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Chapter Text

Dex is sitting on the couch between Nursey and Chowder when he hears a shriek from the kitchen. He and Chowder both snap to look at Nursey.

“The cookies,” Nursey whispers in horror.

Before they can say anything else, Bitty has stormed into the room, a baking sheet covered in burned discs in his hands.

“Who did this?”

Dex pulls his hand up to his face, touching his forefinger to his nose. Beside him, Chowder has done the same.

Nursey looks at them and pokes himself in the eye in his haste.

“Fine, it was me!” Nursey wails, rubbing his eye. “I wanted cookies!”

“You burned cookies in my oven,” Bitty gapes. “Where did you even get cookie dough?”

“It’s Pillsbury!” Nursey defends.

“You burned Pillsbury cookies in my oven?”

Nursey hides his face in his hands. Dex tries not to laugh.

“You’re lucky this is a non-stick pan, Nursey,” Bitty sighs. “What kind of cookies were they?”

“Sugar cookies,” Nursey mumbles from behind his hands.

“Give me 30 minutes,” Bitty says, turning on his heel and returning to the kitchen.

Nursey peeks out from between his fingers. When he sees Bitty has left he falls to the side onto Dex and Chowder’s laps.

Chowder pats his hair tenderly and returns to his reading.

Dex snorts.

Bitty holds to his promise. He returns to them 30 minutes later with a plate of sugar cookies and Nursey smiles shyly.

“Thanks Bitty,” he says, reaching out for a cookie, still sprawled across the other two frogs.

Bitty offers the plate to the other two before taking them back to the kitchen.

Nursey takes a bite of his cookie and groans, dropping crumbs onto Chowder’s legs.

“Oh my god,” Nursey moans. “Bitty this is amazing!”

“That’s because it’s not that Pillsbury trash!” Bitty calls in from the kitchen.

They all laugh and finish their cookies. Living in the Haus is the best.

Chapter Text

Bitty had been so careful. He had double checked that his lighting was good, that the mess on the desk wasn’t visible, but he hadn’t thought of one thing. The shirt.

In the selfie he had just sent to Jack, he was wearing his shirt. Jack’s shirt.

Jack: Is that my shirt?

Me: No?

Jack: Bittle, did you steal my shirt?

He definitely did steal the shirt but he wasn’t about to admit that.

Me: I didn’t steal it

Jack: I don’t believe you.

Me: You left it here. Finders keepers.

There was a long time before he got an answer back.

Jack: Why would I have left my shirt in your room?

Me: I don’t know, you’re the one who did it

Jack: Bittle.

Me: Zimmerman.

Jack: I want it back.

Me: No.

He was playing a tricky game but he really liked the shirt! It was soft and just too big on him and it smelled like Jack. This one little indulgence couldn’t hurt, could it?

Jack: Why?

Me: It’s mine now

Again, it took a few minutes for Jack to reply. Bitty chewed his thumbnail nervously.

Jack: Why don’t you steal a shirt from your boyfriend instead?

Me: I don’t have a boyfriend ????

Jack: Wait, who is Sam, then?

Bitty laughed uncontrollably. Him and Sam? Not in a million years!

Me: He’s just a friend

The three dots appeared on his screen three times, disappearing each time, before they stayed gone and instead there was a knock on his bedroom door.

Bitty got up to answer it and Jack was there.

“Would you like to go to dinner with me?”

Bitty made a questioning noise.

“As a date,” Jack clarified.

“What now?”

“Yes or no, Bittle.”

“Yes,” Bitty gasped. “Hell yes.”

“Haha.”

“Hush, Mr. Zimmerman. Just let me change real quick.”

“Don’t change,” Jack interrupted. “I like you in my shirt.”

“Oh,” Bitty could feel himself blushing. “Well in that case, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

 

“Boss, how did this guy get on the team?” Will asks. The door was open but he didn’t care. “He trips over air! He’s a liability!”

She silences him with a look. Larissa Duan could do that, even if he had a foot of height and 100 pounds on her.

“He’s good. And he’s your partner for your next assignment. So figure it out.”

“Wait, what?”

She glares at him again and he sighs and takes the folder she holds out.

“Read it, be ready to deploy in 4 hours.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Will is indeed ready to deploy in 4 hours, but his new partner is nowhere to be found.

When he finally stumbles into the briefing room, Will lets loose a heavy sigh.

“Let’s do this, then.”

The mission is an unmitigated disaster and Duan agrees that they shouldn’t be paired together until they can figure their shit out. Frankly, that doesn’t give Will any incentive to do so as he’d gladly never team up with Derek Nurse again.

That all goes out the window, though when an all hands on deck assignment comes down.

Chris Chow is trying valiantly to keep between them but there’s something about Nurse that just drives Will to inane measures.

“Poindexter, chill.”

“If you tell me to chill one more time,” Will threatens.

“Guys, please don’t fight.”

“I’m not fighting,” Nurse says.

“It’s not my fault you have the emotional capacity of a brick!”

“I’ll show you emotional capacity,” Nurse shoots back, then grabs Will’s face and kisses him hard. Will is so shocked his eyes are still wide open when Nurse pulls away.

“What the fuck,” Will manages.

Nurse shrugs. “Thought it was finally time to address the sexual tension.”

“What the fuck.”

Nurse just shrugs again and walks away to do something on the other side of the room.

Will is a mess all that mission. Sexual tension? What the hell? But the more he thought about it the more he though Nurse might be right.

After the mission wraps, he corners him.

“Were you serious?”

“Chyeah,” Nurse drawls. “I never joke about resolving homoerotic tension.”

“You are so infuriating.”

“You like it.”

Will rolls his eyes and closes the distance between them for a kiss. This one is better, since both of them are actually involved in the execution, and Nurse melts a little under him.

“Let me take you to dinner,” Will murmurs against Derek’s lips.

“Chill.”

Chapter Text

“The tree looks… nice.”

“Hush, Mr. Zimmermann. Those frogs couldn’t coordinate on a tree decorating method to save their lives.”

“Ha ha.”

“They all started from a different angle and just kinda… collided in the middle.”

“The topper isn’t even on straight,” Jack noted.

“No one on this team is either, it’s appropriate,” Bitty grinned. 

“Very true, bud,” Jack smiled and drew Bitty in for a kiss. 

Chapter Text

“I’m baking!”

“Why?”

Tango shrugged. “Bitty looked like he needed help. Do you want to join?”

Whiskey eyed the disaster that was the kitchen counter. “I’ll just keep you company.”

“That would be lovely, Conor,” Bitty piped up. “Tango has been such a help you have no idea. Couldn’t do it without him.”

Tango blushed and shook his head. It was odd, seeing Tango speechless. 

Whiskey just smiled to himself and pulled his laptop out of his backpack, settling in at the table to get some work done.

A while later, Tango brought him a muffin. 

“Thanks, Tango.”

“You’re welcome,” he smiled. 

Whiskey took a bite and hummed. “It’s really good.”

Tango shrugged. 

“Did it work?”

Whiskey furrowed his brow. “Did what work?”

“It worked for Bitty. He baked for Jack and now…”

“Tango… are you trying to ask me out?”

“Did it work?” he asked again.

“Yeah, it worked.”

Chapter Text

“I think I’ve has enough cookies for two years… Wait is that pie?” 

Dex and Nursey smiled over their boyfriend’s head as he shot up from the couch. 

“Hi boys, pie?” Bitty greeted from the doorway. 

“Chowder just said he’s full from cookies,” Dex chirped. “So I guess just for me and Nursey.”

“What? No!” Chowder whined. “I want pie, too!” 

“I dunno, C,” Nursey said. “You shouldn’t eat so much you get sick.”

Chowder pouted and his boyfriends laughed and gave in, cutting him his own slice of pie even bigger than theirs. 

“Thanks, guys,” he smiled. 

Dex and Nursey leaned in and kissed his cheeks, just to see him blush their favorite color. 

“Love you, C.”

Chapter Text

“No, you can not start listening to Christmas albums before Halloween.” 

“Well, I disagree.” 

“Of course you do,” Dex huffed. 

“What have you got against Christmas music, Dexy?” Nursey teased. 

“Besides the fact that it’s barely October, Nurse?”

Chowder grinned and leaned in, “But, baby, all I want for Christmas is you!”

Dex rolled his eyes. “If you both don’t shut up with the Christmas music your asses are getting coal for Christmas.”

“And you?”

“Yeah, and me.”

Chapter Text

“I think we need glitter.”

“No,” Lardo crossed her arms. 

“But Lards, think how swawesome this would look all sparkly!”

She raised a single eyebrow at him. 

“Shitty, I love you, but glitter is the herpes of the craft world and I will not have it in my wreath.”

“But glitter!” 

“But mess,” she countered. “What if we bedazzled it instead?”

“Lardo, you are a genius.” He grabbed her cheeks and planted a loud, smacking kiss on her forehead. “Of course the Haus 2.0 wreath should be bedazzled, what was I thinking?”

She huffed but smiled and started digging out her hot glue gun.

Chapter Text

“Come out in the snow with me!” 

“I thought you already came out,” Dex chirped.

“Yeah, he mentioned it once or twice,” Chowder filled in.

“A minute,” Dex added. 

“All summer!” They chimed in unison.

“Oh shut up,” Nursey groaned.

“Yep, that’s the next line!” Chowder grinned. 

“Why am I dating you potterheads again?”

“We come play in the snow with you,” Dex kissed his cheek and went to pull on his boots. 

“Plus we’re hella cute.”

“That’s true,” Nursey conceded. Then he stuffed his beanie on his head and ran for the door. “Last one out is a rotten egg!” 

Chapter Text

“I’m not that short,” Bitty pouted.

“No, you’re just the right height,” Jack agreed. “Just the right height for this.”

He leaned down and kissed Bitty’s forehead, just the faintest brush of lips.

Bitty hummed happily.

“I guess I can live with that.”

Chapter Text

“Holtzy?”

“Hmm?”

“What are gonna do after Samwell?” Ransom asked.

Holster tightened his arms around him just he slightest bit. “We’ll figure it out. Whatever it is, it’s always gonna be the two of us.”

Ransom nestled back in to Holster’s chest. He moved behind him a moment and Ransom felt him gently kiss the top of his head.

“The two of us sounds good.”

Chapter Text

“How are your lips so soft?” Tango whispered, running his thumb over Whiskey’s lower lip.

Whiskey just smiled. He knew it was a rhetorical question.

“Maybe its all the kisses,” Tango teased.

“Can’t hurt,” Whiskey agreed. “You should give me more.”

Tango grinned and leaned in, dropping his hand to Whiskey’s jaw and guiding him in to a kiss.

“Definitely the kisses,” he agreed, a whisper between kisses.

Chapter Text

“Nurse?”

They were so close. When had they gotten this close?

They had been watching a movie on Nursey’s bed and somehow when Dex had turned to ask him something, he found Nursey’s face a lot closer than he had expected.

He felt his cheeks blush bright red but he leaned closer.

“Move away if you don’t want this,” he whispered into the space between them.

Nursey didn’t move away. Instead, he closed the space between them and kissed Dex fiercely.

Dex’s hands came up automatically to frame his face and Nursey whimpered and deepened the kiss.

When they finally broke apart, Nursey’s grin was blinding.

Chapter Text

They were curled up on the couch in Haus 2.0, legs entwined, half watching a show about penguins. Shitty leaned in and kissed her cheek, and Lardo turned and kissed him back.

When she pulled back, though, their eyes met, and before she knew it she was laying half on top of him, kissing him properly.

She bit his lip and he groaned under her.

“Don’t you two have a room?” Holster called as he passed.

“Yes we do,” Lardo agreed, hauling Shitty to his feet and leading him to their room.

“Don’t wait up!” Shitty told Holster with a laugh.

Chapter Text

They were kissing! Dex was actually kissing him!

“What is this your first time kissing someone, Nurse? Slow down,” Dex mumbled against his lips.

“Well, yeah,” Nursey admitted.

“Oh,” Dex pulled back. “Shit. Sorry.”

“It’s alright. Just never had the right offer, you know?”

“Well,” Dex nibbled on his lower lip. “Maybe we should practice more, then.”

“I think we should,” Nursey grinned, then did just that.

Chapter Text

“Hey, you,” Matt greeted, sliding into the booth beside Conor.

Conor smiled and leaned in for a peck on the lips.

Matt gladly gave him one and smiled back at him.

“How’s the essay?”

“Slow going. You should motivate me.”

“Hmm.” Matt hummed. “A kiss for every hundred words?”

“Deal.” Conor grinned.

Chapter Text

“Sweetpea?”

“What’s up, Bud?”

“I’m out of sugar,” Bitty pouted up at him.

“Bits it’s -10 degrees outside.”

“Not in real degrees it’s not.”

Jack raised his eyebrow at him. “If you’re trying to get me to go outside don’t you think you should be nice?”

“Please? You’re Canadian! You’re immune to the cold!” Bitty exaggerated his pout even more.

Jack smiled softly and leaned down to kiss the pout away. “Just sugar?”

“Just sugar,” Bitty confirmed. “I love you!” He called as Jack moved to the coat closet.

Chapter Text

“Chowder, you gotta chill,” Nursey said. “The results will be posted when they’re posted. Just relax until then.”

“I can’t relax! I have to know!” Chowder whined.

“Hey babes,” Farmer greeted. “What wrong?”

“C is stressing about a exam grade.”

“You gotta distract him,” Cait nods. “Like this.” She leaned down and captured Chowder’s lips with her own. He looked instantly less tense.

“Hi Cait,” he grinned at her.

“One from me, too,” Nursey interjected and Chowder obliged.

“Aw am I missing love on C time?” Dex called from the other room.

“Come join! I haven’t been kissed nearly enough yet!”

He ended up missing the grades being posted.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

“You weigh a ton, get your hockey ass off me,” Lardo teases, pushing at Shitty half-heartedly where he was perched on her lap.

“Nah I’m comfy,” he smirked at her, planting a kiss on her lips.

“Yeah alright you can stay,” she mumbled against his lips and kissed him back.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

“Morning, sweetpea,” Bitty croaked as he stuck his head out of the covers. 

“Morning, bud,” Jack grumbled back, his voice also rusty from sleep. “Sleep well?”

“I always sleep well with you,” Bitty smiled sleepily at him and Jack leaned in to kiss him gently. 

“Me too, Bits.”

Chapter Text

Nursey froze, though the pounding of the kegster music made him feel like he was still moving.

The couple blocking the door to the bathroom was two men, one tall and broad, the other shorter but no less fit.

And Nursey would know those shoulders anywhere.

“Dex?”

The couple broke apart and the taller man turned to meet Nursey’s eye.

“Hey, Nurse. Sorry, are we blocking the bathroom?”

“Uh, yeah?” He asked. He had no idea what was going on. Dex was making out with a man! In plain view!

“You’re gay?”

Smooth, Nurse.

Dex only rolled his eyes.

“Bi. This isn’t news, Nurse.”

Nursey just stared.

“Come on, Patrick, let’s go somewhere else while Nursey’s brain comes back online and he remembers he has to pee.”

Dex and his partner, Patrick apparently, left the hallway.

Nursey shook his head and made his way into the bathroom, but the interaction wouldn’t leave him alone.

Dex found him again in the kitchen later, staring out at the mingling people but not feeling like talking to any of them.

“You alright, Nurse?” Dex asked, drawing his attention.

“Yeah, um, fine.”

“You look kinda out of it. Who’s on patrol?”

Nursey shook his head. “Not drunk.”

“Okay…”

“What did you mean, ‘it’s not news’?”

“What?”

“You’re bi. You said it wasn’t news,” Nursey clarified.

“I thought you knew? I’ve never been hiding that I wheel both genders.”

Nursey shook his head, choosing to ignore the binary in Dex’s statement. An argument for another time.

“You never said.”

“Well, I’m saying now.”

“You lied to me.”

“What?” Dex shouted. “Nurse, I’ve always been honest with you. Besides, this doesn’t change anything.”

“It changes everything!” Nursey exclaimed.

Dex looked like Nursey had slapped him, so he consciously lowered his voice.

“Did I ever have a chance?”

“What?”

“Dex, I’ve been flirting with you for three years! Did I just never have a chance?”

Dex stared at him. “You were actually flirting? With me?”

“Yes!”

“I had no idea,” Dex murmured. “Nurse. Derek. Can I kiss you?”

“Yes,” he breathed.

Chapter Text

“Kenya?” Alexei padded into the front room. “What you doing awake?”

Kent shrugged.

“You need sleep,” he tried.

“Can’t,” Kent answered.

“What is wrong, Kenyushka?”

“This will never work,” he whispered into the pillow he clutched. 

“What will not work?”

“Us!” Kent shouted, suddenly loud in the hush of pre-dawn. “How can you not be thinking it? We live on opposite sides of the country! We play hockey, not exactly known for its inclusivity! This is never gonna work!” 

Kent let out a huge sob and Alexei couldn’t do anything besides wrap him up in his arms. 

“What bring this on?” Alexei whispered into Kent’s hair. 

Kent shook his head as he clung to Alexei’s sleep shirt. 

“Kent,” he said softly, waiting for his boyfriend to look up at him. “It will not be easy. We know this. But we love each other. And so we will make it work.’

“How can you be so sure?” Kent sniffed. 

“Because I am stubborn and you are too good to be giving up.”

“I love you,” Kent whispered. 

“I love you, too, Kenyushka.”

Chapter Text

Dex hated Nursey’s new boyfriend.

The guy was obviously just after him for his money. He was always asking Nursey to take him to nice restaurants and buy him fancy clothes.

Nursey didn’t seem to mind, but then again the boy had more money than sense sometimes.

So Dex just hated him quietly from the sidelines.

“Dude, what the hell is your problem?” Nursey shouted after Dex spent what was supposed to be a frog study session glaring at Lance.

(What the hell kind of name was Lance anyways?)

“I don’t have a problem,” Dex growled. “Your boyfriend has a problem with me.”

“What are you talking about?” Nursey groaned. “Why can’t you just get along with him? You’re supposed to be my best friend.”

And, oh was Dex weak for that pout.

“He’s using you.”

“What?” Nursey blinked. Clearly he had not expected that to be Dex’s issue.

“He’s dating you for your money. He’s always asking you to buy him things and take him places. I don’t like it.”

“I like to spend money on people I care about,” Nursey frowned.

“He doesn’t care about you, though, that’s what I’m saying,” Dex crossed his arms.

“Well, the person I really want to spend money on won’t let me. So.”

Dex stared at him.

“What?” He gaped. The only person he could think of who fit that description was himself. He didn’t like gifts, what was wrong with that?

“Forget it,” Nursey shook his head.

“No, Nurse, what the hell are you talking about?”

“You know what I’m talking about. And you’ve made your opinion very clear. So I’m dating someone who will accept my gifts and let me take him on dates. And maybe he’s not my dream guy, but I like him and you don’t get to be mad because you turned me down!

Nursey was breathing heavily by the time he got to the end of his rant.

“I turned you down?” Dex whispered. “When?”

Nursey huffed. “Several times actually.”

“I don’t remember this.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Nursey shrugged.

“It matters to me. Nursey, I didn’t mean to.”

He just shrugged again.

“Is it too late to say yes?”

“I’m with Lance.”

“I hate Lance,” Dex scowled.

“I don’t really like him much either.”

“What,” Dex deadpanned. “After all the shit you gave me?”

“It’s kind of our thing,” Nursey smiled shyly. “Hey Dexy, you gonna let me take you out to dinner?”

“After you dump Lance?”

“Yeah of course.”

“Yeah, alright. Nothing too fancy, though, I swear.”

Nursey grinned at him. “There’s my favorite grump.”

Dex just grinned back.

Chapter Text

Kent thought he had time. Years, if not decades. But here he was, watching them raise his number into the rafters, retired before its time.

He shifted on his crutches and they squeaked. Kent winced.

The ceremony was somber and not one of his teammates - former teammates, now - would look him in the eye.

After two hours of polite conversation and sad looks when they thought he couldn’t see them, he took a cab home.

He clambered out of the car and looked up at his building. Upstairs, his pristine but empty apartment waited.

He almost wished he was still at the send off.

Youngest captain in the organization, took the Aces to their first and second cups, and retired by a career-ending injury at only 27.

He made his way up to the elevator and then fumbled his keys as he tried to get in, tears barely restrained in his eyes.

As the door swung open, he realized he’d left a light on. He dropped his keys and kicked off the one shoe he was able to wear before crutching his way to the front room.

He planned to turn off the light, turn on the television, and watch garbage TV until he passed out.

But sitting on his couch, looking rumpled and tired, was Alyosha.

“Lyosha?” He whispered. He could hardly believe his eyes. “How?”

“You do not think I would let you be alone tonight do you? I told coaches was family emergency.”

Kent lost it.

Tears he had been holding back for days finally broke free. Alexei stood from the couch and wrapped his arms around Kent, and Kent gratefully buried his face in his boyfriend’s chest.

After his breathing steadied again, Alyosha led him to the couch and tucked his crutches out of the way.

“I’m never going to play hockey again,” Kent whispered, trying it out.

Alyosha shushed him and pulled him close.

“I’m nothing without hockey, Lyosha.”

“You’re more than that,” Alexei whispered back. “You are so much more than that. You are Kent Parson. You are extraordinary.”

Kent sniffled and buried his face again. “Don’t feel like it.”

“Then I will care for you until you feel like it again. And I will go on caring for you as long as you’ll let me,” Alyosha ran his fingers through Kent’s hair.

“I don’t know why,” Kent mumbled.

Alyosha pulled back gently, nudging Kent’s chin until he met his eye.

“Because you are being amazing. Even without hockey. You are being sweet and kind and generous and thoughtful. And I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Kent smiled, not able to help himself whenever his boyfriend uttered those words. “And you have me for as long as you want me.”

“I am wanting you always, Kent Parson,” Alexei smiled back at him. “Come to Providence with me? Let me take care of you?”

“Permanently?”

“If you are wanting,” he shrugged. “But at least until you are better.”

“Okay,” Kent smiled again, wiping his eyes.

“I ordered food, if you are being hungry?”

“Best boyfriend ever.”

“That is you, kotyonok,” Alyosha kissed his forehead.

“Love it when you call me that.”

“Love you, kotyonok.”

“Love you, too, Alyosha.”

Chapter Text

Dex woke up with a terrible headache, a feeling of wool in his mouth, and a roiling stomach.

He texted Chowder and Bitty and closed his eyes again. There was no way he was going to practice today.

“Bro? You gotta get up,” Nursey called from the closet.

“Not going.”

“You okay?”

“Sick.” Dex cracked open his eyes to look at his roommate. He felt pitiful.

“I’ll bring you back some soup,” Nursey grinned, leaning over the bottom bunk.

“Please don’t mention food right now.”

“Okay,” Nursey’s face softened. “Get some sleep, bro.”

Dex passed out again before Nursey had even left for practice.

The next time he woke, sunlight was streaming through the window and Nursey was leaning over his bed, one hand on his forehead.

“You’re burning up,” he informed.

“‘M fine. Just a cold.”

“Don’t lie to me, Poindexter. You are not fine.”

“Go to class, Nurse.”

“Nope, I’m not going anywhere except the health center with you. Come on, up.”

Dex groaned but he didn’t have the strength to refuse Nursey when he dug his heels in, so he let him manhandle him into a pair of sweats and shove on his sneakers. When Nursey seemed satisfied, he pulled Dex’s arm over his own shoulders, wound his arm around Dex’s waist, and together they hobbled down the stairs and to the student health center.

Dex was set down into a waiting room chair as Nursey went to the desk to check him in.

An hour later, poked and prodded, he was sent home with a round of antibiotics for his strep throat and orders of bed rest and painkillers.

He let Nursey take him back to their room and tuck him in, pouring out the meds he was prescribed and offering them to him with his water bottle. Dex took them on autopilot and passed out again.

The next time he woke it was dark. And he really needed the bathroom.

He rolled over to get up, swinging his legs out of the bunk and running into something soft.

“Dex?” Nursey asked in the dark. “You alright, bro? What do you need?”

“Need to pee,” Dex said. “What is this?”

“Bean bag. You kept calling out. Wanted to be close.”

“Nurse,” Dex began.

“Nope, we can argue about this when you’re well. Come on, bathroom.”

Dex hobbled to the bathroom and took care of what he needed to, before returning to their room.

“You can take more pain meds, if you need them,” Nursey offered.

Dex nodded and held out his hand for the bottle Nursey was holding. Nursey shook out two pills and handed the over instead, and Dex knocked them back.

“Time is it?” Dex asked.

“About 2am.”

“Geez. Sorry Nurse.”

“It’s fine. More important.”

Dex was immensely glad for the dark of the room as he was sure he was blushing scarlet.

“Well, thanks.”

“Anytime, bro.”

Dex nodded.

“You should try to eat if you can,” Nursey said gently. “Bitty made you some soup?”

“Okay.”

He drank the soup slowly with more help from Nursey than he would have ever allowed if he weren’t sick.

But he kind of liked it.

“Nurse?”

“What’s up, Dexy?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“You’re my D-Man. And my friend.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Nursey smiled.

“That’s nice.”

Nursey helped him back into bed after that, and Dex grabbed at his wrist as he moved away.

“Not going anywhere, gonna be right here,” Nursey patted the beanbag.

“Cuddle me?” Dex asked.

“Are you sure?”

“Please?”

Nursey smiled at him and climbed into the narrow bed. They didn’t really fit, but Dex felt safe and secure for the first time since he had woken that morning.

“Thanks, Nurse.”

“Of course,” Nursey whispered.

“Nurse?” Dex whispered back.

Nursey hummed.

“You’re my friend, too.”

“I know, Dex.”

“I want more, sometimes. But you’re my friend.”

“More?”

“You know I do, Nurse.”

“I definitely do not know that!”

Dex stared at him. “Then why are you always flirting? Aren’t you chirping me for my crush?”

“No!” Nursey stared back. “I’m just flirting!”

Dex just stared at him.

“Oh my god, we’re so dumb,” Nursey chuckled.

“Ayup,” Dex grinned. “Hey, when I’m better, can I take you to dinner?”

“Yeah, alright,” Nursey smiled back.

“And Nurse? Remind me we talked about this? I don’t know if I’m gonna remember.”

“I’m holding you to it, babe.”

Dex hummed happily and pulled him close.

Chapter Text

Tony was so tired of people thinking he was stupid. 

He asked questions! What was wrong with that? His Nonna always encouraged it, said it was a good way to learn. And as he’d grown and learned about sarcasm, he naturally started asking sarcastic questions. It was funny! 

Apparently, his classmates didn’t agree. 

He rubbed at his eyes, ignoring the tears that threatened, and looked up as he realized his feet had taken him to the Haus. 

He made his way inside, figuring he really did need some team time after that terrible lecture. 

He found the frogs playing Mario Kart on the couch and settled down to watch. 

After a couple of rounds, Nursey and Chowder grabbed their bags and left for class with fist bumps all around and Dex offered Tony a controller. 

He shrugged. 

Dex furrowed his brow in his trademark Poindexter Worry Grump. It was unfairly cute. 

“What’s wrong, Tango?” 

“It’s nothing. Some kids in my class were kinda rude.”

“Want me to beat them up?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“You talk a big game, Dex, but I know you don’t fight,” Tony smiled weakly. “But thanks.”

“I got your back,” Dex nodded, shutting down the game. 

Tony watched him for a moment before he spoke again. 

“It feels like no one cares sometimes, you know?”

Dex nodded. “I get that.” 

Tony nodded. He hadn’t talked much with Dex about his high school years, but it didn’t sound like they’d been particularly supportive or fun. 

“I care about you,” Dex said after a moment. 

Tony shrugged again. “You’re my teammate, you have to.” 

“No, Tony, I care about you. Not as a teammate, as a friend.” 

“Thanks, Dex. I care about you, too. You don’t think I’m stupid, do you?”

“Of course not! You’re crazy smart. I’m actually a little jealous of how smart you are. You just breeze through shit that takes me hours in comp sci,” Dex scooted to the end of the couch, closer to Tony in the chair. “Did someone call you stupid?”

“It was more of a feeling. In class.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault,” Tony mumbled.

“I still want to help,” Dex said softly. “Is there anything I can do?”

“This is helping,” Tony smiled. “Thanks for having my back, Dex.”

“Have you eaten anything? I know you usually go to lunch after that class.”

Why did Dex know that? Of course, Tony knew Dex’s schedule, too, so maybe it wasn’t that weird.

“No, just came here.”

“Well, let me take you to lunch then?” Dex spoke into his lap, his cheeks turning pink. Tony put it together suddenly and asked a question. 

“Like, as a date?’

“If you want it to be? No pressure, obviously, we can just go to the dining hall and eat as friends but –”

“Yes,” Tony cut him off. He reached over the arm of the chair and took Dex’s hand. “Yes, you can take me to lunch. As a date.”

Dex smiled and huffed a sigh of relief. “Swawesome.”

Chapter Text

Kent spent a lot of time going back and forth on whether or not he was glad he played hockey and that his soulmate was almost certainly also a hockey player.

On the one hand, he was unlikely to touch him the first time they met, due to the many layers and pads worn while playing. So he would probably know him before they bonded and those kind of pairings usually did well.

On the other hand, the chirp written on his skin, the first words his soulmate would speak to him after they do touch, was so bad.

Just, so bad.

On yet another hand, at least he was a marked half, so he would be certain of the match when it happened and didn’t have to be suspicious of anyone claiming to be his soulmate.

So, back and forth.

It didn’t happen in the Q, as much as he had wanted it to be Jack for a while. And so far it hadn’t happened on the Aces.

He was tempted sometimes to make an excuse to touch some of the particularly attractive opponents but he knew himself and he knew anything he tried would be a thinly veiled attempt at a soulmatch and therefore would potentially out him. He just wasn’t a smooth person.

Besides, the line clearly told him when he would find his soulmate. After taking a shot on goal.

So he bided his time, and he worked on his slapshot.

He’d been on the team for ten years, Captain for seven of those, and had two Stanley Cups under his belt. So what if he hadn’t found his soulmate?

So when he ran into Alexei “Tater” Mashkov in the hall after a brutal game and the man dropped an enormous arm across Kent’s shoulders, hooking his elbow around the back of Kent’s neck, he barely thought about the fact that this was their first skin contact.

“My grandma has better slapshot than that,” Mashkov chirped.

Kent feels the words heat on his arm, just in case he had missed them. He scrambled for his cuff and rolled it up to stare at them, then up at Mashkov.

“Do you have any idea how terrible that line is?” He finally got out.

Mashkov’s eyes were wide, but then he let out a huge barking laugh and Kent couldn’t help but laugh, too.

“Is truly terrible,” Mashkov agreed, then sobered. “I’ve waited for this moment for a long time.”

“Me too. Dinner?”

“Da,” Mashkov smiled. “This is good thing, yes?”

“Unlike your chirping skills,” Kent smirked.

“I make it up to you,” Mashkov winked.

“I’m holding you to that.”

He did.

Chapter Text

Jack came home to Bitty crying over their stove.

“Bits? What’s wrong?”

“The oven! She won’t turn on!”

“What do you mean?”

“I won’t lose you, too!” Bitty cried at the oven, whose name Jack had forgotten nearly as soon as Bitty had christened it.

“Bits… is today the day they’re turning off the gas line for street construction?”

“What?” Bitty sniffed, wiping his nose on the back of his hand. “What are you talking about?”

“We got a letter about it. It’s on the fridge,” Jack gestured towards and Bitty stalked over to read the letter.

“Gas supply will be shut off from 2pm to 5pm on Monday March 9,” he read. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

Jack shook his head. “Sorry bud, I thought you’d seen the letter.”

“Clearly I hadn’t,” Bitty grumbled, but he let Jack pull him into his arms for a hug.

“Oh!” Bitty pulled back. “I have to tell Dex not to come down!”

“You know we can hire a handyman who isn’t all the way up at Samwell, right?”

“You hush, Mr. Zimmermann,” Bitty scolded, pulling out his phone and rapidly typing.

Jack leaned in and kissed Bitty’s cheek.

“None of that, now, I’m mad at you for not telling me Penelope would be out of service today.”

Penelope! That was her name.

“I’m sorry Bits. Let me make it up to you?”

“Yeah, alright,” Bitty smiled.

Jack grinned and kissed him again.

Chapter Text

“Oh, come on, Whiskey! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Connor leveled his best friend with a glare. “I try to talk to him, he laughs in my face, and in my embarrassment, I trip over my own feet, falling to my death in the lake.”

“There's no way that’s going to happen. Just talk to him! Please? For me?” Tony clasped his hands together and pleaded. 

Connor sighed. He was weak to Tony’s puppy-dog eyes. 

“Fine,” he said. “But if I die, I’m never speaking to you again.” 

“Deal,” Tony grinned. 

With a forced air of calm, he approached the trio of lax guys sitting on the edge of the lake. He was friends with Ben, which he planned to use to his advantage, because talking to Matt? Seemed like the most daunting thing in the world. 

He’d been crushing on the guy for a couple of months now, but every time he tried to say something cool, he’d freeze up. He wasn’t sure he’d ever actually managed to say anything to him. 

He looked over his shoulder to where Tony was waiting and got a giant grin and a double thumbs up from his best friend. Connor returned the smile weakly, then turned again towards the guys as he got close. 

“Hey,” he greeted. Smooth, Whisk. Real smooth. 

“Sup, Whisk?” Ben greeted. 

“Just chillin’,” he answered. Chillin?! Who even was he right now?

“Cool. You know Matt and Chad?” Ben gestured to the other two boys. 

“Hey,” he said again. “What are you guys up to? Was thinking of going to Annie’s,” he said, looking at Ben and pleading that he could read his true question. It wasn’t exactly a secret that he was crushing on Matt. Maybe Ben would take pity on him?

“Oh, Chad and I actually have a class right now,” Ben answered and Connor breathed a sigh of relief. 

“Well, you wanna grab a coffee, Matt?”

“Sure,” Matt said, looking like he was trying not to laugh. He got up from the group and grabbed his bag, falling into step beside Connor. 

“So, Whisk?”

“Connor. Yeah.”

“Cool.”

Connor noticed Tony approaching from the corner of his eye and suddenly everything was moving too fast. He tried to signal to go the other way but Tony just waved. 

“How’d it go? Did he say yes? He looked friendly!” Tony asked, looking over his should to where Ben and Chad still sat. 

“Tony,” Connor bit out. “This is Matt. Matt, Tony, my teammate.”

Tony blushed and held out his hand. “Nice to meet you. I’ll just be going, now. See ya, Whiskey!” 

Connor watched him jog away across the quad and groaned before turning back to Matt. 

“Sorry about that. He’s... just really excited.”

Matt laughed softly. “We saw him egging you on. I get it.” 

“Oh no,” Connor groaned again.

“Don’t worry, I think it’s cute.’

Connor looked over and saw Matt was smiling. 

“You do?”

Matt nodded and held out a hand. “How ‘bout that coffee?”

Connor felt his face heat but took Matt’s proffered hand. 

“Yeah, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

“I’m gay.”

Alexei stared at his friend.

“Thank you for trusting me,” he smiled, trying not to let his emotions show on his face.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, I—“

“Is no worry, Kenny. Promise.”

“Thanks.” Kent gave a small smile. “Don’t, um, don’t say anything at school, okay?”

“Of course not!” Alexei exclaimed. “I not tell anyone.”

“You’re a good friend, Lexei.”

He smiled. He didn’t feel like a very good friend right now. His friend had just trusted him with a secret and his brain was doing excited laps. Kent was gay! He had a chance!

“So, I guess I should stop trying wingman you with cute girls at parties?” he tried weakly.

Kent laughed. “Yeah, that’s probably best.”

“You want I wingman you with cute boy instead?”

Kent’s cheeks turned red and he looked down at the table.

“Nah, I’m kinda… I’m kinda hung up on someone right now actually.”

Alexei blinked. How could he have missed Kent having a crush? They were best friends!

“I can wingman you with them, then! Am best wingman!”

“No, it’s okay. He’s. He’s so out of my league it’s not even funny.”

Alexei scoffed.

“Don’t sell yourself short! You are catch!”

Kent just shook his head.

“Trust me, he doesn’t like me like that.”

“Is someone I know?” Alexei prodded.

Kent shrugged.

“Well, we will find you someone, you can forget about this person. They are not worth you if they don’t see how amazing you are.”

Kent finally met his eyes. “You really are too good,” he said quietly.

“What?” Alexei asked, suddenly completely lost.

“You’re just… you’re so sweet and earnest and supportive and I just… how am I supposed to like anyone else when you’re already everything I want?”

Kent’s entire face was red now but he was staring at Alexei and Alexei thought he might happily drown in those blue-grey eyes.

“You… me?”

Kent nodded.

Alexei gaped at him.

“See, I told you,” Kent deflated, and Alexei burst into action.

“No, wait, Kenny!”

He wrapped his hand around Kent’s wrist and his friend looked up at him again, hope shining in his eyes.

“I’m wanting to kiss you since freshman year!”

“What?”

“You tell me you are gay and I am so happy because maybe I have a chance! But you say you like someone, so I am determined to be good friend! But you like me! So I am happy! Are you happy?”

“You like me?” Kent asked.

“Yes, Kenny. Can I kiss you now?”

“Yeah,” Kent breathed.

Alexei smiled and released Kent’s wrist, raising his hand to Kent’s cheek instead. Then he leaned in, watching Kenny’s eyes fluttered closed, then closing his own just as he met Kent’s lips with his own.

The kiss was gentle at first, a tentative step into this new part of their relationship. Then Kent made a tiny whimper and Alexei tilted his head, deepening the kiss.

When they broke apart they were both breathless.

“Holy crap,” Kent whispered.

“Yeah,” Alexei agreed, leaning in again.

“You believe me now? You are catch. My catch,” he mumbled against Kent’s lips.

“I believe you.”

Alexei smiled into their next kiss. He could get used to this.

Chapter Text

“Whatcha working on?” Dex asked.

Nursey looked down at the poem he was editing for a moment before he looked up and handed the whole notebook to Dex.

“Oh,” Dex said, holding the notebook like it was about to bite him. “You know I don’t really get poetry.”

Nursey shrugged.

“What class is this for?”

“Just for me.”

“Oh.” Dex made the grumpy face that Nursey knew was his concentration face and looked down at the poem.

He watched his friend’s face as he read down the page. His eyes flicked up to Nursey a couple of times, but mostly he just kept reading.

“It’s nice,” he said finally.

Nursey laughed softly. He didn’t get it, of course he didn’t. It was only about him.

“Is it— are you— what does it mean?” Dex finally said.

Nursey shrugged, gently taking the notebook back. He read aloud the last two lines.

“All I know is this:

You make me feel alive.”

He looked up at Dex again, hoping that he would connect it.

“I do?”

Nursey’s eyes felt like they were going to bug out of his head.

“You know it’s about you?”

“Well, I kinda thought, maybe? But the way you just read that…”

“Yeah,” Nursey smiled. “It’s about you.”

“Are you… really?”

Wow, he’d actually gotten it. Moment of truth.

“Yeah, I’m a little bit in love with you,” Nursey said, then bit his lip.

“You absolute idiot,” Dex murmured sweetly, smiling brightly at him.

And then Dex was kissing him.

What?

“What?” He asked when Dex pulled back.

“How could you not know? I’m in love with you, too,” Dex said, still smiling.

“Oh.”

“Eloquent, Nurse,” Dex shook his head.

“You love me,” he repeated.

“And you love me,” Dex said back.

“Yeah, I really do.”

“Kiss me again?”

“Yeah,” Nursey smiled, leaning back in.

He’d never felt more alive.

Chapter Text

Kent couldn’t tell you why having his boyfriend in Russia instead of Providence was so much different, but it was. 

Maybe it was the time difference? Maybe it was how much more he worried about him when he went home? He couldn’t tell. 

But Alyosha had gone back to Russia to meet up with the Olympic team and travel together to the games and Kent was a mess.

By the time he was on his way to meet up with him after the opening ceremonies, he was ready to collapse into bed and just hold him for three days straight. He knocked on Alyosha’s door in the village and it was flung open almost immediately. 

“Kenyushka!” his giant Russian teddy bear exclaimed, pulling him into his arms. Kent hugged him tightly, burying his face in Alyosha’s chest. 

“Missed you,” he mumbled into the fabric. 

“Missed you, too, Kenny.”

The games flew by. Russia and the USA weren’t set to play each other for a bit, so they got to cheer each other on, or chirp each other, as the situation called for. 

Team USA got knocked out in the fight for bronze, finishing fourth, and Russia and Canada went against each other for the gold. 

Kent screamed his head off in the stands for the game, gave nice, polite statements to the press, and sat on the edge of his seat every moment Alyosha was on the ice. 

In the end, Team Canada won by an overtime goal, leaving Russia with silver. 

Kent greeted his boyfriend with a friendly hug, wary of the reporters around every corner, but whispered in his ear. “You’re always gold to me.”

“You’re a sap, Kent Parson,” Alexei grinned back. 

“You know it,” he snuck a quick kiss to his cheek, then stepped away and let his boyfriend go do press. 

He’d have all the time in the world to tell him how proud he was later. 

Chapter Text

Kent leaned against Alexei and smiled. They were out with a mix of the Falcs and the Aces after a game and he didn’t have to worry about who could see them anymore. Because they were out — actually out — too.

The media storm in the off season had all been worth it to be cuddled up against his boyfriend now, in public.

‘Oh,’ he thought. ‘I could kiss him.’

He didn’t know why it hadn’t occurred to him before but now he needed it more than anything.

He sat straighter and turned into Alexei.

“Alright, Kenya?”

Kent just kissed him.

He kept it light and sweet, they were out with their teams after all.

“Hi,” Kent grinned as he pulled back.

Alexei gaped at him.

“We’re out. I can do that now.”

His boyfriend caught up and grinned back. He gave him a quick kiss back before murmuring, “A little warning next time, please?”

Kent winked at him and cuddled back under his arm.

“Who do we fine?” Swoops stage whispered to Jack across the table.

“Both of them?” Jack shrugged, his eyes sparkling.

Kent blushed but dug out his wallet.

Worth it.

Chapter Text

Dex burst through the door to the Haus and flopped down face first onto the couch.

“You alright, Poindexter?”

“I’m fine.”

“Yeah, I definitely don’t believe you,” Nursey narrowed his eyes. “Scootch.”

He poked at Dex’s hip until his boyfriend scooted further over on the couch and Nursey was able to sit beside him.

“You wanna talk about it?”

“No.”

“Okay.” Nursey laid a hand on Dex’s back, and when he wasn’t pushed off, he began to rub small circles.

“I got my semester project group today and I know they won’t be any help,” Dex said after a moment, muffled into the cushion. “Group projects already suck but the people I got paired with are gonna be such deadweight I may as well be doing it all myself. I hate this class.”

Nursey hummed. “Group projects are, in fact, the worst. Anything I can do?”

“Just… talk about something else?” Dex rolled to his side and looked up at him.

Nursey smiled and launched into a story his sister had told him that morning about their mother’s continuing struggles with the most basic of technology.

Dex finally gave a chuckle towards the end of the story and Nursey smiled back down at him.

“I can think of other ways to distract, you know,” he offered, his hand running up Dex’s side.

Dex hummed and cocked his head to the side in mock consideration, then laughed and grabbed Nursey’s collar, pulling him down to his level.

“Show me what you got, Nurse,” he chirped.

Nursey diverted his lips to Dex’s neck and traced along his pulse, teasing kisses along his jaw before finally pressing their lips together. Dex gave a little whimper and melted into the kiss.

When Chowder found them an hour later, tangled on the couch and lips puffy, he squawked out a noise of surprise.

“I should fine you for making out on the couch,” Chowder said with a glare, but it wasn’t his goalie face so Nursey wasn’t concerned.

“You won’t, though. Because you love us,” Nursey gave him his best puppy dog eyes while Dex laughed softly at the exchange.

“Yeah, alright, I won’t. Move over, I wanna watch the Sharks game.” Nursey and Dex sat up and made room for C.

Dex smiled softly and left one last kiss on Nursey’s cheek before leaning his cheek against Nursey’s shoulder.

Nursey reached an arm around each of his best friends and cuddled in for the game.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

Kent stood outside the hotel door at the All-Star game shifting nervously from foot to foot. Alexei had assured him his roommate had gone to hang elsewhere but if another player saw him?

He didn’t want to think about it.

The door swung open at last and Alexei swept him into a giant hug.

“Missed you,” Alexei said into Kent’s curls.

“Missed you, too,” Kent said. “Let me in so we don’t get caught in the hallway?”

Alexei pulled him inside and locked the door behind them before pressing Kent against it.

“Lyosha—“ Kent gasped as he melted into the kiss.

As always, Alexei knew just how to make Kent feel good and the noises he made under Kent’s hands made him thrill deep in his gut.

When they again had to say goodbye, Kent clung to him.

“I hate this,” he whispered.

Alexei made a noise of confusion.

“Hiding. Sneaking around. Never seeing you.”

“I know Kenya,” Alexei hugged him tighter.

“I just… I love you and I want to be with you more.”

“You love me?” Alexei pulled back to look at Kent’s face.

Kent swallowed and nodded. “I do. So much.”

“Oh.” Alexei’s eyes were wide and his hands were frozen on Kent’s biceps.

“You don’t have to say anything,” Kent blinked hard, willing the tears not to fall.”

“No! Kenny, I am loving you so much but didn’t want to be scaring you!”

“You do?”

“Da.”

Kent grinned. He didn’t speak much Russian but he knew that word. And he knew Alexei forgot his English sometimes when he was excited.

“Are you wanting to tell people?”

“That we’re in love?” Kent asked.

Alexei just shrugged. “That we boyfriends. Would make me very happy.”

“Yeah?”

“Our teams, first, maybe?”

“Okay,” Kent smiled wider. “I love you so much, Alyosha.”

“I love you, Kenyushka. No more secrets.”

“One at a time, eh?”

“Eh?” Alexei chirped.

“Shut up, you love me,” Kent blushed.

“I really do.”

Kent couldn’t help but kiss him again for that.

Chapter Text

“Tony?” A voice called from the doorway. Had he left his door unlocked?

“Up here,” Tony mumbled into his pillow.

“Hey,” Whiskey said softly, leaning onto the side of the lofted bed. “You okay?”

“Huh?”

Whiskey furrowed his eyebrows and studied him.

“You kinda disappeared, man. Everyone was worried about you.”

“I just needed to go home,” Tony said. He really didn’t understand why Whiskey was so worried. Why everyone was so worried.

“Okay,” Whiskey said. “I just wanted to, um, make sure you were okay.”

“I’m okay.”

Whiskey nodded.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he said after a moment.

“I know.” And he did. He knew that shot was too fast and Chowder would have missed it without Tony in the line of sight. But it still felt awful to lose like that. Feeling like something could have been different.

“Just wanted to… make sure. Again.” Whiskey reached up and rubbed the back of his own neck. “Do you wanna grab dinner?”

“Not really. I just wanna be alone right now.”

Whiskey nodded again. He always understood. Tony loved that about him.

“Text me if you need anything, alright?”

“‘Kay.”

“I’m glad you’re alright,” Whiskey said, moving towards the dorm door.

“Whiskey, wait,” Tony sat up. “Why are you so worried about me?”

Whiskey paused, still facing the door. “I worry because I care about you. I know how… how hard it can be sometimes.”

The back of his neck had blushed pink and Tony willed him to turn back around. But maybe this was an easier conversation to have if he didn’t have to see Whiskey’s face.

“You care about me?” Tony’s voice sounded small, but when Whiskey turned back around, he looked broken and Tony wished he hadn’t said anything.

“Of course I do, Tony. You’re my best friend.”

Tony nodded, willing himself not to cry. Of course that was all Whiskey thought of them. “Right. Yeah.”

“Tony?” Whiskey stepped back to the edge of the bed and looked up at him. “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“‘M not crying,” Tony sniffed.

Whiskey gave him a sad smile. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. But I’m here if you need me.”

Tony wiped his eyes on the back of his hand.

“I care about you, too. So incredibly much, Connor.”

Whiskey’s eyes widened just a bit, and Tony gulped as he realized he had used his first name. Whiskey didn’t like him like that, and that was okay! They were best friends. Teammates. Friendship was not second best to romantic love!

But he still wanted it.

“Tony,” Whiskey began again, raising his hand up to cover Tony’s where it lay on the mattress. Tony looked at it for a moment before meeting Whiskey’s eyes again. “I was worried when you ran off because… if you’re hurting, I’m hurting. And if something happened to you? I don’t know what I’d do.”

“Really?” Tony felt his heart beating in his ears. Was this really happening?

“Yeah.” Whiskey smiled up at him.

“And now that you found me and I’m alright?” Tony asked.

“I’m so relieved I could… well, I could kiss you.” Whiskey’s cheeks darkened.

“You should,” Tony whispered, his voice failing him.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Because we care about each other. And we’re okay.”

Whiskey tilted up, leaning on the side of the mattress and Tony leaned down to meet him.

The kiss was salty from Tony’s tears, but also so, so sweet.

“Promise you’re okay?” Whiskey murmured against his lips.

“Never better,” Tony grinned.

Chapter Text

Dex could hardly believe it. He was holding a signed NHL contract. He had made it.

Sure he would play in the AHL for a year or so probably, but he was good and he would fight his way up.

The only question was how to tell Nursey.

He stumbled upstairs at the Haus to his boyfriend’s room. He nudged the door open where it rested against the frame unlatched but stopped in the doorway.

“Hey babe,” Nursey greeted distractedly, then snapped up after a moment, seeming to have sensed Dex’s mood. “What’s wrong?”

“I did it.”

“You did what?” Nursey asked, crossing the room to him.

“I signed with the Bruins.”

“Oh my god!” Nursey shouted, losing his chill entirely.

Dex broke, laughing loudly, the stress of everything falling away.

“I’m so proud of you babe.”

“You’re not mad?”

“Mad? Why would I be mad?”

Nursey looked at him but Dex couldn’t get his mouth to open.

“Dex?”

“I know you want to go back to NYC,” Dex finally choked out.

“That doesn’t matter,” Nursey took his hands. “I want to be with you.”

“You do?”

“Of course I do. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Dex smiled, squeezing his hands. “So, um, wanna move in with your rookie boyfriend?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” Nursey smiled, closing the distance between them in a kiss.

Chapter Text

Nursey arrived back at the house, arm finally cast-free, and flopped on the couch beside Dex. 

They’d gotten along better since Dex moved to the basement. The space was doing them good. They were friends again.

“Oh,” Dex said and Nursey looked over to see him staring at his wrist.

“All healed,” Nursey said, holding it up. 

“You have a scar,” Dex said. 

“Oh, um, yeah. From the surgery. But they said it’d probably fade. It’s chill.”

Dex rolled his eyes, seemingly by habit, and then looked up at Nursey’s face. 

“What?” Nursey asked when Dex just stared.

“You’re… you’re alright now?”

Nursey laughed hollowly. “Yeah, I’m fine, Poindexter. You don’t have to worry about me.”

“I always worry about you,” Dex mumbled. 

Nursey scoffed, but Dex looked up at him again and he looked so earnest that Nursey started. 

“Really?” he asked. 

Dex nodded. 

“But you left.”

Dex rolled his eyes again. “Just because I don’t want to live with your pile of dirty underwear doesn’t mean I don’t worry about you. Doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.”

Dex’s face was bright red by the end of his sentence and Nursey grinned despite himself.

“I care about you, too, Dexter.”

“Can I –?” Dex gestured to his wrist and Nursey nodded, not quite sure what he was agreeing to. 

Dex reached over and gently took ahold of Nursey’s wrist, pulling it up to look at the scar, tracing along the thin white line with his finger. 

Then Dex was lowering his head and pressing his lips to the scar. He lifted his head and looked up at Nursey. 

His face felt hot and his heart pounded in his chest. 

“Oh,” Nursey gasped. 

Dex shrugged, his cheeks still flaming. Nursey just stared at him. 

“Right,” Dex said, letting go of Nursey’s wrist and dropping his eyes. “I’m gonna, um, go.”

He was already standing up by the time Nursey got ahold of his racing thoughts.

“Wait!” He reached out and grabbed Dex’s wrist, mirroring their previous pose. He turned Dex’s hand around and kissed the palm. Dex gasped. 

“Nursey,” he whispered. 

In response, Nursey laced their fingers together and tugged Dex back down onto the couch with him. Dex let himself fall softly into Nursey, reaching up with his free hand to cup Nursey’s cheek. 

“You could have just asked, Will,” Nursey smiled, his eyes dropping down to Dex’s lips without meaning to. 

“I didn’t think I could,” Dex shook his head. “Hey, Nurse?”

“Yeah?” Nursey replied with a smile.

“Kiss me?”

“Yeah,” Nursey sighed, pulling him closer and sealing their lips together.