It’s a bet Sid knows he shouldn’t have made. Whenever he agrees to something like this, while inebriated or otherwise unable to think clearly, it ends in something earth shattering. This time, they were at a bar in Pittsburgh with Geno and Max Talbot, drinking to the end of the Penguins’ season, and Sid was a little bit tipsy and a little bit turned on by Alex’s hand on his thigh. So, when Alex had leaned forward and, in an accent deeper and thicker than normal, challenged, “If we win in less than seven games, you wear my jersey,” Sid had found it innocuous enough to agree to. No terms or conditions specified.
The third and fourth games are in Dallas and Sid considers not going. He should be in Pittsburgh, wrapping up the season, watching tape, talking about trades and free agents with Mario and Bylsma. His season is over, except that Alex is still playing, and so he can’t bring himself to want to be anywhere but with the Capitals team. Not that he’d ever admit to that.
Accept that he’s resting back against the headboard of Sasha’s bed, a pile of shot glasses on the bedside table, and he doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of control over his tongue. “I’m-” Sid hears the slur in his voice, and he frowns, swallowing, and trying again. “I’m glad I’m here.” It’s still a little slurred, but not bad, and he grins, proud of himself.
Except that now there are five people starring at him. “Mmm, Crosby, you okay?” Mike Green is looking really serious and Sid laughs.
“’M great,” Sid grins, wanting Greenie to be great, too.
“Right,” Brooks shakes his head, saying the word slowly. “I’m gonna text Ovi.”
It’s only about thirty seconds before the door opens and Alex appears in low-slung sweatpants and nothing else. “What? Brooksie, this text make no sense.” Brooks nods towards Sid and Alex laughs.
He sits on the bed next to Sid and raises an eyebrow at the shot glasses. “You have fun?”
“Uh huh.” Sid hits him on the chest for emphasis, but leaves it there. “I don’t have to play tomorrow,” he tells Alex conspiratorially.
“Tha’s true,” Alex nods. “But I do and I don’t want to wake up to you sick in middle of night.”
“No, no, I’m good,” Sid promises, smiling lop-sidedly.
Alex sighs, glaring around him at his teammates. “I leave you for five minutes, and see what happen?”
Sasha shrugs guiltily. “Sorry. I was not watching how much he drink.”
Alex rolls his eyes. “He not Russian, Sasha. Vodka not his thing.”
“Hey,” Sid complains. “I’m right here, you know. And I so can drink with the best.”
“Mmm,” Alex purses his lips. “With baby Penguins, maybe. Not with Caps. I should not have left. Sorry.”
“I’s okay.” Sid leans forward to rest his head on Alex’s shoulder. “’m good.”
As awful as it is, Sid is almost relieved when, after the Caps go up 3-0 against the Dallas Stars, Dallas manages to come back and win their last game at home. He doesn’t tell Alex this, doesn’t remind him of the bet, and he buries the thought deep because, in the end, he really does want Alex to win and to experience the joy of winning a cup. After all these years, he deserves it.
Sid feels terrible when, in front of an ecstatic sold-out crowd at the Verizon Center, the Stars pull out a hair-splitting victory in Game 5. He feels responsible, in a way, for jinxing the Caps by thinking about the bet. He spills all this to Alex later that night, after hours of staring forlornly into glasses of Vodka and attempting to drown his sorrows with the rest of the team, and is shocked when, instead of getting furious and stomping away, Alex laughs for the first time in four days.
“You-?” Alex hits the table with his fist, bending over and clutching his stomach, laughing. Nicki and Brooks glance over at them and, seeing their Captain finally let loose, can’t help but grin from ear to ear as they listen in.
“I really,” Sid huffs, “don’t see how this is funny.”
“Oh, but, my Sid, it is.”
Alex is still laughing, but the endearment just makes Sid deflate. “I really am sorry, любовь моя.”
Alex sobers at the endearment and wraps a hand around the back of Sid’s neck and pulls him close enough that their foreheads are touching. “Thank you. I needed laugh.”
Alex sighs, letting go and leaning back in his seat, stretching out so that one arm rests on the bench behind Sidney’s shoulders. “You are not why we lost, Sid. Bet is just stupid bet. We lost because we were not good enough.”
Alex raises an eyebrow and Sid swallows his words, motioning for him to finish. “As I saying, we were not good enough tonight but wait to Wednesday, huh? You still lose bet, I promise.”
Perhaps it’s Alex’s goofy grin or perhaps it’s the way that the entire Caps team seems lighter now that their Captain has relaxed, but Sid finds himself nodding and playing along. He reaches across to steal a fry from Alex’s plate, batting his eyelashes as he eats it slowly. “Sounds like you’ve thought a lot about this. Will I be wearing anything else when I pay up?”
Alex’s eyes are glinting as he grabs for a fry and eats it in one bite. “For me to know and you to learn later.”
And that was the last Sid thought about it, until two days later, when he finds himself in Dallas, sitting in the first row behind the Caps bench and biting his nails as the game slips into OT. He feels like pacing, as the intermission drags on and on and all he can think about is how tense that locker room must be and how incredibly guilty he will feel if the Caps don’t win, no matter what Alex says about the stupid bet.
He shouldn’t have worried though, as less than three minutes in Alex accepts a pass from Sasha and hits the upper left corner of the net perfectly. He celebrates with a hoot and a trigger motion, blowing on the end of his stick as he takes off for the other end of the ice to join his teammates. As he passes the Caps bench, he slaps hands with Boudreau and looks up to wink at Sid.
If Sid hadn’t known Alex for years, and hadn’t been dating him for the past four, he would have taken the wink as self-congratulatory. Accept, Sid has known Alex for years, and has been dating him for too long, and so he knows what the wink is about. The bet. The stupid bet and, as Sid stands there clapping and cheering, half his mind is focused on how Alex can and will make this into something much larger and grander than Sid in a jersey that doesn’t sport the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sid hears his name being called, and he jumps down from the bleachers to join a group of wives and girlfriends and children waiting in the hallway to the Caps’ locker room. Sid has always felt awkward in these situations, choosing to see himself more of a Caps player, as much as he hates to admit that, than a member of the cheering squad. Still, Sid’s a good guy, and so he accepts the hugs and the cheek kisses and the “isn’t this so great?”s, all the time keeping one eye on the ice.
They are in Dallas, but this is the Stanley Cup, and not one person in the American Airline Center has moved from their seats as Alex is presented first with the Conn Smythe Trophy and then with the Stanley Cup. He lifts it, reverently, before bringing it to his lips and kissing it gently, and Sid grins, twisting his own cup ring around his finger.
Everyone has a chance to hold the cup, once, twice, before they’re pulled into the middle of the ice for a group picture. Then, the press is set upon them like hungry wolves and Sid gets nervous as Alex is surrounded by microphones. If Alex is going to make a move, it’s gong to be now and, yes, Alex never disappoints.
Alex’s voice is loud in the arena as his interview is broadcast. “My teammates, thanks to them. It is wonderful team. They are very much deserving.”
“And what does it mean, to you, to win the Stanley Cup after so many years of trying?”
Alex swallows. “I did it for my brother, Sergei.” Alex looks upward and blows a kiss. “And for my Sid.”
The press erupts and Alex finds himself surrounded by every microphone in the building.
From his place in the wings, surrounded by wives and girlfriends and children, Sid sighs. He really shouldn’t be surprised, with the adrenaline and the relief and the joy and all that, and, really, he should be more surprised that it’s taken this long for Alex to let it slip. Steckel’s wife gives him a sympathetic look as he steps on her toes and apologizes quickly, before getting to the door and stepping out on the ice.
He’s been here before: the Cup, the media, the Dallas fans still on their feet, except he’s never been here before. Never been on the ice in his sneakers, walking towards Alex and grateful when Nicki catches sight of him and skates over to give him a hand. They share a conspiratorial look in Alex’s direction, before they get there and Nicki skates back a little, watching.
Alex is laughing, trying to brush it off as a joke with things like “Sid been my rival for years, no? He push me to beat him. This for him” and “Sid just like my brother. He obnoxious and we have this bet, see-” Alex strips off his jersey and holds it out.
The jersey is sweaty and dripping and Sid never needs to smell that much of Alex. But the reporter’s not buying it and, if the absence of sound from the 22, 000 people at the American Airlines Center is any indication, the crowd isn’t buying it either. Never to do anything halfway, Sid just rolls his eyes, slips the jersey over his head, and reaches up to wrap his fingers in Alex’s chestpads, pulling him down so that their lips meet.
Sid meant it to be short, chaste, this first kiss in front of the national media, but Alex has just won the Stanley Cup and now he has Sid in his arms and his lips are hungry and bruising and Sid has to pry himself away with everything he has. He lays his hand on Alex’s chest, a promise for later, as he allows himself to fall back to the balls of his feet, smiling and blushing as he blinks in the lights of the camera flashes all around them.
“You crazy, Sid.”
“Mmm,” Sid licks his lips and Alex’s eyes darken. “You let it slip, your fault. Congratulations, by the way.”
Alex grins and Sid finds himself with an armful of happy Alex. Usually, they’re about the same height, but with Alex in skates and he just in sneakers, he automatically winds his arms around Alex’s neck and pulls him down, this time not bothering to stop him when Alex’s tongue seeks entrance and his left hand slips under Sid’s new jersey.
Coach is going to kill him for this, he knows. It’s one thing for their outing to be in the papers, but now there’s going to be video of them, hot and heavy, on every newscast from here to Winnipeg. But the cameras are still going and Sid doesn’t have to answer questions as long as he’s attached to Alex and he really doesn’t want to have to answer questions right now.
Finally, Alex has to pull back for air and they just stand there, grinning at each other like five-year-olds who have just won a game of pond hockey, cheeks red and flushed. Alex shakes his head. “I am lucky man. Stanley cup and you, in one day.”
Sid likes how that sounds. Really likes how that sounds, and he suddenly gets an idea. A stupid, silly idea that he knows he’ll regret later, but he just can’t think of any reason not to do it, not to make this night perfect.
So, as the media finally gets tired enough of the couple to at least focus some attention on the rest of the team, who have taken to rolling around on the ice and kissing the Cup as if they’ll never see it again, Sid leans close to whisper in Alex’s ear. Alex nods vigorously, and then Sid is slipping a big, bulky ring – his cup ring- - onto Alex’s ring finger.
Sid’s fingers are starting to go white and he’s lost all feeling in his toes by the time the good-natured Dallas ice crew ushers the celebration off the ice and into the locker room. By this point, the kids and wives have joined the group and the locker room is crowded. Alex is playing Captain, albeit a Russian version of Captain where each congratulations is accompanied by a Vodka shot, and Sid slips onto Alex’s bench, bouncing his toes to warm them up.
“Fiancé, huh?” Sid looks over, and there’s Sasha, always-observant Sasha, and, thank god, he has a shot in his hand ‘cause Sid can’t think of any better response to that then to drink. He coughs as it goes down and Sasha thumps him on the back. “You good, brave man, Sid.”
“Um, thanks?” Sid peers at him, trying to decipher whether it’s a compliment or not, but Sasha is unreadable and before he has the chance to ask anything, Nicki is squeezing between them, half on Sid’s lap, and pushing a beer into his hand.
“We are the champions,” Nicki sings, quietly, tipping over in Sid’s lap and Sid laughs, righting him with a hand on his back.
“Yep,” Sid winks at Sasha, taking a long sip of his beer.
“Of the world,” Nicki whispers, no longer really singing, and leans back against Sid’s chest settling in and closing his eyes.
Sasha shakes his head fondly and rescues the beer that’s about to tip into Sid’s lap. “He might be out for a while.”
Sid shrugs. “That’s alright. I’ll watch him for a bit. Go enjoy yourself.”
Sasha gives him a wink, before slapping his thighs as he gets up and searches the room for Alex and the vodka. Sid tightens his arm around Nicki and just watches, feeling pleasantly happy and calm and counting down the minutes until he can pull Alex away and into the bathroom and have his way with that awful beard.
The locker room is a mess as they prepare to leave while they’re all still able to walk onto the plane. Alex goes to pick up the Cup, when he notices that Sid is sitting on Alex’s bench, putting his things into his bag. Alex frowns. “Equipment guys will do that.”
Sid looks up and shrugs. “Yeah, but, you made a mess.”
Alex raises an eyebrow. “We go now.”
Sid shakes his head, dropping an elbow pad into the bag and crossing to him. “I’m not going with you now.”
“What?” Alex looks hurt and sad and Sid’s resolve almost crumbles. But, he just shakes his head and rests a hand on Alex’s chest.
“You need some time with your team. Alone. This plane ride is going to be special, and you don’t need me there.”
“I always need you.” It’s wistful and a little pathetic and Alex really has had a lot to drink.
“Mmm, me too.” Sid gives him a quick kiss. “I’ll be at home, waiting for you, okay?”
Alex perks up. “Then we have sex?”
Sid laughs, blushing as he realizes how many eyes are on them. “Then you’re going to shower, sleep, and sober up. ‘Cause after that I’m going to let you fuck me all week.”
Alex groans, and his cock twitches in his dress pants, but he’s had too much to drink and it doesn’t do any more than that. “Okay.”
“Good. Now, have fun, okay? Enjoy this. Take as long as you want.” Sid smirks. “I’ll be waiting.”
Alex closes his eyes, taking Sid’s hand in his where it rests on Alex’s chest, so that everyone can see Sid’s Cup ring gleaming. “Я тебя люблю.”
“Love you, too.” He leans up and Alex kisses him, desperately, for a moment before pulling away and, with a wink, slings the Cup up over his head.
“I watch out for him.” Sid looks around to see Sasha there, again. Sasha isn’t exactly sober at the moment, but in relation to everyone else, he’s downright coherent. Of course, this has a lot more to do with his Russian adolescence than the amount he’s had tonight, but he still seems like the best option, so Sid nods.
“Just make sure he doesn’t do anything too stupid. We’re going to be in the papers enough tomorrow.”
“You can trust me.” Sasha puffs out his chest and Sid laughs, pulling him in for a quick hug before letting him join his teammates.
As it turns out, Sid has to take a detour to Pittsburgh. He decides he’d rather tell Mario and the coaching staff in person before they wake up and turn on ESPN or open the Post-Gazette. Except, he’s had a few too many shots, too, and it doesn’t occur to him that most of his teammates have probably stayed up to watch the game. He’s surprised when the taxi drops him off in front of the house and, even though it must be 6 in the morning, his teammates are lounging on his porch, drinking beer in the warmth of mid-June.
“Hey,” he says, gingerly, as he walks up the path, waiting for one of them to jump up and start yelling or something.
“Hey.” Max Talbot holds out a beer and Sid takes it, standing at the bottom of the steps and watching them, suddenly very aware that he’s still wearing Alex’s jersey and wondering why no one on the plane complained about the smell.
“What, um, what’re you guys doing here?”
“Saw the game last night.” Jordon says evenly.
“Yep. Watched for a while after, too.” Max adds.
Sid swallows. “You, um, watched the whole thing?”
Geno waves his beer at him. “You mean when you and Alex – how do you say?”
“Outted yourselves,” Tanger offers, helpfully.
“Um, yeah,” Sid mumbles, sitting down on the steps with a sigh. His phone beeps and he digs it out of his pocket. “A picture from Sasha,” he says, saving the image of Alex drinking out of the cup on the plane to his photos. “They must have landed.”
“Uh huh.” Max raises an eyebrow and Sid sighs, slipping his phone back into his pocket.
“Look, I don’t see what the big deal is. You all knew about us anyway.”
“Knew, yeah, but knowing and seeing are-” Max shakes his head. “Entirely different things.”
“I had seen before,” Geno pipes up, unhelpfully and Sid blushes. He had almost forgotten about that night at the Sochi Olympics, when Geno and Alex were rooming together. Alex really has no discretion.
“You guys are hot.” Jordan adds, smirking.
“Um, thanks?” Sid’s phone peeps again, and this time it’s a picture of Alex trying to dance at a club in DC that had, apparently, stayed open just for them. Jordan leans over his shoulder and raises an eyebrow.
“So, marriage, huh?”
Sid puts down his beer and rubs a hand over his eyes, his finger feeling light and strange without the ring there. “It seemed right, at the time.”
“Hey,” Tanger shrugs. “You had already made out on national television. Might as well make it official.”
“Exactly.” Sid looks up, then realizes that Tanger is laughing at him, and sighs. “I have to talk to Mario.”
“Good idea. I drive.” Geno hops up and Sid’s still too drunk to argue as they all pile into Geno’s car.
Sid has sobered considerably by the end of his talk with Mario. There had been a lot of yelling, a lot “you should have just told us first,” to which Sid says over and over that it wasn’t planned. He tries to explain about the bet, but it doesn’t really clear anything up and all Mario does is look pointedly at the jersey Sid is still wearing.
“Look, Mario, I didn’t mean it to happen. I mean, I did, but not this way. Promise.”
Sid knows he must look really pathetic, and on the way to hungover, ‘cause Mario shakes his head and sits on the edge of his desk, knees close to Sid’s. It’s a friendly gesture, but Sid is still taken aback when Mario starts to laugh.
Mario holds his hand over his mouth, his shoulders still shaking as he grins at Sid. “You can’t ever keep my life simple, huh?”
“I don’t try to make things difficult.” Sid is defensive, but Mario just shakes his head with a little smile.
“I know you don’t. And, I really should have known. You and Ovechkin are in a league of your own. Should have known you’d turn to each other.”
An image of Gretzky floats to Sid’s mind, but he pushes it away to share with Alex later. “Yeah.”
“But, marriage? You sure you’re ready for that, kid?”
Sid doesn’t know. He really doesn’t, but he can’t say that, so he just nods and Mario claps him on the shoulder. It’s as much of a blessing as Sid’s about to get, and he high-tales it out of there before Mario can change his mind.
By the time the meeting is over, the sun is shining brightly and the crowd outside the Consol Energy Center is stifling. He slips outside the back and, not being able to stomach the idea of the packed airport, he catches a cab back to his condo and climbs into his car to make the drive down to DC.
When he arrives, the door is unlocked and he curses himself for wasting so much time to get here. The kitchen is a mess, as if Alex has emptied the entire fridge before realizing they haven’t been home in a week and there is nothing in it before trying to make one of the boxes of mac and cheese that Sid leaves in the cupboard. Sid cleans quickly and quietly, before grabbing two bottles of water and stripping on his way to the bedroom. He shoves his clothes into the washing machine, but keeps the jersey on as he crawls into bed next to Alex.
Alex shifts to curl against him, opening on eye halfway and Sid kisses his forehead. “Sorry. I made a quick stop in Pittsburgh.”
“Mmm.” Alex closes his eyes again and Sid lets himself fall asleep.
When he wakes, the sun has set and Alex is under the covers, Sid’s dick in his mouth and Alex’s fingers in his ass. Sid squirms, ‘til Alex’s finger presses against his prostate and Sid’s back arches off the bed. Alex looks up, grinning when he catches Sid’s eye.
“Mmm.” Sid runs a hand through Alex’s hair and Alex rises onto his knees, kissing Sid. His mouth tastes of toothpaste and Sid’s precum and Sid groans.
“Good morning. Night?” Alex waves towards the dark outside and Sid smiles at him.
“Doesn’t matter. I gave you all week, remember?”
Alex’s eyes gleam and he breathes heavily. “Yes.” Alex is completely naked, and Sid feels overdressed and he reaches for the hem of the jersey and starts to take it off before Alex’s hand stops him. “No.”
“Keep it on.” His eyes are gleaming and Sid hesitates for a moment, before settling back down. Alex smiles, bracing a hand on Sid’s hip and he reaches across to the bedside table. Sid traces his fingers, playing with the ring there. Alex stops and looks down at him.
Alex just looks at him for a moment, as if vying within himself, until Sid moves his hand up Alex’s arm, rubbing soothingly. “I – I do not want – Sid, you my fiancé now.”
“Mm hmm. I know. Mario’s not too happy about it.” Sid raises an eyebrow and Alex frowns for a minute.
“You, you are only one. For years.” He glances down at his cock, bobbing against Sid’s hip and leaving a pool of precum, stark against the red of his jersey. “I want to feel you.”
And Sid gets it. He stares at Alex for a moment, all the safe sex talks he’s given Max and Geno over the years rushing over him, before he glances back at the ring and bites his lip, nodding. “Okay.” It’s barely a whisper and he doesn’t know why, after all that they’ve been through in the last 24 hours, this feels like the most intimate, the most crazy, idea of all.
“Thank you.” Alex kisses his lips quickly before positioning himself between Sid’s legs. Sid opens his knees, wrapping his calves around Alex’s shoulders and sighs as Alex slips inside. It feels different, somehow. Open and hot and he can feel every pulse of heat and precum as Alex twitches inside him.
“Jesus, Alex, I can feel you.” Sid grasps at his back, knowing that his nails are going to leave marks but really not able to make himself care.
Alex moans, biting down on Sid’s neck just above the collar of his jersey and leaving a mark there. It’s a luxury that they can’t ever take during the season, but the season’s over now and it feels good, possessive, and Alex can’t seem to stop, wanting to own Sid everywhere. His hips thrust, harder and Sid groans, wrapping his legs tighter and urging him on.
“Yes, fuck, harder. Come on.”
Alex kisses him, wet and sloppy. “You, Sid, you feel so good. So hot. So much.” Alex trails off, shaking his head, but Sid gets it, ‘cause he feels it too.
And then Alex is fisting his cock and Sid can’t take it anymore. His legs slip from Alex’s shoulders and he whimpers, a low, breathy sound, and spills over into Alex’s hand, splashing across their chests. He leaves obscene marks across the Capitals’ logo and Alex pauses, staring at it. He swallows and convulses in Sid as he gets himself under control enough to start pumping again. His hips are wild and erratic and Sid feels it as he expands and spills deep and hot within him.
Alex collapses to his side and Sid rolls over to rest against him. Grinning, Alex reaches down and slips two fingers back inside, scissoring in his own cum. It’s hot as hell, but also a little uncomfortable, and Alex pulls back as Sid grimaces.
“Sorry.” Alex whispers. “S’hot.”
“Yeah.” Sid whispers. He watches, eyes wide, as Alex brings his fingers to his mouth and sucks them in. Sid whimpers and his cock gives a half-hearted twitch. “If I wasn’t still hungover, I’d go again in a minute.”
Alex chuckles, pulling Sid closer. “In a few hours then.”
Sid nods and pulls back slightly. Alex watches as he bends his back and slips the jersey off and to the ground. He opens his mouth as if to protest, but Sid glares at him and they both know that a bet is a bet and Sid has more than paid his due.
“Best bet we ever made.” Alex stretches and Sid laughs. He can’t very well argue with that.