McQuaid stormed out of Captain Chara's sight. Sometimes he felt there was nothing he could do for his teammates. Especially in this situation, save for the fact it must never happen again. He questioned his decision about bringing Tuukka into his keep. No, he had to control his men. With a sigh he rose from his throne and strode out to the back arena where the team was practicing.
He watched Tuukka in the net sporting the new gamer gear of the Bruins. Gold and black. A fierce helm painted with a menacing Bruin on it. He had to admit the kid cleaned up good. And he could stop the puck.
Thomas stood off to the side in his gear and watched as one by one, sometimes two at a time the gamers would come and take shots at the net. At Tuukka. The Glacier Maker moved like a dart, glove slapping the puck out of the air, buckler stacking high to deflect the hard rubber onslaught. He did splits so fast it looked painful. His body moving, arms up and out, legs at impossible angles.
As Zdeno neared he could see the blue eyes glazed over in concentration. Anxious breath turning into little ice clouds in the near freezing air. Right now the only thing in this world that existed to the young Glacier Maker-turned-Goal Guardian was that little black disk of heat treated tree sap and where it was on the ice at all times.
The captain strapped on his skates and hefted one of his sticks. It was taller than any of the gamers in the realms.
Thomas lifted his helm and skated back out of the range of Chara. He looked somewhat approvingly (if not concerned) at what his captain was about to do.
Zdeno took his time. Watching as a few pucks did get by Tuukka. He sensed anger boiling up in the goal guardian.
The kid's moves got sloppier. More erratic.
Tim hissed under his breath at Rask to hold his temper in check.
He might as well have been talking to a wall.
Finally it was McQuaid that snapped Tuukka's patience. He came at Tuukka making a lewd face, favoring his uninjured hand, making it hard to tell how he was going to try and hit the puck. Tuukka had never played one-on-one against any of these gamers. And now came the one that made him feel less than welcome. McQuaid slipped a puck in the lower crease with a scowl and dipped away, leaving Rask sprawled in an awkward heap on the ice.
Adam's laughter was not one of victory....it was of rudeness. Mocking.
He caught Zdeno watching the scenario from half ice. Rask lost it and screamed in his tongue what must have been profanities, lashing out at the goal posts with his stick over and over until he dropped it. His heaving back was to the gamers. He did not want to let them see his face of frustration. He'd been at it for over an hour now. First time in ages. His body ached. His mind sizzled with anger.
Thomas stayed still. He wanted to help Tuukka. This was not his part. Not now.
"You see, he is just a boy. A freak. A danger," McQuaid held up his bandaged hand at his captain from afar. The other gamers swirled slowly to a stop on the ice. Silent. Watching.
"Yes. He is a boy. But you are clearly the danger. You cannot control yourself, then get out of my sight. Or perhaps you would like to be a goal guardian since you think he is no good."
Chara's words were thick with accent and anger. His eyes bored into McQuaid.
Adam's face wilted and he lowered his eyes to the ice. "Forgive me Captain. It's just--" He looked up at the giant and saw his answer in a look of stone silence and tight lips.
Tuukka had picked up his stick, back still turned to the center ice trying to gain control of his temper. How he wished he could rip that sapphire off and turn Adam's world into one of permafrost.
Zdeno placed a puck silently on the ice in front of him. He skated back 20 paces. Tim held his breath. 'Oh shit, he's going to do it.'
And without warning Zdeno plowed ahead in the blink of an eye the stick hit the puck.
No one could blink.
The puck stopped with a soft thump. Hitting leather.
Tuukka stood facing his captain with the puck captive in his catching mitt held high. His face a mask of joy.
They shared a smile. Captain and Goal guardian.
Whispers of awe drifted over the ice. Sticks rattled in applause of Tuukka's effort.
It was then Tuukka cried out in pain, dropping his mitt and the puck with it. He bit his lip holding his left hand watching the welt swell up in his palm. He sunk to his knees stifling his sobs.
Zdeno turned emotionless as he skated over to the prone goal guardian. "You will be alright. It's just a bruise. Now you and McQuaid are even. This is over. Now, stand."
Adam McQuaid smirked from the side ice and strode off to the keep, satisfied. Only Tim seemed to notice.
Tuukka choked back his pain shooting his teacher a pained look. Tim nodded in encouragement. "Go on, talk to him!" He hissed.
Rask removed his helm and looked up at his captain, pain running over his face, lower lip trembling with the shock of intense pain, nostrils flaring from it.
Chara smiled and with a massive gloved hand ruffled the sweaty curls. "You just stopped the fasted slap shot in the world. Without knowing it. You used your anger to tap into your premonition senses. Now, work on that, don't let your temper get you in a dangerous place. Anger can be a gift. If I had hit you with that....."
"Yes, I know. I will. And I believe you would not have let it hit me."
Tuukka bowed his head in resignation.
Zdeno chuckled. Darkly. "You think so eh? It's the puck that will do damage, not the person that hit it." A brief expression of something horrible and dark wavered across the Bruin's captain's strong features. Tuukka's stomach did a strange twist. His hand stopped hurting for that moment. Chara had won the match of wills. There was something to this giant of a man. Like he was holding something terrible and violent back. And having to keep it in check at all times. Yet teaching others to do the same.
Tuukka looked at the captain skate away casually dismissing the session with a wave of his stick.
He looked to Tim in confusion and pain as it returned to his senses.
"C'mon, let's go and look at that hand of yours. You did great today! Even if your temper got the best of you. That's natural Tuukks. But catching that puck like you did, that's something I've never seen." Tim smiled at the young man in hopes of providing mild comfort. Their eyes met briefly and he saw he failed.
"You mean he didn't do that to you?" Rask asked, eyebrows furrowing in mild agitation.
He saw a rattled goal guardian who needed some confidence building.
Tim decided that was what they would work on next....