Sid tugged and yanked at his arms, but he couldn't dislodge Alex's arms from where they were, securely wrapped around his entire torso. Everyone else was simply skating around them, concentrating on their warm-ups and not even giving them more than a glance.
"Get off me," he snapped, because seriously -- they had a hockey game and he did not need Alex fucking around.
Alex leaned in and kissed -- oh, God no he licked Sid's cheek. "Pre-season, Sid, nobody care!"
Sid looked over his shoulder, incredulous. "I care! You care, too, don't lie to me. Everybody in this arena cares. Small children in Novgorod care about this game." He held his glare, pretending he wasn't teasing, but Alex was just laughing in his face, pressing his nose close and getting a good sniff. Sid shoved his glove in Alex's face, trying to shove backwards, but it was like trying to handle an over-eager, squirming puppy the size of a bear.
"Yes, when game starts, we all care. Now, though, nobody cares." He waggled his eyebrows at Sid, which was not at all charming, no matter what Alex thought. Sid found himself suddenly skating backwards as Alex took control, pushing them around in a long arc, away from the Pens' side and towards the opposite wall.
It was almost like dancing, if you considered that neither of them could dance, and neither of them particularly cared about dancing unless they'd had several strong beers and had been forced into going by their friends (mostly Zhenya, who liked laughing at them and making mocking noises like he wasn't just as eager as the rest of them to find his mate and settle down and be just as ridiculous as Sid and Alex were.)
"Not going to see you for three whole weeks after tomorrow," Alex said, as if he thought Sid didn't know. Their teams both allowed as much personal travel as they could, scheduling days off when Sid or Alex could hop on a plane and spend a few hours with one another before meeting up with their respective teams in yet another city. The NHL claimed they tried to take mated pairs into account when they set the schedule, but everyone knew that was flatly impossible, given the sheer number of factors to take into account before you ever got to who was mated to whom.
The Player's Union liked to argue that mates should be required to get traded to one another's teams and sometimes that's what teams did. But nobody expected the Penguins or the Capitals to give up their star player. (Several teams generously offered to take them both. As if, Sid thought, he ever wanted to be other than a Penguin.)
Sometimes Sid wished he'd bonded to someone who didn't play hockey. Someone who'd be content to travel with him, maybe a trainer or a staff member or even one of the reporters. Someone nice and quiet and normal.
But in the middle of the night, when he was wrapped up in bed with his mate, sound asleep and sprawled across Sid's body, he had to admit that of all the people he'd ever met, all the wolves he'd ever thought that maybe he could be interested in them, he fit the best with Alex Ovechkin. As opposite as they were, with Alex out-going and quite frankly a little bit nuts, and Sid preferring to stay home and just watch tv or read, they fit together like -- well, of course like they'd been fated.
It didn't help times like now, when Alex wouldn't let go of him and wouldn't stop licking his cheek and neck and there were cameras and phones aimed at them by the hundreds and all of this spectacle was going to be on the internet in seconds. It helped not in the slightest that they were in Pittsburgh. Pens fans weren't any less eager for video of their Captain being mauled and slobbered on by his mate.
"Are you going to let me go any time soon?" Sid asked, resigned. Alex hadn't let up at all and was slowly skating backwards in a long loop, avoiding a collision with any of his teammates mostly because they got out of his way.
"No. Hey, what say you and me take on both teams? Hockey three-way. Think we beat?"
Sid grinned, then laughed as he imagined it. Three nets, both of them versus a full team of five. Of course Alex would insist they could win. But -- now he was thinking it, thinking how ridiculous and absurd it would be, and he realised that somehow they were going to have to try it. Maybe in the summer they could rig up a rink, invite their friends to gang up on them and try it.
"You're such a goofball," Sid said, but he couldn't stop smiling, and he knew this was probably why he'd bonded to someone like Alex. No one made him so fucking happy. Alex loved hockey as much as he did, understood how it was more important that almost anything. But he pulled Sid away from taking things too seriously, and he gave Sid an excuse to just let go of it all for awhile and relax. For his part, Sid knew he anchored Alex, gave him a sense of stability and security that he wouldn't otherwise have. Sid suspected Alex would have been even wilder and crazier if he didn't have a mate to steady him.
Not that Alex ever acted any less crazy. Right now he was working hard to make Sid laugh even as they were getting ready for a game -- a game which didn't technically count but was just as important to win and play well as any other. And Alex knew that, knew that once the whistle blew it was all-hockey, and his attempts to distract Sid would be to gain the upper hand and score and not just to make Sid laugh.
Alex was watching him now, a proud smile on his face and he smelled so joyful that Sid couldn't help but stick his nose in closer and take a big whiff. All the tension drained out of his muscles as the scent of his mate -- happy and enjoying himself and close -- filled his nostrils.
Alex leaned in, mouth close to Sid's ear, and whispered, "Gonna beat you, 5 to 0," he said, his tone soft and gentle like he was whispering love words.
Sid bit him.