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Say You Won't Let Go

Chapter Text

“Tazer, I think I’m gonna–” Patrick gags, fingers fisted tightly in Jonny’s t-shirt as they stumble through Patrick’s apartment. It’s well after two in the morning, and they both could’ve afforded to call it a night hours ago, but when the boys get going, it’s hard to slip out. 

In other words, it’s entirely Sharpy’s fault.

“Oh no you’re not,” Jonny scolds, resisting the urge to cover Patrick’s mouth with his hand. If Patrick pukes on him, he’ll probably puke too, and that won’t help matters at all.

“But the room’s all spinny,” Patrick whines adorably, and something in Jonny’s chest clenches tight. Even when he’s a mess, Patrick can still get to him. It’s almost embarrassing.

“Just a few more steps, buddy, then you can,” Jonny urges, rubbing his back a little more than he probably should.

“Buddy,” Patrick repeats sourly, “I don’t wanna be–” He pauses for a moment, burrowing further under Jonny’s arm, nearly tripping them both. “You gonna take care of me?”

“’Course I am, Peeks,” Jonny tells him as they finally make it to the bathroom. For a shorter guy, he’s like a ton of bricks to drag around, the weight he put on over the summer gone unnoticed by exactly no one. Well, not by Jonny, anyway. “If I wasn’t, I would’a left you at the bar.”

“Ugh, the bar,” Patrick bemoans, making grabby hands at the toilet. “Sharpy’s fault.”

“That’s exactly right,” Jonny confirms, “Don’t forget it next time.”

You don’t forget it next time,” Patrick parrots petulantly, then he grips the toilet by the rim and pukes without even bothering to put the seat up. “I’m an adult,” he mutters after the first wave is done.

“Yeah, you look like one,” Jonny teases, retrieving a washcloth from the cabinet and wetting it before kneeling behind him on the hard tile.  

Patrick's forehead is sweaty, his shorter hair somehow managing to look in a matted disarray, much like his curls would before he cut them off. Jonny's suddenly struck by how much he misses them, and he shouldn’t, because Patrick’s not his to have this way, but he reaches out rakes his fingers through what's left again and again. It's gotten a little longer, up top, since the start of the year, and it soothes him as much as it does Patrick, to touch, to pretend. 

Patrick tilts his head back into Jonny’s hand. “Jonny?”

Jonny likes being Jonny, in quiet moments. Not Tazer. Not Toews. Not Captain Serious, or any other ridiculous variation the boys can cook up. Just Jonny. Just the two of them.

“Hmm?”

“We drank too much,” he says, and Jonny huffs a laugh. He’s buzzing, sure, but he’s not throwing up, so Patrick can speak for himself.

“We did, eh?”

“Yeah, we did,” Patrick says, resolved to his fate and taking Jonny with him, apparently. He rests his cheek on the toilet seat, eyes closed and lips parted just slightly. Jonny smiles softly at him, thankful he can’t see, and presses the damp cloth to his forehead, absently fiddling a stand of Patrick's hair between his fingertips.

“Mmmm,” Patrick stirs under his touch. “I like it when you do that.”

It's careless, what he's doing, so of course Patrick likes it.

Jonny wants to ask him why, but he decides better of it. The words alone will probably do a week's worth of damage; he’s not sure he could take the answer, knowing it undoubtedly wouldn’t be what he had in mind. Patrick starts puking again, thankfully, and lets him off the hook for a moment. 

“I’m gonna kill Sharpy,” Jonny mutters to himself as he watches Patrick dry-heave. It’s not a good look, not attractive or charming or cute, but Jonny doesn’t care.

It doesn’t change anything, and instead, stirs a wrenching desire in Jonny to care for him. It's worse. 

“Glad you’re here,” Patrick says out of the blue, wiping his mouth with the cloth he snatched from Jonny. He looks back over his shoulder and gives him the prettiest, bleary-eyed smile. “You could stay with me?”

Jonny’s taken by it. His seemingly earnest face. His quiet, dimpled smile. His request. 

Stay.

Jonny wants to, but even more so, he wants Patrick to mean it when he isn't loaded. 

“You need to get some rest, Patrick,” he answers, instead of saying everything else on the tip of his tongue–“Yes,” “I thought you’d never ask,” “Why now?"–and adjusts so Patrick’s back rests against his chest. He feels so good, solid and warm. He shouldn't be doing this. 

“We will,” Patrick insists, and Jonny thinks it would be so easy, even if he paid for it later, if he just let go. If he just–

“You’re drunk.”

“Hey, we’re drunk,” Patrick corrects, offended, pushing up on his knees in attempts to stand. “’M ready for sleep now.”

“Then let’s get you to bed,” Jonny says, thankful for something to do to distract from the lump in his throat and the pounding in his chest. Of all the nights, of all the times to ask, Patrick picks now, when Jonny can’t possibly give in. It’s a twist of the knife that’s been lodged inside him, dutifully ignored, for so long.

They shuffle into Patrick’s room, and Jonny pulls back his comforter and ridiculous satin sheets. He doesn’t look when Patrick fumbles out of his jeans and shirt, leaving only his boxers and white tank.

He wants to, but then, Jonny wants a lot of things.

Patrick settles in and blinks up at him, eyelids heavy, a delicate smile playing at his lips, and repeats, “Stay."

There’s that word again.

“I can’t,” Jonny breathes out, pained, and Patrick’s smile turns wistful. He grabs Jonny’s wrist, thumbing at the knob of it with a gentle touch. His hands are perfect. On ice. Off ice. It doesn’t matter, they just are.

He just is.

“You can. You jus’ won’t,” Patrick corrects, with no heat or trace of anger in his voice. There's only a quiet resignation that makes Jonny feel bare, empty.

Patrick lets go and shoves his arms under his pillow how he likes to sleep.

“Ask me again if you remember," Jonny offers, and carefully covers Patrick up to his chin so he doesn’t get cold. He always complains about that.

“I'll remember,” Patrick mumbles with a yawn, then he falls asleep all at once, breathing deeply, peacefully. He’s so beautiful, Jonny almost reconsiders and slides in next to him.

Instead, he brushes his fingers through Patrick's hair, and leans down to press a shaky kiss to his temple.

“So will I,” Jonny whispers, and then goes.

Chapter Text

Days pass, and they don’t talk about it, not that the chance really presents itself. 

There’s hockey. The break. More important things.

Jonny feels stupid for thinking they might finally be headed somewhere, that Patrick could want him back in the same way Jonny’s wanted him for longer than he can put a definitive number on.

It happened slowly, building over the years, then all at once. Too hard, too fast. Irreversibly, Jonny thinks. He wanted it so badly, when Patrick batted those pretty eyelashes and asked him to stay, then promised to remember, it was simple for part of him to believe the fairytale in his head: Though he desperately wanted to stay that night, the right thing to do was go. It was right. They would acknowledge it later. It was happening. It was just the beginning.

Hope is a dangerous thing.

After a while, it’s even simpler to convince himself that Patrick did remember, but he didn’t mean it seriously. He couldn't have. He acts exactly same: Reserved with a streak of arrogance that used to grate at Jonny before he found it sexy. Casual and joking with their teammates, always the center of attention, somehow.

Patrick’s letting it roll effortlessly off his back, like so much else does, but Jonny can't seem to shake his mind of anything but him. It doesn't help that he’s always around.

His chest is tight when they’re alone together in a way it never was before, the things unsaid between them knotting up inside him. It's better that way, because if Jonny says anything at all, everything will come rushing out.

Then where would they be?

+

Jonny senses Patrick’s concern as it grows.

He's been distant, clipped and disconnected in a way he hasn't been with Patrick since rookies, when they were getting to know each other, exhausted and irritable under the pressure to prove themselves. He knows what normal feels like between them, and this isn't it.

So does Patrick.

It’s a practice day when Patrick catches up to him in the parking garage at Johnny’s on his way out.

“Dude, what’s up with you?” he asks, bumping into him, his hair still damp from the shower. He matches Jonny’s stride and walks too closely.

Jonny wishes he weren't so aware of it, suddenly overheated and perpetually bogged down by the weight of his unrequited feelings. He's tried to keep it cool around the team—he’s the Captain, he has to—but alone, it’s hard to do anything but see to the root of the issue.

Still, he tries.

“What do you mean?” Jonny deflects innocently, nudging him back.

“What do you mean, what do I mean?” Patrick says, accusatory, thick brows furrowing as he licks at his lips in budding frustration. The automatic, unthinking way he does it is so distracting, Jonny can't stand it. “You've said like, ten fucking words to me all week.”

“I'm just doin’ my job, Kaner,” Jonny answers flatly. This is not something he wants to get into here, but Patrick yanks his arm to bring him to an unexpected halt anyway, because nothing ever happens how Jonny wants it to.

“Jonny, c’mon,” Patrick pleads, a whisper of desperation his voice, an edge of panic. “I just. What's wrong?”

I'm in love with you, Jonny thinks. That's what’s wrong. It rips him up, clawing and scratching at his insides. It must be so obvious, pathetic. He can't make his mouth move.

“I'm just doing what I thought you wanted,” Patrick continues, confused. There's a redness, the beginning of tears, forming in his eyes. Jonny’s seen it before, in nearly every circumstance imaginable over the course of their time together: When Patrick’s homesickness would reach its peak. When a movie is too sad or he’s laughing so hard his stomach cramps. When he’s hurt or in trouble, blindingly angry at himself. When they won it all.

Jonny’s not sure he's ever seen it coupled with the fear he sees reflected in Patrick's eyes now. He wants things to be normal.

Jonny can do normal for him. He has to.

He smiles at him as convincingly as possible, playfully shoving at his shoulder, mussing his hair in the process. He won't jeopardize what they're building here for something inside him that spiraled out of control. Jonny's only got himself to blame for that, and he can take it.

He plays it off, like Patrick would. “Jesus, Peeks, we're good. Lighten up.”

Patrick blows out a breath, searching Jonny's face. His hair is sticking up, and Jonny tries to forget how it felt to tenderly ease his fingers through it.

“You swear?”

Jonny snorts a laugh, and lies.

+

Jonny wakes from his nap feeling groggy and disoriented, like he slept for too long and not long enough all at once.

His dreams have been exhausting, leaving him tossing and turning, restless. He’s often running after something he can’t quite catch, panting and frantic until he's gassed. Sometimes it’s Patrick, laughing and beckoning over his shoulder, or screaming for Jonny to wake up and listen, to help him.

Other times, he's chasing a version of himself that looks happier somehow, more fulfilled, and always just out of reach. Sadly, it's a lot like being awake.

Jonny rolls over for a stretch, yawning deeply and cracking his back, then he reaches for his phone on the bedside table. He has two eerily similar texts, one from Patrick, and another from Patrick Sharp:

comin to sharpy and crow’s bday thing tonight?

You're coming to my party tonight. 8:30. Suck it up.

Isn’t that just fucking great? Two things he doesn't need. Firstly, a party he’d all but forgotten about. Secondly, Sharpy in his business, acting as a voice of wisdom and reason or some other superior bullshit. Patrick probably told him everything.

Jonny groans and punches out quick responses to both of them:

Yeah.

Don't tell me what to do.

Then Jonny gets up, and very, very reluctantly, does it anyway.

+

Jonny imagines he could come up with at least ten different things he'd rather be doing pretty quickly. Bag skates at the United Center, battle drills, or wall sits. Getting a tooth pulled. Whatever. Anything would be preferable to sitting stuck at a bar that's much too loud, watching Patrick dazzle a crowd.

Jonny never noticed it quite like this before, because he’s always in the throes of it, looking at Patrick, too. Now, he's doing his best to look, mostly, at the people around him.

They're like moths to a flame, Frolik and Shawzy at his left and right at all times, Sharpy coming over to tease him. He’s not jealous. Patrick’s better suited for the attention.

Jonny just wishes it didn’t hurt so much, now, to give Patrick his.

Across the room, he’s smiling brightly, animated as he reenacts one of the many idiotic things Shawzy did in practice. Everyone laughs. Jonny understands the fascination. Patrick’s energy is an easy thing to get wrapped up in.

He takes a sip of whatever potent concoction he’s surely drinking, and Jonny’s caught when suddenly Patrick’s eyes are on him. He deliberately holds Patrick’s gaze for a second too long before turning away.

Patrick looks good, relaxed and soft in dark jeans that hug all the right places and a sweater that actually fits him for once. His sleeves are pushed up, his forearms and wrists left bare.

Those haunt him. After Patrick’s surgery, Jonny developed a habit of tracking the left one as he stick-handled and took wrister after wrister, checking and rechecking for some sign that Patrick could still be in pain and not telling anyone.

“Getting stronger every day,” Patrick would say, and Jonny watched until he believed it.

It’s not something he’s been able to break.

“You could just talk, ya know?” Brent says gruffly, and Jonny gives him a look.

“Stay out of it.”

“Stay out of what exactly?” Brent baits him, and Jonny rolls his eyes.

“Nice try.”

Jonny gets up and walks toward the bar to get another beer.

“You're impossible, kid,” Brent calls.

He doesn't turn around.

+

Her name is Sydney.

“With a ‘y’ so not like Crosby,” she tells him, like it holds some key relevance.

Her hair is red and her tits are huge. Jonny couldn't possibly be less interested, but objectively speaking, she's hot enough to distract him for the moment.

“Pretty good guy, I hear,” Jonny shrugs. “You could share a name with worse.”

She chuckles.

He buys her a drink, and she downs it.

“You wanna dance?” she asks, licking her lips in a move meant to seduce, but it only makes Jonny think of another set of lips entirely.

He doesn't want to dance, but he's had a couple, and reluctantly as he came in the first place, he agrees.

+

They don't make it to the dance floor.

Jonny’s walking behind her, steeling himself, then suddenly he's being dragged in a different direction, fingers tight around his wrist.

It's Patrick. He’s too surprised to resist, too uncaring to give her a second thought. She’ll turn around, and he'll be gone.

Once they disappear into the crowd, Jonny pulls them to a halt, and Patrick turns on him.

“What are you doing?” Jonny asks, blinking. At the very least, this is a blatant cock-blocking violation.

“You didn't wanna do that,” Patrick says simply. It's not fair how sure he sounds. “I'm helping you out.”

“Helping me out,” Jonny repeats with an exhale that comes out like a laugh. “Sure, Kaner.”

“You denying it?” Patrick presses. “You wanted to?”

“No,” Jonny admits. “I don't even want to be here.”

“Then we should leave,” Patrick suggests.

Jonny’s shocked still when Patrick takes a step closer and gently grips Jonny’s first two fingers in a whisper of handholding. He asks, tense and beseeching, “Why are you doing this?”

“You know why,” Patrick insists.

Jonny lets him further tangle their fingers. It's so fucking idiotic the way his heart flutters in his chest.

“I don't, actually.”

Patrick answers in a way that doesn't make sense at first, until it does. “I didn't forget.”

Jonny blows out breath, “Patrick, please—”

“Jonny, I’m so tired,” Patrick stresses, “Do you know how exhausting it is to keep—”

“To keep what?” Jonny pushes back, on edge. He doesn't know anything about being tired, about wanting and—

“Dance with me,” Patrick blurts, and Jonny feels whiplashed with the change of direction, much like when Patrick dragged him off to begin with.

“What?”

“You were gonna do it with her,” Patrick starts, determined, like he's somehow entitled to anything Jonny would dare do with someone else. “Dance with me instead.”

Jonny’s head is swimming, and somewhere in the midst of every conflicting emotion, he forgets to object.

The song changes, the bass beats in his ears. It's hot, sticky. Patrick’s ass is perfectly situated against his crotch, and Jonny’s hands are on his hips, mouth near his neck.

They're dancing.

It feels like a dream.

Chapter Text

Patrick reaches behind to grip the back of Jonny’s neck, squeezing as they sway, thinly concealed in a crowd of bodies.

It's nothing elaborate. Regardless of what Patrick thinks, he can't dance like this any better than Jonny can. He’s certainly witnessed it enough over the years to know, though his experience is obviously limited to Patrick on the other side, his arms around the waist of whichever thin, bright-faced brunette has caught his eye for the night. He rarely strays from his type, and Jonny realizes belatedly, that apart from size, he still hasn’t.

Patrick’s not exactly as petite as Jonny’s usual either, but he’s struggling more than ever to keep his boner in check as Patrick grinds into him, an insistent pressure that only makes his body scream for more. It’s far beyond what discretion would allow, if they were using any.

Just exhibiting the modest level of restraint this qualifies for requires maximum effort, even without imagining it all explicitly, but Jonny lets himself picture what they look like, anyway: his mouth dangerously close to the skin beneath Patrick’s ear; Patrick leaned into him so perfectly, his head tilted to the side to give more access. They’re barely moving now, caught in the tension, the anticipation of how far it might go. Jonny digs his fingers into flesh and fabric to keep them from shaking. He can't think. It all feels so good, a disorienting temptation.

More than that, it feels right.

His lips graze Patrick’s skin. It’s so easy.

“Do it, Jonny,” he hears, spoken just loudly enough for him to make out the words. Patrick’s bitten nails scratch at his nape. “You can. Don’t be scared.”

“I’m—” not scared , is what Jonny means to say in protest, but it's a lie he can’t tell anymore. The crack in his voice would betray him, even if he wanted to. “—I am, Kaner.”

Patrick turns suddenly in his arms, putting a hand to the center of Jonny’s chest. He grips his shirt like he grips Jonny’s jersey on ice sometimes, the parallel staggering, before he says, “Come back to my place.”

Jonny swallows the lump in his throat on Patrick’s name. He feels exposed, like how much he wants to is written across his face. He searches Patrick’s to find him clear-eyed as he stares up at Jonny, beseeching.

His eyes shift around them, then he adds, “C’mon, we can't do it here.”

“Do what here?” Jonny asks.

Patrick adjusts his grip to Jonny’s collar, another familiar move, and Jonny allows himself to be pulled down until he’s where Patrick wants him, mouth at his ear. To a stranger who missed the last three minutes between them, it might look fairly innocent, like Jonny couldn't hear for the noise, so Patrick shortened the distance. They’ve been closer on ice, in front of thousands. Whatever, no big deal.

To one who’s been watching at all, well—they’re fucked.

“Would you just give it a rest already?” Patrick asks on an exhale that tickles. Jonny shivers and lets his eyes fall closed, draws in a shaky breath. He eases his hands up Patrick’s sides, feels his ribcage expand and contract with each of his own.

Jonny can’t fucking think like this, and for once in his life, he wonders if he shouldn’t.

You can. You just won't.

Give it a rest.

Stay.

Jonny clears his mind of every would-be good reason standing in his way.

“Let’s go.”

+

It's too hot in the cab.

Jonny thinks about cracking his window, but Patrick would whine. It's a calming thought, predictable and grounding. Things might be changing one way or the other, but Patrick would never pass up a chance to complain about being cold.

Jonny wipes his palms on his pants and glances over at him, thighs spread across the back seat. Unless you know what his tells are, Patrick’s the picture of ease, in a casual slouch with his hands draped between his legs: He idly picks at his nails. The corner of his mouth twitches. He chews at the inside of his lower lip. All are tiny outlets for the never-ending energy, nervous and otherwise, beneath the surface of his cool composure. It's satisfying, on some self-indulgent level, that Jonny knows them well.

He wonders if Patrick's thinking about him amidst his idle fidgeting, and notes that if he shifted only an inch over, their thighs would be touching.

Patrick turns his head to meet Jonny’s eyes, and after a moment spent staring, his lips curve into a subtle, unthinking smile.

Jonny’s stomach flips. It always does, when Patrick looks at him that way. He hasn’t figured out how to make it stop yet. He watches Patrick size up the minimal distance between them, then let his legs widen further until there’s none.

Patrick leaves it, and after a minute, Jonny reciprocates with equal subtlety, resting his hand on his own thigh, close enough that he can reach, with the tips of his fingers, and touch Patrick’s.

His chest flutters, despite the moment’s innocence.

We can’t do it here.

Come home with me.

It's happening.

+

It all amplifies once they get inside, everything between them amassing into something tangible, so big it’s nearly suffocating. It makes Patrick’s massive kitchen seem smaller somehow.

Jonny’s sat on this same stool countless times, but never in the face of possibilities that translated beyond wistful scenarios in his head. The anticipation has him on edge, vibrating out of his skin.

When he was here last, things were different—innocent, simple enough. It’s always been so easy. This time, Jonny feels unsettled, eyes glued to Patrick, leaned against the island opposite him. Patrick sips his water, and Jonny’s throat suddenly feels dry as he watches him swallow, the heat in his cheeks spreading to his middle when Patrick grins knowingly behind his glass.

Jonny wants.

He wonders what it’ll cost him.

“You’re thinking too much,” Patrick says, disrupting the silence. He slides the water to him without another word.

Jonny blows out a quiet, incredulous breath and shakes his head: Patrick’s reads of him are annoyingly spot on. He’s honest enough to admit that it used to drive him nuts, how Patrick could see to the core of him so easily. It’s tough when there’s nowhere to hide. Jonny's got no idea why he ever thought he could play this off once it reached its peak.

He drums his fingertips against the glass before lifting it for a drink, and counters, “Maybe you're not thinking enough.”

“I know what I want,” Patrick says with resolution and an unmistakable edge of stubbornness. “I've thought about it plenty.”

“Patrick...”

“I'm tired, Jonny.”

“You said that earlier,” Jonny reminds him.

“I mean it,” Patrick says, “I know you think—” He steels himself, eyebrows knit together. “Nobody thinks I’m serious about anything, but I am.”

Jonny blinks at him, face hot. His heart is beating so wildly in his chest he wonders if Patrick can hear it.

“Then what—”

Jonny stops himself, drawing in a deep breath.

What took you so long?

He guesses Patrick could ask him the same question, but regardless, the words won't come out. It’s all so close to everything he's imagined, it threatens to knock the wind out of him.

He squeezes Patrick’s glass in his hand so tightly, he’s afraid it might break.

He might break.

“You said no,” Patrick shrugs, a level of vulnerability in his voice that wasn't there before. “Then you started brushing me off, and I—I thought I was fucking it all up.”

“And now?” Jonny asks.

“I think pretending I don’t want what I want is what's fucking it all up.”

“What do you want?”

Patrick makes his way around the counter, each step slow, deliberate, until he’s there, wedging himself between Jonny’s thighs. The beginning of an answer.

Their eyes are locked, heavy and searching, until they’re not. Jonny’s always been better at staredowns. Patrick’s quicker to break and duck his gaze—sometimes with a weakly-suppressed smile and a soft flush, other times with a mumbled curse and rolling eyes.

This time, it’s the former, and it’s brief, because Jonny puts a finger beneath Patrick’s chin and tilts up until his eyes are back where he wants them.

He’s used to sharing space with Patrick. They’ve been in each other’s faces enough, screaming at the top of their lungs, both in anger and celebration. This intimacy is different, and along with it, everything so carefully shoved to the depths rushes to the surface. It sends a shiver up Jonny’s spine, an insistent warmth to his belly.

“Let's go to my room,” Patrick suggests.

“Patrick,” Jonny whispers again, gazing into blue eyes he could easily drown in if he just—

“No excuses, right?” Patrick tells him. His fingers dig into Jonny’s thighs so hard it might hurt if Jonny weren’t so preoccupied, caught in a war with himself over what he wants and what he thinks, realistically, he can have and what he can endure, if this turns out to be only for the night. “You always say that. You want something? You stay focused, and you don’t let anything fuck it up. I won’t, Jonny. I—”

Jonny cuts him off with his mouth, absorbing Patrick’s words and the muted gasp that follows them. He must’ve thought Jonny would take more convincing, and he seemed prepared to do it, but once Jonny’s lips are on Patrick’s, he curses himself for having waited so long.

Kissing Patrick is everything he always imagined it would be: full of energy and sprinkled with softness, a captivating game of give and take. Jonny quickly discovers how much Patrick likes to use his tongue to set the pace, skillfully teasing with languid licks when he wants to slow down. His lips are exactly as velvety- smooth as Jonny suspected they were.

He can barely fucking believe it, even as he cradles Patrick’s face in his own two hands and breathes him in. He jumps when chilly fingertips slip beneath his shirt unexpectedly, breaking the kiss, and Patrick chuckles, a breathless, happy sound that Jonny wants to commit to memory.

He deliberately flattens his palm against Jonny’s stomach, a smirk in his voice, “Cold?”

“Little bit,” Jonny mumbles, easing his own hands into Patrick’s hair, just short of being long enough to pull effectively. It seems forever ago that he last touched him this way, golden strands between his fingers for a brief moment as Patrick slept. Jonny wouldn’t stay then, but he will tonight. “You still wanna go?”

Jonny feels the smile against his mouth just before Patrick kisses him again, then answers, “So fucking bad,” before stepping back to give Jonny space to get down.

+

The trip upstairs is a blur, a mess of kisses and hands tugging hard at fabric, fingers fumbling buttons and belts. Patrick puts him against the wall before they make it down the hall, and Jonny doesn’t fight it, easy for the way Patrick’s rubbing against him, on his tiptoes to reach Jonny’s mouth.

By the time they get to his room, Jonny’s shirt is halfway off, and Patrick’s jeans are open. He hopes it’s just the beginning, but if they stopped right now, it’s already more than Jonny ever thought he would get, his hands and mouth on Patrick, willing and eager to touch and be touched back.

They separate for a moment to breathe, chests heaving in perfect synchrony. Jonny does his best to commit everything to memory: Patrick’s lips—red, wet and slightly parted—his cheeks flushed, his hair sticking up where Jonny’s hands have been in it. He’s gorgeous, standing just close enough for Jonny to grab him and reel him back in, but he doesn’t.

Not yet.

For now, he’s content to watch, soaking it all in as Patrick reaches behind his head for his collar, slowly pulling his sweater off. Jonny finishes the last of his buttons, dropping his own shirt to the floor.

In the flurry of their overwhelming first kiss and the commotion of making it upstairs, it was simple to just do, to act and not think. Now, in the quiet space between them, Jonny can only think of the significance of being here with him, what could happen going forward. He can admit he’s never wanted anything this badly, this unconditionally. It scares the everloving shit out of him, his stomach in a knot of nerves.

Stay .

He will.

For as long as Patrick wants.

Jonny keeps his eyes on him, even as Patrick’s roam his body, unchecked. He likes for Patrick to see him. He likes the way Patrick’s eyes widen, just slightly, when he reaches for his belt even more.

“What do you want, Patrick?” Jonny asks, unsure of what’s next, caught in the anticipation, again, of all the places they could take this.

The ideas are there.

He’s thought of fucking Patrick more than he cares to acknowledge, long and hard and thoroughly. He’s contemplated the sounds Patrick might make, how his eyes might screw shut as Jonny pushes inside him, how tight he might be…

He’s not sure either of them are ready for that reality. The thought alone has him nearly vibrating out of his skin, dizzy with want.

He’s thought about sucking Patrick off in nearly every scenario imaginable.

Some are more realistic than others, of course. On ice, after a filthy goal isn’t exactly feasible, despite the relentless urge to do so; but on Jonny’s couch, after an Xbox tournament or in their hotel room after a game…

That’s doable.

He’s thought about how it would feel to get on his knees for him, to see Patrick on his. To have Patrick at his most vulnerable, to take him in his hand…

Jonny wants so much, all at once. What he wants the most, though, is time and opportunity to do it all.

“I wanna come with you,” Patrick replies, retreating until his thighs hit mattress. He pushes his jeans down, stepping out of them before he eases back onto his massive bed, sliding effortlessly across silk sheets.

His socks are still on.

Jonny finds it completely ridiculous and overwhelmingly endearing.

“Unless you just wanna stand there?” Patrick says, teasingly flat, propped back on his hands as he waits. His stomach flexes when he chuckles at his own joke, the hard line of his dick visible beneath his boxers.

Jonny huffs a laugh in return, and it comes out bewildered.

It’s all so fucking unbelievable, so instead of thinking, he acts, stripping to his underwear and making his way to the bed. He knee-walks forward until there’s nowhere to go but on top of him, and Patrick smiles, corner of his mouth twitching.

Time stands still as Jonny leans in, only for Patrick to meet him halfway, and it’s so simple to pick up right where they left off, with slow, electric kisses that build and build. Patrick falls back onto his excessive pile of pillows, and Jonny blankets him with his body, careful of his weight while keeping contact. Patrick’s hands are all over him, exploratory in a way that’s new and exhilarating.

“Fuck, you feel good,” Patrick murmurs, punctuated with a squeeze, fingertips digging into Jonny’s back. “I knew you would, but I—Shit, Jonny, I can’t—”

I can’t.

Jonny pulls back from where he’d been kissing along Patrick’s neck, a frisson of panic spreading through him, afraid Patrick’s decided he wants to stop. He knows the feeling well—teetering on the edge of giving in, so close to falling, then brought to an abrupt halt by some potent combination of reason and self-preservation.

Jonny’s too far gone to turn back, but maybe Patrick isn’t.

“Should I—?” Jonny asks, withdrawing a bit more, only for Patrick to tighten his hold.

He smiles with a fondness that shines through blue eyes and brings one hand between them to gently stroke Jonny’s cheek. The touch tickles, soothes his worries as it resonates to the deepest parts of him.

“You look so serious right now,” Patrick says, and Jonny’s answering smile is bashful, automatic. He feels himself relax in the face of Patrick’s amusement, as enveloped in his ease as he is the arm around him.

“I was just—making sure you didn’t want me to stop,” Jonny explains, and Patrick huffs, incredulous, even though it’s a recurring nightmare of his: They start making out. Jonny bares himself to Patrick in more ways than one, and then Patrick gets up and leaves, unfazed and laughing at him over his shoulder.

The possibility of that happening now makes him feel sick, split open.

“I’ve thought about this a million times,” Patrick tells him, voice dropping low. His eyes shift to Jonny’s mouth, his next words coming out like he’s embarrassed to say them: “Never thought about you stopping.”

“Yeah, I think about it a lot,” Jonny confesses, “But never that.”

“What do you think about then?” Patrick challenges, one hand moving to Jonny’s nape, the other easing down his back.

Jonny presses their lips together, once, his cheeks flushing red at all the fantasies on the tip of his tongue.

“This,” he says quietly, unable to articulate any of it, but ready to show him. He slides his palm down the length Patrick’s thigh, and Patrick flexes, muscles tensing in his grip. He marvels at the strength he knows these thighs to possess, the raw skill in the hands that touch him—the things Jonny fell in love with first.

When he reaches the bend of Patrick’s knee, Jonny hitches his leg up around his waist, situates himself perfectly between them. “And this—”

He gently rolls his hips until he can feel Patrick’s hardness against his own, the friction dizzying, so delicious. “Everything, Kaner.”

“Mmm, yeah,” Patrick moans, encouraging him with a firm hand to his ass as they kiss, whining into Jonny’s mouth when he grinds harder, with purpose. “Don’t stop.”

“I’m not,” Jonny assures him, “I won’t.”

Patrick said he wanted to come together, after all.

Much like on the dancefloor back at the bar, it’s nothing elaborate, but in every way, it’s perfect, a mess worth making over and over. Their kisses are sloppy in their desperation, wet and biting. Patrick pants roughly beneath him, like rubbing their dicks together through their underwear is the best fucking thing he’s ever felt.

Jonny sets a rhythm, feels Patrick slip his hand beneath his waistband, fingertips pressing into flesh, “You feel unbelievable, Jonny. I’m gonna come if you—”

“Yeah?” Jonny asks, breathless, hard enough to feel lightheaded. “That good?”

“Fuck yeah,” Patrick says, tugging Jonny back in with the arm looped around his neck. “Just keep kissin’ me.”

It’s not a hardship to listen, Patrick’s mouth a constant temptation at rest. When asking to be kissed, it’s irresistible.

Jonny moves his hips in sharp, pointed thrusts in a simulated fuck, and Patrick gasps into his mouth on each one, louder as he grows closer. Jonny loves to hear him, and it’s so fucking surreal, the things he murmurs under his breath—

“So good,” “Please, baby,” “Jonny, Jonny, Jonny.”

No amount of daydreaming could have prepared him for this: Patrick a writhing mess beneath him, so completely into it—into him . Jonny’s overcome with sensation, doing his best to hold it together for Patrick to finish. He thought his days of coming like this, so simply, were behind him, but he can feel the pressure building deep in his own belly with each roll of his hips, the throb in his cock, spiraling.

“I’ve wanted this, Patrick,” Jonny says, unchecked. “I wanted to stay that night, but I never thought you—”

“Jonny .”

—I’ve always wanted you.”

“Oh, fuck!” Patrick cries, going taut all over as his orgasm hits. He immediately shoves his hand into his boxers to grip his cock, vigorously pumping his fist inside as he shoots, the dark spot growing larger.

Jonny braces over him, watching Patrick as his eyes squeeze closed and his mouth goes slack in a long, drawn out groan. Jonny follows suit and gets a hand on himself, and after only two tight strokes, he’s coming, too, in a burst of pleasure that leaves him struggling to hold himself up.

“Shit, oh shit,” Jonny moans in relief, out of his mind. Maybe rubbing their dicks together through their underwear is the best thing he’s ever felt. “Fuck!”

The head of his cock slips from its confines, a few spurts of come dripping onto Patrick’s stomach. He watches in awe as Patrick lightly runs his fingers through it, then sticks the tips of them into his mouth to suck, filthy and unashamed.

“Oh my fucking God,” Jonny says on an emphatic, shaky exhale, toppling over beside him, unimaginably turned on after that, but spent for the moment. Patrick’s trying to kill him, that much is clear. Jonny grabs him by the shoulders to haul him where he wants, close enough to kiss, to chase the taste of himself from Patrick’s tongue.

They both sound like they just finished a bag skate, breathing hard into the kiss and after, curled in on each other as they come down in relative silence.

Jonny feels loose, sated, blinking his eyes open after a minute to find Patrick’s closed, his lips parted as he breathes quietly. He looks so peaceful, so beautiful. Jonny can’t imagine having him—having this—for only one night.

He can’t. He—

“You’re thinking too much again,” Patrick whispers, without moving otherwise. “Shhhh.”

“I didn’t even say—”

“Shhhh. It doesn’t matter, I can hear you,” Patrick tells him, a teasing smile spreading to his cheeks. He opens his eyes, and Jonny’s struck by how open he seems, softer at his edges with no secrets between them anymore. He can’t help but reach out, press his palm to Patrick’s cheek.

“What now?” Jonny asks, nervous.

The question feels too big for the simplicity of the moment, but he has to ask. He has to know.

“Well,” Patrick shrugs. “Give me twenty for a nap, and we can go again. Maybe without any clothes this time.”

While that sounds fucking delightful, and his dick agrees, it’s not exactly what—

“Then we can sleep, and I’ll let you take me to breakfast in the morning,” Patrick adds, smile cheeky and unfairly breathtaking.

“‘Let me,’” Jonny huffs, “How kind of you.”

He kisses Patrick at the corner of his shit-eating grin, because he can’t help it, and when he pulls back again, Patrick looks as serious as he always accuses Jonny of being.

“I wanna do this, Jonny,” Patrick says, placing his hand over Jonny’s on his face. “I mean it. I’ve—” He pauses, contemplative. “You think you’ve been alone, but you haven’t.”

Jonny feels something inside him unknot at Patrick’s words, a weight being lifted from him. All this time…

He wasn’t alone.

“You think we could?”

“I know we could,” Patrick says. He takes Jonny’s hand, tangling their fingers together. “I know we have to try.”

“Why’s that?” Jonny asks, struggling to keep his face from doing something embarrassing.

“Because. When you care about someone,” Patrick starts, holding his gaze. “When you love someone, you can’t be afraid to stick your neck out for ‘em, right?”  

Jonny remembers those words. He said them to Patrick what seems like forever ago, when all he wanted to do was protect him—from himself and everyone else.

Jonny loved him then. Patrick loves him now.

It’s everything.

He smiles, blushing, and lifts their joined hands to his mouth to kiss Patrick’s knuckles.

“See, you do listen to me.”

“Yeah, sometimes.” Patrick huffs a laugh, “Don’t get too used to it.”

“Wouldn’t dare,” Jonny says, scooting closer because he can, heart fluttering in his chest, butterflies in his stomach. There are so many things they need to talk about, but it can wait. They have time, and for the first time in forever, Jonny feels like he can relax.

“Hey, Jonny,” Patrick says after a minute, his voice just above a rough whisper as he leans in. “You can get used to this though.”

Jonny smiles against Patrick’s mouth, kissing him slowly, tenderly…

“I plan on it.”