When it’s way past 1am and Mat still can’t fall asleep after having tried every technique in the book, he decides fuck it and just leaves his room and starts to wander aimlessly in the hotel.
At some point he remembers the cool breakdown room a couple floors down, he finds a tennis ball there and he ends up lying on a couch, launching and catching the ball in the air. He probably would have heard someone coming in the room and sitting at the end of the couch earlier if it wasn’t for his eyes on the ceiling and music in his ears.
“Jesus, warn a guy next time, you almost gave me a freaking heart-attack.”
Travis, ever true to himself, just rolls his eyes at Mat.
“Don’t be mean, I’m the one who lost tonight,” Mat doesn’t whine. Maybe he’s more sulking, the basics of how to act like a grown-up forgotten. It’s Travis though, so, whatever.
“Yeah, and you’re the one who got me into a headlock and started to hit me when I wasn’t asking for it, talk about being mean,” Travis answers pointedly. There is no heat behind his words and Mat didn’t expect any but it’s almost a relief. He can’t fight with Travis right now, he’s probably too tired to think of proper chirping.
Mat shrugs, thinking back of his last interactions with Travis on the ice. They hadn’t exactly been friendly but like, hello playoffs hockey. “Whatever.”
Travis laughs at that, small smile on his lips that Mat finds himself reciprocating.
He’s focused on Travis face and Mat feels more than see when Travis shuffles closer to him, lifting Mat’s feet to put them on his lap, on hand curling over his left ankle.
“What are doing here Barzy ? What happened to your beauty sleep ?” Travis voice is quiet when he starts asking question, the barest hint of teasing laying under there. Until it’s been a couple of seconds of Mat mulling his answer over and Travis keeps going. “Where’s your Beau when you need him ?”
Mat groans, muttering a “Shut up” in the other man’s direction, Tito is the last person Mat wants to think about right now, not when he would probably give everything to be in his bed right now but can’t.
Travis chuckles, the fucker. “I see, still fucked up to pine over a guy who have boyfriends all over the league but won’t consider you for his harem, uh ?” He’s grinning but he’s also rubbing his thumb against Mat’s skin and it’s nice. It’s kind of hard to really be mad at him.
Mat drapes one arm over his eyes. “Like you’re any better. At least Tito is in the bubble.”
He realizes that the blow might have been kind of low when the fingers on his ankle stop. He finds himself missing the movement immediately. Moving his arm up his forehead, Mat peaks a look at Travis and finds him biting his lower lip, his free hand playing lamely with the bottom of his shirt. Fuck , he’s definitely too tired for this kind of conversation.
“I’m sorry,” he says as sincerely as he can, pulling on his abs to sit upright, his legs still on Travis lap, one elbow resting on the back of the couch. He’s much closer to Travis face now and it’s easier to see the darkened skin under his eyes. His hair doesn’t look so bad, haircut kind of wild but clean from the shower he must have taken after the game. His beard and mustache game is… A whole other subject. Mainly he looks tired, and kind of restless at the same time, it’s not— it’s not the best look Mat has ever seen on him.
“Don’t sweat it, I deserved that, probably,” Travis chuckles, squeezing Mat’s ankle and smiling at him. “It’s just— the bubble life you know. Like the playoffs are already hard enough and sure, they got us some nice equipment but I miss my dogs and being outside and being free . But I’m living with guys who have like actual families out there, it’s not like I can complain. And maybe I also miss Patty and the fact that I don’t even know when I’ll get to see him again so it makes it worse. It’s just shitty.”
It takes Mat a second to think of what he wants to answer. He ends up with something lame but, sue him, it’s like 2am right now. “Sorry bud, I know. It’s okay.” He grins at Travis, poking him in the side. “It’s gonna be over soon anyway, I promise I’m gonna make sure of that.”
Travis laughs at that, throwing his head back and letting it rest against the back of the couch, tilting it to the side to look at Mat. He still looks tired but looser than before, some of the tension released with his laugh. He looks pretty, is the thing Mat can admit. He’s also radiating heat close to Mat and it feels good . Mat doesn’t want to make his brain figure out when was the last time he got to be that close to someone else's body for a non-hockey related reason.
(Remembering when was the last time he was so close to Travis is easy but, not the point here.)
“Can’t wait to see you try,” Travis murmurs, his thumb back to drawing circles on Mat’s skin. “We should move this to your room.” Mat probably looks like a deer caught in the headlights, body going rigid, heart rate quickening. “Hey, not like that. I mean— I’m not pressuring you into anything. It’s just nice to be with you and I know I won’t be able to sleep if I go back to sleep on my own and we both know it’s the same for you. I wouldn’t mind staying here but I’m not sure it’ll be fun to explain what’s happening if we run into some random staff or one of the guys.”
And was Mat supposed to find out that Travis learnt how to talk about his feelings and desires like this ? Someone gives a guy a warning. He closes his mouth when he realizes he opened it slightly with no intent of speaking and he tries to consider the situation.
This is an offer, for what Mat isn’t sure yet, no matter how thoughtful Travis tried to be in his explanation. The thing is, Mat is tired, his eyes burn from the fatigue and his inability to sleep it off. He’s a little on edge, feeling a little restless with Travis’ warmth and weight close to him. This is Travis and, for a couple of reasons, whether they are right or not, Mat trusts him.
Making his way through the elevator and down the hallway to his room, it’s hard not to let the memories flood back. Laughing with Travis and egging each other on during the fastest skater challenge, finding each other at a bar later that night, couple drinks in, lamenting about their respective idiotic crush on a teammate they couldn’t have. Sleeping together had been, like, the most logical thing to do. Two sad souls finding comfort in each other, blowing off steam, having fun with no regrets the next morning. Heads empty, no thoughts needed. Easy.
Closing the door behind them, Mat tries to keep his brain shut, he shrugs off his clothes in a second, laying on his back in his bed with just his boxers, pulling the sheets up to his waist. When he looks up, Travis chuckles, smile at the corner of his lips when he takes off his sweatpants but keeps his shirt to join Mat under the blanket, laying on his side with one hand supporting the side of his head.
“Playoffs are really looking good on Tito, that beard man… Maybe I should be the one making a move on him,” Travis starts with when they’re both settled, only light in the room coming from the small lamp on Mat’s bedside.
Mat only turns his head from where it’s laying on his pillow, left cheek flush against the cool fabric. “Shut up. Go talk to Nolan. I don’t know him that much but you are always embarrassingly in love when you’re in videos together, it’s ridiculous.”
Travis flushes at that, losing a little of his composure. Mat takes pride in that. It doesn’t take long for Travis to recover, poking Mat’s ribs with his free hands. “You’ve been watching a lot of videos of me lately, Mat ? Who’s in love now ?”
Mat can’t help his laugh, another “Shut up” leaving his mouth as he weakly aims Travis’ hip with his fist. He barely hits him, Travis snatching his wrist and keeping it. “Look, we’re both sober, we’re not touching this subject now. Tell me about the latest dumb shit you did or whatever. Can’t be that old.”
Some eyes get rolled, obviously , and then Travis starts to tell him about the last PR video they made him do and how he probably looked like a total fool when he discovered the library right in front of the camera (“There’s a library in the bubble ?” “Yeah ! See, you’re surprised too, you should find a way to tell the world you also find that absurd, in support to me.”). He keeps going with some stories that happened to the guys in the bubble and Mat laughs, sharing some stupid ideas the Isles had too. All along their exchange, he can feel Travis’ fingers going lazily up and down his arm, raising goosebumps on Mat’s skin.
They’re bantering back and forth and it’s like Mat can feel the tension leaving his body, limbs loose and heavy against the mattress. He could fall asleep right there, kind of think he might have already closed his eyes a couple of times. There’s always this point of contact between him and Travis, the Flyers hand travelling on Mat’s naked skin. Mat wouldn’t say he was craving a human touch but it feels so nice , to be cared for, he could melt right there under Travis fingers.
Mat’s not sure what he says to make Travis poke him lightly on the jaw but the hit reverberates up his face and makes the bruise on his eye throb a little. “Ouch,” he hisses quietly, frowning and kind of immediately regretting the movement.
“Sorry,” Travis apologizes, so soft Mat thinks for a second that he just dreamt the word. “You’re still pretty with a shiner, makes me forget how much they can actually hurt.”
Mat blushes at Travis' words and he wants to protest because when he looks at himself in the mirror and sees the yellow and purple reflected back at him, he does not see pretty . When Travis has gotten even closer to him, heat radiating from his whole body, thumb rubbing slowly over Mat’s cheek, it might be a whole other story.
“ Travis. ”
“Yeah, I’ve got game baby, don't you know ?”
Now there is a leg, thrown his hip, Travis’ body half over Mat’s, the rest of his weight still supported by his elbow on the mattress. “ Teeks, ” Mat barely pleads.
Travis takes a second to smile, proud of himself, and then he’s leaning in, fingers angling Mat’s jaw the perfect way to kiss him slowly.
It’s achingly sweet. A simple press of lips, hot and dry to begin with. Mat remembers he has hands, places one of them against Travis’ waist, the other behind his neck. Travis licks his lips and Mat finds himself mirroring him, opening his mouth to deepen the kiss. It’s his turn to have fingers moving up and down Travis’ skin and they keep kissing, slow and easy, urgency inexistent.
Mat couldn’t say how long they kept going, the press of lips, sweeps of tongues, Travis blanketing him and never leaving his thumb away from Mat’s bruised cheek, ever so careful. At some point he notices how his left leg is going numb, how Travis’ beard is starting to itch his skin from too much contact. It doesn’t really matter.
“Mat, bro, babe, what do you want ?”
Mat blinks his eyes open, needing a moment to gain back some focus.
“Hm, I don’t want to fall asleep on you but I’m not gonna be able to give you much more,” he admits, half embarrassed. He probably could will his dick to get a little more interested in what they’re doing but the truth is, he’s tired and just content to make out tonight. “Sorry,” he still feels the need to apologize.
“It’s okay, told you I wasn’t here for that,” Travis says quietly and Mat feels weird, almost kind of bad. His brain is so fuzzy with fatigue he feels like he’s functioning with too much alcohol in his body.
“I know,” he defends himself, face probably working some kind of grimace. “It’s just, you know.”
“I know you know, dumbass. Stop worrying,” Travis admonishes with a smile and Mat lets himself relax.
“Can we kiss some more ?”
Travis doesn’t have to be asked twice.
Mat isn’t sure when kissing stops and sleeping begins but he wakes up to movement and an alarm at some point. “Go back to sleep, I just have to get back to my room before anyone wakes up. You still have some time, see you later,” Travis whispers and Mat can feel the kiss pressed against his forehead before Travis heads out of his room. Mat falls back asleep the next second, only waking up again when his own alarm comes to life.
For how small his actual number of hours of sleep must be, Mat feels better and more rested than he has in days.