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Side effects include…

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There is nothing Geno loves more than the start of a new season—next to winning the Cup of course—the electric feeling in the air, the heady anticipation that this is going to be their year. Last season's playoff loss to Tampa Bay is all in the past now. Geno's knee feels good, training camp is going well, and he's eager to start playing preseason games. The only thing he needs to be perfectly happy is for Sid to get back out on the ice with him.

All of Pittsburgh desperately wants that. Half the questions Coach fields in any interview are about Sid, how he's doing and when he might be able to play again. Among their teammates, Geno has become Sid's unofficial spokesman. There's always somebody loitering around after practice, just waiting to pepper him with questions.

Today it's Tanger. "So Sid's at the doctor's, huh? Some new stuff for—" He waves his hand at his head.


Jordy drifts over. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," Geno confirms.

It suddenly falls quiet, and Geno glances around to find everyone watching him impatiently, as if he has inside knowledge about Sid's condition and is holding out on them. He rolls his eyes. What do they think? That he calls Sid constantly, pestering him for details? That's no way to heal a concussion. Actually, he's pretty sure that's no way to heal anything.

"Not only one who talk to Sid," Geno points out.

"Yeah." Tanger claps him on the shoulder. "But you're the only one who understands him. So keep us posted, huh?"

Geno holds back a sigh. There's no use in pointing out that he's not actually Sid's interpreter.

Out in the parking lot he fumbles in his pocket for his keys, fingers brushing his phone. He wants to call, can't help feeling a little worried. Sid looked so pinched and determined the last time Geno saw him, for diner breakfast at the place in Sid's neighborhood where he trusts them not to make a big deal over him.

"It's an experimental treatment." Sid had tilted up his chin as if daring Geno to question whether playing guinea pig was a smart idea. "They've had good results in Switzerland."

"Mario think it worth trying?"

Sidney pressed his lips into a thin, stubborn line. "He came around."

Sid's appointment was for early this afternoon, so he should be home by now. Geno could just check in and see how it went. Of course Sid is probably busily following doctor's orders—eating something depressingly healthy or stretching out on the couch resting his head, waiting for his miracle cure to kick in.

Geno leaves his phone in his pocket. Sid will call when he's ready.

He isn't expecting the call to come quite as soon as it does. He's barely through the door, Jeffrey still lolling at his feet drooling happily, when his phone starts to ring.

"Geno." He's definitely not expecting Sid to sound slurred, the words disjointed and punctuated by random pauses. "I think maybe—they said it could, but I didn't think it would—but yeah, I'm pretty sure, and I really need—Geno."

"Sid not make sense," Geno says, frowning.


Geno zooms right past worried, well on his way to being scared shitless. "I call doctor."

"No! She can't help me. Just you. Geno." There's a tinge of desperation to it and a lot of insistence, and then strangely Sid sounds like he's trying to sing, "Geno, Geno, Geno."

"I come now."

Only the thought of how disapproving Sid is about speeding keeps Geno from breaking every traffic law on the way over. He doesn't bother knocking, using his key instead, the one Sid gave him when he bought the house, explaining, I think I'm supposed to give the spare to someone, so. The last thing Geno needs is Sidney woozy and falling on his head while he's trying to answer the door.


There's no answer, so Geno trails through the house in search of him. No Sid in the kitchen, no Sid asleep on the couch, no sign of him anywhere on the first level. Geno heads up the stairs and down the hall to Sid's room.

It's dark inside, the blackout drapes pulled closed. Sid makes a pained noise as light spills in from the hall. When he realizes that Geno is there, his sounds turn demanding and kind of frantic. The demanding part is familiar at least, and this brings on a rush of affection. Maybe one day Geno won't find Sidney Crosby impossibly endearing, but today is clearly not that day.

"Geno," Sid murmurs, voice raspy and weak.

Worry spikes in Geno's chest, and it only grows worse when he gets close enough to make out Sid's face in the dim light, feverish and glassy-eyed. He puts the back of his hand against Sid's forehead, well trained by his mother. Sid is burning up, and he moans out loud at the touch. Geno snatches his hand away, afraid he's hurting him. This only makes Sid moan louder, with more distress. Geno has no idea what to do, so he just follows his instincts, settling his hand on top of Sid's head, brushing sweaty curls back from his face.

Sid lets out a soft sigh. "Geno." He butts up into the touch.

Geno continues to pet Sid's head even as he's pulling the phone out of his pocket. "I call doctor now, okay?"

Apparently the answer is no, because Sid shoots out his hand, moving fast even though he's probably half delirious, clamping his fingers around Geno's wrist and yanking with all his strength. Geno pitches off balance and topples onto the bed, barely managing to avoid jabbing Sid in the ribs with his elbow, catching himself just in time to keep from falling on him.

Sidney shows no appreciation for Geno's quick reflexes and keeps tugging at his shoulders, cajoling with broken noises until Geno is stretched out over him. There's only a sheet covering Sid, no evidence of clothes, and Geno can feel that he's hot all over, hot and—

He's the one making broken noises when Sid kisses him, mouth wet and hot. Sid groans and pushes up with his body, hands scrabbling at Geno's arms, fingers sliding up over his shoulders and into his hair.

It's everything Geno has wanted for years, and he reacts instinctively, kissing back, running his fingers over the heated planes of Sid's face. Sid lets out a loud, cracked half-whimper. He twists his fingers in Geno's shirt, clinging with all his strength.

That finally gets Geno thinking with his brain again. Sid has always been okay with Geno touching him, never shrugging out from under his arm or flinching away the way he does with other people. He's comfortable enough that he even initiates casual touches of his own, nudging Geno with his elbow when he thinks something's funny or reaching for Geno's arm to get his attention. But if there's one thing Sid doesn't do, it's cling.

Geno pulls back to look at him. "What you doing?"

Sid shakes his head as if he himself doesn't know. "They said it might—but probably not, really rare, and I didn't think it would be like—" He stops, as if there are no words. It's a lucky thing that Geno became fluent in Crosby long before he got the hang of English.

"Treatment make you like this."

Sid nods, staring up at him with eyes that are too wide, too bright. "I tried, you know, doing it myself, but I can't—it's not enough." He grinds his hips up into Geno's.

Heat curls in Geno's belly, and it's instinct to match that rhythm, to push his body against Sid's. Except that it isn't Sid doing this, not really. It's just a side effect, and Geno can't ignore that fact.

When he tries to pull away, Sid grabs him by the shirt and glares with a mix of outrage and stubbornness. It reminds Geno of the ill-fated nutritionist who suggested Sid change his pre-game sandwich to almond butter and jelly for a better ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat. Reasoning with Sid when he's really set on something is generally a waste of time.

Geno tries anyway. "No, Sid, I can't, we can't—"

"Geno," Sidney says insistently, still not letting go.

"No, Sid."

"Why not?" It comes out sulky and a little offended, and maybe Geno could ignore that, but then Sidney's voice goes soft when he says, "I'd do it for you."

The worst part is that Geno knows he would. He can imagine it so easily, Sid with his responsible captain face on, awkward but willing, taking care of Geno because they're friends and they're teammates and there's nothing Sid won't do for the good of his team.

"Okay." He brushes his lips along Sid's jaw. "You need, we do." If it also happens to be what Geno wants, well—he pushes that thought away and focuses on Sid.

For a while Sid is content to clutch at Geno's shoulders and kiss eagerly, but eventually he starts to squirm, wanting out from under the sheet. Geno has seen Sid naked before, too many times to count by this point, but he's never seen Sid like this, hard and wanting and flushed all over, thighs falling open like an invitation. Geno swallows; his mouth has gone suddenly dry.

If they were really doing this, Geno would take his time, touch Sid everywhere, tease him until he'd heard every ridiculous noise Sid makes. But this is—what it is, and all that matters is what Sid needs. Geno gets a hand between them, fingers curling around Sid's cock, and starts jerking him off with quick, efficient twists of his wrist.

Sid bites his lip and shoves his hips in jerky motions, pushy even when he's half out of his mind. Plenty of ridiculous noises stream out of him, and Geno kisses his neck and tells him he's going to be okay. It's not long before Sid comes.

He's still hard afterward, muscles tensely coiled, fingers clenching and unclenching against Geno's biceps.

Geno stares at him. "Sid, what you need—"

"Come on, Geno." He tugs at Geno's T-shirt and continues to complain until Geno ditches his jeans and boxers too. He's not completely satisfied until Geno is naked and on top of him, and then he goes kind of wild, writhing and overheated and frantic, wrapping his legs around Geno's waist and shoving his entire body up against him.

Even knowing this isn't real can't keep Geno from thinking how hot it is to have Sid under him, kissing like it's the last thing either of them will ever do. He moves with him, their bodies sliding together, hand cupped protectively around the nape of Sid's neck.

"Geno, Geno," Sid says, high and reedy, eyes wide and a little unfocused. "I—you're so—oh God." Geno kisses him harder to keep him from babbling out endearments that he can't possibly mean, that will just make everything more complicated later.

Sid comes again, gasping out Geno's name. Geno is only human, and he squeezes his eyes tightly shut and comes too, making even more of a mess on Sid's belly. It doesn't seem possible, but Sidney is still hard, his noises turning cracked and wounded, less horny now and more hysterical.

"Ssh," Geno soothes him, petting his hair. "I take care of you. I make okay."

He kisses Sid's chest, rubbing at his nipples, trailing his lips down Sid's belly, stroking his thighs, coaxing them open so he can settle between them. It's been a while since he sucked cock, but he doesn't hesitate, taking Sid as deep as he can.

A cross between a sob and a sigh comes spilling out of Sid. He tightens his fingers in Geno's hair, but just as quickly he loosens his grip, stroking instead of pulling. Being drugged is no match for Sid's good manners.

Geno keeps sucking, rubbing his hands in circles over Sid's hips. When he feels Sid's body tense, he starts to pull away, meaning to finish him with his hand, but before he can manage it Sid's cock jerks like he's trying to come but there's nothing left. One last desperate noise spills out of him, and then he relaxes all over, slumping back against the pillow. The fever in his body seems to have broken finally. Geno cleans him up with a corner of the sheet.

"Thanks," Sid mumbles right before passing out.

Geno shifts so he's lying beside him and listens to his deep, even breathing. He doesn't want to leave in case the treatment has other, more dangerous complications. If there's fallout to face when Sid's in his right mind again, he's not going to be a coward about it. He closes his eyes, and it doesn't take long before he's fast asleep.

In the morning, Geno wakes, checks the clock, and flops back against the mattress. He needs to get moving if he's going to make the optional morning skate. Sid doesn't stir beside him. Geno angles a look at him, and he seems back to normal, not sweaty or pale the way he was last night. Geno could wait for him to wake up so they can talk. He's not sure Sid would appreciate that, and he knows for a fact that Sid doesn't approve of people skipping optional skates.

Geno heads down to the kitchen and brings back up a glass of water, leaving it on the nightstand where Sid will see it when he wakes. He lingers just a moment, smoothing a hand over Sid's hair and adjusting the blankets around his shoulders. If it's too tender a gesture for a friend helping out another friend, at least he's the only one who's awake for it.

At practice, Geno thinks about hockey and nothing but hockey, because when he's on the ice that's all that exists. Once his skates hit the rubber flooring again, though, the worry sets back in. It hadn't seemed like taking advantage last night, not when Sid was so desperate, so determined that only Geno could help him, when he'd seemed to be in actual physical pain. Now in the harsh light of day, he's remembering how bleary Sid's eyes were, the way every word he said came out with the edges knocked off.


All through getting dressed, walking out to his car and then driving home, he toys with the idea of calling, but somehow he just can't make himself do it. He takes Jeffrey for a walk and warms up something to eat, his phone sitting right there on the counter, but he still doesn't pick it up.

Sid is the one who finally does the calling. "Hey." He doesn't sound angry, only a little cautious.

"How you feel?" Geno asks, just as carefully.

"Okay, I guess. I mean, definitely better than yesterday." He clears his throat, only to lapse into a long, awkward pause. "Um, did I say thanks? I can't remember."

It's so very Sid that Geno has to smile. "Said thanks."

"Good. That's—good," Sid says feebly. There's another awkward pause, even longer than the last one. "So—we're okay, right?" His voice lilts up uncertainly.

Geno lets out the breath he's been holding. "We okay."

"Okay. Good. That's good. You're a good friend." Sid stops talking, and this pause is perhaps the most awkward one of all. "I should probably go."

"Night, Sid."

Geno hangs up without the flood of relief he was expecting to feel. If Sid wants to shrug off what happened and file it under "that's just what friends do for each other," Geno can certainly do that. It's probably for the best. But it's hard to be happy about it. He keeps flashing back to how Sid sounded when he was begging, the way he said Geno's name, how he looked when he came. Geno is going to replay that picture in his head every time he jerks off from now until forever.

Life was a lot less complicated before Sid decided to become a medical experiment.

Things are less strange between them in the aftermath than Geno would have predicted. Sid still isn't cleared to skate, but he comes to practice and watches them take drills, passing along things he's noticed from the four million hours of video he's reviewed. Geno receives the usual number of texts from him on the usual subjects: thoughts about preseason matchups, an in-depth analysis of why he still hates everyone on the Flyers (except Max), a random rant from the grocery store when the Skittles are sold out.

On the next rest day Geno decides to be lazy, staying in bed, pillow over his head to block the morning light until Jeffrey's whines grow too desperate to ignore. They ramble through the neighborhood, Jeffrey visiting all his favorite spots, sniffing and peeing gleefully. Geno fixes tea when he gets home, strong and sweet enough to make his teeth ache, just the way he likes it, and eats leftover Chinese cold from the cartons. He's thinking about going back to bed when his phone rings.


"Sid." Geno goes instantly alert at Sid's tone. "What wrong?"

"Nothing. It's just—I'm at the doctor's. You know, getting treatment. I'm not supposed to drive, and Mario was going to pick me up, but something came up and—"

"Give me address."

He does his best to tamp down his worry on the way over to the doctor's office. Sid just needs a ride. There's no reason to think it's anything more than that. When Geno finds him in the waiting room, he looks fine, not feverish and dazed the way he was the other night.

"Hey." Sid licks his lips, the way he does when he's nervous. "Thanks for coming."

Geno waves off the thanks. "Everything okay? What doctor say?"

Sid shrugs. "It's fine. She still won't tell me when she thinks I might be cleared to play." His mouth twists sourly.

Geno puts a hand on his shoulder. "Come on. I take you home."

On the way out to the parking lot, Sid seems antsy, but then he's never good when he's at loose ends, no hockey to play and nothing to focus on but hoping his symptoms go away. He's quiet during the drive. Geno watches him out of the corner of his eye, not sure what's going on in his head. He likes to think that Sid confides in him, but if he got bad news from the doctor, he's not likely to admit that to anyone, not even himself.

When they get to his house, Geno walks him to the door. Sid stands close, their shoulders brushing. It's the normal degree of Sid-touching, so Geno doesn't think anything about it. He's completely taken off guard once they're inside and Sid launches himself, pushing Geno against the wall, muscling up against him, and kissing frantically.

"Sid, what—"

"Please, Geno."

Geno runs a hand over Sid's forehead. There's no heat, no sign that anything is wrong, and yet Sid drops to his knees and starts scrabbling at Geno's fly. Obviously the medication must still be affecting him. It's not as if Sid has ever showed any interest in blowing Geno before.

He tells Sid as much, trying to pull him back up to his feet, but Sid yanks down Geno's boxers and stubbornly insists, "I want to. Just let me." He stretches his mouth around Geno's cock, and that's the end of that discussion.

"Sid," Geno groans, all the oxygen burning up in his lungs.

The team teases Sid about his pretty mouth, speculating about whether he knows what to do with it or not. Geno never expected to get the answer firsthand: Yes, fuck yes. Sid knows exactly what he's doing, his lips mobile and eager. It doesn't take long for Geno to get hard. Sid makes an approving noise, slurping and humming and taking Geno's cock deeper, because of course he's competitive about cocksucking. Of course he is.

Geno's hold on English is quicksilver at best and nearly non-existent when Sid is sucking cock like he has something to prove. So he curses in Russian and mostly just tries to hang on, fingers sliding through Sid's hair, rubbing at his scalp. Sid arches into the touch like a demanding cat. He sucks harder and does things with his tongue, and that's it, as much as Geno can take.

He grips Sidney's shoulders and warns, "Sid, stop, have to—"

Of course, he doesn't stop. This is Sid, who always wants to win, and apparently that means making Geno come in his mouth. He tightens his grip on Geno's hips, using all his strength, and takes Geno so deep there's drool sliding down his chin. Geno's eyes squeeze shut, and he grabs at Sid's shoulders, probably leaving bruises, his hips bucking as he gives Sid what he wants.

It's good, so good, and the moment he opens his eyes and sees Sid still down on his knees, chest heaving, face flushed, his erection clearly outlined by his jeans, arousal hits Geno all over again like a punch to the gut.

"Upstairs?" Sid blinks up at him hopefully.

Geno settles a hand on top of his head. "Sid."

"Geno." Just that one word carries a world of obstinacy.

It would be easy to find excuses for why Geno lets Sid sweep him up the steps and down the hall to the bedroom: Sid is his captain, Geno's used to giving him what he wants, friends don't let friends deal with the side effects of their experimental concussion medication by themselves. But the actual reasonis the way Sid looks once he's thrown off his clothes and flung himself onto the bed, hard and wanting and spread out just for Geno.

Geno undresses, apparently not fast enough for Sid, who he makes impatient noises the whole time. When Geno stretches out alongside him, he's just as frenzied as he was the last time, grabbing at Geno's shoulders while they kiss, slotting their hips together. There's still no hint of fever, though, when Geno brushes the back of his hand over Sid's forehead. He thinks maybe this means the side effects are lessening in intensity. Maybe next time Sid gets treatment there won't be—maybe he won't need Geno.

"What you want?" Geno asks, because if this is the last time then he's going to make it good.

"Fingers," Sid says quickly, almost before Geno is finished asking, and then he promptly turns red as if there's something embarrassing about asking for that so eagerly.

Geno kisses him, tracing his thumb along the line of his jaw. Whatever you want. He doesn't say it, but Sid seems to get it because he kisses back almost gratefully.

The lube is right there in the top bedside drawer, because this is Sid, and Sid likes things in their places. Geno warms it between his fingers and reaches between Sid's legs. He's thought about Sid, of course, admired his mouth and his ass and his—everything really, but he's always stopped there, just looking. He's never let himself picture doing anything, never imagined Sid's sharp intake of breath when Geno rubs at his hole, the low, desperate groan that spills out of him when Geno works a finger inside, how his eyes fasten on Geno, dark and intent, like he can't see anything else.

Geno bends his head, gets his mouth on Sid's cock, works a second and third finger into him. Sid moans, "Geno," hips lurching as he rides Geno's hand, his sounds growing more high-pitched and insistent until he's babbling out warnings, "I can't—you have to—" Geno pulls back and works Sid's cock with his other hand. Sid bites his lip and makes a noise like a dying goose as he comes all over Geno's fingers.

"Grrmmbr," Sid murmurs into the pillow.

That could mean, Thanks, you can go now, except for the way Sid sags against Geno, head lolling onto his shoulder, and falls instantly asleep. Their legs are tangled together, and Geno can't slip away, not without waking him. So he does the only logical thing—the kind of tortured logic that leads to inevitable heartbreak—and curls more tightly around Sid and closes his eyes.

When he wakes up again, sun is streaming through the windows, so he can't have slept too long. There's an empty place next to him, but the sheets still feel warm. Sid probably hasn't gone far. Geno lets out a sigh and looks for his pants. If there's going to be awkwardness, he'd rather just get it over with.

He finds Sid in the kitchen, bending into the open refrigerator. "Hey," he says over his shoulder when he hears Geno come in. "You hungry? I was going to make dinner, but—" He looks hopelessly back into his mostly empty refrigerator.

Geno nudges Sid out of the way to have a look for himself. That makes Sid roll his eyes, and suddenly they're both smiling, and it's not awkward at all. It's just them. "Eggs?"

Sid nods and tries to take them out of Geno's hands, but Geno waves him off. His cooking isn't anything to get excited about, but at least he can keep the shells out of the pan unlike Sidney. He scrambles all the eggs left in the carton, and Sid makes toast. They sit at the kitchen island and bend over their plates until they've polished off every bite.

It's nice, and Geno doesn't want to spoil the mood, but he isn't a good friend if he doesn't say what needs to be said. "Sid," he starts, taking a deep breath. "Maybe need to talk to doctor. Keep having side effects no good."

Sidney immediately stiffens, his face going blank. "I thought you said you didn't mind."

"Is not about that. Is about Sid."

"I'm fine," Sidney stubbornly insists. "And this is fine, right? You helping me out. Like friends do."

Geno can't help wondering what Sid has been doing with his other friends. He has to tamp down the very serious desire to cut them. "It fine."

"Good. That's good." Sid's shoulders drop, the tension flowing out of him. "So you want to stay and play some Mario Kart?"

No, I really have to go. That's the smart answer. That's what Geno should say. Instead he finds himself saying, "Okay."

They settle on the couch, and Sidney leans forward, as competitive at this as he is out on the ice. Geno tries to pay attention, but Sid still smells like sex, like the two of them. Every time Geno loses Sid just grows more gleefully smug, face practically glowing with triumph. All Geno can think is how beautiful he is.

This is his ridiculous life.

Next time Geno picks Sid up from the doctor's office, they don't even make it all the way into the house before it starts. As soon as the garage door closes, Sid flings himself across the seat, pushing his mouth onto Geno's and getting a hand down his pants. The close confines of the Porsche aren't exactly designed for having sex, but Sid keeps murmuring against his mouth, "Come on, come on," until Geno slips a hand into his underwear and starts jerking him off.

Coming in his pants—there's something Geno hasn't done since he was a kid. Sid seriously makes him crazy.

Sid is still gulping down air, hair wildly curly and dark with sweat along his forehead. "Let's go in." His voice is deeper than usual, still wanting.

Geno keeps a hand at the small of Sid's back, and as soon as the door closes behind them, he pushes Sid up against it and kisses him. Sid's body is hot and already thrumming with need again. Geno runs a hand down his chest and belly and over the wet spot on his jeans. A wild noise is torn out of Sid, as if he's still too sensitive, as if this is too much and he likes that, likes being pushed past his limits. Geno has no way of knowing if this is an effect of the medicine or just—Sid.

"I really want you to fuck me," Sid blurts out, biting his lip. "Please, Geno."

Geno shudders against him, presses his face against Sid's neck and breathes in a shaky breath. He really wants that too, but he's already crossed enough lines. He's not going to cross this one. He straightens up and presses a kiss to the top of Sid's head and takes a big step back. "No. Can't do that."

"Not now," Sid says hastily. "I mean, we both just—but later, we can—"

Geno shakes his head. "No. We not do that, Sid. Need to talk to doctor. Not good you still have trouble."

Sid's face goes pinched and defensive. "I thought you said it was okay. What we're doing."

Geno makes a frustrated noise. "Side effects never okay. Talk to doctor. Maybe change treatment." Sid's gaze drops away guiltily, and suddenly Geno knows. "You already talk to doctor."

"Not exactly."

Sid still won't look at him, so Geno tilts up his chin and makes him. "What then? Exactly."

"Um—the side effects kind of went away after the first treatment?"

The words don't make any sense. Geno half hopes it's just his faulty grasp of English. "What? But you say—" He trails off. "Why you tell me you still having trouble?"

"I didn't? Not exactly."

Geno gives him a hard look. "You let me think."

"You said you didn't mind!" Sid drags a hand through his hair. "I mean, it was good, right? I thought it was good. We're friends, we get each other. It just—works. And you seemed to like it too, so I thought—"

Sid trails off, and Geno is left trying to imagine what he was thinking. If he actually wanted something like an actual relationship—well, even Sid wouldn't be clueless enough to believe that this was the way to get it. We're friends, we get each other. Geno is suddenly remembering all the times Sid shied away from someone who was flirting with him, how he whined that he didn't know what to say to strangers whenever the team teased him about it. Faking his side effects must have seemed like the perfect solution—a way to have sex without awkward conversations, without having to go out and meet people.

"Next time you want to get laid, not leave house, get girl on craigslist," he says, jaw clenched so hard his teeth hurt.

Sid's face flushes bright red, and he lifts his chin defiantly. "What if I don't want a girl?"

"Get boy then." Geno takes a step toward the door.

Sid blocks his way. "I didn't mean—I only thought—"

That's it, as much as Geno can stand. His voice rises angrily. "No, you not think. You just do what you want. Whole time I feel bad. Like I take advantage. Sid head hurt. Medicine make Sid not act like Sid. But you the one who take advantage."


Sid is still standing in front of the door, and if he doesn't move then Geno is going to have to move him, because he really needs to get out of here.

Sid must see that in Geno's face, because he reluctantly steps aside. The car still smells of sex and Sid's aftershave, and Geno's underwear is sticking to his body, a constant reminder. He drives too fast, and when he gets home, he takes the longest, hottest shower he can stand and drinks a truly staggering amount of vodka. None of it helps.

The good news is that there's hockey to play. Preseason games are just what Geno needs to take his mind off things. When he's on the ice he's focused and Sid-free, and his game feels like it's starting to click. Off the ice he does his best to avoid Sid. It's easier to manage than he would have expected; Sid is so intent on his treatment and busy getting back into playing condition.

Geno goes out with the other guys after practice to have something to do, laughs too loudly at things that really aren't very funny, and flirts half-heartedly with the girls who are always hanging around. At the end of the night when he gets home, he deletes the barrage of texts and the occasional voicemail from Sid without looking at them, without ever listening.

No one on the team seems to have noticed that anything is wrong. That means Geno doesn't have to explain, which is good. It also means that everyone still expects him to be Sid's spokesman.

Tonight they're out at a bar for a quick drink before heading home. Duper slips onto the barstool next to Geno and asks, "So what's up with Sid's head? That experimental shit working?"

Geno shrugs. "Ask Sid."

"Yeah, yeah, I will, but I just thought you'd know—"

Geno grits his teeth. "Ask Sid."

Duper's eyes go wide, and he says quickly, "Sure, sure. Yeah."

He gets up and wanders over to talk to Flower, but he keeps giving Geno confused looks the rest of the evening.

Apparently Sid's treatment has been working, because he shows up for practice a few days later finally cleared to skate. The guys greet him with smiles and friendly punches to the arm. Flower chirps him with a big grin, "I see you finally got off your lazy ass."

Sid ducks his head and grins back, as bright-eyed and pleased as a little kid—until he catches Geno's eye, and the grin fades. The other guys go still, looking from Sid to Geno and back again. Suddenly everyone has somewhere else to be.

"Geno." Sid comes shuffling over to him, and Geno has an unwelcome flash of sense memory: the warm, smooth feel of his skin, the way he tipped his head back whenever Geno kissed his throat, demanding more. "I've been trying to call you. I really wanted to say—"

"Practice now. Talk later." Geno picks up his stick and leaves Sid standing there.

Maybe it's petty, but Sid couldn't be bothered to tell Geno the truth, so Geno isn't much in the mood to listen to his excuses. He spends their time together in the locker room brushing off Sid's attempts at making peace and ignoring the increasingly concerned looks the other guys direct their way.

Of course Sid is nothing if not determined, so he goes out for drinks with the team just to try to get Geno talk to him, raising the eyebrows of pretty much everyone who knows him. Sid goes clubbing the way other people go to the dentist, with the stoic resolve that at least it will eventually be over.

At least Geno manages to maneuver Jordy between them when they settle at the table. Jordy looks confused, because Geno and Sid always sit next to each other, but he shrugs and goes with it. Geno is relieved. He can't take Sid pressed close in the small booth, the heat of his body, the feel of his hard, muscled thigh. When the waitress circles over, Geno orders three shots. He tips them back one right after the other, ignoring Sid's sideways looks of disapproval.

Guys come and go from the table, making trips to the bar and disgracing the team out on the dance floor.

"Hey, look." Jordy elbows Sid. "That hot girl is smiling at you. Come on."

"What? No!" Sid hisses at him, but Jordy drags him off anyway.

Geno stays at the table and keeps on drinking and hopes that Sid won't come back any time soon. But he and Jordy reappear all of five minutes later.

"Dude, seriously, way to mess up a sure thing," Jordy chirps Sid. "That girl was totally into you, and she was smokin' hot."

"I wasn't interested, okay?" Sid says tightly, darting glances over at Geno.

Jordy makes are you crazy? eyes at Sid.

"I didn't know what to say to her," Sid insists.

Geno clenches his jaw and stares at his drink, pretending he's not hearing any of this. Why couldn't he have just gone straight home tonight?

Jordy snorts. "Talking to people really isn't that hard, Sid. I don't know how you ever expect to get laid."

"Shut up!" Sid says, voice sharp now, his face turning red.

Geno finishes the rest of his drink in one long swallow.

Jordy senses none of the tension in the air and keeps going. "No, seriously. When was the last time you had sex, dude?"

Geno slams down his glass on the table. "I go home now."

Jordy blinks, startled. "Sure, G. See you tomorrow."

"Geno," Sid says, softly, urgently. "Wait."

Geno doesn't. He gets the hell out of there.

The season starts with a road trip and two wins. Sid is well enough to travel with them now, so Geno gets no more peace in Vancouver or Calgary than he does back home in Pittsburgh. Every time he turns around Sid is shooting him hopeful glances while the rest of the team appears to be plotting an intervention.

Against the Caps, they take a hard loss in overtime. After the game Sasha insists on dragging Geno and any other Pens who will give him the time of day out to a place he knows. There is nothing like winning to make him play the host. At least the vodka is good, and there is plenty of it. Geno tips back his—he's lost count by now how many shots this makes.

"Your Crosby is watching you," Sasha says, with the usual mix of amusement and sarcasm that Sid brings out in him.

"He's not mine," Geno snaps, motioning the bartender for another.

This makes Sasha's eyebrows shoot up practically to his hairline. Geno curses his overreaction. Sasha always likes to make insinuations about Sid, and Geno usually just rolls his eyes, and then they talk about other things.

"Oh Zhenya, is the honeymoon finally over?" Sasha asks, with mock dismay. "What happened? You should tell me. I can help. I'm very good at relationships."

Geno snorts, and Sasha makes a wounded face. At the other of the bar, Sid is sitting with Flower, pretending to listen to whatever Flower's saying, but his gaze is fastened on Geno. When he sees Geno looking back, he licks his lips nervously, his eyes wide and begging. A flurry of images fills up Geno's brain, the things he did to that pretty mouth, the things he'd still like to do.

He slides off the stool and heads toward the bathroom, flipping off Sasha when he calls after him, "You decide you need marriage counseling, you know my number."

He's almost safely to the bathroom—the door is so close, right there—but suddenly Sid is there too, materializing out of nowhere, blocking the way. "I couldn't get what I wanted from craigslist," he blurts out. It takes Geno a moment to realize that he's picking up the conversation they had weeks ago.

"Sid have very kinky tastes then," Geno says flatly.

Even in the low light Geno can tell that Sid flushes spectacularly. "It wasn't like that!" he insists hotly. "I'm not like that. I just—I wanted—Geno." He trails off helplessly, turning big, pleading eyes on him.

He's standing so close that Geno can smell him, his sweat and the last faint traces of his cologne, the same scent he's worn since Geno has known him. It is all so familiar, has been for such a long time, and now Geno knows what he smells like after sex, after Geno has rubbed himself all over him.

Sid moves in even closer, still watching him intently. Geno knows he could drag him into the bathroom and lock them both in a stall and fuck him. Sid would let him. Sid would beg for it. But when it was over, Geno would still love him desperately, and Sid would still think this is just what friends do for each other.

"Can get whatever you want here. Go have fun, Sid." He turns on his heel, giving up on the bathroom.


But Geno is already slipping through the crowd, looking for something, someone to take his mind off it. He finds her on the other side of the dance floor, a cool looking blonde in a very short, very sparkly dress, taking in the room with an ironic tilt of her head.

"Okay, you either really need to dance or you're running from the cops," she says when he comes to an abrupt stop in front of her.

He laughs, louder than he should, which makes her widen her eyes at him. "Yevgeni," he says, holding out his hand.

"Ursula." She shakes, her fingers delicate and just as cool as the rest of her. Geno imagines there would still be a hint of that coolness even if he had sex with her, nothing at all like the feverish, over-eager, frantic sex he had with Sid. Suddenly that seems like exactly what he needs.

"You help hide me from cops on dance floor?" he asks with the slightly bashful smile that usually makes girls smile back at him.

Ursula puts down her martini glass and takes his hand. "I won't let them take you alive."

The music is so loud it's less sound than an earthquake erupting beneath their feet. Ursula slides in close. She's tiny and soft against him, nothing at all like Sid. Geno slips his arms around her waist to draw her in even closer.

"Kissing might help you hide your identity," Ursula muses. "You know, from the authorities."

He smiles and bends down and tips up her chin. She leans up and kisses him. She smells nice, and she tastes like cherries from her cocktail or maybe her lip gloss. It's just—nice, no desperate urgency, no wanting more. Geno can relax into it, kissing and moving his hands over her back.

"You want to go to my place?" she asks after a while.

He really wishes he did, but he doesn't. He's planning to smile ruefully and make excuses when he catches sight of Sid standing at the edge of the dance floor. He's watching and glowering, his expression hurt and betrayed as if Geno is the one who—and that's it. That makes the decision for him.

"We go," Geno tells Ursula.

The air is cool outside, especially after the overheated club. It's like a bracing slap to the face. The hurt look on Sid's face floats up behind Geno's eyes, and he feels it, an ache beneath his ribs. He doesn't want to hurt Sid, no matter how much he's been hurt. Ursula seems like a nice girl. She's not some consolation prize.

She drifts over to the curb, scanning the traffic, and flagging down a cab. When she turns back to him, realization dawns over her face. "I'm taking this cab alone, huh?"

"It not you," he says quickly, because it really isn't. Under other circumstances— "It just—"

She waves him off, with a wry smile. "I did know it wasn't the law you were running from. Whatever, whoever that's about, you should probably figure it out."

"Sorry," he says contritely.

She rises up on her toes to kiss his cheek. "It was fun while it lasted."

He sees her into the cab and pays the driver. The hotel isn't particularly close, but he walks anyway. It will give him something to do besides watching Sports Center and moping over Sid.

It changes after that. Or Sid changes, anyway. Geno expects him to be sulky and offended the next time they see each other—even if he has no reason to be when all he wants from Geno is a convenient fuck—but Sid can occasionally be surprising.

"Hey," he says as they pass in the locker room.

"Hey," Geno says, a little warily.

Sid nods, and that's it. He moves on, giving Geno his space. Patience isn't typically Sid's strong suit, but he's clearly decided to wait out Geno's anger, biding his time until they can get back to being friends.

Geno sighs. He doesn't know why he can't just get over it. It's not as if he likes being mad at Sid. He fucking hates it. There's just this possibility that lurks in the back of his head and he can't shake it, that maybe Sid knew how Geno felt about him and decided to take advantage of it. That he saw it as an easy solution to the problems he has trying to hook up with strangers or as a safe way to have sex with a guy without fear of being outed on Deadspin. Not that Sid would be cruel on purpose. There's nothing mean about him. In his cluelessness about things not related to hockey, though, he might not have realized how cruel that was.

Geno shakes his head as if that can clear away thoughts he doesn't want to have and goes to practice, ready to focus on something that actually makes sense.

The team's intervention arrives a few weeks later in the form of Flower, who loiters around after their win over Dallas, waiting for Geno to get dressed.

"So you want to grab a beer?" he asks.

Geno does his best to brush him off. "Why? Fiancée not want you home?"

Flower rolls his eyes. "My fiancée always wants me home, asshole. Being a dick isn't going to get you out of this. So let's go."

They head to the usual bar, and Flower orders the usual weak-ass Canadian beer for the two of them, and Geno complains about it as he always does.

"You will drink it, and you will like it," Flower says imperiously, downing half his pint in one gulp, as if he needs the reinforcement. "Fuck, I don't know why I always get stuck with this job. I'm a goalie, not a therapist."

"Goalie crazy," Geno tells him. "Make you good at understanding people who not right in head."

"Yeah, thanks for that," Flower says dryly. "So, look, I don't know what Sid did, but I do know Sid. When he does something shitty, it's usually less because he actually means to be shitty and more because he was raised in the wild by hockey instead of by humans."

"So what? If Sid not mean to be asshole, then I not supposed to be mad?"

Flower holds up his hands. "Totally up to you. I'm just making an observation. Not that it's anything you don't already know."

"Yes," Geno says with a sigh. "But knowing not helping."

"Well, think about this then. Sid's going to get cleared for contact any day now, and you can't take this shit out onto the ice. Also? You're both miserable bastards without each other, and we're tired of the two of you looking like somebody just shot your dog and ate your last KitKat. Nobody wants to see that. It's depressing as all fuck."

"What I should do?"

Flower throws up his arms. "I don't know. Just fix it!"

Geno makes a face at him. "That it? That fancy goalie advice?"

Flower rolls his eyes. "Still not a therapist."

Geno makes Flower buy him two more weak-ass Canadian beers just for being so useless.

It seems like a good idea to go home and drink something that's not at all weak-ass and then drink even more until he's had so much that it seems like a great idea to call Sergei at two in the morning.

"Somebody better be dead, Zhenya," Sergei mumbles into the phone.

That's when Geno realizes: hey, not such a great idea after all. "No, no, it's fine. Sorry. Go back to sleep."

"Zhenya," Sergei says sternly. "I'm awake now, so you will start talking if you know what's good for you." The or I will sic Ksenia on you goes unsaid, but Geno knows.

He takes a breath, and the whole thing comes tumbling out of him, probably in more detail than Sergei really wants to hear.

There's a long pause. "Did he actually say he just wants to be fuck buddies?"

Geno lets out a sigh. "More or less."

"If you didn't hear those exact words, then I'm pretty sure that's not what he meant."

"Who was there?" Geno snaps. "You or me?"

Sergei continues on undeterred. "I'm not going to pretend to understand what goes on in Sidney Crosby's head, but there is one thing I'm absolutely sure of: he doesn't take anything about you casually. What was the first thing he did when you joined the team?" He answers his own question as if he thinks Geno might not get it right. "He changed one of his precious rituals to let you walk out on the ice last."

"He did that to make me welcome, to show respect. It's what good teammates do." Geno has always found it so maddening that sports writers try to trump up stories about how he and Sid are waging a battle of egos when the truth is just the opposite and has been since the beginning.

"From anyone else, I'm sure that's what it would have meant, but from Sid, it's practically a marriage proposal." Sergei can apparently sense the disbelieving face Geno is making because he adds, "How many fights has he been in?"

"Five," Geno says—too promptly, if Sergei's amused snort is any indication.

"How many times has he raced across the ice to punch someone in the face for upending one of his teammates?"

Geno pauses. "He's a good captain. He'd do anything for his team."

"But he's only gotten into a fight for you."

Geno has no idea what to say to that.

Sergei makes a frustrated noise. "How are you as bad at this as he is?"

"Fuck you," Geno says without any heat. He can't decide if maybe Sergei is right or if Geno just really wants him to be right.

"Talk to him, Zhenya. I'm hanging up on you now."

Geno has every intention of taking Sergei's advice, but he's not sure how to start, which is weird and unsettling since he's never had trouble talking to Sid, not even when he knew all of six words of English. Then suddenly Sid is cleared for contact, and he's there in the locker room on game day, smiling ecstatically as he laces up his skates, laughing when Duper chirps, "So you finally have your head on straight. About fucking time."

His smile wavers a little when Geno approaches as if he doesn't know what to expect. "Good to have you back," Geno says, laying a hand on Sid's shoulder to show he really means it.

"Thanks, Geno," Sid says very seriously.

"We play now, kick Islander ass, then later we talk, okay?"

Sid's eyes go wide with surprise, and he nods very eagerly. "Yeah, sure, talking is—good."

When it's time to go out on the ice, Sid hesitates for just a split second as if afraid that Geno might refuse to do their thing. Which is just stupid, because no matter how mad Geno ever was, he wouldn't fuck with Sid's hockey. Sid actually breathes out in relief when Geno bumps fists with him, and Geno gives him an extra hard swat on the ass just for doubting him. Sid jerks his head around to give Geno a confused look.

Geno smiles. "Good luck."

It comes as no surprise at all that Sid lights it up that night. He always does when he's been off the ice and can finally get back to his natural element. He scores his first goal early in the first period, his face glowing and triumphant, so very Sid, and Geno loves him so much it really kind of hurts.

"Five minutes into game already, only one goal," he chirps Sid when they're on the bench together. "You Sidney Crosby. Expect better than that."

Sid doesn't even bother to chirp him back. He just smiles, and it's huge and blinding, and Geno has really missed it.

In the second, Geno scores on an assist from Sid, and they pile into a hug, Sid tucked beneath his arm, his face bright and happy, and everything just seems to click into place. This is how it's supposed to be. Geno has been an idiot not to fix things sooner, but it's going to be okay. He knows that now.

They win the game 5-0. Sid has two goals and two assists, and the fans go half insane cheering for him. Naturally everyone on the planet wants to talk to him afterward. Geno packs up his hockey bag and waits. As soon as Sid gets free of reporters, he materializes at Geno's side.

"Hey," he says, shifting his weight, looking more nervous now than he ever has before a game.

"How head?" Geno can't help reaching out and touching Sid's temple lightly with his fingers.

Sid's gaze fastens on him, his eyes dark and intent. "Fine. It's fine. We get to talk now, right?"

Geno nods, but that's all he manages before Tanger swoops in. "Cap is back! We are definitely drinking to that."

"Actually—" Sid starts.

Tanger cuts him off, "We're going to Foley's. No is not an answer."

Sid's eyebrows knit together. He's clearly ready to argue, so Geno steps in. "We come," he tells Tanger.

Tanger claps Geno on the shoulder and heads off to wrangle the rest of the guys. Sid turns a look on Geno that is exasperated verging on furious.

Geno holds up a hand to mollify him. "We go out now, talk afterward."

"Geno." Sid's voice pitches up the way it does when he's very close to throwing a fit.

"Sid," Geno says firmly, taking him by the shoulders. "Team miss you. Happy to have you back. We go, have few drinks, laugh at the way Jordy can't hold liquor. Then we go home, just you and me, and we talk."


"Promise," Geno tells him solemnly.

Sid looks antsy and ready to go from the moment they get to the bar, lingering at Geno's elbow like he's glued there. Geno considers just taking him home already, but they've waited this long to talk. They can wait a little longer. It's important to the team to be able to celebrate with Sid.

He puts a hand on Sid's arm. "Go talk to Duper. Tell him he pass you more, you score five goals all by yourself."

Sid rolls his eyes. "He assisted both my goals. He passed to me just fine."

"Go." Sid looks at Duper at the other end of the bar as if it's way too far away. "I still here when you come back." He nudges Sid with his elbow.

Sid trudges off to go talk to Duper like he's heading off to war, and Geno has to hide his smile in his drink. When Sid has an assignment, though, he does it. Geno can tell from Duper's eyerolling that Sid has delivered the chirp.

Flower plunks down next to Geno. "So you thought any more about what we talked about?"


Flower lets out an exasperated breath. "And—"

"Fixing now."

"Really? Because it looks like you're here and Sid's down there pretending to listen to Duper while he's really just sulking."

Geno makes a disappointed face at him. "Maybe goalie eyes not see everything after all."

Flower snorts indignantly, and Geno cheerfully orders another drink. When he finishes it, he decides it's time to go claim Sid.

By this point Sid has actually managed to relax and is in the middle of an animated description of Tavares' backhander in the third, but the moment he spots Geno he trails off, looking up so hopefully that Geno's heart clenches a little in his chest.

"Enough celebration for Sid. Not overdo," Geno declares.

"He's all better!" Jordy protests.

Sid quickly jumps off the stool. "No, Geno's right. I'd better go."

He holds onto Geno's sleeve on the way to the exit as if afraid that Geno might try to make a break for it. Then suddenly he takes a detour, pulling Geno along the corridor that leads to the bathroom and into an empty coatroom, closing the door behind them.

Geno shakes his head. "No, Sid. Not do this here. Talk at your house or mine."

"I can't wait," Sid says in a rush as if he's barely been holding it in. "You wouldn't talk to me, wouldn't let me say sorry, and I really, really am. You were right. I did take advantage. And it was a stupid thing to do, because you're my friend, my best friend, and the last thing I want is to mess up our friendship."

"Why you do it, Sid?" Geno asks quietly. "Because I think maybe you know how I feel, and when you want sex, is just easy with me and—" He shakes his head.

"How you feel?" Sid blinks slowly. "You mean about me? Wait. You have feelings for me?" He gets really excited for about a second before his expression clouds over. "But what? You thought I knew and just—didn't care?" His expression hovers between offended and upset. "I wouldn't—Geno. I wasn't trying to hurt you."

"What I supposed to think? If you want to be with me, why you not say? Why you let me think it all just because of medicine?"

"Because I didn't think you'd have sex with me otherwise!" Sid stops and looks appalled. "Okay, that sounds really awful when I say it out loud. But it didn't seem awful at the time. I just—"

He lets out a long breath.

"As far as I could tell, you only wanted girls. I mean, I looked for signs that maybe you were into guys too, but there weren't any. So I got used to the idea that nothing was going to happen. But then the medicine—and I was so out of my head—I never would have done anything, never would have asked you for that if I wasn't totally messed up. And you didn't seem to mind. I mean, I thought you liked it? And I just—" His voice drops low. "Didn't want to stop."

Sid says all of this very fast. Geno needs a moment to put it together in his head and then an extra moment to really take in what it means. He's kind of alarmed to realize that Sergei was right: he is just as bad at this as Sid is. At least now they can be bad at it together.

"Not look for right signs." He pulls Sid to him. "I want you since I first see you in Mario's living room."

It's so good to be able to kiss Sid again, sliding a hand around to his neck, holding him close. When he can drag himself away from Sid's mouth, which is not easy, he kisses Sid's neck, jaw, his forehead, his cheeks. Sid makes a sweet, pleased sound and keeps trying to press closer as if he'll never be close enough. Geno knows that feeling. He knows it so well.

"I really am sorry," Sid murmurs.

Geno strokes a hand over his hair. "Am sorry too. Not handle things well. Jump to conclusions instead of talk. We both idiots. Be smarter next time."

"Oh my God, there's not going to be a next time!" Sid huffs indignantly. "No more injuries. No more experimental treatments. No more lies, I promise. And no more picking up blondes at clubs, okay?"

Geno regards him fondly. "You think I sleep with that girl in DC? I not. You think I want anybody else after I have you? Not possible."

"Geno," Sid says, almost wildly, leaning up to kiss Geno, hands going for Geno's belt.

"Wait," Geno says, although there's nothing he wants more than Sid touching him.

"No more waiting either. Come on." He pulls at Geno's fly with renewed determination.

Geno has to actually take Sid's hands in his own to stop him.

"Why not?" Sid demands, frustrated.

Geno kisses Sid. "Because I take you home now and fuck you in your bed. That better plan, yes?"

A full-body shudder goes through Sid. "Okay. Yeah. Good. That's good thinking."

He grabs Geno's hand and throws open the door, and they run headlong into Flower out in the corridor.

"Uh," Flower says, his gaze moving from Geno to Sid and back again.

Geno can just imagine how they must look, as if they've been—doing exactly what they've been doing.

"So that seems pretty fixed. Good job and everything. I'm just going to—" Flower jerks his thumb in the opposite direction. "Go somewhere else."

In the parking lot, Geno guides Sid over to his car. "We come back for yours tomorrow." Or possibly the next day. There's nothing going on tomorrow, and Geno seriously doubts they will stray far from bed.

Sid looks like he doesn't care if he ever sees his car again just as long as Geno drives them to his house as soon as humanly possible. This works for Geno, and the moment he gets Sid inside, he unbuttons Sid's shirt and leans down to bite a nipple.

"Fuck," Sid slurs out, his hips pushing against Geno's. He's hard, already, so hard.

"I suck you off now," Geno says thickly against Sid's neck, worrying a place that will definitely have a mark tomorrow. "You get it up again, then I fuck you."

"Jesus." Sid is shaking, but Geno can feel him square his shoulders. He has to smile. There is nothing like setting performance goals to get the best out of Sid.

Geno drops to his knees, opens Sid's pants and pulls them down his thighs. Sid moans when Geno puts his mouth on him, hands braced on his hips, holding him right where he wants him.

Sid's hands move through Geno's hair. "I think about this. All the time. I have since—" Whatever he was going to say gets lost in a gasp.

Geno smiles around Sid's cock. Another time he'll tease him, draw it out, see how crazy he can make him, but now he just wants to take the edge off.

"Shit," Sid mutters, sounding as if he can barely breathe.

Soon he's gripping Geno's shoulders, making frantic noises, hips jerking erratically. Geno doesn't pull off quite quickly enough, and Sid's come stripes his cheek.

"Um," Sid says in a daze, looking apologetic.

Geno swipes a finger over his cheek, pops it into his mouth and grins up at Sid, who stares down at him, a little stupefied and very turned on.

"Naked now," Geno declares, rising to his feet and stripping the shirt off Sid.

"You too. "

Geno shakes his head. "I naked later."

He hurries Sid out of his trousers and underwear, steers him upstairs, pushes him down on the bed, and kneels beside him.

"So this is a thing we're doing, huh? The thing where I'm naked and you haven't even taken off a sock yet," Sid says, looking like he might argue about it if he weren't really eager to keep going.

"Yes, this thing we do. You pushy, always want so fast. I take time now, have chance to look at you."

Sid makes a dubious face at him. "You've seen me kind of a lot actually."

"In locker room doesn't count. Shush now. Am concentrating."

Geno slides a hand up Sid's chest. Sid's eyelids flutter closed, his mouth drops open, and this is the end of any argument from him. The power of Sid's body is masked by his hockey pads, but it's perfectly on display now as he lies naked against the sheets. Geno wants to touch him everywhere.

Sid watches intently, making encouraging noises as Geno skims his fingers up his arms, traces the lines of his biceps, slides his palms along his thickly muscled thighs, presses kisses to his belly, into the hollows of his collarbones and along the curve of his throat.

"Geno," Sid says softly. His mouth is so pink and wet that Geno has to kiss him there too.

"Sid beautiful," Geno tells him.

Sid blushes all the way down his chest. "Come on." He tugs at Geno's sleeve. "I want to see you too." When Geno doesn't snap right to, he scowls. "Fucking come on already."

Geno laughs. "Since you ask so nice." He slides off the bed, pulls off his clothes, and tosses them over a chair.

Sid stares, his gaze never straying from Geno for a moment.

"What?" Geno teases. "You see me in locker room too."

Sid does his best to glare, but he keeps sliding into a smile. "Shut up. And get over here."

Geno goes happily, stretching out beside Sid, cupping his cheek and kissing him. Sid pulls at Geno's shoulder until he shifts positions and covers him. This seems to be Sid's favorite thing. It is quickly becoming Geno's as well.

"Sid feel so good," Geno murmurs, rubbing their bodies together. Sid is definitely meeting the challenge Geno set for him, already getting hard again.

"Please. Geno. Fuck me." Sid stares up at him, beseeching and kind of heartbreakingly vulnerable. "I wanted you to so much, and you wouldn't, and it's all I can think about."

Geno kisses him lingeringly, reaching out with one hand for the bedside drawer. The lube is still there along with condoms. Sid arches his back as Geno opens him with slick fingers, hips working, as responsive as ever.

It doesn't take long for Sid to start insisting, "I'm good. Come on, Geno. Just do it."

Geno nods. "How you want?"

"Like this. Face to face." Sid lifts his legs, wrapping them around Geno's waist. "But next time I want to ride you."

Geno groans, pressing his face against Sid's neck. "Keep talk like that, won't be this time."

"You're not going to come before you fuck me," Sid informs him sternly.

Geno grins and kisses him. "Bossy."


There's no resisting that, and Geno pushes inside. Sid groans loudly and pulls at Geno's shoulders, urging him deeper. The look of fierce, ecstatic concentration on Sid's face—Geno has to close his eyes just for a second to keep this from being over far too soon.

"Mm, feels so good," Sid murmurs.

It's even better when they find their rhythm, hips moving in tandem, and Geno can angle sweet, filthy kisses onto Sid's mouth.

"Sid, Sid." There's so much he wants to tell him, but English is even more uncooperative than usual right at the moment, and words fail him altogether when he comes.

He's vaguely aware of Sid's fingers digging into his shoulders, the harsh rasp of his breath, and the warm wet of Sid's orgasm against his belly. Mostly he just slumps there in a daze until Sid starts to squirm, pushing at Geno to reposition him until Sid can lie in his arms, head tucked beneath Geno's chin. Sid breathes out and relaxes. Geno traces patterns over his back and drops the occasional kiss to the top of his head, sated and sleepy. His eyes are drifting closed when he feels Sid go suddenly tense.

"Sid?" Geno says, confused and instantly awake.

Sid tilts his chin up to look at Geno and says in a rush, "I couldn't get what I want from craigslist, because all I've ever wanted is you." Once it's out he relaxes again, now that he's finally been able to tell Geno what he meant.

Geno gathers him closer, holding him tight. "All I want is Sid."

It's sappy and heartfelt, and he can feel Sid smiling against his shoulder. Geno imagines there's an evening of weak-ass Canadian beers with Flower in their future, where Flower sits them both down and tells them to stop being so happy all over each other, because being in love is great and everything, but nobody wants to see anybody glowing in the locker room.

Geno is already looking forward to it.