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There Ain't No Place I'd Rather Be

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Pittsburgh's a fresh start. It's also a fresh start offering Sidney a full ride. So. An easy decision for the fresh start really. It's not like he couldn't have gotten into any college he wanted (with his grades and ambitions toward his future), but Pittsburgh isn't in Canada. It's about nineteen hours away from his entire life, and it's everything Sid wants. When his parents and he visited the campus, once he was accepted and the scholarship was offered, Sid knew Pittsburgh was where he needed to be. Even his parents agreed (as much as his mother cried while moving him in). 

When sixteen-year-old Sid suffered a knee injury, he'd decided to stick with sports. Not playing of course. If he can't play hockey, there definitely isn't anything that compares, so Sid started helping his school's hockey team. Which led to learning about sports medicine. Which led to Sid currently majoring in athletic training. Which somehow led Sid to be housed in a dorm filled mostly with athletes (male and female). Which led Sid to almost having a heart attack when he found out his roommate was a brick wall of a football player with a gorgeous body and pretty eyes. 

So. Pittsburgh is where Sid needs to be. Really. He enjoys the campus and the city and the classes and the library. He does not enjoy sharing a bathroom with athletes. Does not enjoy his roommate doing exercises shirtless in their room while other athletes in various states of undress wander past the open door, occasionally stopping to talk to Sidney or his roommate (Michael). Seriously. He does not enjoy—

"Hey, thought you might want this," Michael says one day, handing Sid a piece of paper with the information of the baseball head coach's information on it. Because the baseball team is looking for student workers to help out, and it's exactly up Sid's alley, especially if he worms his way to helping the trainers out. 

"Thank you," Sid says with a small smile. 

Seriously. He hates living with such a considerate asshole who looks out for him. Especially assholes who share Sid's love of hockey. 

It took Sid a while to redefine life after hockey was ripped from him. He isn't the type to laze around, so, even while hurting, he found shit to do, even if it consisted of chauffeuring Taylor around. And for a while Sid didn't watch hockey, didn't want anything to do with it. 

But one day, little Taylor, eyes wide and face sad, asked if Sid would come to one of her games. She really, really, really wanted him there. She promised to do her best. What was he supposed to say? No? After, it was easier to deal with. He began watching hockey again, talking stats with his dad, attending games with Taylor, and he found a balance between the pain of losing the sport and the overwhelming love of the sport.

Due to his father, Sid roots for the Canadiens, as he has his entire life, but he's enthralled by the Penguins. They're an amazing team, with probably the best active player in the NHL leading the team, and in June, Sid found himself cheering the Pens on during their most recent Stanley Cup win. He's excited to be in the city of Stanley Cup champions.

Kayla is a basketball player living down the hall. She's dating a girl who works at Consol Energy Center who hooks her up with tickets sometimes. Kayla is amused by Sid's awkwardness and his inability to talk to girls despite having no sexual feelings toward them. Thus, Kayla makes a point to be his friend. She's great, really, sweet and funny and laughs whenever Sid doesn't realize he's being flirted with, and she decides to bring Sid, Michael, and another basketball player (Tara) to the Pens' home opener against the Flyers. 

The seats aren't rink side (Kayla's girlfriend, Sasha, is only an entry level employee), but they're pretty great for Sid's first time in the arena. He's pretty sure he's like a child on Christmas the way he's leaning forward in his seat while the Pens are being introduced. He's pretty sure all three friends laugh at him when he jumps to his feet with the rest of the crowd when Captain Evgeni Malkin is introduced last. 

"Alright, c'mere," Tara giggles, tugging Sid's arm so he'll sit down. "Don't hurt yourself."

Sid's too excited to respond. He's always excited about hockey.

The Pens win by four. Fleury gets a shutout, and the building explodes when the final buzzer goes off. This time, all four are on their feet cheering, their voices lost among the crowd of screaming fans. It's great. It's probably the best night Sid's had in...ever honestly. 

Kayla ditches them to hang out with Sasha. Tara and Michael drag Sid to a bar close by that apparently sells fries to die for. It's crowded, the three squeezing uncomfortably into a two person booth (Tara and Sid have to share because Sid's built, yeah, but Michael's basically inhuman). 

"Fuck I missed hockey," Michael sighs. He has a game tomorrow, so he didn't even attempt to buy a beer. He keeps glancing at the bar like he's debating buying one drink. "Nothing like cussing out Flyers fans."

Tara giggles. She managed to get a drink (through fake ID or some poor sap, Sid isn't sure), and she downed the whole thing almost in one sip. She's working her way through a second one. "Boys, there's nothing better than kicking some ugly orange ass."

Sid snorts. "Flyers or Giroux?"

"Both." Then she's gasping, gripping Sid's arm tightly. "Look at her."

Sid and Michael look. A pretty blond girl is sitting a couple tables away with friends. She's laughing.

Sid looks away. He knows exactly what's about to happen. 

"She's straight," Michael says. 

"Bitch, you wish."

He narrows his eyes. "Loser buys next night out."

"Deal." They shake hands, and then Sid's alone. He watches for a moment, Michael and Tara shoving each other to be the first to reach the girl, before he looks down at the table. If Tara wasn't bi, he'd feel completely out of place being the only one liking guys. 

Sid's finishing the fries they'd been sharing when he hears a commotion toward the front of the bar. Glancing over, he's startled to see a big group of people. A big group of tipsy women and on-their-way-to-drunk hockey players. And, oh, okay. Evgeni Malkin's hotter in person.

Sid jerks his gaze away when Malkin looks his way. Fuck, he shouldn't be staring. He shouldn't have even looked. Now all he wants is to either get an autograph or a kiss. Better to not bother with either really. 

Tara flops down next to him. "Straight as can be," she declares, chugging the rest of her drink. "Practically bounced on his dick before he even opened his mouth. What do you keep looking at?" She turns. Sid can hear her gasp. He pointedly doesn't look at her when she faces him again. "Sid...something you wanna tell me?"

"No." Way too quick. She's raising an eyebrow. Sid says defensively, "Just noticed them there." He shrugs. 

"Why's Malkin staring at you then?"

Is he? Sid almost glances over but resists. He shrugs again. "I don't know. Hey, we should get Michael. He's gotta be back soon."

Tara shakes her head, and he knows she's not gonna drop it forever, but he's grateful she does for the time being. It's too late, he's still too amped up, to be thinking about NHL captains staring at him. 

***

Sid would like to say their first meeting is something spectacular. Or, at least, something more dignified than the actual meeting. 

It goes like this:

Sid finishes an essay (which he started after the Pens and Bolts game), and he's starving. So he goes to a CVS just a few minutes away since it's the closest thing open at two-thirty in the morning. He's picking through some snacks, deciding if he wants chips or ice cream maybe, when someone walks past, pauses, and backs up. Sid places the chips back. He goes to grab some Oreos when an arm reaches up from behind him, reaching for a bag of Doritos.

"Sorry," an accented voice mumbles. 

Sid turns slightly, to say it's fine, but the words get stuck. Standing there, clutching a bag of chips rather nervously, is Malkin. He looks tired, bags under his eyes, eyes red and kinda of glazed and—oh. He's drunk. Or tipsy. Either way he's not entirely sober. Which is probably why he's now staring at Sid like he wants to wreck him. 

Sid is not equipped to deal with this. He just wanted food. He's in sweatpants and a hoodie, and he's tired as fuck. He didn't ask to run into Malkin. "Um, good goal tonight. I mean, it was pretty filthy." The Pens lost one to three. Why the fuck did Sid bring it up? Malkin definitely wasn't asking for someone to talk hockey with at three in the morning. 

Malkin's brow furrows. He's no longer looking like Sid's about to get laid (and Sid isn't sure if he's relieved or not). "Thanks," he says. "I meet you before?"

"Oh, um, no. I would remember." He flushes. "I mean, I watch hockey, obviously, but—“

"Talk lot," Malkin interrupts. "Why never meet before?"

Sid shrugs, not sure if Malkin wants him to babble again. 

"Hm." Malkin gives him another look then wanders off. Sid is left in the same spot, wondering if he'd just hallucinated the entire exchange.

He decides to grab water and maybe crackers or something. He's probably more tired than he thought. 

It takes Sid almost forty-eight hours to realize the entire time Malkin stood there talking to him he was holding a box of condoms. 

***

The girls laugh their asses off when he tells them. He's been spacey, too busy thinking about that night, and they finally cornered him to demand answers. Kayla laughs so hard Sid's afraid she's actually going to hurt herself. 

"Oh my God," she says when she calms down. Her face is red. Sid knows she'll go off again in a minute. "Okay, you're totally coming with me to the next home game. I can't promise anything, but Sasha says there's a chance of running into players."

Sid says no. He refuses. He's not going. He does not want to run into Malkin again. He's not sure he can actually ever look at him again without turning bright red.

Kayla wears him down for weeks. Even Tara and Michael join in, all three begging Sid to at least TRY to meet the guy again. The final act to get Sid to go is threatening to drag him to a party, find some drunk frat guy, and leave Sid with him all night. Well, Sid decides to go to the game. There's a chance he won't see Malkin, and he gets his friends off his back about never hooking up with people. 

After the game, Sid waits in the empty hallway with Kayla, waiting for Sasha. The Pens just squeaked out a win in OT against the Islanders. It's been almost a month since the first run in, and Sid hopes Malkin was too drunk to remember meeting (does it count as meeting if he never introduced himself?) him on the off chance any of the players do walk by. 

Kayla's been texting updates to Michael and Tara about Sid's mental state (he knows, she showed him) the entire game, and Sid desperately hopes Sasha shows so they can leave. 

Sasha does appear a minute later but not to leave. She greets Kayla happily with a kiss, and she's practically bouncing on her feet when she says, "Guess who's coming this way."

Kayla shoots him a filthy smirk. 

Sid starts praying it's Fleury or Letang or Kessel or anybody other than Malkin. He knows it's moot, so maybe if he can slip away without being noticed...

The good news is Malkin isn't alone. And, wait, there goes that. Malkin turns around to yell something down the hall, and when he comes back, the rest of the little Pens group is gone. Kayla's keeping a tight grip on Sid's arm so he can't flee or even hide.

Malkin almost walks past with just a short hello, but he takes one look at Sid's face and stops. He's squinting. Then, "We meet before?"

Wow, okay, maybe Malkin was too drunk. Maybe Sid's life doesn't completely suck. 

"Store, right? You buy Oreos?"

Fuck. Fuck his life. "Um, yeah."

"Not get name," Malkin says. 

Kayla's finally let his arm go but only to slip a few feet away with Sasha. Both are giggling. Fuck his life, really.

"You didn't ask." Sid didn't mean to say that. That's kind of rude. He should apologize. 

Malkin laughs. He's grinning when he holds a hand out. "Geno," he says, still chuckling some. 

"Sidney." And okay, his hands are big. And he's once again looking like he's two seconds away from pulling Sid closer. "Good game tonight."

"Thanks." He studies Sid, eyes trailing from his eyes to his feet and back. Sid almost squirms from the gaze. He's smirking. "Wanna get drink, Sidney? Talk hockey if you want."

Sid is eighteen. Legal to drink in Canada but not the United States (really what kind of bullshit is that?). He opens his mouth to tell Malk—Geno this, but Kayla swoops in, covers his mouth. 

"He'd love to. Wouldn't you, Sid?" She's glaring at him, threatening bodily harm with her eyes. Sid nods. "See? He'd love to. So, it was a great game, and we'll see you later, Sid, okay?"

He nods again. Geno looks amused. Kayla gives them both a blindingly fake smile and waltzes over to her girlfriend, wrapping an arm around Sasha and leaving. 

Geno's smiling at him. Sid should probably tell him he can't drink legally. Sid should go back to his dorm and not go out with a guy who's twelve years older than him. "I can't drink," he blurts out, face turning red.

Geno frowns. "Why?"

"I mean, in Canada I can. I'm from there, actually, so it shouldn't matter, but here I'm underage."

"Oh." Geno's looking at him again, obviously trying to place his age. "How underage?"

"Eighteen." Geno's going to walk away, say “sorry you're too young”, and Sid will be fine with it. Really, he will. He'll never see Geno again, and he can pretend it broke his heart so his friends won't try to set him up. It'll be great. 

"Oh." He looks thoughtful for a moment. "Starving," he says. "Dinner okay?"

Okay. He still wants to go out. He doesn’t care Sid’s eighteen. Sid can...Sid could eat. Sure. This way he gets to say he had dinner with a famous hockey player. How many times will he be able to say he had a hockey player ask him on a date (a real one, not the shitty friend-date Jack Johnson insisted on taking him on once Sid finally started talking to his hockey friends again)? "Um, yeah, sure. I could eat."

"What you want?" He's on his phone, typing furiously.

"Nothing fancy, I guess. Burgers?"

Geno nods, grinning as he puts his phone away. "Know great place. Okay if I drive?"

Sid doesn’t have a car in Pittsburgh, able to get everywhere with public transportation or hitching rides with the friends who do have cars. If Sid said no—a totally dumb idea—he’d be walking to whatever restaurant Geno wanted to go to. “Okay,” he agrees. “But I have to be back at school before midnight. I, uh, have an early class tomorrow.”

Geno doesn’t say anything, just gestures for Sid to follow him. It’s odd, walking beside Geno toward the parking garage. Geno’s in his suit—looking sexy as fuck…not that Sid’s looking or anything—and he’s not saying anything, just occasionally shooting Sid a smile.

It’s endearing. It shouldn’t be, the silence should be awkward, but Geno looks hopeful and adorable, and Sid is charmed. The whole professional hockey player, wearing a suit, thing works in favor of the charm, Sid knows. Unfortunately, Sid isn’t sure what to say. Geno said they could talk hockey, but Sid isn’t sure if he really wants to, and it’s not like they know each other. From the Penguins’ social media, he knows Geno likes animals and children, but Sid knows jack shit about either (besides Taylor of course).

“You in college, right?” Geno finally asks as they reach his car. He’s unbelievably smug when he opens the door for Sid, cheeky grin in place, and Sid rolls his eyes, but he slides in the car feeling kind of out of place yet a warmth spreading through his chest. He’s never really dated, hockey taking up all of his youth and by the time it was gone, he was sixteen and too bitter to want a relationship, and he wonders if Geno’s an actual gentleman to all the people he takes out or is just being an asshole.

“I go to Pitt,” Sid answers once Geno’s in the car too.

Geno hums. “What are you study?”

“Oh, um, athletic training actually.”

The look he gets is surprised. “Really? Wanna help athletes? Hockey players?”

“Of course. Hockey’s the best, right?” Sid flushes. Duh. Geno plays professionally. Of course he thinks hockey’s the best. “I’m Canadian. It’s in my blood.”

Geno chuckles. “Canadians special kind.”

“Like Russians aren’t?” Sid smiles, can’t help but let out a chuckle of his own, when Geno laughs full and deep. It’s a nice sound, and the smile Geno shoots him is even nicer. Sid feels himself turning red and turns his head toward the window. “It’s what I love to do, you know? And I’m hoping I can get a job with a hockey team when I’m out of college. Or any sports team, actually. I just got hired by my school’s baseball team to help out. Good experience for me for sports outside hockey. Just in case.”

“You a Leafs fan?”

Sid laughs, the honking one Taylor and his friends constantly tease him about, and he turns red, forcing himself to shut the fuck up. “Not all Canadians are Leafs fans.”

Geno shrugs, his smile slow and sly.

“But, yes, I am. After the Penguins of course. You guys really are great. Oh, congratulations on the Cup by the way. Amazing game. Amazing run, really.”

“Hold on.” When the car stops, outside some hole-in-the-wall joint that’s bright with neon signs in the windows, Geno leans around to the back, pulling out a duffle bag. He’s muttering in Russian, digging through the bag, and he cheers when he pulls out a small box. He looks at Sid shyly as he opens the box. “Here.” And he hands Sid a ring. No, he hands Sid his Stanley Cup Champion ring.

Sid is dying a little on the inside. He’s holding a championship ring in his hands—something he never thought he’d see when hockey was over—and a two-time Stanley Cup champion watching as he holds the ring. “This is…wow.” Gaudy as hell, something no human in their right mind would ever wear, but it’s more symbolic than jewelry. It’s not meant to be worn, or seen by anyone besides the owner, and it’s meant to be treasured. Sid doesn’t feel worthy enough to be holding it. “This is amazing.”

Geno smiles. “Pretty, yes? Mama cried when she saw it. Guys on team cry when they get theirs.”

And that’s bullshit…Probably. Sid doesn’t actually know the Penguins, but the way Geno said it, the way he’s grinning, Sid’s sure it’s a joke. He laughs, handing the ring back. “Why’s it in your car if it’s so pretty?”

“Love to show off.”

And he says it so simply, so matter-of-fact, that Sid lets out another honking laugh. He’s still self-conscious—probably always will be about it—but Geno’s smiling sappily, like it’s the best sound he’s ever heard, and if it gets him that smile, Sid will laugh at everything Geno says.

The burgers are delicious. As is the cheesecake. Sid’s pretty good about eating healthy, but desserts are his kryptonite. Anybody who’s ever met him knows about it. The cheesecake wasn’t his idea, Sid trying not to stare at the glass case a few feet away, but Geno took notice and ordered a piece of cheesecake and chocolate fudge cake. Sid’s died and gone to heaven. The cheesecake is that good, and he keeps making involuntary little moans whenever he takes a bite. He can’t help it. It’s embarrassing as hell, but he’s too busy stuffing his mouth to actually feel embarrassed at the moment.

Geno’s staring, hooded eyes and occasionally licking his bottom lip, and it gets worse when Geno nudges his chocolate cake toward Sid. “Wanna try?” he asks slyly.

Sid nods slowly, gathering a small amount on his fork. And, just like the cheesecake, it tastes amazing. “Delicious,” he mumbles, flushing when Geno laughs at him. “Good choice.” Sid offers Geno some of his cheesecake, and Geno definitely on purpose makes a show of taking a bite. Sid isn’t sure how he’s supposed to respond, so he responds by stuffing more cheesecake in his mouth.

Geno pays for their meal. Sid, raised all proper and shit, offers to pay half or for his meal, but Geno ignores him and just hands the waitress his credit card. Sid must look annoyed at being ignored or something because Geno says, “Next time you pay, okay?”

Next time? There’s gonna be a next time? Sid’s really glad there’s gonna be a next time. Maybe he can spend the next time actually talking hockey (he toned it down a bit, not wanting to put Geno off, but he’d been dying to talk about it). Sid smiles at the table when he nods, doesn’t say anything.

The car’s outside his dorm, Geno offering to walk him upstairs. Sid declines, already knowing he’s probably going to be ambushed the second he opens his door, and he doesn’t want to put Geno through that. It’s late, Geno’s most likely tired, and Sid does actually need to go to bed for an early class tomorrow. In the middle of thanking him for the night, Geno leans over and presses a kiss to Sid’s cheek.

And, well, there goes Sid’s composure. He’s red, babbling, and embarrassing himself to no end. Really he was fine, getting used to Geno, and then Geno goes and fucks it up by kissing him. He’s completely fucked if Geno decides to actually kiss him on the lips. “Oh, um. Thank you?” Seriously? Is he seriously thanking Geno for kissing him? What the actual fuck?

Geno slides his phone out of his pocket, offering it to Sid. “Can I get number? Wanna see again.”

“Oh, yeah. Um, hold on.” Sid takes his own phone out, unlocks it, and hands it over as he takes Geno’s phone.

Geno presses another kiss, a lingering one, to Sid’s cheek before he gets out of the car. Sid mumbles good-night, not trusting himself with more words, and Geno echoes him.

***

Sid lasts two stubborn days before caving. He’s annoyed at Kayla for agreeing to the date and wants to make them suffer a little by not telling them anything, but on the second day, sitting with the girls and Sasha at the football game, Tara sees him texting Geno—who’s been texting Sid nonstop with the exceptions of practice and traveling. There’s an away game against the Rangers tonight, and Sid texted him a good luck, which Geno just responded to with weird eyeless smiley faces, when Tara glanced at his phone and gasped. They’re sitting in the student section, surrounded by Pitt students screaming as the game goes on, yet Sasha somehow manages to hear Tara. Which leads to all three demanding answers and calling him a liar whenever he tries to say nothing’s going on.

“Guys, come on,” Sasha says when Kayla reaches around her and Tara to try to snatch Sid’s phone. “Just watch the game. Sid will tell us when he’s ready.”

Sid loves Sasha, he does. If she wasn’t dating Kayla and Sid wasn’t totally turned off by female anatomy, maybe he’d give it a shot. And, you know, if he wasn’t kind of enamored with Geno. “Yeah, guys, let it go,” he says smugly.

On the way back to their dorms, Sid gets a text from Geno. He’s been keeping an eye on the game—Pens won in OT—and he’s kind of surprised to be getting a text so soon after the game ended. He opens it, the girls too distracted talking about the game the Panthers just won, and can’t help but smile, warmth spreading through his chest, when he sees a picture of strawberry cheesecake. The comment along with the picture is more eyeless smileys. Sid texts back a sad emoji and commenting that he wants cheesecake now.

The girls pointedly don’t comment on his smile.

Throughout the rest of the night, with them sitting in one of the common rooms watching some stupid TV show, Geno sends him random pictures. Sometimes of someone doing something stupid—strangers and teammates alike—or of places the team visits in Manhattan (bars they visit in Manhattan). Sid probably has more pictures of Letang and Hagelin singing drunkenly than Sid has of himself on his phone now.

And every time the girls politely don’t ask about it, even when Sid shows them a picture he was sent. When Tara giggles at the last picture Geno sent, a picture of Kessel and Hagelin practically hanging off each other trying to stand with Geno’s thumb peeking in the corner, Sid tries to oh-so-causally mention the diner they went to a couple days ago. Then he says that he kind of freaked when Geno kissed his cheek, and Kayla, acting totally uninterested, asks if they’re going out again.

“Um, I hope so?” He knows Geno said next time, knows Geno’s been texting him a lot, but Sid has never had someone want to date him before. Well, a guy anyway. There was a girl, one of his teammate’s sisters who hung around a lot, back when he was thirteen who kissed him outside the rink after practice one day, and she wasn’t shy about declaring her interests in him as a boyfriend, despite Sid’s obvious unease. She was his first, and only so far, kiss. But he’s also kind of oblivious (something even Taylor’s accused him of), so there could have been more people who’ve wanted to date him without him actually knowing.

Anyway, point being, Sid isn’t sure Geno actually wants to see him again or if he’s just being friendly. It’s not like Sid knows what being Geno’s friend means anyway.

Kayla and Sasha sit on either side of him, both squeezing him. “Don’t worry, kid,” Kayla says against the top of his head. “You’ve got the ass that won’t quit.”

“It’s like catnip,” Sasha adds.

Sid squirms, tries to get away, but Tara throws herself across all three of them, and now the three are discussing his ass. He hates them all. They all fucking suck.

But it’s a nice ego boost even if they’re not the ones he’d prefer looking at ass.

***

The first time Sid meets Jeffrey, he jumps on him, slobbering all over his face. Geno tries to get him down, but Sid—admittedly kind of intimidated by the large dog—waves him off, greeting Jeffrey with scratches behind his ears. He’s a sweet dog, just like Geno said he would be, and once Sid gets him to sit on the floor, he’s not as intimidating as before.

After a minute of both just paying attention to Jeffrey, Geno leads Sid to the kitchen to let him wash all the slobber off.

It’s been a little over two months, dates between Geno’s schedule and Sid’s classes, and as this is the first week Sid’s back in Pittsburgh after going home for Christmas and New Year’s, Geno offered to cook for Sid on a night off. It hadn’t taken much for Sid to agree, just Geno promising a Russian dessert, and now he’s at Geno’s house, for the first time, and he’s nervous. He feels like jumping out of his skin. It’s different, being alone with Geno rather than in public. It’s definitely weird when Geno presses a kiss to his lips gently, almost absently, before shooing Sid to go sit at the counter.

Jeffrey comes over and sits at his feet, whines and paws at Sid’s leg. “Hey, buddy,” Sid says as he pets the dog. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Geno giving him a soft look, and he focuses on making sure Jeffrey is happy as can be.

There’s been kissing in the past couple months. Geno’s happily been showing Sid the best way (to Geno at least) to kiss (without really knowing because Sid’s not gonna admit he’s never kissed anyone before), but that’s all really. Nothing more than making out uncomfortably in the car (they’re both pretty big, Geno too tall and Sid just too muscular and thick to be comfortable in the seats), and Sid’s anxiously waiting for the moment he has to tell Geno he, uh, is maybe possibly a virgin…Sex hasn’t come up, Sid too scared and Geno—despite not knowing why—not pushing anything.

A couple weeks ago, they’d been making out, and Geno’s hand slid down his back until it rested just above his ass. Sid freaked, head jerking hard into the roof, and he felt awful when Geno didn’t touch him anywhere besides his hands for the next few days. The boldest he’s been in the relationship is when Sid put Geno’s hand on his back, just above his ass, and forced himself to calm down internally.

But besides that sex hasn’t come up, and Sid knows he should probably tell Geno why. He deserves that. And Sid plans to tell him tonight. It’s better to let him know and let things end now if Geno wants them too. Before he gets his heart broken.

Dinner’s great, some Russian meal Geno claims his mother makes all the time, and the dessert tastes even better (which, after some pressing, Geno admits he bought from a Russian store nearby). Sid’s full and happy and gladly cuddling on the couch with Geno and Jeffrey. They’re watching some movie one of the Pens suggested, something neither of them actually cares about, and Sid’s leaning against his shoulder, Geno’s arm steady and warm across his shoulders. Sid could stay there all the time, letting Geno’s fingers play with the hair at the nape of his neck. When Geno’s hand sneaks across their laps, resting on Sid’s hip and steadily slipping underneath Sid’s shirt, Sid jerks out of his arms, startling all three of them. Jeffrey shoots him a betrayed look and lumbers off to another room.

Sid feels bad. He wants to go back to cuddling with Geno, forget this ever happened, but Geno’s brow is furrowed, frown set on his lips, and he’s definitely not going to let this go.

“Sid, not like touch?” he finally asks after a moment of them staring at each other. “Is okay, just have to say. I not touch anymore.”

“No, no, it’s not that.” Sid shuffles closer, knees pressed against Geno’s thigh, and he takes Geno’s hand in his, studying their laced fingers rather than look Geno in the eye. “Um, it’s just…fuck, okay. Well, um, I haven’t actually ever…”

“What? Is okay.” Geno tugs him closer, presses a kiss to the tip of his nose. It’s sweet and calming, and Sid sighs.

“I’ve never dated anyone before,” he blurts out.

Geno looks surprised. “How? Pretty boy, pretty lips.” He thumbs Sid’s bottom lip, eyes darkening when Sid’s lips part. “Funny, best ass…”

Sid laughs, the moment broken, and ducks his head. “Didn’t really figure out I liked guys until I was fifteen, and then I just never met someone who wanted me.” Not to mention he was too focused on hockey, then his life after hockey, to bother with dating. He shrugs. “It’s not a big deal, but I thought you should know.”

Geno narrows his eyes. “Never date, scared of me touch you…Sid, you virgin?”

Sid’s about ready to either burst into flames or let the floor open and swallow him up. He doesn’t think he’s ever been so red in his entire life. Fuck, part of him wishes this conversation never happened. Maybe he could’ve gotten away with pretending he had a fucking clue about what he was doing.

Geno cups his face, thumb gently rubbing his flaming cheek. “Red face say yes.”

“It’s not a big deal,” Sid repeats. “I like you. A lot. If it weirds you out, then this should end, but I’m learning. I promise I’ll stop jumping whenever you touch me. I just gotta get used to you wanting to touch.”

Geno looks thoughtful, head tilted slightly. He lets his hand fall, cupping Sid’s neck, and he says something in Russian with a smile. He leans in, kissing Sid slow and wet and with lots of tongue, and he mutters something in Russian against Sid’s lips. The next kiss is just a gentle press of lips before Geno leans back. “Like you lots, too.”

“You’re just not gonna comment on anything else? Fuck, Geno, how are you not freaking out? ‘Cause I have been losing my mind since our first date.”

Geno shrugs. “Don’t care. Like you too much to let you go. Like thought of teaching you.” His hand creeps under Sid’s shirt, resting against his bare hip, and he looks pleased Sid hasn’t jerked away yet. “Okay?”

“Okay.” Sid trusts Geno to not hurt him. He knows Geno will take care of him, and it makes the thought a little less terrifying. “I mean, not tonight. I still need…time? Yeah, um, but maybe there can be more touching? Is that okay?”

In response, Geno squeezes his hip. “Of course okay. Whenever you ready.”

“Sorry I scared Jeffrey away.”

Geno laughs, tugging Sid to lean against him again. “He fine. He get over it.” He kisses the top of Sid’s head, both silent for a few more minutes before Geno shifts, tightening an arm around Sid. “Sid…you busy Saturday?”

“Don’t think so.” Sid’s job with the baseball team depends entirely on the team’s schedule, and practices don’t really start up again until Monday, and his friends are either busy with their own teams or not back on campus yet. “Why?”

 “Okay to say no if you don’t want go. I’m know can be too much sometimes. Team party Saturday, and I’m wanna take you.”

Sid shifts enough to meet Geno’s eyes. “Team like…just players?”

“Families too. At Lemieux house.”

And that’s a terrifying thought. The Penguins and Marion Lemieux and wives/girlfriends, and Sid’s never met any of them before. But Geno’s hopeful, and Sid does actually want to meet them, even if he’s going to spend the day trying not to fangirl. So he says yes, he’d love to go, and it’s totally worth it to see the look on Geno’s face before Sid’s being pressed hard against Geno’s chest and kissed within an inch of his life.

***

Sid feels nervous—seems like that’s just a permanent feeling around Geno—and he’s debating asking Geno to drive him back to campus. Apparently this was some delayed New Year’s party (the Pens too busy, and not even in Pittsburgh, to truly celebrate), and there are already so many cars lined up outside the Lemieux house. Sid’s about to start hyperventilating.

At least Geno looks nervous too. He’s been gripping Sid’s hand kind of tightly the entire drive, and he’s made no move to get out of the car once it’s parked.

Sid takes a deep breath. “Too late to get steak instead?”

Geno snorts, shooting Sid a grin, and then he lets Sid’s hand go. “Come. Team love you.”

“And if they don’t?” Geno’s the captain. Sid’s pretty sure the team will always come first—it did for Sid—and if the team doesn’t like him, it’s probably only a matter of time until Geno breaks up with him. Sid really, really doesn’t want it to come to that.

“Not issue.” Geno slides out of the car, Sid scrambling to follow, and laces their fingers together as they walk. It’s calming, grounding, and Sid feels less likely to make a break for it when Geno just opens the door.

They’re immediately greeted by probably half the Penguins, led by Letang and Fleury. Sid’s eyes widen, and Geno scowls, muttering something angry in Russian.

Letang gasps. “Oh my God, G, he’s a baby.” He steps forward, giving one of Sid’s cheeks a tug. “He still has the baby fat.”

Sid pushes his hand away. “Fuck off, I do not.”

Fleury joins Letang right in front of Sid, both studying him. Fleury pokes at Sid’s cheek. “You said he was younger, G, but, fuck, he’s like twelve.”

Sid opens his mouth, ready to tell them once again to fuck off, when Hagelin pushes his way to Sid, extending a hand.

“Carl,” he says. “Ignore these assholes. It’s nice to meet you, finally.”

“Yeah, Geno won’t shut up about you,” Kessel adds, throwing an arm around Carl’s shoulders. “I’m Phil.”

Letang and Fleury—or Tanger and Flower at their insistence to become Sid’s new best friends (Geno tries to pull Sid away from them at that)—trail closely behind as Sid meets more people, only hurrying away when Flower’s wife yells at them to leave “the fucking boy alone, Christ”. Sid likes her already. He might just hang out with her if it means he’s not left alone with Tanger or Flower at some point.

Geno goes to find something to drink—Sid begged for an alcoholic drink, but he’s not sure if Geno’s going to actually bring him one—and that’s when Mario and Nathalie Lemieux decide to introduce themselves.

They’re smiling and politely ignore Sid’s stuttering when he introduces himself.

“We’ve heard a lot about you,” Mario tells him—everyone’s told him that; it’s no secret Geno loves to talk.

“We were excited when Geno told us he was bringing you,” Nathalie adds. “He kept putting off introducing you. We thought he’d never actually do it.”

“We thought you were made up,” Tanger says from behind Sid, startling him. “G totally paid you, didn’t he? No way he can get someone like you.”

Geno shoves Tanger, glaring, as he hands Sid a cup (it’s water). “How you get Catherine? Too ugly for humans.”

Tanger gasps, hand going over his heart, and he shakes his head. “You wound me, Geno. But I am, in fact, well aware my wife is too good for me. It’s better if you accept it now because I’m pretty sure Sidney here is definitely too good for you.”

Nathalie pats Sid’s shoulder. She’s probably put up with this for decades. Sid wonders how she does it. “Better to let them argue,” she tells him. “Hungry?” She doesn’t really wait for him to answer, just gently tugs him toward the kitchen, leaving Tanger and Geno arguing over who-even-knows while Mario watches amused.

The kitchen isn’t as crowded as the rest of the house, which is surprises due to the kitchen filled with food. Sid grabs a plate and piles it with the snacks scattered on the counters.

“Geno seems happy,” Nathalie suddenly says.

Sid almost drops his plate. “Oh, um, yeah, he is. I think, anyway. I hope he is.”

“You know, he’s never brought a guy to meet the team before.” Sid must look shocked or scared or something because she says, “He isn’t shy about his sexuality. He told everybody pretty early on, but he’s only really seriously dated girls. You’re the first, and I’m only telling you this because you’re special. I don’t think you will, but try not to hurt him, okay?”

“I…I don’t wanna hurt him,” Sid says, looking down at the food. “He’s…special to me, too.”

And that’s the right thing to say, apparently, because Nathalie nods, pleased, and offers him some kind of homemade dip he hasn’t gotten to yet.

Someone sets up beer pong on the dining room table a couple hours into the party, and somehow Sid gets roped into playing (AKA Tanger and Flower each take an arm and drag him to the dining room) with Carl as his partner against Tanger and Phil.

“I don’t—I’ve never played before,” Sid says, trying to back out, but Carl only shakes his head.

“It’s cool, dude. You’ll catch on.”

Sid does not catch on. It pisses him off for multiple reasons—one: he’s so fucking competitive; two: he hates losing; and three: he hates any game he sucks at. So, beer pong—he hates it and bows out after losing three games. And, you know, Sid might be a little tipsy, and Geno might be demanding someone else play.

Geno gets him water and then plants him on the couch, waiting patiently for Sid to drink the entire cup. “Okay?” he asks, arm around Sid’s waist.

Sid has had alcohol around Geno—he’s legal in Canada okay—but he’s never had more than one or two drinks. Now Sid’s on the far side of tipsy, nearing slightly drunk, and he just wants to sit on the couch with Geno curled around him until he feels more clear-headed. Geno seems to get that, just keeps an arm around Sid as they settle in the couch.

“Sorry,” Sid mumbles against his shoulder.

“Why you sorry? Have fun yes?”

Sid nods.

“Then no sorry. Glad you’re happy.”

Sid sighs, reaches out to grab Geno’s hand, lacing their fingers together. He’s not really into PDA, but Geno’s been touching him all night, and Sid’s loose enough from drinking that he just really wants to hold Geno’s hand despite all the people around. Okay, his boyfriend’s hot. Sue him for wanting to touch him.

This time, Flower and Tanger drag some rookies over with them. “Okay, so, older or younger than them?” Flower demands.

“He’s eighteen,” Tanger supplies, pointing to one of the rookies looking as if he’d rather die than be there.

“Why so curious?” Geno grumbles, throwing a pillow at Tanger’s head. “Leave Sid alone. I’m start think you want him.”

“He’s pretty, G, but not my type.”

“Good,” Catherine says as she walks by, throwing a wink to Sid and Geno before continuing with some of the other women toward the gang of children. She also serves as enough of a distraction for the rookies to make their escapes, scattering in all directions before Flower can grab any of them.

“Do you skate, Sidney?” Flower asks.

“Um, I haven’t in a while, but yeah.”

“Good. Come to practice tomorrow. Skate afterwards with us.”

Sid looks at Geno, who merely shrugs. “Oh, um. Okay. Yeah, I can do that.”

Flower and Tanger, satisfied with that, wander off. Sid watches as they wander off. “Was that a mistake?” he wonders aloud.

“Probably. But I’m love see you skate. Love to skate with you.”

Sid hasn’t been skating since almost a year ago. The only times Sid’s been on the ice the past couple eyes is for helping Taylor practice. He hasn’t skated, for fun not for hockey, in a long time. The prospect is exciting at least. He definitely wants to skate with Geno. He tells Geno that, happily pressing a kiss to Geno’s lips when he smiles.

***

It’s no secret Sid finds Geno unbelievably attractive, but Sid thinks he might combust when Geno answers the door in nothing but basketball shorts. He’s sweating, trying to catch his breath a bit, and Sid knows he just caught him in the middle of a work out. But Geno asked him to come over, to help eat the brownies one of the girlfriends made for the guys.

Sid’s never seen him without a shirt. Sid feels himself flushing when he ducks his head slightly, ignoring Geno’s chuckle. The kiss is soft, nothing more than a peck really, and Sid doesn’t drop his arms from around Geno when Geno goes to step back.

Geno raises an eyebrow.

“So, um, you remember that thing we talked about two weeks ago?” Sid does, every agonizing moment of it actually. With Geno’s nod, he barrels on, afraid he’s going to chicken out if he loses momentum. “I wanna. If you do, I me—“

Geno’s crushing himself against Sid, hands landing on his ass, lips pressing insistently, tongue quickly licking at Sid’s mouth until he parts his lips. Sid’s dizzy, trying to keep up, and he stumbles when Geno tugs him closer while taking a step back. Geno huffs, annoyed, when he steps on one of Jeffrey’s toys—a loud, squeaking one—but Sid giggles.

Geno’s looking at him with hooded eyes, tongue licking his bottom lip, and Sid just wants. He’s never felt this for someone, and he knows it’s probably gonna be awkward (for him at least) and uncomfortable (again, for him), but he trusts Geno.

“Okay?”

Sid nods slowly.

Geno watches for a moment, then takes his hand. He says something in Russian, sounding happy, and Sid follows, letting himself be led upstairs. He’s anxious. Part of him wants to ask about Geno’s first time, but he knows that’s a horrible idea. It was probably with some girl years ago, and Sid doesn’t wanna feel jealous right now.

Geno kisses him again in his room, shutting the door so Jeffrey, who’d been trailing behind them, can’t get in. Jeffrey huffs and trots back down the stairs. Geno’s staring at Sid, curiously, and Sid fiddles with the hem of his shirt rather than make eye contact. Geno’s hands cover his, and then Geno’s kissing his cheek, lips lingering for a second before kissing a trail down to Sid’s neck. His hands sneak under Sid’s shirt, resting on his bare skin, and Sid grabs hold of his shoulders, tilting his head.

Geno hums happily, hands creeping up until he’s bunching Sid’s shirt under his armpits. He tugs questioningly, and Sid obliges, helping slide his shirt off. Geno groans, running his hands over Sid’s chest, covering any inch of bare skin he could reach. As he leans in to kiss Sid again, he thumbs a nipple, making Sid gasp. He hums thoughtfully, pulling back, thumbing the nipple again. He makes eye contact with Sid briefly before dipping down, kissing right above the nipple.

Sid buries a hand in Geno’s hair, the other running over his shoulders, when Geno kisses his nipple, thumbing the other, and Sid gasps, tightening his grip in Geno’s hair when Geno sucks. Sid lets him go, running a hand down whatever skin he can reach, until Geno switches, nipping at his other nipple. “Geno,” he whimpers, tugging gently on his hair. “Fuck, c’mere. Wanna kiss you.”

Geno uses the kiss, full of tongue and sloppy as hell, to distract Sid enough to tip him backward on the bed. Sid stumbles, gripping Geno’s biceps as he falls, unintentionally pulling Geno down with him, landing beneath him with a bounce.

Geno goes back to sucking at his nipples, occasionally nipping and always making sure the one not in his mouth is occupied with pinching and rubbing fingers. Sid whines, gripping at Geno’s sides. His hand has barely slid down to the edge of Geno’s waistband when he pulls away, staring down at Sid.

“What you want?” he asks, voice low and rough.

Sid can’t make eye contact, so instead he watches his hands roam the bare chest before him. He’s quiet for a moment, watching Geno shiver when his thumb dips down below his waistband. Then he answers, “Will you fuck me?”

Geno swallows, caressing Sid’s cheek. “Sure?”

Sid nods firmly, finally meeting Geno’s eyes. “Yes. I want you to fuck me.” Geno sits up, straddling Sid’s thighs, and he smiles at Sid’s attempts to tug him back down. “Geno,” he complains, trying to sit up.

Geno swoops down, pressing a firm kiss to his lips. “Is okay,” he whispers, pecking the corner of his mouth. “Take care of you.” He squeezes Sid’s side and sits up again. He shuffles off to sit at the end of the bed, sliding Sid’s sneakers and socks off, then crawling back to Sid’s thighs, hooking his fingers in his waistband. “Okay?” he asks, hesitating.

Sid catches his eye, nodding as his face turns completely red. He kind of wants to smother himself when Geno tugs his jeans and boxers off. He’s naked, and he opens his mouth to ask Geno to take his pants off—either it’ll make him feel better or completely ruin him; either way he wants him naked—but before he can, Geno stands, stripping off his own shorts.

Okay, so, Sid’s brain kind of short-circuits for two reasons: one, Geno isn’t wearing any underwear, meaning he’s spent who knows how many days around Sid free-balling it; and two, Geno’s naked and crawling back up the bed, pressing kisses to parts of Sid as he goes until he lands on his dick, flicking his tongue out against the head.

Sid jerks, eyes wide. He whines as Geno licks at his dick, sucking at the head. Sid pushes at his shoulders. “You said—“

“How many times you come?” Geno interrupts, hand wrapping around Sid’s dick, stroking firmly. “In one day? How many?”

Sid’s brain isn’t really cooperated, scrambled from Geno’s hand on his dick. “Um…I don’t—four? Yeah, I think it’s four.”

“Come more than once now?”

“I-I guess.” Yeah, he can probably come more than once, especially if Geno wants him to. He’ll do anything to make this good for Geno since he can’t really handle anything more than a hand job in return.

Geno’s hands run soothingly over his hips, pressing a kiss to Sid’s hip. “Okay,” he mumbles, latching onto the meat of Sid’s thigh, sucking a mark there. Sid sighs happily, resting his hands on Geno’s shoulders, when he moves from one thigh to the other, sucking another mark as his hand keeps working Sid’s dick. When he’s satisfied with his mark, dark and quickly bruising, he kisses his way back to Sid’s cock, licking once before sucking him into his mouth.

It’s hot and wet and, just like Geno kisses, sloppy, tongue prominent. Sid’s alternating between moans and whines, and he’s embarrassed by how quickly it takes him to cum. It’s been only a couple minutes, Geno sucking as his hand continues working, when Sid pants out, “G—Geno, I’m gonna—cum, fuck!”

Geno swallows, humming happily, hand soothing Sid’s side. He drops Sid’s cock from his lips, lunging forward enough to suck at Sid’s collarbone, biting and running his tongue over the stinging nips. “Good?” he asks, kissing under his jaw.

Sid nods, nosing Geno’s temple, kissing at his ear. “Fuck me?” he breathes, feeling brave enough to take his earlobe in his mouth and suck.

Geno moans, muttering in Russian, hips thrusting down to rut against Sid’s hip. He kisses Sid dirtily, hard and rough, grinding down against Sid, and Sid, in spite of himself, chases the taste of himself when Geno pulls away. “Wait, what—“

“Shh.” Geno kisses him quick, once, before sitting up. He leans over, rummaging through his nightstand, until he tosses a bottle of lube by Sid’s head and tears off a condom. And it’s suddenly more real—this is happening—the idea that he’s about to be fucked making Sid whine, turning to bury his red face in the pillows. Geno chuckles, mutters in Russian, and kisses his cheek. “Turn over for me?” he asks quietly.

He curls a hand around Geno’s neck, arching up enough to kiss Geno again, sucking on his tongue the way he knows always makes Geno moan (which he does). “I wanna see you,” he mumbles, burying his face in Geno’s neck.

“I’m know.” Geno sits up, moving off Sid. “But easier for first time. Promise to fuck you other way after fingers, okay?” He pokes at Sid’s hip, encourages him to turn over. Sid settles on his stomach, a proud feeling fluttering through his chest when Geno moans, “Best ass, Sid. So happy you trust me.”

Geno scatters kisses across Sid’s back, sucking another hickey just above his ass, all while his hands cup and squeeze his ass, fondling and playing happily. Sid’s all too aware of his hands fumbling for the lube, drenching his fingers, and he’s trying not to focus on it, tries to focus on Geno’s lips on his back, hands warm on his skin.

“Do this before?” Geno asks, running a lubed finger down his crack, just barely skimming over his hole. “Ever finger self?”

“A couple times,” Sid admits breathily. “Only one or two. I’ve never had enough time.”

Geno bites him on the meat of his ass, Sid crying out, just as he works the tip of his finger in. Sid jolts, jerking back, and Geno soothes him. “Relax. Is okay. I take care.” He palms Sid’s ass with his free hand, trails kisses up Sid’s back.

It’s…weird. Sid has fingered himself before, briefly (not enough time for it between living at home and then roommates), but Geno’s hand is bigger. Even the tip of one finger is different than Sid’s. It’s definitely strange when Geno works his entire finger in, Geno trying to get him to relax by sucking kisses into his skin.

Geno’s finger curls, Sid gasping, and then he can’t help himself, thrusting back. “Geno, please.”

“Take two, Sid?”

Sid nods furiously, trying to thrust his hands back against Geno’s hold. He tenses again when he feels Geno rubbing the tips of two fingers over his hole. He forces himself to relax, constantly running thoughts of Geno and trust through his mind. He’s thoroughly distracted himself when Geno pushes two fingers in.

“Fuck,” he groans. Geno’s slow at first, just barely moving at all, before thrusting a little faster, scissoring his fingers. Sid’s pretty sure he almost conks his head on the headboard when Geno brushes his prostate and his body jerks forward violently. Fuck, it feels so good. Why the fuck has he never done this before? Why the fuck did he wait so long to let Geno do this?

Geno gets to three fingers, Sid catching his rhythm and moving with his thrusts, before he pauses, kisses where he bit Sid’s ass, and mumbles something in Russian. He tugs his fingers out, making a hurt sound when Sid whimpers. With hands on his hips, Geno flips Sid onto his back, immediately collapsing on top of him to kiss him. The kiss is great, Geno’s hands still cupping his ass are great, but Sid is impatient. He wants to be fucked. Doesn’t want to wait any more.

He breaks the kiss, panting, and reaches for the condom. “Please?” he begs, sliding one hand into Geno’s hair, tugging at the curling ends. “Wanna feel you. Wanna make you feel good.” He reaches down, wrapping a hand around Geno’s dick, and smiles when Geno jerks, moaning. It’s different and the same. Sid’s used to his own dick, not as thick as Geno’s, and it’s of course from a different angle. Maybe some other day he’ll figure out what Geno likes, how he likes to get off. Not now, of course.

Geno lets him experiment, stroking unevenly, for a minute before pushing his hand away. “Not eighteen,” he teases, kissing the tip of his nose. “Maybe not come more than once.” He snags one of the pillows from the bed, urging Sid to lift his hips enough to rest the pillow beneath. He goes to take the condom from Sid, who tightens his hold, surprising both of them.

“Um, can I…?” He gestures down their bodies. Geno, stunned, only nods, shifting enough to let Sid have easy access to his cock. Sid nervously opens the condom, hesitating long enough for Geno to take his wrist, guide it down, and then he’s rolling the condom on his cock, Geno’s eyes closing with a low moan. Sid watches, amazed, at the look on his face, brain not comprehending the fact that he’s the one doing this to Geno, he’s the reason Geno looks so pleased.

Geno lets him lube his dick, too, this time covering Sid’s hand to make sure the lube is covering all his cock with enough to be generous. He stares at Sid, hands on the backs of his thighs, obviously debating, and then he lifts, draping Sid’s legs over his shoulders. He doesn’t ask if Sid’s okay, just looks for a nod, and then he shifts, one hand resting on his thigh as he teases Sid’s hole with the head of his cock.

“Shit, G-Geno,” Sid stutters, hands tightening on Geno’s biceps. “Come on, wanna—“

Geno pushes forward, nipping at Sid’s knee by his head, until the head is inside, Sid’s knuckles white on his arms. He stays still, body tense, and waits for Sid to catch his breath.

“Fuck, okay. More, please, more.”

They do this a few more times, every time Geno stopping whenever Sid’s hands clench uncomfortably tight against his arms. When he bottoms out, hips pressed to Sid’s, he waits until gives the okay, then shifts one of Sid’s legs, pushing it off his shoulder and up and out, opening Sid more. He thrusts gently at first, smirking at Sid’s babbling.

It feels amazing, better than his fingers. He’s full, and he feels out of his mind, even more so when Geno speeds up. Geno just barely glances his prostate, and Sid moans loudly, yanking Geno’s head down to kiss him roughly. After a minute of licking into each other’s mouths, Sid trying to pull Geno closer while he thrusts harder, Geno breaks the kiss, panting into Sid’s cheek.

“Fuck,” Sid whimpers. “Geno, can you…faster. Fuck, there, right there.”

Geno’s babbling in Russian, running a hand over Sid’s chest as he thrusts, tweaking a nipple just as he nails his prostate. He leans down, taking a nipple in his mouth, sucking and licking. Sid can’t help it—the dick pressing in his ass, Geno’s bites on his nipples, the friction on his dick between his and Geno’s stomachs. One minute he’s panting harshly, the next he’s coming, digging his fingers in his back.

Geno just groans, thrusts a handful more times, and buries his dick as deep as he can inside Sid as he comes, dropping Sid’s legs on either side of him as he collapses on Sid.

Sid makes a face at the sticky feeling of cum on his stomach. It’s gross, and Geno’s kind of heavy, and Sid moans at the empty feeling when Geno pulls out. Fuck, he’s already feeling sore, in his ass and knee, and he kinda wants to take a nap.

Geno gets up, Sid watching through sleepy eyes, and he hears the water running in the bathroom. Geno reappears with a washcloth, kissing Sid’s jaw as he wipes his stomach. When he has all the cum off both of them, he chucks the washcloth toward the bathroom, crawling under the covers.

Sid follows suit, too tired to feel embarrassed about sleeping naked, and cuddles up Geno, resting his head on his chest. Geno wraps an arm around him, holding him tight against him. He mumbles something in Russian, kissing the top of his head.

Sid’s content to just cuddle with him, run his fingertips over Geno’s chest, let the rise and fall of Geno’s breathing comfort him. He just wants to lay there forever, warm and safe in his arms, but he also wants those brownies still downstairs. “Hey, G?’

“Yeah?”

“Where are the brownies?”

Geno laughs, kissing Sid’s forehead. “Come on, Sid. We get brownies. Feed pretty boy for letting me fuck best ass.” He palms Sid’s ass, licks into Sid’s mouth, then pulls away with a satisfied smirk.

Sid lets himself be pulled downstairs, both still naked, to the plate of brownies in the kitchen.

***

Sometimes they hang out with the Pens. Sometimes Geno brings him out with the team after wins or brings him to practices. Sid doesn’t mind, enjoys the hockey and the ice time he spends with Geno, but Sid regrets letting the players around him when Tanger, after spraying him with ice, says, “No, but, like, you’re legal, right? He’s not gonna be arrested or anything?”

This has been going on since he met them. It’d be easier to tell them his actual age, but Geno doesn’t care about the age difference, nor does Sid, and Geno hadn’t wanted Sid’s age to be a focal point of their relationship. Unfortunately, not telling them something only encouraged Flower and Tanger (and, honestly, most of the team) to figure out just how old Sid is (there’s been multiple comparison to the rookies).

Sid rolls his eyes. It’s after practice, Sid joining the stragglers on the ice. He has his own skates, but he has to borrow a stick and gloves if he wants to mess around with a puck. Today, though, he’s okay with just watching the guys messing around. He spent a lot of time yesterday running around the baseball clubhouse, finding replacement equipment or refilling water bottles or getting ice packs. His knee’s sore, so even if he wanted to he couldn’t do more than lazy laps around the rink.

“Yes, I am legal,” Sid replies. “I promise Geno will not get arrested for being with me.”

Tanger squints at him. “You’re in college, right?” Sid nods. “Okay, so, are you looking for something serious or just fucking around? Because G’s thirty, and he wants a family, and if you’re just here for fun, then there are different athletes in the city.”

“I’m—I’m not in this for the fun, okay. I really like Geno. I’m not trying to break his heart. If he wants this to be serious, then I’m all in.” A pause. “I appreciate you looking out for him.” At Tanger’s surprised expression, he continues, “I know he can handle himself, but I’m glad you guys have his back. I know he’ll be okay no matter what happens.”

Before Tanger can respond, though he looks a little too shell shocked to actually say something, Geno skates up, playfully bumping Sid. His helmet is off, hair sweaty and curling, and he’s beaming, face flushed and red from the cold. “Sid, come skate. Tanger too boring.”

Sid giggles at Tanger’s outrage, following Geno toward the side of the ice the remaining four players are, taking shots at an empty net.

Many times Sid’s around Flower and Tanger, they lapse into French, glancing at Sid sometimes, and Sid always rolls his eyes, used to being lost to unfamiliar languages (Geno rants in Russian no matter who he’s around or where he is). He thinks about asking what they’re saying, but he also doesn’t trust them to tell him the truth.

So he ignores them, especially when he has other players to pay attention to. Like now. Majority of the team is in a bar, players coming and going to get drinks or hit on girls, and Sid, leaning against Geno comfortably, is listening to Dales rant about the stupid bullshit penalties the refs were calling during the game (the Pens still won against the Kings despite a total of almost fourteen minutes in the penalty box).

Flower, without stopping the flow of French, pokes at Sid’s cheek, saying something that makes Tanger giggle. Sid swats at him, ignoring Flower’s hurt look, and turns to Hags and Phil arguing over who’s better at darts (they’re both drunk; Sid isn’t sure darts is a good idea).

“Hey.” Tanger reaches across the table, poking Sid’s arm. “So, drinking legally or not?”

“Go back French,” Geno grumbles, shoving Tanger away from Sid.

“God, you’re so protective, G! We’re having a conversation. Right, Sid?”

Sid kind of wants to say no, see how Tanger will get upset, but he sighs, patting Geno’s thigh under the table. “It’s fine, G. And, no, Tanger, I am not.”

“You let him drink? So irresponsible.” Hags tsks, as if he probably wasn’t drinking underage when he joined the NHL. As if all of them at the table didn’t drink underage at some point in their lives (all athletes did, Sid knew that).

Geno, sipping whatever vodka drink he was in the mood for, merely flips them all off.

“He doesn’t let me do it,” Sid counters stubbornly. He takes a swig of his drink. “I’m an adult, and I wanna drink. Besides, I’m Canadian.”

Every Canadian player listening perks up. “Why are we just finding out about this?” Flower demands. “He’s Canadian, and you never told us, G! What the fuck?”

Geno shrugs.

“Oh my God, you’re eighteen,” Tanger suddenly gasps. “That’s why you wouldn’t tell us! You’re barely legal.”

“I’m nineteen in August.” It’s early April, so that’s what? Five months away? Not long at all. “And fuck off. It’s only barely legal if I just turned eighteen.” Honestly, Sid’s surprised it took them this long to figure it out. Though, he’s sure they’ve had their suspicions, waiting for a clue to cement it.

Flower opens his mouth.

“Careful next words. Kick your ass,” Geno snaps.

Flower shuts his mouth, focusing on his drink instead.

“I don’t care how old you are,” Phil declares. “As long as you keep Geno from killing us all, you’re okay with me.”

“He won’t kill us,” Tanger argues. “He’s our captain. He’s obligated to love us.”

“Not love you,” Geno immediately says. “Don’t like you.”

Tanger then spends the next five minutes trying to get across tables and teammates to plant a kiss on Geno while Geno tries to fend him off without hitting Sid. When he finally settles, he’s let Sid’s age go, focusing instead on the rookies arguing who could score with a group of college girls several tables over.

Later, back at Geno’s house, Sid asks, “Geno? Does it bother you that I’m eighteen?”

“No. Bother you?”

“I just…” He slides onto Geno’s lap, wrapping his arms around his neck. “The guys keep saying I’m baby faced and probably fifteen. I just wanna make sure you don’t feel weird about it.”

“Not weird.” His hands settle in his back pockets, tugging Sid closer. “If I mind, tell you. My age bother you?”

“No. I love that you’re older. I’ve, uh, always had a bit of a thing for older guys.”

Geno smirks. “Long as I’m only guy.” He bites at his neck, pulling Sid’s hips down to grind up into him.

Sid is not that easy. He will not bow to Geno’s every whim. “I don’t know. Don’t you think Ovechkin is kind of hot?”

Geno rears back, pouting. “No. He ugly. Puck hotter than him.”

Sid snorts. “What about Toews? Or—oh.” Geno’s sucking on that spot behind his ear that makes him weak-kneed while his also grip his ass, thrusting Sid’s half-hard cock against his stomach.

Fuck. Fuck it. Sidney Patrick Crosby is a fucking ho for Evgeni Vladimirovich Malkin.

***

The Penguins go out in round two of the playoffs, ousted by the Capitals (and doesn’t Sid feel horrible for the crack he made about Ovechkin being attractive) in seven games. Sid’s already back in Cole Harbour since the semester ended. He and Geno talked, neither quite ready to meet the families yet, so Sid’s in Canada while Geno’s going back to Russia. It’s not the best, with Geno being gone for months, but Sid misses his family, and Geno needs time to recuperate after the loss.

That doesn’t mean Sid doesn’t want to be in Washington, to hold Geno in his arms and reassure him it’s gonna be okay. Sid knows Geno takes losses hard, especially since he’s captain, and Geno doesn’t like to be around Sid when he’s upset. Besides, Geno’s been working through a wrist injury, and he needs the summer to heal (which is why he’s unfortunately not eligible to play for Russia in the ongoing World Championship). It’s really better for both of them to be separated for a couple months.

Sid watches the game in his living room, trying not to express too much emotion in front of his family when the final buzzer goes off, the Pens trailing by two. His father dissects both teams, picking out mistakes, and Sid abruptly stands when he mentions something about Geno not producing, mumbling something about getting a drink.

In the kitchen, he unlocks his phone, opening his messages. Nothing from Geno, but that’s to be expected. He sends sad faces with a short “I’m proud of you”. He gets a glass of water and some leftover lasagna from last night. There’s still no response by the time he finishes eating. He decides to send one last text before going back to the living room.

I’m here if you wanna talk.

He doesn’t get a response by the time he’s drifting off to sleep.

His mom notices something’s up within three days. Sid’s addicted to hockey, wanting to watch whatever game’s on TV even if he doesn’t care for either team, so when he says he doesn’t want to watch the playoffs, she’s instantly worried. Thankfully, she doesn’t say anything in front of his father or Taylor, but she does manage to corner him once Taylor and his father head outside to take some practice shots.

“You okay, honey?” she asks, running a hand through his hair. It’s getting kind of long. He wants to get it cut before the summer’s out.

“Yeah, Mom, I’m fine. Just…” His parents have always supported him, in all aspects of his life, and when he first came out to them when he was sixteen—close to tears and then crying when his mother started hugging him while crying—they made sure he understood they loved him no matter what and will always love him. He knows when he finds the right guy—part of him hopes Geno’s the right guy—they’ll accept him into the family. The thing is, though, Geno’s not out to the public. There’s no out NHL player, and until he talks to him, Sid’s not going to out him to even his family. “I’ve been seeing this guy lately, and, uh, he’s upset about something. And I know he just needs time, but I haven’t heard from him in a couple days.”

“Well, first of all, why’d you keep this from us? We would love to get to know him.”

“I know, Mom, but I just wanted to make sure it was gonna work out. And, now, well I think we’re both kind of serious.”

She hums. “Did you reach out to him?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, there’s not much else you can do. Don’t pressure him too much, but don’t let him cut you off entirely. Give him a couple more days, and if he still hasn’t called you back, call him.”

Sid sighs, but thanks her anyway. And when she asks about his boyfriend, he says, “Um, I like him a lot. He’s really great, and I hope you’ll meet him someday.” She hugs him, doesn’t push him any further, and asks if he wants ice cream.

Geno calls him from his Russian number (which he made sure Sid had before Sid left) after dinner the next night. He’s playing NHL 17 with Taylor, their dad watching with pointers occasionally, when his phone rings. He glances at his phone and almost drops his controller.

Taylor scores. “Sid!” she complains. “You’re not paying attention!”

“Yeah, sorry, kid,” he says, distracted. “Hey, Dad, mind taking over for a bit?” He doesn’t wait for a response, stands and hurries from the room as he answers the phone. “Hey,” he says quietly, making his way upstairs.

“Sorry take so long,” Geno says. “Not good company.”

“I know. It’s okay. How’s Russia?”

They spend the next hour talking, his mom coming in after about twenty minutes to check on him and giving him a knowing look before she leaves, about anything and everything. Geno tells him all about Russia and his hometown and his family (apparently his brother found an abandoned puppy and is trying to convince Geno to take it), and Sid returns with his own stories (though his mostly consist of talking about playing some street hockey with Taylor and friends).

“I’m sorry about the playoffs,” Sid says once he’s stopped giggling at Geno yelling at his brother in Russian (Denis apparently is bugging Geno just because he knows he’s talking to Sid). Geno grows quiet on the other end, and Sid lets them both sit in silence for a moment before he adds, “You did amazing. You all did. Just unlucky bounces, you know? You put up a hell of a fight.”

“Thanks.” His voice is different, quieter and smaller, and Sid thinks he might have just overstepped a boundary, but Geno needs to hear he didn’t fuck up anything. The team held their own, Geno did too, and Sid wants to make sure Geno hears it, whether he believes it or not.

“And you’re up for some awards, right? So that’s exciting.”

Geno won the Art Ross, beating Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand by two and three points respectively, and he’s up for the Messier and Hart trophies. It’s not the Cup, but maybe it’ll be at least something to cheer Geno up.

There’s a knock on his door before Geno responds, Taylor poking her head in with a pout. “Sid, are you coming back out?” she asks. “Dad sucks. He keeps letting me win.”

“Yeah, kid, just a minute, okay?”

She nods, giving him a dubious look, and disappears, leaving his door cracked. Sid stares, listens to her bounce down the stairs as she calls to their dad that Sid’s coming back, and he says to the phone, “I, um, have to go.”

“Sister?”

“Yeah, Taylor. We were playing NHL 17 when you called.”

“Not want interrupt.”

“No! No, really, it’s okay. I wanna here from you. You’re not interrupting, G.”

“Miss you, Sid.”

“I miss you, too, Geno.” Sid picks at the hem of his shorts, wishing nothing more than to be able to see Geno, to touch him. “Call me whenever, okay? Or Facetime. I wanna see you at some point, yeah?”

Sid thinks his mother mentioned the boyfriend thing to his father because when he comes into the living room, his father gives him a small smile when he hands back the controller. “Everything good?” he asks.

Sid nods. “Yeah, I think so.” He ducks his head, flushing, and sits back on the floor beside Taylor. “So, I declare a rematch.”

***

Geno turns thirty-one, and Sid turns nineteen. Both birthdays are spent on Skype, talking face-to-face, and both of them promise to exchange presents when they see each again. When the NHL awards roll around, Geno Skypes Sid, and no matter how many times he sees him in a suit, Sid will never be used to it. Every time he looks sexy as hell, and Sid wants to be in Vegas, too. Though, if Sid were in Vegas, neither of them would be attending the awards since they’d never leave the hotel room.

Anyway, Sid arrives back in Pittsburgh before Geno does. He’s living in an apartment with Michael two guys from the baseball team, Kayla and Tara living in the same building, and he’s excited to be back at school. He’s excited to be back in Pittsburgh.

Tara basically tackles him when she sees him for the first time in months. He’s just finished moving into his room, Michael already moved in but Scott and Finn supposedly coming down tomorrow, and when he goes to the make-shift living room (until Scott brings the promised couch, it’s lawn chairs set up facing the flat screen TV on the floor), Tara yells “SID!” and crashes into him.

“Oh, wow, okay, hi, Tara,” he says, stumbling to balance both of them. “You’re a little excited.”

“Missed you, Squid. How’s my emotionally compromised partner in crime?”

He decides to let the Squid thing go (honestly, he kind of hates himself for getting drunk around them one day and telling them that nickname). “Emotionally compromised?”

“Well, yeah. You were the only who could judge a guy’s ass with me,” she explains. “Now, you’re taken and can’t objectively check out a guy without feeling guilty. So, you are officially compromised.”

Michael snorts, shaking his head.

“Is Kayla compromised, too?”

“Yes, but I still have Michael to check girls out with. It was just you and me, buddy.”

Kayla’s more reserved in her greeting, giving him a hug and asking how his boyfriend is. Which of course leads Tara to demanding details. Which leads Michael, to get the attention off Sid, to admitting he asked a girl out today. And Sid’s grateful when Tara and Kayla turn their attention off him.

Geno comes to Pittsburgh a week later, but with training and camp, they don’t see each other until the second preseason game. Even then, Sid has two classes and Geno’s busy with pre-game shit, so they don’t actually see each other until after the game. Sid’s waiting in a hall with the rest of the families, away from media, when Mario appears, smiling at him.

“Nice to see you again, Sidney,” he says. “How are you?”

“Oh, um, it’s nice to see you, too.” Because he was raised to be polite, okay. He can’t just ignore a greeting. “I’m good. And you?”

“Good, good. Looking forward to this season.”

“Yeah, it’s gonna be a good one.”

Mario nods. “Things between you and Geno good?”

“Yeah, they’re great. Um…yeah.” What’s he supposed to ask? How are things with your wife? He can’t help but wonder why Mario’s there, talking to him. It’s obvious he sought him out; Mario appeared out of nowhere to talk to him. Does he do that to any significant other? Or is he just curious about Sid? How many gay players bring their significant other around the team?

“You and Geno should come over one night,” Mario says. “The kids love Geno, and I’m sure they’d love to meet you, too.”

“Oh, um, I—you should, um, ask Geno. But, yeah, that sounds nice. If Geno wants to, I mean.”

“Great. I’ll tell Geno.” He claps Sid on the shoulder, nods again, and walks away, pulling out his phone to call someone. Sid stares after him, confused as to what just happened.

“Geno lived with the Lemieuxs for a little while,” Vero tells him, smiling. He’s met her a few times since January, mostly with Flower in tow, and he likes her. She’s not intrusive (not like a certain husband of hers), and she makes sure Sid doesn’t feel out of place whenever he watches home games in the box with the other wives/girlfriends (which only happens if he can’t drag a friend to the game with him). “He injured his knee and spent the time out with them. The kids love him like another brother.”

“Oh.” Well, in that case…maybe he should meet the Lemieuxs. Does Geno want to? He asks later when he sees Geno. It’s the first time they’ve seen each since May (April really, since playoffs kept Geno detained to short lunches or short visits), and Sid wants to ask before they get distracted.

“Want meet family?” Geno asks, walking to his car.

“Yeah, I’d like to. They mean something to you, right?”

“Okay. I’m call Mario, set up. Tell you all about it.” And that’s the end of the conversation, Geno instead pushing Sid up against the car and kissing him like he needs him like air. The entire car ride back to Geno’s is spent with Geno running his hand steadily up Sid’s thigh.

Sid isn’t the best at blowjobs (can’t go on his knees, only can do this with Geno lying down), but he’s learning. Geno helps, lets out exaggerated moans when Sid does something he likes, hisses when Sid accidentally scrapes his teeth against his dick, and he tugs Sid off right before he comes (Sid tried to swallow, once, and almost choked; so, baby steps). Geno, blissful and out of it, gets him off with his hand, sucking marks in Sid’s neck.

Sid, of course, is still nineteen, and he kind of wants to be fucked before he goes to sleep. He wants patiently for maybe half an hour before kissing Geno’s neck, hitting the spots he knows Geno loves, and he smiles against his skin when Geno sighs.

Sid rides Geno—Geno pretends he wants Sid to do all the work, but that lasts maybe a minute before he’s thrusting up and guiding Sid’s hips to a rhythm he likes—and, after they’ve both cum again, Sid, wrapped up in Geno’s arms, Geno’s chest warm and solid against his back, listens to Geno mumble Russian in his ear.

“Hey, G?” Geno hums in his ear. “I love you.”

Geno doesn’t hesitate, saying something in Russian before explaining, “Love you, Sid. Best.” He kisses the back of his neck.

***

Sid’s just getting back from class, planning on heading out to lunch with his friends, and when he opens his apartment door, he’s shocked by Taylor running to greet him, throwing her arms around him.

Taylor has a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh this weekend. It starts tomorrow, so they’re visiting Sid. Without telling him. And Sid planned on spending the weekend with Geno since late Sunday, he has to leave for an eight day road trip.

“Your friends are nice,” his mom comments during lunch. Sid, obviously, bowed out of lunch with his friends, promising to see them later, and takes his family to the same burger place Geno took him to for their first date.

“Yeah, they’re great.” He responds to Geno’s text, promising to call him later.

“Do you get to see the Penguins play?” Taylor asks. “I bet that’s cool. Dad promised to take me to a Canadiens game this season, but it must be awesome being close to the arena.”

“Yeah, kid, it’s great. Actually, one of my friends is dating someone who works there. She scores us some tickets occasionally.”

Taylor looks excited. “Have you met any of the players before? Oh my God, that’d be amazing.”

“Um, yeah, I’ve run into a couple. Nothing major. I haven’t gotten a picture or anything. They’re too busy for that.” Sid hates lying to his family. He wants to tell Taylor all about the Pens, maybe see if he can coerce Flower into meeting her someday to give her goalie tips (Flower owes him after months of pestering him). He needs to talk to Geno, find out if it’s okay.

“How’s your boyfriend?” his mom asks.

And he knew it was coming, but he still chokes on his burger when she asks. “Oh, he’s good.”

“There’s no rush, honey, but we’d love to meet him. Whenever you’re ready.”

Sid hesitates, but what could it hurt to ask? Geno loves him, tells him so like five times a day, and it’s a day off tomorrow. If Geno says no, Sid can deal with that later. But first—“He might be working, but I can go call him?”

His parents both nod, smiling at him, so he goes, dialing Geno’s number as he steps outside. “Hey, G,” he says when Geno answers.

“Sid! When I see you? Jeffrey miss you lots.”

Sid snorts. He saw Jeffrey a few days ago. “That’s bullshit, G. Jeffrey forgets I exist until he sees me again.”

“Lies, Sid. Jeffrey loves you.”

“Mm, okay. You know him best. Anyway, um, so my family’s here.” There’s a pause from Geno’s end, so he adds, “My sister has a hockey tournament in town this weekend, so they surprised me. I’m, uh, not sure if I’ll see you before you leave Sunday.”

“Is okay. Family important.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” He takes a deep breath, closing his eyes. “Okay, so, they want to meet my boyfriend, and you don’t have to say—“

“Okay. Where are you?”

“You don’t have to say yes, G. It’s okay to say no.”

“Stupid, Sid. Wanna meet. When? Dinner maybe?”

“Oh, uh, yeah, that works. That steak place by the rink? At seven?”

“Good. Can’t wait to see you, Sid.” He says “I love you” in Russian. Sometimes he says it in English, but he’s said it enough times in Russian for Sid to be able to pick it out.

“I love you, too.”

His parents—Mom, mostly—are excited to meet Geno. Taylor is excited to tell him embarrassing stories about Sid, but her excitement grows when he explains the situation to them. His parents, on the other hand, seem less thrilled with the prospect of him dating an older, hockey player not out.

“Please, just give him a chance,” Sid pleads before they leave for dinner. Taylor’s ahead of them, already thinking of questions to ask about hockey, and Sid just wants his parents to not judge Geno before they meet him. “He’s great, and I love him, okay? He makes me happy.”

His parents exchange a look. “You love him?” his dad asks.

Sid nods furiously. “So much.”

His mom wraps him in a hug. “Okay, honey. But we just want what’s best for you.”

“And he’s the best thing for me,” Sid says quietly.

Dinner goes fairly well. Geno keeps Taylor entertained, answering questions about hockey and promising to make sure Flower sends her some pointers (Geno looks smug at the suggestion), and when Taylor pauses with questions, Geno talks to his parents. It’s weird, seeing Geno calm and polite rather than the loud and often times pushy personality he has around Sid and his friends. Sid wonders if Geno acts similar around his own parents.

When Geno has to take a phone call (someone from management, he claims), Sid’s mother leans over, patting his hand. “You were right, honey. He’s nice.”

Sid smiles gratefully. He honestly isn’t sure what he would’ve done had they not liked Geno. Geno tends to like most people—despite the teasing he gives and the things he says claiming he’s completely serious though he’s not—so Sid wasn’t too worried about that.

Taylor monopolizes the rest of Geno’s time the rest of dinner and dessert. Both Sid and his parents try to shut her up at one point, but Geno waves them off, saying it’s okay. “Baby in family, too,” he says with a smile, nudging Taylor playfully. “Understand how hard it is.”

Taylor perks up. And that’s how they spend the rest of the time talking about Geno’s family and Jeffrey (Taylor demands pictures of the dog, not believing he’s actually the size he is).

“Thank you for this,” Sid mumbles against Geno’s shoulder. They’re on the couch, his family back in their hotel room, and Sid’s lying on top of Geno, the TV playing some show on TLC Geno likes. “You were great tonight.”

“Of course. Always great. Never bad moment.”

Sid giggles, pressing his smile into Geno’s t-shirt. “Yeah. Keep telling yourself that, G.”

Geno squawks. “Sid, that hurt! So mean. Don’t know why I’m love you.”

I’m mean? Says the guy nicknamed Bully.”

Geno huffs. “Make mistake. Think I’m mean guy, scary Russian, but I’m too kind for that.”

Sid laughs so hard Geno pushes him off the couch.

***

The pictures aren’t anything really incriminating. The only point of speculation is the fact that in all three pictures Geno is with the same guy. There’s no kissing, no intimate touching. In two pictures, taken in bars with the team, the guy (who’s face is hidden beneath a hat) is cuddled up to Geno, head tipped back on his shoulder or, in picture, leaning over Geno to talk to whoever’s on the other side. The third is just the two alone, taken in the parking lot of the practice rink, with the guy leaning against a car and Geno standing just inches from him. All three are from three different fans, released over the course of mouths.

At first, when each picture is put out there, no one thinks anything of it. Hockey players are notorious for their bromances, players often touching their teammates, so Geno being cuddled up to this guy is nothing. But one fan puts all three together, points out it’s the same guy in all three despite not being able to see his face in any of them, and then of course people start speculating who the mystery guy is.

Sid only sees one theory before Tara takes his laptop from him.

“No, no,” she says. “Don’t do anything stupid.”

Sid’s grateful for that, he is, and he wishes someone knocked that sense into Geno. A day later, with nothing from Geno, Michael wakes him up roughly from a nap, thrusting his phone at him.

“Read,” is all he says.

Sid squints at him, confused as fuck, and takes the phone, staring blankly at the screen.

Michael shakes his shoulder. “Dude, really. Read the fucking thing.”

It takes another minute for Sid to be awake enough to process what Michael’s said. When he does, he shoots Michael a look before looking at the phone. It’s an article (links to multiple articles actually) all about how Evgeni Malkin decided to become the first out player in the NHL.

Apparently, according to the article Sid’s reading, Malkin’s been out for years to players and management, and, when the pictures hit the web, he decided he doesn’t want to hide anymore. He’s spent the last few months talking with his agent and PR and the Penguins management and his family, all of which have been supportive, and this is an easy way to actually come out. The article, released an hour ago, says the NHL, the Penguins, multiple teams, and a ton of players have made their support public. Malkin’s statement does admit the man in the picture is his boyfriend, but Malkin doesn’t name him, asking to let the boyfriend be left alone.

Sid gives Michael his phone back, puts his shoes on, and heads out without saying anything. He’s not sure what he’s going to say, not sure what it meant by Geno’s been talking about this for months, and he’s not angry that Geno didn’t tell him. He’s hurt Geno didn’t trust him enough to tell him. He would’ve supported him with any decision. He thought Geno knew that.

“You see?” Geno asks shyly when he opens the door. He’s shifting nervously, pecking Sid’s cheek absently.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Sid blurts out. “I mean, I’m happy with whatever you decide, but I would’ve liked a little warning first.”

“Was gonna tell you. Soon. But PR think pictures good chance if I’m serious. So I’m do. Mama and Papa think if it make me happy, I’m should do. I’m sorry. Wanted to tell you, Sid.” He steps closer, wrapping Sid up in a hug. “Happen too fast.”

“But you said it’s been months.”

“Yes, but nothing positive. Not sure if ever happen. Okay?” He sounds worried, like Sid’s upset about this.

“Yes, of course.” Sid leans up to give him a kiss. “If this is what you needed, then I’m gonna support you hundred percent. I love you, Geno.”

Geno beams at him. “Wanna be able to take you out, kiss you.” He does so, hums happily when Sid sucks on his tongue, smiling against Sid’s mouth. “Love your mouth, Sid. So pretty.” He sucks Sid’s bottom lip in his mouth, nipping at it with his teeth.

Sid whines, fisting his hands in Geno’s shirt.

Geno smirks, grabbing hold of Sid’s ass and pulling, pressing his body close to his, making sure Sid’s thoroughly weak-kneed as he presses Sid against the wall.

“Hey,” Sid pants, fingers gently tugging at Geno’s hair.

Much like the first time, Geno’s sucking at his nipples. He only hums in acknowledgement.

“Are you happy?”

Geno freezes, eyes flickering up to his. Sid stares back, determined, and Geno backs up enough to say, “Always happy with you.”

“No, I mean with what you did today. Coming out.”

“Yes. Not do if family not support, but they do. Wanna meet you actually. Come here during season, meet you then?”

“Yeah, I’d love to meet them. But I don’t know any Russian.”

“Don’t worry. Help you. Always help you.” And Geno leans in, kisses Sid gently once. “Now shut up.” He chuckles, proud of himself, when Sid smacks his shoulder, laughing out right when Sid tries to push him to the floor, going only because he’s laughing so hard.

“Fuck you,” Sid grumbles, kissing Geno as he sprawls on top of him.

Jeffrey thinks it’s a puppy pile, however, and comes bounding over, licking at both of them, yipping.

***

For the most part, nothing really changes for Geno. There’s more pictures of him, more speculation about who he’s dating, and during the season, people tend to forget who he is as long as he keeps producing. There are some assholes talking shit, but no one can really deny Geno’s an amazing hockey player.

Flower almost punches the first reporter who asks if he’s uncomfortable with gay guys in the locker room. Geno, fortunately, didn’t hear the question, busy with his own, but Tanger was able to hold the goalie back from losing his shit (the reporter is kicked out). Hags relays this to Sid before he leaves with his wife. Sid makes sure to thank Flower before he leaves with Geno.

Geno’s mother, when he meets them in March, tries to teach him every Russian recipe she knows Geno loves despite the language barrier. Geno’s father watches games with Sid, amused whenever Sid cheers loudly for the Pens. Sid likes them, wishes he spoke Russian or they spoke English so he could ask about stories of Geno as a child. They also spend a bunch of the trip trying to teach Sid how to correctly pronounce Zhenya (Geno and his dad laugh their asses off the first time Sid tries; his mom, though amused, pats his arm and says, what Geno translates at least, that it was a good attempt).

When Sid graduates, only his family and Geno attend the ceremony, per Sid’s wishes, but he has no choice but to attend the party the Pens decide to throw him. He’s twenty-two, his job with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a trainer starting on Monday, and he’s living with Geno. As a graduation present, Geno gives him a puppy (though it’s more a brother for Jeffrey than a puppy for Sid) who Sid decides to name Yzerman (after Steve of course).

Sid is twenty-three, Geno thirty-five, when the Pens win the Cup for the third time. Sid’s excited, along with everyone else, because this is the first Cup win for Geno that’s on home ice. They beat out the Red Wings in six games, and Phil gets the Conn Smyth (rightly so). Geno, still determined to keep Sid out of the spotlight as much as possible, allows three pictures taken—one with his parents, one with his parents plus Sid, and the third with just Sid. It’s a surreal feeling, being on the ice with the Cup with an arena full of still cheering fans. It’s what Sid dreamed of as a kid, something he never thought he’d see once blew his knee out.

Geno doesn’t kiss him on the ice, in front of everyone. No, Geno hugs him, promises to find him later, and goes to help bring the Cup to Nathalie Lemieux. But later, at the Cup party with the Cup on a table, the team and significant others drinking their weight in alcohol, someone takes a picture of Geno kissing Sid by the Cup, both drunk off their asses but happy as they each put a hand on the Cup.

Geno saves it on his phone when he gets it. Sid hates it (“I’m drunk, Zhenya!”), so naturally Geno gets it framed and puts it on the wall in their house. Sid still hates it, especially whenever teammates (who were at the fucking party) ask him about it. Geno finds the whole situation amusing. In retaliation, Sid frames a picture of Geno, Ovechkin, and Denis singing drunkenly (Denis and Ovechkin were drunk, Geno just more than tipsy) at the wedding. Geno hates it (mostly because it’s Ovechkin in it), but Sid declares it’s staying on their whole until Geno takes the other one down.

Neither gets taken down. Their wedding picture, one taken of their first dance, hands clasped, Geno’s head bent to listen to whatever Sid’s saying, both smiling hugely, is placed between the two pictures, a mutual peace offering. Once they have kids, they take the pictures down, put them up in their bedroom instead. It’s better than having to explain why Daddy and Papa look kind of red-eyed. And in their room, Geno’s framed jersey, signed by all the Pens the season Geno retires, goes right across from the bed, between the two pictures once again.

Sid fucking hates the picture—he kind of hates the one of Geno, too—and it’s usually one of the first things he sees in the morning, but it’s a nice reminder. Of Geno, of Geno’s achievements—the Penguins retired number 71; Geno got really teary-eyed at the ceremony—of their life together. And then one of their four, or multiple, children comes running into the room, demanding food or attention or to tattle on a sibling, jumping on the bed, and Sid smiles.

At least, he does up until Yzerman and the puppy they got a couple years after Jeffrey passed (Pen, named by their then two year old son Nikola) follow the children’s suit, jumping on the bed. Pen manages to land right on Geno’s balls, making him groan and curl into a ball, grumbling something in Russian that makes the kids gasp and tell Sid that “Papa said a bad word, Daddy!”

“G, stop saying bad words.”

Geno manages to flip him off underneath the pillow, where the children can’t see, and Sid snorts, shaking his head. “Yeah, okay, get up, Superstar. Guys, can you let the dogs out?”

The kids scramble off the bed, taking off down the hall, the dogs barking as they chase after, and Sid rolls over to bury his face in Geno’s neck.

“When you leave?” Geno mumbles.

“Tonight,” Sid responds. The Pirates have a road trip, leaving tonight, and Sid still has to pack and make sure he has everything (Geno and the kids play the game of Let’s-Hide-Things-From-Daddy-So-He-Can’t-Leave; it’s sweet until he loses his shit because he’s running behind his schedule which happens fairly quickly). “You gonna be able to handle them?”

“No. Burn house down. Let kids run wild. Maybe dogs become new parents.”

“Well, as long as Tanger doesn’t come over, I don’t care what you do.”

***END***