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The Exception

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A year or two ago, it wouldn’t have been like this.

Crosby would have taken him out to a nice dinner, where the whole time they would have sat rigidly. Crosby would have tried to pull his high and mighty “I don’t fuck at Meetings of Humility and Sportsmanship” bullshit, like he was too good to even call it “Winner’s Choice” like everyone else. Claude wouldn’t have had it. He would have goaded Crosby the whole time, whispering dirty and foul-mouthed things under his breath, only taking breaks to smile kindly at the waitress as she came by to check on them.

Some people were like that. If Crosby wanted to pretend that he was above this whole affair, he could. But he wasn’t fooling Claude. Claude knew better, because




he ended up back at Crosby’s place—hotel or in the guest bedroom of his stupidly nice house—mouth stretched around Crosby’s cock.

In those nights, there were a couple of things he knew well. First and above all else was that he did not like Crosby. So Crosby’s cock in his mouth was not some kind of worship thing. It was winning. Because even on days that he lost and got dragged into this garbage—Claude still won. So what if Claude was in this position because he had lost the game. Beating Crosby by getting him to stray from his moral standards overshadowed all of that.

Second was that there was something gratifying about getting fucked after a bad loss. It gave a sense of finality to a shitty game. Claude knew that at the end of the night, when someone put him on his knees and fucked his face, it was over. Wrapped up, finished. There were no lingering feelings or resentment. He got his punishment and tomorrow was a new game. Crosby threatened to rob Claude of that when he deviated from what Claude knew, what he understood of Winner’s Choice.

Lastly, Claude knew he shouldn’t have things to complain about—he had broken the unbreakable in getting Crosby to bend his fucking rules—but there had been moments. Complicated moments where Claude wanted to feel victory as Crosby pushed him onto a bed, nipping hard at his jaw, but it always fell short. It was ripped away by the gentle feeling of lashes against his cheek, by a kiss under the jaw and by hushed affirmations and praise.

Looking back, maybe tonight made sense. Except that everything about it made absolutely no sense.

There was no dinner.

Claude hit the back of Crosby’s hotel room door heavily, their lips coming together with bruising intensity.

“Didn’t want to let Guentzel take this one?” Claude breathed between kisses. “I would have given it to Couts if we had taken the series.” He was aiming to hurt, to save whatever was left of his dignity as Crosby peppered kisses down his neck, working Claude’s shirt open.

“He didn’t wanna,” Crosby murmured. His words were casual but the hands on Claude’s seemed urgent, giving him away. They gripped on to him as if Clause was the lifeline Crosby needed to survive.

Meanwhile Claude was feeling like he was drowning, his head spinning under the attention he couldn’t quite understand. This wasn’t how he and Crosby played, it wasn’t what they did. He pulled back, thumping his head heavily against the door, his chest heaving.

Crosby didn’t seem ready to stop, ducking his head to suck and nip at the sensitive skin of Claude’s neck.

There was little talk. Crosby never actually said it, but each touch radiated with an apology. For what, Claude wasn’t sure. He probably wouldn’t find out.

Crosby shifted, hips rolling against Claude’s.

Claude’s moan must have been encouragement enough because Crosby did it again, harder and more purposeful this time. His eyelashes dragged across Claude’s skin, tickling.

Crosby’s hips were teasing, more likely fulfilling his own needs than addressing Claude’s. That’s why when Crosby reached down, fingers running teasingly over the outline of Claude’s cock, Claude let out a shuddering breath of surprise.

He watched through lidded eyes, more curious than anything. This was going into new territory for both of them. Crosby didn’t normally initiate these types of things, and Claude never picked Crosby. He didn’t want to give Crosby the satisfaction of thinking Claude had something to prove. Their interactions where narrowed down to hate filled looks across the face off dot and Crosby’s hand in his hair on Choice nights.

He swallowed as Crosby’s fingers worked gently at first, carefully, before reaching down to fully grasp Claude through his shorts. Claude couldn’t stop the sharp intake of breath, or his hips from rolling upwards. He wasn’t the only one who seemed to be losing control.

Crosby’s breathing was definitely affected, turning Claude on even more. Claude should push Crosby off. He should get on his knees and blow Crosby—the best blowjob he’d ever given, just out of spite. Crosby would help him cum like he always did and Claude could get the fuck out of there.

Simple, easy, done. Season over.


Except it wasn’t that easy. Crosby wasn’t that simple anymore, and he hadn’t been in a long time. It was just easier for Claude to remember their relationship solely based on the bruises and the rivalry, but that wasn’t their reality.

“Fuck me,” Claude punched out before he could change his mind.

Crosby let out a sharp breath. Their lips collided—a little over eagerly as they both gave into the heavy tension that hung in the air.

Claude laughed as Crosby basically dragged him to the bedside, sitting down heavily as he pulled Claude closer to stand between his thighs. His dick twitched as Crosby reached for lube in the bedside table. He wanted to roll his eyes, because of course Crosby had prepared for this, even before he’d won the game that would solidify the Pens advancement. That had to break one of Crosby’s fucked up superstitions, right?

There was no time to dwell that, because Crosby had found what he needed and was pulling his t-shirt off and Claude’s was following. Next came their shorts and Crosby was looking soft and vulnerable. His expression was more sincere than Claude was comfortable with when Crosby looked up at him. “Yeah?”

Claude paused. He didn’t have to force it out this time. “C’mon Cros, just fuck me already.”

Crosby smiled. After that, he didn’t need anymore prompting. It didn’t take long for him to work Claude up to two fingers and it had been a long time since Claude was feeling his affected.

Crosby was stupidly focused on his work, maybe to a fault because no one was touching Claude where he really needed to be touched. It wasn’t uncomfortable. Crosby must have had some experience because Claude’s hips snapped up, a moan dragging from his lips.

“Good?” Crosby asked, his voice soft.

Claude was breathing hard, “You’re probably going to need to work another finger in,” he said.

Crosby’s smile grew.

Claude groaned, tilting his face away from Crosby to hide his smile. “I didn’t mean it like that you—“ he was cut off as the pressure around his rim intensified, an almost painful sensation, but definitely practiced.

Claude peeked down, letting out another groan upon seeing Crosby’s prideful expression. “No,” Claude said, “don’t even say it.”

Crosby’s smile grew, giving his fingers a nice little twist that had Claude rolling his hips into the sensation. It was quickly ruined by an empty feeling that settled as Crosby pulled his fingers out, leaving him untouched longer than was comfortable.

Crosby took Claude by surprise, standing quickly to swing Claude around onto his back, taking Claude’s boxers off in one fluid motion.

Claude swallowed, trying to get his bearings and shake off the nerves as Crosby fiddled around in the drawer.

“Are you comfortable?” Crosby asked. “Do you need a pillow or something before we take go any further?”

Claude groaned and took a pillow, hitting Crosby with it in response.

Crosby laughed, a dorky laugh that had his eyes scrunching shut. Claude would never admit how fucking beautiful it made him look, or how that laugh had him smiling along.

“C’mon Cros, you can do better than this,” Claude goaded, tipping his head back to hide the desperate expression he knew would be blatant across his face.

The snapping of rubber made him look up.

Crosby was looking a little embarrassed as he tossed out an empty condom wrapper.

Claude scoffed. “For fuck’s sake, always the responsible one—“

A moan slipped out, betraying the cool air he’d been trying for as Crosby pushed in too fucking slowly. Claude let out a breathy laugh. “That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?”

Crosby looked up at him. How Crosby kept his composure was beyond Claude. He felt like he was barely keeping it together.

Crosby hooked Claude’s thigh up, his hand hot on the skin there. Claude was past the point of trying to mask the gentle moans that were leaving his mouth as Crosby slowly pushed in.

Slowly being the optimal word here, painfully slow, until Crosby finally bottomed out.

Claude got a moment to adjust as Crosby bent over, gently kissing and sucking at the skin of Claude’s chest.

Claude felt like he was going to scream from the built up tension. He felt the urge to tangle a hand in Crosby’s hair and hold him there as much as he wanted to tease him into fucking.

He didn’t have time to decide though. Crosby pushed himself up, one hand still on Claude’s thigh, the other reaching out to grab his wrist, pinning it to the bed.

Claude was about to make fun of him when Crosby rolled his hips, a testing stroke that had Claude arching his back.

Yeah, Crosby knew what he was doing. At least he had the decency to look embarrassed in accompaniment to the pride that just barely shown through.

“Fucker,” Claude breather out as the second thrust was deeper than the first, achingly close to what Claude needed.

Crosby laughed and Claude couldn’t help but smile.

It would be easier to forget the gentler side of Crosby. Tonight was a reminder of old times when Crosby would hold his wrist, more gently than Claude would have liked. Crosby always made sure Claude came too, which was the most unthoughtfully thoughtful thing anyone had ever done for him. It robbed him of the justification he needed to truly hate Crosby, something that Claude often felt he desperately needed.

He could tell Crosby was close. He was breathing hard, head ducked, no longer kissing at Claude’s skin. Maybe he wasn’t capable of it. If he was too far gone for that, then there was no way he was going to have the sense to jerk Claude off.

Claude reached a hand down, finally getting a proper, much needed grip on himself. He was close too, as much as he hated to admit it. All the pent up energy from the game boiling over, so close to peaking.

Crosby must have felt the shift because suddenly he was more alert, reaching a hand down to join Claude’s.

It was too much.

Claude came harder than he had in months, clenching down around Crosby.

The only sound Crosby made was a sharp intake of air, eyes fluttering shut as his mouth opened in a silence “O” as he followed.

Claude felt hypersensitive, his skin alive as Crosby collapsed against him, exhausted. They were a mess, that much was obvious. The maid would definitely be scandalized.

“Was that…” Crosby stopped, biting his lip.

Claude blinked. He was still breathing hard. “It was, yeah, it was…”

“It was fine,” Crosby mumbled. “I mean, it was fine for me.”

A silence came over the room, not quite comfortable. Claude felt Crosby shift on top of him. He realized Sid was probably waiting for an answer. He cleared his throat. “It was good, Cros” he said, maybe a little softer than he had intended.

Crosby hummed.

A silence settled, gentler this time, broken only by the sound of their breathing. Maybe the discomfort came from how comfortable Claude felt right now. It wasn’t lost on Claude that there was only one Choosing during a whole Stanley Cup Series, and Crosby had chosen him.

“Y’know this whole choosing thing,” Crosby said, clearing his throat again, “wasn’t supposed to be a big fuck-fest.”

Claude snorted. “Captain Canada, swearing? If only the people knew the dark, dirty truth.”

Sid just shook his head and shifted, rolling off of Claude. Claude instantly missed the weight and heat of his body. “It started as a means for the winning team to show sportsmanship and class, to humble himself by sitting down with a losing party and reconnecting. Meeting of Humility and Sportsmanship,” he said, putting emphasis on the name.

Claude barked out a laugh. “Fuck did that get lost along the way.”

Sid sat up, looking around. He slid on a pair of briefs—definitely his by the fit—and stood. Claude felt this odd need to cover himself as well, and had to make an effort not to pull the sheets over his torso.

“I guess that’s why I do dinners instead of fucking. To get back to those roots.” Sid said. He sighed. “Except for you. You could never just let things be.”

That drew a smile out of Claude. “Yeah, but I think we’re getting too old for this shit.”

Crosby looked unimpressed. “So let me just take you out for a dinner next time.”

Claude pushed himself up, painfully aware of his nakedness. He crossed the room, getting up in Crosby’s space. “You say that,” Claude said softly, leaning in to Crosby’s ear. Crosby didn’t move, even as Claude reached a hand up to take his chin. “But you were the one who took me straight here tonight.”

Crosby blinked, as though he didn’t have a response to that.

He left Crosby laying there, contemplating how his relationship with Claude fit in with the standard that he seemed to hold himself to as Claude ducked into the bathroom. Claude liked that he was the exception to Crosby’s self control. He would keep that to himself, a secret victory.

Claude didn’t shower, but he did clean himself up. When he was done, he found Crosby laying in bed, a pair of briefs hanging low on his hips. He scanned the room for his own clothes, finding nothing.

Crosby smiled and rolled over, propping himself up onto an elbow. He pointed to the dresser, where a pair of underwear was sitting.

Claude pulled them on a frowned.

“Do they not fit?” Crosby asked, eyes wide and innocent.

Claude laughed, sitting down heavily on the bed. “They do not.”

Crosby turned very pointedly to hide a smile. “Huh,” was all he said.

Claude reached over to punch Crosby’s arm. “I’d rather be known for my hockey than for my ass,” he quipped.

Crosby didn’t dignify that comment with an answer. “I sent your stuff down to be dry cleaned. It’ll be ready in the morning.”

Claude arched an eyebrow. “The morning?”

Crosby smiled and flicked off the lights.

The bastard.

He was exhausted though. They both were. It was easy to convince himself that this was normal, that after all of their years trying to one up and prove something to each other, this was just another Choice Night. Claude knew that Crosby was lying to the both of them. He was choosing Claude for a reason.

But maybe none of that really matter.

Claude might have lost the series, but he was left with that feeling of fulfillment—of having conquered something.

There were so many things wrong with this Winner’s Choice shit, but even if Crosby was right, it would have fulfilled its role tonight. Crosby and Claude had come together on more than one level to reconnect and work out some angst after that final game.

Claude rolled over, pulling the blankets tight around his shoulders and kissed the corner of Crosby’s—Sid’s—mouth. “Good luck in the next round, Sid.” He said, voice soft. “Kick some ass.”

Sid hummed and shifted, a hand slowly extending to hook his fingers around Claude’s wrist.

Tonight he was okay with knowing that he had been beaten by one of the best, but that loss had been reconciled.