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When the Morning After Lasts Forever

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Jon wakes up with a truly horrible taste in his mouth and a pounding headache. He sleepily gropes around until his hand touches skin. It's enough to make him frown and want to burrow his head deeper in his pillow. Some people don't have the decency to immediately leave after a one-night stand, and make things unnecessarily awkward. It's morning. She should be gone. 

He lets out a huff and knuckles his fried eyes open, only to freeze in place. And want to die. It's still so early in the morning, and his sluggish brain has trouble jumping from annoyed to death in the span of a second.

The very male and very nude figure sleeping next to him has Jon stuck between warring emotions of horror, nausea, and appreciation. So, he obviously slept with a dude. With a nice ass. Go him. Some experimenting is cool, right. Everyone does it. No need to freak out and set the room on fire. Right? Right. 

He's nervously musing that it could be worse when he reaches across to drag the pillow away from the guy's face, and two things happen at once; he realizes he is wearing a gold band on his left hand, on his ring finger, and the guy sleeping next to him is Pat. 

Patrick. 

Kaner.

A cold wash of fear and shock pins him in place completely for an entire minute, and his eyes helplessly dart from Pat's stupid sleeping face, to the ring on his finger, to the ring on Pat's finger. The dull glint of the band catches sunlight and proudly shines at him, and Jon is so dumbstruck that instead of yelling at Pat to wake up, he simply smacks his ass once. Hard. The way Pat flails and curses when he tries to sit up in bed, but ends up groaning pitifully, doesn't even get a smirk out of Jon. Pat looks really hungover, too. 

Jon obviously wants this to be a nightmare, he really does, but the initial glare that quickly evolves into one of bug-eyed panic from Pat tells him that he is, in fact, not dreaming, and that he is too hung over to deal with this shit. 

Pat doesn't stay speechless for long. 

“Oh my god. OH MY GOD. What the fuck, what the fuck. Motherfucker! Did we fucking get married?” Pat takes in a huge, expansive breath. “Did we fucking do what I fucking think we did. Wait, I mean – did we have sex? Holy shit, holy shit. I can't even.” Pat manages to jump out of bed while cussing up a storm and locating his boxers. Which are at the foot of the bed. Jon glares at his striped boxers and hates Las Vegas a lot. 

Jon tries to tell him to shut the fuck up and let him think, but it's frankly too much effort. He feels like he tripped on some really hard stuff last night and this is just a long, drawn out continuation of it. A powerful hallucination. He'd give anything for that to be the case. 

As he's putting on his clothes and trying to stop his head from imploding (Pat's banging around in the bathroom as though he's trying to beat everything up for getting in his way), bits and pieces of last night come to him disjointedly. 

He remembers arguing with Pat over something stupid; about going out with Seabs, Duncs, Sharpy, and Bur to some clubs, and getting drunk. The guys yelling at them for acting like babies and for always picking on each other – and then, somehow, Seabs and Duncs aren't there, and the four of them are drunkenly walking down Las Vegas Boulevard. Jon thinks he recalls Bur telling him and Pat to kiss and make up for good, and then the memory flashes forward to Pat and him staggering inside Jon's hotel room, laughing their fool heads off like drunken idiots, kissing and touching. They might have exchanged sloppy handjobs and crashed. Jon thinks that's it, the end, but feels the pit of his stomach drop further down when he finds the marriage certificate in the entryway, on the floor. It feels like an out-of-body experience. 

He is never letting Pat pity-invite Bur to Las Vegas again. All of this must be his fault. In fact, Jon is never, ever coming back here, ever again, so what the fuck does he care. This trip was supposed to be all about having a good time three weeks before the season started. Jon can't imagine how it all went so wrong. It physically hurts his brain when he tries to piece together a rational explanation, so when his phone comes to life with unending phone calls and texts, he thinks about looking around for more alcohol. 

The sudden lack of noise coming from the bathroom concerns him, because Pat is a pussy. He might try to drown himself in the tub or something. So, this could get worse. 

Jon doesn't even bother knocking on the bathroom door and simply walks in to check that Pat is alive and to brush his teeth. Pat's annoyed glare does not deter Jon. He's sitting in the empty tub with his boxers on. It still might be too late for him. 

Also, Pat had sex with a real life person. He should be thrilled about it. Seriously. 

“Dude, privacy.” Pat glowers at him suspiciously.

“Dude, married. I don't give a fuck.” 

Things almost seem okay until Pat says, “There are pictures of us on gossip websites.” Pat takes a brief moment to cough and simultaneously inhale a huge gulp of air. “Kissing.”

Jon almost swallows the toothpaste in his mouth and starts choking. Fuck, fuck. The grim smile on Pat's face makes Jon want to punch him. 

By the time he stops coughing up his lungs and grabs Pat's phone to scroll through his texts and all the websites he's pulled up, they realize there is frantic knocking coming from the entryway. The hissed, alarmed voices tell them that it's the guys. 

They eye each other solemnly, get dressed, and open the door.

*

So, safe to say, the entire organization is very unhappy with them. Their agents aren't happy. The entire league is very unhappy. And Bettman is as much of an asshole as most say he is when he isn't too busy kissing Jon's ass. It sucks. 

Bur and Sharpy are really, really sorry, and an evil part of Jon thinks he can get great mileage out of that in the future, but the fact that he and Pat have to pretend to be married for six months until they can file for a divorce makes him want to curl up in his room and never come out. The league thinks it's 'classier' and 'cleaner' that way. Jon wants them to all die. (Bettman also told them, very clearly, that if they are to even think about sleeping around, that they should have that person agree to sign a NDA first, so. Jon isn't going to be getting laid for a long time, basically.)

The NHL is made up of a bunch of assholes, because while they aren't happy with the way things went down, they sure don't have a problem with writing the script for the next six months, in order to milk this for whatever it is worth. Bowman looked really sorry and told them that his hands were tied; that they had to do it, that it could have been worse. Unfortunately, while it is huge news and simply shocking for two of the biggest names in hockey to have been dating and subsequently gotten married in Vegas (great cover-up story, right), it's gotten so much good press – all kinds of people calling them brave and congratulating them – that Sharpy joked about being afraid of the NHL going around the league and demanding more players come out. Jon doesn't think it is very funny. 

Jon can handle the bad publicity and press, even though there has been very little of it the past few days. Some assholes pop up here and there, obviously, but with so many current and former players voicing their support for them, it's been overwhelming. Especially when they both have to lie to their parents about the secret love they have been harboring for each other for the past year; and how tough it was for them, how they got married on a whim but meant to do it. Jon feels sick when he thinks about what his mom might say if she ever finds out that all of it is a sham. 

Their dads have a harder time dealing with it (Pat's sisters are really excited, which is weird), but they both call to gruffly congratulate them, and Jon has to rub Pat's back a little so he doesn't totally embarrass himself by crying any harder into the phone. 

Jon is adamant about not being made into some sort of a figurehead, since the only reason he came out was because the paparazzi forced him to. That both he and Pat are bisexual, so that's why they've been with girls and guys. That the girls weren't beards. He tells the reporters that he totally supports gay athletes and their rights, but he's not going to be the spokesperson – he just wants to live a normal, domesticated life with his husband, Pat. He's glad that Pat is by his side when he's talking on speakerphone because Pat looks just as queasy as he does by the time they are done answering some pre-selected questions. 

(It never stops feeling like some huge cosmic joke, though. The two guys on the team that have sworn to the world at large that they are going to be single and loving it for a long time find themselves hitched. To each other. It blows Jon's mind.)

So, that should be that. The guys in the team all support their fake gay love (from the coaches on down), and while that's nice and all, Jon doesn't know how long he'll be able to endure the concerned looks that Seabs and Duncs throw at them every chance they get. 

Jon has only had one meltdown since they came back to Chicago (he's absurdly proud of himself), and Pat has had two. Jon isn't surprised. 

Jon shifts his attention to where Pat is bitching about how the movers crushed the contents one of his boxes and goes to help him drag it to his unofficial bedroom. After a lengthy argument, they decided to move Pat into Jon's condo, because he has three bedrooms and his place is nicer, obviously. 

Even though Pat is going to have a room of his own, they still have to keep up a front just in case they have their folks or friends dropping by unexpectedly, so. Jon thinks that Pat might need to sleep in his bedroom, which, needless to say, is a bit of a problem. Pat isn't too fond of the idea either, because when Jon tries to explain it to him, all Pat does is stand there, scratching the back his head. 

Pat says, “Um. Like,” and Jon thinks, yeah

Pat says hopefully, “Like, what if, we are one of those couples where you obviously hog all the covers too much and you spazz out in your sleep, and I need to sleep somewhere else so you don't accidentally brain me.” 

Jon snorts. “I'm pretty sure your current situation is the result of getting brained one too many times already. And that's also lame.”

Pat huffs out an angry breath and drops down on Jon's – no, their couch. “Ha ha, asshole.”

The fact that his stuff is cluttering Jon's living room is a little hard to get over. Jon can't imagine six months of this. 

He takes a seat in one of the armchairs and observes the general chaos that is his life. He toes at one of the contents of a box and hears ominous noises coming from inside. 

“Be careful. I might have something valuable in there,” Pat says sullenly, with his arms crossed over his chest.

“I doubt that.”

“You suck. Your douchey pad sucks, too. I can't believe this is my life.”

Jon rolls his eyes. “Stop your bitching. Millions of girls and guys wish they were in your shoes. Your mom is probably lighting a candle in thanks at every church in Buffalo that you have someone like me tied down to someone like you.”

He catches the apple that Pat aims at his head. “Fuck off.”

“Now, now, honey. Marriage counseling after our first week would be very rookie of us.” Jon smiles and bites into the apple. 

Pat sulks some more, takes out his iPhone, and starts rage-texting en masse. 

*

The next morning, Pat is still acting like a giant bitch, even though it clearly isn't any easier for Jon and he is sure that he has been more than accommodating. He even let Pat put up some family photos and other personal stuff around his place. Jon is being a good guy and Pat doesn't appreciate it. What else is new. 

Pat is in the kitchen, slumped over a bowl of cereal, and sighs super bitchily when Jon goes to pour himself a cup of coffee. It must be so hard for him. 

“I wish I had gotten married to someone like Sharpy. He's pretty awesome and doesn't make me want to stab myself in the eye,” Pat whines, in a very put-upon voice. Jon glares at him twice as hard when he sees spilled milk on his counter.

Jon says, “First of all, fuckhead, he's already married, and that's still pretty gay. Second of all, go right on ahead and stab yourself however you want.” That oddly makes Pat crookedly smile at him, and Jon shakes his head in wonder. It's too early in the morning to deal with Pat's unique brand of mood swings. 

The empty bowl is carelessly dropped into the sink with a clang, making Jon's eye twitch and his hold on his coffee mug tighten, and Pat says breezily, “Aw, baby. You sound so hostile. I don't want the fellas to think that the amazing Jonathan Toews isn't treating me well.”

“What the fuck ever.”

Jon gets a sarcastic pat on the cheek before Pat leaves and Jon is left contemplating blowing up the entire world to make himself feel a little better. Or maybe just getting rid of Pat altogether. 

But rules need to be put in place about their new living arrangement, so Jon lets Pat know about them on their ride to practice that morning.

Jon doesn't actually believe that Pat will do anything too crazy with the shit-ton of problems that it would create for the both of them, but Jon has rules and they will be followed. Pat pretends to be twenty-three years old but is secretly fourteen. It scares Jon.

Pat is nodding his head to some awful rap music with his eyes closed. Jon yells at him to get his attention as he maneuvers through congested traffic like a pro. 

“Listen, I was thinking last night that there would be rules that you'd need to abide by while you live with me for the next six months,” Jon says. The side of Pat's mouth quirks into a smile.

Pat nods his head super seriously and says, “Sure, sure. Rules. Don't want me running around like a wild man.”

“One can never be too safe, and especially with your history,” Jon agrees, as someone honks him from behind for cutting into their lane without signaling. Pat shakes his head in an overly judgmental way and taps his fingers against his thigh as some guy angrily raps about brothers stabbing each other in the back.

Jon clears his throat and holds up his hand to count off his rules. “There will be five sacred rules that you must be mindful of at all times, or else I will be forced to kick your ass.”

“That sounds super important, but seriously, Jon. Just five? You could have stretched it to at least ten with some throwaway fluff added on here and there, just to piss me off even more.”

Jon steals a quick glance at him to shoot him a mock glare. “Okay, the first rule is that you must take out the trash at the beginning of every week. The second one is: always pick up after yourself.” 

Pat fiddles with his sunglasses but quickly agrees to it. “You're much more sloppier than I am, so it shouldn't be a problem.” 

“Great. The third rule is that you will not blast your lame ass music past eleven at night,” Jon informs, and actually grimaces at his stereo system for show, even though it's playing Pat's music at a respectable volume. 

Pat rolls his eyes and changes the track. “This sounds great and all, but I remember telling you that I could get a place in your building, and we wouldn't have to share.”

“Right, and if something got out about it, management and your mom would kill me. She'd think I'm an asshole and that I'm forcing you to do it because I have some deep personal issues or something.”

Pat looks as though he agrees. “She wouldn't kill you, I think, but you'd need to be extra vigilant at our dinner parties in the future.”

Jon sighs. “Yeah, I know. We can't hurt little Kaner's feelings when his mom is around.”

Pat shrugs his shoulders casually and looks pretty proud. “Yeah, my mom is fierce. She'd so kick your ass.” 

“Sure.”

Jon snorts when Pat attempts to do an extreme white boy Jersey Shore fist pump to Fat Joe rapping about being loaded in all the right ways, and takes the next exit toward United Center. 

(Jon is sure that he woke up that morning with five important rules to smack down, but since Pat doesn't bug him about it, he drops it.)

*

Later on in the day, Jon is trying to move his stuff around (so at least his and Pat's junk can live in a symbiotic relationship for a few months), and that's when he spots the marriage certificate again. 

The bolded Mr. Patrick Timothy Kane-Toews on it makes him grin widely and feel smug. (First time he hasn't felt like throwing up when his eye catches it, no lie.) He sets it on the dining room table to harass Pat with later – he hasn't even looked at it, the pussy – and shoots him a quick text. 

the marriage certificate says patrick kane-toews fyi

Jon waits a few minutes for a response, but when nothing comes, he sends, it's not a surprise to anyone obvsly. 

Ten minutes later, when Jon is clutching at his sides and laughing at the Twilight and Harry Potter books reverently packed away in one of the sturdier boxes he's found in Pat's room, his phone beeps with a text.

i think you told me you'd suck me off if i took ur last name. I was drunk and easy. 

Jon can't remember anything like that all. His throat seems to constrict and make breathing a little difficult. Like, what. Seriously. And also, he thought they had some unspoken agreement not to talk about it. Ever. His insides feel hot and twisty, and when his BlackBerry beeps at him with a new text, he pretty much dreads it. 

You lied, it says. 

Jon feels like he's being played.

*

Over the next few days, one of the more hilarious things in Jon's life is the fact that all of Canada is just really disappointed that he married an American. And that that American happens to be Patrick Kane. They tend to think that he's a flakey douche and that Jon is too good for him (which is true), but there are the rare others that congratulate him on finally making Pat settle down. Pat's mom is really pleased that it is now Jon's job twenty-four/seven to make sure that her son is being the best little Kaner possible. 

(Pat tells him that all of his friends and all of America hate Pat, too, for marrying Jon, because he is an uptight Canadian douchebag, but Jon highly doubts that since Pat is a sensationalistic drama queen most of the time. He did the world a huge favor by making sure Pat is kept in check and not let loose to terrorize women. For a whole six months. He deserves some sort of a medal of valor, honestly.)

All in all, it is turning out to be the least stressful training camp he's ever experienced. His whole life being turned upside down helps a guy reprioritize certain things. Sure, he's still concerned that the guys aren't practicing seriously enough or playing hard enough in their preseason games, but he's much more mellow, all in all. 

The guys like the newer him and slap Pat on the back for toning him down and humanizing him (or something equally as ridiculous), but they are secretly attributing it to the massive amounts of sex that Pat and Jon are having, Sharpy points out helpfully. 

“Pat, can you stop smiling? God. Your marital glow is blinding, man,” Sharpy loudly says, as they file into the locker room to change and hit the showers. Pat and Jon had been quietly cussing each other out a few minutes ago. Jon is going to kill Sharpy for getting so much enjoyment out of their torture. 

Hoss and Stalsy grin at them and Pat's face immediately transforms to a look of absolute adoration, as he hands Jon his Gatorade and wipes at Jon's brow with his towel. 

“Here, honey, let me do this for you,” Pat says sweetly, and Jon is pretty sure that Pat is going to win an Oscar way before he ever wins any real individual hockey trophy that matters. (The cup is a team thing, and the Calder is lame, so whatever.) It's too bad for him, really. 

Some of the guys roll their eyes and laugh, and Jon leans in close to Pat to whisper, “Even though an Art Ross isn't in your future, at least an Oscar is.” Pat's smile turns strained and edgy. 

Pat says, “Oh, you say the sweetest things,” before he heads for the showers, with a worried looking Seabs trailing after him. 

Seabs and Duncs need to get their shit together, honestly. 

*

The next day, after practice, Coach Q awkwardly pats them on the arm and tells them that Bowman wants to have a word with them before they head out. Jon rolls his eyes and can feel Pat doing the same.

Bowman tells them to take a seat and silently hands over a local gossip magazine, with their faces splashed on the front cover of it, looking decidedly depressed. The picture must be from after practice yesterday. 

Bowman raises an eyebrow and leans back in his seat. When they don't say anything, he pointedly clears his throat and says, “Can you guys... try not to look so morose? It looks like you guys attended a funeral.”

Pat snorts out a pained laugh and looks down at his hands. He's fiddling with his phone. “We did attend a funeral yesterday. The service was held to officially say goodbye to our old lives.”

Jon's mouth twitches in a semblance of a smile. “Yeah. It was touching, but ultimately really depressing.” 

They are basically kicked out of Bowman's office after they promise to look less homicidal out in public.

The ride home is pretty quiet and Jon throws a concerned look at Pat, because Pat hasn't been this quiet throughout this entire mess. 

Jon clears his throat. “Hey, you okay?”

Pat merely grunts in response and continues to look out the window of Jon's car, with a pinched look on his face; as though everything and everyone on the street is mocking his sadness and the unfortunate predicament he's in. Pat is an equal opportunity hater, and Jon likes that in a person. 

When they are about to get out of the car and head inside, Pat holds him still with an urgent touch, and judges Jon with a very serious look on his face. 

“Look, I'm going to try to hold your hand, or, like, flirt with your giant ass when we get out of the car, so don't punch me in surprise. We need to practice.” The dumbass honestly looks worried. 

Jon squeezes Pat's hand – he appreciates the heads-up, or else he might've shrugged him off. “Got it.”

The level of hilarity is pretty high when they get out of the car and Pat goes to pull him by his hand with a sleazy, sneaky smile on his face. On their way to the elevators, Pat says something so incredibly dumb for Jon to fake-laugh at, that it transforms the easy back and forth of them pretending to be flirting and laughing to full-on real laughter. (The next day, there are pictures of them blasted in every gossip magazine, grinning and clutching at each other like maniacs. It works.)

By the time they get to Jon's condo, they are sort of breathlessly cackling like crazy people, and the pain in Jon's side actually makes him feel glad. He realizes, suddenly, that he hasn't laughed that hard since this thing happened between them, and the red and teary thing that Pat's face is doing is a good look on him. 

The laughter dies down the moment they step through the door and Jon stupidly misses the sound of it. He's had a long day – he must be exhausted. He watches Pat thumb away tears and take off his sneakers, all the while mumbling about ordering pizza since he's starving. 

When he asks Jon what he wants on his pizza, Jon realizes that he zoned out for a few seconds and clears his throat. 

“I'll get whatever you're getting, just no olives.” 

Pat shakes his head, orders their pizza, and starts tidying up, because Jon has been too lazy to do it himself. Jon usually has a cleaning lady drop in once or twice a week but with Pat living with him in domestic bliss, they can't risk it. So, they have to do most of the cleaning themselves, and Jon is not a big fan of it. It's something that Pat bitches him out about when they travel, but it might not be so bad having him live with him if he's going to go around rolling his eyes and setting things straight. Pat tells him that his sisters ganged up on him and made him do their chores when he was younger, but Jon thinks that he's an anal bastard and he probably took on their chores for fun. 

When Pat straightens up from where he was vacuuming with that little vacuum thing that he brought along with him from his apartment, like some pro Suzy Homemaker, Jon snaps out of his daze and feels like a creep. He was totally checking out Pat going around and cleaning his shit up – and, like, it wasn't the worst thing in the world. 

(It's all Sharpy's fault, in any case. Before practice that day, it had been just the three of them in the locker room, and Sharpy had gone on and on about how they had both been basically married before they officially sealed the deal in Vegas, that they had always been super weird about each other since the day they'd met, and how Marian's lady was sure that they were just as passionate in the bedroom as they were at everything else they did. 

Pat's ears had gone red and Jon had only managed to mutter, “Oh, wow. That's – that's none of your business,” before he'd stalked out of the room, feeling a little claustrophobic. Sharpy's muffled grunt of pain hadn't made him feel any better. 

Afterwards, he'd kind of told Duncs, very loudly, that he was fine and handling it, when he tried to make Jon, like, talk about his feelings or whatever, and the soul-seizing glare he'd gotten from Seabs in return had been almost enough to make him want to go back to his condo and hole up forever.) 

Once they're done eating and Pat starts lamenting about all the sex that he isn't having (it never ceases to amaze Jon just how wild Pat's imagination is), Jon is nice enough to show him where he stashes his porn before he heads to his room for a nap. 

An hour later, Jon wakes up to high-pitched moaning and trash talk coming from the living room, and hates Pat a little bit more when he futilely tries to go back to sleep with the beginnings of a boner.

*

Since Jon gives Pat the okay to basically act like a sex-crazed maniac once he hands his porn over, Pat drops any semblance of being a good person and starts, like, jerking off. All the time.

Jon is sure that Pat really, really doesn't need to be that loud when he's taking care of business, but the little shit seems to be enjoying Jon's discomfort too much to act like a normal person.

It hasn't been easy; being stuck together, every second of every day, but Jon has been trying really hard to make it work for as long as possible. 

It's been three weeks since their new arrangement got worked out, and Jon walks out of their hotel bathroom to find Pat rubbing himself through his boxers while he lazily flips through the adult channels, checking out cliché porn. 

Like, Jon isn't even surprised at this point. They went drinking after the game, and Pat kept on rubbing Jon's thigh while Jon tried not to choke on his beer. Jon's angry and horny, honestly. 

Jon shakes his head and leans back against the wall, arms loosely crossed, because, come on, dude. Pat doesn't even have the decency to stop; he merely grunts some caveman comment in Jon's general direction, and bends one of his legs. Jon can't believe that this is his life now.

The moaning from the tv is ridiculously obnoxious and Jon is human, okay (and also drunk, which is a bad idea when Pat gets mixed into the equation), so he doesn't fight it when he feels arousal stir up low in his belly. 

Pat huffs out a low laugh when he flicks his gaze to Jon and all he gets in return is a glare. “You can either get with the program, or you can hide out in the bathroom while I get off. It's your choice, man,” he says easily, almost as though he thinks that Jon will pussy out and leave. 

Jon resolutely marches to his own bed and says, “Put it back to the last channel,” and he can feel Pat's surprise hit him like a tangible thing, but he doesn't care. He grabs lotion, makes himself comfortable on his bed, and works his hand into his boxers even though he hears more than sees Pat kick his own off.

There's a quick moment where he feels a little embarrassed for Pat, because he is loud as fuck and seems to be pretty easy (Jon doesn't look because that would turn it into a thing), but that thought is suddenly gone when the guy on the screen starts fucking the faux-maid in earnest, and Jon pumps more erratically into his fist. Her tits are amazing and she shouldn't be able to bend that way, it seems impossible, but Jon's dick has never cared about impossible things.

When Pat lets out a strangled moan and the sound of him stroking himself changes, gets dirtier, Jon's eyes rip away from the acrobatic fucking on the screen and to Pat's hand working his own dick roughly – his other hand is clutching at the sheets, and Jon moans, and wants to bite off his own tongue, because, like, that's Pat. But he's pretty sure he would find a lot things hot when he's as turned on as he is, so he turns his attention back to the porn and kicks off his boxers. 

He slows his pace down and tries to make it last a little longer, but Pat lets out another gasp and he unwillingly cuts his eyes away from the screen just in time to see Pat lose it; he groans shakily through it, pumps slowly into his hand, come hitting his belly, and with his eyes closed tight.

Jon's focus slips back to the TV and he bites his lip and tries to stave off his orgasm for a little longer, but he comes quickly enough when the faux-maid yells out her orgasm. Not even a minute passes when a wet rag hits his chest and makes him jump and throw Pat a death-glare, as the asshole closes the bathroom door with a small smirk on his face. 

At least Pat's not freaking out (or pretending not to). That's probably a good start. Actually, Jon is surprised that he's not panicking, either, but it's too much thinking to be doing right after a good orgasm, so he wipes himself down, throws the dirty rag on Pat's bed, puts his boxers on, and goes to sleep. 

*

It's still sort of brand new all the time, even a little over a month and a half later, when they go out on the road to team dinners or wherever, how Pat is always at his side; laughing, throwing a careless arm around Jon's shoulders, randomly being affectionate and setting Jon's nerves on edge. 

Pat learns to cope with their fake-world persona very quickly, and Jon still feels like he's only treading water. He knows that Pat is frustrated with him for not getting himself in check and getting it done, but it's hard. Jon's embarrassed at how tough it is, pretending to be married and in love. 

Like it's not bad enough, Pat keeps on wearing his cheap wedding band and it drives Jon a little insane. Jon forgets to wear his sometimes and the Tribune makes a big deal out of it in one of their articles. They can blow him. 

Pat says, “It helps keep me in character. I don't fuck up when my eye catches it,” and Jon feels nauseous for reasons he doesn't want to think about. 

They're out eating with a couple of the guys after a really terrible game, where they all equally sucked (even though, for the most part, Jon thinks his play with Pat on the ice has gone to a whole other, better level), and in the middle of talking about the new ice girls and how one of them definitely wants to hook up with Seabs, Jon catches Pat mindlessly twisting his wedding band around his finger, and before he even registers it, he grabs Pat's hand and links their fingers together tightly. To get him to stop playing with it so fucking much. 

He tries to zone out and continue eating, but their surprise is pretty palpable. They're eating at some old school dive, and Seabs, Duncs, and Sharpy all know. Nobody is paying them any attention.

Jon doesn't know who he's doing it for. 

After a beat, which actually lasts ten years for Jon, the guys continue on with their conversation. Pat squeezes his hand and starts crudely mocking Sharpy and his mom. 

They don't let go until it's time for them to leave. 

*

Since things can't go smoothly indefinitely, especially between the two of them, Jon is surprised (in hindsight) that it takes two months for them to get into an explosive argument. 

They had been casually arguing about their families getting together for Thanksgiving at their place, and Jon had been unhappy about the fact that he and Pat had had to participate in some charity event sponsored by the NHL for Canadian Thanksgiving. Jon hadn't been able to do anything with his folks for that one. 

So, he'd suggested to Pat that his family should come over, too, and Pat had whined about it because he thought it would be too many people that they would have to lie to at once, and Jon had kind of exploded at that. It sounded like bullshit.

He doesn't know how they go from arguing about inviting their parents over for Thanksgiving to yelling at Pat for being tempted to blow their cover by hitting on this really so-so girl the night before (just for some meaningless sex), but it happens. Pat's face morphs into shocked outrage so quickly that it enrages Jon even further. How stupid does Pat think he is – it was so obvious that he was trolling for pussy the other night. 

(Last night, Pat had confessed to him, somewhat reluctantly, that he was, in fact, bi, and Jon had just stared at him. And shrugged.)

Pat jabs him in the chest with a finger, looking mad enough to start throwing. Jon doesn't give a fuck. 

“How fucking stupid do you think I am?” Pat asks, his voice low and sharp. Jon swats his hand away like he could care less how stupid Pat is or isn't, and goes to make himself a smoothie. He also starts texting a hot girl he'd slept with a couple of times in Vegas. To catch up.

Pat yells after him, incredulously. “You're such an insecure douchebag. You, my friend, are the one who has problems, and instead of calling me out for shit I didn't do, maybe you should shut the fuck up and stop imagining things.” 

Jon blindly drops pre-cut pieces of fruit into the blender with organic orange juice. He presses blend and takes in a deep breath, counting backwards in his head from ten. He knows he can get too angry and possessive sometimes. It's something that he tries to work on regularly, but when one of the biggest triggers is Pat, and he lives with him, it tends to be a problem. 

Pat comes into the kitchen and chuckles lowly like a scab-peeling asshole. Jon pours himself a glass with stiff hands.

“Look at you. You're the biggest pussy of all, and yet you're always pointing fingers,” Pat says. 

“Get the fuck out,” Jon says evenly. 

“Or what, genius? Huh?” 

It takes less than a second for Jon to turn around and throw the glass at the wall. It shatters into a hundred pieces of glass and goopy smoothie right over Pat's shoulder. The way that Pat jerks in surprise, his face going stony and closed off instantly, hardly registers with Jon.

Pat casts a cursory, disinterested glance at the mess before stalking out of the kitchen and Jon follows closely behind. He grabs Pat's arm to turn him around and Pat snatches it back and keeps on walking. 

Jon tries again, misses, and Pat spins around to bite out, “Leave me the fuck alone.” 

The smile on Jon's face is ugly when he starts walking forward, deliberately backing Pat into a corner. “You wanted my full attention. You have it.”

Pat glares at him with such a fiercely angry look that it makes Jon laugh meanly and step in closer, crowd him in completely. Pat really hates being short.

Jon feels punch-drunk and like he wants to kick the entire world in the face, and he leans in close to Pat, until he can feel him raggedly breathing against his cheek, and murmurs, “You should be thankful. You should be kissing my ass. All the time. The only reason you are still on this team and haven't been shipped off to the Panthers is because management thinks they might hurt my feelings.” Maybe he's gone too far. In some dim and distant part of his brain, it seems like a possibility. 

Fuck you,” Pat spits out, and the punch that Jon gets in his ribs is something that isn't entirely unexpected. So he takes the blow, deflects another one, and slams Pat back against the wall, breathing like he's running a marathon right in Pat's face. Pat's mouth twists in disgust and something else, something sadder – and he seems to immediately sag. Like that's it. Jon's gone and tamed his wild, crazy half-assed Mustang spirit. Jon doesn't realize that he's fisting Pat's shirt in his hands with a death-grip and pinning his shoulder to the wall until Pat swallows wetly and Jon's attention shifts; to where Pat's t-shirt is pulled down his collarbone, his chest and neck turning a weird shade of pink. 

“Just. Shut up,” Jon says, unevenly, and makes to pull away, but the little (almost involuntary) taunting head-shake that he gets from Pat, in return, roots him to the spot. Fuck, fuck, what the fuck. He needs to pull away, he needs to, but the next thing he knows, his fist slackens on Pat's shirt and his thumb is slowly skimming over Pat's collarbone and up the tense line of his neck, his throat. Pat's mouth drops open to let in startled breath, with his face still turned to the side and his wide eyes staring blankly into space, and Jon's eyes drag down his face and stop at his lips. When he grabs Pat's chin to make him look up at him, Pat's eyes fall shut tightly, stubbornly, and even though Jon is basically clueless and unsure, he still gets a little pissed off at that. 

He drags his thumb over Pat's bottom lip (it's chapped to hell, but it still looks soft and pink), and hears Pat's head thunk against the wall. Jon is too focused on rubbing at Pat's wet mouth and his bottom teeth to care. Pat just lets him. Pat just leans there like he's literally glued to the wall and lets him. 

Jon jerks his hand away and stumbles back a couple of steps. His breathing is really tight and Pat looks like he has been mauled and Jon can't be there. (Pat's hard, though. He's hard.) It's a blur how he escapes and gets to his room, to his bathroom, but he does. He yanks his clothes off with bitten off curses and jumps into the shower. 

Jon makes sure the water is really hot before standing underneath the pounding spray. He should probably be taking a cold shower instead, but he doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't.

With one arm braced against the warm tiles and the other dangling uselessly at his side, he stares unseeingly down the drain for a long time. The anger and confusion is still clawing at him with sharp and sticky fingers, and even though he's only half-hard, he urgently takes his cock into his hand and starts to roughly get himself off. No finesse, no rhythm. It actually hurts, but the mental image of Pat's stupid face and the stupid hurt look in his eyes keeps him going, makes him desperate to get off. 

He keeps on almost getting to that painful point of release and losing it – he smacks the wall with his wet palm in irritation. He slows down his unsteady strokes a little and rests his hot forehead against the warm tiles, his other hand running down the slippery planes of his chest and stomach; he hastily rubs and scratches his nipples, presses down at the spot Pat hit him; but all that does is make him bite his lip helplessly, since it only serves to take him to the brink and keep him there. Nothing is working until he cups his balls and thinks of stupid Pat on his knees with his loud, pink mouth wrapped around Jon's dick, sucking him off like some eager cockslut (Jon irrationally hopes that he hasn't sucked many guys off, if any), and comes with a sobbing whine all over his fist. It feels like his orgasm shakes his insides into disarray and his entire body feels tremulous after. 

When he's steady enough not to slip and brain himself, he washes off quickly and gets out of the shower. By the time it takes him to step into his bedroom to dry himself off, Jon feels exhausted and like he can sleep for a week. His head hitting his pillow and falling asleep happens sort of simultaneously. 

The last thought that echoes through his head before sleep mercilessly pulls him in is that he is very fucked. Like, it-might-change-everything-even-more sort of fucked, and Jon sucks at dealing with change.

*

Up until yesterday, Jon had been doing a really good job of pretending that Pat was an ugly, annoying bastard, and that Jon was simply putting up with his shit because he'd signed a contract – and maybe sold his fucking soul in the process – that forced him to. 

It's a lot harder to pretend that he doesn't care about Pat's general existence when flashes of their wedding night now bombard him whenever his brain is bored for more than a minute. Pat sloppily jerking Jon off and laughing into Jon's neck, Jon biting and sucking at Pat's swollen mouth until he whined in his throat and came. Maybe it has become a bit of an issue, but Jon is cooler and better than ninety percent of the population, so he figures he'll deal with it. Somehow.

It's a day off at home, and Jon hasn't seen Pat since their fight last night. He woke up to an empty home and without Pat's grumbling early morning diatribe. Which means that Pat is actively avoiding him, more so than usual, and Jon doesn't know what to do about it. 

He slowly cleans up the mess he made last night (and it's turned into a disgustingly sticky-dry mess now), and starts putting away clean dishes half-heartedly. 

When his BlackBerry starts blasting Jay-Z's 99 Problems from the countertop (Pat's doing), he lets it ring two more times before he finally picks up, with the dish towel slung over his shoulder. The screen lightens up with Andree's name, and he grimaces before he answers.

“Hi, mom,” he says, while he scrubs at a dirty spot on the frying pan with his dish towel. He isn't in the mood to run it under some hot water. Also, he lives with another guy, so spotless isn't a big part of the equation anyway.

“Oh my god, Jonathan! My baby! You are alive! This is such a treat, you have no idea,” Andree teasingly says, and Jon chuckles. It sucks that he hasn't called home for a few days, but he's been a little preoccupied. 

“It must be tough not hearing my soothing voice every day,” he cracks, as he dries Pat's dinosaur coffee mug. It's already sporting a branched out fracture line running from the chipped rim almost to the bottom of the cup. (Pat is five years old, seriously. Dinosaur-themed coffee mugs? Really? Jon is so ashamed.)

They start talking about his aunt's anniversary party that Jon will miss out on, how Janet has started crawling; she fills him in on little things that are happening at home, with his relatives, his grandpa's cancer scare, and Jon is thankful for so many things all over again. He cuts in whenever there is a brief second pause (which is rarely), since his mom is a chatterbox. 

“Oh, before I forget, I want to say how happy I am that we are coming over for a Thanksgiving feast,” Andree gushes, and Jon freezes.

“What?” He asks, somewhat idiotically. 

Andree laughs. “Pat called in the morning to invite us.”

“Pat called in the morning to invite you,” Jon repeats automatically. 

“Yes. But he sounded... off. You guys hit a difficult patch, Jon? Do you need anything, mon cher?” Her concerned voice unexpectedly triggers a memory from a year ago, when Pat had been dating a girl named Angela, who he thought had been the one. Jon suddenly remembers Pat texting him angela dumped me :/ and she wants commitment and I want egg rolls for further clarification. They had dated for three months. 

Jon takes in a deep breath and is glad that he is sitting down. “No, maman. We had a little disagreement, but things will be fine. It's just taking some time to... To get used to it all.” 

Andree hmms in response and continues talking about how she is going to call Pat's mom to make plans, arrange their flights and do all kinds of things that overexcited mothers do. 

There is an unsightly stain on the living room rug that he hasn't had the time to call the carpet cleaners to come remove, and it almost always catches his eye at the oddest times. (It never fails to make him frown.) It is one of those fancy, chic rugs that cost him an arm and a leg to purchase, since it is five decades old and considered to be an antique Persian rug. It's very soft and thick. Andree hadn't been amused in the slightest when she had seen it. He rubs at the spot with his sock-clad foot in vain. 

“Anyway, I need to call Pat to thank him, too. He's a nice young man – I was wrong about him,” Andree concedes. 

Something inside Jon's chest does this funny loopy-loop thing that he usually experiences when he goes on death defying roller coster rides. He doesn't appreciate the feeling a bit. “Yeah, he's – he's pretty amazing,” Jon says, quietly. 

“You guys have always been good together, oddly enough,” Andree says, almost like she can't believe it.

“We make an unlikely pair, but it works.”

“Just remember to love each other through the bad times, too, no matter how hard it gets, and both of you will be fine,” she says reassuringly, and Jon looks down at the fist he has unconsciously made and unclenches his hand. Pat's stupid chipped coffee mug has given him a cut. It looks like a paper cut and it stings when he presses down on it with his thumb. 

Jon is quick to end their conversation after that, even though he feels really guilty, and collapses on the couch. He feels a sickeningly tight sensation in his chest, and he thinks he might be hyperventilating a little bit. It's a new and terrible experience, all in all.

He quickly texts Pat, we need to talk, and goes to the gym in his building to work out.

 

*


Jon comes back from the gym to find Sharpy and Pat joking around in the living room about Pat's and Jon's lack of culinary skills. 

Jon just stands there. Pat looks happy, and it makes him want to walk right out again. Sharpy glances up at him with a small grin, claps his hands together, and says, “I dropped off some spaghetti and meatballs that my amazing lady made, so you both better appreciate it.”

“Thanks again, man,” Pat says, “she is pretty awesome,” and Jon just wordlessly nods his head in agreement. Sharpy claps him on the shoulder with a disgusted look on his face and heads out. Jon might have overdone it at the gym. The deep ache radiating through his entire body tells him he's an idiot. 

Pat looks at him blankly. “You look disgusting.”

Jon drops his gym bag in the hallway and wipes the towel hanging from his shoulders over his face. He smells like ass. “Yeah, I know.”

After a silent beat where neither of them know what to say, Pat says, “You go take a shower and I'll heat the food.” 

Jon says, “Great,” and moves forward to, like, slap Pat on the back in a reaffirming buds-for-life way or something, but the quick, pained look of oh-god-not-yet that flashes in Pat's eyes - his eyebrows shoot up his face – stops him in his tracks. Jon bites his lip in an effort not to say anything and swiftly marches to his bedroom. 

Fifteen minutes later, he's out of the shower and prepping himself mentally to have an adult conversation with Pat. This is basically uncharted territory, and it makes him nervous. 

He'll try to coolly and nonchalantly hang out with Pat and maybe attempt to figure out what's happening between without having it be a yelling thing again. That really sucks and it always makes Jon feel like a giant asshole. 

Pat is in the living room playing on his Xbox, the empty plate sitting on the coffee table telling Jon that he has already eaten. Giving Jon the option of hiding out in the kitchen to eat, to buy himself more time, but Jon has never been lame, so he makes a plate for himself and sits down next to Pat. 

Jon hesitantly says, “Thanks for inviting my folks over, too,” and Pat simply replies, “Yeah,” while sucking on his Red Vine.

Pat is losing with Boo, and Jon snorts out a laugh when he comes in tenth place and throws the controller down in frustration. Pat's sulky look of disapproval tells him he's not pleased. 

“I don't know why you always make it so hard on yourself,” Jon admits, pointing to Boo on the screen.

Pat shrugs his shoulders and picks up the controller again. “I like underdogs. It feels better when you win with 'em.”

Jon rolls his eyes. “You're weird. Winning one out of every ten would drive me up the wall.”

“I know, but that one time makes it sweeter. You just like a sure thing, is all,” Pat says, unfazed. Jon doesn't reply, because he doesn't know what to say.

The couch shifts and Pat leans back into the cushions, while Jon basically inhales his plate of spaghetti and meatballs. It's really, really good. Fuck Sharpy for hitting the jackpot in all kinds of ways. 

When he's done, they play in two-player mode for two hours, cussing and yelling at the screen like they usually do. It feels like how the past few weeks have been; eating dinner together, maybe going out to a bar with some of the guys, playing Xbox, catching up on shows and watching movies (or going to the movies if it's something they both really want to see) until they part ways to head for bed. Jon has turned into an old, married person without even really knowing it – but it's not so bad. It feels good and secure in a really mushy way, so he tends to skim over those emotions and say inappropriate things about Pat's sisters to stop those thoughts from fully forming. On the downside, Bettman thinks they are the best droids ever, so Jon still really dislikes the guy. He's creepy. 

Jon realizes sort of late that they didn't have their adult conversation, so when he comes out of the bathroom to share his feelings in a really masculine way, he finds Pat sleeping. He's slumped into the corner of the couch and Jon can't find it in himself to wake him. Pat is hardly ever quiet and still, so Jon enjoys it as he picks up their dirty dishes, turns off the tv, and cleans up. Andree would be so proud of him, he thinks. 

All the lights get turned off – except for the one in the hallway because Pat has a thing about it being totally dark – and he goes to shake Pat awake so he can go to bed. 

Jon taps Pat on the shoulder and hears him mumble and try to squish himself deeper into the cushions. Jon loudly says, “Hey, Pat, come on, buddy,” and Pat swats his hand away, his sleepy eyes narrowing into a glare. 

Jon ruffles his hair and is about to draw back when his wrist gets snatched in Pat's pretty alert grip. 

The movement kind of suspends him over Pat awkwardly, but the shadowy, unsure way that Pat is looking up at him makes him hold still and not pull back. 

After a beat, Pat tugs on his wrist to pull him down and Jon automatically goes (unthinkingly), until he's kneeling by the couch, one of his hands falling on Pat's thigh. Jon is having trouble keeping his heart from beating out of his chest, so he's glad that Pat is pretending to know what he's doing when Jon feels a thumb brush his jawline, and Pat leans down to kiss him lightly, closed-mouthed. 

Jon stiffens imperceptibly before he thinks, fuck it, and surges forward. Pat's eyes look wide and bright, and he lets out a startled mph when he realizes that Jon isn't going to run away. Jon doesn't run away from anything – it's like Pat doesn't even know him. 

It isn't super hot or anything, since they bump noses a couple of times and are uncoordinated. So Jon moves up until he is spread out on top of Pat, tilts Pat's chin at an angle that doesn't suck, and starts kissing Pat's smiling mouth properly. It figures that Pat doesn't even know how to be serious when he's making out. 

Jon bites and licks at Pat's lower lip until Pat's mouth falls open on a gasp and lets him in. Pat's fingers clench in Jon's hair, driving Jon crazy with the need to hear all of the little sounds Pat makes as he writhes sort of shamelessly and lets Jon press sucking kisses to his mouth. Pat tastes like marinara sauce and Red Vines. 

Jon doesn't know how long he spends kissing Pat stupid, and as he pulls back to take in a much needed breath, he focuses in on Pat's pink and bruised mouth. 

Jon feels a little light-headed with the pure need washing over him. (Jon's seriously glad that the hallway light makes it not totally dark so he can see Pat. It's just – it's nice.) Pat is boneless, his warm hand settled just above Jon's ass, in the dip of his back, like a burning brand, and Jon runs his fingers over Pat's split-slick lips, down his jaw (Pat's eyes fall shut on a shaky groan), and keeps going down his chest in some bizarre caress. 

It's obvious that Pat is hard, and Jon cups him and presses his palm down against his hard length, making Pat gasp out his name and yank Jon down for another dirty, lingering kiss. Jon loves Pat's mouth, and how Pat fights back when Jon tries to grab his chin to control the kiss. It's all kinds of problematic. 

Jon's thrusts against him sort of accidentally and Pat's mouth goes slack; his hands grab Jon's ass to push him down harder into the next thrust, and Jon knows it's not going to take long. It only takes a few more rough thrusts and Pat shakes apart and comes, whining low in his throat – and just feeling him come against him has Jon losing it a few seconds later. 

Jon drops down next to Pat's prone body, both of them breathing heavily. Jon is just about to fall asleep, even as gross as he is, when Pat drops a kiss to his cheek and pulls him up from the couch. 

They head to Jon's bedroom, take off their clothes, wipe themselves off, and collapse in Jon's unmade bed. 

Jon throws an arm over Pat's chest and feels Pat's hair tickle his cheek. 

“Stay,” Jon murmurs, as Pat drags the comforter over them.

“Yeah,” Pat says, “yeah.”

*

The next day, they have to leave on a three game road trip to California, and all of their free time is spent having as much sex as possible. They're married – they're allowed. The guys think they're being gross but look decidedly envious every time Jon drags Pat away after practice, lunch, and team dinners. Jon is a little ashamed to admit that he is really hard up for sex with Pat, and never really knew that it was something that he wanted so badly, until Pat gets on his knees to blow him, really cluelessly. (So, Pat hasn't had too much sex with dudes. That's good to know.)

It adds a whole new dimension to being married and Jon likes it. 

Duncs says, curiously, “So, you guys haven't killed each other yet.”

Seabs nods and slaps him on the back. “It's like they are the real deal now, eh, Tazer?”

And Jon just shrugs and attempts to smile because Duncs and Seabs look like they approve of Jon's life choices all of a sudden, and Jon doesn't know how he feels about it. 

After the road trip, they come back home with a three game winning streak under their belts and Jon having trouble controlling his facial expressions. Bolly looks a little terrified whenever Jon bursts into laughter and smiles at the guys, and Jon feels really bad for the guy. He needs to get laid more and stop looking constipated. It's not a good look.

Jon is bored, so he deliberately shoves Pat against the elevator when they head out and make their way up to their condo, with Pat nudging back and grinning. Pat has a nice smile. Jon didn't realize how little Pat was being his usual happy, goofy self until Pat started laughing, like, all the time during the road trip. Sharpy thought it was cute and would pinch Pat's cheeks and sides, until he made Pat flush and flail, and Jon thought he was being inappropriately handsy and needed to go call his wife more. Whatever. 

They have two days to themselves because the team is letting the guys hang with their families for Thanksgiving, and Jon is kind of dreading having both sides of their clans gang up on them. There is this weird sensation of not being prepared enough, in his gut, but he pushes it away when he opens the door and pushes Pat inside. 

The door closing and backing Pat up against a wall to kiss him happens simultaneously. Pat drops the bag he has on his shoulder to the floor and wraps his arms around Jon's shoulders, smugly biting at Jon's chin when he tries to get Pat to pay attention. 

“Hey, hey, come on,” Jon whispers, trying to get Pat to kiss him instead of maneuvering his head away to lazily bite down Jon's neck, like he has all the time in the world. Jon roughly angles his face up with both hands, smirking when Pat tries to break his hold but can't, and kisses his mouth open; Pat's hands fall down to Jon's hips, his fingers spasming in Jon's shirt, keeping him there. 

The amused sound of someone clearing their throat makes them both pull apart, breathing heavily, only to see Andree standing there in the hallway, arms crossed, smiling fondly. 

“We got an earlier flight,” she says apologetically, shrugging her shoulders, and Jon doesn't care. 

Jon is hugging her in a heartbeat, because he's missed her. “Hi, mom,” he says gruffly into her hair, and she laughs.

“You missed me, you big baby.”

Andree squeezes his hand and moves toward Pat, who's kind of shyly hunched in on himself, his hands in his pockets, with his mouth tugging up in a small smile. Like he can't help it. 

Pat mumbles, “Hi, Mrs. Toews,” the same moment Andree drags him into a tight hug. Pat's surprise melts away almost instantly and he hugs back, too. 

When Pat tries to pull away, she stops him from moving and gently pats him on the cheek, the look in her eyes making Jon nervous and Pat blush. Pat opens his mouth to say something, but the door opens behind them and all hell breaks loose.

Basically, they all rescheduled for an earlier flight, and Jon hugs and kisses more people than he really feels comfortable with. Pat's mom pinches his cheeks, Pat's youngest sister slaps his ass, and Pat's dad looks like he's judging him hard core – it should be fun. 

It's a whirlwind of people coming and going for the entire day, and at one point, in a moment of absolute weakness, Jon has to lock himself in his bathroom because he feels like he's about to freak out at any second. He doesn't know what's real and what's not real anymore. 

Donna and Andree promise to drop by early in the morning to start cooking everything up, so Jon nods his head at everything they say, and when Pat hugs him from behind as their families go back to their hotels for the night, Jon has to convince himself to relax and not pull away from Pat the way he wants to. 

Pat looks exhausted and is silent when they leave. “Let's head to bed, dude, before I collapse.” 

Jon runs a hand tiredly down his face and says, “That went well.”

“I think so, yeah.”

“They didn't suspect anything,” Jon clarifies, and he doesn't even know why.

Pat's face is carefully blank when he looks up at Jon. “Not a thing,” Pat breathes out, voice low. 

That night they don't have sex, but Pat's fingers touch Jon's wrist when he curls up on his side to go to sleep. 

Jon doesn't fall asleep for almost an hour.

*

Jessica says matter-of-factly, “If you ever hurt Pat, I will bust your balls.”

Erica's smile is very wide and shiny, when she adds, “In fact, we'll turn your entire life into a living hell." 

Jacqueline nods her head solemnly. “We're very good at making boys cry.”

Jon's forced smile completely falls off his face, and he mutters, “I'm sure you guys are.” 

Across the room and in the kitchen, Donna waves at him with a spatula and Pat's dad is looking extra constipated as he watches Jon set the table. It's totally abnormal behavior from a guy that should be showering Jon with praises for being the best person in the world and for marrying his less-than-respectable son. Some people are denser and simply less thankful than others, Jon supposes. It sucks that David is spending Thanksgiving with his girlfriend and parents. It makes him not only a backstabbing traitor, but also an embarrassing suck-up. 

The highlight of the night makes things a little better, because Pat is the one that gets to be mercilessly mocked. 

Donna throws Pat a very evil grin and takes a big sip of her wine. “I can't believe that you guys managed to work out your little problems and finally got together. I thought Pat would be crushing on you forever, Jon.”

Pat starts coughing on his food and makes a grab for his cup. The glare he shoots Donna makes Andree laugh and Jon smirk.

“Yeah, it was getting a little sad,” Jessica adds helpfully. 

Jon leans back in his chair and watches Pat sputter and turn an interesting and dangerous shade of red. 

Pat replies hotly, “It was never a crush. I envied and admired him when we were rookies. That's it.” His sisters grin at him and Pat slumps in his chair. “Also, I hate all of you right now. Worst family ever.” 

“Best family ever.”

Pat throws a biscuit at Erica. “You guys are so evil--”

“And amazing.”

“--and mean. So mean.”

Their banter is pretty hilarious, and Jon smiles for real for the first time that night. He touches Pat consolingly on the hand and passes the mashed potatoes down the table. 

The entire thing isn't as horrible as he was thinking it would be. 

Except for how he gets slapped on the ass one too many times to count. Pat's sisters are just, like – Jon won't get on their bad side, if he can help it. Basically. 

Later, when their families go home, Jon lies in bed, feeling too full and restless. Pat pokes him in the side until he grunts and looks at him. There is a drowsy and happy look playing on Pat's face, and it makes Jon feel like he swallowed something very bitter. 

When Pat tries to lean in for a kiss, Jon doesn't stop him, but he pulls away after a few seconds, his hand at Pat's chest and pushing him back into his own space. 

He pretends he doesn't see how Pat's face goes slack with surprise and Jon turns to his side, facing away.

From Pat. From everything.

*

In the morning, Jon wakes up with the urge to pack his bags and go away for awhile. To some uninhabited island, preferably. People are starting to get on his nerves too much. 

It doesn't help his mood any when he basically zombie-shuffles into Pat and has Pat thrust some papers at him. Pat is twitchy and looking like he is trying to pretend to be chill when all he wants to do is flee (he's biting at his lip hard enough to hurt). Jon looks down at the legal packets in his hands and the only thing that registers with clarity is the bolded Non-Disclosure Agreement headlining the papers. 

It feels like a bucket of ice water has been dumped on his head. It's forced self-preservation that helps him quickly bite down on all of the things he wants to say, all the hurt he wants to show. Jon's mouth thins out into an unhappy line while he flips through the pages and pretends to read all of the legal junk that is kindly telling him that it's okay to fuck around, if he's careful. 

“Say something.”

Jon says, “Hmm.” 

Pat snaps and starts talking like he can't help it. “It's just that, obviously, we don't have to make this any harder than it is. So I asked our lawyers this morning to draw up the NDA so you don't have to feel obligated to, to – fuck, I don't know. I did this to make it easier.”

It takes Jon another second to reply. “Yeah, this should make it easier.” Jon catches Pat's earnest stare and makes sure to look as bored and as calm as he can afford to be.

“Yeah, exactly.” Pat thumbs at his bottom lip and takes out his phone. 

The utter ridiculousness of the situation doesn't hit Jon until Pat leaves with his phone pressed to his ear, pretending to make a call. 

The papers get thrown on his desk in the guest bedroom, where he'll deal with it later, when he is more awake and collected.

Jon doesn't have time to worry about it. They've got a big game tomorrow against the Wings, and if Pat is going to go around and do stuff like this, try to mess with Jon's head, then Jon isn't going to give him the satisfaction. 

*

It's pretty amazing that the entire team immediately picks up on their bad mood like bloodhounds, even before Pat and Jon have said a word to each other at practice. 

Leddy looks like someone stole his lollypop and did unspeakable things with it. “I like it more when you guys are being disgusting and making out all the time.”

Coach Q pulls Jon aside with an understanding look plastered on his face, and says, “I know it's tough, son, but you've got to set aside your differences and work it out. Marriage is messy business.”

Jon grimaces feelingly and leans away. “I know, we're trying.”

Q twirls the end of his mustache and continues. “I mean, sure, they make a man want to take a puck to head every now and then when they don't stop getting after you. To do this, or to do that. To tell her how you really feel because she didn't get a Bachelors in telepathy. To apply a fresh coat of paint in the bedroom because it's been a decade since the last time; to put your socks in the laundry bin because the smell is just--”

“Uh.”

“--toxic. To surprise her sometimes instead of--”

Jon blinks. “Okaaay.”

“--doing the same things over and over again, and maybe, once in every blue moon...”

Jon skates away. 

*

Obviously, since Jon has been having a shitty few days, the universe mocks him one more time and they end up giving up the game-winning goal to the Wings in the final minute of the game. Jon is so mad that he starts yelling at the guys for not playing smart enough, for fucking quitting on him before the final buzzer rang. Pat tries to pull him aside with a cautious hand on his shoulder, but he's the last guy that Jon wants a pep talk from. Jon yanks his arm away and storms to the showers. Coach Q can take his awkward sympathy and shove it. 

He showers for a long time, until the pattering of coming and going feet stop, and he's the only one. 

When he heads back to the locker room to get dressed, Sharpy is sitting in Pat's stall; freshly showered, looking grim and determined. 

What.” It doesn't come out as a question.

Sharpy shrugs his shoulders. “Nothing. I guess I'm just surprised.” 

“That's nice. I'm pissed off and I don't give a fuck.”

Sharpy snorts and makes a show of getting comfortable. “Oh, you care. Or else you wouldn't act like such a douchebag.”

It's a bad idea to yank on his clothes when he's still a little wet, but Jon just wants to get out of there. “That's some fascinating stuff. Now go home to your perfect life and play house with your perfect wife. Have some perfect babies, if you're feeling up to it.” He tenses up when the last bit leaves his mouth, and expects to have Sharpy start yelling in his face. What he gets is worse. 

Sharpy is looking at him like Jon is a failure, like he should be pitied. It is so much worse. Jon feels like the strings that have been holding him up for the past few days and have kept him functioning like a good doll have been cut, and he slumps down in his stall, legs splaying out akimbo, head tilting up, the wall at his back his only support. Looking up at the ceiling and feeling useless. 

Sharpy picks up Pat's helmet and examines it, pretending to ignore the freak out taking place right next door. “You're better than this, Tazer. I know it sucks,” Sharpy says quietly, “but you have got to pull it together. It's okay to have emotions. It's okay to care and be clueless all at the same time. I mean, fuck. You guys have it pretty easy. The hard part is over with. People are cool with it, and you guys have been given the seal of approval. You're rock stars, so... what are you so afraid of?” 

Jon shakes his head dumbly in confusion and continues to stare up at the lights, biting at the inside of his mouth. There is this odd, shivery feeling rushing underneath his skin and he feels helpless. This is the one thing that he doesn't know how to do, hasn't mastered yet, and it's the hardest fucking thing in the entire world. Nothing could have prepared him for any of this; no extra practice, no sharper skates, no skating hard enough. He doesn't know how to tell Sharpy any of that.

The silence stretches for a few minutes, with Sharpy simply sitting by his side and not saying anything else. When Sharpy gets up to go, he drags Jon up, too, and gives him a bone-crushing hug. Jon feels like he has just played a playoff game that has lasted for three extra overtimes, but he musters a muffled thanks when Sharpy pulls away. 

Jon goes home to an empty bed. Pat is sleeping in his own room. 

It seems unlikely, but Jon falls asleep within minutes, with his arm spread out to the left side of the bed. 

*

A week later, the NHL teams up with the NBA to hold a cancer charity function that a whole bunch of athletes have to attend, and Jon is resolute about having a good time instead of stiffly latching onto Pat's arm and letting him do all the work.

He drinks a little more than he should, but it makes everything seems so much easier. Much more bearable. He has an arm around Pat's shoulders or waist the entire night, and can't stop himself from pressing teasing kisses to Pat's cheek, despite the discreet alarmed looks that Pat keeps on sending him whenever they're alone. 

In fact, Jon is feeling so good and at peace with his own existence that he even spares a moment to hug Crosby, who looks pained when he smiles and is perhaps the best droid ever. 

Jon is totally keeping his shit together. Bowman had been looking pointedly concerned all of last week, so when Jon feels the photographers roam towards them in a flock, he tilts Pat's head up for a light kiss. Bowman will be ecstatic. 

Pat urgently whispers, “What the fuck are you doing?” Jon slowly brushes his nose along Pat's cheek, and says, “It's called PDA, honey. Now smile for the nice photographers.”

The ninja death-grip that Pat has on his hip doesn't loosen up any, and Jon idly wonders if it will bruise. He wouldn't mind it.

By the end of the night, Jon is no longer even remotely acting like he is having a good time, because he actually is. The champagne might've helped some. 

They take a cab home because they are both too drunk to drive safely, and even though Jon is being a good sport and behaving the way he should, it still kills his buzz a little when he realizes that Pat is giving him the silent treatment. Pat's reward system is really messed up, and Jon is determined to let Pat know about it, but Pat stalks to his bedroom and closes the door in Jon's face. 

Jon rolls his eyes at the unnecessary dramatics and goes to change before he heads to the living room to watch some TV. 

Half an hour passes, and when there is still no sign of Pat, Jon drags himself to Pat's room to force him to listen to reason. Maybe Pat is just full of deep feelings and will desperately want to open up to Jon. Jon is buzzed enough to handle that kind of a conversation without stabbing himself with a sharp object. 

Pat's bed is nice and neat when he sits down on it, but boredom and frustration bring him to his feet and to Pat's bathroom door in a few minutes. He knocks on it a few times and when no answer is forthcoming, he figures the noise from the shower is probably the culprit. Naturally, he then tries the doorknob, and when it isn't locked, he slowly pushes inside.

He says, “Heeey, Pat, we need to talk...” 

And that's as far as he gets. 

Jon doesn't know why he thought it was a good idea to do it, to barge in like an asshole, because... Pat is bracing himself against the sink with one arm, while he finger-fucks himself with his other hand. There are two fingers inside of Pat's stretched hole and Jon can't look away. It's obscene. It's the hottest thing he has ever seen. The angle of Pat's hand looks uncomfortable, but just the way his ass looks, pushed out and grinding back on his fingers, the harsh noise of his breathing, the tremor in arms, in his legs, it's just – Jon can't look away.

Basically, all of Jon's words ditch him and he is left gaping like an idiot. The sudden hot arousal that rolls down his spine and pools in his belly happens so fast that it makes him lightheaded. 

He must make some sound of distress because Pat lifts his head and his eyes lock onto Jon in the bathroom mirror. The pained look of arousal has him flushed all over and his eyes are bright, his bottom lip being bitten in an effort to stave off the noises that he is making. When Jon unconsciously takes a step forward, Pat drops his head down to his chest and lets out a needy moan, his fingers still working inside him, making everything sound wet and messy. 

It's like Jon has lost all control of his body, because the next thing he knows, he's touching Pat's hips with unsteady hands, removing Pat's fingers with a singleminded urgency, touching the curve of his spine, and plastering himself to Pat's back. Pat leans into him like he's boneless, and Jon sucks kisses at the back of his neck, at his shoulder, and then stares dumbly down at the lube Pat passes to him. 

The movement of Pat's ass grinding back into his hips has him quickly jumping to action, and in a dizzying blur of sweaty skin and lube being worked deeper into Pat with rushed fingers (Pat keening with pleasure and shaking from the pressure of simply holding himself up), Jon finally works himself slowly into Pat's body, and wants to die at the hot-hot-tight feeling of it, at not thrusting in at one go. 

Pat lets out a shaky breath, and rasps, “C'mon, c'mon, what are you waiting for.”

Jon moves out slowly but thrusts inside a second later, and Pat's words become unintelligible and filthy. They both sound like dying cavemen. 

Jon grabs Pat's hips steady while he speeds up, too out of it to make it last, and with the way that Pat is moaning and matching him thrust for thrust, it's obvious that it's going to end way too soon. 

The second Pat starts jerking himself off, it takes less than a few pumps before he is clamping down on Jon and folding in on himself as he comes. The gutted sounds he makes as he continues to shudder through his orgasm and the feeling of it from the inside triggers Jon's climax. Jon thrusts until it hurts a little, just to hear the sounds of his come being driven into Pat. He feels amazing. 

It takes a minute for Pat to collect himself, and when he does, Jon drags him to the shower. It's almost like it still isn't enough, though, just to stand there with their chests pressed together, so Jon drags Pat into a wet, unhurried tongue-fucking kiss. 

It's the slowest and most languid kiss they've ever shared; it makes Jon feel good, feel sated in a way that is a little terrifying, and when the water turns cold, they both dry off and collapse in Pat's neat bed. 

Jon spoons around Pat's warm back, his arm around Pat's chest, their feet tangled together and close.

Jon thinks that it might get embarrassing at some point, but he doesn't care.

*

Jon wakes up maybe an hour later, curled up around Pat and feeling content enough to never want to get out of bed. The heat from Pat's body makes their skin sticky where they are connected. Pat is snuggled back against Jon's chest, and when Jon leans a little back to run a light hand from Pat's shoulder to the little dip in his back, rubbing his thumb at the sweat gathered there, it feels like Pat's burning up. Like he's some human furnace or something. It makes him curious.

Jon is a light sleeper, but after rooming with Pat for years, he knows that it's going to take a lot to wake Pat up. 

Jon makes himself more comfortable, his head supported in the crook of his arm, while he lets himself catalogue all of the freckles and curves that make up Pat. There is an array of light star-scattered freckles dusting Pat's shoulder blades and they taper off mid-back. Jon gently rubs one with a finger as his hand continues to explore the dips and valleys of Pat's back. All the way down to where his ass starts to round out, and it's scary in a totally different way how he never really let himself see in the past, even as he was looking. 

It takes seconds or it takes minutes, but it dawns on him gradually that he's turned on just by touching Pat, just by this simple contact, and the flickering sensation of want lazily settles in his bones like a drug, making him bolder, greedier. 

He can't believe he fucked Pat. If this had happened before Vegas, before months of reacclimating and relearning, he would be gone by now. As soon as he woke up. Jon won't lie to himself about that. He's kind of tired of lying to himself in general. 

By the time Jon is done memorizing and tracing the cartography of Pat's back, his finger dips between Pat's cheeks, and Jon holds his breath on an inhale. It's mind-blowing that they fucked without a condom, that they went that far (especially when the growing thing in Jon's head had never had a name or a shape, never formed a whole picture), but Pat is clean. Pat hasn't been with anyone for months (the testing they both had done individually before the season started erased any lingering anxiety that they might have had about each other), and the knowledge of it is heady enough to knock out a shaky exhale from Jon. 

The bright and morphing thought that he trusts Pat so much, definitely kicks at the lines they have drawn around each other for years – as if they had only ever really been drawing those lines in sand all along. 

Jon gives up on his slow caress and grabs Pat's cheeks in his hands, spreading them a little to run a thumb from Pat's opening and all the way down to the soft skin of his balls. Pat comes awake with a startled gasp, and breathes loudly for a few beats before he mumbles, “You creepy perv. Friggin' Neanderthal. No manners.” 

Jon says, “Shut up, you love it,” and carefully slips a dry finger into Pat's hole. Pat moans into his pillow and rocks back onto his finger, and he's still loose, still slippery inside. A bolt of lust shoots all the way down to Jon's cock, and it's embarrassing how ready he is right now, how close to the edge. Almost mindlessly he settles a hand on Pat's dick, and with some relief finds that Pat is a little more than turned on, too. 

“Oh my god, do you need me to draw an arrow, you giant loser,” Pat huffs out in irritation, and his hand quickly falls around Jon's wrist and pulls him out. He falls on his back and slips his hand down to his own cock. Jon tries to make an offended noise but it dies in his throat when he looks at Pat's face, at the display of his bent knees. Jon might gurgle, he's not sure. 

Pat half-smirks and digs underneath his pillow for a second before finding a tiny tube of lube. He waves it victoriously in Jon's face before Jon snatches it away.

“Now who's needy, huh?” Jon asks, as he drops down between Pat's legs and almost perfunctorily grabs Pat by the ankles and spreads him a little more. 

“Not needy. Just prepared, is all.” Pat turns his head to the side and bites his lip, closing his eyes. Like he's shy or something. Fuck, he might be shy. Jon can't process that thought without combusting. 

Everything after that has this slow, languid quality to it; the way he takes his time prepping Pat a little even though he's ready; even though Jon is hard enough to hurt – the way that his focus keeps on coming back to the way that Pat is groaning open-mouthed, unashamed. How wrecked he sounds when he comes on both of their bellies, how Jon stutters after him a few thrusts later. 

They fall asleep exchanging sloppy kisses, too tired to do anything else, and it's the best sex that Jon has ever had. (They are disgusting and sticking to each other in really weird and awkward places, and Jon may or may not bitch about it in the morning.)

Who knew that sex with Pat would be so good. They should have started fucking years ago, if the sex is anything to go by, and maybe they would have saved themselves from a lot of needless drama along the way. 

At least save Pat the eternal embarrassment of pretending to have it with the ladies. 



The next morning, they wake up late and Jon tries to blow Pat in the shower without choking on his dick and drowning.

Also, someone knocks on the door, and Jon goes to open it mid-laugh, and freezes when he finds that it's Sharpy and Abby. Jon is wearing only a loose tank and boxers and feels severely unprepared to deal with Sharpy One and Sharpy Two. 

Jon says, “Hi,” and plays it cool. 

Abby looks at him with this twisty knowing smirk on her lips and simply hands him the casserole. Jon is confused. 

Sharpy says, “Hey, we came to have lunch with you lucky jerks,” and is immediately jabbed in the side by Abby.

Abby smoothly says, “Actually, we are leaving. We have reservations.” She must communicate something to Sharpy in the next second with her eyebrows because Sharpy stares at him in a whole new way, grinning like an idiot. Jon holds the casserole dish against his chest self-consciously and is not amused. 

“So, you're leaving?” Jon asks suspiciously. Eagerly. 

“Yup. Yes!” Sharpy punches him in the shoulder, and Abby quickly leans in to kiss him on the cheek before they twirl away.

But not before Sharpy yells, “Nice Texas-sized hickey on your neck, by the way!”

Jon's forehead thuds dejectedly against the door when he closes it. 

*

Epilogue


They are both pretty disgustingly PDA now, in an unforeseen turn of events. Bowman and Bettman are constantly concerned that they are going to get arrested for public indecency, but Jon happily doesn't give a fuck. 

Like, sure, they still cuss each other out and yell at each other, but at the end of those spats, Jon gets a happy ending. Sex makes everything better. There is simply nothing that blowjobs can't fix. 

It's a marathon of Jersey Shore on TV, and even though Jon is only watching it halfheartedly, he still tries to pay attention for Pat. It's not right to look so gleeful at adults failing so badly, but Pat's constant cackling makes Jon grin, too. God, he is so fucked. Normally, he'd be mocking Pat, thwacking him on the head and going out, but here, now, everything has changed. 

Jon snorts when Snookie faceplants in the street. Again. “This is so embarrassing. Like, it physically pains me to be watching this.”

Pat pats him on the thigh and munches on his Doritos. “Aw, baby, not everyone is as perfect as you are.”

Jon snatches the bag away from Pat so he can stop chewing for a few seconds and not put out his jaw. “It's not even about being perfect. There is just a whole lot of unexplainable suck happening in such a small group of people. It's sad. It might be contagious. They need to be quarantined.” Jon eats a chip thoughtfully and shakes his head when Vinny tries to do something uncharacteristically stupid. Jon thought he was the smart one. 

The bag gets ninja-snagged from Jon as he is lamenting reality TV. “It's funny and it's fake. You need to stop pretending to be a tough guy to please.”

“Maybe my humor is simply a bit more refined than yours.”

“Doubt it, and blow me.” Pat jabs him with his elbow and Jon just wrestles his arm away until he is hugging it to his chest, not letting go.

“I already have. You cried when you came.”

“You are a horrible person. I don't know why I put up with you.”

Pat glares at him and starts to tug his arm back. When it's no use, he resorts to pinching Jon, tickling him, playing dirty. 

They fall asleep on the couch, and when they wake up in the morning, Jon makes coffee and Pat sits at the island, flipping through a magazine. Jon hesitates only for a few seconds before he finally goes to his office and brings out the NDA form. 

He can feel Pat stilling in his movements when he recognizes what it is, and Jon casually tears it up and drops it in the trash.

What Jon gets is Pat dragging him across the island so he can kiss him. Morning breath and all. Jon still smiles into the kiss before breaking free. 

They have breakfast, bicker like usual, and both pretend to forget the fact that they have actually been married for a little over six months, and that they are still married. 

And that their parents are planning to throw a little bash for the their one year anniversary because they didn't have a formal wedding. 

And that Jon is thinking about getting Pat a nice, classy ring. And maybe one for himself, too. 

Because as surprising as it is, Jon is happy, and, well, Pat isn't a horrible guy to be married to. Some of the time.

Fine, fine. Most of the time. 




Fin