Dougie checked the time, re-did the math in his head to make sure, then finally -- after waiting all fucking day -- picked up his cell and called Antti. Practise would be long over and all of Nemo's day-before-the-game, post-practise rituals would be over with until bedtime.
Luckily, he'd timed it right as he only waited a couple of rings before Antti picked up. "Haloo."
Dougie grinned, despite the fact Antti sounded vaguely distracted. "I'm bored," Dougie announced.
There was a pause, then, "This is what you get for sidelining yourself with an injury."
"I didn't injure myself," Dougie reminded him, settling himself back on the couch. His injured ankle was dutifully propped up on the cushions beside him and he'd got his gold star for going to PT that day. Literally -- it was on his chart, third one of the week. Technically Monday's star was magenta because he'd bitched and whined enough to actually piss Shawn off. He leaned his head back and stared up at the ceiling. "Entertain me."
"How am I supposed to entertain you over the phone?" Antti sounded amused, which was encouraging.
Dougie grinned. "You should have phone sex with me. Then I can sleep and you can dispense with at least three of your pre-bed rituals tonight."
There was another slight pause before Antti said, "I'm not having phone sex with you, Douglas."
There was a strange sound in the background and Dougie frowned. "Why not?"
"I'm at dinner with the team," came Antti's reply. There was more of the strange noise -- it sounded a lot like laughter.
Dougie just frowned harder. "They're not gonna care if we have phone sex," he said, though he had to fight to keep his own laughter out of his voice and sound properly annoyed. He didn't know if he'd succeeded or not when Antti just sighed.
"Please?" Dougie rested his hand on his stomach, tapping his belly as if he were actually getting himself ready. He considered making a fake-moan, but he didn't think Antti would fall for it.
There was another pause and a weird moment with no noise at all, then, "I'll have phone sex with you," Pavelski said.
"Give Antti back his phone. I'm not having sex with you." Dougie wrinkled his nose. "I know where you've been."
"Come on, don't be like that! Tell me what you're wearing," Pavelski said, breathing loudly into the phone.
"I'm wearing a Kings t-shirt," Dougie snapped, because sounding angry was better than letting himself laugh. None of his teammates needed the encouragement; at least safe at home he wasn't in danger of his lube being replaced with toothpaste.
"Ooh, baby, tell me more," Pavelski said, his voice twisting into a high-pitched moan. Then, in a more normal voice, he said, "Like I care if you jizz all over a Kings shirt. What else are they good for?"
Dougie rolled his eyes. "Please give Antti back his phone."
"You're no fun, Murray," Pavelski told him, and there was the same blank-noise of the phone being passed over.
"Why are you jizzing on a Kings t-shirt?" Thornton asked.
Dougie smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand, then left it there. "Please give Antti back his phone?"
But Thornton said, in a very serious, Captainy voice, "I'm concerned about what I'm hearing. You're jizzing on a Kings t-shirt the day before we have a game in LA? You're going to jinx us."
"I'm not going to jizz on anything if you assholes don't give Antti back his phone!" Dougie yelled, despite the fact he didn't actually expect Antti to have phone sex with him, ever, much less at a team dinner. Maybe sexting -- well, no, not that, either. But Dougie hadn't stored up his boredom all day long just to waste conversation on his teammates.
"You do realise we have to win this game," Thornton continued, sounding like Douglas was actually there and wasn't playing his best, or even his second-best and he really had to get his act together or they'd lose and never make the playoffs.
"This is because I replaced your shoelaces with Twizzlers, isn't it? Man, the ants were not my fault! Who expects a ritzy hotel to have an ant problem?"
"I had ants in my underwear, Murray. That's not a thing I'm likely to ever forget."
"So now you're -- is it cock-blocking if I was never seriously going to get sex in the first place?"
"We're going to start introducing Nemo to some very nice boys," Thornton said. "Respectable boys he can take home and introduce to his parents."
"Does he even like respectable boys? He's a goalie, it's not like he has any taste."
"Hey, Antti, Dougie says you taste bad," Thornton called out. Dougie heard the soft rumble of Antti's voice, but couldn't make out the reply. To him, Thornton said, "It was in Finnish, but it sounded very rude. I'd try calling those 900 numbers if you want to get some tonight."
"I'll call your mom," Dougie said, but he knew it was basically the lamest thing he'd ever said in his life as soon as the words left his mouth.
"She doesn't like the Kings either," was the only retort.
"What do I have to do to get Antti back his phone?" Dougie was pleased to find he sounded completely calm despite the fact he felt like whining for real, now.
"Stop getting yourself on IR when we're trying to make the fucking playoffs," Thornton replied.
"I didn't do it on purpose! You think I like fucking being on my couch when you're--" Dougie snapped his jaw shut, because he really didn't need to let his anger and frustration out, especially not to Thornton, not right before they had their last two games, back-to-back with the fucking Kings.
There was a long silence and Dougie didn't know if he'd actually annoyed Jumbo, or worried him into playing Captain at him for real, or what. But after he'd had a moment to take another deep breath, he opened his mouth to tell Thornton to give Antti back his phone or else, when he heard, "I'm on my way back at my room, kulta."
Dougie blinked. "You're what? Wait, are we really having phone sex?" He grinned, anger dissipating, though the frustration was, obviously, still there. That wouldn't go away until he was back on the ice with the team.
"I think the team would be disappointed if we didn't," Antti said, but there was laughter in his voice. "But I'm not sure I want that much pressure."
"Oh, fuck off, you're a goalie. You only work under pressure. Knowing that everyone is going to assume we're getting off -- okay, fuck, now I'm not sure I can do it. You may thrive under pressure, but I don't think I can get it up knowing there's going to be a team meeting if I don't perform to expectation." Dougie was grinning, though, leaning further back against the couch, giving his wrapped ankle a brief glare. There might not be any interest twitching in his cock at the idea of maybe-maybe-not having phone sex, but he felt better. He was decidedly less bored, and felt somewhat less like he was being left out of everything.
Worse than not being able to play, was feeling like he'd let everyone down. At least if he'd been with the team he could have -- well, he'd have been there, instead of here, home alone.
"So you don't mind if I just jerk off and go to bed?" Antti asked, disrupting Dougie's small bout of self-pity.
"Are you going to let me listen?"
"No. Either I have sex with you, or alone. Not in-between."
Fucking pre-game rituals, Dougie wanted to say. But the rituals made everything else easier and he couldn't even pretend he didn't know how important these last two games were. He let his head fall back and stared at the ceiling again. "You better win," Dougie said, softly.
"You won't be back in time for the first round anyway," Antti said, and Dougie could hear his disappointment. For him, at least, and not in him.
"I'd rather miss the final round than have you come home early, Antti. I'm stuck on the couch either way, so just...win the whole fucking thing."
"Oh, you'll be back before then. You'd better be. Shawn said you did well at PT, today."
"You talked to Shawn?"
"I told him to give you gold stars. You respond very well to positive feedback."
Dougie laughed. "I was talking about blowjobs when I said that, you know." Then he sighed and closed his eyes. He tried to imagine that Antti was beside him, talking in a dark room as they lay in bed. It didn't quite work, but it helped when Antti just breathed softly, letting the conversation lapse without trying to fill the silence with noise.
Dougie found himself opening his mouth, to say what -- he knew exactly what. He cut off the words just in time, but had no idea what else to say. Unless he cajoled Antti into actually having phone sex, which honestly he felt too worn out to bother with. If Antti had been there, he would have said yes, let Antti offer to do most of the work and let Dougie just sprawl on the bed and be played with. "I wish--" he began, but there was no point in it. He wanted to be playing, the whole team knew it; they all felt the same. The fact they'd pestered him over the phone while Antti wolfed down his food so he could take Dougie's call in private -- well, the gesture wasn't lost on Dougie.
"Do what the trainers tell you, and you'll be back. We can play for the Cup and you can owe me a blowjob." Antti sounded content and quiet, like he was lying back in bed as well, relaxed next to Dougie despite being miles away.
"Wait, how did I end up owing you?" Dougie found his eyes closing. He hadn't expected to fall asleep like this, but he tucked his phone between his ear and the couch arm, then reached down and tugged on the throw that had fallen on the floor earlier. It didn't take long to get warm and then it was nearly impossible to stay awake.
Maybe they'd snuck in and spiked his juice while he hadn't been looking, Dougie thought.
Or maybe it was just reassuring to hear Nemo's voice when he'd been shuffled away to do his own thing, recuperating and coping with his injury, sidelined and unable to even travel with the team. They'd talked on the phone before now and Antti had been over a couple times when the Sharks were playing at home. Dougie was fine with admitting that he preferred it when he had the chance to see Antti more often than not and talking to him was almost as good.
He let himself relax into the cushions, grateful he at least had a couch that was comfortable enough to sleep on all night. He could hear vague noises over the phone as though Antti was settling down as well. Dougie wished a lot of things, foremost was that he was there, getting ready to help beat the Kings in their own arena.
He tried to think of something to say to encourage Nemo for the game, and what slipped out was, "I'm sorry I can't say it." His eyes snapped open, wide awake in surprise at himself.
"That's all right, kulta. If you said it now, you'd only have to say it every other day before a game." Antti sounded like he was smiling, almost but not quite laughing at him.
He sounded fond, and Dougie blinked as his brain clicked over, reminding him that he knew what 'kulta' was. He sat up, twisting around a little to keep his ankle where it belonged, propped up and getting better. His phone was clenched tight in his hand, and he opened his mouth.
The words still didn't come out.
"Dougie?" Antti didn't sound worried, or concerned. But apparently he knew what Dougie hadn't been saying.
He wanted to laugh, because he knew what Antti had said was true. If he said it now, the day before a game and they won, Antti would make him say it before every single game, forever.
Dougie swallowed as he heard himself wonder, would that be so bad? With a start, he realised -- no, it really wouldn't be. Before he could let himself think any more of it, he whispered, "Jag älskar dig." He felt his stomach muscles clench, nervous and feeling not unlike wanting to throw up, but as soon as the words were out and he heard the intake of Antti's breath, his own breath rushed out in relief.
"Mä rakastan sua," Antti whispered back.
"You better beat them now," Dougie said, clenching the phone even tighter and feeling rather dumbfounded at his bravery. He'd blame it on the painkillers, but he hadn't taken any today.
"I will bring you a t-shirt, and we can both make a mess of it," Antti told him, and Dougie could hear the bright smile in his voice.
"Sounds like a deal." Dougie tried to take another breath, let it out cautiously. "Give 'em hell," he finally said, repeating words he'd told Antti hundreds of times before, almost a ritual in themselves.
"Get better, and you can give them hell with us," Antti said. "I should--" he began, apologetically.
"I know. I'll let you go. I'll see you on Friday?"
"Yes. Get some sleep, I know Shawn did not go easy on you."
Dougie grinned. "I definitely deserve a blowjob."
"I'll tell Shawn," Antti said with a soft laugh. "I'll see you soon."
"Night," Dougie said, and he heard Antti repeat it back, then hung up his phone. He let it drop onto the floor beside him and tugged the blanket up over his shoulder. Two days and he'd see if he could manage to say it in person.