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Like a Clown

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“We’re home,” Sid said softly.

Olli stirred from his slump against the passenger door. “Fuck.” He picked himself up and pulled himself together, and Sid followed him up the garage steps. Olli’s feet dragged, and he just about tripped over the threshold.

“How’s the nose?” Sid said, once the door swung shut behind them.

“Hurts,” Olli said shortly. Fair enough.

“Come on, we’ll get you some more ice.” Dutifully Olli followed him into the kitchen. By the time Sid had retrieved a bag of peas from the freezer – years out of date and kept solely for this purpose, because sometimes the classics really were the best – Olli had settled onto a chair and looked more than half asleep again. “Come on,” Sid said, squeezing Olli’s shoulder. “You don’t want to have to get up again later.”

Fuck,” Olli said, but with more feeling this time. He didn’t quite doze off on the way up the stairs, but Sid judged it a near thing. He grabbed a washcloth from the bathroom, wrapped the peas up in it, and sat next to Olli, sitting on the edge of the bed in a slump. Sid turned on the bedside lamp.

Olli’s nose was almost comically swollen, like something out of a cartoon, a bright pink blob in the center of his pale face. Olli grimaced under Sid’s inspection and then appeared to regret it. He held out his hand for the peas. Wordlessly Sid handed them over. Olli held them to his face and then flinched as soon as he made contact. “Fucking Sissons,” he muttered, and tried again. He hissed at the pressure to his nose, but he squeezed his eyes shut and kept the peas where they were.

Gently Sid kissed his temple. “Be right back,” he said, heading for the bathroom. By the time he’d taken a leak and brushed his teeth, he was moving a little stiffly – his hip still ached from that awkward fall into the boards two games ago. His sprained wrist twinged, and his ankle was bitching at him again.

He was, in other words, the picture of health compared to most guys on the team.

He came out of the bathroom to find Olli sprawled sideways across the bed, the peas still lying on his face. His mouth was gapped open; he wasn’t breathing all that well through his nose right now.

“Probably want to be under the covers,” Sid said.

Olli grumbled under his breath, fluidly enough that it was probably in Finnish, and his eyes stayed shut. Ever so carefully, Sid lifted the cold pack away from Olli’s face. Olli heaved a sigh out his mouth. It stirred the array of pale, nearly colorless hairs lining his upper lip. Before Sid could change his mind – he still, three years into this, sometimes had to fight his instincts when it came to Olli – he bent down, angled sideways to avoid Olli’s nose, and pressed a kiss to his lips.

Olli stiffened. Sid pulled back just far enough to look into Olli’s wide, blue eyes. “Hi,” Sid said.

An unwilling smile pulled at the corners of Olli’s mouth. “Hi, Sid.” He ran his hand up Sid’s side, along Sid’s ribs. Sid couldn’t quite contain a shiver, and Olli grinned openly now, smugly pleased with himself. He tugged on Sid’s shoulder, and Sid bent to kiss him again.

They broke it off before long. The ache was settling fiercely into Sid’s hip, and Olli was peering cross-eyed down his nose again – probably the numbness from the peas had worn off.

There was no point asking him if he wanted to brush his teeth. “Covers,” Sid said instead, tugging, and this time Olli struggled upright just long enough for Sid to turn the duvet down, so they could both crawl underneath. Sid hit the light.

They both hurt in too many places to want to cuddle, and it was too warm for it anyway. But Sid inched across the bed to sneak one last kiss. “Your mustache tickles,” he told Olli.

“Like you can talk,” Olli mumbled, already half-gone. “Fuzzface.”

Delight fizzed in Sid’s chest, and something else, too: deeper and fiercer. He pressed a hand to Olli’s bare chest, and he closed his eyes.

[end]