Claude Giroux was durable, he could take a hit. He was also the only witch in the League to wear a C, which seemed to paint a larger target on him. And games against the Penguins were always chippy.
But when Malkin crushed him against the boards and sent that infuriating smirk over his shoulder - challenging eyebrow raised as he muttered “not so great without your powers, Giroux. Useless witch” was enough to have the team up in arms - especially when G didn’t get up right away.
What he hadn’t been expecting was Carson Briere to beat Jake to grabbing Malkin. Carson had been invited to try-outs the previous summer and had accepted once Danny and G let him know that they had nothing to do with it and no one had been prouder than them when he had made the roster. And the kid could hold his own in a fight - just like Claude had helped him with his backhand when he was younger, Claude had taught him how to hold his own as soon as they found out he made the roster - but G couldn’t help the relief he felt when Jake got between him and Malkin.
“Need a hand?” Sid asked, coming to a stop next to him - evidently Claude was still his guy when things got out of hand as everything started dissolving into chaos even if Claude was still down on the ice.
“I’m fine,” Claude huffed out, managing to push himself up, rolling the shoulder that took the brunt of everything.”
“Kid fights like you,” Sid huffed out a laugh, “Like an angry chihuahua.”
“Taught him everything I know,” Claude threw Crosby a grin.
“It shows,” Sid replied sincerely. Lowering his voice, Sid asked, “We still on tonight or will you need to ice that?”
“Once I get the shackles off, I’ll feel better.”
“Are they that bad?”
“You have no idea.”
They managed to eek out a win and Claude winced as he removed the first band, breathing out a sigh of relief as he felt his magic starting to flow again.
“Need a hand?” Sean asked, flopping down into his own stall next to Claude’s.
“I got it,” Claude gritted out as he managed to get the other one off, both shackles laying open on the locker room floor in front of him.
He glanced around and smiled softly when he saw TK gently removing Nolan’s. Carter was rubbing a healing ointment on his wrists - his own binds stuffed in the bag in front of him, like they would disappear if Carter couldn’t see them. And Morgan’s were calmly sat on the floor in front of him while Joel was jabbering on about something as Morgan’s eyes were closed and he was taking deep breaths to recalibrate his magic.
“Can you hand me the -”
And Claude smiled when Coots was already holding out the cooling ointment. As he calmly rubbed it into his wrists he muttered, “Keep an eye on Cars if you guys go out tonight.”
“You seeing Crosby?” Sean raised an eyebrow.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to know about that.”
“I’ve known about it for five years,” Sean replied softly, “I saw you two at Worlds. You did magic for him.”
“I made confetti rain down,” Claude rolled his eyes, “I do the same thing for Carson and his brothers.”
“You only do magic for those you care about,” Sean gave him a telling look.
“You’re such a little brother sometimes,” Claude scoffed before heading to the showers, waving a hand and making his jersey fly up and hit Sean in the face.
There were times Nolan hated being a witch. He really did. The “shackles” (as G called them) hurt him to touch. It took a minute or so for his wrists to go numb after they were locked on, and TK always felt incredibly guilty when he locked them in place - because Nolan couldn’t touch them. G said it was because Nolan’s magic was closer to the surface and that his magic’s first instinct was to protect Nolan.
And apparently, his binders couldn’t fully contain his magic, which they found out after Chara tried to lay out Patty only to bounce back and go flying, with Nolan standing there with wide eyes. The ref blew the whistle and demanded that Nolan remove his gloves to prove the bindings were still on.
When the gloves were removed, the iron was glowing an angry orange and Nolan hissed - as if the burning was intensifying.
“He needs to get those off,” Claude argued as Wes came over, “They’re hurting him.”
“He’s going to have to sit for the rest of the game.” Wes responded, “His magic threw another player across the ice. Player Safety will need to review and Patrick will need to get a stronger set of binders.”
Nolan glared at the ice but skated off, heading to the locker room as it was announced that he would receive a game misconduct and Claude growled, narrowing his eyes.
As soon as the team was back in the room after the period, Travis was immediately at Nolan’s side.
“Why do you still have these on?” Travis demanded, the metal still visibly hot and Nolan’s wrists were clearly more agitated that usual.
“Can’t touch them,” Nolan replied, voice low and eyes looking anywhere but any of their teammates.
Travis knelt in front of him and gently removed the binders, placing a gentle kiss to Nolan’s wrists as he freed them, and Nolan’s face immediately flooded with relief. Claude never ceased to be surprised with just how gentle Travis was when it came to Nolan, and it was never more prevalent than when Travis helped Nolan with the bindings.
“Go ahead and shower, get dressed,” Claude gently urged, pulling out his cooling ointment, “Put on your usual cooling ointment, wait five minutes, then put this one on. The lavender in it will react well with the peppermint in your. Wait another ten minutes then put your healing ointment on. If they’re still agitated after that, I have peppermint and chamomile oil in my stall you can use, ice won’t help on a magic burn.”
“Thanks, G,” Nolan muttered, keeping his eyes down.
Right before he left the locker room for the second period, G turned back to see TK kneeling in front of Nolan again. He couldn’t hear what was said, but he smiled softly at the soft kiss they exchanged before TK stood up. Nolan went bright red when he saw that Claude had seen their moment but Travis grinned widely.
Nolan had been quieter than usual the whole bus ride back to the hotel, so Travis ushered him into his room and left again, returning with Nolan’s pjs and tossed them to him before grabbing the room service menu and ordering a shit ton of fries, all the dipping sauces, and the chocolate cake.
“How are your wrists?” Travis asked carefully, settling on the bed and internally debating between Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs.
“They don’t burn anymore,” Nolan mumbled, “I’ll have to ask G how he made that oil.”
“Your wrists are still red, though,” Travis caressed Nolan’s right wrists gently after picking Dirty Jobs.
“They will be probably all night, couple more hours is the best case scenario,” Nolan glared down at his lap, “That’s never happened before.”
“G’s joining your Hearing call tomorrow,” Travis’ voice had an edge to it, “It wasn’t your fault and you shouldn’t be punished for it.”
Nolan just hummed in response, lightly running his fingers over his left wrists, both of them still so red it looked like they were sunburned.
“You know...I couldn’t take on Chara, but I did annoy the crap out of Marchand for you,” Travis tried desperately to get a smile out of Nolan, “You can talk to me, Patty. I know I may not understand your witchy stuff but I can try to find a way to help you.”
“It scared me,” Nolan replied softly, “I’ve never…. That never happened with my leather bands. But the iron ones…. G says I react the way I do to them because my magic is closer to the surface and that it’s instinct is to protect me. But…. I shouldn’t have been able to do that with the iron binders.”
“Aren’t the leather ones -”
“The leather ones have ruins in them and enchantments that are geared toward the individual’s magic. They’re personalized to us. We adjust the enchantments when we need to. But the iron ones… they cut off magic from flowing, which is why they hurt. G says I’m powerful for my age, that my magic tries to rebel against the binders and that causes them to hurt that much more. Because my magic can’t protect me if it’s cut off.” Nolan mumbled.
Travis laced their fingers together and squeezed, eyes shining in amusement as Nolan’s cheeks turned pink and rose petals started raining down on Nolan’s head briefly. Amused, Travis asked, “What was that?”
“My magic likes you,” Nolan mumbled.
“Well, good, because I’m pretty taken with you and I don’t think it would be a good thing if your magic didn’t like me,” Travis grinned. He lifted their joined hands up and brushed a kiss over Nolan’s knuckles, “Tell your magic that I’ll protect when it can’t.”
Carter was thankful he didn’t have any effects of the binders when he wore them, it was more that the immediate aftermath of when they were removed - when his magic was able to flow freely again - just exhausted him. He figured the bindings didn’t hurt as much for him because he wasn’t as intune with his magic as Nolan and Morgan were and didn’t use his magic casually like G did.
Neither of his parents had been magic users, he had inherited it from a great aunt and it had developed at a later age. It wasn’t as strong as some of the others he knew. And he didn’t really feel that much of a difference between the leather bands he wore all the time and the iron binders the League had handed out. He knew it made G worried, that he was repressing his magic - which wasn’t safe for anyone to do.
Until halfway through the season, when he latched them into place and yelped when it burned. He gave Claude a wide-eyed look and his Captain was across the room in a minute. He hissed briefly as he removed the binder and examined Carter’s wrist.
“Have you noticed you’re magic changing lately?” Claude asked gently, examining Carter’s wrist.
Carter shook his head and his worry must have shone because G told him he had nothing to worry about, that magic was unpredictable in when it would decide to grow. G himself had come fully into his magic in 2012, Nolan came into his when he was six, it was different for everyone.
“Patty, I need your help brewing,” Claude looked over at the younger witch, who nodded.
Which is why Carter found himself in G’s condo after practice. Morgan managed to pull himself away from Joel to “help”.
“I’m trying to get better at brewing,” he told Carter, “I’m better at spellwork.”
Nolan muttered something under his breath and a series of jars floated into the kitchen.
“I have the starter heating up,” Claude spoke softly, stirring whatever was in the pot on the stove.
“Do you have an unaltered cream?”
Claude held up the container next to the stove and Nolan nodded before giving Carter an accessing look.
“What?” Carter asked, eyes flicking to G briefly.
“Sage.” Nolan muttered, mostly to himself before plucking a couple different bottles out of the air around him and sending the others back where they came from, “Rosemary, Peppermint, and a hint of Juniper.”
“What?” Carter’s face scrunched up in confusion.
“Each person has different healing properties that work best for them,” Morgan replied, watching as Nolan carefully cut up the Sage and Rosemary, “I have a book on it I’ll lend you. My dad got it for me when my magic decided to grow.”
“The starter’s ready,” G informed Nolan, who switched spots with him and immediately added more Peppermint oil than Carter thought was necessary, “Morgan, can you crush the berries in the mortar?”
“You use dry?” Morgan seemed surprised as he started the task of turning the Juniper Berries into a powder.
“Only with things like this,” Claude replied, “since we need the dry ingredients to be powderized.”
Morgan nodded and continued his task, beaming when Claude muttered, “Good job” as he took the mortar and added the cut up Sage and Rosemary and started grinding them down and carefully incorporating them with the berries, handing the mortar over when he had ensured that it was all a fine powder.
“Hold your hands out,” G gently instructed Carter, who did as he was told. Placing the mortar in Carter’s hands, he said, “Focus your magic on the mortar.”
Carter tried to do as he was told and must have done something right because the mortar glowed a bright gold color and his eyes widened before the gold faded.
“Don’t worry,” G responded, “It’s just incorporating your magic into the dry ingredients.”
Nolan silently, held a hand out and Carter handed the mortar over and Nolan carefully poured the mixture into the pot.
“Hand,” Nolan said after a minute and Carter took a moment - and a spectacular bitch face from the younger man - to realize he was the one being talked to and he held his hand out.
“Needle,” Nolan said as he gripped Carter’s wrist.
The next thing Carter knew, his finger was bing pricked and a couple drops of blood dripped into the pot.
He gave Nolan a betrayed pout even as the other man healed him.
“It ties the potion to you more strongly,” Nolan replied, “It’ll work better, work faster.”
Carter just nodded and Morgan smiled softly, “I’ll lend you all my books.”
“Thanks,” Carter replied, watching Nolan turn the stove off and then add the cream that Claude had set aside, whispering as he mixed.
“Celtic,” Claude informed Carter, “Nolan comes from a long line of Druids.”
Carter just nodded.
Five minutes later, he was leaving G’s with a jar of ointment and told to apply it around his wrists immediately after removing the iron binders and five books on magic from G with the promise of Morgan bringing his to practice the next day.
Morgan’s magic liked Joel, almost as much as Morgan liked Joel. His magic wanted to protect Joel, the same way Joel wanted to protect Morgan on ice. So when Joel went to retaliate on a dirty hit Morgan took earlier in the game, clearly eager to start a fight, Morgan’s magic slowed Joel and the opposing player down just enough for the ref to be able to get between them and cut it off before Joel could get his ass handed to him, Morgan wasn’t surprised. Although Claude was giving him a look that showed he clearly knew it was Morgan’s doing.
“Careful, Frosty,” G’s voice was low as they headed to the locker room at the end of the game, “you could have been caught.”
“It wasn’t me,” Morgan replied, “It was my magic. I don’t know how.”
“Doesn’t matter to the League. Nolan got suspended two games for his magic protecting him without him actually meaning to do it.”
“It was you, right?” Joel brought up when they were back in their room, “You slowed down time?”
“It didn’t slow down time.” Morgan corrected, “My magic just slowed down you and Radulov. Just a little.”
“Why?” Joel asked, looking over at Morgan.
“Because you would have gotten your ass kicked and my magic wanted...wants to protect you. It likes you.” Morgan replied shyly.
“Do you like me as much as your magic likes me?” Joel asked, though Morgan could tell the words more left his mouth without his permission than he meant to say them based on the pink tint to his cheeks.
“I think I may like you a little bit more than my magic does,” Morgan replied, blushing darkly and biting his lip.
“Dope!” Joel grinned widely, lacing their fingers together.
“Yeah,” Morgan laughed, “Dope.”