When Patrick finally gets his hotel room door open, it’s like way past midnight and he’s in this weird mindset where his mind is spinning and his body is going to crumble. One half of him wants to lay down in bed and never wake up, body becoming one with the cushy mattress while the other half of him wants to watch SportsCentre and analyze each missed shot, especially the one where he was a crossbar away from giving them a two goal lead and keeping them away from the exhausting peril that is Triple Overtime or just Overtime in general. Eventually, the tired half of him wins over and he sits down on the edge of the bed closest to the window. Sharpy hasn’t come back yet and there’s a large part of him that is absolutely dying to be held. He slowly strips out of his suit until he’s wearing just his boxers and he has to decide if he wants a shower or if he just wants to give into the exhaustion that’s filling his bones. He digs his phone out of his pocket and sends Sharpy a text, which he intends to say where are you? I need you But instead, his sleepy fingers text out Wher ar u? I neade yu. He sends it anyway.
Sharpy trips into their hotel room about 20 minutes later. He’s got his tie hanging loosely around his neck and his top two buttons are unbuttoned.
“You called?” He asked, words slurring a bit. “Or texted.”
“Yeah like half an hour ago.” Patrick rolls his eyes and sits up from where he was lying facing the wall, brain winning over his need to sleep. All he can see besides Sharpy is the arena, everyone swathed in blue, their screaming making his ears bleed. He squeezes his eyes shut and when he opens them again, focuses on Sharpy.
“Sorry. I didn’t know how to get back to the hotel.” Sharpy shrugs and walks towards Patrick. Patrick can’t tell if his sluggishness is because Sharpy is drunk or because he’s feeling the body consuming exhaustion that Patrick is. Either way, he doesn’t really blame Sharpy. But he really does want something to drink.
“Did you bring me beer?” He asks, pointing to the plastic bag that Sharpy had been holding.
Sharpy laughs, a sweet, warm sound and Patrick is already feeling a bit better. “Of course I didn’t.”
Patrick flips him off and puts his head back down on the bed. He can hear Sharpy changing behind him but doesn’t have the strength to roll over and look. Sharpy crosses the room, sticking the coffee mixes that he bought next to the coffee pot and putting the rest of the stuff he bought into the fridge. He walks towards Patrick’s bed. Patrick rolls onto his back and is faced with an image he did not expect to see. Sharpy’s eyes are clouded and Patrick can practically see the range of emotions travelling across Sharpy’s face. He’s fighting himself and Patrick doesn’t like this at all. He has no idea how to deal with someone else when they’re sad. Sharpy’s the strong one in their relationship. He’s Patrick’s rock. Sharpy props himself up on top of Patrick, legs on either side of Patrick’s, strong arms holding him up off Patrick. Patrick can see the muscles in Sharpy’s arms quivering and this isn’t normal.
“Hey.” Patrick touches his face, trying to sooth the storm. “What’s going on with you?”
Sharpy is silent for as long as possible.
“You can tell me.” Patrick assures him and Sharpy just-
His arms give in and he falls on top of Patrick, nearly knocking the breath out of him. Sharpy’s eyes are wild and dark and he isn’t fighting anymore but Patrick thinks he liked it better when Sharpy was fighting with himself. Anything is better than the absolutely devastating look that Sharpy is currently wearing. He rolls off of Patrick and Patrick can tell that with every move, Sharpy is breaking more and more. The tears are streaming down his cheek and he turns his head sharply away from Patrick, trying to hide it. Sharpy knows he’s the strong one in their relationship, knows it’s his job to hold Patrick when he cries, when he gets so far inside his head that he’s silent for hours at a time. It’s Sharpy’s job to care for Patrick and make sure he’s ok. He’s never needed Patrick like he flat out needs him now.
“Talk to me.” Patrick is pleading. He doesn’t want to get upset but Sharpy’s lying next to him, sobbing and Patrick doesn’t even know why, much less how to help him.
Sharpy mumbles something incoherent and when Patrick asks him to repeat it, he rolls over so that he’s looking at Patrick.
“Tell me you don’t blame me.” His voice is so soft and so absolutely wrecked that Patrick only manages to say, “What?”
“Tell me you don’t blame me for the loss! Promise me!”
“Why?” Patrick tries.
Sharpy is sitting up now and his hands are shaking. He keeps moving them from his side to his face like he has no idea what to do with them.
“You-you have to, Pat. Please.” Sharpy is positively begging now.
Patrick is beyond confused because Sharpy didn’t do a single thing wrong last night. He’d played better than Patrick had seen in a while and as he opens his mouth to say something, Sharpy’s arms drop dejectedly.
“You do blame me.” He mumbles and rolls over.
Patrick sits there breathless for a moment, trying to figure out what Sharpy is talking about and how he could possibly help in this situation.
Sharpy’s body is shaking next to him and there’s a wet spot on his pillow from where he’s been crying.
“What are you even talking about?” Patrick finally says.
Sharpy coughs, trying to get some air into his lungs.
“I could have had like 3 goals, Patrick!” Sharpy yells and Patrick would do anything to make this stop.
“So could the rest of us.” He says because that would be what Johnny would say and Johnny is good with dealing with other people’s emotions.
“But, I’m supposed to be a leader. I’m supposed to step up when other people don’t.” Sharpy gets out and then adds “If I’d just shot harder or pushed harder or something, we would have the 1 next to our name and not them.”
“You’re only human.” Patrick breathes out because he doesn’t know what else to say.
This has Sharpy rolling over to look at him and he opens his mouth to say something else but this time it’s Patrick who get’s to talk.
“You’re just Patrick Sharp. That’s all you can be.” Patrick’s voice is really quiet because he wants Sharpy to be listening. “I don’t know how to help you Sharpy but I know that I don’t blame you and I never will. We’re a team.”
Patrick reaches out to wipe at the tears in Sharpy’s eyes. “It’s going to be ok.” He promises unsurely. He doesn’t know that it will be ok. He knows that this is the toughest first round match up. He knows that the Blues are favored to win the cup this year. He knows that there’s a strong chance that they won’t make it out of this round. But they will always make it.
“Its just hockey.” He adds. Yes, it’s their job but it’s just a game. It doesn’t mean anymore than an early summer, which Patrick will happily take if it means that Sharpy will breathe freely again. He would do anything for that to happen.
For a few minutes, all Patrick hears are Sharpy’s sniffles and his unsteady breathing. Patrick gets out of bed, even though his whole body protests. He goes into the bathroom to grab a towel, which he wets with cool water. He then goes over to the fridge and pulls out one of the power bars that Sharpy likes.
“Sit up.” He tells Sharpy as he climbs back onto the bed.
Once Sharpy is more or less upright, he picks up the wet towel and gently trails it along the sides of Sharpy’s face. He straddles Sharpy’s hips, pressing the cool towel against one of Sharpy’s olive drab eyes and then the other. Sharpy’s eyes find his and Patrick wants to puke because he can see that those eyes are saying ‘Why are you taking care of me? What have I ever done to warrant this?’ He finishes washing Sharpy’s face, and then his neck too, hoping it will calm him down.
“Eat this.” He hands Sharpy the power bar and gets up.
Sharpy’s hand catches onto Patrick’s own and holds on, as though it’s the only thing keeping him alive.
“I’m coming back.” Patrick promises quietly and Sharpy’s grip loosens.
Patrick takes a pillow from the other bed and switches it out with the one Sharpy had been crying on. Sharpy eats half of the powerbar and puts the rest on his beside table.
Patrick comes back to bed and curls into Sharpy’s chest.
“I love you.” He breathes into Sharpy’s chest, hoping the words go straight to his heart.
Sharpy doesn’t reply, just tucks one hand under Patrick and holds him impossibly close.
Patrick wakes up to the smell of coffee.
“Shouldn’t you be asleep?” He asks, opening his eyes to see a bleary outline of Sharpy.
“I can’t.” He admits and brings Patrick a steaming mug that Patrick knows has the milk and sugar he always asks for. Sharpy wanders into the bathroom and his phone buzzes with the cheesy “This is your captain speaking” ringtone that Sharpy has set for whenever Johnny texts. Patrick grabs the phone off the nightstand and reads the text.
He knocks on the door to alert Sharpy that there’s a team breakfast in 15 minutes and hears the shower. He walks in, knowing that Sharpy won’t mind and finds him sitting against the shower wall, letting the water stream over his head. Patrick can’t tell if Sharpy is crying again or if it’s just the water that’s covering his face.
“I just need to be alone, Pat.” He says, just loudly enough that Patrick can hear it over the rushing shower.
“That’s fine. Breakfast is in 15.” Patrick tells him.
“I’ll meet you down. Tell Johnny that I’ll be late.”
Patrick feels really uneasy about leaving Sharpy here alone but he nods and backs out, closing the door.
He dresses quickly and goes downstairs, walking towards the table where Johnny and a few of his teammates are already sitting. He squeezes himself between Shawsy and Seabs and picks up a menu. Johnny eyes him.
“Everything ok, Pat?” He asks, flipping through his own menu.
“Yes.” Patrick lies. “Sharpy says he might be a bit late.”
Johnny nods, unconvinced.
Sharpy comes down near the end of breakfast and Patrick watches Johnny go up to him and open his mouth to ask where Sharpy’s been. Sharpy, his ever-confident boyfriend, is at a loss for words. This doesn’t help his case and Johnny gets right up close. Patrick gets up and approaches the two. Sharpy seems to be taking everything Johnny’s throwing at him but he hasn’t said anything yet.
“Hey baby.” Patrick makes his presence known as he comes up behind Johnny. Sharpy looks grateful and he visibly relaxes. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
Without waiting for an answer, Patrick steers Sharpy away from a livid Johnny and towards the table. Sharpy sits down next to Shawsy, who pats his shoulder awkwardly.
They make it through breakfast and then they’re free to explore St. Louis for the rest of the day. They’ve both spent lots of time in St. Louis before but Patrick is desperate to do something with Sharpy that will either snap him out of his funk or make him tired enough that he’ll fall asleep. Sharpy is first through the door and Patrick tugs on his arm gently, trying to get him to slow down for a second so that they can just talk. Sharpy stops but Patrick didn’t really expect that so he simply says, “What do you want to do today?”
“Q said that there’s ice booked for us today for optional skate. I’m going.”
“Are you not exhausted?” Patrick asks, sighing as Sharpy walks farther into the room, forcing Patrick to walk with him.
“Not exhausted enough.” Sharpy replies and Patrick lets go of his arm, watching Sharpy pick up his phone and walk out the door.
Patrick follows Sharpy to the rink against his better judgment, hoping that Sharpy will skate a few laps and shoot a few pucks and then they can go and watch a movie or something. But, every shot that Sharpy takes hits the crossbar or the post or misses the net completely. Patrick knows that for every missed shot, Sharpy is getting more and more discouraged.
Patrick, who was practicing his stickhandling around some pucks, skates towards Sharpy and steals the puck off of his stick, sending it sliding down the ice away from them.
“Let’s take a break.” Patrick insists. “On your knees.”
Sharpy looks at him skeptically but gets down. Patrick gives him the ends of both of their sticks and holds the front ends. “Ready?”
Sharpy hasn’t played this game since he was in Atom but he nods and Patrick starts to skate, pulling Sharpy along the ice. They do a lap around the ice and then Patrick insists that Sharpy has to pull him.
They switch positions and as they go around the net, Sharpy pulls hard and let’s go of Patrick, which sends him flying towards the boards. Patrick screams and hits the boards with a soft thud. Sharpy skates towards him, laughing and Patrick thinks that is a great look on Sharpy. Patrick gets up and charges towards Sharpy, eyes lit up. He tackles Sharpy and manages to knock him over. Sharpy rolls them over so that he’s on top and he grins evilly down at Patrick before pressing their lips together.
Patrick practically has to drag Sharpy into their hotel room because the bone crushing exhaustion mixed with lack of sleep has finally caught up with him. He tucks Sharpy into bed and lies down next to him. Sharpy’s hand rubs up and down Patrick’s back absentmindedly.
“Thank you.” He says softly into Patrick’s ear. “For everything.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Patrick smiles and tucks his head underneath Sharpy’s own. He loves this spot, it’s almost like it was made especially for him.
“I don’t know what happened.” Sharpy admits. “That doesn’t normally happen.”
“It’s ok.” Patrick assures him. “You don’t always have to be strong.”
Sharpy smiles and presses a kiss to his hair before falling into a much-needed sleep.