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Trading Yesterday

Chapter Text

Set me free, leave me be

I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity

Here I am, and I stand

So tall, just the way I'm supposed to be

But you're on to me and all over me

 

It was summer. Connor’s bags were all packed. Biosteel camp was just around the corner. He couldn’t wait to get away from Edmonton - away from everything. The end of the season had been a right mess. The Oilers had missed the playoffs, again, and it was hard on all of them. Especially with all the trade rumors going around. Then there was also the mess with Ryan…

Connor’s thoughts were interrupted by the taxi honking outside. He straightened up, took his bags, and walked out the door. Taylor wasn’t home, so there was no one to say goodbye to. He didn’t look back.

 

When Connor looked out the airplane window two hours later he finally allowed himself to think about all the things that had gone wrong. It all started with Connor’s stupid crush. He had never expected to become so attached to Ryan, and soon their friendship had blossomed into something more - at least for Connor. There was only one problem; Ryan already had a girlfriend. Kelly was blonde, smart and had curves in all the right places. Connor understood why Ryan was in love with her, but it didn’t make it hurt any less. For a while Connor had been able to pretend, to hide his feelings, but when he came back from his injury it became too much. After many long nights of facetiming Dylan and getting some much-needed pep-talks, he finally confessed. Ryan had looked surprised.

“Are you sure, Davo?” He had asked, and Connor had nodded.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“You know…” Ryan had sighed, “You know I can’t… I’m in love with Kelly. Connor, I’m…”

“I get it.” Connor had shrugged, blushing in embarrassment.

“Maybe we should just… pretend this didn’t happen?” Ryan offered.

Connor had nodded again, putting on a brave face when all he really wanted was to cry.

“What’s up boys?!” Taylor suddenly interrupted, and Connor had never been more grateful for his lack of manners.

“Nothing.” Ryan quickly replied. The word hurt like a knife to Connor’s chest.

After that things were awkward. They didn’t talk about it, didn’t talk much at all. Ryan spent all his time with Kelly, or at least that’s what Connor assumed. Then, at the end of the season, Ryan showed up at Connor’s door, eyes red from crying.

“Davo.” He said, with a broken voice, “It’s over.”

“What?” Connor gasped.

“Me and Kelly broke up.” Ryan sobbed.Connor didn’t know what to think. He had dreamt of this moment so many times, and just as he started to get over Ryan, it happened. He didn’t have time to react properly before Ryan stepped closer, their lips mere inches apart.

“Connor…” Ryan began, but Connor pushed him away.

“Nuge, I can’t.” He whimpered, “I can’t be just your rebound. I… I need to think.”

“But, Davo… What about the things you said? I thought…”

Connor’s expression grew cold.

“Maybe we should just… pretend this didn’t happen?”

 

The first time Connor met Tyler Seguin he felt something he hadn’t felt since he met Ryan. But this time he decided not to read too much into it. He was going to enjoy Biosteel camp to the fullest. Besides, Tyler didn’t leave much room for Connor to over-think things. When they weren’t training Tyler, and the other guys, kept him busy with wild nights of clubbing. At first, Connor was hesitant.

“Come on, Davo!” Tyler grinned mischievously, “That’s what they call you, right, Davo? I like it.” Connor felt something tingle in his chest at the way Tyler threw an arm around his shoulders. When Tyler pulled him along by the hand Connor found it extremely difficult to say no.

Dylan threw him weird looks now and then, but Connor didn’t care. Tyler was fun to be around, a lot more fun than sitting around thinking about his own fucked up life. The days went by fast. They all trained hard, and left the ice soaking with sweat. Connor caught himself staring as Tyler stripped in the locker room more than once. It wasn’t Connor’s fault Tyler was such a show-off. Sometimes when Connor came out of the shower he swore he saw Tyler looking at him, too. But maybe that was just wishful thinking.

 

One day, as they were leaving practice, Connor’s phone rang. He caught the name on the display and froze. It was Ryan. Connor was just about to answer when he felt someone come up behind him, putting their arm around his shoulder.

“Hey, Davo, you coming?” He asked, looking down at Connor’s phone. He snorted. “No need to think about Edmonton when you’re here,” He flashed a cocky smile, “With me.” He added, and Connor blushed. He put his phone on silent, forcing any thought of home, and Ryan, out of his mind.

 

It was the last night of the camp and the guys had all decided to go out clubbing. Connor didn’t have much experience going out, and had spent the afternoon wondering what to wear. Dylan had sat on the edge of his bed, rolling his eyes constantly.

“Why do you even bother?” He asked, only for Tyler to barge into the room with a knowing smirk.

“Easy for you to say, when you’ve got a boy back home… That Marner kid, right?” He winked, towards a flustered Dylan. He then proceeded to let his eyes wander over Connor’s half-dressed body. “Wear something tight.” He purred.

 

The music pounded in Connor’s ears. The club was packed with people, and maybe Connor had had one drink too many. Dylan was laughing at some lame joke, and Connor laughed with him. He looked around, and suddenly realised that Tyler was gone. Connor’s eyes swept across the room, finally spotting the older man.

Tyler was on the dance floor, one girl on each arm. His shirt was missing its top three buttons, and his chest was glistening in the dim light. The way his hips were moving was absolutely sinful. Connor felt his mouth go dry, and his already tight pants grow tighter. He had never seen someone look so at home in a club before. Ryan never really liked clubbing. He would always make excuses to stay at a table, nursing a beer, while the rest of the team was dancing. The very thought of Ryan made a lump form in Connor’s throat. Before he could think any further, however, he was interrupted by the feeling of someone watching him.

Connor looked up to meet Tyler’s dark eyes. They were challenging him. Before Connor knew it he was on the dance floor, replacing one of the girls at Tyler’s side. Soon, Tyler’s hips were grinding against his. Connor felt light-headed, so he grabbed onto the closest thing he could find for balance, which turned out to be Tyler’s thigh. The glint in Tyler’s eye told him not to let go.

“You’re doing great, babe.” Tyler half-shouted into Connor’s ear. The endearment made Connor blush.The song changed into a much slower one, and it brought them closer. So close Connor could hear Tyler’s voice clearly when he asked;

“Have you ever considered coming to Dallas?”

“What do you mean?” Connor gasped.

“I’d love to play with you, Davo…” Tyler paused with a smile, “Babe.”

Connor didn’t know what to say, so instead he put his head on Tyler’s shoulder as they swayed with the music. They kept dancing all night, stopping for a few more drinks, even ignoring when Dylan, and some of the guys, left early. For the first time in a while, Connor didn’t think of Ryan at all.

Chapter Text

Tell them I was happy

And my heart is broken

All my scars are open

Tell them what I hoped would be

Impossible

 

“I heard you had fun at camp?” Mitch said with a knowing smirk. He was sitting on Dylan’s lap, so Connor could see them both on the screen. Dylan looked a little sheepish when Connor eyed him accusingly. He could only guess what Dylan had been telling his boyfriend.

“I guess... How’s Toronto?” Connor avoided the subject. Dylan and Mitch went on about Toronto, how nice the weather was, how much fun they were having without Connor.

“When are you coming to visit, anyway?” Dylan asked, after a while, and Connor shrugged.

“I don’t know. There’s a lot happening right now…”

“What do you mean?” Mitch wondered. Connor was just about to answer when his phone rang, cancelling the facetime call. The name on the display made Connor shiver.

“Mcdavid.” Chiarelli greeted.

“Sir.” Connor managed, sitting up a little straighter on the couch.

“I hope you’ve been well over the summer.” The general manager said flatly, “There’s something you need to know.”

“What’s up?”

“Hall’s been traded. It hasn’t hit the media yet.” Connor didn’t have time to respond before Chiarelli continued, “I’m trusting you with the team, now.”

“Uh-” Connor didn’t know what to say.

“I have to go, I have more calls to make.” Chiarelli sighed, and finally Connor regained power over his own tongue.

“Where?” He asked.

“Jersey.” The general manager said, “New Jersey.”

Then the line went silent and Connor dropped his head into his hands. He barely had time to process what these news meant for himself before his thoughts went to a certain teammate of his. Someone who was much closer to Taylor, and most likely would take the news even worse.

“Ryan!” Connor gasped, and within a minute he was running out the front door; jacket forgotten.

 

-------

 

There was a knock on the door. Ryan did his best to dry the tears that wouldn’t stop falling as he stumbled into the hall. He had just gotten the news from Taylor. A short phone call that had left him feeling drained and empty. Taylor had sounded like he was in a similar state. They had been teammates for five years, the best five years of Ryan’s life. Now it was over.

Ryan opened the door to see Connor stand there, panting like he had run a marathon. Ryan’s eyes widened. It was the first time he had seen Connor since he left for camp, since…

“Ryan.” Connor said, and then his arms were around Ryan in a warm embrace, as if nothing had happened. Ryan felt himself relax against Connor’s chest, once more allowing himself to break down in tears. They stood there for a while in silence, Connor’s fingers tracing soothing patterns on Ryan’s back.

“I can’t believe he’s gone.” Ryan said, finally, and Connor sighed.

“Yeah. Me neither.” The younger man said. Ryan looked up at him with red eyes.

“At least we still have each other.” He said, with a sad smile.

“Nuge, about that-” Connor began, but Ryan interrupted him with a gasp. A lump formed in his throat as he realised that he had forgotten about the person who loved Taylor most.

“Ebs!” Ryan exclaimed, gripping Connor’s arm tightly, “He’s probably devastated. Connor, we have to go…” Connor’s eyes widened, then he nodded.

They called a cab, neither of them trusting themselves to drive. The ten minutes it took to reach Jordan’s house were the longest in Ryan’s life. He felt guilty for forgetting about Jordan in his own desperation at Taylor’s trade. As Connor paid the driver, Ryan hurried to the door, finding it locked. Luckily he had a spare key. Connor gave him a strange look as he pulled it out of his pocket, but Ryan didn’t have time to worry about that.

“Ebs!” Ryan called as they entered the hall. There was no answer, the house eerily silent. There was light seeping out from the gap below the bathroom door, and Connor hurried over, Ryan right behind him.

“Ebs?” Connor knocked, but still no answer was heard.

“Jordan? Jordan, please!” Ryan begged, as Connor tried pushing the door open with his shoulder. Then suddenly, Ryan’s phone chimed, and he looked down to see a notification from theScore.

Breaking: Oilers’ Eberle requests trade to Devils.

“No… Ebs!” Ryan felt his knees give in, falling to the floor. Connor turned around in time to see him shaking his head, as the first tears started falling. “Connor, it’s… It’s too late.”

Then the door opened, and Jordan stepped out. He looked at Ryan with a broken smile.

“I’m going with him.” He said. Ryan shook his head.

“Don’t do this.” He sobbed.

“I have to.” Jordan kneeled, hugging Ryan tightly, “You, if anyone, must understand.”

Ryan wanted to say something, anything, to make Jordan stay. But he was right.

They left Jordan to pack, and Ryan could see how close even Connor was to crying. It was strange, saying goodbye to Jordan for the last time. They ended up at Ryan’s place, putting on a movie that neither of them could pay attention to. A thousand things were running through Ryan’s mind when Connor cleared his throat with a guilty expression.

“Hey, Nuge…” He said, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

Ryan braced himself, thinking to himself that after today he was ready to hear anything. He was wrong.

“I’m…” Connor began, “I’m requesting a trade to Dallas. I’m playing with Seggy next season.”

Chapter Text

There's nothing as fun as coming untied

And running with the kids in the park

There's nothing that's hurt like letting you go

It's like a bird eyes in the dark

 

Connor opened his eyes to see the back of an airplane seat in front of him. The sun shone outside the window, clouds drifting by below. In just a short while he would be arriving in Dallas - his new home. Connor rubbed sleep out of his eyes, mind drifting off to all the things he was leaving behind. It wasn’t much. At least, that’s what Connor tried to convince himself. Taylor and Jordan were both gone. Things with Ryan weren’t what they used to be. The pressure from the management was too much to bare. Connor wasn’t ready to be a captain. Maybe in Dallas he could blend in better with the crowd.

He was going to make the most of this trade, this opportunity to be better - to be with Tyler again.

Stepping off the plane he was hit by a wall of heat. Dallas was boiling, nothing like the chilly air in Edmonton. The weather was just as hot as the man who greeted him in the arrival hall, with open arms.

“Davo!” Tyler beamed, pulling Connor close, his stubble grazing his cheek. Connor blushed.

“Hey, Segs.” He said, “It’s good to see you.”

“You too.” Tyler patted Connor’s back, hand lingering just long enough to make his shiver. There was a glint in Tyler’s eye as he continued; “Let’s get out of here.”

 

Tyler had a ferrari, and a house big enough to house a family of at least five, so Connor didn’t feel like he was intruding too much when Tyler insisted he stay there, at least until he got settled properly. Connor really couldn’t say no, with Tyler’s hand pressed into his lower back as he showed him around. Tyler’s dogs, Marshall and Cash, ran around them in circles letting out excited barks. They were cute dogs, and Connor was almost disappointed when Tyler shooed them off to lead him into a modest bedroom.

“This is you.” he said, “You can stay as long as you want, you know. Finding an apartment in Dallas can be a little tricky.”

“Thanks.” Connor smiled, genuinely grateful for the hospitality, “I really don’t know how to repay you for… all this.” He gestured towards the bed, made with pristine white sheets.

“There’s no need.” Tyler chuckled, “I’m glad to help, babe.” Connor felt himself blush at that, a smile involuntarily tugging at his cheeks. It was a long time since anyone had cared about him so selflessly.

“I’ll let you get settled.” Tyler winked, turning to leave, and before Connor coud think he grabbed onto his wrist to stop him.

“Wait.” He exclaimed, not sure what he wanted to say. The look in Tyler’s eye - surprised but fond - made him realise that perhaps, no words were needed. Instead, Connor leaned in to kiss him. Tyler’s lips were soft, his stubble prickling Connor’s chin. A strong hand came up to tangle in Connor’s hair as the kiss grew steadily deeper, more passionate. Tyler’s tongue in Connor’s mouth stirred a fire within him, a growing desire to touch. Connor let out a whimper as Tyler playfully bit his lip. They stumbled backwards, Connor’s knees hitting the bed, and soon he was spread across it, Tyler straddling him and pressing eager kisses down his neck.

Connor let his hands wander, pulling Tyler’s shirt up over his head, revealing his defined abs. His arms were toned, covered in intricate tattoos, and Connor felt a sudden pang of insecurity as Tyler’s experienced hands unbuttoned his shirt. As if sensing Connor’s thoughts, Tyler let out a low hum.

“Look at you,” he purred, “you’re gorgeous.”

Connor felt blood rush to his cheeks, and somewhere else entirely. Memories flooded his mind, of that night during the camp, pressed against Tyler on the dancefloor. He’d been dreaming of this moment ever since. Tyler’s hands wandered, reaching the hem of Connor’s jeans. Connor could barely remember how to breathe.

Then the doorbell rang.

Tyler looked up, quickly, a frown on his face.

“Fuck.” He swore, “I forgot.” A series of knocks was heard from the front door, and Tyler stumbled to his feet, pulling his shirt back on hurriedly. “You better get dressed.” He said, and Connor followed his example. He entered the hall seconds after Tyler had opened the door, to see Jamie Benn standing there, dressed in basketball shorts and a Stars t-shirt.

“Connor.” He greeted, although eyeing Tyler suspiciously at the sight of their tousled hair and wrinkled clothes. Connor sighed in relief when he didn’t comment on it. “Welcome to Dallas.”

“Thank you, Captain.” Connor shook Jamie’s hand with an awkward smile.

“I’ll get us something to drink, eh?” Tyler patted Jamie’s back and disappeared towards the kitchen, leaving Connor and Jamie alone in the hall. Jamie cleared his throat, smiling almost apologetically.

“I look forward to this season, kid.” He said, and Connor nodded, “I hope you’ll like it here.”

“I’m sure I will.” He replied, smile now genuine. They entered the kitchen together, Tyler rummaging through his fridge.

“You know, Chubbs,” He grinned at Jamie, pulling out a couple of beers, “Connor really reminds me of you, I think you’ll get along great.” Jamie seemed to freeze at that, smile disappearing, replaced by a slight frown.

“Really.” He said, flatly, and suddenly there was a strange kind of tension in the air. Connor felt a shiver run up his spine, as even Tyler seemed to catch onto the mood change. Then a ringing sound echoed through the kitchen. It was Connor’s phone.

“Sorry, guys. Gotta take this.” He managed before fleeing into his bedroom.

He looked down at his ringing phone. It was a video call - from Dylan.

“Davo!” Connor’s best friend greeted with a toothy grin, “How’s it going?”

“I’m here now. It’s good. I’m good.” Connor sunk onto the bed, sighing, “It feels great with a fresh start, you know?”

“Right.” Dylan nodded, “I’m glad to hear that…”

Connor had known Dylan for year. He knew him. And so he knew when there was something Dylan wouldn’t say. He eyed him suspiciously.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, “Spit it out, Stromer.”  Dyan sighed, shrugging in defeat.

“It’s just…” He began, carefully, “What about Ryan?”

“Don’t.” Connor said, but Dylan continued.

“You really loved him, didn’t you, Davo-”

“I can’t talk right now.” Connor interrupted, “Tyler and Jamie are here, I gotta go.” He hung up, not waiting for Dylan’s response. He didn’t want to think about Ryan right now - not ever again. He took a deep breath and wandered back towards the kitchen, just in time to here raised voices.

“What are you doing here, Segs?” Jamie was angry, Connor could tell, and he stopped in his tracks behind the doorframe to listen, “He’s a teammate now. You can’t fuck him like one of your regular hookups.”

“Excuse me?” Tyler sounded offended, “Since when do you decide who I hook up with. Connor’s different. Besides,” he was angry now, perhaps angrier than Jamie had been, “I’m not nineteen anymore, Jamie. You don’t have to watch my back like a fucking guardian. Mind your own fucking business.”

“Fine.” Jamie replied, voice cold, “I’m just saying, as your captain, that I can’t accept this.”

“I need you to trust me.” Tyler said, “After all these years, you owe me that at least.”

There was no answer, just the sound of footsteps, and then the front door opened and slammed shut, leaving the house in silence. Connor leaned against the wall for a moment, before taking a deep breath and entering the kitchen. The second Tyler saw him a smile was plastered onto his face, every trace of anger gone.

“Davo.” He greeted, and Connor couldn’t help but smile back at him, “Why don’t we get back to what we were doing?” Connor didn’t want to upset Tyler further, and if it was one thing the older man had taught him it was not to think too much. He let himself be pulled in by Tyler’s strong arms, and for a moment he forgot all about Jamie, Dylan, and most importantly - Ryan.

Chapter Text

It’s a quarter after one

I’m a little drunk and I need you now

I said I wouldn’t call but I lost all control

and I need you now

 

McDavid’s First Days in Dallas. Ryan groaned as the article showed up in his twitter feed for the tenth time in the past twenty-four hours. Eventually, he would have to read it. He stumbled off the couch, making his way to the fridge only to realise he’d run out of beer.

“Fuck.” Ryan slammed the door shut. There was no way he was doing this sober.

Suddenly Ryan caught sight of the old bottle of whisky, collecting dust in his bookshelf. It had been a gift from his father, back when Ryan first made the roster, all those years ago. Ryan had saved it for something special. With the way the past few days had played out he doubted there would ever be cause for celebration again.

The first sip burned Ryan’s throat just like Connor’s words had, when he first revealed his plans. I’m playing with Seggy next season. The words played on repeat in Ryan’s mind as he opened the article.

There was a casual picture of Connor, dressed in Victory Green, leaned against Tyler Seguin’s shoulder as they laughed at something on his phone. Ryan could barely look at it without feeling tears well up in his eyes. One of them rolled slowly down his cheek as he started reading.

 

After the blockbuster trade that shook the nation, generational talent Connor McDavid is settling in quickly in The Big D. Pre-season training has just started, and according to coach Lindy Ruff their new acquisition is showing promising chemistry with new line-mate Tyler Seguin. The pair-

 

Ryan threw his phone on the couch and took a large gulp of whisky. He thought he was ready to think about Connor and Tyler, but he wasn’t. Perhaps he’d never be.

In that moment Ryan felt lonelier than he ever had, in all his twenty-three years. Ebs and Hallsy were gone, and Leon hadn’t come back from Germany yet. There was no one Ryan could talk to. Unless…

Ryan shook his head. No, that wasn’t an option. There was no need to bring up the past.

He finished the drink in a few more sips, realising that the bottle in front of him was already half empty. Together with the bottles of beer Ryan had had earlier it left his head feeling dizzy.

On weak legs he made his way towards the bathroom, and stopped only as he saw his own reflection in the mirror. He looked paler than usual, empty somehow. A week’s worth of scruff adorned his face, and Ryan eyed the razor on the shelf above the sink. Maybe shaving it off would make him feel better.

Halfway done Ryan’s intoxicated muscles betrayed him, a sharp sting making him flinch as his hand slipped. There was a cut right below his nose, and as Ryan swearing rinsed off the razor it started bleeding in earnest.

“Shit!” He pressed the sleeve of his shirt to the cut, hissing in pain. However, it was nothing compared to being checked into the boards, or blocking a shot with his hand, or the words Connor had spoken before he left. Ryan looked at himself in the mirror.

“Fuck, I’m a mess.” He said, voice filled with defeat.

There was nothing left to do, nowhere to run. He felt pathetic. One more look in the mirror and he realised what he had to do.

Back in the living room he poured one last drink, gulping it down quickly as he grabbed his phone. There was only one person he could think of, now. They hadn’t spoken in years. The odd Christmas card here and there, a text on Ryan’s birthday maybe.

Still, Ryan wasn’t surprised when his call was answered on the second dial.

“Ryan, what’s wrong?” Gabriel Landeskog’s voice was filled with worry. Ryan felt the tears come back instantly.

“Gabe…” He whimpered, “I need you.”

“Are you drunk?” Gabriel replied, “Ryan, what’s happened?”

Ryan took a few deep breaths, to steady himself, and then it all came pouring out. He told Gabriel everything. About Connor, Kelly, the trade, every single thing that had caused Ryan to end up here, a crying mess on his living room floor.

Gabriel listened, humming encouragements every time Ryan’s words trailed off into sobs.

“It’s going to be ok, Ry. Breathe. I’m here, it’s ok.” Gabriel’s voice was an anchor in the storm of emotions that tore through Ryan. The one thing keeping him grounded. Ryan found himself wishing that Gabriel was there, not just his voice. That Gabriel would hold him, like he had all those years ago…

“I want to see you.” Ryan sobbed, finally, “Please.”

“I’m flying to Stockholm tomorrow.” Gabriel explained. Ryan felt a chill run through him. Of course, nothing in his life could ever go his way. He was just about ready to tell Gabriel that it was fine, he would manage, when Gabriel spoke again:

”Come with me.” He said.