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Raft For Two

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<3<3<3 November 3rd, 2015 <3<3<3

Connor has never been the praying kind of person nor particularly religious. His parents took the family to church when he was little but Sunday mornings were yet another thing to fall by the wayside when hockey started to fill in all the available gaps in his life. Connor didn’t miss it much and he certainly hadn’t thought about it since.

Funny, isn’t it? A boy gives up God for hockey practice and extra ice time, juggles traveling teams and endless stretches of road between games instead of kneeling in pews, to hear ‘McJesus’ where his name should be.

But adrenaline works in mysterious ways. Connor doesn’t remember going into the boards but he remembers sitting on the bench in a haze and praying as the clock creeped down the 1:44 left. Coach wouldn’t meet his eyes and the palpable silence seemed to fill in all the panicking gaps of the bench. The game whirled on. Connor tried not to move too much, each slide on the bench jostling his body and sending electric shocks of pain down his whole arm and chest. He knew it was bad, something had broken, at least. It reminded him of when he broke his hand; the roar of the arena and the way adrenaline had flooded him, playing tricks on his mind so it felt like everything went silent except for the sound of his hand crumpling against that dickbag’s face.

He doesn’t remember going down against the Flyers but he remembers sitting on the bench and praying his husband wasn’t watching.

<3<3<3 December 31st, 2014 <3<3<3

“Davoooooooo! Where’s your beer?”

Connor dodges his jubilant team mate and ducks into an emergency stairwell of the hotel, clutching his phone a little desperately to his ear. He’s… moderately drunk and feeling more pathetic than ever. Which is why he’s slinking off to call his boyfriend instead of drinking another Labatt. Connor thinks being World Junior Champions means they should at least get Molson but no one ever listens to him.

“Davo?”

Connor tries to not sigh sappily into the phone when the line connects and misses it by a mile. “Hey, oh -- hey babe,” he says, hiccuping a little as he slides to sit on the freezing steps of the hallway. He doesn’t think hockey players can get hypothermia but the concrete is cold on his ass.

“You’re lit as fuck,” Dylan says.

“Don’t laugh,” Connor groans, still relishing when Dylan laughs across the line. “You know how it is -- they made me shotgun a few beers. I think it’s still in my nose.”

“You’re such a whiner, Daver,” he says. “I’d give anything to have that problem right now, ya know?”

Connor frowns. “Stupid, you should have been here.”

“No I shouldn’t have. You guys did just fine without me,” Dylan says. He’s not wrong but Connor knows he could have used him on his line. They always play better when they’re together.

“Doesn’t matter,” he says instead. “I’d rather win it with you.”

Dylan laughs. “Yeah well, enjoy it anyway, bud. You won’t be there next year and we won’t be playing together for much longer.”

Connor’s always envied the way Stromer makes it all sound right. Connor used to think it was just because he always wanted Dylan to like him more, so Dylan’s opinions and perspective were always elevated in Connor’s mind. But the more they get to know each other, the more Connor just trusts Dylan to put perspective on everything without the dramatics. Connor gets stuck in his head sometimes and Stromer never lets him stay there for very long.

“You sound warm,” Connor says instead because he doesn’t actually want to think about playing without Dylan; about the draft; about where Dylan will be this time next year. Instead, he wants to think about how right now Dylan sounds like long roadies spent curled together on buses, huddled for warm and their hands tangled together underneath the blanket like the best secret Connor’s ever had. “I wish you were here. My ass is cold.”

“You’re a real charmer, Davo.” But Connor thinks he means it a little bit because he still sounds warm and soft and Connor is really tired.

“I’m tired and mad at you,” Connor says. He remembers the anger now. “Why didn’t you come down?”

Dylan sighs and this time it’s a little unhappy. Connor hates it when Dylan’s unhappy. Usually shitty movies and blowjobs fix the unhappy but Dylan isn’t here. Because he left.

“You did good, babe. I’m proud of you but I couldn’t come celebrate with you. You know why, Davo,” Dylan says it soft, like a secret. Connor likes it when secrets are good -- when it’s Dylan and Connor as the secret and not Connor here and Dylan there and secrets everywhere. Just because Hockey Canada is dumb. Just because they didn’t invite Stromer when they should have. That’s a bad secret. Hockey Canada is full of bad secrets.

So he tells Dylan that. Or at least, he tries to. What comes out is: “We’re the best secret. So you should have been here and I miss you and my parents -- it’s just not the same, ya know? I just want us to be the best secret.”

“I feel like Jay-Z when Beyonce finally let the world know they were banging,” Dylan says, back to his dry and giggly self. Connor prefers him when he’s not sad but he obviously is gone on him pretty much all the time.

“You gonna put a ring on it?” Connor asks. It comes out a little wet.

“Davo, you’re already getting a world championship ring -- don’t get greedy. Now, we won tonight too, you little shit. So where’s my congratulations? You gonna make it back in time for the game?”

Connor pouts and lets Dylan keep talking until he’s too cold and maybe a little bit more drunk than he thought because he almost falls on his face getting up. Maybe he should find some water. He leaves tomorrow to join the team in time for the Missasauga game. He wouldn’t miss it.

“I’m coming home,” Connor says, playing with the door handle that leads back to the hotel hallway and away from Dylan. “It’s better with you. Gonna light ‘em up.”

The hotel hallway swims into focus and Connor sighs over the phone. Dylan’s yelling at someone on the team, his hand muffling the speaker. It reminds Connor of sucking hickeys onto Dylan’s hip while their teammates banged on their door to get them to go down to the hotel pool. He always likes it when Dylan stands between him and the world -- like he’d do anything for Connor, whether it’s five more minutes lying in bed together or on the ice -- perfectly placed and soaring.

“Go to bed,” Dylan says, sounding sweet again now that he’s talking to Connor. “I’ll see you soon babe.”

“Thanks. Night, Stromer.”

<3<3<3

Connor wakes up with one hell of a hangover and a thought that lingers.

He tries to stay present with his parents and Cam on the drive back home because it’s not like he gets to spend that much time with them these days. Now he’s started to think about it, though, he’s not sure he’ll be able to stop. He drifts. The line between being driven and obsessed is thin and Connor is the first one to admit on-ice relationships and motivations can seriously mess with life outside of hockey. Keeping the two separate has never been an option for him but he’s always tried to understand where the lines start to blur; being aware of that unclear division has helped him be better at focusing on the nuances.

 

Except, he and Dylan have always been Hockey and Life, connected on and off the ice. Getting together had been seamless -- one week Dylan was the rookie and then the next, a constant presence in Connor’s life. Bus trips spent innocently getting to know each other turned intimate in less than a month and then... Connor can’t really pinpoint the moment it became something more. He just remembers Dylan kissing his knuckles, rubbing an arnica salve from his mother over the bruises from a brutal slashing. It had seemed normal -- the most logical, natural progression.

“This is for real, right?” Connor remembers Dylan asking, breathless from making out and tangled up underneath the blankets of the hotel room bed. Connor hadn’t slept in his own bed on the road for two months. ‘Something more’ had clearly became dating.

Being together with Dylan hadn’t seemed scary.

It had been easy to start and Connor just hadn’t looked back. Now he’s looking forward, fast and furious, and wondering… was he supposed to take time to be scared of this? Connor doubts he’s going to find anyone who treats him like Stromer. He knows the draft is going to change a lot but most of all it’s going to change how people treat him. Stromer feels real and solid -- authentic in a way Connor has never felt before.

It might be naive to think they’re going to last forever but why not? The only factor in this is them.

Text: Stromer
ETA?!?!

“Your boy texting you?”

Connor automatically shields his phone by habit but Cameron is smirking at him across the backseat of the car.

“Your face is ridiculous,” Cam says, explaining. “Seriously. You’re so damn thirsty.”

Connor feels his face flame. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Language, boys.”

Cam goes back to minding his own damn business and Connor does not go back to being ‘thirsty’ because he’s not. That’s dumb. Dylan and he are a sure thing. Connor just needs to get back to the being in the same city as him. He’s sure his face will go back to normal then.

Because Dylan’s kind of spastic, he hasn’t waited for Connor to respond.

Text: Stromer
Gold medal blowjobs, babe!

There are at least a dozen eggplant emojis.

Text: Stromer
Seriously tho -- u meeting us tonight or nah?

Connor hesitates. He should probably stay the night with his parents.

I’ll text you when I’m close. I’ll be there tonight.

He’ll eat dinner with his family before he goes, he rationalizes, and they’re probably tired of him by now anyway.

<3<3<3

The team is posted up in Alex’s room, making it practically impossible to pull Dylan away when Connor finally arrives and drops his bags in their room. Everyone wants to talk to him about WJC which is nice and Connor is absolutely not ungrateful for their support. He’s also really horny and Dylan looks way softer than expected in sweatpants and a shirt which is definitely Connor’s. It’s distracting.

Alex seems to take extreme pleasure in suddenly having more questions to ask Connor about the tourney just when things die down, everyone going back to playing cards. The constantly redirected focus makes Connor want to strangle someone but he stays, if only because Dylan is a long line of heat next to him and doesn’t look as if he’s in any hurry to end Connor’s suffering.

It’s nearly midnight by the time Connor can excuse himself and Dylan, who is giggling and practically boneless in his happiness. Dylan gets along with everyone and seems to feed off the constant social interaction, whereas Connor always feels just slightly out of place no matter which team members they’re hanging out with. Connor likes that about Dylan: how he’s not ashamed of what he’s feeling or expressing it around all the guys.

It makes kissing him breathless all that much more satisfying.

“Missed you, Davo,” Stromer says between kisses, fingers curled and tugging in Connor’s hair. Connor can’t decide what he wants to touch more so he ends up roaming his hands everywhere, hungry and desperate, never lingering too long before he moves on. Dylan is as soft and as warm as promised. It makes Connor miss him even more and he’s right there.

Connor’s stuff is piled on the bed they land on but Stromer’s hands keep tugging him closer and Connor can’t bring himself to care. Not when Dylan is noisy like this, arching into Connor’s greedy hands and demanding more from Connor’s mouth. Usually, they’re much more coordinated than this -- Connor is sure of it, but he barely gets their sweats down around their thighs before they’re pressing their hips against each other frantically.

Like, this -- their dicks pressed up against each other and Connor driving down into Dylan’s -- it feels wild and desperate and a lot like fucking.

Not that they don’t fuck. Connor’s not stupid.

But like, they’ve never had the kind of sex that really relied on thrusting or dicks in anything but mouths and tight, slicked up hands. Thrusting up against Dylan, panting into his mouth as they both chase their orgasm feels a lot more like the kind of filthy, intimate sex they haven’t quite had yet.

“God, fuck -- yes, yes, yes,” Dylan gasps out, head thrown so Connor can latch onto his neck and suck with abandon. Dylan keeps bucking up against him when Connor drives down, humping into the cradle of his hips and smearing leaking precome between them. Connor bites down because he can’t help it -- he’s so close and Dylan feels amazing underneath him.

When Dylan comes, he’s got one hand tangled into Connor’s hair -- holding on while Connor pants, opened mouthed and ragged, against his neck and the other is digging into the meat of Connor’s ass. Connor can barely see Dylan’s dick, with the way his chest keeps getting in the way but it’s a wet mess between them now and Dylan’s hips are wild, dick jerking and slicking the both of them. All Connor can think about is what it would be like to be driving his dick inside of Dylan like this, wild and so fucking good.

Dylan’s still moving with him and Connor shifts a bit to the side, moaning when his dick slides up the long lean vee of Stromer’s hip. Everything is hot with Dylan’s come now, the friction just a little bit less than before when it was too dry and too much. Now, Dylan’s langid, still pulling on Connor’s hair like he’s still not getting enough of Connor, like he needs more, like he could drink from Connor forever and still be thirsty for more.

“Keep going,” Dylan gasps and Connor can only groan, hips frantic. “Harder, Davo. Come on -- fuck me, come on. Fucking come on me, babe.”

It takes a few more thrusts and Connor’s gasping wetly, too high-pitched and breathy to his own ears to not be pathetic but he’s wrecked. He feels like he comes forever, messily gasping against Dylan’s neck to distract himself from how pornographic Dylan sounds like this.

He’s sweaty and more than a little bit disgusting when he kisses his way up to meet Dylans’ mouth. It still feels frantic but Dylan gentles him into long, sipping kisses until their bodies start to cool and Connor is more than a bit uncomfortable.

“So, I mean, ten out of ten would absolutely bang again,” Dylan quips, soothing Connor’s bangs back from his forehead. He’s smiling, searching Connor’s face and Connor does his best not to feel scrutinized. “Like, holy fuck, Davo.”

Connor can’t help but blush. “Was it… I mean, is this okay?”

God, he’s incredibly awkward but he manages not to look away from Dylan’s face. Whatever Stromer was looking for, he must be satisfied because he smiles, kisses the side of Connor’s mouth and says, “Yes, of fucking course. Jesus, you’re amazing.”

Connor blushes, nudging them closer together so he can say, “we’re amazing,” and not have to look Stromer in the face when he says it.

Painfully earnest. Painfully in love.

“I’m glad you’re back,” Dylan says but it doesn’t sound like that’s all he’s saying. Connor’s too tired and wrapped up in his own mess of feelings to decipher it but they lay there in their mess, making out and re-familiarizing themselves with all the bits of skin they’ve missed. He wasn’t gone very long, but now that Dylan’s here beside him it feels like he’s been away for months instead of weeks. There are bruises on Stromer that Connor doesn’t recognize. It keeps him desperate, even now. Connor’s a bit embarrassed about the bite mark blooming on Dylan’s neck, since Dylan’s usually the biter out of the two of them but Connor admits that he feels better now -- knowing exactly where that mark came from.

He knows he has to get used to not knowing every play that marks Stromer’s body but he’s not ready yet.

Eventually, they shower together and Connor assumes they’ll head straight to bed.

“Don’t fall asleep yet,” Dylan says but Connor’s halfway there. He’d barely found a pair of boxers to pull on before crawling into the clean bed and wiggling underneath the covers. For some reason, Dylan’s still up and digging through his bag.

“Stromer --"

“Just give me your hands, bud.”

It’s embarrassing but Connor can feel his eyes prickle a little when Stromer pulls out a very familiar tin. The label is worn thin and the contents list is unreadable, but Stromer always has a tin or two in his bag. It’s the salve his mother sends him, made by a hippie neighbor. When they were first flirting on bus rides and over team dinners, Dylan used to convince Connor that literally having soft hands helped them have soft hands.

Dylan admits it was just a reason to touch Connor.

But he doesn’t need a reason now and he still makes sure to pull out the lotion every night before they fall asleep and rub in the same circles across Connor’s hands. Connor doesn’t know why it’s making him feel so irrationally emotional now but the scent and feel of it so startlingly familiar. It’s a ritual that doesn’t only mark pre-game but everyday -- a superstition Connor definitely can’t talk about to the media but one he’s not sure he can ever give up.

It smells of unbrewed tea but it’s not overpowering. It’s smells like Dylan. It smells like falling asleep to Dylan’s hands on his neck and waking up with Dylan curled around him.

Connor manages to stay awake this time, watching as Dylan methodically works from wrist to fingertip. He works into the meat of Connor’s hands, pressing a bit too hard until they tingle and hum.

“It’s good to have you back,” Dylan says and Connor sleepily agrees.

“Back where I belong,” Connor corrects. “Next to you.”

It’s sappy and maybe too honest but Dylan just smiles, small and real. He works the lotion in and curls up around Connor between one breath and the next. Falling asleep is easy and dreamless.

The next morning, Connor wakes up before his alarm because Dylan sucking on his soft dick. Or well, presumably it was soft when Connor was innocent and sleeping but now that Dylan’s down there, it’s hard.

“Dyls --" he groans out, hands finding Dylan’s hair automatically. Unfortunately, it makes Dylan slide off with a pop. He looks disgustingly awake.

“Sucking a soft dick is so weird,” Dylan says, breathing all over Connor’s dick -- which is definitely no longer soft. “Cool, because I can fit you all in my mouth. But weird because it grows in my mouth. Wicked, eh?”

Connor tries to push Dylan’s mouth back to his dick because Connor’s very much awake now and doesn’t understand why this has stopped. Dylan just waggles his eyebrows.

“Don’t call my dick weird,” Connor says, half-heartedly. Dylan looks really good, soft and hot between his legs but Connor is still weirdly sleepy, even if his cock is ready to go. Dylan grins wider, reaching out with his tongue to lap at the end, pulling down the foreskin to lick around the exposed head. Connor gasps -- it’s too much.

Dylan goes back to sucking him off but Connor feels so sensitive and weird. Maybe it’s because he woke up halfway to poppin’ off or maybe it’s because he’s not had Dylan’s mouth in what feels like forever. Regardless, when Dylan releases him and makes his way up for a kiss. Connor sighs into it.

“Can I try something?” Dylan says. Connor just nods because he’s too busy being kissed and trying to find his way back from the sensitive edge he had himself on.

Dylan leaves him for a moment, coming back with lube and a shy smile. Connor just lets himself be kissed breathless and follows Dylan’s lead when he asks him to turn over. It allows Connor to get a glimpse of the clock, put himself at ease that they have plenty of time, before Dylan sticks the tube of lube into Connor’s armpit.

“Dylan, what the fuck?”

He just laughs, nibbling on Connor’s ears and says, “Warming it up, you big baby.”

Connor gets distracted for a while as Dylan maps out Connor’s shoulder and neck with sloppy kisses and sucking bruises. He grinds into the mattress beneath him and feels less overwhelmed as he focuses on Dylan’s body moving above him. Eventually, Dylan takes the lube from his armpit and Connor makes a questioning noise.

“I’m not going to --" Dylan stops and Connor doesn’t dare breathe. “I just want to fuck between them. Is that, is that okay?”

Connor’s not sure they’re on the same page but Dylan’s forehead is pressed between his shoulder blades and he feels him run his hands over Connor’s ass, pulling just slightly. Oh. between --

“Between my --"

Dylan swears. “Yeah, just between -- and your thighs. If that’s alright?”

“Yeah,” Connor breathes out but Dylan must hear him because there’s an uncapping of lube and the slip, slide of it between Connor’s cheeks. It makes him squirm against the sheets. Dylan’s back to spreading his cheeks apart and Connor feels exposed, even though Dylan’s covering almost all of him. The trickle of lube down his ass makes his dick leak against the sheets and Connor can’t help but buck back when lube pools in his hole before slipping lower to cover his balls and drip on the sheets.

“Jesusfuck Davo,” Dylan swears, his hands keeping Connor open for a few seconds before more lube follows the first drizzle. “You look -- holy fuck that’s so hot.”

Connor can’t concentrate -- not with Dylan bearing down on him and the illicit slide of lube between his cheeks like they’re going to…

“Okay, fuck, okay -- I’m going to,” Dylan pants out, kissing along Connor’s shoulders before he rolls his hips.

Connor keens.

It’s so hot -- Dylan’s dick slides through the valley between his cheeks, tip grazing his balls before sliding across his hole.It’s so close to what Connor can imagine it feeling like that he feels dizzy and breathless and fucked.

“Oh my god,” Dylan breaths out. “Oh my fucking god. Is this okay?”

He doesn’t stop, just pulls back enough so his cock head bobs against Connor balls and he rocks back. It catches just a little, stutter-stopping on Connor’s clenched, wet hole, before riding up his crease. All he can do is moan. It’s a little graceless and Dylan doesn’t seem to know where to put his weight but Connor doesn’t care. He just -- needs more.

“Don’t stop,” Connor says, grinding into the mattress and then arching his back a little when Dylan makes another pass. “Just -- keep going, Dylan.”

It takes a few adjustments. Dylan’s arms wrap around his chest, wedging between him and the mattress so he can get leverage. It doesn’t help that Connor can’t help but push back into every thrust and it takes a few failed attempts at rhythm before they finally get it right.

It’s an imitation of being fucked but it feels so close to the real thing that Connor can’t breathe -- not with Dylan everywhere around him, biting and sucking into his neck as he fucks against him. Every detail is overwhelming. He wants -- he aches for it -- the rough push of Dylan’s dick as he fucks him down into the firm press of the mattress. It’s too fucking good. It’s still a little clumsy. Sometimes Dylan’s hips drive too hard and his dick slides past Connor’s balls but he always corrects on the next pass.

Connor wonders what it looks like, if it looks like Dylan’s sinking into him, riding his ass down into the mattress and fucking Connor with his face pressed into the pillows. Connor can’t decide what he likes more: the press of Dylan everywhere as he thrusts against him or the hot press of his dick along his hole. It makes him scramble at the sheets and squirm, legs moving to get leverage to press back, to get more, but it’s impossible. He takes what Dylan gives him and leaks against the sheets, his dick wet against his belly and the bed.

Maybe it’s the friction of Dylan’s dick sliding against Connor’s ass or the constant pressure of Dylan’s weight on top of him, rolling Connor’s dick against the mattress but he comes quickly. He muffles his groan into the pillow and Dylan bites his shoulder, hips crashing into him with a relentlessness which makes Connor want him inside -- wants to know what it feels like when Dylan pounds into him instead of sliding between his slick cheeks. The bed squeaks and Connor lets himself come -- Dylan holding him down.

“Did you just come?”

Connor squirms. “Still am,” he gasps. Dylan’s dick makes a hard pass and catches on his hole again. Connor clenches down and Dylan squeezes his chest.

“I’m really fucking close,” Dylan says and Connor just nods. He’s lying in the wet spot left by his own orgasm and he’s going to care soon. Right now, he’s riding the tail end of his orgasm and feels like a live wire. “Fuck, Davo --"

It aches, Dylan driving into him over and over again -- his dick chafing against the wet bedding -- Dylan’s making little hitching noises in time with his thrusts and god, Connor wants to be fucked so badly but it’s not the time nor the place to say anything.

“Look at you,” Dylan keeps saying and then he’s rearing up. Connor gasps, reaching back to pull Dylan against him but Dylan’s coming. Connor can feel the first hot splash of come on his low back like a brand. The second dips lower and Connor moans into the mattress, shameless as he presses his ass up into the next splash of come. Dylan’s up on his knees and Connor can feel him jerking off -- his knuckles grazing the swell of Connor’s ass as he beats off, fisting his dick and --

“Oh fuckfuckfuck,” Dylan says and Connor whines because Dylan’s aiming his dick at Connor’s hole and coming like a brand.

It’s just hot splashes of come, one of Dylan’s hands keeping Connor open with a crude splay over his asscheek, the other still working his dick and bouncing off Connor with every pass. It doesn’t feel like enough. Connor’s quick to arch back, reaching one arm around to pull Dylan closer until the tip of Dylan’s dick is right up against the clench of Connor’s hole. It’s stupid -- Connor knows -- but he doesn’t care. He lets Dylan come there, knuckles bumping against Connor on every pass as he works himself, and Connor is greedy for the sounds he makes when Connor clenches down on his slick cock head. There’s wet come dripping down his balls, and Connor’s got the sheets twisted up in one of his fists but he doesn’t stop milking the tip of Dylan’s cock until he’s got nothing left and collapses down onto Connor, sending them both flat. His dick is still trapped between them, awkwardly squished between Connor’s cheeks and twitching against Connor’s asshole.

It takes a minute for Connor’s brain to come back online. But he’s already craving the sounds out of Dylan’s mouth. He needs them.

“Was that okay?” Dylan asks, sounding unsure but he’s still pressed up against Connor so he can’t be too upset.

Connor shakes his head and then turns, so he’s not suffocating himself and say, “We shouldn’t have. But I liked it.”

Dylan rains small, tentative kisses across his shoulders and Connor sighs.

“I loved it,” Dylan says, flexing his hips in memory. “I want to, you know, whenever you’re ready. In case that wasn’t crystal clear.”

Connor doesn’t pretend to have to think about it. He wants Dylan to fuck him badly. It just never seems like the right time. This morning certainly isn’t and they shouldn’t have messed around without a condom, not with Dylan’s dick practically inside him for half of it. It was stupid but Connor wants more, not less.

“I want to,” Connor says, pushing at Dylan until he can roll over. Dylan stays above him though, studying his face for the lie. Connor lets him stare. He doesn’t lose eye contact until Dylan seems satisfied and they kiss because Connor’s embarrassed but won’t chicken out on actually talking about this. “I want to,” he says against Dylan’s mouth. “I want to all the time.”

Dylan kisses him like they’re both dying. Fucks into his mouth with his tongue just like he rode against his body. It’s sloppy but good and Connor keeps him there, making out with an intensity they shouldn’t even have, but Connor keeps snagging him back -- opening his legs to pull Dylan closer and shove their sensitive cocks together. Every time Dylan tries to pull away, Connor tugs him back in -- bites at his lips and sucks on his tongue until their alarm goes off.

He presses snooze without even breaking away from Dylan’s mouth.

“I want you, Dyls. Fuck, I want you so bad,” Connor says and it’s a whispered truth against Dylan’s mouth. “I want you inside me.”

By the time he lets Dylan pull away, it’s ten minutes past the time they’re supposed to be up and it doesn’t leave them much time to shower but it’s worth it for the secret smiles Dylan sends him all day, their hands hardly unclasping the whole bus ride home.

<3<3<3

They’re home for one game -- an embarrassing thrashing -- and a few days break before they hit up Sarnia and London. If Dylan suspects something is up with Connor, he doesn’t say anything. Connor feels a little clingy but Dylan seems to accept it as left over from the time spent away from each other for World Juniors, the media and scout circus seemingly explodes overnight on top of their loss it’s enough to keep him occupied.

Connor doesn’t think he’s been thinking about it much, until they’re playing a home and away with London and he begs off seeing Marner and borrows his billets car. It’s not abnormal for Connor to ditch Marner; he’s kind of a smug son of a bitch. But they won 6-2 and Connor feels confident they’ve rebounded from the Windsor game enough they’ll beat Marner again on home-ice. Dylan and Mitch have an odd, antagonistic friendship Connor doesn’t pretend to understand. But it gives him an excuse to kiss Dylan goodbye after practice without anyone questioning him not going along. It’s not unusual for people to want to avoid Mitch Marner at all costs.

What is unusual, is Connor finding himself at Breakiron Jewelers with only half a mind of how he got there.

Connor’s never been to a jewelry store before. There’s always the kiosks at the mall that do sterling silver and engravings but Breakiron is a proper brick and mortar jewelry store. It takes him 25 minutes sitting in his car to actually get the courage up to go inside.

It’s a disaster.

No one in Erie really recognizes him other than around the rink but he feels like everyone is staring at him when he walks inside. There’s a few tight smiles aimed at his direction and he tries to look as wholesome as possible. Irrationally, he thinks the people back home wouldn’t be this judgemental but maybe it’s not true. Especially when he gets a look at the price tags on the jewelry in the well-lit cases.

They probably think he’s here to rob the place.

He’s not sure why he didn’t think about that to begin with. He tries to use his stipend as much as possible to save his billet and his family money. Conner learned his first year with the Otters asking for money felt ungrateful and he was more careful after. Except, OHL stipends don’t really cover an increased expense for engagement rings between teammates.

“Would you like to see anything in the case, honey?” An older lady asks him and Connor realizes he’s been staring at the case for a while.

The price tags had certainly given him a shock but now that he’s in the store, and clearly not going to purchase anything, he at least can figure out which styles he likes.

“Oh, no thank you,” he stutters out but she doesn’t move away. She sticks close to him, puttering around doing various things and keeping an eye on him.

Connor quickly dismisses the rings with a single diamond because Stromer would definitely lose it or punch someone and ruin the ring by getting the diamond stuck in someone’s face. But he likes the sparkle and thinks something a little less plain would look nice on Dylan’s long, thin hands. Connor prefers the plain bands himself but the men’s engagement rings are all too thick or weird for Stromer. The flashier ones are mostly all ugly and tend to be awfully gold.

“Do you have anything smaller?” Connor surprises even himself when he asks. The lady raises her eyebrows at him over the counter. “Um, more like, diamonds but maybe smaller and silver? Easier to wear under gloves.”

Under gloves? What, like Stromer would even wear it on the ice? Christ.

“We have wedding bands,” she says, motioning him down two or three cases. “Usually, these go next to an engagement ring for the wedding or an anniversary but there is nothing wrong with wearing them alone. Especially if you’re in the market for something more on budget.”

She’s clearly humoring him but Connor is desperately grateful for her pandering. She smiles at him sweetly until he turns his attention to the contents of the case.

They’re all thinner rings, just like she said, and Connor sees how they would look good paired with a larger one. But he likes how most of them have the diamonds inset into the band instead of exposed. It’s more subtle but still beautiful and striking, something nice. He likes silver for sure and thinks the contrast would be nice against Dylan’s skin.

Even if Dylan agrees to Connor’s crazy plan he’ll most likely be wearing it on a chain around his neck but Connor would be lying if he said he didn’t want to see Dylan wearing it on his finger when they’re not on the ice. As much as Connor tries not to think about it, the draft means different teams almost certainly. They’re both going top ten at the very least and, lottery or not, there’s no way a team has enough assets to trade up and get them both. If Connor’s being honest with himself, it’s a little about the fact that they won’t be together all the time anymore. But Connor knows a good thing when he has it, what’s wrong with wanting to ensure it lasts?

Connor knows they’re both hoping to be in the NHL next year. He’d be stupid to want to be back here in Erie but the tiniest sliver says it would be alright if Dylan were here, too. It’s not a guarantee, though. Whoever drafts Stromer would be stupid to send him down but there’s a lot of other factors in play which aren’t completely in their control. If they’re going to be apart, it would be nice to know there’s a piece of Dylan that is always reserved for Connor.

Which is why he likes the smaller bands. The gold ones look too delicate but the silver ones look sturdy -- like they can withstand a heavy burden.

“Ma’am, can I see that one?”

He knows it’s perfect before she even takes it out. The silver band is small with white and black diamonds which go almost all the way around. He imagines it would be comfortable — the smooth silver on the bottom of the ring and the soft, sparkle of the diamonds on top. It’s heavier than expected when he holds it in his fingertips but it looks startlingly small. Not delicate but precious — secret.

“Beautiful design, very simple, if a little masculine for my taste but I’m sure you know what you’re looking for,” the lady is saying. Her hand is hovering over the ring and Connor blushes. He’s not going to steal it or anything but she’s so close their fingers almost brush when he smooths over the edges. He’s looking for imperfections but he can’t find any. It’s the one he wants to put on Dylan’s finger but…

“Um, do you do installment plans?”

The lady’s face is clearly shocked and Connor feels himself blush harder, surprised at himself. His mind is turning over, trying to make it work. He doesn’t have all the cash now and he has a credit card in his name but his parents watch the balance. He’s fairly sure they’d notice a charge this big on his account. And sure, it’s expensive but some of the traditional engagements rings are thousands of dollars -- this is barely one.

“We do offer a few different methods of payment depending on your down payment amount and credit,” she says slowly. “Are you sure this is the right one? We have quite the selection. There’s no need to rush such a big decision.”

Connor runs his fingers over the diamonds again. The black diamonds shift matte—looking almost flinty in the light. He could probably find something cheaper but Dylan deserves something nice. If Connor is serious about this, money doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. He can make it work. He’s got enough in his bank account to pay for half of it now and still have enough to eat for the rest of January. He can have it paid off if he takes half of his stipend for February and half for March. He’ll need to go out less with the boys and eat more at home but it’s not completely out of the question.

He’ll have the ring in time for Dylan’s 18th birthday—although, he supposes getting engaged on your birthday seems sort of lame.

Connor supposes when you know, you know.

“Yeah,” Connor finally responds, setting the ring down. “I’m sure.”

<3<3<3

The receipt of payment finds a home at the bottom of his sock drawer. Connor’s tempted to take it with him -- he likes the way the paper feels -- but he’s supposed to bring it with him when he makes his payments. He doesn’t want to lose it.

They win against London and Connor tries to hide his pleasure at beating Marner but he’s not sure he succeeds.

“Eggplanet emojis just aren’t satisfying enough,” Dylan says. He’s got his phone out at the table, something which drives Connor crazy, but half the team does it. Connor keeps his firmly in his pocket.

“What are you gonna do? Send him a picture of your actual dick?” Alex says, a little loudly for Connor’s taste.

To his horror, Stromer looks contemplative. “I mean, no, because Marner might get the wrong idea. But I could send him a picture of, like, Connor’s right?”

“No! You can’t!” Connor says.

Alex leans closer, “You have Connor’s dick-pics?”

Connor feels his face flame. Dylan does not have any pictures of his naked body, which is not a point of contingency but Connor is sure Dylan will bring it up when they’re not in the same city all the time. Connor staunchly feels that Skype video is better for his career than pictures lying around Dylan Strome’s unlocked phone. Not that he wouldn’t bet that Dylan takes unflattering double chin photos of him when they’re jerking off together but it’s not really the point. It’s the idea of sending his dick in a message to anyone, least of all Mitchell Marner, which prickles. It’s the principle really.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Dylan teases but then him and Alex are fighting and Connor gets deputized to Snapchat the whole thing.

They have a few days off, which is nice because it’s Connor’s birthday and it eases into a bit of a homestand before they go on the road. He’s tempted to go home but he knows Dylan can’t go back with him. So he sticks around, lets his billets make him a cake and celebrates with them after practice.

Text: Stromer
Are you done w/ cake and the fam?

Connor texts him back, stepping away from the table where they’re all talking. It’s a Tuesday night, so most of the family is around for once. Everyone has their own activities to get to most of the time but there seems to always be time for cake. There is definitely not room in Connor’s diet plan for cake but tomorrow is a day off and they don’t play until Friday. He’s allowing himself a little treat, considering.

Text: Stromer
Sweet. Pack a bag. Cabin night.

Connor does blush now. Stromer’s billet family has a cabin on the lake which borders on being a yurt. It’s one room with the tiniest bathroom. They mostly use it for fishing, the property a lot bigger and a good place for tents and campers. Connor and Stromer usually use it for a night alone.

Which is why he’s blushing. Because he might be ready to marry Dylan Strome but sex takes all of Connor’s awkwardness and Dylan’s relaxed, natural chill and throws it all together and adds naked dicks and too many elbows. Connor is still amazed Dylan wanted to sleep with him a second time considering the first time they had sex, Connor got caught staring at Dylan in the morning and instead of acting cool, Connor had asked if he had slept well and spent a good three minutes rambling about the density of pillows and proper sleeping positions before Stromer put him out of his misery.

Going to the cabin definitely means sex, is the point. Like, ass sex.

Text:Stromer
Already cleared it with your billets, boo.

Connor rolls his eyes. Stromer claims he uses the term ironically but Connor’s not sure it’s entirely true anymore. Secret Sap Stromer makes Connor feel a little bit better about how much of a dork he is.

Text:Stromer
Seriously, be there in ten.

True to form, Dylan arrives an hour later and doesn’t even have the audacity to look sheepish. Not that Connor expects him to be. He’s literally late to everything and would be late to the rink if it wasn’t for the combined force of Connor and Dylan’s billets.

Connor can’t stop blushing the entire time Dylan is in the house. He’s charming and smooth with Connor’s billets, never once giving them the impression that he’s whisking Connor away to a barely heated yurt to spend the whole time having messy, sentimental sex. Meanwhile, Connor has it written all over his face so he lets himself hug them and then disappears out to the car and leaves Dylan to it.

“I scored us some cake,” Dylan says, slipping into the driver’s seat and tossing Connor a container. “What are you blushing about?”

Connor rolls his eyes. “I can’t believe you took my leftover birthday cake!”

“Fuck you, I am your leftover cake,” he says nonsensically, waggling his eyebrows while he turns and pulls out of the driveway.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Connor replies but it doesn’t matter. They’re settling into the drive, fighting over the radio station and Connor has nearly forgotten about everything until he thinks about how perfect this is: Dylan and him in a car on the way to somewhere they can just exist together for a while. Once they’re on the highway out of town, Dylan’s reaching over to take Connor’s hand. No matter how much Dylan rubs away at Connor’s callouses, they’re still there and they just fit together.

If Connor spends too much time tracing the space of Dylan’s ring finger, no one is the wiser. It’s a secret he plays out between them on the drive to the cabin -- what it would be like if Dylan was wearing Connor’s ring; what it would feel like underneath Connor’s fingers as they drove off somewhere together -- maybe to a family Christmas or a fancy dinner party Connor had no desire to go to. Or maybe what it would be like hearing Dylan in the bathroom, taking the ring off to wash his hands and then hearing it clink against the porcelain when he put it back on. Or the way the metal would heat against Dylan’s skin and how it would feel when he was clutching the back of Connor’s neck -- how it would feel pressing, unyielding, when Dylan slipped his fingers inside of Connor…

“I don’t know why everyone thinks you’re the nice one,” Dylan says, breaking into Connor’s thoughts and squeezing his hand. “You only blush when you’re thinking about my dick.”

Connor laughs. “Not all of us can express ourselves in emoji, Stromer.”

“But you don’t deny that you are always thinking about my dick, Davo. Let’s not get off track here.”

Connor shakes his head, avoiding the stupid giddy feeling in the pit of his stomach seeing Stromer grin, confident and wild, from the driver’s seat.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Connor says. “Maybe I’m thinking about my dick.”

The sound of Dylan’s laugh is enough to keep his mind firmly in the present for the rest of their drive. Predictably, the cabin is freezing when they get in and it takes both of them, toques pulled low and gloved hands clumsy, to get the fire started. Even then, Connor refuses to stop moving for fear he’s going to freeze to death. He unpacks the car -- which is mostly full of unapproved diet plans foods, wine, and lube -- and chirps the hell out of Stromer when he comes back in to find Dylan has pulled all the blankets and pillows off the bed to pile in front of the fireplace.

“Shut up,” Stromer says, teeth still chattering. “This is romantic birthday shit, Davo. Don’t ruin the moment.”

He’s smiling, though, and Connor couldn’t ruin the moment if he tried.

Soon enough, the temperature of the room is drastically more warm than when they started -- although a far cry from actually warm -- and they can settle into the blankets. It’s a little uncomfortable on the floor but the lure of the hot fire, pilfered cake, and Stromer’s wandering, greedy hands convince Connor to peel out of his clothes and slide into the blanket cocoon Dylan’s got going.

“I am a fucking genius,” Dylan proclaims. His mouth is pink from the wine, which is sweet, cheap, and leaves Connor even more flushed than he normally is when they’re not even touching each other yet.

“Yeah, you’re a real beauty,” Connor says, missing sarcastic by a mile and landing on sappy. Which Dylan definitely catches because he grins, wide and careless, passing Connor the wine and tipping it forcefully into his mouth. They end up spilling a little bit but Dylan’s chasing the droplets down Connor’s chin with his mouth and it leaves them both in a giggling fit of ridiculousness.

It doesn’t take long for the giggles to turn into groans and the box of wine gets pushed to the side. Connor casts a glance it to make sure it’s not tipped over or too close to the fire before he writes it off completely, focusing on the way Dylan is gripping at his shoulders and panting into his mouth.

Every time they shift, rolling against each other as they shed more clothes, bits of Connor’s skin are exposed to the cold. It’s a shock, the thrill of the contrast between Stromer’s heat and the crispness of the air.

Which is what he blames when he gasps so loudly as Stromer’s fingers slide past his balls and rub, just barely there, but enough to shoot liquid heat up Connor’s spine.

“Sorry, sorry,” Dylan murmurs against Connor’s lips, moving his hand back soothingly before Connor can catch it crawling up his thigh and push it right back.

All the way back.

But, because Stromer is not as much as a jerk as he wants everyone to believe -- as Connor knows him to be -- he pulls away, just a little, so there is space for them to breathe.

“Davo, are you --"

Yes,” Connor says, too aggressively but Dylan doesn’t back away. Their hands are still tangled together, which is weird because those are definitely Connor’s balls, but all of Stromer is so still. Connor feels his blush sweep down his chest. He knows he always splotchy mess when they fool around but he’s probably taking it to a whole new level tonight. Stromer hasn’t looked away.

“Um, I’ve been practicing,” Connor continues because he has and he doesn’t care if it makes him sound like a big virgin. He’s had a dick in his mouth before -- he’s not a virgin. “If you want -- I don’t want to pressure you or be a dick but I want, I mean, if you do.”

“JesusfuckingchristDavo,” Dylan swears hotly. “Of course I want to -- I mean, you’ve just never, you’ve never said.”

“Oh, well, um -- I think about it a lot? I like it when it’s just my fingers --"

Stromer wastes no time sliding both their hands back, their fingers press awkwardly against Connor’s hole. Connor’s practically bent in half but he’s not going to protest when Dylan’s rubbing the soft pad of his finger against a place Connor’s been imagining him being for months.

“You’ve touched yourself here? When and why wasn't I invited,” Dylan teases, nipping at Connor’s lips. “Can I --"

“Please?” Connor says and is so proud of himself when he doesn’t sound like he’s pleading, it’s just embarrassingly soft but that’s fairly normal. Dylan curses and slides his finger the rest of the way inside Connor. It’s too dry, but Connor doesn’t care, not right then, because Dylan’s inside him, even if it’s just a finger.

For now.

Which is what spurs him to uncurl, reaching up to search for the lube (underneath two bags of Doritos and the cap from the wine) and driving his hips down, sliding more fully onto the length of Dylan’s finger.

“Oh that’s --"

Dylan looks gobsmacked, staring at his hand between Connor’s legs and then he grins, a little hair-brained and crazy looking. “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Connor laughs because Stromer is being an idiot, taking the lube from Connor’s hands and sliding his finger out. “Can I just --" Dylan mimes a bit of thrusting and Connor wants to die -- he would if he didn’t want this so much.

“Lots of lube? And I kind of -- go off a little fast, so if you want to get a chance at --"

Dylan’s eyes are huge. “Do you want me to -- to fuck you?”

He can’t help it -- he smiles, because this is definitely a role reversal -- usually it’s Stromer unraveling Connor and it’s nice to win the face-off so cleanly. “Only if you want to -- your fingers are probably, I mean, I’ll probably come if you find --"

“I’ve watched porn! I know what a prostate is, Davo,” Stromer says, regaining his chill for all of three seconds before the blanket around his shoulders falls off while he’s uncapping the lube and he starts yelping at the cold.

With the help of some long-lost coordination, a pillow gets shoved underneath Connor’s lower back and he’s helplessly draping his legs over Dylan’s hips so he can be close enough to have Connor hold the blanket over his shoulders and still have his hands free.

“Oh, so you can’t help with the blankets, eh?”

Between his legs, where neither of them have gotten less hard because that feels impossible right now, Dylan grins.

“I’m definitely going to need both of my hands.”

Being fingered by someone else is completely different than touching himself. For starters, Dylan seems to be able to reach further -- not limited by their ‘Yoga for Hockey Player’s’ flexibility. So it’s two lubed fingers sliding easily inside Connor, leaving his chest heaving and Stromer looking like he’d seen a ghost.

“Good or not, should I --"

Connor shook his head. “No, it’s good. Just different than my own.”

Dylan doesn’t look away from the slow slide of his fingers and Connor notices how he doesn’t have the same feedback loop as he does when he fingers himself -- it feels a little detached. It’s not as intense but then again, it’s more unpredictable. Stromer goes from exploratory thrusts to tugging at Connor’s rim and he feels his dick jump against his belly. Dylan’s fingers press in again, curling a little and Connor’s back arches into it shamelessly.

“Holy shit, Connor --"

“Fuck, just keep going.”

Dylan takes him at his word, working his fingers in with a smooth, swift stroke and then stretching wide on the way out. He’s clearly searching, used to the tightness and Connor’s jerking thighs around him. A few more thrusts have Connor shyly grabbing at Dylan’s arm and asking for another.

“Yeah, yeah, okay but give me some direction here,” Dylan says, the third finger a stretch that Connor feels from his toes up through his neck. “If I can’t find it with my fingers, no way I’m gonna find it when it’s my dick.”

Connor embarrassingly, thrusts his hips greedily down back on Dylan’s fingers and gasps at the stretch. When it’s just himself, three fingers was too awkward for anything more than a few luxurious thrusts of fullness before he went back to two. Now, Dylan eases three in -- seating Connor firmly on his hand over and over again until Connor is gasping, fingernails digging into Dylan’s skin.

“This is fucking amazing. You look so hot,” Stromer says, finally looking away from where he’s working his fingers into Connor. “Now, tell me where it’s at.”

It takes ten minutes and several different positions before they get Connor’s right leg pulled up to his chest but it’s a fucking breeze once they find the right angle. Connor’s always been quiet or well, quieter compared to Stromer but Connor has always blamed Dylan’s brothers for his shamelessness. But Dylan’s fingers pressing confidentiality inside of him while Dylan watches eagerly from between his legs -- where Connor can fucking see how hard he is, how much he’s leaking from making Connor feel this good -- yeah, that makes Connor a little bit louder. He’s just, less mindful of it? He can’t think about his mouth when Dylan presses in and then doesn’t stop, finding that spot inside of him which has Connor gasping for air. It’s relentless, all of Dylan’s focus on driving into Connor, the angle perfect, and over very, very fast.

Connor comes all over his belly, hand unconsciously furious around the base of his dick. When he stops coming and his hand falls away from the mess, Stromer hasn’t moved an inch. He looks stuck -- gorgeous and yeah, with his fingers still in Connor.

“Can you um,” Connor starts and Dylan goes to pull out but Connor stops him. “No, I just -- I was gonna ask you if you could last if you, um, if you put it in me now?”

Dylan gapes. “Davo, I’m about to come all over you. Dicking is going to have to wait like… ten minutes -- tops. This is the hottest fucking thing -- -”

“Yeah, you said,” Connor laughs out. “But just, can you keep your fingers there?”

Connor stretches his leg out, moving Dylan’s fingers away from his prostate and brings them a bit closer together. It’s easy to get a hand on him, help him jerk himself off. Connor’s own arousal is still there, despite his recent orgasm, but it’s a bit distant and now he can watch Stromer greedily drink in the sight of his fingers sliding inside of Connor, loose and waiting for him. It takes maybe a dozen strokes, before Dylan’s sinking his teeth into Connor’s shoulder and adding to the mess between the vee of his hips.

“Do you think I can eat cake off your abs without moving my fingers?” Dylan pants minutes later and it gets them both laughing. Connor’s been stroking his hands over the long planes of Dylan’s back and keeping the blanket firmly around them. Dylan’s fingers have slide out of Connor but they’re still there, stroking over Connor’s balls and thumbing his entrance. “I want cake but also, I’m still lowkey obsessed with your ass.”

Connor hums and can’t help but kiss the sweaty mess of Stromer’s hair, which looks messier than usual as if it reflects their sexual progression. They move eventually, sitting up and stoking the fire so the warmth of the room swells and it’s not longer frighteningly essential to keep the blankets wrapped around their bareness. Connor feels extremely weird about eating naked, so he snags a pillow and a blanket to set his cake on. Dylan stays stark naked, pressed up against Connor’s side and Connor tries to find whatever level of chill is needed to stop staring at Dylan’s chubbed up dick as they eat left-over cake.

By the way Dylan grins at him, smug and infuriatingly casual, Connor doesn’t manage any chill.

It can’t be twenty minutes before the cake is abandoned -- Connor can taste the frosting on Dylan’s tongue when he sucks, pleased when he can see his blunt nails have made the faintest of lines down the sides of Stromer’s neck. None of his hickeys ever get noticed on Dylan, not like when Stromer bites too hard and Connor has to get dressed to the hoot and hollar of the dressing room.

There is a brief moment of unrelenting awkwardness when Dylan gets up to wash his hands -- because there’s cake everywhere and baby wipes feel grossly inadequate for sanitization, especially when they know where Dylan’s fingers are going to end up. The fire doesn’t even need another log before their dicks are back to being hard between them and Dylan’s fingers are up inside Connor. Leftover come from their hasty clean up and more hastily added lube has them rocking against each other in rhythm.

It feels like it’s been forever since they were here but it can’t have been more than hour. Connor feels desperate, the thought of Dylan getting inside of him makes him feel frantic and breathless in a way which has little to do with Dylan’s fingers fucking him open. Everything is warm and hazy, the buzz of good sex and cheating on their diets mixing with thrill of losing his virginity.

Before long, they’re thrusting against each other -- Connor halfway into Dylan’s lap trying to get more of the hard twist of his wrist. It’s desperate but still languid in a way Connor can only describe as content and Connor doesn’t realize how close they are until Stromer’s dick almost slides inside when Connor thrusts down on a particularly good finger fuck.

“Fuck, Dylan, we should -- we need a condom,” Connor says, his own teeth scraping against Stromer’s neck as the length of Dylan’s dick slides up between Conner’s cheeks. Everything is slick with lube and Connor wants to just let him -- let him push in with the bare, wetness of his dick until he’s completely inside Connor. But that’s not, that’s not smart and Connor tries to claw back to reality, even with Dylan’s fingers holding him open and letting the slickness smear across his hole.

“Dyls, condoms -- fuck, god -- we need a condom right now,” Connor pants because Dylan’s dick is definitely inside of Connor. Just the tip of it, his fingers bracketing it and definitely not sliding in but it’s there and Connor’s self control is thin. It would take barely anything to just take it -- sit down and let Dylan slide into him bare and wet with precome. The thought makes Connor whine and shiver, clenching unconsciously around Dylan’s fingers and the tip of his dick.

“Fuck, Dyaln -- condoms --"

“What -- oh yeah, I mean but we don’t have to?”

Connor blinks, breathing. “What? Yes we do --"

“Well I clearly haven’t done this before, Connor -- I’m not --"

“But you have with girls.”

Dylan blinks slowly. “I have never cheated --"

Connor pinches him, shifting so Dylan’s dick is no longer pressing against, what feels like, his gaping entrance. Neither of them can think or talk straight with Dylan that close to Connor. He feels a little less pathetic when he backs away -- he was practically crawling into Dylan’s lap and that’s just… well, it was clearly very nice but he’s also a little embarrassed by it.

“Don’t be fucking ridiculous. I just mean, before me -- right? You’ve slept with girls before me. You’re not like -- I mean, I’ve obviously never --"

“Obviously -- bullshit. You could have!”

“ -- but you have. With girls, right?” Connor finishes because his awkwardness knows no bounds.

Dylan blushes. “Two? But let’s not act like it was more than that -- or that I lasted very long or that, I mean, I wore a condom.”

“Just because I can’t get pregnant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one, Dyls,” Connor says, softly but firmly. It takes Stromer a visible few seconds to get it.

“Oh yeah -- duh, godfuck, I’m like cum-dumb? Look what you’ve done to me, Davo -- fucked all the sense out of me.”

Maybe there’s a joke to be made there but they’re too busy clammering for a condom. Connor stops Dylan for a moment, kissing him again until Connor’s chest doesn’t feel so tight. Dylan’s fingers find their way back inside of him, lube dripping down Connor’s cheeks and it’s suddenly different. Dylan’s covering him, kissing him and pressing against him in all the right ways. And then, just like that, Connor’s back on his back, pillow in place and taking it. There’s not some huge moment. One second, Dylan's rubbing the head of his condom-clad dick over Connor’s hole and Connor makes the most embarrassingly needy noise into Dylan’s mouth and then, Dylan’s inside of him.

It doesn’t hurt very much, maybe because there have been at least three fingers in Connor’s ass for nearly an hour but it’s uncomfortable. It’s extremely uncomfortable. It’s undeniable and unyielding and just -- it’s a lot.

“Fuck, holy fuck, Davo, fuck,” Stromer curses, head bowed above him. Connor’s got one hand on Dylan’s hip, holding him still as he trembles inside of him. Connor can feel it. “Davo -- is it okay? Because oh my god, just -- are you good?”

Connor hums, rocking his hips a little. It’s so full? He says so. “It doesn’t hurt -- just like, really full.”

Stromer’s hips twitch. “Sorry, just -- you’re full of my dick and that’s really blowing my mind right now and also, you feel -- Davo, I literally cannot.”

Connor has to kiss him then because Dylan’s shaking. And Connor just loves him so much that any lingering nerves wash away. Connor pulls him in for a kiss by his neck. It shifts them both, startling a gasp out of him and a groan out of Dylan.

“Maybe you should just move. But go slow, eh?”

“Yeah, just --"

Dylan blinks and pulls a little bit away from Connor to get leverage but he looks a little scared. Connor kisses him on the cheek, nuzzles him because he can’t believe they’re here -- he can’t believe it and he never wants it to end.

“Don’t come, Dyls. Just fuck me for a bit, bud? We’ll figure it out.”

“Don’t come, right,” Dylan says, rolling his eyes and pep-talking himself before he pulls out. He nearly falls out of Connor completely and then over corrects, slamming into Connor and causing them both to shout. “Sorry, it’s just -- you’re insane. You feel insane and I’m also trying not to cry because I love you.”

Connor laughs because Dylan is amazing and pathetic and yeah, this is definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Stromer lasts long enough to get Connor hard again, slowly adjusting to having more than just the length of fingers inside of him. Connor feels little less full, like he’s adjusting more to the power behind Dylan’s hips and enjoys the way Stromer groans when he pushes inside -- like he’s barely hanging on.

On a whim, Connor pulls his right leg up again, just like before with Dylan’s fingers, and it’s magic. “Christ, Dyls.” Because the angle has Dylan’s dick glancing off his prostate on the way in and riding it hard on the way out. It’s so good Connor thinks he could come from the feeling alone, if Dylan would last.

It also helps that Dylan looks good above him, shaking a little less and looking more like himself, mouthing off as usual during sex -- which is something Connor has grown to love and ignore.

There are maybe five glorious, heart throbbing, shouty thrusts which have Connor just as wide-eyed as Dylan because he’s nailing him perfectly. Dylan looks better than sex, moving above him and inside him but Connor knows it can’t last, not when Dylan’s hips are way out of control and is saying Conner’s name over and over again. It’s fucking amazing -- like they’re streaking together down the wings and toward the goal at a relentless pace.

Dylan comes with a brutal thrust of his dick, one hand pulling at Connor’s shoulders and making Connor cry out because being brought down onto the slide of Dylan’s dick is something they’ll need to investigate further -- it feels so different than being driven into. Dylan clings to him, heavy and definitely useless as he jerks inside of him. Connor doesn’t bother waiting, but finishes himself off while Stromer is still limp and whimpering above him. The only signs of life are the panting against Connor’s neck and the slowly softening dick inside of him.

Which -- that feeling is almost...Connor tries to tighten around him and yeah, when he does Dylan’s half chub rubs right against his prostate, even though Stromer whines.

Connor comes like that, hand frantically moving between them with Stromer’s dick going soft in his ass and Stromer licking a long line up Connor’s throat, stroking his hair back and murmuring truly pathetically romantic things in his ear. Dylan’s voice is wrecked from all the loud noises he made but he sounds perfect. It’s a mix of porn inspired dirty talk and the sweetness that always makes Connor weak in the knees, cheeks flushed with embarrassment and luck.

It’s when Dylan holds Connor’s other hand, squeezing too hard, and tells him he loves him that Connor comes between them.

“Hell yes, Davo,” Dylan says when Connor’s hand has gone as limp as his twitching dick between them and Dylan’s fallen out of Connor’s puffy, loose hole. “I love you so fucking much. Get some.”

Connor doesn’t want to encourage Dylan’s ridiculousness but he can’t help but accept Stromer’s fistbump, even as he works a truly epic hickey on Connor’s neck which will ruin his locker-room cool for weeks to come.

<3<3<3

Connor wakes up in the middle of the night because the fire has died down and Stromer’s stolen most of the covers. He shifts a bit, cataloging his soreness, slipping away from where Dylan was nestled like a human burrito into his side, so he can get to the wood and stoke the fire. He likes the way he never feels bleary eyed here -- even in the dead of night his mind feels crystal clear. It feels a lot different than waking up cold on buses or jerking awake to his alarm in hotel rooms.

Granted, Connor always sleeps better with Dylan.

“Davo?” Connor pokes the fire a few more times before he turns back to Dylan. “Sorry, I was cold,” Connor says, scooting closer when Dylan’s bare arms escape the blankets to reach out to him. It takes all of their coordination to get the the blankets untangled from Dylan’s body and nestled around both of them.

“Thanks,” Dylan says, their legs are slotted together and Dylan throws himself back on top of Connor, settling in. This time, the blankets cover both of them so Connor doesn’t mind so much. “Sorry I stole the covers again.”

“It’s perfect.”

He says it because it’s true but then he knows he sounds stupid. “I just mean- I’m used to it.”

Dylan grins, sleepily. “Hell yeah you are bud.”

The light from the fire flickers all over Dylan’s face and Connor never wants to leave this moment. It’s crazy, because in times like these the show feels like it will pale in comparison to having this: Dylan grinning, tousled from sleep and sex, above him. Connor feels stupidly safe, like nothing could touch him here and he’s spoiled. Too blessed to be stressed, or something ridiculous like that.

“You know when those reporters asked us what the greatest thing hockey has given us?” Connor says, because he needs to. Dylan doesn’t stop grinning, he just tilts his head like he’s willing to follow Connor’s lead.

“Yeah,” he says. “Alex said jock itch and they had to edit it out.”

Connor pokes Dylan in the side. “Gross. No, I mean -- I said teamwork.”

“Yeah, I said that too.”

“Well, I lied,” Connor says, watching Dylan mock being shocked and appalled. “I wanted -- I wanted to say you. I didn’t but that’s the first thing I thought of when they asked. Hockey, without it, I wouldn’t have met you and that’s -- I can’t even imagine my life without you.”

“If you go first in the draft, I doubt you’ll be saying that soon,” Dylan says. He’s smiling still, like he doesn’t get it, hand too casual as it strokes down Connor’s side.

“No,” Connor says, as serious as he can between them. “That’s what I’m trying to say, even if -- even with everything that’s going to happen this year, you’re still the best thing to ever happen to me.”

Dylan looks concerned and he’s wiggling his hands free, leaning in to rub his hands over Connor’s forehead and over his bedhead -- like he’s checking Connor for a head injury.

“Davo, is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Connor says, trying to smile. “Everything’s perfect. That’s -- that’s the whole point.”

Strome just looks at him with a patience Connor has never felt. He’s been trying to get better at being patient because hard work doesn’t always create instant results and it will never be more true than going high up in a draft lottery of the worst teams in the league. But Dylan’s always been easy and Connor keeps waiting for it to get hard but it doesn’t seem to be happening. When he thinks about having to choose between anything and Dylan, it’s not even a thought to entertain.

“I just, I just love you. This, you -- us, jesus, Stromer. Just thanks,” Connor says. “That’s all -- thanks for a great 18th birthday.”

Dylan stays there, searching Connor’s face with his dark, steady eyes. The fire is warming the room again and Connor’s feeling sleepy, a little wrung out, but Dylan looks wide awake now.

“Hey Davo?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you too and you’re welcome,” Dylan says and he looks serious, mouth set when he leans down and kisses Connor. It feels different, like they’re sealing a promise Connor desperately wants to know more about. But he let’s Dylan kiss him, firm and steady.

“Also, anytime -- because I’m already trying to think of when I can get back between your thighs, boo,” he says, jokingly but Connor nods, grinning.

“Yeah, we’re not half bad, are we, bud?”

“We’re really just getting started, Davo -- I’ve watched a lot of porn in my life. Literally -- I’ve never studied harder. I’ve got a long list of things and like, the first twenty things involve your ass and my dick or your dick in my ass -- I’m just saying. I’ve got plans,” Dylan says lightly, winking outrageously, and then tucks himself into Connor’s neck. In a few hours, the fire will go out again and Dylan will roll away with all the blankets but Connor would rather be here than literally anywhere else. Then, in a few hours, Connor will work up the courage to ask Dylan to fuck him again in the predawn light. It will be awkward, even more than their first time, and Connor will have to stop himself from tearing up when Dylan holds him close, dick working inside of Connor as he fucks him with desperation and tells Connor how beautiful he is.

For now, Connor strokes his fingers through Dylan’s hair and focuses on breathing. Dylan’s heavy on top of him but solid and safe. Dylan mumbles, breath hot against Connor’s neck.

“What are you saying?”

Dylan shifts, smacking Connor’s chest with the flat breadth of his palm. “I said you’re the best thing hockey gave me, too.”

“Well good,” Connor says, “Glad we’re both on the same page.”

“Good post-game chat there, Cap.”

“God, you fuck, go to sleep,” he says and they do -- smiling. Connor can feel Dylan’s teeth against his skin like a brand.

<3<3<3

The rest of January flies by in the best way possible. They’re winning hockey games, Stromer is wracking up points on Connor’s wing and the draft feels impossibly far away. It’s an illusion which is constantly shattered by the increased presence of reports asking questions definitely not about the Otters’ current season. It’s more difficult than ever to ignore but the team does a valiant job of keeping things loose and Connor doesn’t fight it when the curtain falls back into place and everything feels like they’re only playing hockey again.

It also helps he’s got Dylan to occupy his time (they're making their way through Dylan’s list) and the last deposit for the ring to think about.

He doesn’t mean to tell Alex.

Connor’s been doing pretty good dodging the team on going out too much. He hits the gym a few extra times and lets everyone write it off as pre-playoff stress and draft bullshit. He doesn’t lie but he certainly doesn’t correct them and he’s fairly certain no one has noticed his subdued spending except he wasn’t counting on Alex being an eavesdropping shit.

Everyone counts Alex out because he’s small but Connor knows better. It’s a rookie mistake.

His March stipend is deposited when they’re in Kingston, so he slips away to call the jeweler with his account information to make a direct deposit. He never ordered any checks for his bank account, so it seems like the simplest way.

“Yes, ma’am. I’m just confirming the amount was transferred successfully,” he says over the phone. Connor walks out of the bathroom only to run into Alex, who looks terribly guilty and also like he might vomit, which solidifies just how much Alex was listening in.

“Yes, Mr. McDavid -- the transaction just cleared. Will you be in today to pick it up?”

“Oh no,” Connor says, then he apologises and promises to swing by soon. He can barely hang up the phone fast enough, her congratulations on the “purchase of a lifetime of happiness” rings so loud he’s certain Alex can hear it from his position as a gaping statue in front of him.

“Listen, Alex --" but Alex is shaking his head, looking incredibly disappointed and even a bit upset.

“No, literally fuck you, Connor. This is some seriously fucked up bullshit. Dylan is obsessed with you and you’re what, messing around behind his back? Buying some GTA trash model a ring when we both know she probably just wants you because you’re gonna go number one? Seriously -- fuck you! Fuck you!”

Connor honestly thinks Alex is going to cry, which is just fine because now Connor feels like he’s going to cry. Jesus, this is a mess.

“No, it’s not like that -- I’m not, that’s not what is happening, Alex. Christ, you really think I’d do that to Dylan?”

Alex looks torn, eyes red and skipping all over Connor’s face like he’ll find the truth there. Connor doesn’t look away.

“You’re his captain,” Alex settles on. “You’re our captain. You’re not supposed to be a fucking asshole in real life.”

Connor sighs, completely resigned to giving himself up to Alex -- who, for the record, has never kept a secret in his entire life.

“Um, well, I’m not sure about being or not being an asshole, but the ring is for Dylan. I, um -- God, it’s really hard to say out loud because I haven’t told anyone this, but I was going to propose,” Connor says, grimacing. When he says it, the whole thing sounds so stupid coming out of his mouth. Like he isn’t serious. Like he’s just a kid with a stupid notion of forever he’s desperately clinging to -- like Dylan is a youth driven, Peter-pan like fantasy that Connor is refusing to let go of because he doesn’t want to grow up.

When it’s literally the opposite of all those things. Connor digs through the mess of media training and tries to find actual words which aren’t senseless shouting or crying. Because neither of those sound like he’s ready to make decisions about the rest of his life.

Alex blinks at him but doesn’t back down.

“It’s just -- with the draft coming up? I don’t want him to think this isn’t it for me, you know? This isn’t something that gets to be screwed up by the NHL or long distance or whatever. Dylan is the real thing -- we’re good together and I want it to be forever.” Connor continues, then he steps forward to show Alex the picture Connor has of the ring on his phone.

“We’re the real thing,” Connor says, firmly. “The ring is for Dyls.”

“Holy shit,” Alex says.

“Yeah.”

“Holy fucking shit.”

Connor bites his lip to keep his laughter in because Alex looks manic now, eyes even wider than when he thought Connor was a cheating douche-bag. His hands are spread wide around the phone Connor’s holding, like he’s afraid to touch it. The emotional shift from being accused of being a cheating asshole to pathetic romantic is a little harsh for Connor.

“I mean, do you think he’ll like it?” Because what else does Connor have to say when Alex continues to look like one of those deep sea gulper fish -- mouth gaping open.

“Well, if you’re lying to me, Davo,” Alex finally says, grin spreading across his face, “then that’s the ugliest ring I’ve ever seen for a gold-digging puck bunny.”

Which makes Connor want to scold Alex. Sure, there are some people out there just looking to marry rich but it’s not like hockey culture doesn’t promote it. He doesn’t have the chance to tell him once again that there is no one else because Alex is promptly losing his shit. There is much more hugging than Connor is strictly okay with, but if it means they don’t have to acknowledge that Alex basically cried about Connor and Dylan’s relationship then it’s all fine. Of course, once Alex properly expresses his relief -- then the chirping comes.

“Look at all that bling! Dylan is going to shit himself,” Alex is saying, grabbing at Connor’s phone and turning it this way and that, like it’s going to change the picture or something. “You’re gonna be gay-married to Baby Stromer, this is lit as fuck. Homos for life! That’s some seriously adult shit. Davo, he’s gonna shit himself!”

“That’s not really the reaction I’m going for,” Connor says. “Listen, Alex, you can’t say anything.”

“Course not bro --"

Connor sighs. “I’m serious here. I don’t want you to tell Dylan, so I do not care what this means to you -- whatever you need to do in order to keep your mouth shut. I do not want him to find out about this from you.”

Alex looks up from Connor’s phone. “Come on! I’ve totally got this.”

“You absolutely do not,” Connor replies with enough misery that Alex looks a little wounded. “You can’t keep a secret to save your life.”

“That’s stupid shit,” Alex says. “This is serious life shit. I got this on lock.”

“Alex…”

“I have kept every single secret about you and Stromer’s dicks touching,” Alex says, crudely and explicitly with a hand motion which Connor wants to never see again.

“My relationship with Stromer wasn’t ever a secret on the team,” Connor says sagely. “It’s not like we are sneaking around.”

Alex bites his lip. “Okay, but I’ve walked in on you two like, four times and never sold anyone that accidental dick-pick Stromer sent me. And, I totally vouched for you when someone made that joke about OHL guys dicking around with each other.”

Connor feels his entire face flame. “That -- I mean --"

“I'm just saying -- no shame in that bottom game. But can I just say, you looked very captainly while it was happening and now I guess I understand why there was so much hand-holding during all the anal banging.”

To say this conversation never made it into Connor’s great plan to ask Dylan to marry him is a severe understatement. Alex Debrincat is just -- something is wrong with him and if anyone at the draft asks him about the kid’s mental state, Connor will rat him out in a minute. Seriously.

“What the fuck are you even saying,” Connor says, already trying to figure out if he should move up his timeline. Alex pushes Connor’s phone back into Connor’s chest and reaches up onto his tiptoes to wrap his arm around Connor’s shoulders.

“Cap, I got this. Trust me.”

Did Connor mention he just wants to die?

<3<3<3

They play back to backs at Owen Sound at the end of February, the first game has their entire defence crumbling in a 5-4 loss and then the second game rebounds for a huge win that has Connor keeping his smiles to himself and apologizing for the only goal they let in -- as it definitely should have been a shut-out.

They head back to Erie in good spirits and by some miracle, Alex hasn’t completely ruined everything. He’s come suspiciously close a few times, but Connor’s beginning to think he might actually keep his word. It helps that Connor keeps Dylan as far away from Alex as he possibly can after Alex hangs over the back of a bus seat, makes several lewd comments about Dylan’s hands and while he avoids making any comments about jewelry, he does make sure he implies to the whole bus that Connor enjoys fisting.

It’s only seven days until Dylan’s birthday and Connor’s not sure he can wait that long.

Connor leans over on the bus ride back to Erie, intending to turn down the volume on Dylan’s blaringly loud headphones, when Dylan slides one eye open and keeps Connor very close to him.

“Did you get mad about Alex because he was right?”

Connor blanches. “Right about what?”

“Do you want me to fist you?”

Connor chokes on his tongue and feels his entire face turns red like he’s been doubled shifted for half a period. It’s not that they -- it’s not that they’re not having sex on the regular but they’re also usually too horny or exhausted to do much more than what Connor knows the world considers vaguely vanilla -- handjobs and blowjobs but there's plenty of time in the summer to get the bulk of Dylan’s porn list. If all goes well, their engaged sex can involve them getting better at more… complicated sex. Stromer’s finger almost always finds it’s way inside of Connor these days but they don’t have time to really explore more than once at week -- if that.

Not that their… penetrative sex isn’t great. Connor is enjoying it, even if he wants to die with embarrassment half the time. The other half he’s trying not to come too fast. So it all works out in the end. The point is though -- fisting is definitely not even on Connor’s radar right now. He’d like to get good at just taking a dick before he tries to take an entire fist.

“Davo?” Dylan looks perfectly serious and he’s not blushing but he is staring at Connor like he expects an answer. “Alex strike a nerve?”

Connor clears his throat. “I haven’t really thought about it.” And he hasn’t but he certainly is now and also maybe because the majority of his fantasies have been occupied by Dylan eating him out, his hand dark and sparkling with Connor’s ring, holding his thighs open.

It’s a very specific fantasy Connor refuses to stop having because he’s superstitious it won’t happen at all. He’s reverse superstitious about it. He wants to propose and then he wants Dylan to put his mouth on him before they fuck their way to happily-ever-after.

Right. Connor should probably buy one of those self-help books on how hard people need to work to have a good marriage to dull the weird massive way it's built up in his head.

“But I’m not -- -against it,” is what Connor ends up saying, deliberately not looking at Dylan. Which is why he is completely unprepared when he feels Dylan’s hand pressed up the length of his dick as it lays, semi-hard, against his thigh. He doesn’t squeak but he does whip his head around to glare.

“No, Dylan,” Connor says, as forcefully as possible. “Not on the bus. Come on, we talked about this.”

Dylan smirks, his small mouth making Connor want to melt into the vastness of Ontario and never return.

“Actually, Davo,” Dylan says casually, leaning closer and squeezing Connor’s dick to full hardness. “We talked about how much I want to suck you off when you fall asleep on the bus, looking terribly attractive and captainly, and then, because you are so kind and gracious, you let me choke on your dick a bit while you pretended to look at stats. Do you remember that?”

Connor’s going to fly into a million pieces.

“Of course I remember it,” Connor hisses, trying not to raise his voice. “It was last week! Don’t act like this is -- Dyls, fuck --"

He can hear the beat of Dylan’s music through his headphones -- too loud and horrible for his ears -- but it’s distracting, bass heavy and hot. Dylan wets his lips and readjusts the blanket over them, leaning in for a kiss.

In testament to the sheer normality of their epic gayness on the team, no one even bats an eye to Connor and Dylan getting very cuddly. Which is why Dylan is pretending to lean in for a kiss, when really he’s just being a filthy, horny teenager and Connor hates him.

“I’ll stop if you want me to,” Dylan says and Connor believes him, because he presses a closed mouth kiss to Connor’s chin after he says it. “But I really don’t want to. What I want to do, is jerk you off in your sweats and watch you be really quiet so no one can hear you when you come on my hand.”

Connor doesn’t whine. He doesn’t look away from Dylan. He feels like he doesn’t even breathe. Dylan kisses him, small little innocent kisses -- sipping kisses and then grinds his hand, too hard and rough, against Connor’s dick.

“Dylan --"

“Just tell me what you want me to do -- because I’ve been thinking about touching you for like -- three hours now. I’m going insane,” he says but his hands already working its way into Connor’s sweats to get at his dick properly.

This is the man Connor wants to marry.

He really, really hopes his mother forgives him.

<3<3<3

Amazingly, Connor picks up the ring without issue. It seems now that he’s actually paid for it, the people in the store no longer look at him like he’s about to take a baseball bat to all the cases and make a run for it. Before he leaves, the lady at the corner does mention he should keep them in mind for birthday and anniversary gifts because they make a nice pair of diamond earrings for his fiance.

Connor doesn’t even know what he says when he leaves but he knows his face is bright red, partly for thinking she’s jinxed the whole thing with her assumption and partly because he’s thinking of Stromer with his ears pierced, wearing diamond earrings Connor’s bought him.

One thing at a time.

Text: Stromer
BOO. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

Connor can’t help but look around, panic-scanning the parking lot for any sign of Dylan. He doesn’t seem him and Connor curses, sliding back into the borrowed car and laying the bag on the passenger seat. He’d thought the ring would just come in a box but there is a certificate of authenticity for the carats, an instruction manual for caring for it, and a whole host of other information packets. He doesn’t even know what he’s supposed to give Dylan. In the movies, it’s always just the ring.

He shoots a quick text back, saying he’s driving back home and then pockets his phone. Dylan knows he refuses to text and drive so at least Connor has the twenty minutes it takes back home to quietly panic.

The thing is, he’s still sure this is something he wants to say. Whatever Dylan says -- it doesn’t have anything to do with Connor. All he can do is be honest and hope Stromer wants the same thing, which, historically? Dylan has wanted the same things as Connor. So, he knows his odds are fairly good but Dylan’s an entirely more laid-back sort of person than Connor. They are mostly opposites in every way but on the ice. Connor has always felt… awed that Dylan was attracted to him and not because Connor’s ugly or anything but because he’s nothing like the guys Dylan normally hangs out with on the team.

For a long time growing up, Connor thought everyone was wrong to label him as a leader. He was just quiet -- there was nothing strong about his silences. He didn’t have anything to say. But he’s learned over the last two years that silence can be strong for a captain but only because when he does want to speak up, he knows it’s the right thing to say.

So maybe it’s a fools thought but Connor’s convinced their opposition is what makes them work. There’s always a possibility he’s gotten it wrong but the thought seems too cruel to even entertain.

People keep telling him he’s allowed to have things: privacy from PR people; money from his agent; a chance to win for years to come from his coaches. But although privacy, money and success would all be lovely, really -- no complaints -- the only thing he really wants to know is if he’s allowed to have this.

“That’s why you have to ask him,” Connor says to himself, physically shaking himself out of his headspace and getting out of the car, taking the bag with him.

<3<3<3

Barrie comes to town a few days later and they win in an absolute landslide. Ten goals sends them soaring and the whole team feels invincible. Connor wants to feel bad and he tries to tell the guys to cool it on the bench during the final minutes. They are due to head to Barrie in three days -- on Dylan’s birthday -- to play in their barn and Connor really doesn’t want any trouble -- embarrassment breeds hatred and resentment.

Winning makes the weight of the ring a little less and he feels a lot more relaxed than he has in months. He lets Dylan drag him out with the guys to play video games and split the twenty-four pack of Natty someone smuggled into the basement, bribed off an older brother. Connor doesn’t partake, mostly because he hates Natty, but also because he’s got a history paper to finish up in the morning.

Stromer’s on his third, flushed from another horrible loss at Mario Kart and lounging rather suggestively between Connor’s knees. Connor managed to snag a seat on the couch and Dylan’s sitting on the floor in front of him, head lolling back to chirp or to sneak a bite at Connor’s thighs when he thinks no one is paying them any mind.

Across the couch, Alex is singing that horrible Bruno Mars song --"Marry You” -- and if Connor didn’t feel so good after the win, he’d want to smother him. As it is, he just flips him off and relaxes back into the couch.

“Hey Davo,” Stromer asks, nudging his head against Connor’s thigh. “You sure you don’t want a Natty?”

Connor makes a face.

“Yeah okay, bud. You’re such a snob.”

“Fuck off. I can drive your car home, though, if you want to keep drinking and I can just stay at yours,” Connor says, not even bothering to make it a question. It would take more than a few Natty’s to make Stromer too drunk to drive but it’s an easy excuse to spend time with him.

“Thanks, Davo,” Stromer says, long and whiny and ends it with a bite to his thigh that makes Connor more horny than annoyed.

Which was most likely Dylan’s whole plan.

By the time they leave, Connor’s got a hickey on the inside of his thigh that is barely covered by his basketball shorts. Dylan looks entirely too smug for someone who spent two hours on the floor after playing a hockey game. Connor has to hold Dylan’s hand the entire way back to his billets because it keeps straying and Connor’s not trying to die before they even get drafted.

“The Next Next One Dies in Horrific Sex Car Accident,” Stromer jokes as they giggle their way down to his basement room. He’s flushed and happy and Connor can’t stop kissing him.

“That makes it sound like the sex is horrific,” Connor says, punctuating the ludicrousness of such a statement by shoving his hand down Dylan’s sweats and listening to him moan.

“Yeah, horrific, Davo. Gross -- oh fuck yes.”

Connor doesn’t like messing around at his billet’s house -- it seems disrespectful when they treat him so much like he’s apart of their family and also because his room is on the same floor as the rest of the kids’. He used to feel bad about having sex here for the same reason but then Dylan told him his billet family basically gave him the green light when they found out he was dating Connor and although that’s mortifying on so many levels, it makes Connor feel better that he’s not actively disrespecting Dylan’s billets.

They still have to be quiet though, which is why Connor is on his hands and knees using the couch in Stromer’s room as leverage to push back, because it’s not against any walls and sturdy enough to take the weight of Connor and Dylan. They tried fucking lengthwise on it, but they’re both too long and it squeaks if they’re not careful.

It’s not Connor’s favorite thing in the world, only because he can’t see Dylan’s face and it’s murder on his knees, but it’s hard to care too much when Dylan’s got this much leverage. It’s so easy to find the right angle which has Connor on the edge way faster than is normally acceptable. It’s only been two months, but they’re getting very good at this. It helps Dylan is fairly tall and the couch is the perfect height for Connor to fold his arms and watch his cock bounce against his belly as Stromer pushes the pace.

“God, Davo, you feel so good,” Stromer says, leaning forward to whisper into his skin and scraping his teeth along Connor’s shoulder. Stromer loves to be loud but they just can’t, so he keeps his porn-mantra to a low murmur, which just makes Connor more turned on because it’s all hushed and intimate.

Not that having a dick in his ass isn’t intimate enough.

Stromer pauses a bit and Connor bites back a whine. “Dyls --"

“Hush, just -- give me a minute here,” Stromer pants, squeezing Connor’s hip and then he’s shifting Connor forward on his knees and pulling back on his shoulders. He’s still mostly on his knees but the angle is different and gravity sinks him back onto Stromer’s cock just deeper -- a less controlled riding.

“Holy fuck,” Connor whispers, moving to brace his hand when Dylan starts up again.

“Is that --"

“Just, I’m going to come so fucking soon,” is all Connor gets out because he absolutely is. It’s so good Connor feels like his spine is melting and Stromer’s got both his hands on Connor’s hips, pulling him back onto his dick and it’s not hard to imagine Connor’s ring on that finger, warm from Dylan’s skin and hot like a brand against Connor’s.

“Wait, I can --"

Connor comes before Dylan’s hand can get to his dick. It’s completely mortifying but Connor can’t do more than gasp wetly and clench down to ride it out.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck fuck -- Davo.”

Connor can’t feel Stromer come but he does feel Dylan’s teeth sink into his shoulder, one of his arms coming around to hold Connor on his dick. He can only gasp Dylan’s name and grab numbly at his head, fingers sinking into his sweaty hair, as his hips grind lazily into the full seat of Connor’s laden hips.

“So… that’s never happened before,” Connor says, wiping at his mouth and giggling a little. He knows he should probably be more embarrassed but he’s so sated that maybe it can wait until morning.

“I am so good at that, hot-damn,” Dylan says, voice honey-warm and gloating. Connor rolls his eyes but doesn’t deny it. He came so hard his dick kind of hurts, like on the inside. That has got to count for something. “You okay if I…?”

Connor groans a little but nods. He leans forward, away from Dylan’s soft mouth and embrace, and puts his forehead down against the couch because this is his least favorite part. It always hurts when Dylan pulls out and then Connor feels weirdly empty. Like, it’s worth it -- obviously, but Connor doesn’t have to like this part. Jesus, he’s clingy even in his own head.

Stromer disappears, only to come back with a wet towel to clean up Connor’s jiz, which is approximately everywhere. Connor’s sleepy and a little lost in his own head, thinking about the days to come, as Stromer tugs him up and into bed. Connor takes the briefs handed to him, even though he wears boxers and they are so clearly Dylan’s, because he hates sleeping naked. Dylan, of course, sleeps in the nude even when Connor isn’t there.

Stromer pushes and pulls them until Connor’s on his back and Stromer’s lying on top of him, pulling at Connor’s hands until they’re combing through his hair.

“Mmmm,” Stromer hums, clearly pleased with himself. “That was really hot, Davo.”

Connor wills himself not to blush but he feels his cheeks heat anyway. “Yeah, yeah, you’re not allowed to chirp me.”

“That’s not chirping -- it’s encouragement! Please feel free to be so overwhelmed by my dick that you come untouched. Feel free, Davo.”

“Don’t get upset if it never happens again,” Connor warns. “I was all wound up from earlier -- with all the biting.”

Dylan’s eyes are full of mirth and Connor sticks his tongue out because he’s tired and emotionally wrung out.

“I’m not going to be like, upset or anything but that’s like, goals.” Connor flicks his ear and Dylan grins against his skin. “It’s nice to see you so relaxed.”

“My dick hurts, Stromer. Is that what you want to hear? It literally hurts from poppin’ off so hard.”

Stromer pokes him. “No, you asshole, I just meant -- you’ve been a little weird these last few weeks. It was good to see you loosen up a little and let me make you feel good.”

“You noticed, eh?“

“Davo, you can’t be serious. Of course I noticed,” Dylan says, voice low and chiding. His face is serious. “This is me telling you I noticed, gave you room to figure it out and am now asking if you want to talk about it.”

Are you going to think I’m ridiculous for wanting this to last forever?

“It's actually -- I've been thinking about your birthday,” Connor settles on. “Do you want your present on the road or after?”

Dylan blinks, brown eyes soft and confused. “What the hell kind of present is it?”

“I can't tell you!”

“Can I have it now?”

Connor flushes and shakes his head.

“We play backies yeah?” Dylan asks, chewing on his lip. “Are we staying in North Bay overnight?”

“Think so.”

Dylan squints at him and Connor wonders what his own face looks like. Can Stromer tell? Is he just playing it cool or does he suspect?

“Then I’d like my present then please -- not sure I can wait until we get back, especially if it’s making you weird,” Dylan says frowning. “Presents are supposed to be fun.”

Connor yawns, mentally rolling his eyes. “Yeah well, you let me worry about that.”

They fall asleep like that, Dylan’s chin digging into Connor’s sternum and his hands combing through dark strands.

<3<3<3

Connor has a plan.

It’s a loose plan and it starts with winning their back to back. Which goes absolutely swimmingly -- except for the part where Connor’s shoulder is fucked up in the process. It’s not bad but Connor’s held back for an extended ice bath and a painful massage. By the time he gets back to the hotel with strict instructions not to aggravate his shoulder, it’s almost midnight and whatever loose laid plans Connor had are out the window.

One, because Stromer is drunk, based on his increasingly exuberant and incoherent text messages and two, because Connor is exhausted. He’s pissed off, hurty and exhausted. He doesn’t bother texting Dylan to tell him he’s back from the North Bay barn -- he just crawls into their hotel room bed and holds Dylan’s engagement ring in the dark. There was supposed to be romantic room service but they had called Connor’s cell four times before leaving a message saying they assume he won’t be needing his request.

They were supposed to take a bath, something Stromer absolutely loves and Connor puts up with (it just doesn't feel sanitary and then he always ends up showering after -- so what the hell is the point) but Connor spent so much time in the ice-bath, he’s not sure he could have stood it anyway. Connor had a speech -- one he had practiced on Alex, for fuck’s sake -- and there was supposed to be some sort of sex before Connor sprung the whole, death due us part thing.

Then, of course, was the matter that Connor couldn’t possible propose to Dylan while he was drunk. Not that Connor blames him -- it’s his birthday, they’ve won their back to back on the road and Connor’s been kind of a tetchy bitch. He deserves to blow off some steam. Connor’s not mad -- he’s just tired and wallowing.

Also, his shoulder is throbbing. He really should have accepted the pain meds but he’s stubborn and proposing while high on painkillers also seemed like a bad idea. He falls asleep after tossing and turning for a while, trying to get into a position that doesn’t feel like it pulls at his shoulder. He spares a thought to the ring, underneath the pillow now, but resolves to deal with it in the morning.

<3<3<3

Connor wakes up to too much light and a groaning Dylan. They have a late call to the buses today because the coaches are having a morning meeting and tape review session. Connor knows it’s mostly because they assume everyone would be violating curfew for Dylan’s birthday and he’s secretly grateful they don’t have to be on the bus until noon -- just in case Connor needs to lick his wounds a little longer or like, devise a way to walk back to Erie.

Surprisingly, Dylan’s made it back to the hotel room and Connor slips out of bed to brush his teeth. Stromer’s passed out, ass naked as usual, on top of the covers. He’s frowning in his sleep and Connor checks his texts while he brushes his teeth. There are… 27 unread texts from Dylan alone. The fondness for him swells, leaving whatever shitty mood Connor was in to evaporate as he rinses and spits out his toothpaste.

Text:Stromer
Miss you

Text:Stromer
Ass looks great. Shoulders bad

Text:Stromer
Sleeping by myself sux

The last three text messages are mostly incoherent and probably sent by a mostly passed out Dylan -- seeing as Connor can see his phone haphazardly neglected on the duvet. Who knows why Dylan was texting Connor from the bed next to him, probably because he didn’t want to wake Connor or hurt his shoulder and it’s kind of sweet when Connor thinks about it.

He shoots a text off to Alex, asking him to make sure no one bothers them before he crawls into bed with Stromer, who immediately rolls into Connor’s warmth. Because he’s bare naked, the hotel is chilly and Stromer is a blanket hog even in the summer.

“How’s your shoulder?” Dylan slurs, his face smashed against Connor’s sore shoulder. Which, it’s fine, it feels better and he’s glad he let them poke and prod him so much. It feels much better than it did yesterday.

“Fine -- sore but not terrible. How’s your head, birthday boy?”

Dylan groans. Connor is fairly sure he’s being drooled on. “There were shots of tequila and I think I told the team embarrassing things about our sex life.”

“That’s unfortunate,” Connor says but he’s laughing. “How classy of you.”

“It’s fine,” Dylan says, hand burrowing into Connor’s sides. “I think I just talked about how much I love your dick.”

“I’m sure Alex has it all on film.”

“Fuck him. He’s just jealous.”

Connor smiles and moves them a bit, ignoring Dylan’s pathetic noises, until they’re both underneath the covers. Connor’s just got his boxers on but even he’s a bit cold.

“Do you want me to get you some water?” He’s thinking about all his plans -- the elaborate room service and the bath, it all seems rather silly. He doesn’t know what he was thinking. This is them -- inappropriately hungover, a little smelly, sore from good fucking hockey but together through and through. “I think there is a gatorade in the fridge.”

“Hmm, that all sounds okay,” Dylan says but his fingers tighten from where they are lazily groping Connor. “You know what would be better?”

“What, bud?”

Dylan leans back, struggling to open his eyes and stare at Connor very, very intently.

“Birthday blowjobs.”

Connor can’t help but start laughing. Dylan’s hair is a disaster and he looks rough -- Connor can smell his horrible tequila breath from here and looking down, he’s already got half a chub going just from thinking about birthday blow jobs.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Dylan reasons, trying to prop himself up and rub up against Connor, who is still laughing. He doesn’t know why he tried to make this so complicated. Him and Stromer aren’t complicated. They work because this is them.

“Hey Stromer?”

Dylan perks up, looking a little less squinty and more hopeful. Connor takes a deep breath and runs his hands down Dylan’s thin chest.

“Yeah, bud?”

“I want to marry you.”

The silence is pretty fucking deafening. Connor realizes this must be kind of a surprise, going by the dumb look on Dylan’s face and how he’s sort of stopped breathing. Man, he probably should have had Stromer drink a gatorade first.

“I mean, birthday blowjobs are great,” Connor continues, heart beating a million miles a minute all of the sudden. It’s funny how Dylan does that -- he makes Connor so at ease one minute and then he’s a flustered mess the next. “But I think engagement blowjobs are probably better. Wouldn’t really know, eh? It’s just a guess.”

Connor reaches underneath the pillow, looking for the ring, but he realizes he’s switched beds in pursuit of Stromer.

“Shit, here just hold on,” Connor says, trying to scramble off the bed but Stromer is holding onto him too tightly. “Come on, let go -- I have to give you the ring. You’re making me mess this up.”

Dylan sputters. Connor goes to grab the ring.

After googling all the stupid paperwork, Connor decided to leave it all at home. No matter what happens, it’s not like Connor is going to take it back. It’s Dylan’s ring but it seemed weird to give him pamphlets on care when he hasn’t even said yes yet. It’s a matte black box, not velvet like Connor thought it’d be, but he has to put it in Stromer’s hands himself.

They’re both shaking.

“Davo --"

Connor opens the box for him.

“Holy fucking shit.”

Connor laughs, nervously, but also because Dylan’s breath is so bad. “So, yeah, we can do birthday blowjobs or we could do engaged blowjobs -- it’s entirely up to you.”

Dylan’s staring at the ring.

“Stromer?”

“Connor, I --"

“I know this is big but I just fucking love you,” Connor says, breathless but finding some traction now, remembering everything he had planned on saying. “I’m tired of telling myself everythings going to be okay without doing anything about it. I have no fucking idea where we’ll end up in the fall -- the Draft is going to screw everything up and I don’t want to go into it without knowing that you’ll always be there. Before you came to Erie, I thought I understood what it was to want something this much -- I’ve never wanted anything more than I’ve wanted to play hockey.”

Connor swallows around the sudden lump in his throat, they’re still holding hands and cradling the ring but Connor wants to be closer so he leans forward until their foreheads are touching. Stromer lets out a shaky breath and Connor loves him, fiercely and wholly. Connor closes his eyes.

“You changed everything. I want you -- what we have, us -- I want that more than I will ever want hockey. Maybe I’m insane and maybe you don’t feel that way but that’s what this -- I just really want to marry you. I don’t care what city we’re in or what jersey we wear -- I want to know that we can have this forever. You’re the best thing that ever happen to me, Dylan and I don’t care what anyone says -- I don’t need you and you sure as hell don’t need me. But I want you and I’m never going to stop.”

Dylan kisses him then. It’s a little salty because Stromer is definitely crying and Connor can’t help gasping into his mouth, fingers grasping at Dylan’s hands and just never stopping. It’s a desperate kind of kiss that has Dylan biting at his mouth and Connor licking into him until they both have to break away to breathe. There’s a moment, looking at Dylan’s smeary face, when Connor thinks he’ll say no but then he’s grinning -- it’s shaky and scared but his smile is right there.

“Which fucking hand does this thing go on?”

The end up having to look it up but when they finally get it on the correct finger, it’s a sight to see. Dylan’s fingers are long and the ring fits perfectly. He’s wearing Connor’s ring. He said yes. They’re choosing forever.

“Holy fuck, Davo,” Dylan whispers.

Connor shrugs. “Do you like it?”

“It’s beautiful.”

Now Connor feels like crying -- so he clears his throat and says, “Happy Birthday?”

Dylan tackles him back to the bed, wrenching Connor’s bad shoulder and they go fumbling back, cursing and laughing. Dylan kisses his shoulder, apologizes and then says, “I can’t believe you asked me to marry you when I’m naked and hungover. I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet.”

“Yeah, you’re fucking rank.”

Dylan punches him in the stomach and then crawls on top of him to kiss him. This kiss goes from sweet to desperate hungry before moving back to languid again. It’s scattered -- erratic as Connor’s heart beat and it’s perfect. He can feel the ring on Dylan’s hand where it’s gripping Connor’s neck and he can’t help but reach up and cover it with his own.

The diamonds do feel nice underneath his skin, knowing they’re blazing a mark on Dylan’s skin and catching the morning light.

“I pictured what it would feel like,” Connor says, breaking the kiss. “When you wore my ring and touched me.”

Dylan moans, pushing his dick against Connor’s boxers. They’re both hard now -- adrenaline crashing through them. Connor feels so high.

“I think it’s time for engagement blowjobs,” Dylan says, roughly and Connor doesn’t hesitate meeting him for another kiss.

They don’t quite get to blowjobs, because Dylan won't stop kissing Connor -- despite his truly foul breath -- but it’s worth it to feel Dylan’s hand working them both over, ring skin-warm and very, very distracting.

“I’m gonna marry the fuck out of you,” Dylan says, both of them watching his ring-clad hand jerk them off. It’s frantic and Dylan keeps biting him in very visible areas but Connor can’t bring himself to care. Dylan’s dick is dark and leaking against his; every time the ring rubs against the head, Dylan swears out Connor’s name and jerks them harder.

Connor comes first, silently -- watching himself spill over Dylan’s hand and messily smearing his jiz between them. He doesn’t stop watching Dylan’s hand though -- it makes Connor brave, seeing it there after it’s all Connor’s been thinking about for months. “I used to think about what it would be like, you putting your fingers inside me -- wearing this ring, your hand on my thighs, holding me open -- fuck, Dyls. I love you so much.”

His confession is about as close as he’ll ever come to dirty talk, which will definitely make long distance a challenge, but it makes Dylan come between them with a shout and punctuated with a bite to Connor’s lower lip which is going to swell.

Connor doesn’t let them linger, because he knows Dylan wants to open his mouth and say something. He bustles them into the bathroom, getting them showered and hydrated with minimal words because he’s wrung out and the weird smile on Dylan’s face mirrors the one on his own.

He can’t help reaching out to catch Dylan’s hand whenever he can.

“It looks good,” Connor says, when Dylan’s drinking his second gatorade and finally wearing some briefs. Connor loves Dylan’s dick but sometimes having it flopping around all the time is a little weird. “Too bad you can’t wear it all the time.”

Dylan blinks. “I hadn’t thought of that.” He sounds disappointed, a little crestfallen. Connor scoots closer, taking his left hand between his own.

“I don’t want you to break your finger on the ice -- we’ll get you a chain when we get home. I mean,” Connor stops and then thinks ‘fuck it’. “I want you to wear it all the time. But I understand that’s kind of stupid.”

Dylan’s shoulder knocks his. “I want to wear it forever.” Which, yeah, that’s kinda the point but he sounds fierce and incredibly more brave than Connor has ever been. His eyes prickle and Connor squeezes their hands together until the ring bites into his own skin.

“We’ll figure it out, Davo,” Stromer says. “We fucking got this.”

Yeah, Connor supposes they do.

<3<3<3