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The first time Tyler asks Jamie if he can suck his dick, Jamie freaks out a little. They’re in Jamie’s bedroom, which isn’t unusual because sometimes Jordie’s in Jamie’s kitchen making tacos or in the living room setting up the XBox and Jamie’s bedroom is a good space with lots of room on the floor and plenty of cushions.

This time they start in the bedroom while Jordie’s messing around outside but by the time Tyler raises his head from Jamie’s thighs and Jamie doesn’t pull him back down because he looks genuinely settled, the apartment is empty.

“I wanna suck you off,” Tyler says, sitting back on his heels, hands resting on Jamie’s thighs, his eyes showing the beginning of his usual mischievous smile.

“You shouldn’t,” Jamie says, shaking his head, before he knows what he’s saying.

The expression on Tyler’s face changes instantly, into something Jamie can’t decipher. Surprise, resignation, something else. Fuck.

“I mean, you shouldn’t want to just because we’re--” Tyler pulls back, his eyes going wide. “I mean, not that there’s something wrong with--”

“Haha, nah, man, it’s cool,” Tyler interrupts, rising from the floor, a casual, wide smile plastered on his face. Fuck, fuck, fuck, Jamie is the fucking worst. “Thanks,” Tyler says, before walking back to the kitchen. Jamie manages to close his mouth just as Tyler closes the bedroom door.

*

Jamie’s never been assigned a rookie to kneel for him, but he understands the general principle. It’s just weird, because being captain is one thing, but being responsible for a hot young prospect, being the person someone else depends on, Jamie didn’t think he’d be doing that at 24. And when he did picture it, vaguely, he thought the person kneeling for him would be 18, 19 tops. Not a guy who’s been to the Cup Final twice in the last three years.

It makes everything easier and harder, depending on the day. On the one hand, Jamie tries to apply the rules Morrow applied to him. Be present and authoritative and watch Tyler carefully to know when he needs to be pulled down because he's gotten in over his head. On the other hand, Tyler’s not a rookie by any stretch. He doesn’t give the way Jamie used to, the way young guys always do. He doesn’t lose the guardedness, the restlessness in his eyes, even after a few months of kneeling for Jamie.

And of course, Jamie has to remember he can’t blame the Bruins. Not in Tyler’s hearing, anyway. In the sane part of his brain he knows it wasn’t the team’s fault, they have a different system and it probably would have worked for a lot of guys who weren’t Tyler Seguin. The rest of his brain, though, is furious. How the fuck did no one on that team notice? The kid’s got more talent than some NHL teams put together and no one bothered to do a reevaluation after he started embarrassing himself on twitter? And who the fuck thought it was a good idea to let him fuck every guy on the team? Jamie wasn’t there when Morrow first made captain but he can’t imagine shit like that ever being OK on the Stars.

But of course, he can’t say any of that to Tyler. As tempting as it is sometimes to grab him and shake him and say “the way that team treated you was not OK”, if there’s one thing Jamie knows it's that it would backfire in a heartbeat. Tyler can sulk at the Bruins all he wants, but Jamie has to stay impartial. There’s no way to phrase “what they did to you was wrong” without it making Tyler feel bad about himself, feel dirty or inadequate or damaged or fuck knows what else. Jamie’s not a shrink, he doesn’t know exactly how Tyler’s brain works, but he knows if anyone told him the way one of his teams treated him was bad he’d start blaming himself for it, eventually. And Tyler’s already got enough of that going on.

*

But on the other hand, he can’t reject Tyler either. Not like this, not without explaining himself. The whole point is that Tyler has to be able to tell him anything, and as it is there’s a new distance between them, now that Tyler thinks whatever he’s thinking about Jamie’s reasons for saying no.

They were making such good progress. Jamie almost felt like he was doing a good job with this shit. Fuck.

They have a terrible fucking game against Chicago, and Jamie’s angry at himself and angry at the team and angry at the refs but he swallows it all down in the showers, lets the frustration wash off of him, and by the time he’s back in the locker room he’s fine. He’s the captain of this team now, and people depend on him, are looking to him for leadership. They’ve had a lot of shitty games. Tomorrow they’ll have another chance to do better.

He lets himself take in Tyler for the first time since they left the ice, and the kid’s a fucking mess. He’s putting his clothes on, still obviously jittery and upset. At the start of the season he would have asked Jamie if he wanted to go out, after a game like this, burn off some of the disappointment, but now doesn't mention any clubs or bars, just gets into Jamie's car and lets Jamie drive him and Jordie home. When they're in the elevator Jamie doesn’t press the number for Tyler’s floor and Tyler doesn’t either. Jordie claps each of them on the shoulder before saying goodnight and then it’s just him and Tyler, alone in Jamie’s apartment.

Tyler puts his bag down by the door and Jamie pours himself a glass of water before sitting down on the couch with his legs spread. “Come here,” he says, because for some reason Tyler’s still waffling by the door.

“Thanks, man,” Tyler says, quietly, and comes over. The excess energy, the anger is practically pouring off of him.

He slides to his knees with a soft little sigh, like just being here is already making him let go, and Jamie’s heart swells. Maybe this is working, maybe he hasn’t fucked it up completely yet. Tyler rests his head on Jamie’s thigh, positions himself between Jamie’s spread legs, and breathes. Jamie pets his hair, runs his thumb behind Tyler’s ear, gently, and spends a few minutes listening to the sound of him winding down. When Tyler is breathing a little easier, when his muscles are more relaxed, settled into a comfortable position, Jamie takes out his phone and checks his messages.

Being on the couch means he can watch TV while Tyler’s kneeling. He’s done it before, but today he’s too concerned to let himself get that distracted. He replies to some emails, reads a bunch of sports articles on his phone, all the while never taking his hand off Tyler, and looking down to check on him occasionally.

It’s weird, Jamie never asked himself how Morrow was so good at this shit. Morrow used to kneel for Modano, back in the day, Jamie always assumed he learned some tricks from him or something. But the truth is, it’s so instinctive, these moments. Tyler is pressed up against him, as much of his body touching Jamie’s as he can manage, and Jamie can feel his heartbeat, can feel Tyler’s chest expanding with each breath, can see the expression on Tyler’s face, eyes closed, lashes resting against soft cheeks. He keeps running his fingers through Tyler’s hair and it feels so simple. Whatever happens when Tyler rises, Jamie’s pretty sure they’re doing this part right.

He doesn’t want to think about Boston, but he can’t put the images out of his head. How must this have gone up there? Tyler is so easy like this, so pliant. And that’s 21-year-old Tyler, who knows his worth to the team. The first few times they did this, Tyler fought him. He knelt because he knew it’s what the coaches expected but he wouldn’t settle down, wouldn’t let go and let Jamie set the pace. The first time he stayed still for exactly five minutes, as if he’d been counting in his head, and then looked up at Jamie and asked if they were done. Jamie had said no and pulled his head down for another five minutes. It didn’t really help, not in getting Tyler to relax, but it was a trust building exercise. Jamie wanted Tyler to know that this wasn’t a formality. That he was really here for him, really willing to offer this if Tyler needed it.

In Boston they let him kneel for half the team. They let him fuck half the team, too, and the other half as well, probably. Tyler always acts like he’s fine with it, like he’s only sad and pissed about getting traded, but Jamie can’t imagine what it must have been like, being 18 and getting passed around like a beach ball. How he built any kind of fucking loyalty to that team is a mystery to Jamie. Probably the Cup Final helped smooth everything over.

It takes forty minutes before Tyler lifts his head. Jamie can’t help but smile a little - Tyler’s hair is mussed and he looks a little drained, but the nervous energy is gone from his eyes.

Tyler sits back on his heels and puts his hands on Jamie’s thighs, like he’s about to get up, but instead he stays still, looking up at Jamie with cheeks that are slightly redder where they’d rubbed against Jamie’s pants.

“What?” Jamie says, when Tyler keeps quiet.

Tyler’s left hand slides up Jaime’s thigh, slowly, until the tips of his fingers are touching the crease of Jamie’s pants, half an inch from his dick. Tyler’s looking at him silently, head tilted slightly, his other hand perfectly still.

Jamie could say no again, make it absolutely clear to Tyler that this isn’t Boston, that shit like that doesn’t happen here. Letting Tyler cross this line would be dangerous, for both of them, for this thing Jamie’s trying to help Tyler build, but saying no… it feels wrong. Jamie remembers himself, remembers Morrow, remembers how much he loved, needed to be on his knees. How much he wanted to please, wanted to express his thanks somehow. And Morrow kept telling him he didn’t have to, that it wasn’t part of the deal, but Jamie was insistent, and eventually Morrow let him. What if it’s like that for Tyler? Maybe that’s why taking advantage of him was so easy, for the Bruins. Maybe they just weren’t careful enough with that gratitude, with his eagerness. It’s fucking precious, in their line of work, to have moments like these when someone lets you forget your worries, your responsibilities, how hard you have to work every goddamn day to stay on top of the game. Different stuff comes up for different people, when they’re in that state. Jamie hasn’t met a lot of guys who wanted sex to be part of the bargain, but some do. Jamie did.

It shouldn’t be expected and it shouldn’t be taken for granted, but Tyler is looking up at him like he needs this, and Jamie can’t, won’t say no to that. “You know you don’t have to,” he says, without moving to dislodge Tyler’s hands.

“Yeah,” Tyler says, running his thumb over the zipper of Jamie’s pants. “I want to.”

Jamie slides a hand to grab the back of Tyler’s head, another to pull at Tyler’s collar, and hauls him up for a kiss. Tyler rises on his knees, stretches as far as he can to meet Jamie’s mouth and Jamie leans down to make up the difference. Tyler’s mouth is soft and warm and Jamie kisses him messy and thorough, the sound of it filling the room. He wants Tyler to know this is going to work, that whenever he chooses to do this he won’t just be the guy giving a blowjob, that Jamie will always take it more seriously than that.

Tyler’s hand reaches down to unzip Jamie’s pants and it makes Jamie gasp. Tyler pushes Jamie’s hands away and slides back down, pulling and shoving at Jamie’s pants and boxers until he has full access to Jamie’s cock. He doesn’t even wait to stroke it or tease Jamie, just dives right in, sucking him down to the hilt. Jamie pants and moans and puts a hand on Tyler’s head; not pushing, just resting it there, leaving it up to Tyler to either shake him off or ask for more. Tyler growls when he pulls off, before going back down again, and curves his spine to get even closer to Jaime and on the next moan Jamie grabs his hair in earnest.

Tyler grunts and slides his mouth down Jamie's cock, sucking like a fucking vacuum, Jesus Christ, and Jamie shouldn’t be surprised that Tyler’s so good at this but how close he is to orgasm after just a few minutes is embarrassing. He spreads his legs wider, and Tyler adjusts his position, gets even more comfortable, lets out a moan when Jamie bucks his hips, fucking into his mouth. And oh, if that’s what Tyler wants Jamie can do that.

“You’re so good for me,” Jamie says, holding Tyler’s head still, pulling his dick out slowly and pushing it back in at the same pace. He runs his hands over Tyler’s hair, the pads of his fingers pressing down gently. “Always so good, everything you do.” Tyler moans again and closes his eyes and starts humming and fuck, Jamie’s going to come in about five seconds. “Such a good boy,” he manages, before the pleasure’s too much and he starts gasping for breath and his stomach feels like it’s full of wires all connected to his cock. His cock is buried in Tyler’s throat but he’s not holding Tyler’s head anymore and Tyler pushes off at the last second, so the first burst of Jamie’s come lands in his mouth, on his lips, but the rest of it covers Tyler’s face.

Jamie tries to catch his breath as Tyler looks up at him, also panting, lips slowly drifting into a grin. Jamie feels hot all over, and not because he just came. The sight of Tyler smiling, with Jamie’s come all over his chin and his cheeks is unspeakably fucking hot. Jamie caresses Tyler’s head, slowly, and Tyler grins even wider. Jamie dips a finger into the come drying below Tyler’s nose and Tyler leans back, grabs Jamie’s finger with his mouth and licks at it. Fuck, Jamie definitely never did shit like this with Morrow.

“Come here,” Jamie says, sounding a little hoarse even to his own ears, and grabs a tissue from the coffee table, from the box Jordie left there the last time he spilled his OJ over everything, to wipe Tyler’s face clean. Tyler lets him, and laughs when Jamie has a moment of dismay over where to put the tissue once it’s completely soaked.

Jamie pulls Tyler up to sit next to him on the couch, and pulls Tyler’s head down so he’s leaning on Jamie’s shoulder. This isn’t technically part of the kneeling, he doesn’t really know if Tyler wants this or likes it, but he figures Tyler will tell him if he doesn’t.

“You know, being good for me doesn’t mean doing that, ever--” Jamie says.

“I know,” Tyler cuts him off. “Whatever, sex wasn’t the problem in Boston.” Jamie would disagree, but he doesn’t want to interrupt. “We don’t have to, but… if you want to, I want to.”

Jamie nods. He doesn’t trust himself to say he wants this, yet. He needs time to think it over, to give himself some distance. It wouldn’t be fair to Tyler to say yes now, when he’s just had a fucking amazing orgasm and his thinking is maybe a little compromised.

He leans over and kisses Tyler's forehead, in lieu of an answer.