The best thing about All-Star weekend, Claude thinks, is getting to hang out with guys who he never gets to see, now that they play for different teams. The fact that nobody really cares how much time they all spend drinking is a close second, though. He takes a long swig from Carey's flask. "You get along with your rookie," he says, capping it and passing it back.
"I don't think mine likes me."
Carey almost does his second spit-take of the night. "You," he says carefully, "don't think he likes you."
"That's what I said." Claude frowns at him. "I'm not speaking French, I'm sure."
"Not French," Carey agrees. "Crazy talk. Or, or... did you do opposite day where you grew up?"
"Opposite day?" Claude stares at him. No, he still only sees one goalie, so he's not drunk enough to see double. "What are you talking about?"
Carey giggles and covers his mouth with one hand. His dimples still show, though. "You," he repeats, pointing at Claude, "think he... doesn't like you. I said that right?"
"Yes," Claude repeats. "Why is this so fucking funny?"
"Because he --" Carey punctuates this by jerking his thumb backwards, which Claude guesses is probably the direction of Couturier's room. "He is com-fucking-pletely convinced that you hate his guts."
"You sound like a comic book," Claude tells him, "and you're wrong. Why would Cooter think that?"
"What do you mean, a comic book? I'm not wearing tights." Carey looks down at his lap, like maybe he's afraid that isn't true anymore.
"You're not dressed like a comic book, you sound like one. You know, like how every other word is in bold?" Claude waves his hands around above their heads, where speech bubbles would go. "What do you mean, Goalie Man? If Dr. Doom stole the super serum, then Sid the Kid might never recover!"
"Goalie Man? That's the best you could come up with?" Carey gulps from his flask, then shakes his head. "I'm disappointed in you."
"What, you'd rather I run with your rope tricks and call you Wonder Woman?" Claude snatches the flask before Carey can tuck it back in his jacket. He's going to need more of whatever hell-brew is in there for this conversation.
"I bet this weekend would be even more fun if I had a lasso of truth." Carey wiggles his eyebrows.
"Yeah, like maybe I could get you to tell me why you think Cooter thinks I hate him." He is totally sober enough not to let this go.
Carey snorts. "Like you could rope me. I'm slippery. I'm slippery like a fox. And that's a stupid question, anyway. You spend half your time looking at your rookie like you want to burn him to death with laser eyes."
"Laser eyes would be an awesome super power," Claude says, leaving the idea of slippery foxes alone. "And I do not."
"Wait, if I'm Goalie Man, then who are you?" Carey asks. "Like, laser eyes, I'd think maybe Cyclops, except I think Stevie Y has dibs on that."
"Ouch," Claude says. He covers one eye and snickers. "Mixing mythologies? That's worse than beer before liquor."
"You mixed Marvel and DC first," Carey says. "Anyway, Lundqvist is obviously King Henry of Atlantis, and Thomas is... the Transformer who looks like a bumblebee."
"Of course," Claude says. "And Iggy is the Human Torch, yeah?"
"Ha ha, very punny!" Carey slaps him on the back.
"Hey, guys! What are we doing?" It's Seguin, the Bruins' not-a-rookie-anymore. He's carrying a tall glass half-full of... something pink, with an umbrella in it; he has another umbrella behind his ear, and he's managed to lose his shirt.
"Deciding who's what superhero," Claude says.
"Awesome!" Seguin tries to sit on the arm of the couch, but loses his balance and lands in Claude's lap, giggling. "Whoops!"
Carey steals his drink before he can spill it. "I'm confiscating this."
"Mean," Seguin says. He struggles to sit up. "Can I be Batman?"
"Yes, you may," Claude says. The alcohol is making him feel generous.
"Big Z should be Mr. Fantastic," Seguin decides, "since he's so tall it's like he stretched." He wiggles into a more comfortable position in Claude's lap.
Claude feels like things have gotten away from him a little bit.
At some point, they must fall asleep, because Claude wakes up still on the couch, in a warm tangle of limbs. It'd be too warm if Seguin had his shirt on, probably. And Carey's whispering something. Phone, maybe?
"Gotta be quiet," he's saying. "Don't want to wake up Segs and Roo." Pause. "No, are you kidding? I bet we'd all have crazy whiskey-dick anyway. We fell asleep talking about superheroes." Another pause. "Yeah, you can totally be Green Lantern."
He stops talking for long enough that Claude thinks he's fallen asleep, but then he says, "Yeah, ditto. 'Night, PK."
Claude's stomach twists. He fights it down, thinking just because you're a loser with a hopeless crush doesn't mean everyone else has to be, and bites the inside of his lip so hard he tastes blood. Carey puts away his phone, then snuggles back into their pile with a sleepy sound. It takes Claude a while to fall asleep again, though.
When he wakes up for real the next morning and stumbles back to his room for a shower, Claude feels ridiculously stupid for his middle-of-the-night emo fest. He makes a face at himself in the mirror while the water heats up, then hops in. Oh, poor Claude, he doesn't have a boyfriend! Like that's the worst thing in life? Next he'll be writing Danny's name on his sticks and kissing them at night.
Claude shakes his head, spraying shampoo foam all over the place. No way. He's going to shape up right now. No more of this... pining over Danny, wondering if looks mean things, like an idiot. Definitely no more glaring at the rookie -- at Cooter. Just the best hockey he can play.
And, thank Christ, it seems to work. He works out all the time, and he skates his ass off at Voorhees until all hours. Jagr is really helping to improve his game, and he's a pretty cool guy, too; spending time with him isn't a pain in the ass at all, like he was afraid it might be. Claude climbs up the standings, and it's fucking amazing, and he barely thinks about the way Danny smiles at him at all.
The first time Jags calls Claude "Little Mario," of course Danny is the first person he wants to tell -- but he's got the kids, and they'll be in bed. It can wait for practice. Little Mario.
The next morning in the shower, though, Claude jerks off like usual, but the girls he tries to think about keep turning into Danny. One second, there are tits for days; the next, there's Danny's chest, in one of his worn-out t-shirts that's all stretched at the neck. First there's lipstick, the shiny kind that tastes like candy, and then there's Danny's little smile under the stupid wispy mustache he's trying to grow.
Okay, fine. If that's what his dick's in the mood for, he'll just go with it. Claude lets his mind drift back to Danny as he fists his dick, picturing Danny the way he gets during the playoffs, all wild-eyed and focused and so, so good. It's like he hits this whole other level, turns everything up to eleven, and Claude is so into it. He rubs his thumb over the head, thinking about how Danny could handle him like he handles the puck, like there's only one way things are going to happen, and it's the way Danny Brière wants them to.
Claude comes in practically no time. He's not going to let it be awkward, though. It doesn't matter what he jerks it to, as long as he does his best on the ice.
The months slip by, and almost before he knows it, the playoffs are upon them. Pittsburgh -- of course it's Pittsburgh. He manages to keep his libido under control for the first five games, but just barely. Danny is fucking incandescent with rage, and Claude just wants to wrap himself around him. Maybe Danny would make him glow from the inside, like when he used to put a flashlight in his mouth to scare Isabelle when they were kids.
They're back home for Game 6, and right from warmups, Claude has a really good feeling about this. Not just a good feeling; an awesome, I-can-do-anything feeling. That's what makes him skate up to Danny, right before the first faceoff, and tell him, "Watch the first shift" -- and when he snaps the puck home thirty seconds in, he can feel Danny's eyes burning on the back of his neck.
They win, they're going to the second round -- not that Claude doubted it for a second, God, they were on fire -- and Danny grabs him by the wrist on the way into the locker room. "Follow me home," Danny hisses.
Claude nods stupidly, even though Danny's turned away. What? Yes. Of course he will. But first, he'll shower.
As Claude shoulders his bag to leave, taking a swig of Gatorade, Jagr pats him on the back. "Love is a beautiful thing," he says. "Especially when it does not take you away from hockey."
Claude chokes and splutters. "Qu-what?" he demands, wiping his mouth.
"If you can play, you can play," Jagr says, and he taps the side of his nose like they're spies or something. Gay spies.
He considers denying it, but fuck, even if Danny isn't on the same page, even if Danny just wants company to eat pizza, Claude is still really, really gay for him. And it's still nice of Jags to... give them his blessing, or whatever. "Thanks, Jags," he says at last. "Means a lot."
When Claude pulls into Danny's driveway, he feels weirdly like he's back a year ago, still living here and wishing Danny would wake up and want him. He parks, same as always, doesn't bother knocking, same as always, and he's toeing off his shoes when bam! Danny slams him into the door. His eyes are wild.
"Tell me you don't want this," Danny says, and he grabs Claude's chin and kisses him fiercely.
It's almost more like fighting than making out, but Claude is 100% on board, biting Danny's soft lips, tugging the hair that brushes his collar until Danny moans and tips his head back, exposing more skin to drag his teeth over. Danny's right there with him, kissing and biting, and even though Claude has the height and weight advantage, Danny's got him pinned to the door.
"Come on," Danny says after a little while. "Bed." He drags Claude away from the door by the collar and leads him up the stairs.
It turns out to take awhile to climb one flight of stairs when you keep stopping for kisses. When Danny's a step ahead, he's taller than Claude, enough so that Claude has to tilt his chin up to let Danny in. It feels so good Claude is almost dizzy with it.
They make it to Danny's room, finally, and Danny pushes him down onto the bed. Claude lands heavily, and Danny climbs on top of him, using the leverage to hold him right where he wants him.
Claude groans and clutches at Danny's back. He feels like he's been waiting his whole life for someone to... to take him over like this. It's pretty awesome.
He's just starting to get used to the rubbing and kissing part when Danny shoves a hand down between them and grabs Claude's junk. "Good," Danny says, "you're hard." He sounds pleased and a little surprised.
"Of course I'm fucking hard," Claude says. "We're -- you're -- I've --" He tilts his chin up to kiss Danny, hard and a little sloppy, like he's daydreamed about, and grabs a nice big handful of ass for good measure. He's thought about that too.
Danny laughs into his mouth. "Had to check," he says. "Now come on, get your pants off. Or don't you want to fuck me?"
He rolls off of Claude and stretches out so he can reach the nightstand. It pulls his shirt untucked, and Claude can't resist the urge to kiss the line of skin that shows. Danny wriggles into it like a cat enjoying being petted, so Claude keeps going, covering as much territory as he can with his hands and mouth.
Danny makes a pleased sound and rolls over, handing Claude the lube. "Hang on. Let me --" He undoes the fly of his suit pants, and Claude helps him take them off. "Yeah, come on, I want you to finger me."
"Christ," Claude says, pinching himself hard so he doesn't embarrass himself. "Okay, Danny, sure."
"Your fingers," Danny says. He sits up so he can get his underwear off, then snatches the lube back from Claude.
"I'm going to --!" Claude starts to say, but holy hell, Danny grabs his hand and drizzles lube onto his fingers.
"Too slow," Danny says. His smile is burning with crazy, and Claude just has to lean up and kiss it. Then he guides Claude's hand to his ass.
"Wow," Claude says reverently. He shifts his weight to his other elbow and slides one fingertip in. God, he's like a furnace.
Danny pushes back against his hand. "Harder," he says, and Claude obliges. "Come on, more." He slips in a second finger. "No, like --" Danny makes an aggravated noise, and then he reaches down and grabs Claude's wrist, driving Claude's fingers into himself the way he likes.
Oh, wow. Danny's just -- using him, taking what he wants, and it's almost overwhelmingly hot that what Danny wants right now is Claude. Claude rubs against the bed, just to get a little friction going before his boner spontaneously combusts or something.
"Are you -- oh, jeez. Are you getting off on this?" Danny asks.
"Yes," Claude blurts out. "I've been -- I -- you have no idea how bad I want you."
"God, I -- come on, here, condom," Danny says. He gives Claude his hand back and gropes for the condom wrapper he dropped in the sheets somewhere.
Claude hurries to get his clothes off; he's starting to feel overdressed. "How do you like it?" he asks, taking the condom when Danny finds it and rolling it on.
"I want to ride you," Danny says. He raises one eyebrow. "Is that good for you?"
Claude gulps. "Yeah, that's -- that's good." He sits back down on the bed, leaning against the stack of pillows.
Danny looks him over and smiles, biting his lip. "Nice," he says, and crawls up to straddle Claude and kiss him.
Claude pulls Danny down against him and groans into his mouth. "Yeah, come on," he says. "I want to fuck you, Danny, please."
Danny laughs. "Well, if you're going to ask so nicely," he says, and he rises up a little on his knees. Claude holds his breath and tries to think of -- grandmothers, long division, ice cubes -- as Danny slowly, oh, Christ, slowly sinks down onto his dick.
"Oh, fuck," Danny breathes. He leans his forehead against Claude's, breathing hard.
"You okay?" Claude asks. Oh, God, it feels so good. If Danny doesn't move soon, Claude's going to die, probably.
"Yeah," Danny says. "Just letting you -- prepare yourself."
Claude laughs. "Ready when you are, old man."
"Old man!" Danny narrows his eyes.
He can feel the tension in Danny's hips and thighs. This is going to be good. "Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Brière?" he asks innocently.
"Oh, even you aren't that dumb," Danny says, and then he slams back down onto Claude.
What was Claude going to say? He can't remember; it comes out as a groan instead.
"Yeah," Danny says. "Oh, fuck, Claude." He cups Claude's face, carding his fingers through his beard, and bends down to kiss him again, still rolling his hips.
Claude kisses back sloppily, tugging Danny's hair and grinding up into him. Not that he needs to; Danny is doing just fine on his own, taking what he needs from Claude. And God, Claude loves it -- he wants to give Danny whatever he wants.
"Oh, God, Claude, say that again," Danny says, hips jerking.
Claude realizes that, whoops, that was out loud. "I want to give you everything," he says, pressing his lips to Danny's throat, "everything you want. Come on, Danny, you're -- I --" He trails off and turns the words into a kiss instead.
Danny says, "Oh," and then he's coming all over his shirt and Claude's chest. He clenches at the end, oh, fuck, so filthy and beautiful, and Claude's orgasm hits him like a punch to the head, only great.
At first, he thinks Danny is still just catching his breath, but then he realizes he's laughing. He pokes him in the ribs, lazily. "What's so funny?"
"You quoted The Graduate," Danny says. "Even he picked up on hints faster than you did!"
Claude blinks. "Hints? What do you mean, hints?"
Danny laughs again. "I've been trying to seduce you since you lived here. It just never worked until now."
"Oh, God. Really?" Claude asks.
"Really," Danny says. "I guess I was too subtle."
"You should probably have tried kissing me sooner," Claude admits.
"I'll keep that in mind," Danny says, stroking his hair.