his pocket and pulls out two matching gold bands. “I want you to wear this. On your right hand. And on the day we finally say ‘I do’ I’m going to put it on your left hand for all the world to see.”

He slides the ring onto Jamie’s hand and stands up, pulling Jamie in to a kiss.

Chapter Text

Jamie wakes up at 5 am. He stretches and rolls over, sitting up on the edge of the bed. He gets up and stretches again, then goes to the dresser and grabs some clothes before heading in to the bathroom.

When he comes back out 15 minutes later Jamie can’t help but smile at the sight of Sid curled up around his pillow. Jamie reaches for the ring on his finger, twisting it around. He goes over and leans down, kissing Sid’s forehead.

“Love you, Crosby. I’ll be back in a little while.”

“Mmmm… love…” is what he gets back as Sid burrows his head deeper into Jamie’s pillow.

Jamie goes downstairs, stretches some more, then slips on his running shoes. It’s getting light outside, the sun starting to make the horizon glow. Jamie heads out on his usual route. His mind is clear for the first time in weeks, not concerned with head injuries and worry. His body loosens the more he runs. He lets pleasant thoughts filter in.

Sidney. I’m going to marry Sidney Fucking Crosby. I wonder when we’ll have the wedding. No rush. We can do it whenever. Where? Where will we get married? Here? Cole Harbour? Cole Harbour would be great. At Sidney’s house, by the lake. That would be the best. God, maybe we could have the cup there. That would be awesome. Drinking champagne out of the cup at his wedding to Sidney Fucking Crosby.

Before he knows it, he’s back home. The sun is up completely now, and it’s already getting warm. Jamie kicks off his shoes by the door, grabs some water and a protein bar and heads up the stairs. Sid is still happily wrapped around his pillow.

He looks at the clock, it was only a little after six. They didn’t have to get up for an hour yet. He climbed on the bed.

“Sid, wake up a minute.” Jamie nudged him. “Sid, I need my pillow.”

Jamie tugged at the pillow a few times.

“What?” Sid was waking up. “What the hell, Jamie?”

“I need my pillow. Come on,” he said as he finally pulled it free from Sid’s grasp.

Sid started to roll over to face away from Jamie.

“Nope, come on, you can hug me instead of the pillow. I think I’ll come back to bed for a while.” Jamie pulled Sid to his chest. Sidney snuggled up against him with his arms wrapped around Jamie. Jamie wrapped his arm around Sid.

“Ugh, you smell like sweat.”

“You like it when I’m all schweaty, Sid. You said so. You like schweaty balls.” Jamie rubs his hand up and down Sid’s back.

“Oh god, Jamie. Not this early. Sleep. Need sleep.” He tries to roll over, but Jamie holds him tight.

“Stay. I’ll stop. We can sleep a little while before we have to get up.”

“You know what I missed, when I had to be on the road without you?” Sid kissed Jamie’s chest lightly. “The hotel pillows didn’t smell.”

“Well, that’s a good thing, Sid. I wouldn’t want my hotel pillows to smell.”

“No. I mean,” Sid yawned. “they didn’t smell like you. When I tried to hug them. I missed this, smelling you on the pillows in the morning.”

---

Once everyone is in the locker room Sunday morning, Sid stands up and gathers the guys’ attention.

“Um, okay. So, yesterday I may have done something that well. I know it will stay in this room. But, well, um…” Sid is stammering.

Jamie finally stands up and flashes his ring at everyone. “For god’s sake Sid, spit it out. He asked me to marry him and I said yes! And before anybody asks, no we don’t have a date in mind but when we do, everybody will be invited.”

There are handshakes and hugs all around then as their teammates offer congratulations. Flower and Tanger are a bit bitchy at Sid because he didn’t let them know he was going to do this. Kuni is crowing because Sid asked him to go along to pick out the rings.

They finally hit the ice at Consol around 11 am for a pretty grueling, fast-paced practice. Only Bones and Tanger aren’t on the ice, taking maintenance days. After practice, it was NHL Stanley Cup media day.

Jamie was getting dressed after practice, he was one of the guys that would have to go out for the giant media scrum. He slipped his ring back on his finger, not thinking that anyone would really notice it. He was at a table, with Ollie, Zats, Pooh, and Schultzy. He really didn’t think about it when he saw that Sid had his ring on as well when he went out to the media area. They should have known someone would pay attention.

Jamie fielded a lot of questions about his unexpected return to the ice. He didn’t go in to details, just said that he was fine and had been cleared by the Pens medical staff. It seemed that he got asked the same four questions by each reporter that stopped by the table to talk to him. What did he think of the Pens’ chances against the Sharks? What was he doing tonight since they’d have some free time later? Did he expect to be back in the line-up for game 1? What made him go to the league and ask that Tom Wilson’s suspension be overturned?

His standard answers were that he thought the teams were evenly matched and it would be a tight series, that he imagined he’d be watching game tape with Sidney, decisions on who started were up to the coaches but he hoped to play, and he did it because it was the right thing to do because a split-second difference and it could have been Tom Wilson who ended up in the hospital.

One of the regular Pittsburgh sports reports had come up and told him Sid had said that he intended to watch Game of Thrones tonight. Jamie had laughed.

“Yeah, right, he’s pulling your legs. I’ve got money that says we are re-watching all six games from the western conference championship tonight.” He absent-mindedly ran his right hand through his hair.

---

What Sid and Jamie actually did Sunday afternoon was drive to the airport to pick up Taylor, who was flying in for the finals. She had thrown her arms around Jamie when she finally got to meet him in person. Jamie picked her up off her feet into a big hug.

“God you’re a beast compared to Sid! He can’t get me off the ground.”

Sid rolled his eyes at her chirping. “Start this already and I’ll make you stay at Geno’s.”

“He is a bit wimpy isn’t he,” Jamie says as he sets her back down. He nudges Sid in the side. “Makes it fun to manhandle him.”

She winks at Jamie, “I hear he loves to be caged in, ya know what I mean.”

“Oh my god, Taylor! Shut-up!” Sid’s face and neck are a bright red. Jamie is loving it.

Sid suffers in silence on the ride home as the two teenagers harass him mercilessly, or at least that’s what he tells his mother.

That evening they cook-out on the grill and sit around talking about Sid as Taylor takes glee in telling Jamie every embarrassing Sid story she can think of. Sid groans and moans, but Taylor notices how his eyes light up every time Jamie laughs, or leans against him, or squeezes his hand.

They are in the kitchen later and Jamie is loading the dishwasher. Troy, Trina and Taylor are sitting at the table. Sid is putting leftovers away.

“So what time do mom and I have to be out of here tomorrow morning?” Taylor asks. She gets an odd look from her mom.

Jamie is chuckling. “Nobody’s told her? Sid? We talked about this.”

Sid just opens the fridge door and bends over, practically sticking his head inside. “I don’t think this is fair.” He mumbles.

Taylor looks at her mom, clearly puzzled. Trina just shrugs.

Jamie closes the dishwasher, starts the load, then turns around. He leans against the kitchen counter, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Sidney. We had this talk. Tell her.”

“Fuck. Fine.” Sid huffs, standing up and closing the fridge door. “You don’t have to leave tomorrow. In fact, we will be having family breakfast at 7 am at the Lemieux’.” He glares at Jamie. “Happy now?”

“Yes.” Jamie’s grinning. Taylor still looks confused. Sidney is slamming cabinet doors and drawers as he puts some more things away.

“So… Mom and I don’t have to disappear tomorrow? On a game day?” Her mom shakes her head. Taylor looks at her dad who looks like he’s about to bust a gut at Sid’s pouty boy face.

“We are working on our superstition OCD problem, aren’t we Sid?” Sid grumbles. “Mom has seen him every game day for the entire playoffs so far. Right, Sid? And nothing bad has happened to him.”

“Wait, what? Really? And, like, his head hasn’t exploded either?” Taylor starts laughing. “And he did this for…?”

“For Jamie.” Trina said, smiling broadly.

“Oh my god! Sidney you are so whipped! I love it!” Taylor gets up, going to Jamie and giving him a big hug. “I so love you! I am going to have so much new chirping material with you around! Why couldn’t he have met you years ago!”

Chapter Text

They were on their way in to Consol for their pregame skate. Jamie was skating. Sidney was not. But Sid was going in to do some off-ice cardio, so he was driving.

“Are you going to talk to me?”

Sid just stares ahead.

“Sid?”

Still nothing.

“You know, I’m supposed to be the pouty teenager in this relationship.”

“I’m not pouting.”

“You are so pouting. So, are we going to have to have another talk about this again? Think about how many things you’ve changed since you met me, and it’s been a good thing, right?” Jamie reached over and rested his hand on Sid’s thigh. “I mean, breaking the no sex on game day rule was a good thing. I’m pretty sure you thought so, too, this morning.”

“Did you hear what T said this morning? Did you hear her?” He reached down and moved Jamie’s hand. “And it’s your fault. Your fault that I’m going to have to put up with this now.”

“It was a little chirp, Sid. It was nothing.” Jamie put his hand back, this time lightly patting the inside of Sid’s thigh. “But it is nice to know that I’m not the only one who has an ‘I got fucked’ look.”

“I hate you.”

---

Later that afternoon, Jamie walks out of their bathroom after brushing his teeth, he’s wearing a t-shirt and boxer briefs. Sid is already stretched out in bed waiting for him, wearing just a pair of boxers. Jamie slips his shirt off before climbing in bed.

“Just a shorts kind of day? Works for me,” he muses to Sid as he climbs in bed and stretches out next to him.

“How about we break another rule? I get to be the big spoon for nap time?” He nuzzles his face into Sid’s neck, letting his teeth nip at the tender skin.

“How about not. And stop that, you’ve had your playtime today,” Sid rebukes Jamie’s advances, nudge him until he rolls over. Sid wraps his arms around Jamie, pulling him tight to his chest.

“How did the skate go,” he asks, resting his head on Jamie’s shoulder. “You in tonight?”

“Game time decision, but I’m kind of doubting it.”

“Sully say something? Or Tocchet? Why don’t you think you’ll play?”

“I don’t know, it’s just a feeling. Nobody’s said anything. I’m just nervous I guess.” Jamie takes Sid’s hand that is laying against his chest and laces their fingers together, pulling Sid even tighter up against him. “So, I’m really not sleepy. Nervous. Keyed up over tonight. I know what would really help me out.” Jamie pulls Sid’s hand down so that it brushes over the fabric of his shorts.

“Jamie, stop it.” Sid chides. “Not happening. You know the rules.”

“Come on, Sid. A little stress release would really help me out. I’d probably have a great nap then, be all rested and relaxed for the game if I do get to play.”

“Insatiable, baby boy.” Sid says as he pulls his hand free from Jamie’s. Jamie starts to whine a protest until Sid slides his hand under the waistband of Jamie’s boxer brief and gently grasps his dick.

“You are so good to me. Best future husband ever.” Jamie murmurs as Sid starts slowly stroking Jamie’s dick. “You know that, of course, I’m going to have to make sure you are all relaxed, too, after you get done.”

Sid sighs as he kisses Jamie’s neck. “I should just learn to send you home with Dumo game days.”

“Yeah, cause you hate me and all. Wonder if Taylor will be able to tell that we did this again?”

“Jamie.”

“Yes, Sid.”

“Shut the fuck up!”

“I love you, too, Sid.”

---

Jamie is bent over the toilet. Again. Towel at the ready and bottle of scope waiting at the sink.

When he finally walks in to the locker room to head out to warm-ups, Sid is waiting for him as usual.

“You know, I play with this kid that throws up pretty much before every game.”

“Yeah. I hear it’s a pretty lucky sign if he does.” Jamie starts to walk past Sid.

Sid reaches out and grabs Jamie’s sweater, waiting until Jamie turns to face him. Sid leans up on his skates and presses his lips to Jamie’s, soft and chaste, before pulling away.

"Isn't this against the rules?" Jamie tips his head, looking at Sid like he was waiting for the world to end.

"Rules are meant to be broken." Sid's got a twinkle in his eye, looking rather pleased with himself.

"Never thought I'd get you to admit that."

"Never thought I'd find someone who would make me want to admit that."

Jamie bumps his helmet to Sid's. "Let's go do this."

"I love you."

Chapter Text

When they come in from warm-ups, Jamie sees Sullivan go to Eric Fehr and say something. Fehr starts taking his equipment off. Jamie looks hopefully at Sullivan, who nods. “You’re in tonight Marsh.”

Sid, Kuni, Horny, Kris, and Dumes start the game. Flower is still not 100 percent okay, so he’s on the bench and Muzz is between the pipes again. The press speculated on the problem. The team now knew, a pulled muscle. Flower insisted to the medical staff and coaches that if needed, he’d be able to go in and play. Jamie knew that although the guys liked Zats, and Zats was a good goalie, they all felt better that if Murray replaces Flower, Flower was at least on the bench. Flower knows that, too.

The Pens come out strong in the first period. Rusty scores on a beautiful play, wristing one past Jones from 10 feet out. Shears follows that up just a minute later when he takes a beautiful centering pass from Sid and goes top shelf on Jones. The Pens head to the locker room with a two goal lead.

Jamie’s didn’t play on Sid’s line for the first half of the period, but by the end, he is out on the ice with him again. It goes okay, but by the time he comes in for intermission, he’s relieved that he’s off the ice.

He thought he had this. He’s been able to hide it well the last couple of days, but practices are a lot different than games, especially game one of the Stanley Cup finals in front of 19,000 screaming fans. The center is a lot louder on the ice than it had been from the runway last week. It is also brighter for games than practices, the glare off the ice intensified. The slight tint of his visor isn’t helping either. Jamie’s head is throbbing.

Sid knows something is wrong. After Sully gives them a quick talk about continuing to play their game, play the right way, and come out strong again in the second period, Sid goes over and nudges Jamie’s knee, motioning for him to follow. They walk to one of the empty offices.

“You aren’t okay.” He says matter-of-factly, getting Jamie to sit down. “I’ll get Chris and Doc.”

“No. Doc already doesn’t think I should be playing.” Jamie’s bent over, rubbing his forehead. “It’s the lights. And the noise.”

“Then you shouldn’t be playing.”

“Sid, please. It’ll be okay. I’ll pop some Tylenol or something. Please don’t tell Doc.”

Sid debates something for a moment. “I’ll be right back. You just sit in here.”

A few minutes later Sid comes back, accompanied by Sully and Heinze. They are talking as they come in.

“I think I have a visor with more tint, but I don’t know.” Jamie hears Heinze saying. He keeps his head down and his eyes closed. The throbbing has subsided a little.

“What about the noise, what can we do to help that.” That’s Sully.

“Earplugs of some sort. I don’t know. Um, cotton. Aren’t there cotton balls in one of the medical rooms?”

“I’ll go.” Sid darts out of the room again.

“Jamie, it’s Mike. We’re gonna see what we can do to help, but if it doesn’t help, I’m gonna make you stay off the ice. And, we’ll probably have to go to Doc. Okay.” Jamie nods his head.

“Let me go look for a visor.” Heinze leaves as Sid comes in with some cotton.

“Here, Jamie, try to make some sort of earplugs with this. It might block some of the noise.” He hands Jamie the cotton. Jamie sits up, taking some and working it into his ear canal.

“He won’t be able to hear you guys as well, either. That might be a problem.” Sully looks at Sid. “I should just pull him.”

“It’ll be okay. I’ll just try to keep my head up and pay attention.” Jamie looks at them as Dana comes through the door. He doesn’t have a tinted visor, he’s got Jamie’s bucket with a full face shield… and a pair of sunglasses.”

“He can’t play with those on.” Mike is grabbing the glasses. “Let me see those.”

The sunglasses are jury rigged. The stems are trimmed off and there are straps attached at the sides, making them more like sports goggles. There are two tiny holes drilled along the bottom edge of the lenses. Mike holds them in his hands, turning them over several times.

“Dana, these might work.” He hands them to Sid who hands them to examines them before handing them to Jamie. Jamie slips them on and looks around.

“The strap needs adjusted. But these feel okay. Let me see my bucket.” Jamie slips the helmet on. The full face shield is awkward, but he thinks he’ll be able to manage.

Dana checks the sunglass straps and then pulls them off. He sits down and goes to work, a couple of minutes later Jamie has them back.

“You know there’s a reason players don’t wear glasses on the ice. Won’t they fog over? Or get jarred around?” Sid is looking at Sully as he asks. Jamie has the glasses and the helmet on, shaking and moving his head around.

“The strap should hold them. And, the face shield will keep them from getting knocked off I hope. Also, we treated them, and the little holes for venting, to help them not fog.”

The others look at Dana funny. “Treated?” Jamie asks.

“Spit wash.” Dana grins.

“Ew, gross. But if it works, what the hell. I’m game. Will they let me play with these?” Jamie’s still turning his head all around. The dark from the shades already helping his headache and the pain around his eyes.

“I guess we’ll find out. About time to head back out anyways. Let’s go.” Sully leads them back to the locker room.

Jamie gets some strange looks from his teammates, who now have some serious chirping material because of the whole ‘wearing sunglasses inside is for douchebags thing’. Doctor Vyas and Sully have a rather heated discussion, at least Doc V does. Sully just stands there and then says calmly that Jamie is fine, just needed some special equipment. Jamie pops some Tylenol and downs a Gatorade before following the guys back out to the bench.

They call the linesmen over. They spend some time looking at the improvised equipment, before agreeing that it seems to meet the safety requirements.
Mike doesn’t send Jamie out on the ice right away. After the first four minutes of the period have passed, he taps him on the shoulder so that Jamie turns around to look at him.

“Okay?” Mike makes a motion with his hands pointing to his own eyes and ears.

Jamie smiles and nods. “Yeah. Headache gone. The shades are working, and I’ve been watching. I seem to be able to track the puck okay with them on. It’s still loud, but better.”

“Next shift with Sid, you’re up.”

Jamie goes over the boards about a minute later. When he gets back on the bench, Dana is waiting.

“Fogging?”

Jamie shakes his head no. “Not yet.”

“Problems?”

Jamie shakes his head no again. “Not too bad.”

The rest of the period goes pretty well for Jamie, except that the Sharks get two past Muzz to tie the game. He certainly feels much better when he heads off the ice for the second intermission.

It isn’t until late in the third period that the Pens take the lead again. With just under three minutes left, Kris gets the puck deep. He takes advantage of Brent Burns losing his stick. Kris is behind the Sharks goal, it’s a risky move for a defenseman to be that deep. Somebody needs to be paying attention and be back with Dumo in case things go to hell quickly.

Things don’t go to hell. Kris manages a pass to the front of the net. Paul Martin is a fraction of a second too late getting his stick down on the ice. The pass connects with Bones who shoots and scores.

Game one goes to the Pens.

---

On the ride home, Jamie is leaning his head against the passenger side window. The cool glass feels good against his forehead.

“How long?” Sid quietly asks, keeping his eyes focused on the road. He doesn’t need for Jamie to see the agitation he’s feeling right now.

“How long do you think?” Jamie sighs. “All my tests show there isn’t anything wrong.”

“But you’ve been having the headaches? Just on the ice, or other times?”

“Mostly on the ice,” Jamie sits up. “But other times. After I ran Sunday, I had a headache. Then again last night, after dinner. And a few other times.”

Jamie glanced over at Sid, who was nervously chewing on his bottom lip.

“I’m okay, Sid. Really. Normal, healthy people have headaches.”

“But so do people with concussions.” Sid reaches over and takes Jamie’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “I’m just worried, Jamie. If they get worse, or don’t go away, we go see Dr. Maroon.”

“I’d rather go see Wheatley.” Jamie leans his head back and closes his eyes.

“Because you have him fooled? You aren’t okay, Jamie. I can fucking see it.”

Jamie sighs, “I don’t have him fooled. He knows. After we win the cup Sid. I’ll go see him if they aren’t any better. I promise.”

“I should tell Sully. I should tell Doc V.”

“Sid, please. I promise. If they get worse I’ll go see somebody before then, but if not, I’m okay playing. I swear.”

“I want to know.” He squeezes Jamie’s hand. “I want to know every time you get a headache. We start writing it down. What you were doing. What the weather was. Light conditions. Everything. So that we can figure out what’s causing them. I’ll give you it could be stress related. But, I’m betting there’s something going on, with your eyes or the optic center, due to the hit. So, you’ll tell me, right?”

“Okay. If you’ll trust that I’m okay to play. They are just headaches. The sunglasses really helped tonight. Wonder how dark Dana can get the tint on a visor, or if I can get custom sports shades or something.” Jamie tried to shift the direction of the conversation.

Sid didn’t respond right away, but after a few minutes he glances at Jamie, who was staring out the window.

“Jamie?”

“What, Sid?”

“I love you. I just need for you to be okay.”

And I need you to concentrate on hockey and not worry about me, Jamie thinks. “I love you, too. And,” he says instead, “I’m okay.”

Chapter Text

Jamie was sitting in the kitchen after his run enjoying a cup of coffee and conversation with the Crosby women. Sid would be up soon and they’d be off for practice. That’s when The Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” starts playing on his phone. Trina and T give him an odd look until he says ‘group text’ and picks up the phone to look.

Geno: IS BABY!

Okay. That doesn’t say much. They all know Anna had been ready to deliver any day, Geno being a nervous wreck was a clear indication of that fact. But was she having the baby? Or was something wrong? Flower texted back first.

Flower: G? Everything okay? Baby here? Baby coming? What? Where?

Geno: Baby coming! At hospital! One I tell you guys! Come!!

Well, time to go see if Sid is up. They have a stop to make on the way to the training center. Jamie let’s Trina and Taylor know what is going on, then skips up the stairs.

Sid is already up and pulling out some clean clothes for both of them. “You shower? You got the text?” He asks as he tosses a pair of jeans on the bed for Jamie.

“Yeah, I got it. Haven’t showered, but I promise I’ll behave so we can jump in together to save time.”

It’s eight o’clock when they get to the hospital. The regular group has assembled. Geno comes out to the waiting room a few minutes after Sid texts him about their arrival.

“Is all good. Anna doing good. Baby soon doctor say.” His level of nervousness has hit a new high. He can hardly stand still, hurrying back in to be with Anna.

Kris looks at Flower, “Were we like that?”

Kuni shakes his head, “Worse. Both of you. However, Duper and I were much more calm and collected.”

Duper grins, “Speak for yourself. I was a basket case, for the first one, at least.”

At 10 am, Geno comes back out. He is all teeth as he smiles and holds out his phone to show them the picture of his beautiful baby boy. There are hugs as the boys welcome little Nikita to the family. They laugh that he weighs 7 lbs. 1 oz. Sid rumbles that it would have been better if it had been 8 lbs. 7 oz. Geno ruffles his hair. The boys are all so happy for G.

Duper slaps a hand on Sid’s shoulder as they are walking out of the hospital to head out to Cranberry. “Someday, Sidney. It will be your turn.”

Sid nods, “Maybe.”

Flower gets a typical Flower grin, “What, I think Jamie will look lovely pregnant.”

“What? Why do you think I’m the girl in this relationship?” Jamie swatted at Flower.

“Well, you have the girlie figure to start with,” Tanger chirps. “Isn’t that what G says?”

Jamie is acting offended, but Sid watches Jamie for a minute, then just dips his head and keeps walking. His three closest friends exchange concerned looks.

---

Practice goes really well. Dana has two visors for Jamie to try, one a full face shield, the other a regular visor. Both are tinted much heavier than any visor Jamie has ever seen. He opts to try the regular one first. After ten minutes on the ice he skates back over to Dana, complaining that when he looks down there is still a bright glare off the ice from the lights. Dana changes the visor to the full face one. It doesn’t even take five minutes for Jamie to skate by Dana and give him a big smile and thumbs up.

After practice, Sid says he is going to head back in to the hospital. They are walking out when Duper stops them. “Hey, would it be okay if I took the rookie to lunch? Player liaison stuff, making sure all the rookies are doing okay with the playoff pressure. Sully suggested it.” He tries to not look suspicious.

Sid nods when Jamie looks at him. “You give him a ride home?”

“Oui. I’ll make sure he gets home safe,” Duper says as he drapes an arm around Jamie’s shoulders, leading him away.

---

Lunch it turns out is at the Kunitz residence with Flower, Kris and Kuni all there.

“This can’t be good.” He says under his breath.

He and Duper join the others at the kitchen table. Maureen sits down a plate of sandwiches, glasses, and a couple of pitchers of ice tea, then she discretely disappears.

“Relax. We aren’t going to kill you.” Kris offers, reading the look on Jamie’s face.

“Yet.” Flower says. Tanger kicks him under the table as he tells him to behave.

“So then, why are we all here. What did I do to Sid? Or is this the ‘if you break Sid’s heart’ talk I’ve been expecting. Troy and Mario have already had that chat with me, just so you know.” Jamie takes a drink of his tea, trying to sound more confident than he feels.

“How are you doing? The sunglasses and now tinted visor, we in the FBI call that a clue,” Flower says, “that and the look on Sid’s face last night and today.”

“Did you come back too soon? You are having problems, Jamie. Concussions are not something to be messed with.” Kris’ dark eyes are full of concern.

“I’m fine. All of the medical tests, all of the neuropsych tests, everything is clear. I’ve told Sid this.”

“And the headaches?” Kuni asks. “Sid told us about the headaches.”

“People get headaches. And why is Sid telling anyone any of this?” Jamie is getting a little agitated at this point. This is between him and Sid. What the hell.

“Jamie,” Kuni puts a hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “He’s worried. He’s our family. You’re our family, too. We’re worried about you, about both of you.”

“The headaches aren’t normal headaches, Jamie. You aren’t some schmuck off the street with a boring desk job who gets a headache. You’re a professional athlete who took a serious hit to the head. Your tests may all be clear, but something is going on. And trying to hide them isn’t a good thing. Trust me, I speak from experience.” Kris leans towards Jamie. “It took me a long time to get that through my head. A long time and a stroke.”

“Jamie, I tried to hide my problems, too,” Duper speaks up. “I played games with basically half a lung, because I didn’t want to believe something was wrong. You’ve heard me talk. It was stupid. It made my family worry.”

“I’m not trying to hide anything. I have headaches.” The looks on the four men’s faces say it all. They aren’t buying his story for anything. Jamie looks at Kris.

“After your stroke, you talked about having to learn what the new normal was for your body, for how you felt. I remember watching all the interviews. So what if this is just my new normal, something I just have to learn to live with?”

“Having headaches all the time is not any kind of normal, Jamie.” Duper shakes his head. “Why can’t you see that. Why is it so important for you to have to play right now? I thought Sid explained to you about how he feels, about how you are more important to him than hockey, or the Cup, or anything else in his life.” Jamie gives him a disbelieving look. “Yes. I know. He sat and cried holding your hand. Cried as I hugged him while you laid in that hospital bed the night you got hurt. And he told me, he told me just how he felt and what he was willing to give up as long as he had you in his life.”

Jamie looks down at the table. He can’t look at Duper right now. He cam’t look at any of them.

“The question is Jamie, you want him to believe you when you say you are okay, when he can clearly see that you are not, why can’t you believe him when he says you are the most important thing in his life?”

Jamie swallows hard, when he looks up his eyes are glistening. “Because he’s not being any more truthful than I am.”

Flower curses in French under his breath, angry that Jamie could think that. He pauses before he speaks. “I have known Sid for longer than anyone here. He is not lying. He would walk away from everything for you. That ring on your finger is pretty strong evidence of that.”

“Look at him guys. I can see it in his face every time someone brings up the beginning of the season. How he is past his prime. How he’s not going to get another cup. Christ, all the sports writers are picking San Jose. Sid is too inconsistent. Sid hasn’t been the same since the concussion. Sid is washed up. Pittsburgh should trade him. I read it. I hear it. I see what it does to him when he’s not in front of the cameras or any of you. He needs this. We have to win. Which means he has to have all his attention on the games, not on me. If I’m okay. If I make him believe that then he can focus on his hockey.” Jamie has raised his voice, barely maintaining control at this point.

Flower pushes his chair back and stands up. He’s waving a finger at Jamie. “That ring. He started talking about wanting to marry you when the playoffs started. He was going to wait until after we were either eliminated or won it all to ask you. We tried to tell him to wait, wait until August or the start of next season, to be sure of what he was doing. We didn’t want him to rush in to anything.”

Jamie starts to interrupt, but Flower holds his hand up. “No. You need to listen to this. It wasn’t because we were worried he shouldn’t be with you, or because we didn’t like you. Mon dieu, Jamie, we all love you, too. You have been the best thing for Sid. But we didn’t want him rushing because giving you that ring, both of you wearing a ring, would lead to all kinds of speculation by those who want to go looking for that type of thing. We all like to think that it would be okay for there to be an openly gay player in the league or a couple even. And, with the other teams it probably would be okay. But if you don’t like the things that people say about Sid now in the press, think about what happens when they find out all the rumors they’ve spewed about him for years are true? He could be giving up his whole career. Everything he’s worked for his entire life. Any chance to win another cup. We talked to him. Tried to tell him to wait. Or at least, not to do the rings. And you know what he said? He said, I don’t care Flower, I love him. That’s right. He loves you more than I think he’s ever loved anyone outside of his parents and Taylor. So you tell us. We know what Sid would give up for you. What are you willing to give up for him? Are you willing to give up playing for a cup? You played a game, your name will go on the cup, if that’s what’s important to you. But I am telling you, you need to not play if you are not okay, because if something does happen to you, Sid will walk away from all this and then what will it have gotten you.”

“He wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t walk away, not for me, not for anyone.” He says it, but when Jamie sees the way they are looking at him, he finally starts to doubt his own words.

Flower, always happy and jovial, probably was best exhibiting what they were all feeling. His face was stone-cold sober, no smile, no playful glint in his eyes, just harshness showing through his firm expression.

“You are so mature sometimes, and then you act like this.” Flower sits back down and drops his head to his hands. “I give up.”

Jamie looks at Kris, Kuni and Duper. They just shake their heads.

Jamie slides his chair back and stands up in one fluid movement. “I’ll find a ride home. Tell Maureen thanks for lunch.”

They watch as he turns and storms out, the door slamming behind him.

“Well that went well.” Duper groans.

---

Kris is the first to leave a half-hour later. He finds Jamie sitting next to his car. It’s obvious he’s been crying. Kris squats down and pats Jamie on the back. “Come on, I’ll take you home.”

Jamie gets up and walks around, climbing in the passenger seat. “Kleenex?” Jamie sniffles. Kris just shakes his head no, so Jamie unceremoniously blows his nose into the hem of his shirt. Kris ews, and Jamie shrugs his shoulders, “Any port in a storm.”

“So you couldn’t find a ride?”

“I didn’t try. I decided to just wait for you. You looked the least upset with me. And the most understanding.” He sighs and leans his head back against the seat. “The headaches. They had gone away, then they came back.”

“When. When you started skating?” Kris turns onto a side street and pulls his car over, hopefully where Flower wouldn’t see it on his way home. He turns the engine off. “Okay. Talk to me.”

“Before then. Monday. When I watched the video of the hit, after Wilson called me. About an hour after that it started. I thought maybe it was the screen, or maybe the several beers I had. But it didn’t go away. It never completely goes away. Last night, even with the Tylenol and the sunglasses, the throbbing subsided, but the dull ache was still there. It’s the way I feel right now. There’s just this dull pain in my head. Not enough to keep me from doing anything, but it is just… there.”

Kris reaches over and slides his hand in behind Jamie’s head. His fingertips gently massaging. “Is the pain more in one area, like here, where you hit? Or is it just your whole head that aches?”

“The whole head I guess. When it throbs, the throbbing starts in the back. Then moves up behind my eyes. I’m not having any vision problems, just the pain.” Jamie pushes into Kris’ hand, letting his body relax a little.

“Does the doctor know? The one that came from Edmonton. Does he know you are having the headaches?”

“Yes. But not the pain all the time. He said the headaches are probably going to happen, said they are most likely tied to the light issue because of where the injury was. Said they should become less frequent with time, but not a reason to keep me off the ice.”

“Okay. So what say I take you home and then we… you, Sid, and me… we call him and tell him what’s going on and see what he says.”

“I’m scared. I’m scared of what he’s going to say, Kris.” Jamie turns and looks at him. “But I think you guys are right. He’s not going to focus on hockey until he can quit worrying about me, and if that means I’m off the ice, well…”

“Well what?” Kris pulls his hand back and starts the car.

“Everything. The answer to Flower’s question is everything.”

“What you’d give up? For Sidney?”

“Yes.”

Chapter Text

When Jamie and Kris walk in to the house together, Sid is surprised and confused, especially since Jamie is obviously upset and it’s clear he’s been crying.

“I thought this was lunch with Duper. Tanger?”

Jamie settles himself down on the couch, sliding under Sid’s arm when he slips it around his shoulders. Jamie buries his head against Sid’s neck and pushes his body into Sid’s embrace.

“What happened? Is somebody hurt? Did something happen to Duper?” Sid’s mind is racing about what could be wrong.

“No. Everyone is fine,” Tanger sits down in a chair and brushes his hair back. “We sort of had, I don’t know, I guess you could call it an intervention, with Jamie.”

“We? What the hell? He’s not gonna break my heart you assholes. I told you that you didn’t need to have a ‘chat’ with him.” He cups Jamie’s chin and lifts his head. “What did they say to you to upset you so much?” He turns to glare at Kris.

“Jamie, now’s the time to speak up.” Kris nods his head at Jamie. Sid looks down.

“The headaches, headache, isn’t just once and a while. It’s been pretty much there since last week.”

“What?” Sid looks to Kris, who nods.

“That was why we talked to him today. Duper and I could see it, he’s been trying to hide it, but you know it takes someone who’s been there sometimes to see through that. He finally told me what was going on. He’s scared, Sid, scared of how you are going to react, scared of what Wheatley will say.” He mouths at Sid “do not yell at him.”

Sid wraps his other arm around Jamie and pulls him tight, kissing his forehead. “I knew something wasn’t right.” Jamie sniffles, the tears coming again.

“Hey, look at me,” Sid pulls back a little so Jamie can raise his head. “What have I told you? We’re in this together and we’ll get through this together. I’m not mad. I’m worried. So what do we do now?”

Jamie sat up. He wiped his eyes, and blew his nose on the hem of his shirt again, just as Sid was handing him a Kleenex from the box on the end table. Sid gave Kris a glance. Kris just shrugged and said “Kids.”

“We call Wheatley. Kris said he would stay while we did, so that he can make sure we are both hearing the same thing and not just parts we may want to hear, you know.”

“That sounds like a good idea.” Sid rubs his hand up and down Jamie’s back. “Everybody is out shopping for baby stuff, so we have the house to ourselves. Now would probably be a good time to see if we could talk to him.”

Jamie pulls out his phone and dials the number. Sid expects a secretary to answer and is surprised when Wheatley answers the phone.

 

“Okay, Jamie, everybody there and things okay?” Wheatley asks and waits for Jamie’s reply. “Okay then, tell me what’s going on.”

Two hours later, they finally end the call. Sid sits back and lets out a slow breath.

“You’re okay with all this, Jamie?”

“Are you?”

“Yeah, I feel better about everything, about you. We need to set up a meeting with Sully and Doc V. How about tomorrow morning? Were you going to skate?” Jamie nods. “Okay. I’ll see if they are available before that.”

After a little while, Kris decides things are okay and heads home. After seeing him out, Sid comes back and sits down at the left end of the couch. Jamie stretches out and lays his head in Sid’s lap.

“So does it hurt right now?” He brushes Jamie’s hair back off his forehead.

“That dull ache is there. Yeah.”

Sid lays his hand down on Jamie’s forehead, letting his thumb gently rub back and forth. “Close your eyes for a while.” When Jamie does Sid shifts his hand so that his thumb can lightly rub over one of Jamie’s eyelids, just under his eyebrow. He starts at the bridge of Jamie’s nose and rubs out, following the bone. His thumb is soft, applying just the slightest pressure.

“Geno would do this for me. When I was having a bad day when I had my concussions. Said Mama Malkin would do it for him when he was young. It’s nice, huh?” Jamie murmurs a yes.

Sid watches until Jamie’s breath evens out and grows shallow when he finally falls asleep. Sid lays his own head back against the couch. When his family comes home, they find them there that way, both sleeping peacefully. Taylor snaps a picture.

---

Wednesday, Jamie gets up and goes for his run. When he gets back, Sid is up and dressed. Jamie showers and they head out to Consol. They have an early morning breakfast meeting scheduled with Sully and Dr. Vyas.

The four men sat around a table, Dr. Vyas looking rather smug, Jamie thought. Well, we’ll just fix that right away, he figured.

“First off, I’ve talked to Dr. Wheatley. He stands by that I am okay to skate if I feel like it. Nothing that I’ve been experiencing effects that, except that playing with a throbbing headache is tough. He agrees with using the tinted visor. The issue though is the constant ache, not the acute throbbing ones. He really believes for what I’ve told him that they are brought on by the light and noise conditions. He said in a lot of cases these types of headaches will decrease in intensity and frequency over time, maybe a few months. If they don’t we deal with that as we go. But if the visor helps and lets me play, I can play.” Yeah, that deflated Vyas a little, he thinks.

“So what does he think about the other, Jamie?” Sully asks. He’s watching Sid, using him to judge how forthcoming and truthful Jamie is being with the information. Sid wouldn’t let him hide it if something was really wrong.

“It’s common he said. With my type of injury, he said that while the physical injury can and sometimes does heal in days with athletes, the concussion syndrome symptoms, he called them, can linger, or sometimes even go away and then come back like mine did. He said what I’m having is probably a type of tension headache. It can be caused, like Sid had, by having had a whiplash injury to the neck and shoulder muscles. Or it can be stress related. Or any other number of issues. He said it was normal,” he glances at Sid “and treatable. And that it is up to me, whether I play or not with it. Right now, he doesn’t see it being debilitating, meaning that it’s not really effecting my normal routine. I can function through the pain he said. If that changes, if it becomes worse, then I definitely stay off the ice completely. He’d also like to start me, or have Dr. Vyas start me on a low dose anti-depressant. He said that may help ease any tension and stress I’m having. Matt laughed when I told him that I wasn’t under any stress, I mean it’s just hockey you know.” They all chuckled at that, even Vyas. “Anyway. That’s what’s going on.”

Sully turned to Vyas. “Well, your thoughts?”

Vyas looks at Sid, he like Sully looking for Sid’s indication that Jamie had told them everything. Sid read the look.

“Tanger was there while we were talking to Wheatley if you need another witness. I was a little skeptic too, but Wheatley reassured me that Jamie is okay to skate if he feels like it. So Jamie and I agreed that we’d ask you to treat him as day-to-day. I trust him to say if it’s too bad for him to be on the ice, or if things get worse. We’ve had a few very frank talks the last 24 hours. No more keeping things back or trying to hide things.” He reached over and put his hand on Jamie’s, which was laying on the table.

Vyas nods. “Okay then. I can think of a few approved medications that we can try. I’ll call Wheatley and run them past him. We can probably get you started on something this afternoon.”

“So what about tonight, Jamie?” Sully asks finally.

Jamie looks over at Sid, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Sid squeezed his hand and mouths “It’s okay.”

“I’m asking to sit out tonight. If I can start the medication today, that gives it until Saturday before I would have to play again. Maybe we would know if it was going to help by that point.”

Sullivan nods. “I think that’s a pretty smart decision, Jamie. I’d like to have you in the line-up, but I also want to make sure I have you down the road, like next season. So let’s get this treatment started and see how it goes.”

---

Later, when they come back for the game, Dr. Vyas has a prescription for Jamie. He sits and goes over the recommended dosage and any side-effects to watch out for. Jamie takes a dose. Ugh, he thinks, I freakin’ hate taking pills. Having to take the amount of Tylenol he’d been popping lately had helped but it had been a struggle, too. One pill a day instead of ten had to be an improvement.

And, most importantly, he’d promised Sid he would try this.

That night he stands in the executive box and watches the game with Duper and the others. It is one of the toughest things to do. When Shears buries the one-timer into the net in OT, Jamie can’t wait to get to the locker room to celebrate with Sid.

Next stop, San Jose, up two games to none.

Chapter Text

Thursday morning Jamie is up and off for a run by 5:15. The pain is still there, but he’s only had one pill he thinks. He resolves to just wait. When he gets back Trina and Troy (call us Mom and Dad, honey) are in the kitchen with a pot of coffee. Jamie joins them. They talk about the headaches and all that happened yesterday. But it isn’t long before Trina just comes out with what’s been on her mind since Saturday.

“Have you two talked about a wedding date yet? Or where you might have it?”

“Trina, Sid just gave him the ring five days ago. Really.” He shakes his head. “I’m sorry Jamie, but she is so damn happy at the thought she might get grandbabies sometime soon.”

Jamie is in the middle of a sip and about chokes on his coffee. Troy pats him on the back.

“Sorry about that.” Jamie manages. “Um, no, we haven’t really talked about anything, um, including kids. Well except that the guys all say I’m going to look radiant pregnant and Sidney is going to be a great dad, but uh, other than that.”

Troy chuckles, “Yeah, I can see you barefoot and pregnant running around the house.”

Jamie groans, “God Dad, not you too. Why does everyone assume I’m the girl here?”

Troy pauses at that, lifting his cup and taking a drink slowly, as if he’s in deep thought about something.

“You know, I think you’re right about that, Sid probably is more the wifey type.” Jamie thinks he’s going to fall out of the chair he’s laughing so hard.

They finish their coffee and discuss what Jamie thinks about the wedding. He knows he’s decided he’d like to get married at the lake house. He really can’t wait to get to see it in person. And maybe a late summer wedding, near their birthdays. But what year? That’s not important, he tells them. He and Sid are together and when the wedding happens it happens.

Jamie tells them that he’s going to go back up to bed for a while since he and Sid have the day off. Sid he knows, after having been told more than once, plans on sleeping in today. They tell him that Taylor will be going with them to Geno’s to see the baby and deliver all the presents. Then, they’ll find something to do to stay away for the day to give Sid and Jamie the house to themselves.

Jamie gives Trina a wink and a thanks. Troy just raises his hands, “I don’t want to know details, just have a good day alone.”

As Jamie stands to leave, Troy grabs his arm and pulls him down for a hug. “Love you, son. Glad you are okay.”

---

Jamie strips down and takes a quick shower and dries off before climbing in bed next to Sid. As usual, it takes a few tugs and nudges to retrieve his pillow. He stretches out against Sid, resting his head on Sid’s chest. He listened to Sid’s heartbeat and slow, steady breathing. It was soothing. The pain in his head seemed less noticeable.

Sid stirred. “Mmmm. Morning. Hungry I assume.”

“Day off, Sid. Go back to sleep.”

“Okay, baby boy,” Sid said in a sleepy voice, “we’ll play later. I promise.”

It was about 9 am when they finally stirred again. Jamie woke up and realized Sid was up and in the shower. He got up and went and joined him.

“How’s the shoulder,” he said as he leaned over and lightly kissed it. Sid’s shoulder had been bothering him since the Washington series.

“Sore. But okay I think. How’s the head?” Sid asked. Jamie had been nursing an elbow injury for a couple of weeks. Nothing serious enough to keep him from playing, more of a nagging injury.

“Still attached.” Sid gave him the ‘okay smartass’ look that Jamie had come to expect when he made a sarcastic comment.

Jamie picked up the shampoo and poured some in his hand. He put the bottle down and started working the shampoo into Sid’s hair.

“So. Play time?” he asked.

“Well, I guess we can play for a bit. I’ve got nothing planned for today.” Sid replied. Sid picked up the shampoo bottle and poured a generous amount over Jamie’s chest.

Sid let his hands run over Jamie’s chest, making the shampoo lather. He ran his hands over Jamie’s arms and back. As he did, he pulled Jamie to him and leaned up. Sid’s lips brushed against Jamie’s, teasing him. He kissed his cheek. Then moved to Jamie’s ear. He gently nibbled and sucked on Jamie’s earlobe, something he had learned sent chills up Jamie’s spine. To his delight, Jamie bowed his back in, bringing his shoulder blades towards his spine and pushing his chest against Sid. Sid felt him quivering with the sensations he was causing to shoot down Jamie’s spine.

He let his mouth trail around to Jamie’s again and felt his body relax. He claimed Jamie’s lips with a forceful kiss, his tongue pushing them apart and seeking Jamie’s tongue. Jamie responded by putting his hand on the back of Sidney’s head and pulling him even more into the kiss. Sid’s hands rubbed up and down Jamie’s back, spreading the soap over his taught muscles. His hands worked their way down to grasp Jamie’s ass, massaging it. He pulled Jamie’s hips forward.

Jamie was hard already. His dick pressed against Sid.

He pushed Sid’s head under the running water, letting the shampoo lather rinse out and run down Sid’s body. Jamie worked his hands through Sid’s hair a bit before pulling him back into another kiss. He slowly started to grind his hips against Sid while Sid continued to rub Jamie’s ass.

Sid let his hand slip between the cheeks of Jamie’s ass, searching for that tight opening. Jamie pulled back.

“How about I get to have the real fun this morning?” he asked.

Sid hesitated. It wasn’t what he normally liked to do. In fact, he had only let one other person ever fuck him. Jamie didn’t seem to mind that Sid didn’t do that. But he had eventually asked and Sid had said yes. He had let Jamie do it just a couple of times. Now he stood looking into those soft green eyes that were looking so hopeful. He couldn’t resist those eyes. Slowly Sid turned around.

Jamie wrapped his arms around Sid and pulled him close, kissing the back of his neck. Jamie ran his hands up and down Sid’s chest. He let one hand come around to Sid’s ass, then the other. As he did, he squatted down. His hands spread Sid’s ass cheeks reveling that soft pink opening. Jamie leaned in and kissed an ass cheek.

“I know you like this part,” he said.

He leaned in and kissed Sid’s opening. He let his tongue lick around the outside. Sid moaned. Jamie let his tongue flick up and down, then side to side around the rim. He stopped and let it push in to the opening ever so slightly. Sid’s hips pressed back. Jamie went back to licking around the rim. Licking and kissing until he knew Sid was ready for the next part.

Jamie let the thumb of one hand press against Sid’s opening. He slowly pushed it in. He felt Sid tense for a moment so he leaned in and kissed an ass cheek. The warm water from the shower running down Sid’s back and over Jamie as well. He moved his thumb in and out a few times. Letting the water run over the opening before slipping his thumb back in. He felt Sid relax under his touch, so he changed and press his index finger into Sid’s ass. He let it wiggle back and forth. Sid moaned again.

Jamie slid a second finger in to Sid. He worked them in and out, getting Sid relaxed and ready. He gently scissored his fingers back and forth. He was surprised Sidney wasn’t stroking his own dick. Instead, he was standing there, just enjoying the pleasure that Jamie was giving him.

When Sid started to rock his hips back to meet the thrusts of Jamie’s fingers Jamie knew he was ready. He stood up and leaned his body against Sid’s.

“Are you ready?” Jamie whispered in Sid’s ear. Sid put his hands against the shower wall, bracing his body.

Jamie reached down and took his dick in one hand. He held it while he placed the tip against the opening to Sid’s ass. He pushed the head in slowly. When he was sure it was going in, Jamie took a hold of Sid’s hips with both hands. Instead of pushing his hips into Sid, Jamie pulled Sid back, on to Jamie’s swollen dick. Once he was all the way inside Sid, Jamie slid his arms up around Sid’s chest, holding him tightly.

Jamie slowly started to grind his hips against Sid’s ass. Slow. Small circles. Sid tilted his head back against Jamie’s shoulder. Jamie kissed Sid’s shoulders and neck. Nipping at the skin occasionally.

“Oh good god,” he moaned.

Jamie knew that allowing himself to be fucked like this was more of a control thing for Sid. He knew Sid was enjoying it, just from the way he responded. But it wasn’t in Sid’s nature to give up control to someone.

Sid pushed his hips to Jamie, trying to get him closer, trying to take his dick deeper. Murmurs and soft moans of pleasure came from his lips. His head was back and his eyes were closed.

“Jamie, please.”

“You likin’ this? Slow. Just want to fuck you slow and easy today.” Jamie nuzzled against Sid’s neck, kissing him lightly, letting his tongue play against his wet, warm skin.

Jamie slowly pulled his hips back, until just the head of his dick was in Sid.

“Slow,” he said, pushing it back in gently.

“Steady.” When it was just halfway in he stopped and pulled it slowly back out.

“Easy.” Jamie started to rock his hips against Sid’s ass. A steady in and out rhythm, going in a little deeper each time. Sid’s tight ass pressing against his hard dick.

Sid turned his head to Jamie, seeking his mouth. Jamie obliged, tilting his head to meet Sid’s eager kiss. Their tongues seeking each other. Jamie kept rocking his hips in that steady rhythm. He pulled his mouth away from Sid to whisper in his ear.

“I could fuck you like this all day. Would you like that?” He pressed his lips against Sid’s before Sid could answer.

Sid did like this. He enjoyed it when he let Jamie be in control, he just didn’t like giving up control. Sid was also usually all hard, fast sex. Which Jamie liked, too. But Jamie had more patience than Sid when he was the one in control of their play time. Jamie could control the tempo and liked this slowed pace.

Jamie reached down and wrapped his fingers around Sid’s dick. Sid tried to stop him.

“No, I want to…” Sid started to protest.

“Nope. You are mine Sidney Crosby. All mine today. I get to do what I want.”

Jamie let his thumb rub the tip of Sid’s dick, pressing in on the slit. His fingers massaging the underside of the head.

Sid leaned his head back against Jamie’s shoulder again. He knew he wasn’t going to win and at this point he stopped caring. He decided to just relax and enjoy what Jamie was doing.

“Okay, baby boy, you win. Oh god, you win.” He whispered in Jamie’s ear. “Make me cum for you.”

Jamie started stroking down the length of Sidney’s shaft using the same slow, steady rhythm that he was using as he fucked his ass. He squeezed in carefully each time his hand stroked down. He would stop every so often and work Sid’s dick back and forth a few times before going back to just stroking up and down the shaft.

Jamie kept slowly fucking Sid and working Sid’s dick.

“Jesus, Jamie,” Sid moaned. “Please. Need to…”

“You ready?” Jamie asked. “Tell me.”

“Yes, oh god, Jamie.”

Jamie let go of Sid’s dick and grasped his hips with both hands. He pulled Sid’s ass back as he thrust hard in to him. Jamie then held Sid’s hips steady and he pulled out and thrust in hard again. Sid dropped his head down towards his chest, his arms still braced against the shower wall. Jamie rocked his hips into Sid fast and hard, he could feel the pressure building. He thrust deep and felt his dick release its load. He kept thrusting, feeling the warm fluid around his dick. When he felt the last of his cum pulse out he pulled out of Sid. Jamie put a hand on Sid’s shoulder and turned him around so they were facing. Jamie squatted down in front of Sid.

Jamie leaned in and took Sid’s hard dick in his mouth. He knew Sid was ready to cum, this wouldn’t take long. He moved his mouth up and down rapidly, his tongue pressing hard against the underside of the shaft. He felt Sid’s hand on the back of his head, encouraging him to take it deeper.

“Here it comes, Jamie,” Sid said through clenched teeth. He held Jamie’s head steady.

Jamie felt Sid’s cum shoot into his mouth. He took as much of his length in as he could and just held him there, sucking hard as Sid came. When he felt Sid start to relax he let him slide out a little and swallowed the warm liquid. He held Sid in his mouth, licking and swallowing until he was sure Sid was done. He released Sid and stood up.

Sid looked completely wasted. Jamie grinned.

“Damn. I just want to go back to bed now.” Sid said as he kissed Jamie. “That was wicked of you, baby boy.”

“Yep. But since we have the day off, I say we finish our shower and yeah, go back to bed for a while. ‘Cause since you are mine today, I think I’ll have to have you again in a little bit.”

“Insatiable.” Sid said with a laugh. He picked up some soap and started soaping up Jamie’s chest. “Okay. But I have a better idea. Why don’t we clean you up? You can go down and make us breakfast. You can bring it up to me in bed and after we eat, I’ll let you do that to me again.”

“Deal”

---

Meanwhile, in New York, a woman is sitting in her living room with her laptop open. She’s sipping on a cup of tea and picking at a blueberry scone.

She’s watching all of the sports coverage of the Stanley Cup finals. Of course, she would rather her Rangers were playing, damn Penguins anyway, but she likes hockey, and Cup time is the best time of year whether your team is playing or not. She’s going over some of the interviews from media day when something catches her eye.

She watches closely, it happens fast, for just a second the young man runs his hand through his hair. It’s not obvious, easily missed, but she’s paid to notice these things. When you slow it down you can see it and she doesn’t remember seeing it before. Crap, she shouldn’t have deleted those pictures.

She then pulls up videos of the Captain’s interviews, going through several before she finds one that shows his hands. Why yes, there is one there as well. Interesting. Well that’s something, she thinks, deciding to do a little research. She looks for photos from earlier in the season of both of them.

She blows the photos up, looking closely. They aren’t there in March. They aren’t there in April. Still nothing all through the series with the Caps. Then, there they are on media day. The Captain and his rookie liney are sporting what look like, to her anyway, matching gold bands on their right hands.

She starts pulling up videos of them together. Anything she can find. Game video. Video on Tumblr and Twitter that fans have posted. Pictures of them out and about around Pittsburgh at different times. It’s not blatant she thinks. If you want to believe it, you will see what you want to see.

Have to be careful here, can’t go out and just say this is what you think this is because of a couple of rings. Then she thinks back to that day in the restaurant. She knows. She had talked herself out of believing it then, but now she is sure.

What to do with that knowledge is the problem. Much as she’d like to put it in her article for the world to judge whether it is true, she also knows what it could do to two careers and right when the cup is within their reach. She decides to wait. A week won’t matter, besides, better the East win the cup than those West Coasters. She won’t do anything to jeopardize that, for now at least.

The problem for Jamie and Sid is that if she noticed, so did someone else. Someone is always watching.

Chapter Text

Early afternoon everyone heads out to the airport to fly out to San Jose.  Most of the parents in town for the finals are also flying out charter, curteousy of the team.

Sid, relaxed and happy from his morning with Jamie, drops his head on to Flower’s shoulder about a half hour into the six-hour flight. 

“Just gonna nap for a while.  Wake me in a bit, okay.” 

Flower grumbles, but says, “Oui.”

About an hour later Flower is nudging him awake.  “Sid.  Sid wake up.  You need to wake up.”

There is some rustling from where Sid and Flower are sitting, then everyone hears the thud and Flower’s feigned indignity of being smacked in the side.  Sid mumbles something Flower doesn’t understand and sits up in his seat, wiping the sleep from his eyes. 

“What’s wrong?  Are we crashing?”

“No.  Get your phone.  This isn’t good.”

Sid digs his phone out and checks his messages.  There is a group text from Jamie and several responses from the guys. 

Jamie:  Oh fuck!  This is fucking trending on all the social media sites.

There is a screen shot attached of a webpage – penscouplewatch.com

Jamie:  Are you fucking kidding me!

Tanger:  Wow!  You’re trending!  That’s cool!

Jamie:  Tanger go look at the god damn site!  Not cool!

Tanger:  Oh fuck!

Kuni:  This is going to be a problem.

Flower:  Fuck!  Where did they get some of those pictures?  Like the ones with the rings?

Jamie:  The ring ones are from media day.  I think.  There’s video of me running my hand thru my hair.  That’s where the stills are from.  And Sid’s too.  Fuck.  I can’t believe this.

Dumes:  There is a twitter post that says “Has the rookie stolen our Captain’s heart #pensinlove”

Jamie:  Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Jamie:  Sid?

Jamie:  Why isn’t Sid saying anything?  Flower?

Flower:  He’s sleeping.

Tanger:  Well wake him the fuck up Flower!

Flower:  I’m not waking him up.  He’ll see this and then he’ll fucking hit me or something.

Tanger:  Flower!

Flower:  Okay Okay… I’ll wake him up.  But if he hits me it’s your fault!

 

A minute later Sid is in on the conversation.

Sid:  What the fuck!  Where did they get some of these pictures!

Jamie:  There’s a picture of us at the fucking museums.  Holy crap!  And you walking me to the car the day I got out of the hospital!  WTF!

Sid:  Jamie get off the website!  Now!  Dumo take his fucking phone away from him.

Jamie:  WTF!  Oh my god!  There is one of us… oh fucking shit!  There’s one that looks like I’m holding your hand as we are walking out of the training center!

Flower:  Were you holding his hand?

Tanger:  Were you?

Jamie:  No!  But god damn it sure looks like it!

Sid:  Dumo take the phone away from him now!

Sid looks back a few rows.  Jamie is practically hyperventilating.  He sees Dumo grab his phone, Jamie hardly protests.  He looks up and locks eyes with Sid.  “We are so screwed” Jamie mouths.

Sid sits back in his seat.  Closes his eyes and thinks.  Flower can’t believe how calm Sid is at the moment, given that he and Jamie may have been outed to the whole world.  Sid sits up and types something out on his phone.

Sid: Okay.  No need to panic.  This isn’t necessarily as bad as we think.  Dumo make him calm down.  If we need to we’ll swap seats but until any of the others say something we keep this between us.  They may wonder if we do and if he doesn’t quit hyperventilating.  Let G sleep too.  He’s had a couple of big days so I’m guessing he’s exhausted.  Not much we can do in the air anyways.  I’ll text Jen and ask her to meet with Jamie and I later after we land.  Whatever is going to happen is going to happen so everybody relax.

Kuni:  You’re pretty calm Sid.  You okay?

Sid:  Yep.  Everything is okay.  Will be okay.  Don’t worry.

---

An hour after they got settled in at the hotel, Jamie and Sid met with Jen, Sully, Rutherford, and Mario in Sully’s hotel room.

Jen started, “Okay.  I’ve looked at the website.  There are also corresponding accounts on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.  There are a lot of pictures and videos. I’ve got staff looking at everything.  So far there isn’t anything that really proves anything, nothing incriminating so to say.  That’s a good thing.”

Jamie just sits, fidgeting nervously.  Sid has tried repeatedly to make him calm down about this.  He just keeps telling Sid that he is sorry about the photos.  That he shouldn’t have worn his ring out in front of the press.  Sid had just hugged him, telling Jamie that he had worn his ring, too, so it didn’t matter.  Everything will be okay.

“What are our options for addressing this, Jen?”  Sid questions, then looks at Mario.  “If we need to address this at all.”

“Well.  There are a couple of scenarios.  First we contact Patrick Burke and You Can Play.  You both come out.  We play up the love story between the rookie and the veteran, the run for the cup, the turn around for your season that started in December but really took off when Jamie came in to your life, the whole bit.  From the comments I saw on the internet, this could be a good thing for both of you in Pittsburgh.  Pens fans love you.  And the comments about the thought of you being in love are overwhelmingly positive.  And they seem to love you too Jamie.  The fall-out around the league.  I don’t know.  There is also the chance that it could completely backfire and you become hated by Pens fans.  But, I don’t see that happening”

She looks at the men sitting around the room.  “Okay, then there’s the scenario based on Sid’s comment.  Do we even address this at all?  In the past we’ve never responded to or recognized any stories or comments about Sid’s sexuality and personal life.  Because, it’s nobody’s business.  If you don’t give a story credence, then there is no story.  Also, if you really go look, there are a lot of hate pages on Sidney out there that claim he’s homosexual.  They’ve been there and they are going to stay out there.  We’ve always ignored them.  But this.  This has been mostly positive, as I said.  And in the fan world, there is this whole thing on Tumblr and other websites about shipping different couples.”  She gets some strange looks at that.

“Shipping.  As in relationships.”  She emphasizes the last part of the word.  “Putting people into relationships that you’d like to see.  Like pairing two TV characters who aren’t together on the show.  Or teammates in different sports.  Sidney’s a favorite topic in the hockey fandoms.  People are already writing stories about Sid and Jamie.  Posting pictures as you saw.  It’s really already been out there.  This is just an escalation of what already is on the net.  I’ll admit, the pictures of the rings probably triggered all this.  That’s unfortunate, but I’m gonna tell you not to quit wearing them.  So in this scenario, we just ride this out.  Either it will fade away or people are going to have a lot of fun on this couple watch.  You two may have to be much more diligent and aware when out in public.  What have I preached in media relations training?  Somebody is always watching.  Out in the public.  Off the ice.  On any social media accounts you have.  So don’t give them any more fodder than you have to.”

Rutherford speaks up, “Any other scenarios Jen?”

“Well, those are the two I came up with on the spur of the moment.  If I work on this tonight, see what the staff have found and how the public response is over the next 24 hours I can try to work up some other options.  But, basically it all boils down to those two.  Either the boys come out and we throw all our support behind them or we just ignore all of this and ride it out.  At some point, if we do that and it doesn’t go well or the boys decide they want to go public we can always switch over to that option in the future.”

Mario has been watching the boys.  Jamie looks like he’s a wreck.  Sid is strangely calm through all this, sitting there taking in everything Jen has to say.  He’s watched Sid reach over a couple of times and rub Jamie’s back, whispering something in Jamie’s ear.

“Sid?  I think Jen is right.  I think we don’t say anything.  You and Jamie don’t say anything, at least not until after the end of the playoffs.  We don’t need to do anything before then either way, do we Jen?”

Jen shakes her head.  “Time is actually on our side here.  No need to make any hasty decisions.”

“Okay.  Then that’s what I think we should do.  How about that Sid?  Jamie?  We just have Jen and her staff keep track of this and not worry about it until after the playoffs.  Then.  Whatever you two decide, you know that you have the full support of everyone in this room and the entire organization.”

Sid looks at Jamie.  “I think that’s a good idea, Mario.  And for the record,” he turns back to face the others, “I don’t care what happens with all this.  I’ve been trying to tell Jamie that since he panicked on the plane.  I’m okay with whatever happens.  Everybody seems to be so worried about me.  Jamie is more upset about how this is going to hurt me, hurt my career.  The guys are worried about that.  But you know what?  For some reason I’m not.  Maybe if I was still a 21-year-old kid with my whole career ahead of me still, maybe.  But now.  I don’t know.  I’ve had 10 years in this league to learn to grow a tough skin.  I’ve heard it all, I’ve seen it all.  In Philly I’ve seen more than I’ve wanted maybe.”  He nudges Jamie. “No references to Cindy Crosby on those sites are there Jen.”

Everyone chuckles a bit at that.  Sid continues, “So okay.  I don’t want my private life on display for the world, but there are worse things that can happen, as I’ve learned over the past few weeks. So I say we just sit back, concentrate on winning the cup and don’t get too wrapped up in this.”

Mario and Rutherford stand up.  “Well I guess that’s that, then.  Jen, just keep us in the loop if you see or hear anything that could hurt the boys during the playoffs.  Boys, go get some rest.  Things are going to get hectic starting tomorrow.” Rutherford says.  “Thanks everyone.”

They all filter out, Jamie and Sid heading back to their room.  Mario stops Sid for a few minutes, pulling him aside for a private conversation while Jamie leans against the wall waiting.  Sid nods a few times, glances at Jamie, then give Mario a quick hug and comes back over to Jamie.  He doesn’t say anything as they walk down the hall.

Once they are in their room, Jamie flops down on the bed face first.  He pulls a pillow out from under the bedspread and buries his head in it.  Sid sits down next to him and gently rubs his back.

“What did I tell you.  It’s going to be okay.”

Jamie mumbles something into the pillow.  Sid grabs his hair and pulls so that Jamie lifts his head.

“I can’t hear you when you talk into the pillow.”

“I said my head is killing me.  And you pulling on my hair at the moment isn’t helping.”

Sid lets him go, “Come on.  Slide over.”  Sid props himself up against the headboard and pats his lap. 

Jamie shifts himself so he is laying with his head on Sid’s lap.  He closes his eyes. “Rub my eyes, please.”

Sid gently starts letting his thumb rub across Jamie’s eyelid.  “So, seriously, what do you think?  I told you I wasn’t too concerned.  Whatever happens, Jamie, the Pens are going to support us.  Contrary to what the guys told you Wednesday, being out at this point is not going to kill my career.  Would it make things difficult?  Maybe.  Probably.  But I’m not who I was 10 years ago.  It’s just not something I want.”

“What about me?”  Jamie says softly.  “What happens to me?”

“What do you mean?  I told you.  Rutherford told you.  The Pens have our backs.  Full support.”

“You do.  But what about me?”

“I don’t understand.  What do you mean?  You heard what Jen said.  People love us as a couple.  And Rutherford said we have the team’s support.  So I don’t understand, what are you worried about?”

Jamie shifts so he is on his back, looking up at Sid.  “Me.  My career.  I don’t have a contract Sid.  They gave all their precious baby Pens contracts, but nobody has so much as even talked to me about one, or Brisson that I know of, since you hooked me up with him.  So if they haven’t talked to me or my agent by this point, I’m guessing no contract.  I mean, they only agreed to a contract through July 1 when I got here.”

“You’re not going anywhere, trust me.”

“You don’t know that.  And then there was all the stuff when I was injured. You not being able to play the OT.  Dumes, either.  And all the time you missed from practice to be in the hospital.  They’ve got to think I’m a distraction to you on the ice.  So what’s gonna happen?  I’m either not gonna get picked-up, or I get traded.”

“You think they’re going to trade you?  Really?  Were you listening to what Jen said at all?”

“About what?”

“About the fact that even though it had started to turn around, my season really didn’t take off until after you came.  I know that.  It’s one of those things I keep trying to get you to realize.  Rutherford saw it.  Sully saw it.  Mario saw it.  So, if you make me happy, if having you around makes me happy and makes me play better hockey, why in the world would they ever trade you?”

“Because that’s what happens.  Something happens that could embarrass the team or some big name player and I get traded.”

“Because that’s what happened in Anaheim doesn’t mean that’s going to happen here.  And us being together, if we come out, god you know how I hate that phrase…”

“Me too.”

“… none of that is an embarrassment to the Pens.  I’ve told you that.  Not to the management.  Not to our teammates.  Have any of them ever said anything, fuck, even Phil has been okay with it since that night.  And from all the stuff I looked at earlier, after you told us about the page, shit Jamie, there is a lot of support from the fans for us.  And do you want to know what Mario told me in the hallway?”

“What.”

“That I was to tell you that they are just waiting until after the playoffs to make you an offer.  They already have the contract written up and think you’ll be happy with it.  I think you’ll be happy with it.  But with the injury and the stress of the playoffs they wanted to wait.”

“So.  You gonna tell me?”

“You have to act surprised when Rutherford tells you.  It’s better than their precious baby Pens, as you call them, got.  $700,000 for three years.  One-way.  And do you want to hear the best part of the contract, what Mario insisted they put in writing?  No-trade option as long as you and I are together, unless we both agree.”

Jamie sat up.  “Are you fucking shitting me?”

“Yeah, I made that all up, shithead.  So will you just relax now and not worry about all this.  Besides.  I was thinking about the couple watch stuff.  We could have a lot of fun with that this summer, you know.  Keep people guessing” He gave Jamie a wink.  “Screwing with people, especially the media that are going to jump all over this will be fun.  Whatcha say?”

Chapter Text

Jamie waited until Sid jumped in the shower before he dug his laptop out of his bag.  He’d told Sid he wouldn’t go looking at the online stuff, but he couldn’t help himself.  He pulled up google and typed in penscouplewatch.  A slew of items came up.  He started flipping through them.  There was one that caught his eye, an article that was posted to a New York newspaper just an hour ago.

New York, NY -  The hot topic trending online today – is Pittsburgh Penguin Captain and star forward Sidney Crosby off the eligible bachelor list?  Social media has been buzzing all day following the launch of a website. Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook account named PensCoupleWatch.  The focus of all this internet attention is the possible relationship between Crosby, 28, and his Pens teammate, rookie forward 18 year old, Jamie Marsh.  Yes.  You read that right.  Crosby and his teammate. 

The sports world has long speculated about Crosby’s sexuality.  He has always managed to keep his relationships relatively private.  Over the years I have seen him out and about with the occasional girlfriend.  Does he now have… a boyfriend?  It seems that photos and video were posted to the website and other accounts that show Crosby and Marsh sporting matching gold bands.  On their right hands.  So that begs the questions.  Are they a couple?  Are they married?  What will the hockey world think if the ‘Face of the NHL’ comes out as the ‘Face of You Can Play’?

When the Pens played our city’s beloved Rangers in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs in April, this girl about town got to see the Pens out and about town one night.  I got to observe the Captain and his rookie out in public with their teammates.  So what did I see, you ask?  Crosby appeared to be somewhat possessive and protective of the rookie.  Watching him when Marsh left the table for a while.  Sitting with his arm around the back of Marsh’s chair.  Looking at him often, and in my opinion very fondly, through most of their meal.

In April I brushed it off, thought maybe I was reading something into their behaviors because, well, they were beating my Rangers.  But now, after having seen the new photos of the rings.  After looking at hundreds of other photos and videos that have suddenly been posted today, I am changing my opinion.  Sidney Crosby and Jamie Marsh are definitely a couple.

So are they married?  I doubt the relationship has gone that far.  Marsh has lived with Crosby, however, since coming to Pittsburgh in January.  At what point he became more than just a house guest, we may never know.  But he most definitely is more than a houseguest.  My guess is they are engaged. 

Finally, what will this mean for the NHL?  I hope it means that more players are willing to come out.  It is about time the attitude towards gay, bisexual, and transgender athletes changes.  I can think of no better person to be the first than Sidney Crosby.  What another gold medal accomplishment for his already brilliant career would it be if the kid who rules the hockey world changed that world in such a positive way.

The online support for this couple has been overwhelming.  Everyone loves them.  And why shouldn’t they, I ask.  I have watched a lot of couples over the years.  Sidney and Jamie are by far one of the best looking couples I have ever seen, and from the evidence, they are very much in love.  I for one will have fun enjoying this couple watch to see if I am right. 

Jamie remembered going out to dinner that night in New York.  Sid had indeed been acting pretty protective, and maybe a little possessive.  Had this woman only known the reason, Jamie thought, laughing.   Her beloved Rangers had at least one gay player.  Brady Skjei had somehow gotten Jamie’s number.  Probably somehow through Tanner Glass’ connections with his former team, or maybe through Hagelin.  However he got it, Skjei had texted Jamie while the Rangers were in Pittsburgh between the first two games of the series, propositioning him.  Seems Skjei had friends in Anaheim and had gotten word that Jamie was gay.  Jamie had flirted with Skjei a little on the ice, just for fun.  Sid didn’t see it that way, he’d been extremely jealous for days.

As Jamie was thinking about Skjei, who he found very good looking but please don’t tell Sid, Sid came out of the bathroom with just a towel wrapped around his waist.  He saw the laptop and frowned.

“So I guess I need to give that to Dumo to hide from you, too.”

“Speaking of, I want my phone back.  And no, you don’t have to hide this, too.”  He got up to go take his turn in the shower.  “Go read the article that’s up.  It’s pretty interesting.”

---

That night they had an unofficial team dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.  The restaurant had been nice, pushing together several tables to accommodate them.  The boys were sitting around enjoy desserts and relaxing.  Except for the flight, it had been a low-key day.  Tomorrow they’d be back at work with a full practice to get ready for game three on Saturday.

Jamie was looking around the rather full restaurant, when he noticed a small area off to one corner.  The restaurant evidently had live musical entertainment on occasion.  There was a piano, and yep, there in the corner he saw it, a guitar.

He leaned over and whispered something in Sid’s ear.  Sid giggled and nodded. 

“Excuse me a minute,” Jamie said as he stood and walked to the maître d’.  A couple of minutes later he was over picking up the guitar and sitting down on a barstool that one of the wait staff had brought him.

Duper looked at Sid with a strange expression when he saw Jamie.  “What’s he doing?”

Sid leaned in, trying not to giggle too loudly, “Okay boys, you are going to want to get the phones out.  I want to make sure that this gets shared on our newest favorite Twitter account.” 

Flower popped his head up right away, looking at Sid.  “Fuck no!  What are you two doing.”

“Having fun!”

About then they heard Jamie, “Um…” he cleared his throat, “sorry about that.  Hi.  I’m Jamie and the management here at this very lovely restaurant has agreed to let me entertain you tonight.  So.  I’d like to sing you a song that I’d like to dedicate to a very special person in my life.  It’s an older song, but I like it.  I hope you do, too.”

“He no sing sappy Sid love song is he?”  Geno shot Sid a glance.

“No G.  Sh… wait.”

Jamie starts playing.  Some of them recognize it right away, Wonderwall by Oasis

Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you…

By now you should’ve somehow realized what you gotta do…

I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now…

Back beat, the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out…

Jamie keeps his attention focused on Sid the entire song.  The restaurant erupts with applause when he finishes. He can see some of the guys recording him and when he glances around the restaurant there are several phones pointed at him.  Yep. This is on its way to viral.

Chapter Text

“So, would you like one more?  I think I have some time before my friends and I have to leave.”  Jamie waves at the table.  Like idiots they all wave back.  “We’re in town for a few days.  Having fun.  Lovely place here in San Jose.  Okay.  So what should I sing next.”  He’s tuning the guitar as he’s talking.  “Oh, I know. This seems to fit the mood today, so here’s a little Bonnie Raitt for you.”

Bones looks at Sid from down the tables, “He’s not gonna… no.”

Hags is laughing, “Jen is going to kill you two.”

Sids laughing, this is going to be perfect.

Jamie starts singing…

People are talkin', talkin' 'bout people
I hear them whisper, you won't believe it
They think we're lovers kept under covers
I just ignore it, but they keep saying
We laugh just a little too loud
We stand just a little too close
We stare just a little too long
Maybe they're seeing something we don't, darlin'

Let's give them something to talk about
Let's give them something to talk about
Let's give them something to talk about
How about love?

---

They are walking back to the hotel which is only a few blocks, feeling loose and relaxed, bunched together in various groups, carrying on several different conversations.

Sid and Jamie get a text at the same time.

Jen:  ARE YOU TWO TRYING TO GIVE ME A STROKE!!!!

Smartass Jamie just sends back a series of question marks and strange alien emojis.  Sid tells her to relax, they are just having fun, not responding to anything.  Jen asks what happened to not giving them any more ammunition.  Jamie grabs Sid’s phone and sends back more strange alien emojis.  Jen sends back hearts and the words ‘idiots in love’.

Since Jamie has Sid’s phone, he might as well have some fun, he thinks.

First up Rusty…

Sid:  Hey, want to join Jamie and I for a threesome tonight.  He thinks you have pretty eyes.

Then Bones…

Sid:  Can you take Jamie back to your room?  He really likes beard burn and well, my scraggly shit just isn’t doing it for him.

By now, Rusty keeps turning around to look for Sid, who Jamie is keeping shielded behind him.

Jamie hears Bones laugh.  Okay.  So far so good.  Who’s next.  Knuckles and Shears.

Sid:  Junior.  Want to have some fun tonight?  I hear Shears is looking for some stress release.  How bout you take care of that.  Ya know… take one for the team.

Sid:  Hey Shears.  Wanted to make sure you got properly rewarded for that OT winner but Jamie won’t let me.  Junior said he’d take care of you for me!  He’s got a really warm mouth.  Trust me.  It’ll be awesome.

Jamie looks up.  Shears and Knuckles had been walking together.  Shears was now walking very fast, about ten feet in front of Knuckles.  He keeps turning and looking, his face bright red.  Tommy on the other hand is grinning like he’s won the lottery.  Well isn’t that interesting, Jamie thinks.

All of the sudden Sid’s hand comes around Jamie and grabs the phone.  “What the fuck are you doing.”

Jamie looks, Bones is next to Sid.  “Fuck.  Well, that was fun while it lasted.”

Sid sends out a team text.

Sid:  Please disregard any text message you may have just gotten from me.  Jamie had my phone and thought it would be cool to have some fun with you.  He will be severely punished. 

Flower:  Please Sid, the kids don’t need to hear about your sex life.

---

Sid’s already stretched out on the bed, on top of the covers, flipping through TV channels, when Jamie comes out of the bathroom.  Jamie pulls the covers down on his side, leaning over to give Sid a kiss, before he settles down on the bed.  “Mmmm…  minty fresh kisses.”

Jamie picks up his phone.  Time for some text fun with the guys.  He finds the group he wants.  It’s labeled “Grown-Ups”.

Jamie:  Flower come save me.  Sid is punishing me!

Flower:   You deserve it.  If you want beard burn, I would give it to you.

Sid is looking at his phone.  “Really?”

Jamie grins, “You don’t have to join in if you don’t want.”

Tanger:  My beard is so much better than yours Flower.  You wouldn’t even be a good tickle.

Dumes:  I never knew Jamie had a thing for beards.  Poor guy, he’ll never be happy with Sid.

Jamie:  I like ticklely beards Tanger.

Kuni:  I’m not sure I want to be in on this conversation.  But what the hell.  So how is Sid punishing you Jamie?  Obviously not with his beard.

Sid:  Obviously.  I think maybe his punishment should be for me to hide his phone.

Flower:  Where you gonna hide it big boy??

Dumes:  God I didn’t need to see that post Flower.  I was touching that phone earlier.

Flower:  Why?  Did Sid get it stuck when he hid it before?

Geno:  Hey.  Anna sent baby pictures.  You want see?  Nikita so cute.  Such good Russian baby.  I send.

And that is that.  The rest of the night is spent looking at pictures of the cutest Russian baby they have ever known.

Flower sends just Jamie a text later. 

Flower:  The text message jokes on Sid's phone.  Awesome.  You have pleased Master Flower, young Grasshopper.

Chapter Text

Friday morning Jamie woke at 5 am as usual and got ready to go run.  Fifteen minutes later he was in the hotel lobby waiting on Dumes, who it seemed to Jamie was always late anymore.  True to form, Dumes didn’t arrive until 5:30.

“I’m gonna tell you 4:30 from now on.  Then we’ll get out of here on time.”

“Whiner, it was all that Italian.  God I’m still full.”

“Then a run will do you good.  I’ve scoped it out.  It’s not too far to this trail along the Guadalupe.  Part of it is over towards the SAP Center.  Want to run along the river?  Up for some distance this morning?”

“Are you?”  Brian was stretching, staring at Jamie.

“Yeah.  I feel good this morning.  Got the shades, so good to go.”  He bends to stretch his hamstrings, when he straightens, Dumes has stopped stretching and is standing there gawking at him.

“What?”  Jamie knows.

“You are really going to wear that?  I mean, I questioned the Pens gear in enemy territory, but that.”  He motions up and down Jamie’s body with an arm wave.  “You are really going to wear that?”

“Give ‘em something to talk about.  All Sid’s idea.  We are testing something out?”

They head out on their run.  Jamie wearing his black running shorts and a Pens work-out shirt.  Well, not just a Pens shirt.  Sidney’s shirt.  Emblazoned with a big #87 on the front and “Crosby” in big block letters on the back.

About 20 minutes into their run, Dumes’ cellphone chirps.  It’s from Sid, so they slow to a walk to read the message.

Sid:  Nice shirt!  There's our proof!

And then a screenshot of a Twitter post.  “@penscouplewatch sharing clothes now? rook out for run in SJ in Crosby’s gear? #pensinlove #cutestcoupleever” There’s a photo of Jamie and Brian running along a street, with a cropped close-up clearly showing Jamie in Sid’s shirt.

"Proof, Fluff?"  He lets Sid know they saw the message,

"We are really being watched Dumes. Right now, Sid and I at least, are under a microscope. It's not even 6:30 in the morning and we aren't even in Pittsburgh and there is a photo of us out there already. Think about it. Every move we make is going to be on the net. We were screwing with them last night, but this? We at the moment are going to have no privacy, that message kind of proves it. So Sid and I need to figure out what to do. And not like screwing with them. But what to do to either live under this scrutiny or you know, don't. We don't think it's going to just blow over."

"So... you're gonna go public?"

"Maybe."

---

That afternoon at practice they have a full house.  It’s been a while since everyone skated at a practice.  The deeper they got in the play-off run, the more you’d fine a guy or two, or several, opting out of a practice.  But with yesterday being a travel day, everyone was rested and feeling good.  The ice was a crowded place. 

Jamie was on the ice for practice.  Still feeling pretty good.  He’d taken his third dose of anti-depressant that morning.  Things seemed to be going okay, so far.  The dull pain now came and went instead of being a constant, which Jamie considered a plus.  Other than yesterday with all the couple watch shit, Jamie hadn’t had one of the throbbing headaches since Tuesday.  So he was feeling good, and was on the ice skating rushes on a line with Sid and Horny.  Hopefully, this would last and he’d be able to play game three.

Jen sent Sid out to face the media after practice.  They had decided to keep Jamie away from the press still.  Sid didn’t get asked one question about the whole couple watch thing, at least not while the cameras or tape recorders were on.  He just smiled at anyone who asked and walked away.

That night the boys were going to head out to dinner.  The question at the moment was what to wear.

“Where are we going?”  Jamie asked, pawing through his suitcase.

“Don’t know.  I’ll text everybody.”  Sid watched, horrified at the way Jamie was haphazardly tossing his clothes around.  Sid’s clothes were all neatly folded in a dresser drawer, or hanging in the closet.  Jamie’s weren’t even folded at this point.  How do you go through life like that, so damn unorganized? Well, at least he hung his suit up, Sid thought.

Sid:  Dinner?  Where?  Italian again?

Duper:  No!  I promised Jen, nowhere that has any kind of open mic.  No Jamie singing!

Dumes:  Steakhouse!  Seafood!  Casual please, can we go somewhere we can wear jeans or shorts?

Tanger:  Steak & Seafood places are not jeans & shorts places.  Bite the bullet and get dressed up.  High end… it’s just us tonight.

Flower:  Yes!  That way we don’t have to put up with Jamie wearing Sid’s sweater or something weird like that.  And Jen made me promise nothing bad tonight.

Tanger:  Did she make us all promise that?  Like we are supposed to babysit the idiots tonight.

Dumes:  Yes she did.  And god I got caught up in their little game this morning.  Photos of me running with Jamie.  I’m surprised there wasn’t a tweet or anything about me being ‘the other man’

Kuni:  There were…  several….

Dumes:  Ugh!  Really?

Flower:  Oui!  I posted 3 myself!

Sid:  This is not helping.  Jamie’s having a wardrobe crisis here.  We need to decide where we are going.

Sid:  Who is just us Tanger?  You, Me, Jamie, Duper, Flower, Dumes, Kuni, Geno?

Duper:  I think Olli and Hags would like to join us.  Hags was hinting at it earlier.  Ollie is back from the Google tour, too.  Oh.  And Horny.  And Bones.  And Phil.  And Culls.

Tanger:  Yeah.  Just us, like I said.

Duper:  Oh and Junior, Shears, and Rusty.  And Rev.  And Muzz.  Tishy too!

Geno:  I go!  Anna tired tonight.  Already Skype with baby.

Sid:  Duper where are you?

Duper:  Downstairs.  With… everybody…  they all want to come…  I think they are keyed up even if they won’t admit it… especially the kids… would like another family night…

Sid:  Tanger send a team text or let everybody know somehow.  Lobby 30 minutes.  Somebody who knows something – not Flower -  please get us transportation.  Found a place.  High end… dress is at least button-downs and dress slacks.  Tell them the Captain is picking up the tab tonight.

Duper:  I’ll get the concierge to get us there. Text me the address.

Jamie:  Dumes I need a dress shirt!  Bring me one!

Dumes:  Why do you need a dress shirt?  You have dress shirts.

Jamie:  Wrinkles!

Sid:  He’s a slob.

Dumes:  There’s an iron and ironing board in your room.

Sid:  He’s a lazy slob.

Dumes:  Be there in five!  Blue or green!

Jamie:  Green… to match my eyes.  Gotta look pretty for the bf and the other man!  Hey.  Do you have an extra pair of pants too?

Sid:  Does anyone want a slightly used rookie?  I’m giving him away tonight.

Flower:  I’ll take him!  He’ll be totally used instead of just slightly when I’m done with him!

Tanger:  No Flower!

Chapter Text

Saturday’s pre-game skate wasn’t so good for Jamie.  He felt like he couldn’t get his shit together.  The lights seemed overly bright at the SAP Center, even with the tint.  By the time he got off the ice, his head was throbbing.  Fuck.  He debated about not saying anything.  Just waiting to see if it went away before game time.  Maybe his nap would help.  So, he decided to wait. 

By the time they got back to the hotel, Jamie felt like he was going to die.  He hadn’t had a headache this bad since that day in the hospital that he barely remembered.  He debated again on whether or not to tell Sid.  Jamie guessed that Sid could already tell, but maybe wasn’t saying anything.  No.  That wouldn’t be like Sid.  He’d be all over Jamie if he thought something was wrong, yet he’d gone to talk to Mario instead of coming back to their room. 

Jamie fished around in his bag for the bottle of ibuprofen.  Wheatley had suggested it instead of acetaminophen.  The anti-inflammatory properties would help more than just a pain reliever.  So, Jamie popped some more pills.  Or tried.  What is it about your brain, he thought as he sat there with a mouthful of pills and water, that when you try to take pills it suddenly forgets how to swallow.  After a few tries, some more water, and the pills starting to dissolve in his mouth, ugh, Jamie managed to get them down.

He flopped himself down on the bed, still unmade because they’d put up a “do not disturb” on the door.  He pulled a pillow over his head and closed his eyes.

Jamie woke up to Sid gently nudging him and pulling at the pillow still covering Jamie’s head.  “Hey, baby boy, time to get up.  We need to catch the last bus over to the SAP in a half-hour.”

“Mmmm… no,” Jamie pulled the pillow tighter with one hand and swatted Sid with the other.  “Go ‘way.”

Sid managed to finally pull the pillow away, then whacked Jamie with it a few times.  “Get your ass up, already.”

Jamie dragged himself into the bathroom.  A few minutes later Sid heard the toilet flush and then water running in the sink.  When Jamie walked back out, Sid saw it all over his face.

“At least the throbbing is gone,” Jamie joked, rubbing the back of his head, “but I might as well text Sully right now.” 

Sid stood up and pulled Jamie into a hug.  Jamie slumped so that his head rested on Sid’s shoulder as he let the warmth and comfort Sid was offering envelope him.

“This just sucks,” he sighed.

---

Sully had asked if Jamie needed to see Vyas.  No, Jamie assured him, he was fine.  Just having a not so good day.  The nap had helped, but Jamie pretty much felt like crap.  Sullivan had told him to just stay at the hotel and rest instead of trying to come to the game.  The quiet would probably do him good.

Taylor offered to come stay with him if he wanted.  Jamie thought that would be nice if she really didn’t mind.  She laughed and said no, it would give them a chance to talk about Sidney.  She had so many stories to tell him.  Sid just groaned as he left, having to catch a cab over since he’d missed the last bus.

Troy and Trina went out to eat before the game.  Taylor opted to order room service with Jamie.  Without Sid there to make them feel guilty, they ordered just about every unhealthy thing they could find on the menu.  If it was deep-fried or full of sugar, they were having it. 

They sat cross-legged, opposite each other on the bed, their feast spread out on trays between them.  They polished off all of it.  When they got done, Jamie rubbed his stomach.  “Well, that made me feel better.”

They talked about Sid.  Oh man, was Jamie going to have some great chirping material.  Taylor was feeling the same way as Jamie told her about some of the stupid shit Sidney had done since they’d been together. 

They finally piled the trays outside the door and settled in for the game.  Sitting side-by-side with their backs against the headboard of one of the beds.  Taylor kept glancing at Jamie throughout the first period.  Jamie would reach up and rub his forehead every once and a while, pinching his eyes shut as if the headache had returned.  Taylor wanted to ask, but she figured Jamie was tired of being asked if he was alright every five minutes, which she was sure was something Sid did. 

During the first intermission, Taylor got up and went to the bathroom.  When she came back out, she noticed that Jamie was rubbing his thumb over a closed eyelid.  She smiled.

“He showed you that, huh.  When I’d visit him, when he had the concussion, he’d ask me to do that.”

“Yeah.  Geno showed it to him he said.”

She sat back down next to him.

“You know about them, right?  He said he told you.”  Taylor wasn’t sure she should have said anything.

“Well, yeah.  We sort of had a rather loud discussion about it after game one against the Caps.”

“I heard.  He was really upset.  Said he knew he should have told you before then.  He doesn’t really like to talk about it much.  About Geno that is.  His heart got hurt.  I mean, not by Geno on purpose, but because Sid fell in love.”

“Is this the start of another ‘if you break his heart I’ll kill you story,’ cause if it is I’m gonna tell you you’ll have to get in line when it happens.  I’ve already been warned by Mario, your dad, and most of the team.”

Taylor laughed.  “No.  I don’t think we need to have that talk.  I’m his sister, it’s implied with the word.  No.  I just wanted you to know that Sid’s a lot different than he was then.  He was young, still so new to the league, and it was the year they won the cup.  He’s changed a lot since then, he’s more, I don’t know, sure of himself.  I guess that’s the best way I can think of to describe it.  He was really insecure then.  Now, he’s not.”

“I don’t know.  I see some of that insecurity when people question his work ethic or whether he’s past his prime, if he missed out on so much promise because of the injury.”

“Well, let me tell you.  If he and Geno had gone through this same thing with the couple watch, he’d have been a basket case and probably wouldn’t still be playing.  He’d have figured that he would have had to either come out or quit playing, or come out and quit playing.  He would have given up hockey, either way, back then.  He couldn't have dealt with that kind of pressure.”

“And now.”

“I think he’s realized he doesn’t have to do that.  He’s secure, with the Pens.  And, he has you.  He’s said that to me, you know.  He doesn’t care, he can weather any backlash no matter how bad it gets as long as he has you.  I’ve never seen him like this, so happy, so sure of what he wants in life and realizing that he can have it.  I said he was different from when he and Geno were hooking up.  Hell, he’s different from who he was in January, before he met you.”

"Thank, T.  For telling me that."

Jamie reached up and rubbed his head again.  The second period was about to start.

“If you want to lay down, I can do that, the eyelid thing, for you.  If it helps.”

Jamie shifted and stretched out next to Taylor.  He laid a pillow in her lap then settled his head down on it.  He closed his eyes as she gently let a thumb stroke just under his eyebrow.  Jamie didn’t make it two minutes into the game before he was asleep. 

Once she was sure he was sleeping soundly, Taylor leaned over and gave him a light kiss on the forehead.  “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to Sidney.  I love you, soon to be bro.”

Taylor tried to keep her emotions under control as to not wake Jamie.  She did well as the Pens went ahead 2-1, then again when Muzz gave up an easy goal and the Sharks tied the game.  She couldn’t control it, however, when Joonas Donskoi wristed one past Murray not quite halfway through the first overtime period.

She came up off the bed, jarring Jamie awake to a flurry of swear words.  He looked at the score and the Sharks celebrating on the ice. 

“Fuck,” he said, burying his face into the pillow.

Chapter Text

Jamie didn’t wait up for Sid to get home.  At one point, he rolled over and realized Sid was beside him.  Jamie found his phone and checked the time, 2 am.  Crap.  Which is 5 am in Pittsburgh.  He’s done this now three days in a row now.  Well, once your body gets in to a routine it’s hard to break.  He laid there, staring at the ceiling in the darkness.  Sleep.  Go back to sleep.  Ugh.

He lays there for 15 minutes before he picks up his phone and types out a text.

r u up?

No need to write it all out, Sid’s not in on this text.  Jamie really needs to teach him texting shorthand, he thinks.

Dumes:  Stpd time diff

Jamie:  Go?  2 trd from gm?

Dumes:  ??  It’s too early… spell it out… oh god Sid is rubbing off….

Jamie:  Do you just want to go for a run now?  Or are you too tired from the game?  Gawd!!!

Dumes:  Skip run today, please.   Really sore and tired.  Wound up though too… come?

Jamie:  What if somebody sees me slipping in to your room in the middle of the night?

Dumes:  Nevermind then.  Go back to bed.

Jamie:  So… whatcha wearin’ big boy…

Dumes:  Really.  Okay.  Wearing my red boxer briefs actually… and nothing else…  what r u wearing?

Jamie:  Nothing now.  So the red ones huh?  Rub yourself through the material for me

Jamie:  Dumes?

Dumes:  Trouble typing with one hand, sorry.  Okay.  It feels good.

Jamie:  Slide your hand inside them,  Wrap your fingers around your cock.  Rub the head with your thumb.  Slow.  Tease a little.

Jamie:  Dumes?

Jamie:  Dumes?

Dumes:  Look do you want me to type or jack off cause my brain and hand can’t do those two things at the same time!  Just tell me.  Think of me doing it.

Jamie:  Okay.  Then rub your thumb around the tip of your cock.  Slid it across your slit.  Think of my tongue there licking you.

Jamie:  Hold your fingertips against the underside and slid your hand down the whole length,  Squeeze around the base with your index finger and thumb.

Jamie:  Start stroking your cock.  Slow.  Up and down.  Twist your wrist every now and then, so your hand rubs over the head the way I do to you.

Sid rolls over at that point.

“What are you doing?” he asks sleepily, shielding his eyes from the light from Jamie’s phone.

“Sexting Dumes.”

“What the fuck?”

“It was that or wake you up and make you fuck me, your choice now.”

Sid rolls back over, “Tell him I said hi.”

Jamie (saying it out loud as he types):  Sid says hi.  Wants to know if you want to come over for a threeway.  He’s feeling frisky!

“You’re an asshole,” comes from the other side of the bed.

Dumes:  WTF??!!

Jamie:  Relax.  Joke for Sid’s benefit.  So where was I.  Is it hard?  Little wet leaking out?  Use just your fingertips to stroke up and down.

Dumes:  Too late Fluff.  Done!  Think I can sleep now.  See you at breakfast?

Jamie sends a series of pouty face emojis.

Jamie:  Yeah.  Sleep well.  See you at breakfast.

Crap, he thinks.  Now what do I do. 

“Sid, wake up.”

---

Sid looks really tired, Tanger thinks as he watches him assert his Captain’s privilege and cut the line at the breakfast buffet.  He watches him fill his plate and then come sit down with him and Flower.  Kuni and Duper are over getting coffee and juice for the table.  Geno isn't down yet.

“You look like hell,” Flower looks around the room until he finds Jamie in line with Dumo. “Ah!  That explains it.  Jamie has his look on this morning.” Kris kicks Flower under the table.  “Ow!  What did I do?”

“Two in the morning he woke me up!  Two… in… the… fucking… morning.” 

“Why didn’t he just go find Dumo?  I mean, isn't that what a fuck buddy is for?”  Flower asked, not willing to let this go.  Kris again kicked him under the table. “Ow!  Tabernak!  What?”

“Don’t know who might be watching.  Wouldn’t want somebody to see him slipping in to the other man’s room.  Bad enough they run together.  Have you seen some of the things people have said about that?  About Dumo?  Poor kid.”

“He’s a big boy.  Handling it okay.  We talked yesterday.”  Kris lets Sid know he’s looking out for Dumo. "I think he kind of likes being the other man, actually.  He was all like 'let the plot thicken' with all this."  Kris has taken a real liking to him since they’ve been paired together.  He’s taken him in along with Olli as his little defensemen pack.  They often hung out together at some point on the road.

"He's not worried about people thinking he's gay?"  Sid asks, still a little concerned about the others getting caught up in this whole thing.

"Nah.  He says if you don't seem worried, he's not going to worry."

Jamie and Dumo had their plates and went to sit at the kiddies’ table as they called it. 

“Everything okay?”  Kris asks Sid when he saw where Jamie was sitting?

“He woke me up at two fucking am for sex.  What do you think?”

Kuni and Duper come over with trays full of coffee cups and juice.  Sid happily takes a cup of coffee.  Kuni looks around for Jamie.

“Why isn’t he sitting with us?  I brought extra juice for him.”

“Lovers’ spat.”  Flower chirps.  Kris kicks him under the table again. “Ow!  Stop it!”

Chapter Text

Sunday is a much better day for Jamie.  Well, mostly.  The fact that Sid is a little pissed at him isn’t such a good thing.  Sid wasn’t happy that Jamie woke him up a little after two in the morning because Jamie couldn’t sleep.  And then he made Sid have sex.  Like it was such a huge hardship on Sid, come on.

Sid’s ass is dragging, however, while they are getting ready to go down to breakfast.  The guys are expecting them at eight.  For what seems to Jamie like the gazillionth time, Sid is grumbling about Jamie waking him up.

“Ya know what?  You certainly weren’t complaining when I had your dick in my mouth!”  Jamie throws a shirt at Sid.

“Look, Mister I slept through the last two periods and overtime of the game instead of busting my ass playing like my boyfriend…”

Jamie rolled his eyes.

“…who came back to the hotel tired from the tough loss, who just wanted to get a good night’s sleep…”

Sid is now pointing a finger at Jamie.

“…who you woke up just because your god damn internal clock said it was time to go for a run…”

Jamie makes the ‘talking hand’ gesture and mouths ‘squawk squawk squawk’ at Sid.

“…bbbbuuuuttttt nnnnoooooo, you felt it was necessary to wake up said boyfriend and force him to have sex instead!” 

Sid is waving his arms like Sully on a bad day.  He stops ranting for a minute and just stands, staring at Jamie.

“What?  I counter again with the fact that you could have said no last night.  But no, you really didn’t mind because you got your dick sucked.”

“After I spent an hour and a half making you feel all happy I got a god damn five-minute blow job!”

“I can’t help if I’m so good you couldn’t hold out longer.  Says something about just how happy you were making me feel if it took me an hour and a half to get off doesn’t it.”

“You got off twice.  I think you were feeling the happy, baby boy.”

“Whatever.”

Sid collapses onto his back on the bed.  His hands over his face.

“Oh my god!  Get out!  Just get out and go to breakfast before I do something I am going to regret.”

And that is how the morning had started.  With a really stupid spat with Sidney.  Over sex.  Ugh.

At breakfast Jamie makes Dumes eat at the kiddies’ table, though he continually glares over at Sid.  Flower gives him a small wave and grin, then he sees Flower grimace in pain and give Tanger a dirty look.  He guesses Kris kicked him under the table.  God he thinks, those two are like an old married couple some times.

After breakfast he goes to Dumes’ room, cause after this morning, well fuck it, he doesn’t care who’s watching.  And at the moment he’s still mad at Sid.  How could he complain about this morning, it had been great!  And five-minute blow job, my ass. 

Jamie sits with Dumes on the bus to the SAP Center for practice.  He completely ignores Sid, unless they have to talk on the ice.  But that’s okay, because Sid is apparently completely ignoring Jamie, as well.  The team just stays out of the way.

The bus ride back to the hotel isn’t much better.  Flower is in Sid’s ear talking a mile a minute at him, Jamie notices.  Sid keeps looking back and frowning.  Jamie goes and hides out with Hags and Phil, of all people, after they get back because Dumes is going to a D bonding session in the Rev’s room.  He’s not exactly sure what they do in these bonding sessions, none of them talk about it.  That may be a good thing, he thinks.

He stretched out on one of the beds in Hags’ room, only half paying attention to the conversation going on in the room.  Horny, Bones and Culls have joined them.  They are letting the rookie wallow in his forlorn state.  He keeps playing sad, sappy love songs on his phone.  They watch as his phone chirps.

Sid:  I’m sorry.

Whatever.  Not gonna answer him.

Sid:  Jamie?

Sid:  You know how you always tell me how you feel with a song.  Well here’s how I feel.

Sid:  Thinking Out Loud

Jamie knows the song, but follows the link anyways.  The guys stop their conversation when they hear the song start.

Sid:  Please come back to our room.

The veterans watch Jamie scramble up off the bed.  He gives a simple explanation of Sid said he’s sorry as he bolts out the door.

Culls looks at the others, “Hundred says Jamie’s got his I got fucked look on his face at dinner.”

Bones grins, “Not touching that bet.”

Dinner on Sunday evening is not just a team dinner, but a team family dinner as all the parents, spouses, kids, and family that have made the trip are at the restaurant, too, the team reserving a large banquet room to accommodate everyone.  Sid and Jamie are sitting with Sid’s parents and Taylor. 

Bones walks past Culls on his way to the restroom.  “You were right, the idiots evidently kissed and made up.”

Culls looks over at Sid and Jamie, chuckling at the obvious look on Jamie’s face.  Sid is looking pretty happy himself, he notes.  He nods his head at Bones, “Idiots in love is right.”

Chapter Text

Jamie stands outside the hotel room, knocking impatiently on the door, wishing he’d remembered his key card before he’d stormed out this morning. Finally, Sid opens the door.

Jamie put his hands on Sid’s chest and pushes him back into the room, letting the door close behind them.

“Are we alone,” he whispers. Sid nods.

Jamie grabs Sid’s shoulders and pulls him around, shoving him up against the door, quickly claiming his mouth in a hard, demanding kiss. Their mouths work feverishly against each other’s, Sid whimpering when Jamie moves away to trail little nips along Sid’s jaw, finally reaching an earlobe, which he pulls and sucks. Sid pushes his hips towards Jamie.

Jamie’s hands reach down and cup Sid’s dick. He’s already hard. Jamie presses against the bulge, rubbing it with his palm as his mouth comes back to Sid’s, his tongue licking into it. Sid moans again into Jamie’s mouth, bringing his hands up to Jamie’s face. He pushes Jamie away from the kiss and looks into those deep green eyes.

“Suck me, Jamie. I want to feel those warm lips around me.” Sid slides his hands down to Jamie’s shoulders and presses down lightly, urging Jamie to his knees. Jamie drops down, letting his hands grasp Sid’s hips, watching as Sid hooks his fingers in the waistband of his shorts and pulls them down freeing his swollen dick.

Jamie’s lips part when they meet the head of Sid’s dick. Opening his mouth, he takes the whole length in, then draws his head back slowly, his lips pressing hard around Sid. His tongue strokes up the underside of Sid’s shaft. When Jamie has just the tip in his mouth, Sid takes Jamie’s head in his hands and holds him there.

“Hold still, baby boy. Let me,” He looks down at Jamie, “let me fuck that talented mouth.”

Jamie opens his eyes and looks up into Sid’s face, nodding his okay, then closing his eyes again as he lets his lips ease their pressure against Sid. Sid pushes his hips towards Jamie slowly as he feels him open his mouth a little more. When his dick is only half way in, he stops and puls back out. Sid repeats his movements, back and forth with his hips. Jamie presses his tongue up against Sid, licking him, enjoying the taste and sensation.

Jamie brings his hands up to hold Sid’s hips. Sid pushes forward, stopping again when his dick is only half way in. Jamie’s hands pull at Sid’s hips, compelling him to go deeper. Sid obliges and presses in further, stopping when he feels his tip against the back of Jamie’s throat making Jamie gag slightly. Sid waits until Jamie’s hands squeeze his hips before pressing in again.

Sid stops and holds his dick deep in Jamie’s mouth. “Suck me.”

Jamie begins to suck on Sid’s dick, working his tongue back and forth, sucking gently, then releasing, then sucking again. He moans lowly, opening his eyes to look up at Sid, who has his head back, his eyes closed. Jamie loves watching Sid enjoy this pleasure. Sid’s body twitches, a sign Jamie knows to mean he is close, but Jamie isn’t ready yet.

Just before he knows that Sid is about to come, Jamie stops working Sid’s dick. Jamie presses his head back against Sid’s hands. Sid lets him slide his mouth off of his dick, moaning his disappointment that Jamie didn’t just finish, but knowing what Jamie wants.

Jamie stands up and kisses Sid, slipping out of his own shorts and kicking them aside. “I want fucked, Sid,” he said huskily. “I want fucked hard.”

In one quick move, Sid flips Jamie around and pushes him against the wall, pressing up against him. Sid reaches his hand around to Jamie’s mouth. “Suck my fingers. Get them wet for me.” Jamie sucks Sid’s fingers into his mouth, coating them with his saliva.

After a minute Sid takes his fingers out and reaches down to Jamie’s ass. His hand slips between the checks and finds Jamie’s opening. He rubs the rim, eliciting a deep moan of pleasure from Jamie. Sid presses first one, then two fingers into Jamie, slowly working them in and around.

“God you are so tight.”

With his other hand, Sid wraps his fingers around Jamie’s swollen dick, letting his thumb play with the tip, rubbing back and forth across the slit. When he senses that Jamie is ready to take him he pulls his fingers out. Sid lines his own dick up with Jamie’s waiting ass.

“Ready?” he whispers in Jamie’s ear. Jamie braces himself against the wall as he nods.

Sid snaps his hips forward, pushing into Jamie all in one fast, hard thrust. “Is this what you want? You want fucked, baby boy?”

“Oh god!” Jamie’s breath rushes out as Sid pulled out and thrust in hard again. “Yes, Sid. Fuck my ass. Hard, Sid. Harder.” Sid pulls out again and rams his hips back to Jamie, driving his dick deep into that tight ass.

Sid works Jamie’s dick with his hand, stroking him as hard as he’s fucking his ass. Sid drives his dick into Jamie, rocking his hips faster, fucking Jamie hard, just as he’d asked. Sid’s head rests against Jamie’s shoulder. They are both huffing for air from the exertion, the pressure and need for release building.

“Tell me,” he hums into Jamie’s ear, “tell me again.”

“Fuck…me… oh god, Sid. Fuck…me.”

“Cum for me, baby boy. Cum for me.” Sid works Jamie’s dick faster and harder, he can feel Jamie getting ready to come. As Jamie’s body tenses, Sid releases his dick and puts both hands on Jamie’s hips, pulling him back as he thrusts hard into him, again and again, Jamie’s muscles clenching down around him as his body spasms through his orgasm.

Jamie is gasping for air. His hands against the wall, bracing himself as Sidney pounds into him. “Sid, please,” he struggles for breath, “oh god, Sid, please.”

Sid thrusts in hard one last time as feels his dick explode inside Jamie. Sid works his dick in and out a few more strokes until he is spent, pulling out as he wraps his arms around Jamie’s chest. Jamie relaxes his body, letting Sid hold him up, his legs weak and shaking underneath him.

They stand there, leaning against the wall for several minutes while they catch their breath and Jamie can finally stand back up on his own legs.

“You okay, baby boy?” He kisses Jamie’s neck softly.

“Fuck yeah. Make up sex is the best sex ever.” Jamie turns to face Sid, staying wrapped up in his arms. “I do love you, Sidney Crosby.”

Chapter Text

Jamie woke up Monday feeling really good again.  He and Dumes got in another great run along the river.  His head feeling pretty normal for the first time since he’d started taking the anti-depressants.  Pre-game skate even went exceptionally well.  For as off kilter that he felt Saturday, he felt sharp and on-point on Monday.  Sully agreed.  If no problems showed up between then and game time, Jamie was in tonight.

Sid was lying on his back, Jamie curled up against him with his head on Sid’s shoulder.  Jamie was nuzzling Sid’s neck as Sid let his fingers play through Jamie’s hair.

“I’ll be happy when we win this thing and you can get a hair cut.”

“And I’ll be happy when you shave that thing you try to pass off as a beard.”  Jamie bites down, not so lightly on Sid’s collarbone.  “But keep the moustache.”

“You like that, huh?  Okay.  I can do that.  It’s actually come in better than it ever has before.”  He strokes it with his other hand. 

“So, what are we going to do?”  Jamie pulls his head up so he can look at Sid’s face.

“We are not fooling around.  Naptime.”

“No.  I mean.  About us.  About the whole internet crap.”  He sits up, a serious expression chasing away the contented look from just a moment ago.

“You really want to talk about this again?  Right now?  Can’t we just relax this afternoon?”  Sid pulls Jamie back down, enfolding him in a tight embrace. 

“Look, if we talk about it you’ll just be all upset and tense, that will make your head bother you and then you won’t be able to play tonight.  I don’t want that because you don’t want that.  So I suggest that we don’t talk about it at least until we get home tomorrow.  Okay?”

“I guess. But you know I’m only going to lay here and think about it.”

Sid groans, but pushes Jamie off of him, rolling him over onto his back.  Sid rolls with him so he is on top of Jamie.  “Half an hour.  I’ll do whatever you want for a half hour if you quit obsessing over it until we get home.”

Jamie waggles his eyebrows, “Anything?”

---

Sid skates past Jamie, trying hard to suppress his laughter as Jamie stands looking up to where the Crosby’s are seated.

“Oh my god, really?”  He skates after Sid, swatting at his leg with his stick.  “You just have to stir the pot, don’t you?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.  They did it all on their own.”  Sid’s trying to keep a straight face.  He’s succeeding until Geno skates over.

“I see mama and papa Crosby show support both sons tonight.  Have to flip coin to see who wear loser rookie sweater?”

That’s right.  There sitting in the stands, Troy is wearing Sid’s jersey and Trina is wearing Jamie’s.  Jamie tries to ignore it.  Tries to just shoot one-timers at Muzz.  But, he keeps looking up.  Then he sees T walking in with a carrier of drinks and his mouth falls open. 

 

Oh, holy fuck no.

Taylor turns her back to the ice to shuffle across to her seat and there it is, clearly visible to everyone, including the cameras in the building.

Taylor is wearing a jersey with CROSBY clearly written in block letters on the back.  The only problem is that it is sporting Jamie’s number 20.

“Sid!  What the fuck!”

---

Jamie doesn’t start with Sid.  In fact, he doesn’t even get on the ice until five minutes in to the game.  His welcome back to the series is a check into the boards at center ice by Brent Burns.  A hit that shakes him up.  Not his head, but the rest of him.  It’s been a week since he’s taken any kind of hard hit. 

It takes him a minute to get his breath back and take inventory on all his moving parts.  During that time, the Sharks take off on a breakaway, grabbing the puck Burns knocked loose.  Jamie tries to give chase.

Come on Muzz, he prays to himself.  Come on.  He watched Joe Thornton wrist the shot at goal.  And Muzz snaps his glove around it cleanly.  That a boy, he thinks.  The whistle stops play and Jamie heads to the bench. 

Jamie’s leaning over, breathing hard, when he feels the hand on his shoulder.  Stewie bends down to ask if Jamie’s okay.  Jamie nods, giving a short ‘fine’ as his required verbal response.  Sullivan keeps him off the ice for the rest of the period, however.

During the first intermission, Sullivan comes over to Jamie’s stall and nods at him.  “Thing, come on.”

They go to the visiting coaches’ office.  Jamie stands in front of the desk as Sullivan sits down.

“I want the truth.  Are you okay to keep playing?”

“Yes, just haven’t been hit that hard in a while.  But I’m fine.”

Sullivan looks him up and down.  “Truth.”

“Yes.  Truth.”

“Okay.  Go on and get ready to go back out.  I’m gonna switch you and Kuni, I think.  Put you out with Geno.”

“Not a problem.  Thanks.”  Jamie turns and walks back out.

The second period goes better.  Jamie is out on the ice for just over five minutes playing on Geno’s line.  When they head in for the second intermission, the Pens hold a 2 – 0 lead.

The third period is brutal.  The officials have clearly taken a ‘let them play’ attitude, not calling penalties unless it is extremely blatant. 

With just over seven minutes gone in the period, Coler chips the puck through the neutral zone into the Sharks end.  The Pens make a change and Jamie comes over the boards with Hags and Culls this time.  Sullivan is switching around the lines, trying to just keep fresh bodies on the ice.  Trying to push the Sharks as hard as they can. 

Jamie sprints towards the puck, beating the Sharks’ d-man to it.  As he spins away, he sees Hags across the ice, he slaps a pass to him.  Brendon Dillon cuts it off and the Sharks head towards the Pens’ zone.  Jamie gives chase, catching Dillon just as he passes the puck to Tierney, who passes to Karlsson, who wrists one right past Muzz. 

Son-of-a-bitch. 

Jamie skates with his head down the whole way back to the bench, expecting to come off.  When he looks up, Sullivan shakes his head.  Sid skates over and taps him on the ass with his stick. 

“Come on, got a face off to take.”  Jamie stays out on the ice for a shift with Sid, even blocking a shot.

The Sharks play with an increased level of determination, or desperation from that point on.  The Pens are doing a great job of holding them off, everybody sacrificing their bodies to block shots, boxing in to help Muzz take an onslaught of pucks coming at the net.  For the first time in 12 games, an opponent is out-shooting the Pens.

With just over two minutes left, the Pens can see that the Sharks are getting ready to pull their goalie as soon as they can clear the puck into the Pens’ zone.  They chip a pass up the right boards that Hags takes off their forwards stick. 

Jamie is coming over the boards, hitting full stride as he crosses the blue line.  He taps his stick hard on the ice.  Sees Hags look.  Sees the puck coming.  Sees it hit the end of his stick.  Just like my first game he thinks.  Deke left, then back right.  And there it is, Martin opens the five hole.  Jamie sends a backhand at the net.  The Pens get a security goal.  Jamie gets mobbed by his line mates.

The Sharks raise their level of desperation during the last two minutes.  Jamie watches from the bench.  They are all on their feet or bouncing in their seats.  Shot after shot is careening off Muzz’s pads.  Culls and Horny each slide head first across the ice to block shots.  The whole seen is total chaos as the fans try to cheer their team into scoring a goal.  The two minutes is an eternity before the horn sounds.

Final 3-1.  Now back to Pittsburgh for game five.  One more win, they know.  Just one more.

Chapter Text

Sid's happy to be back in Pittsburgh, their flight getting them home late in the afternoon.  When they pulled in the driveway, Jamie’s Jeep was already there, meaning that his parents and Taylor were already home.  Their flight had left San Jose an hour earlier than the team’s plane.  The team should have left first, but Flower was running late, as usual.

 Sid looks over at Jamie sitting in the passenger seat. Jamie hasn’t said a word since they landed, staring silently out the window on the short car ride home.

“We’re home.”  Sid pats Jamie’s leg.  “But I’m guessing I’m not to get out just yet.”

“You said when we got home, so we do this out here or take it in the house, your choice, but we’re doing this.”

Sid sighs, “I can’t believe we need to have this talk again, Jamie.  Let it go.  It’s going to be whatever it’s going to be.  We can’t change what’s happened.”

Jamie unbuckles his seat belt, turning so his back is almost completely against the door.

“I don’t get it.  I don’t get how you can be so okay with all this, so fucking calm.  I remember what you said to me in Boston.  About privacy.  About not showing affection in public.  About keeping our relationship private.  That wasn’t that long ago.  You can’t just suddenly have changed the way you feel about being out to the world.”

“I didn’t just change.  That was four months ago.”  So far this conversation is going about the same as all the others.

“That’s not a long time.”  Jamie looks down at his lap.  “You aren’t mad at me.  You should be, but you aren’t.  That’s what I don’t understand.  This is all my fault, and you’re not mad about it.”

“What do you mean this is all your fault?  It’s nobody’s fault, Jamie.  And I certainly am not going to get mad at you over something that you didn’t have any control over.  I’ve told you that every time we’ve had this exact same conversation over the last few days.  Why do we need to keep hash it over. Let it go.” 

“I didn’t want this to happen, you know that.  I didn’t do it on purpose. I would never do anything that could hurt you.  Hurt your career.  And I know Taylor said you were okay with all this, but still, I really fucked things up for us.” 

Nope.  Not letting it go.

“I wore my ring out on media day.  I did it without even thinking.  I was so god-damn happy to have it, I just wanted it back on my finger after practice.  So I fucked up.  I gave them something to jump on.”

Okay.  Time to come clean, Sid thinks.  “I saw you do it.”

Jamie blinks at Sid, not sure he heard right, grasping to understand the implications of that one little statement.

“I saw you put your ring on.  I’d thought about it before I ever gave it to you.  About what if people saw it.  I thought about wearing mine on a chain around my neck, so people wouldn’t see that we both had one.  We could explain yours off as being your dad’s or something.  You wearing it for good luck.  I even had a chain in my hand that day, I was about to put the ring on it.  Then, I saw what you did.  I could have stopped you.  But, I put mine on my hand and walked out to do interviews, too.  You may have flashed yours by accident, but I did it on purpose.”

“You wanted this.”  It’s a statement, not a question.  “You fucking wanted it to come out about us.  And that’s why you talked me into doing all that shit in San Jose.  The songs.  The shirt.  You had Dana make up Taylor’s sweater, didn’t you, you fucker.  You wanted this.  You wanted people to talk about us.”

Sid turns away, “Maybe.  Yes.”

“What the fuck?  After all your talk?  After you being nervous that we were sitting too close, or that people would see us if you took me out to dinner, or the movies, or to the museum’s that time.  After everything you said.  Why?  Why now?  You said before, you don’t like having your relationships, any relationship, out in public.”

”I’ve changed my ideas about things.  About a lot of things, lately.  I think sometimes it bothers you that we can’t be a couple in public, not flaunting it or anything, but just being a couple.  Like the guys with wives and girlfriends.  I know it bothers you not to be able to hug me in public because someone will say something.  It’s been bothering me.  For a while.”

Sid turns back to Jamie.  The look that meets his is, what, surprise?  No.  Anger.

“So you get to fuck with my life because you’ve had a change of heart.  What the fuck.”

This is not how Sid expected things to go.  He’d expected Jamie to be okay with this.  He had been okay with feeding things to the watchers, but had insisted on stopping short of just actually coming out. 

“I thought it was our life?  Our life together.  And I didn’t think you’d be this upset about this.”  Sid tries to explain.

“Right.  You thought.  You thought that if Sidney Fucking Crosby came out, that it would then be okay for me, too.  What if this backfires?  What about your career?  What about my career in the NHL?”

“You’re here.  You know you are going to stay here.  You’re getting a good contract.  Jesus Jamie, you’re getting a fucking no trade contract starting your second year in the league.  That’s fucking unheard of.  Your career is going to be fine.  You’re gonna be a great player in this league for a long time.”

Sid reaches for Jamie’s hand, expecting Jamie to pull away.  When he doesn’t Sid laces their fingers together.

“Besides I’m not planning on coming out.  You know I feel the same way you do about that term.  I don’t plan on either of us making some grand declaration about being bisexual.  I don’t intend to run right out and become the poster boy for You Can Play or any other organization.  Maybe in the future, but not now.  Now I just want to be able to lead a normal life with the person I love without having to hide the fact that I love him.  So I let the photos get out there, knowing somebody would pick up on the rings.  Did I expect this social media storm, hell no.  But I figured we should take advantage of it.  So yeah, I got you to agree to feed some stuff to them.  And I’ve watched the responses.  There hasn’t been a huge negative backlash from the public, or the team, or the whole fucking NHL.  So I think we’re okay.  We’ll be okay.”

Jamie is starting to accept this he hopes.  “Look, I’m just at the point in my life and my career where I think I can be secure and open about who I am.  And as for you?  I think the Sidney Fucking Crosby umbrella is big enough to protect us both.  It was time for me to open it up and use it to my advantage.”

"What about all your endorsements.  That's a lot of money to lose if they don't like this.  You can't just do that.  Not for me."

"I've talked to Brisson.  He's felt things out, quietly.  And did you see that Reebok has a photo of us on their webpage and links to the couple watch sites.  There's something about wearing Reebok to be able to stay with you while you run or some shit like that.  Tim Horton's introduced a new donut that is named after us.  Haven't you seen all that shit?  I think, that having my name to use, no matter what, is making them money.  I'm not going to lose any endorsements.  Like I said, that umbrella is pretty big.  And it only gets bigger if we win the cup."

Jamie sits there, trying to understand.  Trying to figure out why this is so upsetting to him when Sid is so calm about it.  It’s what he’s wanted.  Ever since he was with Kicks.  If they could have been open about loving each other would Kicks still be alive?  Then something Sidney said connects in his brain.

“You did it.  Not Mario.  You got them to put the no-trade clause in the contract.”

“Mario and I thought it would be better for the team if people thought he did it.  Him protecting me by doing it.  That way, people wouldn’t know just how much power I do have over the Pens’ management.”  Sid winked.

Jamie finally smiled.  “Damn, Sidney Fucking Crosby you do have a lot of power.”

“So?  Okay?  Trust me on all this?”

“I guess I just have to.  So I’m guessing you’ve got a plan for all this, and it started when the couple watch site hit the internet.  So when do we finally just do this completely, just start being open about being together?”

“The last game of the finals.  Win or lose.”

Chapter Text

Wednesday morning Jamie and Sid are on their way to Cranberry for practice.  Jamie remembers that today is an important day for one of his teammates.  He takes out his phone and starts typing.  Sid gives him a quizzical look.

“Shears’ birthday today.”

“Right”

Jamie; Happy Birthday Conman!  Got plans for after practice?

Shears:  Thanks.  No plans, big game.  Celebrate later.

“Ya know, I think Shears needs an extra special birthday present, don’t you?”

Sid raises an eyebrow.  “What are you up to?  You know you’re lucky he talks to you after that whole texting from my phone thing.”

Jamie grins.  Sid starts to worry.

---

Sid watches during practice as Jamie first pulls Tommy off to the side for a private chat.  Tommy keeps glancing over at Shears and nodding.  This can’t be good Sid thinks.  What is Jamie doing?

Then, a little bit later Jamie is standing next to Conor.  Leaning over talking in his ear.  Sid watches Conor’s eyes widen and his face blush.  Jamie stands up straight, pats Conor on the back and skates away.  Sid sees Conor fix his stare on Tommy.  Oh my god, Jamie, what are you doing?

---

Sid is sitting in his stall pulling the tape off his socks.  He hears laughing and looks up.  Conor and Tommy are walking in together, followed closely by Jamie, who is all smiles.

Jamie sits down and Dumes nudges him in the side.  Jamie leans over, whispering something in Dumes’ ear.  Dumes laughs, sitting back and slapping Jamie on the back.  Sid hears Dumes say, “About time.  He’s been wound tighter than a fucking German coocoo clock since then.”

Jamie looks over and Sid gives him the evil eye, mouthing ‘what the fuck are you doing’ at Jamie.  Jamie shrugs.  This can’t be good, Sid thinks.

---

Jamie refuses to tell Sid what’s going on, or what he said to either Tommy or Conor.  Sid thinks about texting the boys and asking, but then again, he’s not sure he wants to know what’s going on.

He is sitting on the back patio at Mario’s that night, enjoying a quiet evening with both his families when his cellphone chimes.

Wardrobe:  Hey Cap, took care of Shears’ stress problem.  The team owes me one, cause he is now REALLY relaxed!  Should be a rocket on the ice tomorrow night!

Jamie is sitting next to him, leaning over trying to read the text over his shoulder.  Sid elbows him in the chest, then whispers, “What the fuck?  This has to be a joke, right?  Is this what you did, got them to prank text me?”

Jamie just grins and goes back to strumming on his guitar.

A minute later Sid’s phone chimes again.

Shears: Hey, just wanted to thank you for my reward.  Junior really does have a nice, warm mouth.  It was awesome! 

Jamie is looking over Sid’s shoulder again.  When Sid turns to glare at him, Jamie shrugs.  “I don’t know anything about this.”

That’s when Jamie’s phone chimes.

Shears:  Best birthday present!  Thank you!  Owe you man!

Knuckles:  I owe you! 

Sid is reading the texts over Jamie’s arm. 

“What did you do?”

“Shears got a birthday present and Knuckles got some desparately needed stress relief.  All is good.”

“What if you’re little plan wouldn’t have worked.  You could have caused a huge rift right before the biggest game of the season.”

“There are times you are completely oblivious to the goings on around you, Crosby.  And, I ran it all past the team’s resident love doctor.”

“Flower?  You told Flower what you were doing but not me?”

“He is the best at the team on figuring out who needs and wants a fuck buddy, you know that.  He has all the rookies, um, humming along, shall we say?  I told them to text you first if things worked out.  Guess it did, Conor said it was the best birthday present.”

“Oh my god, no.  Don’t say that.  I don’t want to know any more.”

Jamie strums a few chords and starts singing…

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…”

Chapter Text

Jamie started Wednesday evening when they got home.  Fidgeting.  Antsy.  Unable to get to sleep.  Sid saw it.  Saw all the warning signs that Jamie was going to stress himself into a headache, into a can’t play hockey type of headache. 

Jamie is getting better every day he takes the medications, with complaints about headaches getting less frequent.  Jamie had a good game Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday were headache free days.  Sid needs Thursday to be a good day. Jamie can’t miss this game.  It means too much to them.

As much as they all say it, game five is not just another hockey game.  This could be the last game of the series.  A win means the Pens’ become the first Pittsburgh team to win a championship at home since the Pirates did it in 1960.  A win means that Sid enters an elite group of hockey captains who have hoisted the cup more than once.  A win means Jamie gets to hoist the cup as an 18-year-old rookie, making him one of the youngest to get his name on the cup. 

In the whole scheme of things, a win means so much more than all of that to the two of them.  A win means a change for the rest of their lives and how they live their lives.  Sid has assured Jamie that this change will come at the end of the series, win or lose.  But to Jamie, and Sid, it will mean so much more if it happens Thursday, in Pittsburgh, as they hoist the Stanley Cup.

Thursday, Jamie is up and off for his run as usual.  Sid, however does not stay in bed, instead getting up and putting “Operation – Keep Jamie Happy” into motion.  Sid putters around the house for an hour then, when he hears Jamie open the front door, skips upstairs and back to bed.

Jamie wanders in to the kitchen and turns the coffee pot on, then heads to the fridge to grab some juice.  There is a piece of paper taped to the juice box with his name written on it in Sid’s hand-writing.  Jamie pulls the note off, opening it to read the message inside.

Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control.

Jamie smiled, pouring himself a glass of juice, before opening the cupboard to retrieve his coffee cup.  Taped to his coffee cup was another note.

My perfect day has nothing to do with the weather or what I’m doing.  My perfect day is whenever I’m with you.

“Damn.  Who’d have thought you’re the romantic kind, Crosby.”  Jamie mutters.

Jamie takes his cup of coffee and juice upstairs.  They don’t have pre-game skate until 9 am and he’s keyed up already about the game.  He ponders the idea of taking a shower, but decides to go back to bed for a little bit.  Sid’s not going to agree to fooling around today, he knows, but maybe some morning cuddling would help him.  He’s surprised Sid isn’t wrapped around his pillow, until he sees the note taped to it.

You’re the first and last thing I think about every day and every other thought in between.  I miss you when we are apart and when we’re together I just want to be with you. 

“You sentimental sap,” Jamie whispers in Sid’s ear as he stretches out and presses himself up against Sid’s back.  Jamie wraps his arms around Sid and pulls him tight.

“Mmmm… yep.”  Sid mumbles. 

“You’re awake,” Jamie pinches Sid’s side, making him squeal.  “This all part of the plan?”

“Maybe.  You need to go back to sleep if you’re gonna come back to bed.”

Jamie lays there thinking about the game and what Sid has planned, cause Sid clearly isn’t going to tell him anything about it.  He’s a little worried, but he trusts Sid.  And in all reality he knows that not living in fear of people finding out about them, not having to hide anymore, all of what that means, is going to be for the better.  They’ve talked more, it’s not about giving up privacy, but about gaining some.  If there isn’t some big secret for people to try and unearth, then maybe the intense scrutiny will disappear.  At least, that’s what they hope this will mean.

Sid stirs first, getting in and out of the shower before Jamie even gets up again.  He gives Jamie a quick kiss and a ‘we need to take two cars this morning’ as he rushes out of the bedroom.  Jamie stands in the middle of the room looking totally lost. 

When Jamie gets to Consol, he learns why Sid was in such a rush to get out the door without him.  There is a note taped to his stall.

I want you.  All of you.  Your flaws.  Your mistakes.  Your imperfections.  I want you, and only you.

Jamie looks around for Sid, who’s not in the locker room.  Jamie knows that Sid was going to skip this morning’s skate, so he may just be working out on one of the stationary bikes, his usual thing.  Jamie goes about his pre-skate warm-up and routine.  There’s a note taped to one of his sticks when he goes to pick one out for practice. 

I choose you.  And I’ll choose you, over and over and over.  Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat, I’ll keep choosing you. 

“Well that explains why he had to rush his ass down here,” Jamie muses out loud.  Rusty is walking in and gives him a strange look.

When Jamie comes off the ice, he catches a glimpse of Sid in the hallway playing soccer with Tanger and Geno.  He stops to just watch them.  Best friends.  They’ve been here before.  Before they had become the tight knit core of this team.  That morning they laughed, shoving each other around jokingly, relaxed and confident.  Jamie thought about how lucky he was to have come to Pittsburgh, to play with them, to be part of all this. 

When he leaves to head home there is, of course, a note on the steering wheel of the Jeep.

I look at you and see the rest of my life in front of my eyes. 

The afternoon is spent curled up together in bed napping.  Jamie mentions the notes again as they are settling in under the covers. 

“Internet.  I’m not that romantic.”  Sid laughs.  “But they say everything I feel.” 

That night when they get to Consol to get ready for the game there is another note on Jamie’s stall.  

You see, I love you and I don’t want to lose you because my life has been better since the day I found you.

Jamie sits holding the note for a few seconds before he folds it, slipping it into the pocket of his suit pants.  Sid watches Jamie, a contented smile coming to his mouth.  Jamie’s gonna play tonight, no worry about that.  The plan worked, evidently, because all Jamie could talk about on the way in to the center was the notes, laughing and deliriously happy instead of tense and worried.  Now they just have to win.

When Jamie comes back in the locker room after his pre-game visit to the toilet to throw-up, Sid is waiting for him.  

Sid hands him a note. 

“Last one,” Sid whispers into Jamie’s ear.  “I hope we win tonight, because I don’t think I can wait much longer to show you just how much I believe these words.” 

Sid turns and walks out, leaving Jamie to read the note alone.

I want to see your smile every morning, kiss you whenever I want, hold your hand, think about you all the time, tell you how much I love you, and how much I don’t wanna ever lose you.

“We have to win”

Jamie strides over to his stall and tucks this note in with the other one, before walking out into the hallway.

“Let’s go boys!  We’ve got a cup to win!”

Chapter Text

While there hadn’t been much made of it by the fans in San Jose, not even with T sporting a custom-made Crosby #20 sweater, the fans in Pittsburgh were a different matter.  They had embraced their penguins turned potential lovebirds, as one sign said, and to Jamie there were almost as many “Crosby & Marsh” signs in the stands as there were ones for them to win the cup.  The crowd roared during warm-ups any time Jamie and Sid were on the video scoreboard together. 

Jamie wanted to win tonight.  Wanted the series to end here in friendly territory, in front of fans who evidently supported them.  If they had to go back to San Jose, the whole situation would change for whatever Sid proposed to do.  It might not go over as well and then there would be negative backlash and then there would be problems and… and… and… he’d thought about it most of the day.  Now, standing at center ice at Consol, warming up with his teammates, he pushed all of that to the back of his brain.  Now, he needed to focus on the game, and only the game.

---

With a minute twenty left on the clock, Joe Pavelski put the puck into the empty net, giving the Sharks a 4-2 lead and locking up game five for them.  The Pens knew it was over then.  Jones was really on tonight, playing out his ass as the Pens ended up putting over 40 shots on goal.  Muzz had a good night.  The Pens had a good night.  Except for the first five minutes of the first period, when Muzz gave up three goals, the Pens had dominated the game.  But, Jones had been phenomenal, too, shutting the Pens out after his team gave him a lead to protect for the first time in the series.

With four seconds on the clock, Sid got into it behind the Sharks’ goal with Vlasic, each of them ending up with a roughing penalty.  Jamie stands on the ice for the final face-off and watches Sid storm down the runway.  The official drops the puck, the clock runs down, and the horn sounds. 

 A few minutes later Jamie is sitting in his stall, head down, trying to reign in his emotions.  He knows he had a good game, almost scoring on two breakaways.  Almost.  They got their pep talk from Sully, all about responding the right way, playing their game, controlling their emotions.  Jamie let the words wash over him. 

Sid watches Jamie rub the back of his neck a few times, sees Dumes lean over and say something to Jamie and Jamie shake his head.  But Jamie has his eyes closed, like the light is bothering him, and he’s stripping out of his gear slower than normal.  By the time Sid has stripped down to just his compression pants, Jamie still hasn’t unlaced his skates.

Sid nods to Dumes, who gets up to head to the showers, giving Sid a spot to come sit next to Jamie.

“Okay?” Sid slides his hand around Jamie’s shoulders as he sits down.

“Don’t you get tired of asking me that?” Jamie snaps back, “I’m fine.”

“Didn’t you read those notes today?  I’m never going to get tired of asking, or worrying, or loving you.  So, what’s going on?  Upset about losing?  You had a great game, we didn’t play that bad, just need to control our emotions out there, play the way we did, and we’ve got the cup on Sunday.”

“Why do we have to wait, until the last game.  I know you said we weren’t going to make some big declaration, but waiting to do it, on the ice, that kind of feels like we’d be making some big declaration.”

“That’s the way you feel?”  Sid rubs his hand on Jamie’s back.

“Yes.  I’ve thought about it all day, every time I read one of the notes, which by the way, thank you, I know what you were doing.  It did help keep me from stressing out too much.  Rusty said he couldn’t get settled down all day he was so nervous.” 

Sid laughs, yeah the kids were pretty wound up he’d heard.  The excitement in the Burgh was hard to get away from all day.

“Okay, so what do you want to do?”

“Just be us.  Just do what you said in that last note, kiss whenever we want, hold hands, whatever.  Live like nobody is watching instead of living like everyone is watching.  Can’t we just do that now?  Did you see the crowd and all the signs?  We don’t have to worry about being accepted here.  And I don’t want us, whatever, to take away from the celebration for the team.  Sunday, or god forbid Wednesday, should be about the team winning the cup, not about us, right?  So if we just do whatever, be us, just like any of the couples we know, wouldn’t that be okay.  No fanfare, just do it?”

“That’s what you want?  Really?  I thought you wanted, I mean, I thought we should wait so there wasn’t a lot of pressure on you during the finals, but you have a good point.  I guess I was trying to make a big declaration without making a declaration.  And you’re right, it should be about the team when we win.  Okay.  So from this point on, we are just us not worrying about who’s watching or what people say.”

Sid leans over and kisses Jamie’s cheek.  “You still need to get changed.  And I need to get ready to field questions about why we lost.”

Jamie chuckles, suddenly looking like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders, Sid thinks.

“Part of it was because Vlasic owned your ass tonight.”  He snapped a towel at Sid as Sid walked away.

“Hundred-dollar locker room, rookie, chirping the Captain after a loss.” Tanger yells from across the locker room.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll get my boyfriend to pay it.”  Jamie is beaming. 

Chapter Text

Friday is travel day, another god-damn long ass flight to the west coast.  About halfway through the flight, Sid and Dumo change seats so Sid can talk to Jamie.  Flower takes advantage of not having Sid right next to him to spring something on the rest of the team.  Once he has them all in on a chat, which takes a while because some of them are less tech savy than others, he starts... 

Flower:  Okay.  So everyone knows, please no abbreviations, no text slang, etc.  Some of us, Culls & Kuni are old and can’t keep up.  Rule 2 – NO ONE TELLS SID AND JAMIE ABOUT THIS CHAT!

Geno:  Or I call Ovi and Russian mob!

Horny:  You think they’re scarier than a couple of Swedish pitbulls?  Hags and I will take people out if they talk.  Right Hagy!

Culls:  I can see being afraid of you Patric, but Hags?  He couldn’t intimidate anyone.

Hags:  Hey.  I have Swedish mafia connections.  I can scare people.

Geno:  Not good as Russians.  Russia best.

Flower: Can we get back to the subject at hand.  Okay.  So here’s the poop.  Sid was planning some big Sid move to announce to the world that he and Jamie are in fact a couple.  He was going to do it on the ice, at the last game of the series, win or lose.

Duper:  Does he still think the whole world doesn’t know?

Rusty:  Do they check the sites?  Cause I posted three pictures yesterday.  LOL. The world knows.

Kuni:  Captain Oblivious likes to think it is all still just rumors.  Give him that, okay.

Flower:  Back to the problem.  I think they really wanted to do it last night, at home.  But we lost.

Muzz:  Sorry about that.

Kuni: Wasn’t your fault Muzz, they just have a better goalie.

Dumes:  Ouch!

Flower:  ENOUGH!  Muzz you did great.  Don’t listen to them.  Now back to what is important.  Sid & Jamie.  Jamie tells Sid he doesn’t want a big on ice thing, I think because he thinks we will win the cup in San Jose and doesn’t want it on enemy ice and you know, he said something about it taking away from our celebration.

Knuckles:  He would think that way.  Personally, they could fuck at center ice and it wouldn’t take away from my celebration when we win the cup!

Dumes:  Too much Tommy!

Flower:  Mon Dieu!  Will you quit interrupting.  I think they are just going to go about acting like a couple even in pubic and not make a big thing about it.  So before I say anything else I need to ask what have any of you heard from friends or former teammates around the league about all the stuff that has already been out.  Anything overly negative.

Duper:  Talbot said if it had to be someone breaking the barrier it should be Sid.  Said that he thought Sid could handle the negative press at this point in his career. 

Shears:  Guys at WBS are all okay with it from the texts I’ve gotten.

Geno:  Lazy is happy.   Says his team talk and all good.  Said is time for this.

Rev:  Paulie asked me about them last weekend.  Said nobody on the Sharks was saying anything bad.

Culls:  I talked to guys on some of the teams I was on, they kind of said same thing.  Nobody seems to have a problem with an openly gay couple in the league.  Might even mean some others can come out.

Rusty:  Are they gay?  I thought Jamie said one time he liked girls.

Dumes:  They are both bi I think Rusty, but it’s not going to make a difference to the haters.  The word used is going to be gay.  That’s a big weight for them to carry in the league when they do confirm the rumors to the public.

Duper:  Sid will be okay.  Especially if we win the cup.  People are going to hate, but as long as the other teams and players are okay for the most part it will be fine.  And Sid will protect Jamie.

Tanger:  Tomorrow there are Pride Parades all over.  Ference is riding a YCP float in Edmonton.  Holtby is in parade in D.C.  Last year the Hawks had the Cup in Chicago’s Pride event.  I don’t think the league is the problem.  Being the first to be open, that has always been the issue.  Nobody wants to be first.  Everyone who has texted me about shit has been glad that Sid is going to lead the charge so to speak.

Geno:  Sid always best at leader.  Not good follow.  So make sense he lead this too.

Flower:  Okay.  I think then the league is ready.  I know our fans are ready.  And I don’t fucking care if it is in San Jose or not, I am ready for them to do this.  I want a big fucking display on the ice.

Kuni:  And if they don’t?

Tanger:  Flower and I have something in mind.  It will take all of us.  And I’m sorry kids.  It will mean a little delay before we all celebrate the win.  And.  We only do this if we win.  So added incentive to get the job done.

Hags:  What’s the plan?  Phil doesn’t have his phone, but he says he’s in too.

Flower:  Okay!  I need to hear that from everyone.  This is an all in or all out kind of thing!

One by one, they all text that they are in on whatever Flower and Tanger have cooked up.

Flower’s next text starts off, So here’s what we are thinking…

Chapter Text

The conversation on the plane went well, everyone in agreement with the plan, until Duper, ever the pragmatist, points out the flaw in the plan. 

“But Sid will be first in the handshake line this time, so he’ll dart off for an interview before we can get him.”  Which meant that Flower’s plan to corral them after the handshake line might not work. 

So they start from scratch. Friday night and Saturday are filled with clandestine meetings in various hotel rooms, mass texts, and lots of swearing by Flower because this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought.  It wasn’t until Sunday morning when he was watching the media scrum after their pre-game skate that the idea hit Flower that maybe it was actually easier than they thought.

He went to Tanger and Duper first, then found Kuni and Geno.  When they let the others know, everyone seemed to think this was the best idea, direct and to the point, and as a bonus, on national TV and not just for those in the arena.  Now, they just had to let the right person know what they had planned, and that person was Pierre Mcguire.

---

Jamie stood bent over the toilet.  He was throwing up.  Nerves.  It was something he’d had to deal with all his life.  He had a tendency to toss his cookies when he got really nervous or excited.  And tonight was another night to be nervous and excited.  Game six of the Stanley Cup finals, the Pens’ second chance to put it away and win the cup.  He wiped his mouth on the towel he’d remembered to grab on his way in to the stall and flushed the toilet.

“Marsh, you okay man?”  The voice belonged to Chris Stewart, the Head Athletic Trainer.   

“Yeah, I’m okay.  You haven’t bothered to check on me in while, Chris.” Jamie opened the door.  Stewart had a knowing grin on his face.

“I know.  Had to check tonight, ya know.”

Jamie rinsed out his mouth, splashed some water on his face and walked back out in to the main locker room.  Sidney was waiting for him.

“You okay?” he asked.  “You know, I play with this kid that gets so worked up before a game that he pukes just about every time.  Can you believe it.  Good thing he’s so good looking, something like that could be a real turn-off’

“Funny.  Let’s go win this, huh, so I don’t have to go through this again for a while.”

They head out into the hallway, where Jamie gets the standard ‘Marshmallow’ cheer, and the Pens fall into line as they hit the ice for warm-ups.

---

Game six starts nothing like the way game five started, the Pens come out on fire right from the opening puck drop.  But it isn’t going to be that easy, the Sharks have come with the same level of desperation they had in the previous game.

The Pens are again controlling possession time, however, with most of the play in the Sharks’ zone for the first minutes of play.  Just over eight minutes into the first period, the Pens have the puck in the Sharks’ zone again when Jamie snaps a pass to Dumo who gets tripped by the Sharks defender and the Pens go on the power play.

Jamie and the second power play unit start out on the ice.  Just 26 seconds into the penalty, Shears dumps a pass to Dumo who tees up a quick slap shot which sails past Jones and in to the net, giving the Pens the first goal of the game.  The Pens continue to control play for the rest of the period and take their one goal lead into the first intermission.

In the second period, the Sharks make their biggest push of the game, and after they score six and a half minutes into the period it looks like it is going to be another tough game.  That is until Kris makes a beautiful play, taking the puck deep into the Sharks zone, pivoting around one of the d, then trying a net front pass to Jamie that gets kicked back to Sid from Jamie when the lane closes on him.  Sid looks and there is Kris, wide open at the goal line to Jones’ left.  A quick pass, a quick shot, and just a minute nineteen after the Sharks tied the game, the Pens go ahead again.

As the third period rolls along, you can feel the momentum building for the Pens, things are clicking and they are dominating play, which isn’t to say the Pens are scoring or taking a lot of shots, but they are keeping the puck in the Sharks’ zone and not letting them shoot.  The Pens even manage to kill off a penalty late in the game when Shears gets called for hooking.

When they get down to three minutes left, the excitement on the bench is palatable, when he’s not on the ice, Jamie is bouncing in his seat next to Sid.  With a minute and two seconds on the clock, Jamie watches Sid block a shot and get the puck out to the neutral zone where Horny picks it up and skates towards the empty net, and with a simple flick of his wrist Horny puts won dead center on the net from 54 feet out.

Game.  Series.  Stanley Cup!

In the last minute, even with the extra attacker, the Sharks can’t mount enough offense to score two goals to tie the game, they watch as their Stanley Cup hopes slip away.  With less than ten seconds left, Sid blocks another shot and clear the puck out of the zone.  They watch the Sharks give chase, but know time is going to run out. 

Sid looks for Jamie across the ice, a huge smile on his face and Jamie shouts, a fuck yeah! The Pens on the ice start to head towards Muzz, and when the horn sounds to end the game, sticks and gloves go flying in the air.  Sid throws himself into Jamie for a hug, before they both turn to bury Muzz under a pile of Penguins as the team pours over the bench and all the scratched players come flooding on to the ice to join in the celebration.

Once he pulls himself off the pile, Jamie is pulled into a hug first by Dumes and then by Kris.  He dumps his bucket on the ice and joins in the hugs and handshakes as they celebrate.  Finally, Sid heads for the handshake line and the others fall in behind him.

It is kind of unusual that Flower falls in behind Jamie in line, he usually waits until closer to the end of the line, with Jamie going more towards the front.

A couple of the Sharks’ players take an extra minute to tell Jamie how happy they are for him and Sid.  Jamie just smiles and says thanks, until they get to Paul Martin, who pulls Jamie into a hug.

“You guys are the cutest couple in hockey, you know.”  Paulie slaps Jamie on the back, which is a surprise since Jamie doesn’t really know Martin that well.

“Cuter than you and Nealer, anyways,” Flower winks at Jamie, who looks a bit puzzled.

“He’s wanting to, um, if you guys can do this, James said he’d like to come out this summer as well.”  Paulie is blushing now, and the lightbulb suddenly goes off in Jamie’s brain.

“That’s awesome,” he says as Flower pushes him along in the line.  Flower has plans and it doesn’t include talking to Paulie at the moment.

“I’ll have him call you guys,” Flower says over his shoulder to Martin.

When they get through the line, having congratulated all the Sharks and their coaches on a hard fought series, Flower puts his hands on Jamie’s shoulders and turns him so they are facing, then gently steers him in the direction where Mcguire is getting ready to interview Sid.

“We won!  Can you fucking believe it!  I mean this is fucking awesome that you get to win a cup so young.  I was much older than you when I won the cup before, you know.”  Flower is keeping his arms on Jamie’s shoulders, his eyes looking to the rest of the team who are gathering a short distance from Pierre and Sid.

“Um, yeah, Flower, it’s fucking awesome!”  Jamie tries to get away from the goalie.  “I want to go see Dales and Duper, um, so could you let me go, now?” 

When Flower finally releases him, Jamie turns around to find that they are standing right next to Pierre, who is looking rather self-important to Jamie, and Sid, who is looking just as confused as Jamie at the moment.

“Okay, not on the air yet, right,” Flower asks and Mcguire nods.

“Not until you tell me we are ready, Marc-Andre.”

“Good.”  Flower turns his attention to Sid and Jamie.  “Okay, from the minute Sid told me about his awesome plan for you guys to, you know, come out or whatever, I got really excited.”  He points to the rest of the team who are standing there watching. “We all did.  We have put up with you two for the past few months, and then this whole couple watch thing, and the rings, and well, we feel that we are entitled to get to be a part of this.  No private, low-key shit.  We want the full enchilada.”

Sid starts to protest. 

“Shut up, I don’t have time to argue.  We have been waiting for this and then you go and say you aren’t going to do it. Well fuck that.  We took a vote and we think we deserve this for putting up with your shit, so you are doing this.  The fans want it,” he waves his arm around at the crowd that is going wild, “and we want this.  So, fucking kiss him already!” 

Flower skates back a little and gives Pierre a nod, so he steps up and motions for the camera to pick him up for the interview.

“Eddie, Doc, I’m down here with Jamie Marsh and Sidney Crosby, who you know have been the speculation of a lot of rumors this past week about their relationship and summer plans.  Well, at the encouragement of their teammates, and their having just won the Stanley Cup, I think we are going to get an exclusive.  Sidney, you just won the Stanley Cup, what are you going to do next?”

Jamie looks at Sid, who is standing there with a blank look on his face.  Sid glances around at the crowd, several people are holding signs with pictures of him and Jamie on them.  He looks at the team who are all chirping and cat-calling at them, then he finds Mario and Sully who also have silly grins on their faces as they are watching the interview.  Sid turns to Jamie and grips the hem of his sweater, pulling him close, looking up into those soft green eyes he loves so much.  Jamie is beat red.

Sid wraps a hand around the back of Jamie’s neck, pulling him in.  Jamie bends his head and melts into the kiss, letting their bodies press together.  Jamie can hear the crowd getting louder if that is possible, then he hears the team all yelling.  When they pull apart, Sid continues to hold Jamie tightly.

Sid looks around Jamie at Mcguire, “I’m going to Disney World, for my honeymoon.”

Pierre, as Mike Lange would say, is smiling like a butcher’s dog.  “Well, Eddie and Doc, there you have it, having won the Stanley Cup, Sidney Crosby is definitely going to Disney World, back to you.”

Jamie rests his head on Sid’s shoulder, laughing, as their teammates swarm around them.

“I love you” Sid says into Jamie’s ear.  “All of you.”

“I love you, too.” Jamie says quietly. “All of you.”

Chapter Text

Post-Game

Everything from the time of the kiss on is like a chaotic montage of photos in Jamie’s head.  Interviews, hugs, family, taking a lap with Estelle Fleury who was clinging to her dad until she saw her Uncle Jamie, getting high fives from Alex Letang, shadow boxing with Culls’ kids, Ben’s daughters wanting to dance with him, and so many photos, photos with the cup, photos with family, photos with teammates, and the most important memories to Jamie, holding hands with Sid, hugging Sid, standing close and being able to reach out and just touch him, and even a few more quick kisses.  Jamie’s head has been spinning, this all seems so unreal.

Jamie has two favorite photos from the on-ice celebration that he has seen.  In the first one, Sid was being interviewed by one of the local Pittsburgh channels, when Jamie skated up behind him, slips his arms under Sidney’s and then wrapped them around Sid’s chest.  Sid had leaned back into Jamie without missing a beat and brought his hands up to hold Jamie’s arms.  Someone had snapped a photo of that moment, and Jamie loved it because Sidney hated it when Jamie did this, because it always makes him feel really short because of how Jamie towers over him.  Yeah, this one was getting framed and hung up in the house.

The second picture was probably even more special to Jamie.  They had been standing together talking to Kris and Alex.  They were holding hands, shoulder to shoulder, when a couple of reporters came up looking for interviews.  One wanted to talk to Jamie, while the other talked to Sid.  They started to separate, but when Jamie went to pull his hand away, Sid wouldn’t let go.  They did the interviews, arms stretched backwards, holding hands with each other.  The photo is of them standing like that, but it is more head on of Sid and has Jamie’s back.  Sid is looking over his shoulder at Jamie and smiling and you can clearly see their hands locked together.  That one, too, was going in a frame.

Jen comes up to them at one point and smacks them both on the back of the head with a sarcastic ‘thanks for the heads-up’ to which Sid just laughed and told her to go smack Flower and Tanger, too.  She wants to know if they want the team to make a statement, to which both reply no, just let everything be as it is,

When the party moves in to the locker room, the fun really begins.  The beer and champagne are flowing freely, getting sprayed everywhere.  There is singing and chants and laughing.  The best part is when Sid pours champagne in the cup, then lifts the cup so Jamie can drink out of it. 

---

A lot of the guys are going out with girlfriends and family to celebrate, some are heading back to the hotel to celebrate.  Jamie opts for going back to the hotel with Sid, where the party gets a bit wild since they have the entire floor to themselves.  Doors to rooms are propped open and there are different party groups in different suites, there is an abundance of food and beverages to be had, music playing and dancing. 

Once away from the noise and crowds, Estelle has left the safety of her father’s arms to latch on to Jamie, who manages to eat, drink and dance with where arms wrapped around his neck.  As the kids start passing out, exhausted from all the excitement and activity, they are put to bed in the adjoining room to where all the quiet celebration is taking place.  About an hour into the party, Vero watches as Jamie strolls into the quiet room with Estelle fast asleep with her head on his shoulder.  She motions to the other room and Jamie takes Estelle in and lays her down.

At one point, Jamie is trying to get another beer when Geno is suddenly behind him, grabbing him around the waist and dragging him back down the hall to the ‘dance rooms’ and practically throwing him at Sid.  They stand there in the middle of the room looking stupid as everyone laughs, then they see Geno over selecting a song to play, he looks up after he hits play. “Found sappy all Sid love song.  You must dance now.”  When they hear the first notes, they both laugh.  Jamie lets Sid lead as he bends to put his head on Sid’s shoulder and sing their song into his ear.  By the time the song ends, Geno, Flower, Tanger, Kuni, Culls, and Dales have joined in and it has become a mass of hockey players huddled together shuffling to the music.

---

Jamie and Sid had actually turned in around 4:30, when Sid said something about getting an hour or two of sleep.  They didn’t get any sleep of course, because the minute Jamie has Sid alone he is all about finally getting to have a private celebration.  The best part of the celebration is the shower they take before getting dressed to go down to breakfast, only because Sidney shaves that god-awful beard off.  Sid also informs Jamie that his first priority when they get back to Pittsburgh is to get a haircut.  At breakfast, they are all still running on adrenaline, some looking a bit worn and in need of sleep.  Their flight leaves at 10 am to head back to the Burgh, and Jamie really can’t wait to get home. 

On the way to the airport, Jamie does what he knows he really shouldn’t do, namely check social media for fallout from the kiss seen world-wide as Flower had described it.  The first thing to grab his attention is the fact that penscouplewatch.com has been changed to pensweddingwatch.com.  Seriously?  The next thing that catches his eye is a tweet with a picture of he and Sidney kissing while holding the cup between them.  Okay, Jamie thinks, that one gets framed, too.  The tweet reads @pensweddingwatch rookie gets cup and captain in first year #pensinlove #cutestcouple #disneyhoneymoon.

For the most part, the comments are all positive.  There are a few that are nasty, too be expected, and some people who say they will give up their season tickets.  A lot of tweets are from other players around the league congratulating them.  Well, less than 24 hours in and so far so good, Jamie thinks.

Jamie checks his email last.  His hands shake a bit when he sees one message in particular, he isn’t sure he wants to open the email from Kyle’s mom.  He closes his eyes and takes a few deep breaths.

Jamie,

Bill and Jean would be so proud of you!  Congratulations on winning the Stanley Cup and all your success.  Kyle would be so proud of you, he loved you so very much.  I am happy that you have fallen in love again, Kyle would certainly have wanted that for you, too.  Sidney Crosby is very lucky to have you.

Diane St. Croix

---

They get into Pittsburgh a little after 5 pm on Monday, nobody gets much sleep on the flight.  They all head to Mario’s to continue the party.  Copious amounts of alcohol are consumed again, cigars are smoked, and more pictures are taken with the cup.  They party into the night.

Around 1 am, Sid is sitting in a chaise lounge chair, his legs hanging off either side.  Jamie is curled up on his side between Sid’s legs, his head resting against Sid’s chest.  Sid’s hand is brushing through Jamie’s hair as Jamie sleeps.  Sid yawns, he should wake Jamie up so they can head home.  A lot of the guys are still partying, some have crashed already, too.  Sid closes his eyes.

Nathalie, always the mother to her boys, goes around and covers up the sleeping players with blankets.  She takes a moment when she gets to Sid and Jamie, just standing and looking at them before she covers them with a blanket.  Mario comes up behind her, hugging her around the waist.

“He won a lot more than just a cup, this year, didn’t he?” she whispers so just her husband can hear her.

---

Tuesday, Jamie gets a haircut.  When he gets home, Sid looks at him with a sad expression.

“You know, I think I’m gonna miss running my hands through it.  Let it grow out this summer.”

Jamie groans.  “Fine, but you are not growing the beard back.”

---

Wednesday morning the team meets at Consol where they take the formal team picture with all the hardware they’ve won in this post season.  Then they get ready for the victory parade. 

They are standing around outside getting their vehicle assignments and determining who will be riding together.  One of the PR staff comes up to Jamie, who is standing talking to Dumes and his girlfriend. 

“Jamie, we’re gonna have you ride with Murray and Rust, if that’s okay.”

Jamie just looks at him, “Um, no.  I think I’ll be riding with Sid and the cup.”

“No.  That’s not what I have.  Letang, Malkin and Sid are to be riding alone with their families.”

Dumes shakes his head in disbelief.  “Jamie is Sid’s family.  Where have you been?”

The young man, probably not much older than Jamie, looks up from his clipboard.  Jamie waves his ring at him.  “Yeah, he’s mine.  So I’ll be riding with him.”

The kid’s face flushes red with embarrassment as he turns and walks away. 

Jamie doesn’t think he’s ever seen so many people in one place, one of the state troopers there for security tells him they are estimating close to 450,000 people.  If it all wasn’t overwhelming before, it is now.  When he climbs into the back of the truck, Taylor hands him a sign.

“You need to wave this?”

Jamie unrolls is and breaks out laughing, “My favorite tweet!”

When Sid climbs in with the cup, Jamie is holding the sign up for him.

I GOT THE CUP

       AND

THE CAPTAIN

Taylor has drawn a couple of Penguins holding hands and two rings on the poster, too. 

Sid gets his typical Sid look, “You are not going to hold that up for people to see.”

“T insists, since she took the time to make it up.  I can’t disappoint her, now can I?”

Yeah, he thinks, the two of them together all summer is going to make his life interesting.  But, as he looks at Jamie laughing and kidding with Taylor and his parents, Sid knows he wouldn’t change that for the world.

The parade is a blur of people and noise.  Sid holds his hand when he isn't hoisting the cup.  Jamie is beaming, the crowd at several points start the chant of "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" which Jamie and Sid happily oblige, causing the crowd to roar even louder.

The only part of all the speeches that Jamie can remember later on is Phil Bourque's line, "Let's take this down to the river and party all summer." 

Chapter Text

October 2025 

He walks in to Consol Energy Center, his six-year-old daughter holding his hand. He stops and talks to many people as they make their way to their box, the one they had negotiated with the Pens as they all began to retire. He walks in and is greeted by his friends, his family. 

Tanger and Catherine are there.  Kris retired two years ago and is now part of the Pens player development team, working with their young defense.  Alex is away at school.  The star defenseman on his team.  Like father, like son. 

Duper and Carol-Lyn are there.  He is still working for the Pens as a player liaison.  Kuni and Maureen are there.  He had completely retired from hockey several years ago, having worked in prospect development for a few years after he quit skating. 

Sid searched the room, there is one person missing, then he hears a familiar voice behind him.

“Bitches.  Miss me?”

“Of course, Flower.  When did you get in?”  He turns and gives his favorite goalie ever, don’t tell Taylor, a hug.  Then he gives Vero and Scarlet hugs and kisses.  “You’re getting so big,” he says to his god-daughter.

“We got in last night.  It’s good to be back.  Even if we were only away for a few days.”  Flower says.

“How’d you get time off so close to the start of the season?” Tanger asked.  “Goalies still getting preferential treatment.  Well goalie coaches now.”

“Of course, and now I need to get back down to the locker room.  I just wanted to walk Vero and Scarlett up and say hi.”  Marc-Andre smiles at Sid.  “Big night for our boy, eh.  So proud of him.”

“Yes it is.  So where’s Stell?”

Vero rolls her eyes, “Where she always is before a game, standing outside the locker room waiting to high-five her Uncle Jamie.”

Flower goes to leave, but stops and leans in towards Sid, talking low so the kids don’t hear, “Oh.  And from the look on his face he is still breaking your rules.  So is his ass still as tight as it looks?”

---

They watch warm-ups and chat about what everyone did over the summer.  They wave down to the ice when they think the guys are looking.  The Pens will again be celebrating a cup win tonight.  It was their fifth cup in nine years.  People now referred to them as a dynasty team and it had all started in 2016 with Sid, Geno, Tanger, Kuni, Flower, and a bunch of rookies. 

Most of them moved on after the third cup, there were only a few left who had won their fifth ring last season, including Jamie and Dumo, along with Knuckles and Hags.  Hags plans to make this his last season they know, but he hasn’t officially announced his retirement plan yet.

Geno is still playing, too, having just signed another extention.  He is going to be like Jagr, Sid thinks, playing in to his 40s, but unlike Jagr, Geno will be with the Pens his whole career.  That was how it should be, Sid knows.  Dumo will only stay a couple more years, through the end of his current contract.  He’s become the Pens leading defenseman since Kris’ retirement.  Jamie plans on playing another five or six years, maybe.

They will be raising the cup banner tonight.  Sid should be down on the ice to be part of the ceremony, but he had told the team no.  He needed to distance himself from the ice for a while as he still fights the urge some days to un-retire.  No.  He will watch from the box.  This is Jamie’s night anyways, he thinks.

They will also be unveiling the new Captain and Alternates tonight.   Sid looks at the jerseys as the team warms up. No letters there.  It is still a secret. 

Finally, it is time for the opening ceremonies.  The player introductions.  The raising of the cup banner.  They will do it different this time, when they introduce the players.  Normally it is by number, but tonight, the Alternates and Captain will be introduced last.

He picked Kylie up so she can see, pointing to the spot by the bench where he will come out of.

They all cheer for each of the players as they are introduced, until they are finally to the last three.

“Now for your 2025-26 team leaders.  Your second Alternate Captain, #8 Defenseman Brian Dumoulin.”

“Yay!  Cheer for Uncle Brian, Kylie!”  His daughter yells loudly.

“Your first Alternate Captain, #71 Center Evgeni Malkin.”

They all cheer and yell, “Go Geno!”  Sid is so happy for him.  They’d talked about Geno becoming the Captain, but he hadn’t wanted it.

“Would not be right name on jersey.  Crosby always the best C.”  He had said.  That had settled it. 

“And now, introducing your new Captain.  At left-wing, #20 Jamie Crosby!”  The crowd erupts.

Sid beams with pride as all his friends yell.  “There’s daddy, Sunshine.  See him?  Down there next to Uncle Geno.”

Kylie yelled.  “Daddy!  Daddy!  Up here!”

Sid knows there was no way Jamie can hear her as he hugs Geno and Dumo, but they all turn then and look up, finding their friends in the box, waving and pointing to them.

“He heard me!”

“That’s right baby, he heard you yell for him.  Say ‘Go Daddy!”

Sid knows Jamie will be a great captain.  He taught him everything he needs to know, after all.  Plus, he’ll have Geno and Dumo there to help him. It is Jamie’s team now.  As easy as that.  And it seems so right, so perfect.

Sid could never have believed nine years ago that he would have this life, a life he shares with the person he loves, with their daughter.  And to think, it had all changed for him because Mario had asked Sid to do him a favor.  He reminded himself to call Mario and thank him. Again.