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May blooms bright and sunny, the specter of the winter months chased away with the light, warm breeze that promises a hot summer. The lake stretches out before him in the early morning, calm and still. It settles something inside of him, something raw and angry, left over from their early exit from the play offs. He swings his feet gently in the water, watching the ripples it causes and just breathes.

“Fuck, you’re up early.”  

Adam twists to peer up at Brandon as he shuffles sleepily down the dock, two steaming mugs of coffee clutched in his hands. He hands one over and then makes himself comfortable next to Adam, hissing at the cold of the water as he dips his toes in. It’s still too early in the year for the water to be nice but that hadn’t stopped them from jumping in the previous afternoon when they’d driven up. 

“I got up to use the washroom and spotted this beauty.” He gestures to the sun rise and its vibrant yellows and pinks. It reflects off the lake, chasing away the chill of the early morning. 

“I didn’t think we’d see you until noon.” Brandon presses their shoulders together, humor sparking in his eyes as he meets Adam’s. His heart skips and he has to look away quickly lest he give himself away. 

“Oh, I’m totally going back to bed after this,” Adam takes a sip from his coffee, wincing as he burns his tongue. The caffeine hits him quickly, chasing away the lethargy clinging to him like a blanket. His skin is warm where it’s pressed against Brandon, singing from the casual touches.

“Might have to wait until after breakfast,” Brandon tips closer, goes as far as to rest his head on Adam’s shoulder and he has to swallow back the want the washes over him. Like this, Brandon is soft, touchable- within reach in a way he never is on the ice, always two strides ahead of Adam. “Chris was muttering something about bacon and pancakes before he crashed last night.”

“Morning person?” 

“Just for the first few days,” Brandon laughs. “Then you won’t see him till after ten. He has trouble adjusting to the summer.” 

“Are you sure you’re related?” He gets an elbow to the ribs for his comment.

“I’m up aren’t I?” There’s a potent pout aimed his way and he has to smother his laughter in his mug. “Give it a few days, you’ll be sleeping in till noon.”

“The bed was pretty comfy,” he allows. 

“I think my mattress needs to be replaced,” Brandon grumbles. “I swear it wasn’t this bumpy last year.”

“You could share with me,” he blurts out, then has a moment of absolute panic as Brandon looks up at him from under his thick, dark lashes. Adam can’t read him, which is startling considering he and Brandon have been open books to each other for the past year. 

The sound of claws skittering across boards reaches them a moment before Riley comes barging through the small space between them. The pug is all over Brandon seconds later, wheezing and slobbering, little body shaking with excitement. Brandon laughs, setting his mug safely out of the way and pulls the dog in for some cuddles. 

Adam glances back towards the cottage, spotting Chris in the doorway dressed in sweats that sit indecently low on his hips. The elder Tanev waves.

“Breakfast in twenty!” His voice seems to echo across the lake. Riley perks up at the sound, launching himself off of Brandon and back the way he came. He waits for the little dog to reach him, then scoops him up, disappearing back inside.

Brandon’s still chuckling, pulling up the collar of his shirt to wipe the dog drool from his face. The early sunlight casts a golden hue across his skin. Adam can’t help but feel disappointed at the interruption.

“Hope the water warms up today,” Brandon says, pushing himself to his feet. Adam follows, reluctant to leave the quiet moment. “Pretty sure my balls disappeared when we jumped in yesterday.” 

“Not much difference, then, huh?” He chirps just to watch the delighted outrage spread across Brandon’s face.

“Oh babe, I have nothing to worry about in that department,” he pats Adam’s cheek, expression smug. A little thrill runs through him and he’s opening his mouth before he can stop himself.

“Believe it when I see it.”

Brandon doesn’t miss a beat, expression sharpening, eyes dark.

“Any time, any place.”

Heat pools in his gut. It’s all talk, nothing more. But the expression on Brandon’s face might say otherwise.

And then the fire alarm sounds, shrill and startling, from inside the house.

“What the fuck did he do?” Brandon demands, jogging down the dock. Adam’s two steps behind him trying to will away the chub in his shorts. 

They have time, he tells himself firmly as they head inside, frustration coiling tight in his chest, at odds with the relief he feels for the interruption; they have all the time in the world. 

 

::

 

Pens!

The text comes in at an ungodly hour Monday morning and Adam only finds it when he drags himself out of bed to greet the Amazon guy at the door. He’s dropped his package on the kitchen counter, set on crawling back into bed a while longer when he spots the blinking light from his bedside table.

It’s not... news, per say. They’d all known Brandon wouldn’t be re-signing with the Jets, he’d made that pretty fucking clear with all the talk of the teams scouting him, but a part of Adam had naively held out hope that maybe he would.  

He quickly googles how long it takes to drive to Pittsburgh and feels nauseous at the answer. Twenty hours.  

His fingers hover over the keypad. It’s been just over two hours since Brandon texted, nothing since then, and Adam likes to imagine he’s been waiting for Adam’s response with baited breath. He likes to imagine that if he said the word Brandon would stay.

That’s awesome bud, he sends back and tries to breathe through the tightness in his chest. 

Thnx! Is the quick reply, like maybe Brandon had been waiting- or he’d been busy setting up his new life across the border. Wanna get lunch later?

Adam thinks about saying no, thinks about claiming he has plans already, but Brandon would know it was a lie. He’d been over the night before, giddy with the deadline, unable to focus on the movie they’d been watching until finally he’d left early. Adam hadn’t gotten much sleep after that.

So he finds himself, a few hours later, getting fish and chips at a local hotspot. Brandon doesn’t look like he got much sleep either, eyes bright with excitement but rimmed with dark smudges. There’s a vibrancy that emanates from him and Adam finds himself drawn in like a moth to a flame, unable to keep his dark mood in the face of Brandon’s happiness. It’s easy to get swept away by it, by the plans they make to visit one another, by what Brandon will see in Pittsburgh, by the realization that he’ll be playing with Crosby and Malkin.

 The sun is bright over head, painting his skin golden, his eyes warm and rich like honey. Adam stretches his long legs out under the table to ease the aches in his knees, pleased when Brandon tangles their feet together, easy as breathing. 

He steals the check when it comes, throwing down his card before Bradon can.

“Hey, I’m the one getting a raise!”

“I think I can afford it,” Adam rolls his eyes but lets Brandon buy ice cream when they pass by a Dairy Queen a while later. They stroll through downtown, Adam, because he’ll take any ounce of Brandon’s time he can get, and Brandon, presumably looking through the familiar sights with fresh eyes and the knowledge that he’ll be leaving it. It’s comfortable, falling back into familiar banter, easy to forget that things are changing. They end up down by the river, the sun high in the sky, warm against their skin. It’s Canada day and booths are set up with food, with games, children running around and parents chatting. A few people give them second glances, but considering it’s the off-season, most people aren’t thinking about hockey, and they manage to pass mostly undetected so long as they keep away from the worst of the crowds. 

They end up back at Brandon’s and it’s relief that hits him when he finds everything as it was the last time he’d been over- no packing boxes, the photos still on the walls, no sign that he’s leaving. Adam can pretend for a moment at least.

They manage to throw together an easy dinner and eat on the couch, old episodes of Master Chef on tv. When it’s dark enough they head out onto the balcony, leaning against the railing as the first of the fireworks start.

It’s a brilliant display and he’s glad he decided to stay in the city for it, instead of heading home to visit his parents right away. Brandon is warm where he’s pressed up against his side, shoulder to shoulder as they peer out over the city. He wonders what Brandon’s thinking, watching the familiar lights- if he’s thinking about missing Winnipeg and Adam, or if he’s thinking about his new home. 

“Penny for your thoughts?” He’s startled to find Brandon watching him, face cast in shadows.

“Just thinking about September,” he admits. Brandon rests a heavy hand between his shoulder blades, his touch like a brand through the thin material of his shirt. “Gonna be weird without you around Rusty.”

“Don’t worry, Schief will keep you in line,” he teases. His smile slips at the expression on Adam’s face. “It’s not forever,” he reminds him. “I’m not leaving you.”

“Feels like it,” he mutters, hating himself for it even as the words slip past his lips. He’s supposed to be supportive, not bringing down the mood.

“Hey,” Brandon tugs him until they’re facing one another and for all Adam’s height he feels small in the face of the fierceness in his expression. “You and me, we’re solid, okay?”

Brandon’s hands rest on his hips, squeezing like he can force Adam to agree, to understand. It hits him like a brick, how much he relies on Brandon to be there, how much he misses him when he’s gone. It’s startling to realize just how far he’s let himself fall for this impossible man. With Brandon leaving, he only has himself to blame. 

“What?” Brandon asks and he realizes he’s staring, committing him to memory like he wouldn’t already know him blind and deaf. 

“You’re going to be great,” it’s the truth, he knows, but it still hurts saying it. He’s going to be great without Adam. Maybe he’s selfish- so what? Why can’t he be? 

Brandon lights up at the praise and the smile he gifts him with is worth the way the words scrape along his throat like shards of glass. 

“Thanks man, means a lot.” 

“Can’t believe you’re gonna play with Crosby,” he continues and it’s easier this time to feel happy for his friend in light of his joy. 

“Oh man, I know right? Do you think it’s tacky to ask him to sign something for me?” Adam laughs at Brandon’s starstruck expression.

“I seriously doubt you’d be the first guy to ask him.”

He gets a little caught up in Brandon’s laugh, in the sweet curve of his smile, and he misses what Brandon says in response. 

A particularly brilliant barrage of fireworks go off, the sound echoing off the water, startling them both. They end up pressed together, laughing helplessly, hearts racing. The fireworks end that way, the familiar quiet sounds of the city slowly seeping back in and Adam mesmerized by Brandon’s dumb sweet laugh wondering, what if?

Wouldn’t this be the perfect moment? With Brandon’s arms around him, still laughing at how ridiculous they are, it would be as easy as breathing to lean in and see if his lips are as soft as he remembers. 

To give Brandon something to stay for.

The night air feels cool when Adam takes a step back. Brandon doesn’t seem to notice, heading for the door.

“Feel like getting drunk and watching Nailed It ?” He holds the door open for Adam, expression open and happy. 

Adam thinks about his own empty apartment. It’s a no brainer.

“Only if you make me cookies first.”

 

::

 

Adam drags his feet about heading home for as long as he can, putting off his family's texts and calls. They think he’s found someone, they think he’s in love.

Well, maybe they got one thing right.

He hangs out with Brandon, soaking up all the time he can. His phone camera is full of photos of them, of Brandon, of the places they go. He ignores the specter of time looming over them as best he can, enjoying the here and now. 

Then the moving boxes start showing up, pictures start disappearing from walls, Brandon’s Kitchenaid mixer gets packed up and Adam decides it’s time to go home for a while.

He’s out at breakfast with his brother one August morning when he gets the text from Brandon.

Moving day! Wish u were here!!!

He gets rip roaring drunk that night.

He stays another week, crashing in his old bedroom. His family keeps giving him concerned looks when they think he’s not looking, take him out to a few of their favourite old haunts, to new sights that he hadn’t had a chance to see the last time he was in town. 

There’s only so long he can stay away from Winnipeg though, and late August finds him back in his apartment, sorting through the mail that’s accumulated since he’s been gone. A few of the guys are back in town, some new faces getting accustomed to the area, and they end up meeting up for lunch a few times, training together at the arena to get a head start on camp. 

Brandon spends his first few weeks in Pittsburgh spamming Adam constantly. His phone lights up multiple times a day with photos, with quick little texts, with something Sid or Tanger said or did. Adam’s man enough to admit that it’s jealousy that licks its way through his veins, curls around his chest and squeezes until it’s hard to breathe. But he also lives for these texts, these pictures, these little bits of Brandon that he can cling to while they’re apart. 

They talk on the phone, something neither of them really did while they were both in the city. They call or Facetime and for a little bit Adam can pretend that there aren’t hundreds of miles between them. 

Training camp starts mid september and they all get caught up in getting ready for the season. The team is back, minus a few faces, and they fall back together like there’s barely been any time apart. It gets harder to keep in touch though, he calls Brandon at night and listens to the phone ring and ring only to find out through text the next morning that he’d fallen asleep. Adam gets it- he’s gone from the fourth line with Adam to the second line with like, Malkin. Of fucking course he’s exhausted. 

It just sucks.

The schedule for the year has been released and they only play the Penguins twice.  

I’ll def come by at xmas, Brandon promises when Adam brings it up. It’s accompanied by a selfie of Brandon, blurry but undeniably happy at what looks like a team meeting. Adam feels like an ass for being so needy, for interrupting Brandon’s life in Pittsburgh with his own insecurities. 

Its ok if u cant, he sends back, stomach twisting. He immediately wants to take it back but he’s trying to be the bigger person here, right? 

I want to.

Adam has to hide his smile behind his drink but Scheif still gives him an odd look.

 

::



October arrives in a whirlwind of cool weather and crimson and golden leaves with the brisk scent of fall in the air. It signals the end of the preseason, the start of the regular and with it a change in attitude towards the games they’ve played. Points count now and they need everyone to give it a hundred percent if they want to make another run. 

Brandon’s texts also drop off with the start of the season until Adam’s getting a handful a week instead of every day. He tries to make up for it, figuring Brandon must be exhausted, but he can’t help but notice his Instagram is full of photos with his new team. 

He tries calling a few times just to listen to it ring and ring. 

This time Brandon doesn’t get back to him.

It puts him in a foul mood.

The seasons barely started and the new guys are giving him a wide berth. He takes his frustration, his hurt, to the ice and lays out bigger hits, racks up penalty minutes. Wheels tells him to knock it off, Maurice calls him in to yell at him. Guilt gnaws at him and he feels sick after the games when he could have cost them a goal, or did. But it’s at war with the black ugly thing in his chest that has lodged itself there with the realization that Adam can’t compete with Pittsburgh. He never could.

“Man, what is your problem?” Mark demands. He waits to corner Adam as the locker room empties out, after one too many rough hits at practice. Adam glowers up at him from the bench, stripped down to his compression leggings. He needs a shower, a nap and to forget the sound of Brandon’s voicemail. 

“Nothing,” he grunts and Mark snorts so hard it must hurt. 

“What, do you need to get laid?” Adam kicks at him and Mark kicks back, except his aim is a hell of a lot better and connects with Adam’s shin. He grimaces, rubbing at what is certain to be a stellar bruise. “You’re scaring the rookies, you’re pissing off Wheels and coach,” Mark sinks down onto the bench next to him. “If Buff were here he’d shake some sense into you.”

Both their gazes go to the empty locker across the room. Adam, predictably because he can’t help himself, finds his gaze drifting to Brandon’s old locker. One of the rookies has it now, a new name plate there and Adam hates it. 

“Ohh,” Mark says softly and Adam has to bury his face in his hands so the room can’t see how much that one word hurts. He rests his elbows on his knees, heels of his hands pressed tight to his eyes and breathes. A heavy hand comes to rest on his back, warm against his skin. “I miss him too.”

“No offense,” Adam takes a steadying breath and sits up. Mark doesn’t move his hand and for that he’s grateful. “But trust me when I say I miss him more.”

“Yeah, I get that,” he says and there’s a tone to his voice that has Adam meeting his gaze. The understanding there is shocking and he has to take a deep breath at the way it soothes the ugly raw thing in his chest. “Doesn’t mean you can be a jerk though.” 

Adam sags at the humor in Mark's voice, the fight leaving him in a rush. 

“I’ve been pretty bad, haven’t I?” 

“Like a bear,” Mark squeezes the back of his neck, then lets his hand fall. “Glad you’re still in there, though. We were beginning to wonder.” He still doesn’t feel like himself, though. “You’re coming over, by the way. Video games at my place as soon as you’ve showered. You stink.” He wrinkles his nose, leaning away from Adam.

“Fuck you too,” Adam shoves him, but he feels a little lighter as he heads for the showers.

He expects a barrage of questions from Scheif when they get back to his place because the man can be nosy as fuck when he wants to be, but he doesn’t ask more than what Adam wants to drink and then makes him order take out while he sets up the game. 

It’s been ages since they’ve hung out, Mark in Kitchener and Minnesota over the summer, and then both busy with the start of the season. He’s missed it, one on one with someone he can chirp and get chirped back, the ease they have around one another. 

Adam kicks his ass at FIFA, then gets the snot beat out of him at CHEL. They take a quick break, digging into the sandwiches Adam ordered and then get right back into it again, wasting away the hours. 

Mark doesn’t press and Adam doesn’t offer and he leaves there feeling lighter than he has in awhile.

 

::

 

Brandon calls him November first as Adam’s wandering the halls of the SAP Center. He’s got a shitty connection but it’s a relief to hear Brandon’s voice for the first time in over two weeks. 

“Man, I’m sorry I keep missing your calls. These guys are just constantly on the move.” He sounds so contrite that Adam is willing to forgive him anything. 

“It’s okay,” he lies easily, leaning against one of the cement walls. A few people walk past but for the most part he has the place to himself. The rest of the guys are spread out, some in with their coaching staff, some playing two touch a hallway away. “How have things been?”

“Busy but good. The guys here are so great, really showing me the ropes. They’re crazily team oriented this year so we’ve been getting together a lot. Horny makes a mean steak.”

Adam shoves aside the stab of jealousy to focus on Brandon’s voice, on the happiness there. 

“Sounds like you’re really settling in,” he keeps his tone light. 

“It’s awesome- Sid’s been taking me to these great restaurants around the city,” he laughs and Adam latches onto the sound like a drowning man. “Never thought I’d say that sentence.”

“That’s awesome, man.” And he means it. He can swallow down his jealousy of fucking Sidney Crosby if it keeps the warmth and excitement in Brandon’s voice. “Guess you’ll have to show me some of them when we’re in town.”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Brandon promises. There’s some muffled yelling in the background and then a voice closer, yelling Brandon’s name.

“Out at a bar?” Adam hazards a guess and Brandon huffs out a laugh.

“What gave it away? We’re just heading in, this place is pretty decent. Too bad you’re not in here, you’d probably love it. Dumb retro signs up everywhere.”

“I can’t tell if you’re calling me dumb or not.” Brandon laughs and Adam’s grip tightens on the phone, his own smile long since having spread across his face. 

“I’ll let you figure that one out. Could use you as backup, though- Dumo conned me into a game of HALO and now I’m taking his cousin to the movies next week.”

Ice settles in his stomach.

“Still suck then?” His chest feels a little tight, his head a little funny. Talking to Brandon is suddenly the last thing he wants to be doing.

“Oh man, I was so bad. I knew you let me win last time!” 

Adam clears his throat and tries to focus on that memory, of the smug smile that had played across Brandon’s lips at finally beating Adam after a fruitless hour. 

“So this date,” he blurts out and immediately wants to kick himself. 

“The movies? What about it?”  

Why her? He wants to ask. Why now? Why did you have to tell me?  

“Oh, sorry bud,” Brandon says suddenly while Adam is still trying to figure out what to say. “Cros got us a table in the back. Gotta go before they make me buy the first round.”

“Okay-” Brandon hangs up before Adam finishes.

 

::

 

So it’s November and Adam has a Brandon sized hole in his life.

It sounds pathetic even to his ears. 

He spends a hell of a lot of time with Mark, and by association Blake, which like, he loves his Captain but it’s weird as hell to see him stumbling out of Mark’s room in his boxers at ten in the morning on their off day. The vivid hickey on his neck is certainly something Adam will never unsee. It’s like seeing his dad sex rumpled and half asleep.

Kyle’s always down to hang when Mark is...occupied. Considering how close he is with Mark, it’s no surprise that he takes one look at Adam’s shell shocked expression and just says “Wheels” knowingly.

It helps. Filling the empty spaces around him until he doesn’t have as much time to think , to get stuck in his head and think about Brandon, and Brandon and his date, and Brandon without Adam. 

Fuck, when did he become so codependent?

It sure as hell isn’t effecting Brandon the same way- Adam gets a few texts a week, the odd phone call. He might be obsessively stalking Brandon’s Instagram but that’s for him to know and no one to find out.

A week after the phone call as he’s taken to calling it, they host the Canucks.

A distant part of him had known that Brandon’s elder brother played on their blue line, he’s played against him before, but it’s still a shock when he sees Chris out on the ice for the National Anthem. 

Chris has broader shoulders and a scruff going on that just highlights the sharp cut of his jaw line. But, ignoring the hair length, there are so many similarities that it makes Adam’s chest ache. The same smiling brown eyes and thick brows with a devilish smile. 

It’s not Brandon though, he reminds himself firmly, and goes to say hi.

They soundly beat the Canucks 4-1, a relief after their recent loss to New Jersey. None of them want a scoring slump and this just reinforces what they know- they have a good team, a great bunch of guys, and they’re really coming together as the season rolls on.

Adam showers and changes back into his game day suit. He sends Brandon a quick text about how much alike he and his brother look, just because he knows it’ll piss him off, and then heads out. They have a day off and then another home game and while some of the rookies are going out, Adam’s bed is calling him. 

It’s a surprise to find Chris lounging against the wall outside the locker room, hands slung casually in his pant pockets, jacket and top few buttons of his shirt undone. His eyes light up when he spots Adam, pushing effortlessly away from the wall and joining him. 

“Hey, what’re you doing here?” 

Chris grins, all pearly white teeth and Brandon’s mischievous smile and Adam knows he’s in trouble.

“We’re not leaving until tomorrow afternoon,” he says casually. “Something wrong with the plane. And I haven’t been to Winnipeg in ages.

“You want a tour?” Adam’s eyebrows shoot up. It’s pushing eleven at night, not much is going to be open. 

“Let me buy you a drink,” Chris offers instead. 

Adam thinks about his empty apartment and the quiet day he has planned tomorrow. Fuck it- he likes Chris. It’ll be good to catch up.

“Yeah alright,” he allows and leads the way to his car. “I know a place.”

 

::

 

Four shots of tequila, two beers, and one Uber later they stumble through Adam’s front door. 

Adam hits the wall, nearly knocking down a framed picture of his grandma, but he couldn't care less because a split second later Chris is there, pressed up against him, pinning him in place as he licks his way into Adam’s mouth, hot and messy. Adam gets his hands bunched in the material of his shirt- his jacket long gone, a victim of the heavy petting that had started in a dark hallway at the bar and had led to where they are now. 

He manages to get his hands under the thin material of Chris’ shirt, running them over the smooth skin there. Chris crowds closer, his cock hard and thick where it’s pressed against Adam’s thigh. His rocks his hips against Adam’s and it sends sparks up his spine. His head falls back against the wall, a gasp tearing its way from his lips. Chris doesn’t seem to mind the abrupt end to their kiss, using his lips and teeth to find every erogenous spot along Adam’s jaw and his neck. He bites down hard and Adam whines, blunt nails digging into Chris’ skin.

“You okay with this?” Chis worries his teeth over a patch of skin near Adam’s collar bone. His hand smoothes over Adam’s stomach, then down, cupping him through his slacks. His mouth falls open, dazed by the onslaught.

“Yes, yes,” he groans and pulls his hands free to tug at Chris’ shirt until they can get it off. He’s a sight to behold, broad and muscular, still tanned from the summer. Chris tangles a hand in his hair and tugs and Adam goes boneless. 

“What do you want?” He presses a kiss to Adam’s mouth, sucks on his lower lip, releasing his hold on Adam to rub his fingers lightly across the mark that's sure to be blooming across his skin. Adam’s a little drunk and a lot turned on and all he can think about is getting Chris’ cock in his mouth.

He drops to his knees in the hallway and Chris’ hands meet his as they both fumble his belt open, get the zipper undone. Adam’s not interested in teasing- not now, not with how desperate the fire in his blood feels. He gently tugs down Chris’ underwear, tucking the elastic under his balls and seals his lips around the head. 

Chris, for his part, gives Adam a moment to adjust; it’s been awhile since he’s gone down on someone, since before, well. Since before. But then he’s tangling his fingers in Adam’s hair again, guiding him further down onto his cock. He fucks Adam’s mouth like he knows Adam can take it- short, smooth thrusts that have his lips tingling, spit spilling down his chin as he moans hungrily around the cock in his mouth. Chris lets out a low groan and Adam feels a surge of smug satisfaction.

He lets himself be used, his hands gripping Chris’ thighs, urging him closer, deeper with each thrust. His own cock sits hard and neglected, pressing uncomfortably against his zipper but he ignores it, focusing on the drag of Chris’ cock along his tongue, the taste of him, the sounds he makes when Adam does something he particularly likes.

It isn’t long before he’s coming, spilling down Adam’s throat as he swallows around him.

Chris jerks him off messily in his hallway at two in the morning, suit pants shoved down around his thighs, his come staining his shirt.

It’s not until the next morning that it sinks in what just happened.

Chris- the ever annoying morning person- is already up when Adam stumbles out of bed, still half asleep. He wakes up pretty fucking quickly when he finds the elder Tanev drinking coffee in his kitchen.

He glances up as Adam freezes in the doorway, phone open to some video he’d been watching, but he closes it when he gets a good look at Adam’s face.

“Morning,” he says. “Coffee?” 

“Fuck.” Adam says succinctly and blushes furiously as he hears his own voice. It’s wrecked.

Chris chuckles, pushing to his feet and sets about getting Adam a mug of coffee from his own kitchen.

He sets it on the table and then watches expectantly until Adam shuffles over, taking the seat across from him. He’s having some trouble meeting Chris’ eyes.

“So, I figure there’s a few ways we can go about this,” Chris leans back in the chair, looking relaxed and unfairly attractive. There’s a hickey sitting just above the collar of his t-shirt- Adam’s t-shirt he realizes- that Adam can vaguely recall putting there. He shifts in his seat, uncomfortable at the heat that pools in his stomach. “We can be awkward around one another until Brandon figures out something is up,” Adam winces. “We can be awkward for a little bit and then move on, we can be adults about it and agree it was fun and go back to the way things were, or,”

“Or?” Adam has to ask when Chris hesitates. It gets him a smug grin. He tries not to think about who else he’s seen it on. 

“Or ,” Chris continues. “We could do it again.”

Adam gapes at him.

“Listen, I’m not my brother. I know you’re into him,” Adam splutters in denial but Chris ignores him. “But he’s clearly an idiot. I honestly thought you two were fucking over the summer, but if he’s too stupid to notice how hot you are, then that’s his loss.”

Adam’s cheeks are on fire.

“We can’t just, you’re my best friends brother, it wouldn’t be-”

Chris pushes to his feet and comes around the table.

“If you don’t want me to kiss you, say so now.” And then he leans in. 

Adam doesn’t even think of saying no.

They end up in his bedroom this time. He doesn’t waste any time, ridding Chris of his shirt to see that beautiful golden skin catch the morning light. His own shirt gets tossed, his sweats following shortly after. He teases his fingers along the waist of Chris’ slacks and gets an impatient huff in return, so he makes short work of them. 

The sheets get kicked to the floor and then it’s skin on skin. Adam straddles Chris’ hips, pressing deep, drugging kisses to his lips, hands smoothing across his skin, seeking out all the dips and ridges he didn’t get to explore the night before. Chris’ hands come to rest on his ass, feeling huge and hot, kneading. 

Adam jerks at the first press of a dry finger against his hole, breaking the kiss to pant against Chris’ lips as a raging fire is lit in his belly.

“Yeah?” Chris quirks an eyebrow, smug and sure and Adam has to tear his gaze away; it's so achingly familiar. “You want me to fuck you?”

He says it so casually too, like it’s just the next logical step. Adam groans, nodding, words escaping him. 

They get resituated- Adam spread out on his stomach, arms wrapped around his pillow and head tilted to the side. He stares at the wall, at the pictures there, and startles as the bed dips and Chris makes space for himself between his legs.

“Let me know if it’s too much,” Chris smooths a hand along his spine, and then there’s the snap of a lid and a moment later the cool press of his finger. Adam shivers, his heart beating faster. Chris’ fingers brush a gentle circle around the sensitive skin and Adam spreads his legs wider. It feels like it’s been forever since he had anyone other than himself touch him there; it ignites a fire in his veins, his cock aching where it’s trapped between his body and the mattress.

Chris’ finger feels huge inside of him as he presses all the way to the furthest knuckle and Adam flushes at the way his body seems to cling as he drags it back out. The familiar sweet sensation feels like it’s hardwired to his cock and he adjusts easily as Chris adds another.

He can’t keep his hips still, rocking gently against the bed in time with Chris’ teasing thrusts, the breath knocked out of him as he’s suddenly lit up from inside. Chris lets out a sound at that, low and rough and sets about driving him crazy with steady pressure that sends fireworks shooting along his spine. 

Three fingers and Adam has his face buried in the pillow, skin too hot, too tight. Sweat is beading across his skin and the only sounds in the room are his heavy breathing and Chris’ occasional murmur of praise.

And then he’s sliding his fingers free and then reaching for the condom next to the bed. 

Chris keeps him like that, sprawled out on the mattress, and for that Adam is grateful. His legs are shaking and he’s feeling oddly vulnerable, gripping his pillow tight, his body burning. He’s grateful until he realizes he has no leverage, that he can only take what’s given to him.

There’s the slow, burning ache as Chris presses his cock in, as he sinks deep into the heat of Adam’s body.

“Fuck, you’re tight,” Chris gasps, burried in Adam’s ass. He’s hot, he’s so, so hot , splitting Adam wide open. His hands grip Adam’s hips, but his body presses him down into the mattress and Adam can’t move, can’t do anything but breathe.  

He thrusts slowly, shallowly at first and Adam nearly sobs as the ache fades leaving behind only heat and pleasure. 

It all narrows down to the tight grip on his hips, the way the bed knocks loudly against the wall, and the drag of Chris’ cock as he fucks him steady and deep. 

Adams orgasm catches him by surprise, cock messy and trapped between his stomach and the mattress as Chris groans, fucking into him a handful more times, then grinds deep and stills, emptying himself into the condom.

Afterwards, they lay there, sticky with sweat and come. Adam feels like he should be freaking out but he can’t feel anything other than good, worn out in the best way, arms and legs tingling from a really good orgasm.

Chris tilts his head and catches his sleepy smile, one of his own making its way across his face.

“I take it I managed to wow you?”

Adam makes a face. “I mean, it was okay.”  

Chris laughs and smacks his stomach. 

“Like, definitely average I guess,” he continues and giggles as Chris tries to smother him with one of his own pillows. 

They shower separately and dress- Adam lends Chris a fresh shirt and sweater to make up for the coat he lost somewhere between the bar and Adam’s the night before. He offers to drive Chris back to the hotel, and to a team that is getting increasingly nosey about where the defenseman has taken off to. 

“Uber is fine,” Chris assures him. “Besides, you really want to roll up the morning after? Most of the guys aren’t idiots.”

Adam flushes at the thought of the entire Canucks team knowing he’d just come on Chris’ cock. 

“Yeah,” he clears his throat. “I’ll just get you an Uber.” 

They chat as they wait and it’s...nice. Weird, but nice. He keeps wondering if they should, like, kiss or something. It’s been awhile since he’s hooked up, he’s not up to date on hookup protocols.

In the end Chris gives him a hug and tells him not to be a stranger, then hurries out into the cold Winnipeg morning and the waiting car.

Adam closes the door firmly behind him and then crawls back into bed.

 

::

 

Adam manages not to panic until that night. 

He mainly manages this by sleeping through the day.

Mark takes one look at him and ushers him inside, despite the late hour. 

“What happened?” He gets Adam set up on the couch and then grabs them both a beer. Adam takes a big swig and feels a little more settled so he does it again. He glances suspiciously at the closed door leading to Mark’s bedroom, but he waves it off. “Wheels isn’t here. So, what happened?” 

“I hooked up with Tanev,” he blurts out and Mark’s eyebrows shoot up.

“Brandon?”

“Chris.” Adam covers his face with his hand and waits for the yelling.

It doesn’t come.

Mark is watching him carefully when he pulls his hand away, expression cautious.

“Adam,” he says slowly. “When was the last time Brandon messaged you back?” Four days ago but he’s not going to admit to knowing that off the top of his head. “Maybe it’s okay to want to move on.”

It takes him a moment to piece together what he’s saying and then he scrunches up his face. Hell no.

“Not a fucking chance,” Mark just stares at him, disbelieving. “Chris? That’s not what happened, it was just,” just really good sex he thinks, flushing. He drains the rest of his beer.

“Wow,” Mark swaps out Adam’s empty for his own untouched bottle. “You actually hooked up with Chris Tanev. A Canuck.”

“At least he’s Canadian,” Adam shoots back. Mark flips him off, getting to his feet to grab them both another beer. 

“I’m guessing it was good,” Mark comes back, setting one of the bottles on the coffee table, cracking the other open for himself. “Judging by that massive hickey.”

He turns scarlet but doesn’t bother trying to tug his shirt up, over Chris’ mark. It’s already on display, he sure as hell won’t be able to hide it in the locker room tomorrow, might as well start the embarrassment now.

“Really good,” Adam admits and takes a few quick pulls from his drink. 

“So, are you just panicking because it was the wrong Tanev brother?” 

Adam chokes, sinus’ burning from the beer that he just managed to pass through his nose. Mark, undeterred by the beer and snot, cackles as Adam attempts to wipe the mess off his face with the collar of his shirt. 

“You’re an asshole,” Adam rasps when he manages to catch his breath. Mark just shrugs, unconcerned.

“Just looking out for you buddy,” he says, suddenly earnest and it’s somehow worse. 

“I’m fine,” he lies, even though he’s the one that showed up at Marks door out of the blue. 

“Right,” Mark nods along because he’s a good friend. “And you’re totally moving on from Brandon in a completely healthy way.”

Adam chooses to ignore him, reaching for his third beer. It’s going to be a long night.

“Too bad we can’t break out the heavier stuff,” Mark muses, nursing his own beer. “Maurice would kill us.”

“And Wheels.”

“Nah, Wheels can’t stay mad at me,” Mark bats his ridiculous baby blues at Adam. 

“Those are fucking weapons,” he grouches. Nobody folds that easily for his eyes.

“So, gonna do it again?” He doesn’t have to ask what it is. Adam slinks lower on the couch with a grumble.

“No.” He’s not having sex with Brandon’s brother. Again. Oh god he’s a terrible person. 

“Knock it off,” Mark tries to pry his hands off of his face and nearly manages to spill both their beers in the process. “He’s hot, he’s single, and it’s not like you’re going to tell Brandon, right?”

“Brandon is not finding out I slept with his brother!”

Mark sits back, hands held up in surrender.

“I’m not telling him.” A mischievous smile plays across his face. “Unless you wanna make him jealous. In which case, go for it!”

“Not a chance in hell.”

Mark shrugs. “Spoiling all the fun, but okay.”

Adam sinks back into the cushions, trying to decide if it’s worth getting drunk and dealing with the hangover before the game tomorrow. Probably not. He’s kind of past the age where he can get away with playing through a hangover.

“So, like, does Tanev have a big dick or what?”

Adam regrets his entire life.

 

::

 

Congrats on kicking canuck ass!

Adam can’t even bring himself to reply to Brandon’s text. Embarrassment and guilt swirl around his stomach leaving him feeling nauseous and anxious. He keeps telling himself he shouldn’t have done that, shouldn’t have slept with Brandon’s brother.  

He can’t stop thinking about how good it was.

Chris is hot- he’s not blind. And he clearly knows what he’s doing.

But he’s not Brandon. 

He gets another text from Brandon, this one a photo, a selfie of his dumb, gorgeous face. He’s by a river, grey sky in the background. He looks happy. 

Yeah, Adam could never confuse him with his brother.

They beat Dallas in overtime, and then lose to Colorado. They have a four game roadie starting in Florida and ending back in Dallas so he’s home packing before their morning flight out. Sportsnet is talking about Crosby being out for hernia surgery and he’s grabbed his phone before he’s even aware he’s doing it.

Hows crosby doing?  

There’s no immediate response so he goes back to packing, then moves to the kitchen to find something for dinner. He’s got chicken in a pan on the stove when he gets a reply.

The mans gotta have surgery and he’s still super positive. It’s followed quickly by, how are you?? Its been AGES

Adam gnaws at his lip, trying to decide what to say. It doesn’t matter because a moment later his phone has lit up with an incoming call.

“Sorry, I’m driving so this was easier,” the pang of longing that hits him at Brandon’s voice is enough to knock the breath from him. They haven’t spoken on the phone for too long. “And I missed your dumb voice.”

“Man, you’re even more nasally,” Adam chirps back automatically. “Can’t imagine why I miss it.”

“Don’t lie, I’m still your favourite.”

“I dunno, Scheifs took me to that Greek place downtown.”

“Traitor! We were supposed to go there,” he can hear the pout in Brandon’s voice and very carefully doesn’t mention how he isn’t there to go in the first place.

“Next time you’re in town I’ll take you.”

“Counting the days, buddy.” Adam grins down at the stove top like an idiot. “So how was my brother? Was he a dick?”

Adam chokes. 

“What?” 

“Last time we played the Canucks he was an asshole,” Brandon continues like Adam’s heart didn't just stop for a second. What the fuck. “He take it easy on you now that I’m not there for him to pick on?”

Adam bites down on the hysteria that wells up before it can escape. For a second he’d thought- no, nope , he’s not going there.

“He was good,” oh god he’s an idiot.

“I only got to watch the highlights but it looked like you laid out some pretty good hits on him,” Brandon chuckles and Adam hangs his head. He’s in the clear, now he just has to keep breathing to keep from passing out. “I mean, you’re pretty good at taking it too.”

Adam flushes scarlet. 

“My chicken!” He blurts out. “It’s burning! Gotta go, talk to you later!”

And then he hangs up.

His chicken actually is burning, he finds out a moment later when the smell reaches his nose and he manages to put off panicking for the minute it takes to dump the entire pan into the sink.

Pizza, he decides, is perfect to go with his meltdown. 

 

::

 

The pro of being in the league for a few years is that on roadies he can get his own room if he wants. Sometimes he shares with one of the guys, especially if he’s feeling homesick, or they’re pressed for space. He’s shared with Brandon often enough- they’d get room service and stay up watching the worst movie they could find and would inevitably fall asleep before the conclusion. 

They’ve won all their games on the road so far but it’s been a lot of hurry up and wait on buses and planes and airports so when he’s offered his own room in Dallas, he snatches it up. 

They have two nights in Dallas and then a late night flight for another home game before a few days off and Adam is looking forward to the break. He’s got bruises on his chest from a particularly hard boarding and they twinge when he moves a certain way. 

He grabs a shower and towels off, doesn’t bother with clothes as he crawls between the fresh, crisp sheets. He’d texted Brandon a few times before their game against Nashville, getting a thumbs up in response. Adam tries not to be disappointed.

Another message comes through as he’s scrolling through Instagram, trying to get his mind to slow down enough for sleep.

U up?

The contact is one he’s used like, once before and that was just to text Chris his number when they’d hung out at the Tanev cottage over the summer. It’s a bit of a surprise to find him texting him now.

Yeah whats up? He goes back to scrolling through Instagram but doesn’t get very far before another message comes through. 

Thinking about you and then, how tight you were on my cock

Adam flushes, caught off guard by the surge of want that surges through him. He waits but Chris doesn’t send anything else. Waiting for Adam, he realizes a beat later, waiting to see if Adam wants this. 

He should delete the texts, roll over and go to bed. That would probably be the smart thing to do. 

No one’s ever accused Adam of being smart.

You hard?  

Yeah, and then, been thinking about your mouth on my cock too. 

If Adam had any blood left in his head his cheeks would be on fire but as it is, it’s all rushing south at a startling pace. His cock is quickly chubbing up against his thigh, heat pooling in his belly. Fuck it, he thinks and kicks the comforter down the bed. It’s just sexting, it’s not like he’s actually hooking up with Chris again.

Pics or it didnt happen

There’s a pause as he waits for Chris to text back and he settles more firmly into the pillows, wrapping his hand around his cock and fists himself to full hardness. 

A text comes through and Adam scrambles to open it, groaning at the sight. Chris’ cock juts out from his body, broad chest and golden skin. Adam can remember with startling clarity just how good it felt to have it in him. 

Pic? Chris sends and Adam reaches for the bedside lamp to get some better lighting. 

Fck ur hot. It’s pretty clear Chris is down to the use of one hand and the thought that he’s jerking it to a picture of Adam is exhilarating. His cock is leaking spectacularly, easing the glide of his fist as he fucks up into it, eyes on the image Chris had sent him.

Afterwards he takes a photo- his cock softening against his thigh, come across his stomach. He sends it and then gets up to find some tissues to clean up with. 

He comes back to a string of texts.

Ur trying to kill me

Fuck that pic made me come

Didnt know u had it in u lows ;)

Thnx man ttyl

He sends back a quick reply but judging by the silence Chris is fast asleep. Adam crawls between the covers of his hotel bed, tugging the comforter back up. He’s feeling pretty fucking good and exhaustion is tugging at the edges of his mind so it’s easy to slip off to sleep.

 

::

 

December brings with it bitterly cold winds and a foot of snow. His car gives him trouble after the first big drop in temperature and he has to grab a ride with one of the guys. Adam’s used to the cold, from Calgary, to Winnipeg and years of the kind of freeze that can only come from the Prairies in Canada. A few of the guys aren’t, especially the rookies who show up to the rink wearing twelve layers and looking miserable. 

The look will fade, given the chance and enough time spent in Winnipeg. The place is beautiful in the winter, like something out of a fantasy novel with its frozen lakes and frost curling delicately across storefront windows, and it’s easy to ignore the weather trying to give you frostbite in the face of it all.

There’s a pretty bad snow storm overnight, closing down the city and snowing them all in. Adam deals with it by putting on his thickest socks and fuzzy sweater that come to think of it, probably belongs to Mark.

His car’s under three feet of snow and practice is cancelled so he has nothing to do but curl up with blankets and hot chocolate, ready for a Netflix binge and naps. 

His phone starts ringing about five minutes into Sabrina and pausing the show, he grabs it without looking.

“‘Lo?”

“Heard you got some snow.” A smile spreads its way across Adam’s face at the familiar nasal voice. “You alright?”

“Like a little snow could stop me.”

“Hot chocolate and Netflix, right?” Brandon guesses and Adam laughs.

“You forgot the blankets.”

Brandon lets out a sigh that Adam tries not to read into.

“Man, that sounds amazing right now.”

“Pittsburgh getting lots of snow?”

“This place shuts down for ten centimeters,” Brandon whines and Adam has to bite his lip to keep from laughing again. “So many mountains and hills man, you can’t get your car up them. Sid lives up on the mountain and I swear he like, skiis to get around or something because it never stops him.” 

“Maybe he toboggans?” 

Brandon makes a considering sound.

“It’s that or he really is Santa and he’s using his reindeer to get around.”

“How long has Crosby been Santa?” 

“It’s for this Christmas video we’re doing,” Brandon laughs. “You’ll see it soon enough.”  

“Gonna show it to me when you come over?” He teases. The tell tale silence on the other end is enough to sour his good mood. “You’re not coming, are you?”

“I want to!” Brandon assures him. “But mom and dad are flying out to Vancouver for our game against the Canucks and it sounds like we’re doing Christmas out there. Sorry,” he adds, lamely.

“It’s fine,” Adam grips his hot chocolate a little tighter and wishes it was something stronger. “Don’t worry about it, there’s always, like, the break or something right?” 

“You could come join us in Vancouver!” Adam splutters but Brandon ignores it, warming quickly to the idea. “I mean, you know my parents love you, and you know Chris already,” Adam wants to smother himself with a couch cushion. 

“I’m not crashing your Christmas.”

“We’re not even doing presents or anything big, just hanging out,” Brandon pleads. “It’d be awesome to see you!” He nearly says yes, just from that. “You weren’t heading home anyways, right?”

“I’m spending it with Scheif,” he blurts out. 

“Oh,” Brandon says, sounding suddenly subdued. “Since when?”

“A few weeks ago,” he lies and makes a mental note to phone Mark as soon as he gets off the phone with Brandon. They don’t even have to get together, Adam is totally okay with hanging out in his pajamas at home, ordering delivery. “Sorry, must have forgotten to mention it.”

“No worries.”

“You sure?” Brandon sounds off. Guilt gnaws at him. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go- it’s that Brandon’s going to take one look at Adam and just know somehow that he slept with his brother. He’d rather not come home with a black eye.

“Yeah, wish you were coming but it’s cool,” he promises. “You’ll have to break the news to Chris though, I think he was hoping you’d come visit too.” Humor creeps into his voice but Adam is too busy freaking out to pay it much mind. 

“That’s cause you suck at CHEL,” he manages to chirp, mostly on autopilot. 

“Oh, fuck you- you cheat!”

“Lies and slander,” with Brandon it’s easy to regain his footing, falling back into the conversation. More than once he almost opens his mouth, offer to fly out to Vancouver. It’s great hearing Brandon’s voice, finally managing to connect when it feels like they barely speak anymore- but being able to see him, touch him? 

They hang up an hour later and Adam sends a quick text to Mark detailing what he’s told Brandon. Then he sets his phone on silent and gets back to Sabrina.

 

::

 

Mark shows up Christmas eve and refuses to leave. 

“You said we were spending Christmas together,” he says stubbornly when Adam lets him in. He’s carrying shopping bags, his duffle slung over his shoulder. It looks like he’s not going anywhere for awhile.

“It’s not even Christmas.” 

“It’s Christmas eve,” Mark starts unloading a variety of tupperware, shoving shit around in Adam’s fridge until there's space. “Gotta start celebrating!”

“I regret so much,” Adam mutters, vaguely appeased when Mark hands over a container full of apparently fresh baked brownies. “Where did you get all this? You don’t even cook.”

It makes him miss Brandon, miss watching him bake and his attempts to teach Adam. He lets the thought linger for a moment and then pushes it aside with the first bite of the soft brownie.

“This cool diner downtown- I placed the order when you said you’d told Rusty you had plans.”

“Yeah, but that was a lie.”

“Now it’s not,” Mark grins at him. “Now pull out your onesie and find us a movie to watch! We’ve got enough food here to last us at least until boxing day.”

They spend a pretty uneventful evening watching the first two Fast and Furious movies and stuffing their faces and only turn in when Mark starts insisting Santa won’t come if they’re still awake. Adam rolls his eyes but heads to his room to leave Mark to whatever sneaky shit he’s planning on pulling.

There’s a text waiting for him as he crawls into bed. His stomach gives a pleasant swoop at the contact.

Too bad you couldnt make it was gonna give you the room next to mine.

So I could listen to you snore all night? 

LOL, Chris sends back, and then, so i could sneak in and blow you after everyone went to bed

Well that’s a mental image.

Thinking about sucking ur cock right now  

Adam lets out a groan of frustration and shoves his boxers down, wrapping a hand around himself.

Christmas morning comes far too early- Mark banging on his door and demanding he get up. Adam could ignore him and would, except the mouth watering smell of bacon has reached him and he’s rolling out of bed before his brain has caught up with the rest of him.

It should be a surprise to find Blake manning the stove in his kitchen, Santa hat resting at a jaunty angle on his head. It’s not though. 

“Morning,” he greets, accepting the steaming mug Mark hands him and eyeing his smug grin. “Santa had better not have come in my spare room last night.” 

Blake snorts. Mark pastes on his most innocent smile which is absolute bull shit. He’s going to have to burn his sheets. 

Kyle and Connor show up after lunch bearing gifts and booze and they quickly open the latter as Scrooged plays on tv. 

Brandon facetimes him just before dinner when the guys are well on their way to truly sloshed and Adam probably gives him too many close ups of his nose before passing his phone around so Brandon can say hi to all the guys. 

“Glad you’re having a good Christmas, babe.”  

‘Babe?” Mark mouths at him with a grin. He flips him off.

“How’s yours been? Do anything special?” 

“Nah, Kyle has mostly been AWOL and Chris is being lazy, but he’s got this awesome rink out back that we’re gonna play some shinny on when the other guys get here.” His expression is fond, a little wistful when he says, “Wish you could see it, you’d love it.”

Adam’s chest goes a little tight and he bites his lip feeling unsteady.

“I miss you,” he blurts out. Brandon’s smile sweetens. 

“Miss you too. Can’t wait to show you around Pittsburgh.”

“They’re actually worse than when they were on the same team,” Kyle stage whispers. 

“Fuck off Kyle,” Brandon calls out. Adam settles for hitting him with a throw pillow. There’s a heart stopping moment where the pillow bounces off of Kyles face and nearly knocks over the open bottle of whiskey but Connor makes an amazing save and not a drop is spilled. 

“Brandon, the guys are here, get your ass moving,”   Chris appears in the background, perking up when he sees that he’s on the phone. Adam flushes and hopes like hell no one notices. “Hey Lowry,” he greets, calm and casual and Adam relaxes a little. Then, “sleep well?”

Adam chokes but Brandon, thank fuck , doesn’t notice, too busy trying to chase his brother away. Mark starts a slow clap.

“I’m going to kill you,” he hisses and Mark starts laughing. The rest of the room is still looking lost.

“Hey, I gotta go but I’ll text you later?” Brandon recaptures his attention, as easily as ever. Adam nods eagerly. “Don’t let the guys talk you into anything I wouldn’t do.”

“Remember the time you tried to climb the outside of the arena?” Adam feels compelled to point out. “Or the time in Walmart where you thought you could juggle jars of pickles and nearly took out that innocent old lady?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“But-”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about! Bye!”

Adam’s left grinning down at his screen as Brandon quickly disconnects. 

“So are they sleeping together yet, or…?” Kyle asks and Mark bursts out laughing.

Adam needs better friends.

 

::

 

Mid January they play the Canucks again. The second in a short string of home games, Adam spends the day before telling himself he’s not going to clean his apartment because he’s not going to invite Chris back to his place. Instead he plays a few rounds of Mario Kart, watches an episode of Sabrina and then gets up to make lunch. 

The kitchen is kind of messy so he tidies a little as he makes a quesadilla, and then tidies up after that. But that’s it! He eats in the living room, another episode up, but he can’t focus because the coffee table is covered in junk and the recliner is piling up with laundry he’s supposed to be folding, so he takes care of that, because he’s been meaning to get around to it. That’s all. 

Okay, but his sheets haven’t been changed in ages and he’s jerked off how many times lately? So he has to change his sheets before bed and really that’s just helping himself- he loves sliding between fresh sheets, always loves that part of roadtrips, the cool, crisp sheets in the hotel room.

So his apartment is a little cleaner before he crawls between his lovely, clean sheets, but that’s just because he’s been putting it off for so long. He’s adulting. That’s all. 

Again, he doesn’t get to see Chris before the game but that’s probably for the best considering how fucking flustered he managed to make Adam with just one question the last time they spoke.

They get a shutout which is exhilarating after their last two losses. Connor is floating on cloud nine, the locker room a riot of sounds as the celebrations are just beginning. They have two days off and they finally feel like they’re back in the race, so the guys all agree to meet up at the bar in a little over an hour. 

Adam is buzzing when he gets out, ready to run home, get changed and meet up with the guys.

“Was wondering when you’d finish in there,” Chris startles him, falling into step next to him. He’s got his hands shoved in his pockets, a permanent air of casualness about him that draws Adam in. 

“I thought your flight out was tonight?” He blurts out. Chris grins at him.

“Don’t have to be on the bus for another hour.” His smile takes on a sharper edge. “I was hoping you’d have an idea for how to pass the time.”

This is how Adam finds himself in a fucking storage closet, pants bunched around his ankles and two fingers in his ass as Chris sucks him off.

He has a hand clamped firmly over his mouth, trying to muffle his whines as Chris stretches him, shoving his fingers in to the furthest knuckle and swallowing him down. His cock bumps the back of Chris’ throat and he has to squeeze his eyes shut, body shaking with the effort to hold still. The slick, obscene sounds of his mouth on his cock fill the small space, making everything seem amplified ten fold. It had become pretty apparent that Chris had planned this when he’d produced a small packet of lube shortly after shoving Adam inside.

He takes his time, movements slow and lazy like he isn’t on a time limit, apparently determined to drive Adam fucking crazy with the way he bobs his head and runs his tongue along the underside of his cock. With the dim light slipping in from under the door, Adam can just make out the vague shape of him, can almost see the obscene way his cock slips between his lips. He wishes he could see more but he’s frozen, unable to move for fear of coming, and he knows if he finds the light switch, is able to actually see Chris on his knees, it will be over far too quickly. 

Cool air hits him as Chris pulls off, switches to using his free hand to jack him off lazily. His bones feel molten, heat coiling in his stomach tighter and tighter.

“You need four?” Chris’ voice is wrecked. There’s no way his teammates aren’t going to know what he’s been doing. The thought that everyone he talks to is going to know he was sucking Adam’s cock sends a thrill through him and he has to bite at his palm to keep his groan in. “Hey.”

It takes him a second to piece together what Chris has asked him and then he’s shaking his head no, suddenly desperate to get Chris’ cock in him. Chris chuckles, nips at his hip and then carefully pulls his fingers out.

Adam awkwardly gets turned around, pants trying to trip him up. He arches his back, ignoring the blush and the embarrassment at how easy he is for it, how he must look. There’s the crinkle of a wrapper and then Chris’ soft groan.

A moment later the head of his cock, feeling hard and huge, nudges between his cheeks. Chris sinks in easily, the way eased by the extra lube he’d apparently taken the time to coat his cock in. Adam groans as he bottoms out and has to turn his head, presses his teeth into his forearm to keep the rest of his moans from escaping. 

Chris’ hands fall to his hips, holding him steady as he starts an easy, slow grind that lights Adam up from the inside out. His cock sets alight Adam’s nerves, has him panting in no time at all. He barely pulls out, wraps an arm around Adam’s waist and presses his chest to his back as he moves his hips, determined to drive him crazy.

“You’re gonna come like this,” Chris nips at his ear, his neck. His hand slides down and cups Adam’s balls, rolling them. Adam’s already nodding, ready to agree to anything so long as he gets to come. “Gonna come all over my cock. C’mon, show me how good you are.” 

He gives Adam a few good strokes and Adam comes with a muffled wail.

Chris is considerate enough to catch it, hand cupped around the head of his cock to keep him from painting his dress shirt or the wall. Adam’s still trying to catch his breath, feeling boneless when Chris starts to pull out.

“No,” he reaches back and grabs Chris’ hip before he can overthink it. “Keep going. It’s okay.”

Chris lets out a groan, forehead pressed to the back of Adam’s neck.

“You’re trying to kill me,” he mutters, then sets about chasing his own orgasm.

It doesn’t take much, a few minutes of short, hard thrusts that leave Adam feeling used and his cock trying valiantly to get into the game again, before he comes, stilling, buried balls deep in Adam. 

They have to turn the light on to get cleaned up and Adam is blinking away spots even as he’s tugging his pants back up. He winces, a little sore, but nothing he isn’t going to enjoy feeling in the coming days.

Chris has wiped his hand off on a rag, tossing it out of sight for some poor unsuspecting person to find later. They’re both rumpled- Adam’s got creases in his pants that nothing short of dry cleaning will get out- and if the flush on Chris’ cheeks and tangled hair is anything to go by, Adam can only imagine it’s going to be obvious to anyone looking what happened here.

“Is this a thing?” He wonders, aloud.

Chris, trying to smooth out his hair, pauses to give him a questioning look.

“Do you want it to be a thing?”

“No,” Adam denies quickly. “I mean, no offense.”

“None taken,” Chris laughs. “You’re fun, but I wasn’t looking for, like, a relationship.”

“Oh thank god,” Adam sags against the wall, a little light headed. “Cause I’m kind of really into your brother.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Chris rolls his eyes. “You two are not subtle at all. But it does beg the question, why are you in a closet with me and not being disgustingly happy and married with him.”

“He’s straight.” 

Chris gives him a look like he’s an idiot. Considering he’s had the guys cock in him within the last ten minutes, it’s a little offensive.

“He’s really not. No wonder you two can’t get your shit together,” he grumbles. He gives Adam a thorough glance over and proclaims him ready to venture back out as though he hasn’t just rocked Adam’s world.

They crack the door open but the hallway looks clear so they head out, round the corner and almost literally run into Hughes. The younger defenseman looks startled to see them. His eyes go from their rumpled appearances, to Chris’ swollen lips, to the bite high on Adam’s neck. His eyes go wide, cheeks flushing adorably.

“What's up?” Chris sounds so nonchalant that Hughes looks to be questioning what he’s seeing.

“Um,” he glances between the two of them again. “I was just looking for you, the bus is heading out soon.”

“Thanks kid,” Chris tosses an arm across his shoulders, holding out his free hand for a fist bump. “Good to see you Adam.”

“Yeah,” Adam watches, fascinated as Hughes blush darkens considerably as he’s manhandled against Chris’ side. He bumps fists and watches them go on their way. Hughes keeps glancing at Chris, expression curious- he wonders if Chris notices. 

 

::

 

First period against the Blackhawks and he’s fucking blindsided .

He heads down the tunnel, already knowing something isn’t right - that the pain in his chest is worse than any bruises he might get. They send him for X-rays pretty quickly, one of the trainers taking him to the hospital. It confirms what he already knows- he’s out for a while. 

It’s not quite a break, but his ribs are definitely badly cracked and instead of heading with the guys to Carolina, he’ll be heading home.

Flying with fucked up ribs is terrible. They’ve given him some pretty good meds to help with the pain but it’s still uncomfortable as hell. To make matters worse he’s not flying on the team plane- so while he’s in ‘business class’ he still doesn’t have the space that private jets afford to spread out. He spends the flight trying to get comfortable, his frame just big enough that he can’t sprawl his legs out like he normally does, and somehow with the space between them, the business man next to him still manages to bump and jostle Adam every time he thinks he’s managed to find a spot he can manage.

It doesn’t help that they lost to the fucking Hawks.

The guys keep him up to date via the group chat, sending him memes and well wishes and chirps when he complains about being stuck in Winnipeg. His first few days at home are spent sulking, binging Netflix and counting down the hours between painkillers since it’s impossible to get comfortable. 

He’s tired and cranky, spamming everyone’s phones for attention because to make matters worse he’s so fucking bored.

The Jets lose first to the Hurricanes and then the Blue Jackets and Adam’s left feeling like he should have been there, like he let his team down. Some of the boys make noise about heading back to Winnipeg, but it’s the start of the Bye week and a lot of them are heading out of town. Adam had thought, in passing, about catching a flight to Pittsburgh, bugging Brandon until he got fed up and sent him home. He hadn’t actually bought the ticket yet, unsure of how welcome his presence would be; his ribs make it pretty clear he’s not going anywhere. Hanging out on the couch hurts, he’s not hopping on another fucking plane, no matter how much he misses the guy.

It’s really tempting though.

Mark’s headed straight to St. Louis with Connor and Kyle’s off to Florida to burn like the ginger he is, so Adam resigns himself to a week of rewatching Nailed It!  

Two days into his self imposed exile, he opens his door to find Brandon on his front steps.

“What the fuck?” He says succinctly.

“Surprise?” Brandon shrugs and doesn’t actually let Adam recover from his shock before he’s in his space, arms wrapped carefully around his waist in a gentle hug. For this at least, Adam doesn’t have to think, just wraps his arms around Brandon’s shoulders, surprise melting away in the face of elation welling up inside of him. He squeezes tighter than he should, wincing as his ribs scream at him, but when Brandon tries to pull back he holds on stubbornly. He’s not entirely sure he isn’t dreaming this. 

“This mean you’re happy to see me?” Brandon asks his shoulder and Adam laughs, cheek pressed against his neck where his skin is cool from the brisk January air. It reminds him that it is winter in Winnipeg, the snow still a foot deep, even worse out front of his place where he hasn’t been able to shovel in days , and they’re letting all the heat out.

“You have no idea,” he pulls back, but only far enough to let Brandon in. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Brandon drops his duffle in the hall, kicking off his boots and hanging up his coat before he ushers Adam back towards the living room and the nest he’s made of the couch in an attempt to find a position that doesn’t bother his ribs.

“Thought maybe you’d like some company for the week,” he says, gently urging Adam back into the pile of blankets. “And I was getting all the whining anyways, figured I might as well experience it in person.”

Adam flips him off but Brandon just laughs. He ducks out of the room to the kitchen and Adam is left by himself for the moment. It all feels a little surreal. He pinches himself quickly but nope, it hurts, he’s awake and Brandon is here.

He’s suddenly, startling aware of the fact that he hasn’t showered in what feels like ages. He takes a quick sniff of his armpit, making a face. He’s impressed Brandon managed to hug him that long if he smells like this.

“You’re showering after lunch,” Adam startles, guilty, as Brandon reappears with two bottles of Gatorade from the fridge. His stomach rumbles loudly at the mention of lunch. Brandon rolls his eyes, passing one bottle to Adam, setting the other on the coffee table. “Your fridge is basically empty; how have you managed to survive without me?”

“Not a clue,” he answers, perhaps a tad too honestly. Brandon watches him, probably looking for the joke there. Predictably he doesn’t find it; he clears his throat, cheeks pinking, gaze going around the room instead. 

“This place is a mess.”

“Kinda hard to pick up after myself when I can’t bend over.” 

There’s a sweater on the floor by the armchair he’d been trying to get to yesterday but his reach is crappy when he can’t bend and he’d had to settle with wrapping up in a blanket, glowering at the sweater just out of reach. It’s not like he hadn’t tried picking up after himself- okay, he really hadn’t tried that hard either- but it’s hard when your body’s out to get you.

“I’m honestly impressed that you’re dressed.”

“It’s too cold for just boxers,” he admits. It’s the only reason he’s got the sweats and zippered sweater on now. Socks had been too difficult so he’s had blankets curled around his toes all morning. 

Brandon gives him a terribly fond smile and Adam feels his chest go tight. He grins back and it’s like all of the distance between them over the past few months has been erased, washed away like it was never there. 

With what he does have in his kitchen, Brandon makes him canned chowder, before ducking out to the closest grocery store. He comes back an hour later, arms laden down with enough food to keep Adam fed for a month.

“You’re exaggerating,” Brandon says as he puts a second loaf of bread in the freezer. There’s a third on the counter to be used for breakfast the following morning. Vegetables that Adam can’t even name get placed in the crisper, and like, four different types of cheese on the shelf. He spots some familiar ingredients, lighting up. Brandon’s cookies- the perfect comfort food. 

He gets everything put away and then steers Adam towards the bathroom. 

“Need any help?” He eyes Adam’s hair- which must be leaning towards greasy rats nest. Adam flushes, ducking through the door. Truth is he probably could use some help with his hair but the idea of having Brandon in there with him is...a lot.

“I’m good!”

“Okay,” Brandon gives him a dubious look but lets him close the door. “Holler if you need anything!”

Adam presses his hands to his face and tries to calm his racing heart. The guy offers to help him out and he loses it. They must have been apart too long if he can’t keep a straight face around him.

“I don’t hear water!” Adam startles so hard he nearly falls. 

“Fuck off!” He calls back, beginning the arduous task of undressing. He can hear Brandon’s snort of laughter through the door, then the soft tread of his feet as he moves away. 

Showering is a bitch and he seriously regrets having shelves high up but he does feel a million times better after. Brandon shows up long enough to pass him clean sweats and make sure he doesn’t need a hand. The familiar, delicious smell of baking wafts in through the crack in the door bringing with it the comfort of past memories of the two of them, with hours ahead of them where they have nothing else to do but be around one another. 

He maybe hurries to get dressed, even manages to get his feet into thick wool socks he didn’t know he owned. Brandon’s tidying the kitchen when Adam emerges, the timer set on the oven for ten minutes and a fresh baked tray of cookies cooling on the counter. 

He tries to sneak over but Brandon spots him immediately, swatting at him.

“They came out two minutes ago,” he shoos Adam away. “You’re gonna burn your mouth.”

“Worth it,” he insists stubbornly. He can’t remember the last time he had one of Brandon’s cookies.

Brandon doesn’t relent but he does let Adam dish out the next batch of dough onto the trays- trays he’d bought ages ago with the vague idea that maybe they could try this at his place- and he manages to sneak some cookie dough when Brandon’s not looking.

Brandon cooks them dinner later, and then they put on a movie. Adam’s pills make him a little sleepy but he’s not ready to turn in yet, some part of him still afraid that this is all a vivid dream. Brandon runs a critical eye over the couch, then sets about arranging the pillows, blankets, and Adam to his satisfaction. He ends up propped against Brandon’s side, pillows surrounding them, a blanket thrown over him. For the first time in days he’s able to relax, Brandon easily taking his weight and providing the support he needs. He drowses, head coming to rest on Brandon’s shoulder, the heat of his body seeping into sore, strained muscles. He misses most of the movie, is only vaguely aware of sounds, but they seem to come from miles away, unable to reach him where he’s cocooned safely in Brandon’s hold. 

 

::

 

Brandon takes him to his doctor's appointments, to the park when he’s going stir crazy, to visit a few of the guys who are still in town. He doesn’t seem to mind the cranky moods Adam slips into when he’s tired and sore, worn down and facing weeks without something he needs like breathing. Two things, when he’s feeling maudlin and sorry for himself.

Friday night they watch the skills competition, chirping the guys, shouting at the screen when Marner is robbed of the Shooting Stars skill set. They place bets on the fastest skater and Adam loses fifty bucks betting McDavid will take the title again. 

They bum around Saturday, playing COD until Adam needs to take the pressure off his ribs, and they lay down (separately, unfortunately) until dinner. The games are a blast to watch, especially after the first round when suddenly all of the teams are taking it seriously. He laughs himself silly, or at least until his ribs protest, at Tkachuk and Draisaitl on a line. 

The remaining days of the Bye week pass by in a blur. Brandon spends it parked in the kitchen, intent on stocking him up with meals he can heat up later, or curled up on the couch with Adam, an arm tossed casually around his shoulders. 

Listen, he knows the careful way Brandon lets him rest against his side is just for his ribs, there really aren’t many comfortable ways to relax these days, but it doesn’t stop the warmth that spreads through him at the contact or the fond smile it earns him when he just goes with it.

Hey, he gets the text tuesday night, propped up by a million pillows in bed, tired but still too wound up to fall asleep. Howre u doing?

Sore lol , he sends back and thumbs through Instagram while he waits.

I could help u relax

It’s like a pavlovian response, the way heat flares in is gut. It’s quickly extinguished a moment later when he remembers who piled up the millions of pillows behind him.

Not a chance. Ur brother is here!

Barely a minute later his phone is ringing. He answers it quickly, the sound loud in the quiet of the room.

“Did you two finally get your shit together?”

“Keep it down!” He hisses, glancing at the door. He strains his ears but can’t make out anything but the sound of Chris on the other end of the line. “And no- there’s nothing to sort out.”

“Clearly there is if he’s staying at your place and not in your bed,” Adam can hear Chris judging him. “Is there a reason you haven’t jumped his bones yet?”

“For a guy I’ve hooked up with, you’re weirdly invested in this,” he feels the need to point out. It’s weird talking to Chris about this- in part because he’s sucked the guys dick but also because it’s Brandon’s brother.  

His life is a mess.

There’s a sound from the hall and he freezes, breath caught in his chest.

“Just because you have terrible taste in guys doesn’t mean I’m not invested in yours and my brothers happiness, as disgusting as you two are,” Chris continues, unaware of Adam’s mini panic attack. “You’re a good guy, Lowry, and I actually kind of consider you a friend.”

“Gee thanks,” he snarks back, heart rate slowing a little when the sound doesn’t repeat itself. Brandon’s still sound asleep, Adam’s just getting paranoid in his old age. “Do you blow your friends a lot?”

“Wow, someone’s in a mood,” Chris laughs and Adam winces. 

“Sorry, just stressed. About sitting out the month.”

“And Brandon,” Chris guesses. Adam doesn’t dignify that with a reply. “Okay, changing the subject I guess.”

“Thanks,”

“Is my brother treating you right? Waiting on you hand and foot?”

“I’m hanging up!”

“You’re injured, Lows, take advantage of it!”

Adam hangs up to the sound of Chris’ laughter.

 

::

 

“So uh,” Adam’s halfway through a stack of the fluffiest pancakes he’s ever had when Brandon broaches the topic. “I heard you on the phone last night.”

Adam chokes around a mouthful. 

It takes a minute of coughing to get all of the crumbs out, eyes streaming, chugging his water as Brandon looks on, half out of his seat, alarmed. He waves him back once he’s certain he’s not going to be a headline on the evening news: Injured hockey player chokes to death on pancakes. Missed by lineys but coach says the season will go on.

It’s better than what’s sure to be coming next.

“Um,” he manages, as eloquent as ever. Fuck, did he say Chris’ name last night? He’s a dead man.

“Sorry,” Brandon refills his water, looking weirdly earnest for a guy that heard him talking to his brother about blowjobs. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.”

“Why aren’t you freaking out?” 

Brandon frowns. 

“I’m not an asshole.” This conversation is not going the way he expected it to. “Like, I know I’m not always the easiest to get a hold of, but we’re still friends, man. And it’d be pretty fucking hypocritical of me to give you shit over this.”

Adam can safely say he’s both touched and really fucking confused.  

“Thanks?”

“I just wanted to say, uh, me too.” 

“You too what?”

Brandon gives him a look like he’s being dense on purpose. Considering how long they’ve known each other, he should know by now it’s not. 

“I’m gay.” Adam’s pretty sure his heart has stopped. “I don’t go around announcing it or anything but I probably should have mentioned it sooner. I’m sorry if you felt like you had to hide that part of yourself around me.”

“Chris told me,” he blurts out because he is a giant fucking moron.

“Chris?”

“I didn’t believe him.” He hurries on before Brandon can ask why he was talking to Chris about his sexuality. “Uh, good to know. Me too.” 

The look on Brandon’s face is a weird mix of fond and exasperated. Adam’s not really sure how to take that. Something occurs to him.

“What about the girls you’ve dated?”

“What?” Brandon lets out a startled laugh.

“What about that guys cousin? Uh, Dumolin.” He presses. Purely out of curiosity. 

“What about her?” 

“I mean, didn’t you date her?” Brandon’s eyebrows shoot up.

“She’s nine. When did I even mention her?” Adam’s digging his own grave, one sentence at a time. “So you know, just for the record,” Brandon says with a kind of forced casualness, his gaze studiously trained on his untouched glass of orange juice. “I haven’t been dating anyone- I’m not dating anyone.” 

“Oh.” Adam’s hands feel clammy. He wipes them on his sweats. “Um same.”

“What about your buddy?” Brandon’s mouth twists. Adam spends a moment staring at it, wracking his brain for which buddy Brandon could be talking about. “The guy you’re hooking up with.” He prompts, looking incredibly uncomfortable.

Adam’s trying not to read into it, but like, it’s really hard not to.

“Just a casual thing,” he finds himself reassuring him, pleased at the way Brandon seems to lighten up when he says, “it’s over anyways.”

It’s an impulse to say it, doesn’t realize he means it until the words are out of his mouth. Sleeping with Chris was fun, but in the end it’s not what he wants.

“Sorry about that, man.” He says, sounding the exact opposite of sorry.

“It was just for fun.”

“Anyone I know?” Brandon looks like he regrets asking immediately after. Adam’s too busy riding the wave of relief that Brandon hasn’t figured it out, isn’t biding his time before he murders Adam for hooking up with his brother, to really enjoy it. His silence is apparently enough of a give away. Brandon jumps on it. “Who was it?” Adam pushes to his feet, wincing as he moves too quickly, but eager to escape the conversation. “Adam. Adam, come on, you can tell me!”

Things don’t change. 

He feels like they should, after the conversation. Like, he can’t be imagining the interest there, the way Brandon had reacted to Adam with some unnamed guy. But Brandon is the same as always- attentive, physical. He has to fly out Thursday morning to prepare for a home game the following day, but he spends his remaining time hovering around Adam the way he has for the past week. They curl up on the couch, Brandon supporting him in a way he’s sorely going to miss when it’s just him alone again with his millions of pillows, binging old episodes of Nailed It. He has a running commentary on what they’re doing wrong and Adam throws in his two cents when he recognizes something. It’s comforting, disgustingly domestic, and the best he’s felt in months.

So of course it has to end.

“Call me and let me know how it goes with the doctor on Monday, okay?” There’s an Uber outside, Brandon’s duffel by their feet, and his plane leaving in a few hours but Brandon doesn’t seem to be in any great hurry to leave.

Adam can’t say he’s in a hurry to see him go.

“I promise, mom.”  

Brandon rolls his eyes, lips quirked. Adam wants to reach out and trace it with his fingers and then his mouth. He keeps his hands shoved deep in his pockets to help resist the temptation. 

“Someone’s gotta look after you, since Kyle hasn’t been,” he casts a sly glance at Adam.

“I didn’t have sex with Kyle.”

Brandon scowls. “I’m gonna figure it out. Connor?” 

He hopes like hell Brandon doesn’t figure it out. He’s been throwing guesses Adam’s way since their conversation in the hopes that something sticks. He’s starting to wonder why Brandon is so determined to find out who it was. 

He has to tell himself firmly not to get his hopes up too high.

“I’m not telling you,” he laughs. “And you’d better get moving before your ride leaves without you.”

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Brandon accuses but humor colours his tone, his eyes sparkling.

“I’d keep you here if I could,” he promises. Brandon’s smile turns soft, fond. He leans in and Adam freezes, eyes wide as he brushes his lips against Adam’s cheek, soft enough that he could have imagined the whole thing if not for the dark blush staining Brandon’s cheeks when he pulls back. His skin feels hot where Brandon kissed him. 

“I’ll text you from the airport,” Brandon clears his throat, grabbing his duffle. “Don’t forget to call on Monday!” He calls over his shoulder as he hurries down the front steps, leaving Adam frozen in place. 

 

::

 

“He kissed me.”

“Who? Chris?” 

Adam slaps a hand over Mark’s mouth, casting a wary glance around but it’s pretty clear the other guys are ignoring them. It’s a house party at Blake’s, welcoming them all back, and they’re tucked out of the way on the loveseat. Adam’s been drinking San Pellegrino all night because of the pills he’s on and Mark had been doing the same in support until about half an hour ago when the rookies had started shots. A little alcohol went a long way in loosening his lips. 

“That’s over,” he hisses. Nik gives them an odd look as he goes by but they just wave him off. 

“That’s what you said last time,” Mark points out. 

“Brandon heard me talking to Chris,” he groans. Mark nearly spits out his beer. It’s disgusting. “So trust me, it’s over. I don’t need that heart attack again.”

“So he knows?” He pauses. “Were you two having, like, phone sex, or…?”

“Just talking!” He’s quick to throw out, stopping whatever disturbing train of thought Mark might be following. “And uh, he doesn’t know who I was talking to. Just that we’d hooked up.”

“Wow.” Mark leans back, scratching idly at the label on his bottle. “Your life is kind of like a terrible soap opera, isn’t it?”

Adam can’t even protest the description. 

“He keeps trying to guess who it is,” Mark laughs himself silly at this. “Fuck off, the last thing I need is for him to figure it out.”

“If I didn’t know any better I’d say our boy is a little jealous,” humor makes his eyes crinkle. Adam kind of wants to hit him. “Wait,” he sobers suddenly, sitting forwards and into Adam’s space, startling him. “Is that who kissed you?”

“On the cheek!” 

The glee that spreads across Marks face is terrifying.

“So when are you going to make your move?” He demands, settling his bottle on the floor. It gives him the freedom to wave his hands around in a way that he only seems to do when he’s emotionally invested in something. Adam’s wishing for a shot of something strong.

“I’m not?”

“Why?” Mark demands, dumbfounded. “He made his.”

“No he didn’t.”

“Ah right I forgot, you guys go around kissing each other all the time.” Mark rolls his eyes so hard it must hurt. Adam flips him off.

“Hey,” Blake swings by, depositing a beer in Mark’s hand. 

“Thanks babe.” Adam makes gagging sounds. “Like you’re any better.” 

Adam tries to convey just how much pain he’ll inflict if Mark says another word with their Captain around but Blake kind of blows that idea out of the water with, 

“Oh, did something happen with Rusty finally?”

“I hate you both.” 

“He made a move.”

“Who, Lows?” The look of surprise on Blakes face is really quite offensive. Honestly. 

“Brandon.” 

“Wow.” Blake takes a sip of his own beer, his free hand coming to rest on the back of Mark’s neck, thumb stroking slowly along the bared skin there. Mark leans easily into the touch, like it’s second nature by now. Adam tells himself it’s not jealousy of the casual intimacy that turns his stomach sour. “Honestly was beginning to think the two of you would never work it out.”

“It’s a work in progress.” Mark murmurs. “I’ll tell you later.”

“You will not.”  

The pair give him a look like he should know better by now. He sighs, resigning himself to his fate. Gossiped about by his Captain and A. 

“Can I at least have your beer?”

“No,” they both say in unison. 

“But I’ll find you a coke,” Blake adds kindly enough. 

“Hey, Lowry,” Laurent joins them, cheeks pink and drink in hand. He’s swaying a little- Adam wants whatever he’s having. “Why’s Tanev asking if we hooked up?”

Adam grabs the nearest throw pillow to smother himself with as Mark and Blake laugh uproariously, startling everyone around them.

 

::

 

“You’re doing it wrong.”

“I’m just doing what the instructions are telling me!” He freezes where he’d been about to dump his dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. “ And you. I thought this was all that was left to do.”

“You can’t just dump it in,” Brandon rolls his eyes. His own kitchen is pretty clean compared to the mess that Adam’s made of his. He’d tried to mimic Brandon’s set up as best he could when they first started these little Skype baking classes ( dates, Mark insisted gleefully), had even gone out and gotten himself his own Kitchenaid stand mixer (blue of course) and promptly fallen in love with it. Somehow, despite the similarities in their kitchens, Adam’s always manages to look like a tornado ripped through it by the end. 

“A little at a time,” Brandon is saying, demonstrating on his end. Adam watches carefully, probably a little too closely at the way his biceps flex in the grey t-shirt he has on, or the smear of flour across his cheek. He’d thought about telling Brandon about it earlier, but he’s really been enjoying the view. It’s just so ridiculously endearing.

He surreptitiously snatches a screenshot while Brandon is distracted, but the look he sends him tells him he’s busted.

“Do you want your cookies to turn out evenly or what?”

“Yes sir!” Adam snaps off a sloppy salute and sets about mimicking Brandon as best he can. He does get to dump in the chocolate chips after to his glee, chirping Brandon as they scoop out their cookies.

“A giant cookie is going to take forever to bake,” Brandon warns him, laughing at his attempt to make a big pancake shaped cookie. 

“But it’ll be delicious.”

“Size isn’t everything,” Adam chokes on his laughter. Brandon angles his tray towards the screen. “See all of these normal, average sized cookies? You don’t need a giant cookie to feel full when you’ve got one that’s made well.”

“Oh my god, you fucking nerd,” he’s a confusing mix of turned on and entertained but he scrunches up his massive cookie into a ball and sets about making smaller, more normal sizes. “Why do I put up with you again?”

“Because you love me,” comes the prompt reply but it sucks all of the air out of his lungs. He’s left staring down at the dough, cheeks burning, any witty reply stuck in his throat. He can’t even hide because his Ipad is open and facing him and he’s going to, what? Duck under the counter until he can catch his breath? “Adam?”

His voice is quiet, tentative, but it’s enough to get Adam’s brain to restart.

“How long do these things go in again?” He keeps his head down, clatters the tray around as he opens the oven and a wall of heat hits him.

“Twelve minutes.” He chances a glance up at the screen to find Brandon watching him, a strange expression on his face. He puts the cookies in and sets the timer. He can hear beeping from Brandon’s end- he’s putting his own cookies in, hopefully giving Adam an out for his weird behaviour. 

“I don’t wanna wait twelve minutes,” he whines- hey, fake it till you make it, right? Everything is fine. “I’m hungry.”

Brandon chuckles. There’s a lingering question in his eyes, a slight curl of his lips like maybe he’s thought of something he likes. Adam isn’t brave enough to address it, to ask what he’s thinking of.

“Got any bread left?”

“You’ve stocked me up for like, months.” 

“Cool, wanna learn how to make the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had?” 

 

::

 

“You guys are staying overnight when you come out for your game, right?”  

“Yeah,” Adam’s got Chris on speaker as he scrolls idly through Netflix for something to watch. He’s back at practices, working up to a contact jersey, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back with the guys. Barring any complications he’ll be making the road trip to Edmonton and eventually, Vancouver. 

He can’t wait to get back in the game.

“Cool, you’ve got a room here if you wanna stay over,” Adam freezes, awkward and unsure of how to reply. Chris huffs out a laugh. “Not like that,” he promises. “Just if you get tired of the hotel, I’ve got a hot tub and the entire Office series.”

“That actually sounds pretty good,” he admits. 

“We can break out the whiskey and you can bitch about my brother.”

“Now you’re just bribing me,” Adam grins and resumes his search for something to watch. 

“Is it working?”  

“Maybe.”

Adam makes it back for two games before the season is postponed.

It feels like the entire world has been put on hiatus, everything shut down as people scramble for answers, for cures. 

They find out after their win against Edmonton that they likely won’t be playing any games for the near future. Instead of flying immediately to Calgary, they stay overnight in Edmonton, waiting for word of what the league will do. In the end, they board a flight back to Winnipeg with instructions to stay close to home. 

Adam spends the first few days at home glued to his tv, texting the guys, texting Brandon. It feels like every half hour there’s a new update that’s worse than the last. They aren’t supposed to go out or visit one another as the league tries to decide what to do with them. He starts off hoping that it will all clear itself up, that in a week or two they’ll be back on the ice, albeit playing to empty stadiums. It’s an unrealistic dream, he knows this, but it’s something to cling to.

Eventually he has to shut off the news as anxiety curdles his stomach. He switches to Netflix then or calls up Mark or Brandon, needing to get outside his own head.

Then the call goes out for them to go home.

Blake’s coming to Kitchener with me, Mark texts. Are you headed to see your dad?

Adam’s got a duffle open on his bed, a few shirts thrown in it and the realization that he’s going to be living out of his childhood bedroom for the foreseeable future if he goes home. Staying by himself doesn’t sound all that more appealing. 

Pack some warm clothes, Brandon messages and Adam frowns down at it, waiting for a follow up. None comes so he hits the button, listening to the phone ring before Brandon answers.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Any particular reason you’re mothering me about what I wear?” 

“Oh! Yeah, I forgot to ask, didn’t I?”

“I have a feeling you did, buddy.” Adam grabs a few sweaters and tosses them into his bag then goes looking for his woolen socks.

“Right, wanna self isolate at the lake house with me?”  

“Doesn’t that defeat the point of self isolating?” He asks, mostly on autopilot. “What about your parents? Your brothers?” 

“They’re pretty sure they’re going to the lake too. It’s already pretty stocked up, lots of space.  And I figured you wouldn’t want to be trapped with your family that long.”

“That’s- yeah, uh. Sure,” he stumbles over his words, mind whirling. 

“You don’t sound very into it.”

“No! I am!” He blurts out and winces. “When are you flying in?”

“Tomorrow. I’m mostly packed. Let me know your flight details and I can pick you up from the airport or something.”

“Okay, sounds good.” A thought occurs to him. “Do I need my swim trunks?”

“No,” Brandon laughs. “The lake is freezing. There’s definitely still snow up there.”

“Hence the warm clothes.” 

“Yup.”

“Give me an hour or so,” he says before he can change his mind. Before he comes to his senses. “I’ll call you back.”

He doesn’t come to his senses.

Two days later Adam flies into Pearson airport. Brandon’s waiting by arrivals, baseball cap on and pulled low like he’s in disguise. He lights up when Adam comes out, pulling a suitcase behind him and a small duffle thrown over his shoulder. 

“Where’s my sign?” He demands as Brandon tugs him in for a quick, tight hug.

“Forgot my crayons in Pittsburgh,” Brandon chirps. “But I’m sure you’ve got some in that massive bag.”

He steals the suitcase deftly, tugging it along behind them as he leads the way to the parking garage. 

“You said come prepared,” Adam defends. He hadn’t known how long to pack for, everything was up in the air and it seemed like the situation was only getting worse. “And just for that I’m not sharing my crayons with you.”

It’s a two hour drive out to Kawartha lakes, passing through Toronto traffic, following the highway out past Pickering and Ajax. Traffic is heavy, apparently everyone else has had the same thought, so Brandon pulls off of the main highway, picking up a smaller, less travelled road. It’s a winding, circuitous route but it has the benefit of not having to sit at a stand still for the better part of the afternoon.

It’s early evening by the time they pull down the gravel road to the Tanev’s cottage, the sun sitting heavy in the sky. The fact that they have any light at all is a small miracle, showing that despite the snow banks still piled up along the roads out here, spring was coming. 

“Anyone here yet?” He asks as they climb out of the car.

Brandon pops the trunk, unloading their luggage. There’s a cooler and a few boxes squeezed in there as well, so they leave it open for the time being as they lug their suitcases and duffles up the front steps.

“Nah,” Brandon fumbles for the keys with one hand, while Adam props open the screen door for him. “I stayed with mom and dad last night, and they said they were going to be in the city longer. Working from home it sounds like. Kyle’s gonna stay with them.”

“And Chris?” He makes himself ask. He is curious, and he does consider the guy a friend, despite how their friendship might have come about.

“Right now he’s staying in Vancouver, doesn’t want to stick Riley on a plane for a while if he doesn’t have to.”

“So it’s just you and me?”

“Sick of me already?” Brandon arches a brow at him, grin tugging at his lips. He gets the door unlocked and leads the way inside. 

“Can’t stand to look at your face anymore.” It’s cool inside, dark. He goes around the first floor turning on lights from memory as Brandon disappears into the basement to turn on the water and most importantly get the heat going. Adam’s fingertips are numb by the time he comes back upstairs.

“It’s gonna take about an hour to really heat the place up,” he says, leading the way back outside to finish unloading the car. Night falls quickly outside of the city and the sun has completely disappeared by the time they have brought the cooler and boxes inside. Adam pokes curiously through a few sitting on the counter.

“Thought you hated these?” He pulls a bag of ketchup chips out, tearing into them with gusto. Brandon, leaning over the cooler, glances over.

“Yeah, those are all yours, bud.” He pulls out a couple of steaks. “We can barbecue tomorrow, we’ll have to clean it off first. How hungry are you?”

Adam, shovelling the chips into his mouth with gusto says, “I could eat.” 

Brandon huffs out a laugh.

“Grab the pasta then, it’s noodles for dinner.” 

Adam ends up in charge of putting dinner together while Brandon puts the food they brought up with them away. They move easily around one another, and between the gas stove and the heat, the lake house quickly warms. Adam sheds his sweater, then drains the pasta in the sink. There’s a jar of sauce that he pours into a bowl, then sticks in the microwave. By the time it’s finished, the inside looks like a blood bath, but there’s still enough sauce left for the pair of them.

They lug their bags upstairs after- Adam to the room he stayed in the previous summer, Brandon’s next to his. His body heavy, stomach full, he manages to mumble a quick goodnight before stripping down to his boxers and crawling under the layers of sheets and blankets. 

He’s asleep in minutes.

 

::

 

It’s...not as stressful living with Brandon as he thought it might be.

He manages to sleep in a bit, that first morning, stumbling downstairs to find Brandon curled up on the couch, coffee in hand and the news on. 

“Coffee’s fresh,” Brandon calls over to him. “And I made cinnamon buns.”

“How long have you been awake?” Adam grouses but he happily inhales the wonderful aroma of caffeine. He pours himself a mug and scoops up a cinnamon bun, then sits himself on the couch, cold toes tucked up under Brandon’s thigh.

“A bit,” Brandon grins at him. “Couldn’t sleep over the sound of your snoring.”

“Fuck off,” he stabs Brandon with his toes. “I don’t snore, you snore.” 

There’s a room full of exercise equipment that they venture into mid morning, and then after quick showers (separate unfortunately), Brandon wanders outside to see about cleaning off the grill and Adam looks for something to keep him occupied. He ends up recording a quick message for Instagram, asking everyone to stay safe and indoors. 

It’s easy to fall into a routine with Brandon- working out in the morning, drifting in and out of each other’s orbits throughout the day and having meals on the couch with the news or a movie on. The outside world is bleak but what the people trapped in quarantine do to survive it is inspiring.

The cupboards are stocked full of baking supplies that Brandon takes full advantage of- he drags Adam into his baking, tries to show him the proper way to make a pie crust or cupcakes from scratch. Adam’s not sure how much of this he retains, but it’s fun to watch the way Brandon concentrates, the way his eyes take it all in, so similar to the ice, how nimble his fingers are working the dough and the flex of his hands. 

Okay, so Adam has to be very quiet at night.

He doesn’t know why he thought it would be so terrible considering how much he’d loved having Brandon in his space over the bye week. 

Then they get drunk. 

It’s not the first night they break out his parent’s whiskey. It makes Adam feel like he’s back in highschool, sneaking shots and replacing it with water so his parents won’t notice. They start off with glasses, because apparently they’re responsible adults, but they’re forgotten pretty quickly. Instead they take turns passing the bottle back and forth- it’s kind of the opposite of what the news has been telling people to do for the past few weeks, but he figures there’s more than enough alcohol to kill any super bugs involved.

WIth how closely they’ve been living together, it wouldn’t make a difference anyways. Like now, for example, curled close together on the couch, Brandon toying idly with one of Adam’s hands, stroking along his fingers, smoothing across his palm and making him shiver.

“Truth or dare,” Brandon’s cheeks are flushed, eyes bright. He wraps his lips around the lip of the bottle and Adam gets caught up in the way his throat works as he swallows. 

“Dare.”

Brandon’s smile is wicked. “Strip and climb into the snowbank out back.” 

“Fuck that- truth.” He steals the bottle. It’s a smooth burn all the way down, warming him all the way to his toes. 

“Tell me who you hooked up with.”

“Not a chance in hell.” He takes another swig. It doesn’t warm him as much this time. Brandon steals the bottle back. 

“You have to answer- you didn’t want to jump in the snow.”

“Yeah, I’d like to keep my balls where they are, thanks.”

“Adam,” Brandon whines. Between them the bottle is more than half empty. “Why won’t you tell me?”

“Because it’s not important,” he lies. Brandon clutches the bottle to his chest when Adam reaches for it. “Ask me something else.”

“Are they married? Is that why you won’t tell me?”

“Do you really think I’m that much of an asshole?” Adam asks, stung. 

“No,” he admits. This time when Adam reaches for the bottle he lets him have it. Adam swallows once, twice, wracking his brain for some way out of the conversation. Brandon’s watching him closely. He licks his lips, chasing the taste of the whiskey and Brandon’s gaze flickers down, eyes so, so dark. His breath catches in his chest.

“Why do you care?”  

Brandon’s palm rests on Adam’s thigh and he can feel the heat through his sweats.  His face is close, close enough that all Adam can see is the focus in Brandon’s eyes, the pink of his cheeks, the way his lips are parted. 

“Because it’s you,” Brandon lets out an irritated huff. “You drive me fucking crazy, Lows.”

Adam’s protest dies on his tongue as Brandon presses his lips to his.

It’s fucking awkward- their noses bang, he’s so startled he bites Brandon’s lip. Big hands come up and cup his cheeks, hold him steady and then he’s being kissed within an inch of his life. He groans into it as Brandon pushes, presses him back into the couch cushions and licks his way in like he’s meant to be there, like Adam is his to devour. He pours all of the intensity that he displays on the ice into the kiss, barely giving Adam a chance to keep up. 

But fuck it, he’s wanted this for ages- he’s not about to get left behind.

He finds the hem of Brandon’s shirt, gets his hands on warm, smooth skin, then drags blunt nails down his back to feel the way he shudders against him. Brandon bites at his lip, sucks at it to ease the sting, and then dives right back in, kissing him until his lips feel swollen and raw, and his jaw begins to ache.

His cock is throbbing, trapped in his sweats, pressed up against Brandon’s hip where he’s wedged himself between Adam’s thighs. His head is spinning he’s so turned on, aching for Brandon’s touch, for the hands that slide down his neck, and then push up his shirt, teasing along his skin. Evey brush of his fingers feels electric, feels like it’s setting his skin alight. 

“C’mon,” Brandon tugs insistently at Adam’s shirt, trying to get it off. His abs burn as he lifts up enough and he laughs, caught off guard when the collar gets caught around his ears. But then he’s free and Brandon has tossed his shirt somewhere out of sight.

“You too,” he manages, gripping Brandon’s shoulders to keep him from diving right back in. There’s no chance in hell he’s going to miss his chance to touch.  

Brandon shucks his shirt impatiently, gripping Adam’s wrists and pinning them over his head like he’s liable to try and stop him again. Instead, Adam moans at the unexpected heat that seers through him, straight to his cock. He goes lax in Brandon’s grip, clearly throwing him off if the startled look that crosses his face is anything to go by. 

He tightens his grip, testing, and Adam draws in a ragged breath.

“You like being held down?” He rests his weight more fully on Adam, a smirk tugging at his lips. Adam nods, jerkily, but doesn’t try to fight the way Brandon’s pinning him. It’s igniting something molten in his core, something he hasn’t really explored before, but now, with the whiskey in his stomach and fire in his veins, he can’t see any reason not to.

Brandon grins, all pearly white teeth. 

“That’s pretty fucking hot, Lows.” He ducks his head for another kiss, effectively stealing Adam’s breath away. He kisses like it’s the last chance he’ll ever get, like he’s memorizing each piece of Adam that he can, marking them as his own and ruining Adam for anyone else. Brandon kisses like it’s the best thing in the world and Adam, caught up in the whirlwind that is Brandon Tanev, can’t disagree. 

Adam flexes against the hold on his wrists but not enough to dislodge him and his cock throbs. He can’t help the roll of his hips, back arching as Brandon grinds against him, giving him the perfect pressure to rut against. He hasn’t been this turned on, this fast in ages and he doesn’t realize it until it’s too late and it washes over him leaving him shaking and gasping in Brandon’s hold.

Brandon stops, pulls back to stare down at him wide eyed and Adam flushes, humiliation curling in his gut.

“Holy shit,” Brandon squeezes his wrists once, then lets go. Adam immediately mourns the loss. He turns his head, trying to catch his breath, but Brandon grips his chin, makes him face him. “Hey, no hiding.” His eyes are dark and intense and Adam has no choice but to meet his gaze. “You’re gorgeous.”

He leans in and kisses Adam again, slower this time, but still deep, still as intense. Adam can’t help but compare him to his brother, to the way Brandon makes him feel claimed, feel owned in a way Chris hadn’t. 

“Didn’t get to see your dick,” Brandon mutters as he pulls back from the kiss. He sits up and Adam feels cold but it’s only to shove the waistband of his pants down enough that he can get at his cock, still hard, an angry red and leaking at the tip. His mouth waters at the sight.

“I wanna suck you off,” he blurts out. Brandon moans, wrapping a hand around himself, staring at Adam’s mouth.

“Next time,” he promises, hand moving quickly over himself. It’s pretty clear he’s riding the edge already. A flush spreads down his chest and Adam wants to trace it with his mouth, wants to bite at his chest and trace the bumps and ridges down. He comes a moment later, the hot splash of come covering Adam’s chest in strips.

They make it upstairs later, after nearly falling asleep on the couch, giggling and tripping their way. Adam’s room is closest and with fatigue weighing heavily on them, mixed with the whiskey still in their veins, they do the bare minimum cleanup before collapsing under the covers. 

 

::

 

Buzzing pulls Adam out of his pleasant dream about hockey.

His head starts buzzing in time with whatever it is. His tongue feels like it’s glued to the roof of his mouth and his skin is itchy, too tight, like he forgot to shower after a long session in the gym. 

There’s an octopus attached to him. 

“T’fuck is that?” Brandon slurs into Adam’s shoulder. 

He takes a moment to ponder the buzzing.

“I think it’s my phone.” It’s stopped, so it’s probably a text. He can’t imagine it’s important, at least not enough to drag himself out of the hold Brandon has on him. 

Brandon groans though, rolling over and Adam whines at the loss before he realizes he’s not going far, just far enough to grab his phone off the side table. 

Adam cracks an eye open enough to see early morning sunlight streaming in and then decides he’s not ready to deal with the world yet. 

“Chris texted,” Brandon reports. “Think he’s looking for me?” 

Adam hums, already half on the edge of sleep. He’s close to drifting off again when Brandon says,

“Adam?” There’s something odd about his tone but Adam doesn't notice, as drowsy as he is. He grunts and reaches for Brandon; cuddling some more is something he can really get behind. Something lands on his chest; he pries his eyes open to find his phone. “It’s for you.”

Adam rubs some of the grit out of his eyes and squints at the screen. 

How’s it going? Manage to sweep another Tanev off his feet with your charm?

Brandon’s stony face greets him when he looks up. His stomach sinks.

“What’s wrong?” He sits up, very carefully doesn’t look Brandon over, standing there very naked in a way he didn’t get to see the night before. There’s a muscle jumping in his jaw, eyes hard. Something happened but he doesn’t know what. “Are you okay?”

“Answer me honestly- is Chris the guy you hooked up with?” Arms crossed he stares Adam down. He wants to lie, to say, of course not. Anything to wipe away the betrayal that spreads across Brandon’s face like an open wound the longer Adam hesitates. 

He hates that he put it there.

“He is.” It’s barely a whisper, like somehow that will keep Brandon from hearing him, will let him keep this secret and everything won’t have to change irrevocably. 

Brandon reaches down, grabs his sweats off the floor and shoves his feet into them in jerky, angry movements. 

“Brandon,” Adam throws back the covers, lunging to his feet. “Let me explain!”

“I can’t fucking believe you!” He explodes. His expression is furious and Adam recoils. “Of all the selfish, stupid things to do Adam!”

“It’s not what you think!” He pleads.

“So you didn’t fuck my brother?” Brandon shoots back, venom dripping from his words. “You didn’t go behind my back and have sex with him?”

“I wasn’t going behind your back,” Adam protests but it’s weak, even to his ears. He hadn’t told Brandon when he had asked, time and again. 

“What would you call it then Adam?” He laughs and Adam feels gutted when he spots the wetness in his eyes.

Nothing, he wants to say, it was nothing. It was fun and dumb and Adam had been lonely. And now he’s paying for it.

“How long has it been going on?” Brandon deflates suddenly and Adam aches to cross the distance between them, to reel him in and beg for forgiveness but he knows it wouldn’t be welcomed. “No, you know what I don’t want to know! I don’t want to know how long the two of you have been sneaking around.” There’s so much hate in the words he spits at Adam. 

“November,” he gasps out around the lump in his throat. His chest feels too tight, like he can’t get enough air. His eyes burn. “I was lonely, you’d left and,” Broken my heart, he thinks but can’t find it in himself to say. “It was only twice.”

“Don’t blame this on me,” Brandon snaps, taking another step back, away from Adam. He bumps the dresser hard enough to knock a framed picture over but doesn’t seem to notice. 

“I’m not,” he promises, can’t help how he reaches out. Brandon flinches and Adam has to bite back a sob, clenching his hands at his sides. “I just want to be honest! Ask me anything. Anything you want to know I’ll tell you.”

“God, I wish I didn’t know! And what was this?” Brandon gestures at the bed and something in his expression crumples. Adam feels like he’s been gutted, torn open and left bleeding out. “Just making your way through the Tanev brothers? Should I warn Kyle too?”

“You think I’d do that to hurt you?” Adam can’t seem to swallow around the knot in his throat. He’s shaking, he realizes distantly. “That I’d ever do anything to hurt you? I care more about you than any other person in my life!”

“I don’t know Adam,” Brandon looks away then, like he can’t stand to look at Adam any longer. “You did a pretty good job of hurting me. I’d hate to see how you treat the people you don’t care about.” 

He can’t breathe. Not around the knife that Brandon’s stuck in his chest, twisting it with each word, sinking deeper and deeper into his heart with the knowledge that Brandon won’t forgive him.

And when Brandon turns and leaves the room, Adam is too busy bleeding out to stop him.

 

::

 

You’ve got the worst fucking timing , he sends, curled back up in bed. 

Outside a car engine turns over and Adam knows it’s Brandon leaving. He can’t help but feel like he’s never coming back. He pulls the covers higher over his head feeling numb.

What happened?

Brandon found out.

He can’t be mad at Chris, no matter how much he wishes he had someone to blame, not when this whole mess is largely Adam’s fault. He could have said no, he could have told Brandon. It doesn’t matter now. He wishes he had someone he could hit, someone he could point the finger at and say, look, see? It was him, not me.

Anything to keep from having Brandon hate him.

About…?

Us.

Fuck, is the succinct reply. He freaked out?

Adam lets out an ugly laugh. 

You could say that. His fingers hover over the screen. He feels scraped raw, hollowed out and left aching. He’s exhausted, his body heavy and a weight sitting square in the middle of his chest making each breath more difficult than the last. I don’t think I can fix this.

I’ll talk to him, Chris promises. He wants to tell him not to bother, that it’ll only make things worse, but there’s a part of him, however small it may be, that stills his fingers, gives him that tiniest bit of hope that maybe their friendship is salvageable from all of this. Even if they never end up together Brandon’s friendship is something he cherishes too much to let it slip through his fingers. 

Eventually he manages to crawl back out of bed. It’s hard- the other pillow still smells like Brandon. But even he can see nothing is going to get fixed if he just hides under the blankets.

He pulls on a pair of jeans and a hoodie, a pair of socks in deference to the chill in the air. The house is quiet outside of his room and apprehension builds in his gut. The door to Brandon’s room is open wide, and for a moment he’s terrified to check, but Brandon’s duffle is still where he left it, on the trunk at the foot of his bed. He’s coming back, whenever that may be. 

He doesn’t know what will happen when he does.

Downstairs, he sinks down onto the couch, staring dully at the black screen of the television. He doesn’t know what to do.

Helpless, he pulls his phone out and dials Mark.

“You don’t have a car, right?” He asks once Adam has laid it all out on the line. Mark at least knows how much of a dumbass he’s been. “I’m coming to get you.”

“We’re supposed to be self isolating,” he sinks back against the couch, tilts his head to stare up at the ceiling. Everything feels dull, distant.

“Yeah well you’ll be self isolating in Kitchener. You’re not staying there if Tanev’s gonna be a dick.” Despite himself, his eyebrows shoot up in surprise at the vehement tone. “It’s not like he has any say in who you sleep with. You’re not sleeping together.”

Adam winces. He’d omitted a few key details.

“Adam?” Mark prompts at his silence.

“We slept together last night.” He answers truthfully, feeling brittle. 

“Oh Adam,” the sympathy in his voice is painful to listen to. “I'm so sorry, man.”

“It’s my own fault.”

“It’s not!”

“I’m the idiot that thought it would be a good idea to sleep with his brother.” What he wouldn’t give for a time machine- go back in time, slap his past self. It was better being lonely than feeling like his heart’s been torn out of his chest. “What if it was your brother?”

“I’d probably be pissed you didn’t talk to me about it,” Mark grudgingly admits. “But we also don’t have the baggage that you two do.”

“I have to fix this.”

“If anyone can do it, it’s you,” Mark tells him sincerely. He appreciates the vote of confidence, but doesn’t know what he’s done to earn it. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do.

 

::

 

Brandon comes back, but it’s not until the sun is sitting heavy in the sky.

By this point Adam’s spent the day on the couch coming up with and subsequently discarding a thousand different things to say to him. They all fly out of his mind when Brandon actually walks in.

He pauses in the door when he catches sight of Adam, almost like he’s surprised he’s still there and that hurts more than he cares to admit. Aside from the moment of hesitation, Brandon doesn’t look his way, seems perfectly content to pretend he doesn’t exist. Adam watches as he kicks off his boots, hangs up his coat, his shoulders a tense line screaming don’t talk to me.

So of course he has to.

“Hey,” he pushes up, off the couch. He’s still in the sweats he’d thrown on that morning and only now is he realizing he probably should have like, put some effort into how he looks. Maybe though, if he looks too pathetic Brandon will take pity on him.

However unlikely that is.

Brandon ignores him, heading for the kitchen. Adam follows after him.

“You were gone for awhile, I was getting worried.” Brandon keeps his head buried in the fridge as he presumably searches for something to eat. Should Adam have made him something? His own rumbling stomach reminds him that he hasn’t eaten, too anxious, too heartbroken. “Could we just talk?”  

The fridge door is slammed shut. Brandon storms by him, empty handed. 

“Brandon!” Adam calls after him. Frustration and hurt coil tight in his chest, make it hard to breathe. His eyes sting. Brandon doesn’t look back as he disappears upstairs.

Brandon doesn’t reappear over the next few hours, locked tightly away in his room. It’s late when Adam finally heads to bed himself; he stops by the shut door first, leaves a plate sitting just outside.

“Brandon?” He raps lightly on the door, knowing he’s not welcome. “There’s a sandwich for you if you’re hungry.” He waits a moment, ears straining for any sounds of movement. Could that be the rustle of sheets? The creak of a floorboard? His shoulders slump. “Night.”

He sleeps like shit, tossing and turning, alternating between nightmares of the hate in Brandon’s voice and unable to close his eyes for fear of seeing the same image over and over again of Brandon’s face when he found out. 

He must drift off at some point in the early hours of the morning, because he’s woken an indiscernible time later to the sound of shouting. He bolts out of bed, door thrown open and in the hall before he realizes there is no threat. The shouting is muffled by Brandon’s door but he can still make out pieces. He creeps closer, heart in his throat.

“There’s nothing to talk about Chris!” Adam closes his eyes, wonders if he actually wants to hear any of this. “Of fucking course I’ve been ducking your calls- why the fuck would I want to talk to you, to either of you right now? You knew how I felt and you still-”

Chris must cut him off because Brandon goes silent for a long moment. Adam waits, barely daring to breathe for fear of being found out, of missing some way of fixing this. 

Brandon lets out a low laugh. It’s not happy.

“Yeah, thanks for leaving me your sloppy seconds.”

Adam flinches back hard. His back hits the far wall, knocking the painting there to the ground. Even with the carpet, the thud seems to echo throughout the hallway. Brandon’s room is silent.

Adam hurries back to his room, shuts the door as quietly as he can and sinks down to the floor as his legs give out beneath him.

 

::

 

How much of that did you hear?

Adam debates what to say and ends up just sending back, sloppy seconds.

A minute later his phone starts to ring. He sends Chris to voicemail twice before he seems to get the message. He feels shitty enough as is, he doesn’t need Chris trying to apologize for his brother.

Brandon’s on the couch when he finally works up the courage to come out of his room. He has the news on and from what Adam can gather it’s getting worse and worse out there with no end in sight. He wishes he had his skates- wishes that the ice were thick enough on the lake; nothing centers him, clears his head, like skating does. 

But if wishes were being granted, that wouldn’t be at the top of his list.

Brandon doesn’t look up when he comes down, instead raises the volume, making it perfectly clear that he isn’t looking to talk.

Adam makes himself a sandwich he doesn’t really taste and hovers, torn between making a stand and tucking his tail between his legs and hiding back out upstairs. But if that’s how it’s going to be for them, if this really isn’t salvageable, then how long can he stay here before one of them snaps?

The plate he’d brought up to Brandon sits in the dishrack, drying. It’s enough to steel his resolve- he needs to ask, to know if this is fixable.

He stands at the edge of the living room studying Brandon for a moment. There are bags under his eyes like he slept as well as Adam did and a tight pinch to his mouth like he hates how Adam’s watching him. Brandon’s so fucking stubborn. It’s something he used to find endearing.

“Do you want me to go?” The words get caught in his throat, coming out hoarse, too quiet. He doesn’t even know if Brandon heard him but he can’t bring himself to ask again. He stands there, waiting. He feels too open, exposed, wants to cover himself up to save himself from the inevitable heartbreak waiting for him again because of course there’s still a part of him holding on, however naively. 

The only sound is that of the television. 

It’s pretty fucking obvious what Brandon’s answer is then.

It feels like there’s an icepick lodged in his chest, like it punctured his lung, a sucking, gaping hole. Getting knocked down by a Blackhawk didn’t hurt this much. His eyes sting but he’s sure as hell not standing around so Brandon can watch him fall to pieces. 

His socks are silent on the carpet, he feels like he should be storming away, loud and unapologetic, shouting look at me! But he’s messed up Brandon’s life enough, the least he can do is make a quiet exit.

He’s halfway up the stairs when he hears him.

“You can stay.”

He’s almost certain he imagined it- Brandon’s still turned away from him, apparently watching the news, ignoring Adam. But he knows he didn’t.

The icepick slips a little, just enough that he can breathe.

 

::

 

It doesn’t fix anything.

Brandon still walks around the house like Adam isn’t even there. He alternates between his room with the door tightly shut or the living room, the volume turned up on the television, sprawled out across the couch making it very obvious that Adam’s presence isn’t welcome.

He doesn’t know what saying he could stay accomplished when Brandon seems content to act like he’s a ghost. He certainly feels like one, tiptoeing around, afraid to leave a mark, a sound, that will disturb the peace any further. It leaves him feeling hollowed out, scraped raw. He hates it. 

A few days pass in this new status quo.

Adam hides in his room, or sits out in the enclosed porch. Sometimes he tries to talk to Brandon. And Brandon- he acts like a shell of his former self, quiet, still, angry. Adam has trouble looking at himself in the mirror knowing he’s the cause.

“How long are you planning on doing this to yourself?” Mark asks. Adam’s curled up on the wicker couch out in the sun room, taking in the stillness of the morning. Brandon is still upstairs, awake but not venturing out yet- Adam had heard him moving around earlier. With winter fading into spring, most of the lake has melted, though ice still lines the shore, snowbanks along the drive. 

He thinks about asking Brandon outside to make a snowman, or go for a walk, or just get him with a snowball or two to see what kind of a reaction he can draw.

“I just need to get him to talk to me.”

“Got a plan for that?” Not really, but Mark already knows this. 

That night he waits for Brandon to put a movie on and then makes his move. He’s got two bowls of freshly popped popcorn and enough stubbornness to last him through the next two hours.
Brandon doesn’t look up when he comes in but Adam figured he wouldn’t, so he just deposits one of the bowls on the floor next to the couch and takes the armchair for himself. 

“What’re we watching?” He asks, stuffing a handful of popcorn into his mouth. He can see Brandon waging a war with himself over whether to reply or not. The Marvel title flashes across the screen, giving him a convenient out. Brandon takes it, sinking further into the couch cushions. 

That’s fine, Adam’s nothing if not stubborn. 

“So I think it’s great that they have Chris Evans as Captain America but every time he gives a speech or whatever, all I can see is Johnny Storm in that skin tight suit and suddenly I can’t take him seriously,” he comments halfway through the film, when it’s gotten quiet and tense and he knows that Brandon has gotten sucked into it. Adam’s never been a huge fan of The First Avenger and has no trouble using that now to be annoying. 

“He’s a great cap,” he continues when Brandon twitches, like maybe he forgot Adam was there. He’s tired of being a ghost. “Very dorito shaped.”

“What does that even mean?” Brandon demands. Adam can’t decide if he or Brandon is more surprised by the outburst. Brandon sets his jaw and stares down the tv like he can go back to pretending Adam isn’t there, like it’s just that easy.

“Shoulder to waist ratio.” He sketches out the vague shape with his hands. Brandon doesn’t glance back over. 

He sets his alarm and manages to get up and to the couch before Brandon does in the morning. Brandon’s developed the unfortunate habit of getting up early and watching the news while having his breakfast, probably to deter Adam from joining him. So it’s actually kind of funny how Brandon gets down the stairs and just. Stops. Like he isn’t sure what to do with the sight before him.

Adam’s got cartoons cued up and a bowl of cereal in his lap. He’s left the couch open, he doesn’t actually want to chase Brandon away, taking the armchair instead. 

“The cereal is still out if you wanted some,” he says around a mouthful. See, he grins, they can be normal.

Brandon doesn’t comment but he does reappear out of the kitchen a few minutes later with a bowl of cereal so maybe he can count that as a win. 

“Have something you want to watch?” He asks cautiously as Brandon sits stiffly on the couch. He shakes his head though it must be killing him sitting there and watching shitty remakes of the cartoons they grew up with. He disappears once his bowl is empty, presumably into the weight room. Adam thinks about following him in there, but that seems like pushing his luck too much.

He doesn’t see Brandon again until dinner when he’s throwing together pasta and a can of sauce- he can handle a grill but that's generally as far as his cooking skills reach. He’s made twice the amount of pasta he’d normally eat, figured Brandon, like most guys, would follow his stomach when the smells found him. 

Brandon doesn’t show up so much as appear out of thin air, scaring the crap out of Adam. He nearly tosses the colindar of noodles when he turns from the sink and finds him standing on the other side of the kitchen island, watching silently.

“Fuck,” he dumps the colindar on the counter and tries to catch his breath. “You need a fucking bell.”

“Like you’ve been any better,” Brandon shoots back and maybe there’s a bit more bite to it than their usual chirping. “Skulking around the house like you don’t want anyone to hear you.”

“Because you’ve been acting like I’m some fucking leper you don’t want around!” And okay, he’s supposed to be like, thawing Brandon out, not fucking yelling at him in the middle of his own kitchen. 

Brandon doesn’t say anything.

Adam drops his hands to his sides and tries to breathe through the frustration that’s clouded his vision.

“There’s sauce on the stove,” he manages to keep his voice level. He’s suddenly not feeling very hungry, his stomach twisting itself into knots. He grabs a beer from the fridge instead and heads for the sunroom he’s claimed as his own. 

He’s out there for a while, staring out at the starry night sky, the dark forest surrounding them. He nurses his beer and curses his temper- he’s fucking it up, again. He’s never going to be welcome back in Brandon’s life, in any form, if he can’t even bite his tongue and own up to the damage he’s caused. 

It’s late by the time he wanders back in, lethargy pulling at him. His stomach rumbles, reminding him he hasn’t eaten in hours. The first floor is quiet, the television off and Brandon nowhere in sight. He tosses his bottle in the recycling and grabs a glass of water. A piece of notepaper catches his eye on the island. 

Food in the microwave, it reads. He pops open the microwave and finds a plate of pasta, sauce with the addition of meatballs. His mouth waters at the sight. He heats it up for a minute then eats, standing up at the counter. The meatballs are fresh, homemade, the sauce has been added to with chunks of vegetables and spices he never would have thought of. He scrapes his plate clean and leaves it in the sink to deal with tomorrow. 

He goes to bed full, wondering if that was some sort of peace offering.

 

::

 

The next morning isn’t any less painful. Brandon’s back on the couch, the news on. Adam’s stomach twists as they report the number of cases have risen again from the previous day. He grabs some cereal, meal plans be damned, and sinks into the armchair. It’s only after he’s gotten settled that he realizes Brandon hasn’t sprawled out across the couch today. He’s as far over into the corner as he can get, shoulders stiff and gaze fixed firmly on the tv. Adam’s hesitant to call it an invitation, but it’s certainly something.

They eat in silence. 

Adam’s phone buzzes and he pulls it out. 

How r u doing?

Fine, he sends back. Mark can call him on his bullshit later.

“Is that Chris?” Brandon blurts out. He looks like he wants to take the words back immediately, mouth set in a grimace. A big part of Adam wants to tell him it’s none of his fucking business- let him think he’s texting his brother while he’s sitting right there.  

“Mark.”

“Oh.” 

He pushes to his feet to avoid the awkward silence, carrying his bowl to the kitchen. He takes his time washing it, dragging his feet going back out there.

Brandon glances up as he comes back in and it hits him like a punch to the gut how little he’s met Adam’s eyes these past few days. He feels winded; whatever they have may be broken but Brandon’s eyes haven’t changed, big, brown and so open and honest. His chest aches.

“I’m going into town,” he says.

“Is that a good idea?” Adam frowns, thinking of the numbers from the news.

“I’ll be careful.”

He doesn’t invite Adam to come with him and leaves shortly after breakfast. Adam heads to the weight room to try and burn off some of the anxious energy that’s taken up residence in his chest. He goes until his arms are sore, and he’s covered in sweat and all he can think of is a nice hot shower, not what he’d do if Brandon were to get sick.

The idea hits him around lunch, his stomach is rumbling but he wants something to munch on, not whatever healthy crap they still have in the fridge. He thinks maybe he’s going about this the wrong way, maybe he needs to up his game, woo Brandon. 

The problem is Adam doesn’t know how to make much. He’s a hockey player- that’s his main skillset.

He does however have the recipe for Brandon’s chocolate chip cookies saved to his phone and a fully cupboard stocked. There has to be enough of what he needs in there.

He ends up discovering there isn’t enough flour- which probably explains Brandon’s trip into town- but he figures if he leaves the cookies in the oven a little longer they’ll cook fine. There’ll just be less of them. He can’t find the baking soda either, he’d checked the cupboard and the fridge, so he’d used baking powder instead. Looks the same, similar names, can’t go wrong right?

They look okay when he puts them in the oven- he even remembered to preheat like Brandon had taught him. He’s just waiting for the first batch when the car pulls up the drive. He grabs the door, lets Brandon in, arms full of grocery bags.

“Did you clean them out?” He asks, surprised as Brandon heads back to the car for another armful.

“I left a big donation for the local food bank.” 

Adam’s timer goes off as he grabs a few bags. He has some vague idea about sanitizing them but he really doesn’t want his cookies to burn so he drops them next to the island. He stuffs his hands into the oven mitts and is met with a wall of heat as he carefully pulls the tray out. They look okay, he thinks, eyeing them critically. They’re not as perfect as Brandon’s but they’re not burnt and he’ll count that as a win. He grabs the next tray and slides them in, leaving the first on the counter to cool. He has to admit, now that Brandon is back, he’s feeling kind of nervous about them. 

“Fuck,” Brandon’s quiet swearing draws him over to the door to take the case of gatorade from him. “I’m fine,” he argues but relents as Adam pries it from his grip. The trunk is still open so Adam carries it over to the kitchen as Brandon heads back out there. With the amount of bags littered around they’ll be set until the end of the pandemic. 

It’s a supersized case of gatorade- he’s not entirely sure where the hell they’ll keep it so he heads for the island to dump it there for the time being.

He’s forgotten about the bags he’d left on the floor there.

Adam bangs into the bags, stumbles and feels the gatorade slip from his grip. He flails, tries to keep hold of the case, tries to remain upright and ends up managing neither. His hand grabs at the counter as he falls but the only thing he manages to grip is the still cooling cookie tray. Cookies fly through the air, the tray hits the ground and Adam is on his sore ass, hand clutched to his chest.

The pain doesn’t hit him right away, too shocked by what’s occured. It’s not until he’s put his hand on the floor to push himself up that the pain makes its presence known. And oh boy does it.

“What the fuck happened in here?” Brandon’s voice carries over the island but Adam’s too busy swearing up a storm, hand held in front of him as he grips his wrist like that will somehow stop the incessant burning that he swears he can feel down to his bones.

Fuck, he’s burnt himself before but it never gets any easier.

“Adam?” Brandon appears around the island, brown eyes bright with worry. He hurries over, crouching next to him. He spots the tray. “How bad is it?” 

“I really want to hit something,” he admits through gritted teeth. His eyes sting. 

Brandon’s touch is gentle as he cups Adam’s hand, turns it towards the light so he can see better. He winces.

“Okay, let’s get you up.” He helps Adam to his feet with a hand under his armpit, and then around his waist. He walks them over to the sink, turns it on and tests the temperature. “It’s not bad.”

“It stings like a mother fucker,” Adam scowls and then yells, swears, as Brandon eases his hand under the water.

“What were you doing? Are you baking?”  

Adam glares out the window above the sink. The water is helping, the longer they stand there, but more importantly Brandon hasn’t moved away, still holding Adam’s hand gently between his own. It’s the closest they’ve been since they slept together and he can barely enjoy it.

Brandon twists to take in the chaos of the kitchen.

“Are those cookies?”

“Yeah,” he sags against the counter.

“You couldn’t have waited until I got back?”

“They were for you!” He blurts out. Brandon looks taken aback by the outburst. “And why would I wait for you to get back? We’re barely talking, let alone baking.” He pulls his hand out of Brandon’s gentle grasp. It’s numb from the cool water but he can feel the ache already returning. It sets his teeth on edge.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Brandon’s hackles are up. He turns off the water, arms crossed across his chest. He glowers at Adam.

“You! Us! This whole mess,” Adam waves his arms to encompass the cottage, the pair of them, the disaster of their friendship. It jars his hand and he winces. “I keep trying but I can’t figure out how to fix it!”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have fucked up in the first place!” Brandon shoots back and like, yeah, Adam’s thought of that a couple thousand times. Too bad he hasn’t mastered time travel. 

“You think I don’t know that?” He asks a little desperately. “That it doesn’t kill me how I should have told you when you asked. But you would have done exactly what you’re doing now!”

“What am I doing, Adam?” Brandon demands. “Not kicking you out? Sharing my space with you?”

“We’re fucking broken,” his shoulders slump. His hand is throbbing viciously- it feels like it’s travelling through his veins, up his arm to his chest and his heart. That must be why it hurts so much. “You won’t look at me, you barely talk to me.”

“I’m looking at you right now!” And he is- his expression a mixture of anger and hurt. 

“I hate that I hurt you,” he says quietly, feeling raw. 

“I’m not really that thrilled about it either.” Brandon sinks back against the counter. He’s hunched in on himself like he’s expecting a blow and Adam aches to go over, take him into his arms and chase that feeling away.

This is stupid, he thinks, and crosses the distance between them.

Brandon looks up, startled, starts to protest but Adam wraps his arms carefully around him and they quickly die away. Brandon is stiff in his arms but he’s not pushing Adam away either. He closes his eyes and tries to breathe through the tears threatening to spill, tries to breathe around the lump lodged in his throat. He rests his head on Brandon’s shoulder and breathes him in.

Slowly the tension in Brandon eases. Adam waits patiently as Brandon reaches out, tentatively wraps his arms around Adam’s waist and holds him. 

“Can we just go back to the way things were?” He can’t imagine having Brandon in his life and not knowing what he looks like braced above him, caught up in the moment or the feel of his lips pressed against his, but given the chance for his friendship again he’d give it up in an instant.

“Can you really say that’s enough for you?” Brandon asks quietly. He holds Adam a little tighter. “Cause, I have to be honest, it’s not for me.”

 

::

 

They don’t say much after that. Brandon gets the polysporin and spreads it carefully across Adams palm while he grits his teeth and bears it. Then he firmly steers Adam to the couch and puts the groceries away. 

He channel surfs for a bit, grateful for the selection of channels despite being in the middle of nowhere. He’s too restless to settle though, and hasn’t found anything by the time Brandon rejoins him.

“Here,” he holds out a gatorade and two Tylenol. 

“Thanks,” he mumbles, popping the pills. Brandon has unscrewed the cap for him already and hands it over before sinking down on the other end of the couch. Adam swallows the pills down and tosses the remote over. “I can’t find anything to watch.”

“You just can’t remember how to switch it to Netflix,” the teasing tone is still stiff, but it’s enough to make Adam do a double take. Brandon glances at him but doesn’t say anything else as he brings up Netflix. 

He chooses a movie they both love, cueing it up quickly. Something settles in him the longer they sit there- a foot or two between them, where there used to be no space at all-  but occupying the same space peacefully.

Brandon fixes them frozen lasagna for dinner. There’s a tired slope to his shoulders and Adam wonders if he’s feeling as worn out as Adam is from the afternoon. They eat in front of the tv, plates balanced on their laps as Adam fumbles his fork with his non-dominant hand and Brandon pretends not to want to laugh. He plays it up a little, maybe, just for the humor in those expressive brown eyes. 

He goes to bed feeling a spark of hope for the first time in days. 

Brandon’s up and watching the news the next day. He’s a little stiff at first, slow to say good morning, jaw tight when Adam sinks down onto the couch. 

“How’s your hand?”

“Better, thanks.” He turns his hand over; his palm is still a little pink but the sting is gone. So long as he’s not holding his coffee cup in it for long he doesn’t even notice anything wrong. Brandon reaches out, cups his hand gently in his own, leaning close like maybe he doesn’t believe Adam, like he needs to see for himself. Adam holds his breath, terrified that if he moves Brandon will realize how close he is and pull away. He’s not sure he can take much more of Brandon pulling away from him. 

His hands are warm against Adam’s skin, fingers skilled as he traces just beyond the pink of Adam’s palm. He shivers at the gentle touch. He hadn’t realized just how desperate he was for more of Brandon’s touch and now that he has it his skin feels electrified.

Brandon clears his throat.

“Glad you’re okay.”

Adam’s mouth is too dry, his heart beating too hard. He wonders if Brandon can hear it.

“Had a good medic,” he jokes though it comes out weak. Brandon meets his eyes then quickly looks away. He lets go of Adam’s hand slowly, almost reluctantly and sinks back to his side of the couch. 

The tension slowly seeps out of him as the day progresses. Adam’s made being annoying an art form over the years, demanding the attention of his family, of the opposing team, and now Brandon. That is to say, more so than normal; he’s addicted to Brandon’s attention on a good day. Not having it had been painful; now that he’s slowly getting it back? He’ll do everything in his power to keep it.

It’s a gorgeous day out- the sun warm above and melting the last remnants of winter. He wonders idly, sitting on the porch, if they’ll be up here long enough for the lake to warm. He can remember how frigid it was at the start of the previous summer. Another few weeks of such a stunning view and he’ll probably give in and jump in. The lake is calm, sparkling under the April sun. It looks refreshing- definitely too refreshing right now.

“Hey,” Brandon wanders out in a grey hoodie. “I’m going for a walk. Did you, uh, wanna come with?”

“Yeah! Yeah,” he tries to curb some of his enthusiasm but Brandon just watches him, amused. 

They head up the drive. The only road the winds through the area is a gravel road wide enough for one car at a time. It’s normally quiet but it’s absolutely deserted now as they hike their way along it. There’s a few other cottages in the area but they look empty. He hadn’t realized just how alone they were up here. 

The road runs along top of a hill, the lake at the base. It gives off spectacular views of the lush green forest and dark, tranquil water stretched out as far as the eye can see. A ways off Adam can just make out a boat floating peacefully in the center of the lake. They spend the afternoon wandering as far as they can along one side of the lake. Empty stomachs is eventually what turns them around, back towards the cottage. His feet may be sore but he’s reluctant to return when he has Brandon next to him, shoulders bumping as they traverse sections of the path that have been less travelled on. 

His toes are soaked through from the damp ground, his sneakers probably destroyed from their impromptu hike. He’s contemplating seeing if the nearest town has hiking boots his size when there’s a startled yell and suddenly Brandon’s on the ground.

“Ow.” Brandon’s on his back, staring up at the afternoon sky like he can’t quite figure out how he got there.

“Are you okay?” Adam rushes to his side, gaze roving over him for injuries.

“Fine,” Brandon grunts, sitting up. He winces. “I slipped on some mud I think.”

And now he’s seated in a puddle.

Adam bites his lip.

“I’m soaked,” Brandon whines. Adam nods and tries very hard not to let a smile break out across his face. He silently tugs out his phone. Brandon catches sight of it pretty quickly. “Don’t you dare. Adam!”

He snaps his picture quickly, dancing back out of reach as Brandon lunges for his knees. He shoves his phone safely back in his pocket.

“It’s for the memories!” He cackles.

“You’re going to be a memory!” Brandon lunges to his feet. Adam shouts and takes off running. “You’re a dead man, Lowry!”

Brandon’s fast but Adam’s legs are longer and he manages to make it back to the cottage first. Only to remember Brandon had locked the door on their way out. 

“Shit.” Shock follows as something cold hits him wetly on the back of the head. It splatters upon impact and then slowly drips down under the collar of his jacket. “That’s so gross!” He wipes futility at the mud as Brandon hiccups with laughter a few feet away. 

“All’s fair in love and war,” he manages to calm himself enough to say; his grin is wicked as he takes aim with another handful.

“Bring it on, baby!” Adam manages to duck out of reach, scooping up his own handfuls and launching them back at him.

They’re completely drenched, covered in mud by the time they come to a truce. Tired, but still laughing they settle on the front steps to catch their breath. Adam catches himself leaning into Brandon’s side, shoulders pressed firmly together. Brandon doesn’t comment, glances briefly at him, but he can only read fondness in his expression. 

“Let me see the picture.”

Adam tries to scrub some of the mud off his hands on his jeans and then fishes his phone out of his pocket. “Don’t delete it.”

Brandon rolls his eyes. “I won’t.” He scrunches his nose up when he sees it and huffs out a laugh. “That’s terrible.”

“I think it’s great,” Adam grins at him, unrepentant.

“That’s cause you have no taste.” Brandon tugs the phone from his hand and sets it up for a selfie. He nudges Adam until he ducks close enough, then snaps the photo of them, grinning and covered in mud. He hands the phone back. “There. Way better.”

“We look like we fell into a swamp,” Adam says, laughing as he inspects it. Brandon arches an eyebrow at him when he sets it as his background on his phone.

“Send me a copy.” 

“You could have just used your own phone.” 

Brandon shrugs. “Mine’s still clean this way.”

Adam rolls his eyes but does as he asks.

“And, uh,” he clears his throat, glancing away, out at the water. Adam waits patiently, unsure of what’s coming next. “You could send it to Chris. If you wanted. He was asking how we were doing.”

Adam blinks, caught off guard. Brandon doesn’t pull away from where they’re pressed together but there’s a sudden stillness to him, like he’s waiting to see what Adam will do. He can’t tell if it’s a test or an olive branch and that scares him.

But it’s Brandon.

“Yeah, I can do that,” he says slowly, feeling it out. “Show him what a good time we’re having.” He must pass the test because Brandon nudges him in the side, a faint hint of his smile still there and growing by the moment. Encouraged he continues, “and the one of you in the mud. I bet he’d love to see that one.”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Brandon narrows his eyes, challenging. Adam grins, bares his teeth. 

“Make your chocolate pie and I won’t send it.”

“Black mail?” Brandon crows, delighted. “Who knew you had it in you, Lows.”

“What can I say,” he pushes to his feet, extending a hand for Brandon who accepts it easily. “Your baking brings out that side of me.”

 

::

 

Proud of you boys, Chris sends in response to the photo. Managed to work it out then?

Sort of? Adam types out, hyper aware of Brandon banging around in the kitchen mere feet away. He still feels weird texting Chris, especially with Brandon nearby, about Brandon. 

So you haven’t kissed and made up yet?

Working on the making up. He glances at the kitchen, the memory of Brandon’s lips pressed against his own fresh in his mind. He presses his lips together wondering, briefly, if Brandon thought about their night together as much as Adam.

Pretty sure he wouldn’t deck you if you just kissed him, Chris sends helpfully. Adam sends back the most exasperated emojis he can find. 

I don’t know if you guys talked about it but sloppy seconds was just him angry.

Adam flushes, an unwanted surge of humiliation washing over him. He knows that, but it doesn’t make it any easier to hear. It’s partially why he’s been ducking Chris’ texts and calls.

I know. He leaves it at that, feeling oddly raw with the conversation. He locks his phone and tosses it on the side table. There’s only one person he wants to talk to right now and he’s in the kitchen.

Brandon glances up when he comes in, expression carefully neutral. He’s put together a pie crust in the time that Adam’s been in the living room, set aside to work on the filling. Adam knows nothing about baking pies but he’s got to say Brandon must be the best at it. They always turn out amazing. He refuses to believe he’s biased.

“How’s Chris?”

“Nosey.” Brandon huffs out a little laugh like he can’t help himself and some of the tension unknots itself from Adam’s stomach. “Can I help?”

“Sure,” he slides over a cheese grater and a block of chocolate. “Get grating.”

“I’m going to lose a ton of skin,” Adam eyes it skeptically, secretly pleased at how easily Brandon let him in. Of course it could be a ploy to cripple Adam, destroy his fingers so he can’t play hockey any longer.

“We can pick it out after.” Brandon dismisses his entirely valid concerns. Adam slides onto one of the bar stools on the opposite side of the island and scoops up a chunk of chocolate. It’s easy, he realizes, to watch Brandon work while he grates the chocolate. His fingers suffer a little, but it’s worth it to watch the steady movements of his hands, the muscles in his arms, the focused look in his eyes. 

They fall into an easy silence, interrupted occasionally by Adam cursing or Brandon muttering to himself. Adam probably eats a quarter of the chocolate by the time Brandon’s ready for it, and even then it’s for decoration and gets set aside for when the pie has finished baking. He has his suspicions that he’s been played.  

But Brandon could have kicked him out of the kitchen and he didn’t so Adam’s alright with it.

It starts to rain while they’re in the kitchen. It’s a heavy, torrential kind of downpour that pelts the windows and threatens to wash away the world. A damp chill fills the air, seeping in through the window panes, the cracks under the door.  

The smell of chocolate fills the air as Brandon lights a fire. Adam grabs one of the throw blankets and curls up under it feeling the chill in the ache of his ribs, like a phantom pain that sets his teeth on edge. Brandon gets the fire going and joins him on the couch, pulling up a movie for them to watch. Adam shifts, where he’s pressed into the corner of the couch, the awkward angle ramping up the ache, making every little movement uncomfortable. He’s fully healed, they wouldn’t have let him play again if he wasn’t so there’s no reason for the incessant ache, like a deep, old bruise, healing but still tender. 

A crack of thunder shakes the windows. He grabs one of the throw pillows, jamming it behind his back in the hopes that it will alleviate some of the discomfort. 

“You alright?” Brandon’s eyeing him with such open concern; he doesn’t know how he deserves it after everything. 

“Sore,” he admits. He rubs at his chest like that will somehow ease the ache. 

“I thought you were cleared by the team doctors.” Brandon frowns. 

“I was. I think it’s just the dampness in the air.” 

“You’re getting old Lowry,” he teases, sitting up.

“That would make you ancient.” Brandon rolls his eyes, holding out his arms. “What?”

“Get over here,” Brandon stretches a leg out along the couch, leaving a clear space for Adam. It’s a position he knows well, remembers fondly from the All Star break- was it really just a few months ago? Brandon starts to look unsure, the opposite of what Adam wants, so he moves as quickly as he dares, settling back into Brandon’s embrace. Brandon’s arm falls from the back of the couch to rest on Adam’s belly, a casual embrace. He’s propped up like this, chest supported and warmed by Brandon’s body heat. The warmth seeps in through the thin layers of their t-shirts, into Adam’s muscles, easing the ache and allowing him to finally relax.

“God, I love you.” It slips out, unexpected and he freezes. Beneath him, Brandon tenses, body held stock still. He’s not breathing, Adam notes distantly, and then realizes neither is he. He hadn’t meant to say it, a careless, casual line he’s said a thousand times to close friends, but has never meant like this. He should play it off. 

He’s so tired of playing it off.

Carefully he relaxes back against Brandon. His mind is helpfully blank, nothing witty to say, nothing deep or profound. Instead he settles with,

“I love you.” And then, quietly, “Sorry.” 

Brandon lets out a long breath all at once, like he’d been holding it in, waiting for whatever Adam was about to say.

“Don’t.” Adam makes to pull away but the arm draped over his belly holds him in place. He sinks back into the embrace. “Don’t say you’re sorry,” Brandon whispers. His lips brush Adam’s temple and he shivers. Brandon’s voice is rough, uneven when he says, “I love you too.”

It’s a confession whispered in the quiet of the room, nearly swallowed up by the movie, by the sound of the rain, loud against the windows. But Adam hears it loud and clear, savors each syllable as they pass Brandon’s lips, memorizes them in case he never gets to hear them again and then tucks them away where they’ll be safe. 

He reaches for Brandon’s hand where it rests on his belly and tangles their fingers together. Brandon squeezes back. They’re kind of fucked up, he recognizes, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“We kind of do things backwards, don’t we?” 

Brandon huffs out a laugh, a fragile, delicate thing and Adam swears he’ll spend the rest of his life making things right if need be.

 

::

 

“Hey,” Adam pauses at the threshold of his room when Brandon calls out to him. It’s late, the rain is still going outside though it’s slowed to a light drizzle. The lake is going to be swollen tomorrow, stretching up towards their doorstep and leaving everything a muddy mess. Probably another good day for movies and boardgames. Brandon, just a few steps away, looks back and any lethargy Adam had been feeling falls away at the look in his eyes. “C’mere.”

He follows Brandon into his room, gratified to see it’s as much of a mess as his own. His gaze is drawn to the unmade bed, the sheets kicked down to the end. He startles at the hands on his waist but goes easily as Brandon reels him in.

The awkwardness of their first kiss is gone and this time it’s just Brandon’s hands, tight on his hips, lips pressed to Adam’s like he’s determined to memorize every little thing that makes him shiver or moan. He slides his hands up and under Brandon’s shirt, feeling the warm, toned muscles of his back. He drags his nails down, pleased at the way Brandon groans into the kiss and does it again, imagining the red lines he’s left there. 

“Wanna see you this time,” Brandon murmurs against his lips. Adam flushes hotly at the memory of them on the couch and takes a deep, steadying breath so he doesn’t immediately make a repeat of last time. Brandon bares his teeth in a sharp grin, his hands sliding down from his hips to trace along his thighs, then back up to where he’s hard, pressing against the thin material of his sweats. His long, talented fingers tease him, stroking along the length, pressing his thumb over the head. Adam shivers and Brandon leans in, biting at his lips. 

The hands fall away, much to his dismay, but Brandon doesn’t go far. He tugs his shirt off over his head and then reaches for Adam’s. He lets the shirt be pulled off and tossed away. The cool air of the room hits him and goosebumps break out along his arms- but that could also be from anticipation. 

“Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” Brandon chases away the chill of the room with his searing gaze, followed by his hands as they smooth across his stomach, his chest. He rubs his thumbs over Adam’s nipples, then leans in and replaces his hands with his mouth at the whine it elicits from him. Adam’s hands fly up to grip Brandon’s shoulders, the back of his head as he mouths and sucks at first one, then the other. His cock is rock hard in his sweats, aching desperately, spurred on by his talented mouth. He lets out a loud moan as Brandon sinks his teeth into his chest, sucking and biting until Adam is sure to have a vivid mark. 

Brandon pulls back, lips red and swollen and so inviting. He smirks at his handiwork, gaze dark and possessive. Adam is helpless but to reel him back in, to press their mouths together and feel those wicked lips against his own. He slides his hands over Brandon’s back, presses against the gentle curve of his spine until they’re flush against one another and he can feel how hard Brandon is, pressed insistently against his thigh. 

The bed is a step away and Brandon goes easily enough when Adam pushes, sinking down onto the edge. His eyes go wide when Adam falls to his knees and it sends a little thrill through him. 

“Gonna help me out?” He asks, hands resting on the band of Brandon’s sweats. Brandon springs into action and together they get his sweats and boxers off and out of the way. 

Objectively he’s always known Brandon was gorgeous, all tanned, olive skin and toned muscle, but there’s a difference between sneaking peeks in the locker room, terrified of getting caught, and having him there before him, laid out like a feast for Adam. His cock stands stiff and proud against his belly, long and thick, the head glistening with precome. Adam’s mouth waters at the sight. 

“Gonna just stare all night?” Brandon teases, wrapping one hand around his cock. Adam gets caught up in watching for a moment, the way he strokes himself leisurely, like he’s got all the time in the world. He glances up and catches Brandons smirk- the fucking show off. He wonders briefly if Brandon would let him watch, lay back and put on a show for him. It sends a rush of heat through him, followed closely by the need to do something.

Brandon’s hand falls away when Adam replaces it with his own, feeling the width and weight of him. He pushes further between his knees and presses a kiss to the head, feeling the precome smear against his lips. Brandon sucks in a sharp breath, his teasing gone for the moment, chased away as Adam slowly sinks down onto his cock. Brandon is hot and heavy on his tongue, stretching his mouth wide as Adam bobs his head, works on taking him deeper and deeper. God, he loves this feeling, of the ache in his jaw, the stretch of his lips. The sounds Brandon makes are intoxicating, sharp little whines, a low groan when his cock bumps against the back of Adam’s throat. Saliva pools thick in his mouth, spills down his chin. He has to pull back, catch his breath, before swallowing him back down again. 

Brandon’s hands tangle in his hair, grip tight enough to ache and Adam moans at the sharp arousal that burns through him at it. His own cock is so hard it hurts and it’s so tempting to come like this, Brandon’s cock in his throat and a hand around his own. Brandon’s close, he can tell- his thighs tense, shaking, hips moving in little thrusts like he can’t help but chase the heat of Adam’s mouth. It wouldn’t take much.

He pulls back and off of Brandon’s cock, catching his breath. 

“Adam,” Brandon whines. He fists Brandon’s cock in apology, pressing a kiss to the tip. He’s greedy, maybe, for wanting more. He doesn’t think Brandon will mind.

“Want you to fuck me.” His voice is shot, mouth well used. He presses a hand against his cock and takes a steadying breath. 

“Fuck,” Brandon stares down at him, slack jawed. “Did. Did he ever…?” 

“Yeah,” Adam holds his gaze despite everything in him screaming at him to look away. He’s waiting for a comment, about whether he’s comparing them when he hasn’t spared Chris a second thought since telling Brandon he loved him. 

“Okay,” Brandon grips his arms, hauling up and into an intense kiss. “Okay,” he says again against Adam’s lips. “Get naked. Get on the bed.” 

Adam shivers at the commanding tone, hurrying to kick off his sweats despite the way his legs feel like jelly from kneeling for so long. He crawls up the bed, flopping onto his back. Brandon’s digging through the side table, tossing a tube and a package of condoms onto the bed a moment later. He arches an eyebrow.

“What are you, a boy scout?”

“I might have had something in mind, inviting you here,” he admits, cheeks pink. He leaves them where they are for the moment, gaze roving over Adam like he’s been waiting to look his fill. He knows how that feels. 

“Ulterior motives?” Adam smirks, reaching lazily for his cock. “Who knew you had it in you.”

“Who knew you knew that word.” Brandon bats his hand away, replacing it with his own. He jerks Adam steadily, roughly, bares his teeth, triumphant at the broken moan he lets out. “Finally using that word of the day calendar?” 

“Fuck you,” Adam gasps.  Brandon kneels between his legs, spreading him wider as he jerks him off. He rolls Adam’s balls in the palm of his free hand.

“Thought it was the other way around, baby.” Brandon releases his balls, sliding his fingers searchingly between Adam’s cheeks. They brush over his hole and he shudders, hands gripping the sheets tight. “Hands on the headboard,” he instructs and Adam’s hands fly up to grip the slats. His chest is heaving, cock leaking steadily on his stomach. “Don’t move them unless I say you can.”

“Fuck.” Adam stares up at the ceiling, trying to catch his breath because the other option is coming from Brandon’s voice alone.

“If I only had some rope,” Brandon muses and Adam comes with a cry all over his stomach. 

Brandon eases him through it, slows the movements of his hand until he’s decided Adam’s had enough. Adam lays there, spent, tingling from head to toe. He hasn’t moved his hands from the headboard. Brandon hasn’t said he could. 

Brandon smoothes his hands over Adam’s thighs as he tries to catch his breath, expression fond. 

“Fuck,” he manages after a minute and Brandon laughs, sweet and intoxicating.

“You keep saying that.”

Adam stretches, watches the way Brandon’s gaze darkens and grins. “Then you should get on with it.” 

Brandon arches an eyebrow. “You sure?” 

“Oh yeah,” Adam hums. He’s feeling pretty amazing- getting fucked on top of that? He grins. 

“You’re going to be a handful,” Brandon murmurs but he’s already reaching for the lube. A thrill goes through him at the acknowledgement that there will be more of this, of them. He can’t wait.

Brandon coats his fingers and dives in for a quick, dirty kiss as he presses the first one against Adam’s entrance. The lube is cold but it’s quickly forgiven for the way Brandon kisses him, all consuming, like he could never get enough of Adam. They’re both panting by the time they pull apart. Brandon sits back, dark gaze on his fingers as he fucks them into Adam’s body, watching the way his greedy hole squeezes them tight, sucking them back in like he’s meant to be there. 

He takes his time stretching Adam out, more for his own benefit, hypnotized by the way Adam’s body swallows his fingers so easily, and less for Adam’s, who’s hard again, hips rolling as he tries to get his fingers deeper. He needs more and he tells Brandon as much, goes as far as to nudge him with his heel. He has a white knuckled grip on the headboard, everything in him screaming to let go, to grab his own cock, get some relief but he can’t. Brandon hasn’t said he can move yet.

“Brandon,” he sobs and that snaps him out of it, leaning up to press an apologetic kiss to Adam’s lips as he pulls his fingers free.

“Can’t believe how tight you are,” he whispers, grabbing a condom. He rolls it on quickly, then hooks one of Adam’s legs around his waist, the other in the crook of his elbow. The position opens him up, lifts his hips off the bed. The blunt head of Brandon’s cock presses teasingly against his rim and he groans. And then finally Brandon is pushing in, the stretch so intense, so perfect that it makes his breath catch in his chest. Brandon presses in in one smooth slide and suddenly he can breathe again. He gasps, mouth hanging wide, staring up at the ceiling. Sparks dance along his skin, heat pools in his stomach and it all leads directly back to his cock.

“So perfect.” Brandon presses kisses along his sweat slick skin, anywhere he can reach. He doesn’t wait for Adam to tell him to move, can read his body better than Adam can right now. He starts with a few shallow thrusts and Adam keens, the muscles in his arms tense from how tightly he’s gripping the headboard. The wood bites into his hands but he thinks if he were to let go he might just fly apart. Brandon gives a few teasing grinds and Adam swears.

“Thought you were going to fuck me?” He chirps and Brandon rises to the bait. He grins, all pearly white teeth and pulls Adam closer, further into his lap and off the bed. 

The breath is knocked from his lungs with the first perfect vicious thrust. It rattles the bed against the wall and Adam thanks whoever is listening that it’s just them in the cottage, that Brandon’s parents aren’t there to hear them. 

“You feel so good on my dick,” Brandon rambles and Adam somehow flushes further. He feels huge, stretching him out so perfectly, filling him up until he isn’t sure where he ends and Brandon begins. He hammers into him- fucks him hard until high little moans are spilling constantly from his lips. His cock lights Adam up from the inside out- he’s too hot, too close to the precipice but not ready to fall over the edge again. 

Brandon’s fingers leave bruises on his hip from where he’s gripping him, on his thigh from where it’s hooked over his elbow. He mutters quiet curses, his gaze sharp, searing where it rests on Adam. He’s never felt so exposed, laid bare for Brandon to take whatever he wants. He wouldn’t stop him if he could.

“Touch yourself,” Brandon growls and Adam manages to pry sore fingers from the headboard to wrap around his cock. He’s so close and it feels like it takes nothing at all before he’s coming again.

Brandon swears, thrusts in hard a handful more times and then stills, buried as deep as he can go in Adam.

Around them the room is silent, save for the sound of their breathing as they try to catch their breath. 

Adam grimaces as Brandon slowly pulls out, gripping the condom. His hips are a little sore- he’s going to need to get into stretching more if this keeps up- and he feels uncomfortably empty. That’s the part he hates, the emptiness. 

He watches as Brandon ties off the condom, getting up on unsteady legs to dispose of it. He grabs one of their shirts off the floor and stumbles back, gently wiping Adam down before tossing it back on the floor and slumping onto the bed. They’re turned on their sides, facing one another and Adam slides closer, tangling their legs together. Brandon smiles, soft and small and pure, resting his hand on his hip. It helps settle the emptiness, fills him with warmth at the fondness, the love in Brandon’s gaze.

“Can I stay?” Adam asks meaning the night, the week, forever.

Brandon’s smile grows and he leans in, pressing a hard kiss to his lips. 

“Always.” 

 

::

 

“The Pens are calling you Turbo?” Adam’s on Instagram, enjoying the sun on the front porch. Brandon’s parents are coming up for a few days so they’re practicing keeping their hands to themselves for the moment, if only to keep from scarring them during their stay. Adam’s already been through the first floor of the cottage, cleaning everything thoroughly. He doesn’t think he can sit at the kitchen island while they’re there, not with how often their son has fucked him over it in the past week. 

“Yeah, they already had a Rusty.” Brandon joins him on the steps, two glasses of lemonade in hand. He passes one over, leaning close until Adam gets the hint and slings his arm across his shoulders. Through the open door comes the sweet smell of cinnamon buns and Adam’s stomach growls appreciatively. Brandon must have taken them out of the oven just before coming outside. 

“Is it cause of how you fuck?”

Brandon gives an outraged squawk, elbowing him in the side as Adam laughs. 

“You saying I don’t last long enough?” He demands, a challenging glint to his eyes. Adam goes hot all over. He checks the time on his phone- Brandon’s parents aren’t due to arrive until dinner, they have time.

“I’m just saying maybe you need some more practice. You know, build up some stamina.”

“I’ll show you stamina.” Brandon lurches to his feet, glass forgotten on the steps for the time being. Adam’s meets a similar state when Brandon grabs his t-shirt and tugs until he’s standing as well. “Get your ass upstairs. Naked and on the bed by the time I get up there.”

Adam shivers, unbearably hard already. He has no idea how they’re going to keep from fucking while Brandon’s parents are there- and neither of them are any good at keeping quiet.

“Or what?” He chirps just to see the way Brandon’s eyes darken. Brandon presses close, until they’re almost touching, head tilted up and lips a whisper away. 

“Depends on if you want to come,” he says and Adam sways after him when he pulls away. He smirks and Adam thinks about dropping to his knees and blowing him right then and there on the porch. “Well?” 

“You’re a menace,” he accuses, already heading inside, Brandon two steps behind him.

“You’re lucky I love you.”

“Yeah.” He casts a glance over his shoulder. His heart feels too big in his chest. “I am.”