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Logan has almost reached his car in the players' lot when he hears Kevin calling his name.

"Hey, Cooch, you got a minute?"

"Yeah, sure," Logan says, pausing to let Kevin catch up to him. "What's up?"

Kevin gives him a small smile. "I wanted to ask," he says, "do you want to go out to dinner with me sometime?"

Logan opens his mouth and closes it again.

He knows, in a low-key kind of way, that Kevin's gay. Kevin's never been terribly vocal about it, but he's mentioned his ex-boyfriends in various conversations, so most of the team probably knows, if they've been paying attention. But it hadn't occurred to Logan that Kevin could be interested in him.

He's impressed, though. To put yourself out there like that—to just ask, clearly and directly—that's brave, and admirable. That deserves respect, and it certainly deserves a better response than an instant brush-off. Kevin deserves better. From everything Logan knows of him, he's a really decent guy. It's really too bad that Logan has to say no to him.

Does he have to say no? Is there any real reason he can't decide to go?

He needs to say something pretty soon, at any rate. Kevin's watching him quietly, waiting for an answer.

Logan pulls himself together and says, "Uh, yeah. Yes."

"Yeah?" Kevin's whole face breaks into a smile. "Wow, ok. Great!"

Logan smiles tentatively back. "Um, when do you want to go?" he asks.

"Oh." Kevin's eyebrows go up while he's thinking. "How about Sunday night?"

They have practice on Sunday, but no game the next day, so they'll have the whole evening free. "Sounds good," Logan says.

"Good," Kevin repeats, still smiling. He reaches out and touches his fingertips to Logan's elbow. Then he hitches his bag back up higher on his shoulder and turns to head toward his own car. "See you later, then."

"See you," Logan says.

 

Logan drives home feeling good about putting that kind of smile on Kevin's face, even if, at the back of his mind, he can't quite shut out the looming feeling that he might have just done something immensely dumb.

He's committed now, though. He said he'd go on the date, and he won't go back on that. It's just one evening, after all, and then, if it was a mistake, he can put it behind him.

 

When Logan walks into the locker room the next day, Kevin looks up and gives him a quick grin. Logan feels his face go hot. He manages to nod back and then drops his eyes and heads to his stall.

Kevin doesn't approach Logan any further during skate, though. Then they all lock into their game day routines, and there's no time to think about anything but playing that night. And afterwards, no one is in much of a mood to do anything but sulk and resolve to do better.

 

Kevin's still all business during practice on Sunday, too. But on his way out afterward, he stops by Logan's stall. "See you tonight?" he says. "I'll come pick you up at seven."

Logan nods. "Cool, see you then."

"What was that about with Banker?" Pavs says as they're leaving the room, falling into step with Logan.

"We're getting dinner together tonight."

"You are? Why?"

"Because he asked?"

"Banker asked you to dinner." Logan nods. "And you didn't realize he was asking you on a date?"

Logan raises his eyebrows. "Uh, yeah, I realized."

"What the fuck! You can't go out with him."

"Why not?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe because you're not gay!"

"You don't know that," Logan says. Part of him is furious at Joe for interfering, but he's proud of how even his voice stays.

"You know that!" Joe says.

"So what!" Logan says. "So—so fucking what, it's just dinner. I can go out to eat with a guy. You and I eat together all the time."

Joe rolls his eyes. "That's not the same, and you know it. He's gay—he wants you. He's wanted you for a while. What are you going to do when he wants to kiss you? When he wants to fuck you?"

Logan does have to take a deep breath at that, but he doesn't appreciate Joe trying to shock him. "Well, I don't think he's going to maul me over the dinner table," he says, as coolly as he can manage. "So I think we'll be all right for tonight."

Joe glares at him, mouth pressed into a hard line. "You know what? Fine. Go to fucking dinner, if he's expecting you. But you can't—" Joe's eyes narrow. "You're not trying to, like, prank him, are you? You can't fucking troll him. Not about this."

"No!" Logan says. "I wouldn't."

"Then why the hell did you say yes?"

Logan doesn't particularly feel like he owes Joe any explanation. He stares back without answering.

Joe shakes his head. "Just make sure you let him down easy," he says. "You're still going to have to play together."

Logan presses his lips together, takes a deep breath, and lets it back out again. "Bye, Pavs," he says.

 

It probably doesn't count as spiting Joe if Joe will never know about it, but Logan makes sure to put on his best dark jeans and a pressed shirt before Kevin comes to pick him up.

 

"So, just so we're on the same page," Kevin says once he's pulled out of Logan's driveway. "When I said I wanted to get dinner, I meant I want this to be a date."

"Right," Logan says. "I mean, that's what I thought you meant."

"Great," Kevin says. He cuts a glance over at Logan and then looks back at the road. He looks pleased, and fond, and it's because of Logan. Logan feels pleased in turn.

He needs to put his cards on the table too, though. "I should tell you that—well, you can probably tell, but I haven't gone out with a guy before."

Kevin nods. "That's chill," he says. "We can take it slow."

"Ok," Logan says.

 

By unspoken agreement, they avoid talking about anything related to the team, or their less than stellar start to the season. Kevin tells Logan about his parents and his sister, the sometimes large number of other relatives who lived with them when he was growing up, and those still remaining in Slovakia.

In turn, Logan finds himself telling Kevin a lot about his own family, about playing lacrosse and baseball and then stopping, and about playing in the O. Even though they didn't overlap there, they have plenty of notes to compare on that. Logan also discovers that Kevin has strong—and fortunately, correct—opinions about Kylo Ren and Loki, and that his humor comes out in understated comments and wry asides. It's not until the check arrives and Logan reaches for his wallet that their conversation hits a hitch.

"I've got it," Kevin says, smiling, and hands the waiter his card.

Logan had somehow managed to forget that Kevin is taking him out. He drops his hand and shuts his mouth.

They were right in the middle of discussing the issues in Iron Man recruiting Spider-Man, though, and they fall back into that while they're waiting for the check to come back, and then through the drive back to Logan's house.

"Have you seen the new Blade Runner movie yet?" Kevin says after he's parked.

"No, I didn't get a chance yet. Have you?"

"No—so I was thinking, do you maybe want to go next week, before we leave for the road trip?"

"Oh," Logan says. When he was thinking about this, he'd only thought about one evening; he didn't really expect it to go beyond tonight. But he has actually been wanting to see that movie, and after tonight he knows Kevin will be good company to go with. In fact, Logan's been enjoying himself all night. Surely it wouldn't hurt anything to get together again. "Yeah, ok, that'd be fun."

"Cool, I'll look up the showtimes."

Kevin keeps looking at Logan, his face going a little more serious. Then he starts leaning closer, and Logan realizes that Kevin is going to kiss him. He feels frozen, at the same time as his pulse speeds up. It's rude to just sit there; he should lean in too. He sways forward a little and closes his eyes.

Kevin's lips brush his once and are gone.

Logan looks up to see Kevin settling back into his seat. "So I'll text you about the movie," Kevin says. He's smiling again.

"Um. Ok, cool."

"See you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, for sure," Logan says. He fumbles for the handle of the car door. After he's extricated himself he remembers to turn back and say, "Um, thanks for dinner."

"My pleasure," Kevin says. "Good night."

"Night," Logan says.

 

What's weird is that they kissed, he's technically kissed a guy now, but he can't really say he knows how it feels. The touch of Kevin's lips was so brief and so light that Logan didn't register much of anything except that it happened. He could have handled more, he thinks. Pavs might have thought Logan would run screaming the second Kevin touched him, but Logan dealt with things fine tonight, and he can deal with going on a second date, too. And the odds are good that Kevin will kiss him again afterward, assuming Logan doesn't fuck it up somehow, and then he'll know what that's like for real.

 

When he wakes up the next day, Logan has a text from Kevin that just says good morning. He looks at it for a minute and sends back a smiley face.

After he's showered and gotten dressed, Logan makes his weekly phone call to his mom. She updates him on the news from home and then asks, "Did you do anything special yesterday?"

"Yeah, uh, I went out to dinner with Banker. Kevin."

"That sounds nice," she says. "Did you have a good time?"

"Yeah," Logan says, reflecting, "I did. I don't know if it's going to go anywhere, but it really was fun."

"Oh," his mom says. She pauses. "Do you think you're going to see him again?"

"Um, yeah, we made plans to go see a movie next week."

"Well, I hope you both enjoy it."

She turns the subject after that, and he spends the rest of the call reassuring her that his wrist is holding up fine.

 

Kevin still doesn't do anything to single Logan out while they're at the rink. Tomáš scores on Kevin's assist during their next game, and when they swing by the bench for the fly-by, Kevin smacks Logan's outstretched glove without even looking at him. At the end of the game, when they're milling around at center ice celebrating their first win of the season, Kevin slaps Logan on the shoulder once and moves on to hug Melker without pausing.

Logan can't help feeling a small thread of disappointment about that. But when he thinks about it more, he realizes that he should be appreciating it. Keeping their personal stuff separate is the right thing to do, since they do, as Joe so helpfully reminded him, still need to work together. Anything else can wait till they get together again on their own.

 

It feels more like properly dating when they're sitting next to each other at the movie theater a few days later. They're in public, so Kevin doesn't do anything beyond bumping his shoulder against Logan's and leaving it there. But Logan feels that steady point of warmth as a backdrop throughout the whole movie, and it's kind of nice.

They spend the drive back debating how this movie compares to the original. Then Kevin pulls into Logan's driveway and turns the car off.

"You packed for tomorrow yet?" he asks.

"Well, I've started," Logan says.

"Yeah, me too." Kevin pauses and wets his lips. "Listen, we get that free afternoon in New York, right? You want to find someplace to go to lunch together then?"

Logan doesn't have to hesitate long. The movie was fun, and he had just as good a time talking with Kevin as he did before. He can easily do this again. "Yeah, that sounds good."

"Cool." Kevin pauses again. Then he puts a hand on Logan's shoulder and leans in.

Logan is better prepared this time. He tilts his head to meet Kevin and lets the gentle touch guide him into kissing back just as softly.

Kevin smiles when he lets go. "All right, go finish packing," he says.

"Yeah," Logan says. "Um. See you tomorrow."

 

He thinks it over while he's pulling out clothes and putting them in his suitcase. This kiss lasted long enough for him to get a real impression, and it didn't bother him at all. He would even say it was good: the warmth of having someone close to him, the soft unhurried touch, the steady anchor of Kevin's hand. Not a dealbreaker at all.

With that settled, Logan goes to his dresser and opens his sock drawer. You always need more socks on a road trip than you think.

 

When Logan gets down to the lobby of their hotel in New York, Chris is standing with Kevin, chatting.

"Hey," Logan says awkwardly.

"Hey! Ready to go?" Kevin says. Logan nods. "We're going to head out," Kevin tells Chris.

"Have fun, you guys," Chris says. His tone is light, but he's giving Logan kind of a narrow-eyed look. Kevin just waves.

"Does Cobra know we're going out?" Logan asks once they're outside on the sidewalk.

Kevin wrinkles his forehead. "I haven't told him, but he might have figured it out. Do you mind if he knows?"

"No," Logan says. If he's doing this, he's standing by it. "It just seemed like he was looking at me kind of weird. I don't know, it's probably nothing."

"I mean, he's the ambassador, he's supposed to be chill. And he's never given me a hard time."

"Sure," Logan says. Then it occurs to him that he should bring up something else. "Um, Pavs kind of knows, too. At least, he was asking me about you."

"That's fine," Kevin says. "You know, I'm not interested in being out publicly, but I don't really worry about it with the guys. I usually just let stuff come up if it comes up."

"Yeah," Logan says. "That's cool."

The restaurant they go to is a seafood place that Kevin's sister recommended.

"Are you going to see your folks while we're here?" Logan asks when he hears that. He feels a little guilty suddenly for taking up Kevin's free time while they're in town.

"Oh yeah, I saw them yesterday, and they'll be there at the game tomorrow night too," Kevin says. "They're at work right now, though."

He looks unperturbed, so Logan decides not to worry about it. The food is really good, anyway, and Kevin has lots of stories to tell about places he used to go in the city as a kid and the years of long drives over to New Jersey. The time goes by pretty quickly.

"Walk you to your room?" Kevin says when they get on the elevator, back at the hotel.

"Uh, sure," Logan says. He feels a flutter of uncertainty about what will happen when they get there, but he doesn't want to send Kevin away yet, either.

After he gets his keycard inserted the right way, Logan holds the door open for Kevin. Kevin doesn't go very far into the room, leaving just enough space for Logan to follow and let the door swing shut behind them. Then he takes Logan's face between his hands and pulls Logan in to kiss him. It could count as two or three kisses, maybe, separating and returning, just as warm as Logan remembers from before. He lets his own hand drift to Kevin's arm.

"I have to go by the trainers' room," Kevin says afterward. "Steve wanted me to have them look at my elbow this afternoon. See you at dinner, though?" There's a team steakhouse excursion planned in the evening.

"For sure," Logan says.

 

Logan's brushing his teeth the next morning when he realizes that Kevin didn't actually ask him for another date. He wonders if that means this was it, that what they've been doing is over. There's some relief in that thought. Everything could go back to normal then, leaving the last few weeks behind, a short detour with no lasting impact.

But it would also be disappointing. Kevin is fun to talk to, and Logan would miss that if they didn't hang out anymore. And he can admit that his ego's been flattered by being pursued. Also, Logan realizes as he's thinking about it, Kevin has treated three times in a row now, and that's a little unfair. Logan really ought to reciprocate. It would be too bad if he never gets the chance.

But is that even what's happening? Would Kevin have kissed him like that if he wasn't interested anymore? Or would he even have bothered coming to Logan's room? He didn't have to do that if he just wanted to be done.

Logan can't worry about it any more for now. They have hockey to play, and he puts everything else firmly out of his mind while they're on the ice.

 

Kevin texts him just before their flight back to San Jose: want to get together next week?

So that answers that. It feels good to get confirmation that Kevin's still interested, plus this gives Logan a chance to take his turn to host. yeah, Logan sends back. come over to my place for dinner tomorrow? I'll cook

sounds great! Kevin says. Logan grins down at his phone.

 

Logan keeps things pretty simple for dinner. He knows red meat isn't in Kevin's meal plan, so he makes the salmon with the orange juice marinade, which he's gotten pretty good at by now, and some asparagus and salad to go with it.

Kevin sits at the counter while Logan gets the salmon and asparagus out of the oven and dishes everything up. They don't bother with the table; Logan just slides Kevin's plate in front of him and then comes around to the other side of the counter and sits down on the stool next to Kevin to eat.

"This is really good," Kevin says after a few bites.

"Thanks," Logan says. "I got the recipe from my billet mom in Ottawa, and I've been making it ever since."

"What was your billet like? Did they cook with you a lot?" Kevin says, and then the conversation is off and running, all the way through dinner and for some time more, while they linger over their empty plates.

Eventually Logan stretches out his shoulders, feeling the urge to move somewhere he can lean back.

"You want to go sit in the living room?" he says.

"Sure," Kevin says.

Logan sits at his usual end of the couch. Kevin sits down next to him, not quite touching, but angled toward him.

"You want to watch something?" Logan says.

"If you want," Kevin says. He keeps looking at Logan, though, without even glancing at the TV, so Logan doesn't reach for the remote.

Kevin lifts his hand and brushes the backs of his fingers against Logan's cheek. Logan grins a little helplessly, and Kevin kisses him.

It's easy now for Logan to tilt his face toward Kevin, to mirror the movement of Kevin's lips with his own. Kevin wraps a hand around the back of Logan's neck, and Logan relaxes against it. Kevin's other hand rests over Logan's collarbone, moves along the line of his shoulder and arm, and then starts stroking slowly up his ribs. Logan doesn't quite know what to do with his own hand. He leaves it on Kevin's shoulder.

Logan feels the even warmer touch of Kevin's tongue and lets his mouth open in response. Kevin doesn't press far inside, only runs over Logan's lips till they're slick and wet.

They're making out, Logan thinks. Kevin's making out with him, and it's going fine. There's nothing here he needs to brace against or flinch away from.

He doesn't realize he's lost focus until Kevin pulls back, rubbing his thumb over the corner of Logan's mouth.

"What are you smiling about?" Kevin says, smiling himself.

"I feel safe with you," Logan blurts out.

Kevin looks a little nonplussed. Logan realizes that that probably didn't sound very romantic. "Um, I mean. Is that weird to say? Sorry if it's weird."

"No, it's good," Kevin says. "I'm glad you do."

When he leans back in, he presses a string of soft kisses along Logan's cheek before returning to Logan's mouth.

By and by Kevin's movements slow, and after a final lingering kiss he draws back altogether. "It's getting late," he says. "I should probably head home."

Logan sits up and wipes at his mouth with the back of his hand. "Ok," he says. "Oh, what time's skate tomorrow?"

"Ten, I think," Kevin says. He stands up, and Logan trails after him to the front door, hovering while Kevin bends down to pull on his shoes. "Thanks again for cooking."

Logan nods. Kevin gives him one more quick kiss, then lets himself out the door.

 

After that, Logan stops worrying about whether they've made specific plans to see each other again. It's more a matter of figuring out when they'll have time to do something. They try a new restaurant Burnzie was plugging, which turns out to be so terrible that they have to go by a grocery store afterward and get stuff to grill just so they won't go hungry. They go to see Ragnarok when it comes out and yell about it in the car the whole way back. And Logan gets used to sitting in the circle of Kevin's arms, trading long, slow kisses until he feels so light and buoyant it seems like he could float right out to sea.

 

Things haven't been going well for Kevin on the ice, though. He's skating hard, but it's been a while since he put up any points. After a particularly hapless game, Pete sends him down to the Barracuda to get him out of his rut.

His face is stoic when he sees Logan waiting for him by their cars in the deserted lot. "I just have to work harder," he says.

There's not much else to say about it. Logan pulls Kevin close and kisses him softly. When Logan draws back, he's glad to see Kevin's forehead and jaw relaxed into somewhat looser lines.

 

Logan finds himself missing Kevin at the rink. Even though they weren't seeking each other out at practice or in the locker room, Logan's gotten into the habit of noticing where Kevin is, and his absence makes an almost tangible gap.

Fortunately both the Sharks and the Cuda are playing their next few games in San Jose, so Logan and Kevin can still get together on their off nights, even though their schedules don't exactly line up. Logan resorts to actually calling Kevin to figure out their timing.

"Do you want to text me when you get out of practice?" Kevin says. "And then I'll head over to come meet you at your place?"

"Sure," Logan says, "but I don't think I'll be there that late today. Won't you just be getting home and turning right around again?"

"It's fine," Kevin says. "I don't mind."

"Why don't you come straight here? I'll add you on the network—you just have to download the app. Then you can just come in, and, like, make yourself at home or whatever till I get back."

"All right," Kevin says. He sounds pleased. "Thanks."

 

Kevin's in a better mood that day, after posting three assists the night before. After dinner they linger on the couch until Logan thinks that if his eyes weren't already closed from kissing, he'd have a hard time keeping them open.

He feels Kevin stroking over his cheekbone and his jaw.

"You're so sleepy," Kevin says.

Logan makes an assenting noise in his throat.

"I should go," Kevin says. "Let you get some sleep." But he doesn't take his hand away from Logan's face.

Logan opens his eyes. Kevin's watching him, mouth crooked just short of a smile. Logan does want to lie down and stretch out properly in bed, but Kevin is warm and solid next to him, and he doesn't want to give that up.

"You want to stay over?" Logan says.

Kevin's mouth curves up. "Sure," he says.

With some effort, they manage to lever themselves up off the couch.

"I'll get you a toothbrush," Logan says. He heads for the linen closet in the hallway and digs one still in its packaging out from behind some bars of soap and boxes of tissues. Then he leads the way into his bedroom. "The bathroom's through there," he says, waving at the doorway. Belatedly, he holds the toothbrush out for Kevin to take.

"Thanks," Kevin says. He gives Logan another quiet smile and disappears into the bathroom.

Logan turns on the lamp on his nightstand and turns off the overhead light. He pulls off his shirt and socks and jeans and throws them in the hamper. He sits down on the edge of the bed and thinks about getting under the covers, before he remembers that he still needs to brush his own teeth. Instead he picks up his phone again, plugs it into the charger, and sets an alarm for the morning.

When Kevin steps back into the bedroom, his eyes sweep over Logan's bare chest and boxers. Logan feels twitchy for a moment, but he's never liked sleeping in a shirt, and it's not like they haven't seen each other in less. So he just gets up and heads for the bathroom, saying, "I'll be right out." Kevin nods.

Logan comes back to find Kevin sitting cross-legged on top of the covers, on the opposite side of the bed. Kevin's stripped down to his boxers too. He looks warm and comfortable in the lamplight. He meets Logan's eyes without saying anything.

Logan takes a deep breath, goes around to his own side of the bed, and gets in. Kevin shifts around to slide under the blankets too.

"Ready to kill the lights?" Logan asks, like he used to with his road roommates.

"Yeah, go ahead."

So Logan switches off the lamp. There's still a little light filtering through the curtains, enough that he can tell that Kevin still has his eyes open. Logan shifts forward and then hesitates. Kevin must be able to guess what Logan wants, though, because he leans in and kisses Logan softly once more.

"Good night," Kevin says.

"Night," Logan answers. He rolls over onto his side. Kevin's hand comes to rest in the dip of his waist. With Kevin's body warm along his back, he falls swiftly into sleep.

 

When the alarm goes off, it takes Logan a few seconds to place why he feels so cozy. He's tempted to hit snooze and stay curled under Kevin's arm a little longer. But Kevin is awake now too. He says, "Morning," in a low voice, leans up enough to press a kiss to Logan's cheek, and rolls out of bed.

The air feels very brisk when they leave the house to head to their separate practices.

 

Fortunately Kevin gets called back up after a week. He's still not scoring, but he does seem more settled and confident, and Logan feels all the relief of looking for him and finding him there.

 

Logan's still on the phone with his mom when he hears Kevin knocking.

"I've got to go, Mom," he says, opening the door. "Kevin's here."

"All right, sweetheart," she says. "Tell him hello from me."

Logan moves the phone away from his mouth to say, "My mom says hi."

Kevin's eyebrows go up, but he waves—that's cute, even though Logan's mom can't see it—and says, "Hi, Mrs. Couture."

"He says hi back," Logan reports dutifully.

"Thank you. Have a good dinner, you two."

When they're in the car, Kevin says, "So you told your mom about me?"

"Yeah," Logan says.

"That's cool," Kevin says. "And, uh. What about the rest of your family?"

Logan bites his lip. "Not yet."

He glances over sideways, but Kevin doesn't look upset; he's just nodding. The next thing Kevin asks is about the exit they need to take, and Logan lets the topic drop.

 

They get blanked by the Panthers—the first time they've gotten shut out this season—and drive back to Logan's house in frustrated silence.

When they go inside, Kevin isn't limping, exactly, but Logan can see how gingerly he's walking, like the soles of his feet are sore. Logan remembers how Allie used to like him to rub her feet when she got home from dance class. He thinks maybe Kevin would like that, too.

"C'mere, sit down," he says.

Kevin lets Logan nudge him into sitting sideways on the couch with his feet in Logan's lap. Logan pulls one of Kevin's socks off and drops it on the floor. Then he starts in, first rubbing his knuckles over the sole of Kevin's foot, then sweeping his fingertips down over the top from the ankle, then digging his thumbs into the arch. Kevin lets out a grunt and sinks farther back into the cushions.

"Fuck, that feels good," he says.

Logan grins and presses even harder.

By the time he's done with Kevin's other foot, Kevin is slumped so far back into the corner of the couch that Logan's not even sure he's still awake.

"Come on, let's go to bed," Logan says.

Kevin sighs and then opens his eyes. "Ok, fine."

He accepts Logan's hand to pull himself up off the couch. Once he's upright, he pulls Logan close and kisses him.

"Thanks, babe," Kevin says.

"Sure," Logan says.

Kevin's stride looks much more normal as they make their way to the bedroom. Logan smiles to himself.

 

"Hey Cooch, me and Justin are going for lunch, you want to come?" Eddie asks. They're among the last handful of guys still getting dressed after skate.

"Sure," Logan says. "Where are you going?"

"That Thai place Justin likes, you know the one?"

"Yeah, cool. I'll meet you there."

Logan jams a few more things into his bag after Eddie leaves. Then he remembers that the dry cleaning place Kevin uses is in the same strip mall as the Thai restaurant.

"Hey Kevin," he calls, "do you still have a suit at the cleaners?"

"Oh, yeah," Kevin says.

"Give me your ticket, I'll pick it up after lunch."

Kevin smiles. "Thanks, that'd be great."

"How come you never pick up my dry cleaning?" Dylan says.

"You're not my boyfriend."

Dylan laughs. "Oh, and Banker is?

Logan takes a deep breath. "Uh, yeah."

"Wait, what? Are you serious? I knew about Banker, but you, Cooch?"

Logan can only stare. That comment has put him on edge, but he can't think of what to say.

Dylan isn't waiting for an answer. "I'm not buying it," he goes on. "You're trolling me. I've never even seen you with him."

Logan grips the handle of his bag more tightly. "No," he says, "because we're not paying those PDA fines."

"Bullshit. If you guys are really together, go kiss him. Right now."

"Burnzie is right over there," Logan says.

Burnzie leans back with both hands on the bench. "I'll allow it," he says, grinning. "PDA fines are temporarily waived."

Logan exhales hard. He looks over, for the first time since Dylan started in on him, at Kevin. Kevin's face is set in a rather tense smile. When Kevin meets his eyes, Logan raises his eyebrows. Kevin tilts his chin just a little, shrugging one shoulder. So Logan crosses over to Kevin's stall, anchors himself with a hand on Kevin's jaw, and kisses him.

Kevin's lips are dry from the rink air. His hands settle at Logan's waist, thumbs rubbing gently over the fabric of Logan's T-shirt. The warm bulk of his body is as solid and reassuring as always, and his hair is still wet from his shower when Logan runs his fingers up into it.

"All right!" Burnzie says loudly. "Point taken. We believe you."

Logan blinks and draws back, just in time as Burnzie says, "Waiver's over."

Logan looks back at Kevin. This time Kevin just looks happy.

"Well, congrats on getting together, I guess," Dylan says. "You guys sure kept that quiet."

"You can't say anything," Kevin tells him. "You guys can know, but the media can't know."

"Yeah, no, for sure," Dylan says, his face going serious. "I wouldn't."

"Thanks," Kevin says. Dylan nods and turns away to finish getting dressed.

"So, uh, do you have your ticket from the cleaners?" Logan asks Kevin.

"PDA!" Burnzie yells. "Pay up!"

"What the fuck! How is that PDA?"

"You just established that that's a boyfriends-only thing," Burnzie says smugly.

"Oh, for—" But Logan cuts himself off there; he can tell there's no point in arguing any further. He digs his phone out of his pocket and jabs at the app to do the transfer.

When Logan looks up again, Kevin looks a little rueful, but his smile is still there.

 

"So what's new with you?" Logan's dad says.

Logan tightens his grip on his phone. "Well," he says, "I'm seeing someone."

"Your mother was hinting about something like that," his dad says. "Who is it?"

Logan takes a deep breath. "You've met him before, actually. It's Kevin. Labanc. From the team."

His dad is quiet for a long time. "This is serious for you?"

"Yeah, Dad."

"You know this could cause a lot of complications for your career."

"I know. But—" Logan hesitates, trying to find words for how surprisingly invested he's become. "He's important to me."

There's another silence.

"Be careful," Logan's dad says finally. Then there's some rustling as the phone gets handed off, and his mom comes back on.

 

"Do you want to come over for dinner tonight? Logan asks.

"Actually, do you want to come to my place?" Kevin says. "And, um. Bring a bag, if you want."

"Sure, ok," Logan says.

Kevin's apartment is kind of bare, in the way that rookie places usually are, not much on the walls and a minimum of furniture. But he does have multiple pots and pans in his kitchen, and a really thick, warm throw blanket on the couch that Logan kind of wants to steal.

When they go to bed, Logan gets in first while Kevin's still poking around in his dresser. Kevin finally closes the drawers and turns around. Then he stands there for another minute, leaning back against the edge of the dresser and looking at Logan.

"You coming to bed?" Logan says.

"Yeah," Kevin says. He gets under the covers, and their knees bump. Logan laughs and kisses him, and then rolls onto his side so they can settle in to sleep.

In the morning, Logan hesitates while throwing things back into his overnight bag. "Should I leave this here?" he says. "If we're coming back here tonight?"

"Nah, we can go back to your place. I just wanted to see you here once."

"Oh," Logan says. He doesn't quite know how to take that. "I mean, I can come over anytime you want."

Kevin puts a hand on Logan's jaw and kisses him. "You have a better mattress."

That's true, but Logan wasn't going to say so. "Ok," he says.

 

They lose in a grueling shootout to the Ducks. Logan feels guilty for failing to convert on his attempt. Kevin didn't do any better on his, plus he took a dumb hooking penalty earlier that led to a Ducks goal two seconds after the penalty was technically killed. He gets into Logan's car with his face set in a scowl.

"You want to stop and get food somewhere?" Logan says.

"Fuck no," Kevin says. "I just want to go to bed as fast as possible."

"Fine," Logan says.

He starts the car, and the low fuel light comes on. "Shit, I have to stop and get gas first."

"Can't you ever just take care of that shit before it gets to this point?" Kevin snaps.

"I've been a little fucking busy!" Logan says.

Kevin opens his mouth again, and then he stops and runs both hands through his hair. "I'm sorry. I was out of line," he says.

Logan sighs. "Yeah, me too, I guess. Sorry."

"I don't think I'm going to be very good company right now. Can you just drop me back at my place? Um, after we hit the gas station?"

Logan glances quickly over at Kevin. "If you want," he says, looking back at the road. "But if you feel up to it, I'd still like it if you came over."

"Yeah?"

Logan nods.

"Ok."

Logan feels so tired it's hard to stay upright while he's standing at the pump waiting for his tank to fill. But when he and Kevin finally stretch out in bed together, he feels a little bit better.

 

Logan's phone rings with his brother's name on the ID. He stares at it for a moment before answering.

"Hey," he says.

"What's up with Dad?" his brother says.

"What are you talking about?"

"What am I talking about? I'm talking about ever since the last time you called home, whenever anyone says your name he shuts down and starts acting like someone died. What the fuck did you say to him?"

"I told him I have a boyfriend," Logan says, as evenly as he can.

"What the actual fuck! You're gay?"

"No..." Logan says. "No, but I'm, uh—I'm dating a guy."

"I can't believe you. Do you know how much this is hurting Dad?"

"I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to hurt him!" Logan says. "But I can't decide this based on how Dad feels about it."

His brother snorts.

"Or based on how you feel about it," Logan adds, unable to keep his anger from leaking into his voice.

"Yeah, whatever. I don't fucking care what you do. But after everything Mom and Dad have done for you—"

"Mom's cool with it," Logan says.

"Yeah, well, Dad's really not."

"Then he can talk to me about it himself!"

"You're an asshole," Logan's brother says, and hangs up.

Logan takes a gasping breath, and then another. He has to keep sitting there for quite a while before he can pull himself together enough to get up.

 

"You're kind of quiet," Kevin says that night. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I just—my brother called today, and we kind of had a fight."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Logan scrunches up his face. "Not really," he says.

"Ok," Kevin says, but he still looks concerned. He runs his hand over Logan's hair and down to the nape of Logan's neck in long, soothing strokes. Logan leans forward and kisses him.

 

They lose their first ever game in Vegas in overtime, which doesn't feel great. But they come back and shut out the Jets at home the next night, and that leaves everyone in a better mood heading into the off day for American Thanksgiving. Logan put up two goals, but he's almost happier for Kevin, who's finally back on the scoresheet with an assist on what turned out to be the game winner.

Logan gets a nice game! text from his brother just like usual. He stares down at it, his lip curling, and then he shakes his head and sends back thx.

"Hey," Pavs says while Logan's tying his tie. "Can you stop by my place before you head home? Me and Jumbo need to talk to you."

Logan raises his eyebrows. "Captain stuff?"

"Sort of," Joe says.

"Ok?" Logan says. He doesn't know what Joe could need to discuss so urgently, but he has time, anyway, since Kevin has plans to hang out with Chris tonight. "I'll be there soon."

 

"So what's up?" Logan asks when the three of them are settled in Joe's home office. Joe offered him a drink, but he and Jumbo both look so serious that Logan turned it down. So they all just have water instead.

Pavs studies him silently for a moment before answering. "Burnzie told us about that stunt you pulled in the locker room," Pavs says finally, and Logan's chest goes cold. "You know, he thought it was hilarious, but personally I don't think it's very funny. I thought you were going to nip this in the bud back in October. And now I find out you're still acting like you're dating Banker? Has this been going on this whole time?"

"I'm not acting like anything," Logan says. "We are actually dating."

"Are you guys fucking?" Jumbo says.

That question makes Logan furious. It's absolutely none of their damn business. But he also doesn't want to have this argument on false assumptions, so he looks Jumbo in the eye and says, "No."

"The dude wants to bang you," Jumbo says. "Are you just planning to tease him? 'Cause that's not cool."

"No, you know what, that's shitty," Logan says. "If I was a girl, would you say I owed a guy sex because he took me out?"

"Of course not, come on," Jumbo says. "But if you know he wants you, and you just keep stringing him along forever, that's a pretty jerk move."

"Ok, not helping!" Pavs says before Logan can get a reply out. "It's not even ultimately about sex, I mean, at the end of the day that's up to you—"

"Thanks," Logan says.

"—but look, Cooch. You were pretty oblivious to it, but Kevin's been into you for a long time—like, really into you. It would be cruel to take advantage of that."

"How am I taking advantage of him?" Logan demands. "We take turns paying, we—"

"I'm not talking about money!" Pavs says.

"Then what advantage do you even think I'm getting?"

"Attention!" Pavs snaps. "Affection! Security! Having someone devoted to you! There's a hell of a lot you get out of being in a relationship, and if you can't see that—"

"And you think I'm not giving that back to him?"

"Are you really, though? He deserves to be with someone who's attracted to him just like he is to them. Someone who'll love him like he loves them. So yeah, maybe you like him, maybe you're spending time with him, but if you want to hang out with your good buddy and call it dating, when he's so totally gone on you and you're never going to feel that way about him—that's not fair. It's just not."

Logan's throat is too thick for him to speak.

"Look," Pavs tells him in a gentler tone, "what it comes down to is, don't do it if your heart's not in it. Is your heart in it?"

Logan takes several deep breaths, but they don't do anything to calm the seething in his chest. He lifts his chin and swallows hard. "Is that everything you wanted to say to me?"

Pavs pinches his lips together and glances at Jumbo. "Yeah," he says, "that's about it."

"Then I'm going home."

"Cooch—"

"No, fuck you, we're done here. If Kevin's not happy being with me, he can dump me. But you guys don't get to decide if our relationship is ok."

"Come on, don't be mad," Jumbo says. "We're just trying to look out for you."

Logan shakes his head. "I'll see you at practice," he says, and he gets up and walks out.

 

can you come over, Logan texts to Kevin as soon as he gets home.

ok. need to kick cobra out 1st, Kevin sends back.

thx

While he's waiting, Logan gets ready for bed, brushing his teeth with an unsteady hand.

Finally he hears the doorbell. As soon as Kevin's inside, Logan throws his arms around him, soaking up Kevin's warmth. "You would not fucking believe what Pavs and Jumbo just said to me," he says into the bend of Kevin's neck. "They—"

Then he registers how still Kevin's standing, and, when he pulls back enough so he can see Kevin's face, the newly guarded look in Kevin's eyes. Logan's heart sinks. "Wait, did they—did you get a talk tonight too? Was this some kind of fucking coordinated intervention or something?"

Kevin nods grimly.

"Fucking hell," Logan says. He turns away and scrubs a hand through his hair.

"They're all assholes," Kevin says. "But I think—I think there's some stuff you and I should talk about."

Logan rubs the heel of his palm over his forehead. "Ok." They do need to talk, he can see that, as little as he wants to. "But I'm fucking tired. I can't do it right now. Can we just sleep tonight, and talk tomorrow?"

Kevin takes a deep breath. "Yeah. Ok."

"Will you stay here?"

"Yeah."

Logan feels a tiny bit better. He turns and heads for his bedroom. Kevin kicks off his shoes and follows.

They don't talk while they finish getting ready for bed, but when Kevin gets under the covers, Logan slides over to meet him. Kevin hesitates for a moment that makes Logan feel cold despite the blankets. Then Kevin kisses Logan's upturned mouth.

"Let's sleep, all right?" Kevin says. "Good night."

"Night," Logan says. He grabs Kevin's hand and holds onto it tightly to bring Kevin's arm around him while he rolls onto his side. Kevin allows it; he squeezes Logan's fingers and nudges his knees up closer behind Logan's. Then Logan relaxes enough to fall asleep.

 

When he wakes up, he rolls over to face Kevin and sees that Kevin is already awake. "Hey," he says blearily.

"Morning," Kevin says. He runs his knuckles over Logan's cheek and then slides out on his side of the bed. "Let's have some breakfast."

They stumble around the kitchen without saying much. Logan starts the coffee and fries some eggs while Kevin makes their smoothies.

After they're done eating they load the dishwasher, and Logan half-heartedly runs a sponge over the countertops. He's just stalling, though, and he knows it.

"Bite the bullet?" Kevin says when Logan puts the sponge down and meets his eyes.

Logan grimaces and nods. He follows Kevin out to the living room, and they sit down on the couch.

Kevin stares straight ahead for a moment. Then he turns to look at Logan, and his face changes, going softer. "Hey," he says, "you don't have to look so scared. It's not the end of the world."

"I'm afraid we're going to break up," Logan confesses.

Kevin looks at him, forehead creased. "And you don't want to?"

Logan shakes his head.

Kevin takes a deep breath. "Look," he says, "I think we've got to talk about some stuff. And you know I don't want to break up either! But I don't think we should take that off the table."

Logan pinches his lips together. He hates the sense of that possibility gaping before them, but he does know on some level that trying to force things won't get him anywhere good. "All right," he says. "Let's talk, then."

"Ok, so," Kevin says. "Our friends are huge assholes, and it was absolutely none of their business to butt in like they did yesterday. But they might have brought up some questions that you and I should answer for each other."

"Yeah."

"So what did Pavs and Jumbo say to you?"

"Well." Logan tries to think what that mess of a conversation boils down to. "Jumbo thinks I shouldn't date you if I'm not putting out. And Pavs thinks I shouldn't date you if I don't like you as much as you like me, or the same way you like me, or—something like that."

Kevin bites his lip.

"What did Chris say to you?"

Kevin digs his fingers into his temple. "He thinks I'm going to get my heart broken falling for a straight guy."

"Everyone keeps saying that," Logan says. He looks away from Kevin, out the window, where the sky is a brilliant, clear blue. "How straight can I be when I have a boyfriend?"

Kevin keeps looking at him without saying anything.

"I—" Logan glances over at Kevin's mouth and then looks down at his own hands. He feels like he can almost hear his own pulse. "I'm not straight."

Kevin draws in a fast breath and lets it out again more slowly. "Ok," he says. "That's, yeah. That's cool. Have you figured out how you, like, identify?"

Logan doesn't feel even remotely able to pinpoint that. Other people, he knows, might look at his relationships with Allie and Kara and Kevin and call him bi. But that feels like an awfully strong word when he's never thought about liking guys in general, has no idea if he'd ever want to be with any guy other than Kevin, and doesn't even really understand what it is that he has with Kevin now. And other terms he's heard in passing feel even farther beyond him.

"I don't know," he says. "I can't—I just don't know. All I know is, this, how I feel about you, it's not straight."

"How do you feel about me, then? Because I'm in love with you."

It's funny how hard it hits to hear that out loud. Logan is thrilled and daunted and terrified all at once. "I... I'm not there right now. But I really like you! You're important to me. You being happy is important to me. And I like it when I can be the one to make you happy."

"That's..." Kevin sighs. "I mean, that's really nice, but it's not the same thing."

Logan has been turning that over in his mind since last night. "Do we have to feel exactly the same to be together, though? If you want to be with me, and I want to be with you, can't that be enough?"

Kevin's expression goes wistful, but he also still looks unconvinced.

"Look," Logan presses on, "I can't say I'm in love with you, but I am serious about you, about being together with you. You're my boyfriend, and I'm yours."

Kevin draws in a ragged breath. "How am I supposed to let you go when you say stuff like that?"

"You're not!"

Kevin gives Logan a pained grin. Then he sighs again. "But I actually do think that there's more to it than that, you know? We have to figure out if we're really right for each other."

"How do you mean?"

"Well," Kevin says slowly, "one thing we should talk about is—sex."

There it is. "Yeah," Logan says.

Kevin pauses, like maybe he wants Logan to start off with something, but Logan can't come up with anything he can put into words. Kevin scratches at the back of his neck.

"So, um. You kiss me, and you let me sleep in your bed, but you haven't seemed to want to take things further."

"No."

"Can I ask—are you ace? Like, do you just not want sex?"

"No, I like sex," Logan says. "I, uh, with my exes, you know, it was good."

"But you don't want it with me?"

Kevin says that in a level voice, but Logan can hear the strain it's costing him.

"Not yet!" he says. "I'm not saying never, just—not yet. But that's—" He tries to think how to explain himself. "That's not unusual, for me? People have told me I'm kind of slow to, uh, catch up, on that."

Kevin looks at him blankly.

"Like, my first girlfriend, in high school? One time she thanked me for being a gentleman and not pressuring her for sex—and the thing was, I wasn't even thinking about it yet. We did, eventually, but we'd been together for a pretty long time before it even started being on my mind."

Kevin nods slowly. "And after that?"

"With my other ex—we were friends first, we'd known each other for quite a while before we got together. So when we finally did, we didn't wait so long. It was like, by the time I realized I was interested in her, I was already, uh, interested."

"Huh," Kevin says.

"Are you upset that we haven't... fucked?" Logan asks after a minute. He almost lets the question trail off, but he figures he should make himself say what he's talking about. "I mean, I know I haven't made that move. But you kind of haven't asked me to, either."

"I didn't want to push you," Kevin says. "You said being with a guy is new for you, and I didn't want you to make you feel like you have to do anything you're not ready for. So I'm not upset about that, it's just—are you even attracted to me? I mean, I'm not trying to tell you how you feel, but when we're kissing, you don't—I haven't noticed you getting hard."

"Not yet!" Logan says again. "But that doesn't mean I won't."

Kevin still looks bemused.

"And it doesn't mean I'm, like, delicate, either. You don't have to keep shielding me from your awful urges or whatever. How am I supposed to know what you want if you don't tell me?"

"Ok, fine!" Kevin says. "Yeah, I do want to fuck you! I have fantasies about plowing your ass, is that what you want to hear? Are you suddenly into it now that I've said it?"

"No," Logan says through the thickness in his throat. "But is that a dealbreaker? Is that the only thing you want?"

"No, of course not." Kevin flings his hand out in an expansive wave. "I want—there's a ton of things we could do that I'd be super into. Anywhere from that up to stuff you might not even think of as sex. And—" He shakes his head, his voice going quiet. "You have to know—even if you never wanted any of that at all, I would still want to be with you. Any way I could."

"Then why are you talking about letting me go?" Logan says. He hates how small and hurt he sounds, but he can't make it come out any different.

"Because—" Kevin says. He stretches a hand out toward Logan's face, but drops it again before making contact. "Would you be satisfied with that? What you said before, about wanting to make me happy, that was really sweet. But do I make you happy? Not because you're stubborn and you're digging your heels in to prove the guys wrong, and not because you're a giver and you get off on giving me what I want. You have to be a little bit selfish here, you know? If you're not doing this for yourself—if you don't, somehow, actually want me—then it's not going to work."

Logan stares at Kevin for several breaths. Then he looks down, trying to sift through his head to be as honest as he can.

"You're not wrong about those other things," he says finally. "I mean, you know me pretty well by now, and I am stubborn, and I do like seeing you happy. But I also just like you. I always look forward to seeing you, I missed you when you were down, I just—I like you. And I know you're way past that, and—" Logan has to gulp in a breath to get the next part out. "I'm sorry that I'm not right there with you already, that I don't know exactly what I want yet, and I have to ask you to wait while I figure it out. But if you'll let me, I want to keep going. If you give me a chance."

Kevin doesn't answer right away. Logan takes one more breath before he makes himself look up.

Kevin is blinking hard. But when he meets Logan's eyes, he nods. "Yes," he says. "Ok. Yes."

Logan flings himself forward and presses his face into Kevin's neck. Kevin's arms come around him, holding him tight.

Logan feels Kevin's lips against his temple and turns his head enough to meet Kevin's mouth with his own. They stay there on the couch, alternately kissing and just breathing close together, while the sunlight falling through the window shifts angles.

 

It's a bit of a shock to the system to go back to practice the next day. Logan tries to settle himself with his regular routines, even while his head is still buzzing with everything that's happened since the last game.

He doesn't exactly avoid the Joes, but he doesn't seek them out, either. In the afternoon, though, Jumbo stops him in the empty hallway outside the weight room.

"Hey," Jumbo says.

Logan looks over and raises his eyebrows.

"Listen, I'm sorry about the other night. Pavs was super worried things are going to blow up between you and Banker, and I let him talk me into getting worried too, without hearing your side of things first. But if you guys are happy together, then that's what matters."

Jumbo looks just as earnest and well-intentioned as he did during their last conversation, and Logan doesn't feel like arguing any more. "Ok," Logan says.

"So are we cool?"

Logan manages a smile. "Yeah, we're cool."

Jumbo claps him on the shoulder and heads into the room.

 

Pavs finds Logan later on, after they've been dismissed for the day. "I'm sorry if I overstepped," he says. "I wish you guys all the best together."

Joe doesn't look particularly remorseful, but it's better than nothing. "Ok," Logan says. "Thanks."

 

In Florida, Logan wakes up to his phone buzzing. After a few seconds he grasps that it's because of a text, not his alarm, although there is some light already coming around the edges of the hotel room's blackout curtains. He blinks a few times, trying to focus. The message is from Justin.

can I borrow some shaving cream? mine just ran out

sure, Logan answers. come on by. He rolls carefully out of bed, trying not to wake Kevin, and stumbles into the bathroom to pull the can out of his dopp kit. He steps back out into the main room just in time to hear Justin's knock.

"Thanks, man," Justin says when Logan hands the shaving cream over. "I'll bring it back as soon as I'm done."

Logan yawns and runs a hand over his own chin. "Nah, I don't think I'm going to shave this morning. Just give it back to me at the rink."

"Ok, cool," Justin says. Then he looks over Logan's shoulder and says, more slowly, "Oh, hey, Banker."

Logan looks back at the bed. Kevin is sitting up, scratching at his chest with the blankets crumpled around his waist, and a terrible case of bedhead. "Morning," Kevin says.

Justin turns back to Logan. "Uh, sorry to bug you," he says. "Thanks again. See you guys at breakfast."

"No problem," Logan says.

"Why's Brauner up already?" Kevin says once Justin's gone. It's not actually that terribly early, but being on the east coast makes everything feel more skewed. Logan shrugs.

"I don't know, he's a morning person, I guess."

"Weird," Kevin says. "You coming back to bed?"

They still have about twenty minutes before they have to get up. Logan grins and slides back under the covers. Kevin rolls onto his back, and Logan props himself up on one elbow in order to lean down and kiss him.

Logan heads down to the breakfast room while Kevin's showering. There's not a lot of guys there at the moment. Dilly and Joner are sitting together at one table, and Justin and Pavs are at another.

Logan wouldn't think anything of it, except for the look Pavs throws him, serious and a little cold. Then Logan can't help but wonder if Justin said something to Pavs about him.

He doesn't care, he decides. He's just not going to fucking care. He loads up a plate at the buffet and takes it over to Dilly and Joner's table. They both nod at him and continue chewing in blessed silence.

Kevin walks in laughing with Goody and Cobra. He tosses Logan a smile while he's waiting at the omelet station, and Logan grins back.

 

In the midst of everything else, Logan keeps thinking about the things Kevin said about sex. He doesn't really feel any different impulses when they're making out, but he does find himself increasingly curious about what Kevin meant when he talked about different ways to have sex.

Logan shies away from the idea of getting into anything new on the road, though. And the homestand that follows is too short to give them much time, not to mention the fact that it's leading up to Kevin's birthday. Logan does toy briefly with the idea of asking if Kevin wants to do something as a sort of birthday celebration, but then he thinks Kevin might not be that happy about it if he thinks Logan's only offering for his sake. So Logan lets it be. He gets Kevin a cupcake with a candle on it and some new games, and they meet up with a bunch of the guys and stay out doing shots and playing darts far later than people who have to be on a plane in the morning really should. It's a good night.

Logan does start letting his hands wander more while they're kissing. He maps out Kevin's chest with his palms, the planes of Kevin's shoulder blades and back, the cut of Kevin's hips, and what he can reach of the bulk of Kevin's thighs. Kevin doesn't say anything, but sometimes Logan hears his breath catch. Then Logan has to pause and draw in a deep breath of his own.

 

In Vancouver, Logan takes a shoulder to his jaw that knocks him out with a concussion. It's just as miserable as he remembers from juniors, although the doctor seems to think it's not such a bad case. He's still going to be out for the next several games.

Kevin comes and sits with him in Logan's dimmed living room. Logan feels a little better with his head resting in Kevin's lap, even if Kevin's attempt at petting his hair turns out to be too much movement.

 

To his relief, Logan does improve quickly, and he starts skating again just before Christmas. The trainers also give him the ok to fly home for the holiday. His mom still fusses over him, of course, and his dad asks him how he is with quieter but equally serious concern.

His brother is still giving him something of a cold shoulder. It's not that they don't speak to each other, but that's mostly only during meals or with their parents around. Logan lets it all wash over him. He doesn't have the energy to get into anything.

It's a relief to sneak upstairs and call Kevin in the afternoon, after all the presents have been opened.

"Merry Christmas," Kevin says. "How are you feeling?"

"Not bad," Logan says. "I miss you, though."

"I miss you, too," Kevin says. His voice sounds warm and fond. Logan clutches the phone a little closer to his ear.

 

Logan sits out one more game after they get back. Then he's cleared to play again for the road trip. It doesn't exactly go well, but at least he's shaking off the rust and getting back into good form. By the end of the trip he even starts scoring again, not that it helps overall. Everyone is more than ready for the bye week when the trip is finally done.

 

"There's something I'd like to do this week," Kevin says when they're back in San Jose. His voice is light, but his shoulders are drawn up more tightly than usual.

Logan tenses up a little himself, wondering if Kevin's been thinking the same thing he has. "Yeah?" Logan says. "What's that?"

"There's a bar I go to every so often, up in the city. Just to... just because it's nice to be around other gay people, sometimes. And I made a couple friends there, too."

"Oh," Logan says blankly.

"Would you come there with me?"

"I, um." Logan tries to focus on the question. "You think it's safe? I mean, like, pictures getting out, or..."

Kevin shrugs, one corner of his mouth drawn back. "I'm pretty sure nobody who goes there would do something like that. And also, I don't think they care? They don't tend to be very impressed by hockey."

"Ok." Logan still feels daunted by the idea of walking past so many eyes judging him, though. He can't think of how to verbalize it. "And do they—am I—is it ok for me to go there?"

Kevin's eyes go softer. "You might get teased for being new," he says. "But they'll know you're not a tourist."

Logan feels himself flushing at that. "Ok," he says. "Sure, let's go then."

 

"Well hello, handsome, we haven't seen you here in a while," the bartender says.

"I've been on the road a lot," Kevin explains. He turns to Logan. "This is Anthony. Anthony, this is Logan. My boyfriend."

"This is him? Your guy?" Anthony says.

Kevin nods, grinning.

"Oh, he's cute," Anthony says. "Good work."

Logan feels his face go hot.

They get beers, perfectly ordinary Anchor Steam, and settle in at the bar. Logan feels a little silly thinking Kevin would get anything different than usual. Anthony comes back to chat with them when he's not busy serving other people.

After a while, Kevin slides off his stool, saying he's going to take a leak.

"So, Logan," Anthony says when Kevin's disappeared down the hallway. "We may have just met, but I know who you are."

Logan freezes.

Anthony shakes his head. "I'm not going to out you. I know why you guys keep things quiet, and we respect that here. What I'm saying is, I have been hearing about you for a long time, and I know how much you mean to Kevin. So if you hurt that sweet boy, I know where to find you, and I will make you answer for it."

Logan feels his eyes go wide. "Got it," he manages to say. "I'm—I'm really trying not to."

"Good," Anthony says. Then he flashes Logan a grin. "You're adorable, by the way. Come back and see us here any time."

"Uh," Logan says. "Thanks."

 

"Want to dance?" Kevin says when he comes back.

"I'm not very good," Logan says.

"Me neither," Kevin says cheerfully. "We don't have to try anything fancy."

"Ok," Logan says. So he follows Kevin over to the area where guys are dancing. After a moment of confusion, Logan loops his arms around Kevin's neck, and Kevin settles his at Logan's waist. The song that's on isn't very fast, so they mostly just sway a little in the same spot at the edge of the floor.

Kevin holds Logan loosely, not grinding or anything like that. He doesn't even kiss him. But when Logan leans back enough to see Kevin's face, he thinks if anyone took a photo of the way Kevin's looking at him, it would be harder to explain away than any of that.

 

Logan's reading on his couch when Kevin comes in, loaded down with bags.

"Sorry I'm so late," Kevin says. "CVS was a madhouse. Oh, but they had those batteries you were looking for, so I got them for you."

"Oh, thanks!" Logan says. "How much do I owe you?"

Kevin shakes his head. "Don't worry about it."

"No, come on," Logan protests. "That's not fair, you shouldn't have to cover those. Let me pay you back."

Kevin tilts his head to one side to look at Logan. "All right," he says finally. "If you really want to."

He digs the receipt out and hands it to Logan. Then he keeps watching with a skeptical expression while Logan gets on his phone to do the transfer.

 

They start getting reminders about the upcoming fathers' trip. Logan forwards everything to his parents without comment, but he can't help wondering whether his dad will still want to come. His dad writes back promptly to confirm, though, and Logan feels relieved for a moment.

Then he starts worrying about what his dad will do when he meets Kevin. Technically they were introduced already last season, but that feels kind of moot now. Logan doesn't know what he'll do if his dad snubs Kevin. He doesn't think he could stand it. He tells himself that's not something his dad would do.

 

They go on another couple of road trips, and the next break after that is for the All-Star weekend. There's not going to be a better chance to bring up the questions Logan's been putting off, so he makes up his mind to do it then. He still feels anxious, but he's also been procrastinating long enough to get impatient with himself about it. So he may as well go ahead.

"I want to ask you something," he says when he and Kevin are lounging on the couch, the afternoon of their first free day.

"Yeah?" Kevin says.

"It's about something you said when, uh, when we were talking." Kevin turns at that, his face going serious. "You said there's stuff we could do that's, like. Sexy, without being... sex."

"Oh!" Kevin says. "Yeah." But he doesn't go on.

"So, um, did you have anything in mind?" Logan says.

"Yeah. Sorry! I wasn't expecting you to say that. Do you mean you want to try to find something you'd want to do?"

Logan nods.

"Ok, uh, let's see." Kevin scrubs a hand across his forehead. "One thing we could try is, we could watch porn together?"

Logan frowns. "I don't know. I don't really watch a lot of porn."

"Have you tried gay porn?"

"No," Logan concedes. "But I mean, that's not—I don't think, for me, it's about women or, uh, guys. I just can never really get invested in a bunch of strangers."

"Oh," Kevin says. He looks thoughtful. "Ok."

Logan suddenly remembers that he's supposed to be negotiating. "Is that something you really want, though? I mean, I'd be willing to try it if it's important to you."

But Kevin just laughs. "No, it's not important," he says. "I'd rather try to find something that we both already think is hot."

"Ok."

"So, uh. What if—" Kevin bites his lip. "Would you let me watch you jerk off?"

That takes some thought. Logan already knows he likes getting himself off, of course, and it's flattering that Kevin thinks he'd be hot to look at. The question is whether he can handle Kevin being there.

Logan tries to focus, to think seriously about what it would be like: lying in bed with Kevin next to him, not waiting for his shower in the morning or a night when Kevin's not over, but just going for it. He would slide his hand under the sheet, under his boxers—except no, he would probably need to take them off for Kevin to be able to see him. Logan has to draw in a quick breath at that.

If Kevin's looking now, Logan's sure his whole face must be bright red. He doesn't feel up to pushing his mental image any farther right now, but overall the idea feels possible. Logan takes another breath and makes himself meet Kevin's eyes. "Yeah," he says. "I think that could work."

Kevin's mouth turns up into a slow smile. "Tonight?" he says.

Logan nods.

 

After his shower, Logan picks up the underwear he brought into the bathroom with him. Before he steps into them, though, it hits him that if he puts them on he'll only be taking them right back off again. That thought makes his breath cut short. He sets them down and wraps a fresh towel around his waist instead.

When he steps out into the bedroom, he finds Kevin has cleared the laundry off the chair under the window and is sitting in it. Kevin's still wearing his boxers.

"Hey," Kevin says.

"Hey," Logan says back. He feels flustered with Kevin looking at him from the far side of the room, although it makes sense that the view would be clearest from there, facing the foot of the bed. To hide his confusion, Logan turns away and gets onto the bed, shoving the covers out of the way. When he's settled in leaning against his pillows, he runs his hand over his stomach and pauses at the edge of the towel.

"Um, so," he says. "What should I... I mean, what do you..."

"Just, do whatever you usually do," Kevin says. He sounds a little hoarse.

"Ok."

Logan moves his hand over to his hip where the towel is knotted and slides his fingers underneath the cloth, loosening it till it falls away. He hears Kevin draw in a fast breath. At first Logan presses his palm down flat over his dick. Then he takes another deep breath himself and shifts to curl his fingers around the base of his cock instead.

He strokes himself slowly, chancing a glance over at Kevin. Kevin doesn't notice. His eyes are focused on Logan's hand moving over his dick.

Logan feels himself getting harder and feeling colder at the same time. He has to fight the urge to snap his thighs closed. He speeds his hand up, jacking himself faster for a few strokes, until he suddenly can't stand it and stills, panting for breath.

"Hey, are you ok?" Kevin says. He sounds worried, looking up to meet Logan's eyes, and Logan feels a little warmer already. "Do you want to stop?"

"No." Logan is so hard; he wants to get off. But the last few minutes have felt somehow off from what he was picturing when they talked about this earlier. He tries to pin down the difference.

"I don't want to stop," he repeats, "but I want—could you maybe come closer?"

"I... can, yeah," Kevin says. "Where do you want me to be?"

Logan casts his mind back to the image he had in his head. "Can you just be here next to me like usual?"

Kevin wets his lips. "Yeah," he says.

He gets up and moves around the bed to climb in on his side. He has to push the covers all the way onto the floor to make room and then tug his pillows into place behind his back. His face still looks uncertain, but Logan manages a quick smile, and Kevin grins back.

Logan breathes in and starts to move his hand.

"Can I ask you something else?" Kevin says.

Logan comes to a halt again. "Are we supposed to be talking this much?"

Kevin laughs, a little strained but genuine. "There's not, like, rules to this," he says. "It's just about what we want. Do you want me to talk to you?"

Logan shakes his head. "I think talking is just going to distract me right now."

"Ok," Kevin says. "I'll shut up after this, I promise. And I probably should have asked before we got started, but just—do you mind if I touch myself too?"

"Oh." Logan casts a quick glance over. He hadn't thought that far before, but part of the point of this is for Kevin to get off too, and it feels nicer to think of Kevin moving and responding than sitting there frozen with his hands at his sides. "Yeah, sure, go for it."

"Ok. You look really fucking hot, by the way."

Logan has to smile at that. He doesn't try to answer. Instead, he stretches out his shoulders and his legs, closes his eyes, and resettles his fingers on his cock.

He feels looser now, warm and relaxed. He can hear the faint brush of cloth and feel the mattress shifting as Kevin starts moving. He moves his own hand faster and spikes higher quickly, fucking up into his fist, letting his thighs fall further apart. Kevin's breaths are swift and irregular next to him.

Logan twists his wrist hard, harder—and then he's there, spilling come over his fist.

When he opens his eyes, he sees Kevin staring down at the streaks on Logan's stomach. Kevin's hand is shoved down inside his boxers, and his chest and his face are red with a hectic flush. He looks up and sees Logan looking at him, and his mouth drops open. For a long moment they just stare at each other while Kevin's arm keeps moving. Then Kevin throws his head back, and his hips jerk as he comes.

"Holy fuck," Kevin says when he gets his breath back.

Logan presses his lips together, but he can't quite repress his smile.

Kevin tilts his head back against the pillows. After another minute he turns to look at Logan. "You want to clean up first?"

"Sure, yeah," Logan says. He stretches, then rolls out of bed and heads into the bathroom. After rinsing off, he puts on the clean underwear he left there earlier, and brushes his teeth again for good measure.

Kevin doesn't take more than a few minutes himself. He comes back in fresh boxers too and helps Logan remake the bed.

When they get in again, Kevin holds his arm out, and Logan presses himself against Kevin's side.

"Hey," Kevin says.

"Hm?"

"How are you feeling?"

"Good," Logan says sleepily. "You?"

"Yeah, good," Kevin says. He squeezes Logan's shoulder.

Logan wants one more thing. He tilts his chin up, seeking, and Kevin strokes his cheek and gives him his good night kiss.

 

"So that was good, last night," Kevin says. "I mean, I liked it."

Logan smiles. "Me too. But I'm sorry I messed up your, uh, angle."

"My angle?" Kevin says.

"From where you were sitting."

"Oh, no!" Kevin shakes his head. "I liked being next to you better anyway. I just wasn't sure you'd want me that close. I thought maybe you'd rather pretend I wasn't there."

Logan turns his head to look at Kevin. "I wanted you there," he says. "That was the whole point, to do something together. Wasn't it?"

"Yeah," Kevin acknowledges.

"So."

"Then believe me," Kevin says, "I want to be as close as you'll let me be."

Kevin's voice has gone strained, and Logan catches his breath. His head feels too full to say anything. This, he thinks suddenly, this longing on Kevin's face, this is what Joe wanted him to be careful with, and he will. He needs to be so, so tender with it.

"C'mere," he says, opening his arms, and Kevin turns to sprawl against Logan, hiding his face against Logan's neck.

Logan picks up Kevin's hand and kisses the back of it.

After a while, Kevin shifts again so that he's just leaning against Logan's shoulder. "So do you think you'd want to do that again?" he says, in a more normal tone of voice.

Logan presses his cheek against Kevin's hair and says, "Yes."

 

The fathers' trip is set for the middle of February. Several of the dads arrive in San Jose in time to watch the game against the Oilers the night before. Logan picks his dad up at the airport. There's just enough time for them to go back to Logan's house and drop off his dad's suitcases, and then they have to head to the rink.

In the hubbub while they're waiting for Pete's welcome speech, Justin and Eddie both come by with their fathers to catch up with Logan's dad. Then Logan turns around and sees Kevin with his own father in tow.

Milan Labanc gives Logan a warm smile, pressing Logan's hand between both his own. Logan tries to smile back, but he's feeling too flustered to know how well he succeeds. He hopes he's not coming off as rude.

When Milan steps back, Logan sees his own dad just letting go of Kevin's hand. Kevin has his calm and cheerful face on, but that doesn't really tell Logan anything, and he can't see his dad's face. Still, his dad definitely at least acknowledged Kevin, and that's something to hang onto. Logan takes a deep breath and holds it, trying to calm his rhythm. Then Pete steps up to the front of the room, and there's no time for any more.

They scrape out a win that night, and afterwards they get on the plane to Anaheim. The itinerary for the next day is planned right down to the minute. Logan and Kevin still text like usual, but during the string of team activities they don't get a chance to do more than nod at each other in person.

The game against the Ducks isn't exactly a showcase for their dads to be proud of. Logan's not sure whether it's because it's the second half of the back-to-back, or because of the travel, or just because they're slacking, but they find themselves down 2-0 with only ten minutes left in the third. But then Logan manages to score one, and with under a minute to go he finds Timo and Timo scores to tie it. Then Pavs and Logan score in the shootout while Joner shuts the door, and the dads all cheer while the guys breathe a collective sigh of relief.

"Good game," Logan's dad tells him on the plane back to San Jose. "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Logan says. "I wish we could have gotten it done in regulation, but."

"You played well," his dad says.

Logan ducks his head. He guesses he did ok, but it feels good to hear his dad say it.

Logan's dad lifts his glass and swirls the ice cubes in it, then takes a drink. "I spoke with Milan Labanc for a while earlier tonight," he goes on. "Did you know he played in the Slovak Extraliga?"

Logan suddenly feels wide awake. "Yeah," he says carefully, "I heard something about that."

"He must have been talented. It's a pity he had to cut his playing career short. But he and his wife are clearly dedicated to giving their children the best opportunities. They seem like a very close family."

"Yeah," Logan says.

His dad nods once, then picks up the glass again and drains the rest of his drink.

He seems to be done with the subject. When he speaks again, it's to describe his plans for rebuilding the deck come summer. Logan listens as well as he can with his heart still racing.

 

"Did my dad say anything to you when we were all meeting up?" Logan asks.

Kevin shakes his head. "He just said congrats on cracking the roster full time. We really only had a minute."

"Oh," Logan says. "Ok."

"Had you told him about us? Before then, I mean?"

"Yeah."

"How'd he take it?"

"Well—the only thing he really said to me was that he was worried about my career. But afterwards, my brother told me Dad was really upset."

Kevin presses his lips together. "I mean, like I said, I didn't really get to talk to your dad. But it seemed to me like he was making an effort." Kevin wraps his arm around Logan's shoulders. "Give him some more time. He might still come around further."

Logan nods.

Kevin rubs his fingertips up and down Logan's arm. "Is that what you and your brother were fighting about, that one time?"

"Oh—yeah. You remember that?"

Kevin shrugs. "I kind of wondered if it was about me," he says. "You could have told me."

"I didn't want to put that on you," Logan says. "It wasn't fair for you to have to deal with that."

"I can take it," Kevin says. "I just want to be here for you, you know?"

Logan smiles. "Ok," he says.

 

The night before the next road trip, Kevin turns to Logan after dinner, takes a deep breath, and says, "Do you feel like jerking off tonight?"

It takes Logan a second to understand that Kevin means together, and another to switch gears from his mental packing list. But once he's done that, it sounds like an excellent idea. "Yeah," he says. "Let's."

They start out lying next to each other on their own pillows. Logan looks over at Kevin a few times though while he's getting going, and when he sees how dark Kevin's eyes are, all he can think about is Kevin saying as close as you'll let me be.

Logan doesn't feel up to making any big changes midstream, but after another minute he shifts over just enough to rest his head on Kevin's shoulder. Kevin's breath hitches audibly. Then his hand starts moving even faster than before.

After they've both come, Kevin turns and presses a deep kiss onto Logan's mouth before he leaves the bed to clean up.

 

The whole team is amped after they thrash Chicago. Kevin and Logan go out with the guys for a while, and that only winds them up higher. When they get back to Logan's house, Kevin kisses him hard, and Logan feels it in a way that makes him press back just as hard too. Kevin's hands come up to frame his face, not a rough touch, but forceful.

"That was a fucking game," Kevin says. "Holy shit, when you took that shot in the first, I just—"

He doesn't finish the thought, only leans back in and claims Logan's mouth again.

"Are you starving?" Kevin says when he lets Logan go. "I'm starving. Should we order something?" He turns away and heads toward the kitchen.

Logan has to take a moment to even out his breathing before he can follow. He also, he realizes, needs to will his dick to calm down from where he was halfway to getting hard. He doesn't think it was enough for Kevin to feel, but he's definitely feeling it himself, and that thought is unsettling enough to make his breathing speed up again.

He's not sure why he feels so shy about Kevin noticing. Theoretically it's something Kevin would be pretty happy about. But Logan doesn't know what he would want to happen next. It's probably better to keep waiting until he's more sure of himself.

 

They go back to the bar in the city on an off night. When they get there, Kevin stops to talk to someone he knows while Logan heads to the bar to get them some beers.

"Hi," someone says next to him. Logan glances over. "Can I buy you a drink?"

Logan blinks. "No thanks," he tells the guy. "I'm here with my boyfriend." He gets that out almost without stumbling over the words.

The guy smiles and shrugs. "He's a lucky man," he says, and disappears back into the crowd.

But that's not right, Logan thinks as he takes the glasses from Anthony and turns back to find Kevin again. Logan himself is the lucky one. When he looks around the bar, none of the other guys there can even begin to measure up to Kevin.

After they've downed their beers, Kevin takes Logan's hand and pulls him onto the dance floor. Logan still feels pretty uncoordinated, but Kevin doesn't seem bothered by it.

Logan looks over Kevin's shoulder to find Anthony watching them from behind the bar with a smile. When Logan catches his eye, he winks. Logan flushes and presses his face down against Kevin's hair.

 

Logan wakes up with morning wood. He's curled up comfortably, a little sweaty from the sun already pouring onto the bed through the window. They forgot to close the curtains last night.

He lies there with his eyes closed, not entirely surfaced yet, until Kevin's alarm blares. Kevin rolls away to slap it off, then rolls back.

"Morning," he says and kisses the nape of Logan's neck.

Logan feels his own dick twitch.

"Morning," he manages to mumble. Kevin strokes a palm across Logan's shoulder blade, then slides away and gets out of bed.

A vauge sound of protest comes out of Logan's throat. He didn't want Kevin to leave, he realizes. He wanted Kevin to stay in bed and keep touching him. He wanted—

But there's no time for that now. They have to get to practice.

 

"Hey, I'm heading out with Tierns," Kevin says.

"Cool. Are you coming over after?"

"Yeah, if you want."

Logan nods, smiling.

"See you tonight, then."

"See you," Logan says.

As he's turning back to pick up his tie, he catches Joe's eye and realizes Joe was watching them. Logan wonders if Joe's going to say something about it, but when he shoulders his bag, all Joe says is, "See you tomorrow, Cooch."

"Night, Pavs," Logan says.

 

Kevin kisses Logan's throat, and Logan tilts his head back to give Kevin more room. He can feel the outline of Kevin's dick hard against his hip, and now, now he knows he wants to feel it against his palm, too. He stretches his hand down, flexing his fingers against the desire to make contact, and takes a deep breath.

"Can I touch you?" he says.

Kevin lifts his head, looking confused, and then looks down to where Logan's hand is still hovering. His eyes widen. "Yeah, fuck."

Then they both keep their eyes on Logan's hand while he settles it over Kevin's dick. He can't curl his fingers all the way around it because of Kevin's boxers. "Can you—" he says, bunching up a fold of cloth with his thumb.

Kevin shoves the boxers down. Logan shifts back to let Kevin kick them off. Now Logan can see as well as feel, the deep red color of Kevin's dick and the smooth curve of the head. Logan takes it in his hand. Kevin exhales.

Logan had thought, to the extent he's thinking at all, that he'd need to learn the shape of it, but the shape feels instantly familiar in his palm. It's just the angle that's different, and he can adjust for that. He moves his hand slowly a few times, pulls it back up to spit in his palm, then starts jacking Kevin faster.

Kevin presses his forehead to Logan's shoulder. His breaths gust against Logan's chest. Everything is hot and close and slick. Logan feels Kevin's whole body rocking against him, and then his hand and his stomach are wet with Kevin's come.

Kevin surges up and kisses Logan, his lips searing hot. "Let me touch you," he hisses. "Say I can blow you."

Logan's own dick is so hard. "Yeah," he gets out. "Yeah, please—"

Kevin kisses him again and shifts down. Logan lifts his hips enough to let Kevin peel his underwear off. The air is cool on him for only a moment before Kevin settles a hand at the base of Logan's dick and opens his mouth over the head.

Logan lets out a sobbing breath. He can't aim or strive for anything anymore, he can only give way to the feeling of Kevin's mouth on him.

He gasps out, "I'm, I'm—" and then the grasp of Kevin's hand sends him over the edge.

Logan is still panting, wrung out, when Kevin moves back up to stretch out next to him. He doesn't feel up to opening his eyes yet, but he curls a tired arm around Kevin's neck. Kevin presses kisses to Logan's cheek and his jaw and the corner of his mouth. Logan turns his head to swipe a kiss across Kevin's lips and then subsides again.

When Logan manages to look up, he finds Kevin watching him.

"Hey," Kevin says. Logan can tell that Kevin is trying to keep his voice neutral, but he can't help the grin that spills over his own face.

"Hey," he says back. Then Kevin smiles too and squeezes Logan tight in his arms.

 

"Will you come over to my place when we're done here?" Joe asks Logan at practice.

Logan hesitates, and he guesses what he's thinking must show on his face because Joe ducks his head sheepishly.

"I owe you an apology," Joe says. "And if you're willing, I'd like to talk about it in private."

"All right," Logan says.

 

Joe busies himself making coffee before they get down to any serious subjects.

"So I want to apologize," Joe says, once they have their cups. "I gave you a really hard time about getting together with Kevin, but I see now how serious you are about him. I should have trusted you sooner."

"So what the fuck was that about?" Logan says.

"Well—this isn't an excuse, but. You and Jason were so close, you know? But you shut him down, and after that I kind figured if he didn't have a chance with you, no guy did."

"What do you mean, I shut him down? He never asked me anything."

"Maybe he should have," Joe says. Then he shrugs. "Or maybe not, he's got someone now, and you seem pretty happy with Banker, so. But the thing is, back then, you might not have meant to do it? But you really kind of put Jason through the wringer, spending so much time with him and letting him get so close, and no closer."

"What the actual fuck," Logan says again. "We were friends, we hung out because we were friends. He never said anything about wanting anything else."

"Well, maybe he put himself through the wringer, then," Joe says. "Sorry, I'm saying this all wrong. Whatever happened with Jason isn't even the point I'm trying to make here. What I mean is just, I remembered how unhappy he got, and I got worried that things would end up like that with Kevin too, and I overreacted. I'm not trying to justify it, just—that was where I was coming from. It wasn't fair to you, and I'm sorry."

"Ok, well." Logan scrubs a hand over his mouth. "Thanks, I guess?"

"But?" Joe says.

"I—let me think for a minute."

Joe waves a hand in invitation. Logan picks up his cup and blows on it, taking a long drink.

He can tell he's going to be thinking about Jason in light of what Joe just said, but that's a red herring for this conversation, and he tries hard to put that aside for now. It's a relief to have Joe finally acknowledge what Logan was saying all along, and it feels good to hear him apologize. But there's something else wrapped up with that, something still unsettled.

"You were being protective of Kevin," Logan says, "and that's, you know, I get that. I'm actually glad he has people looking out for him. But you kind of stopped looking out for me?" Logan had started out trying to speak calmly, but he hears his own voice getting more agitated as he goes on. "This stuff has been confusing, and—and kind of scary for me, and I couldn't talk to you about it, and I've been having to figure all this shit out on my own, because you stopped listening to me!"

Logan snaps his mouth shut and looks over at Joe. Joe's face has gone all rueful.

"I'm sorry," he says. "You're right. I'll do better."

Logan takes a deep breath. "Ok," he says. He takes another large drink of coffee.

Joe tilts his head, looking at Logan. "Do you want to talk about it now?" he asks. "I've got time, if you do."

"I, uh." Logan finds he kind of does want to. It might help to verbalize the things he doesn't want to burden Kevin with. He clears his throat, trying to shift gears. "Yeah, ok. The thing is."

He has to pause and breathe for a minute. Joe waits him out.

"So one time, when Kevin and I were talking, he asked me how I—" Logan still feels weird saying this phrase, but there's no better way to put it, so he spits it out. "How I identify. And all I could say was I'm not straight."

Joe's mouth twists at that, but he doesn't interrupt.

"And that was hard enough to say, the first time. But it also kind of sucks to just say I'm not something, you know? But I still don't know what I can say that fits."

Joe purses his lips. "Well," he says, "what parts are you sure about?"

Logan sighs. "I was with Allie, and with Kara, and that was real. So I'm not gay. And now there's Kevin... But I never—I don't remember looking at any guys before Kevin. I don't look at other guys now. And I don't even know if I would have ever thought about being with him if he hadn't asked me out. So what does that make me?"

Joe swallows the last of the coffee in his mug and refills it. He tilts the pot toward Logan, but Logan shakes his head.

"I guess," Joe says finally, "what I wonder is, does it matter if there've been other guys for you? If you know you have that—that capacity, to be with a guy, does it make a difference how many you've actually felt it for? If it's any number more than zero?"

Logan frowns. "Maybe," he says. "But if I say I'm—something—and people think it means something that's not me, are they going to think I'm a fake?"

"I don't know," Joe admits.

They both drink their coffee in silence for a minute.

"Kevin's not giving you a hard time about it, is he?" Joe says.

"No," Logan says. It feels kind of nice to have Joe say something that's protective of him for a change. "He's super patient. He's, like, the most patient person I've ever been with."

 

The next morning, while he's shaving, Logan studies his own face in the mirror. He lets the words run through his mind while he lifts away strip after strip of shaving cream.

Bisexual, he mouths silently to himself. It's hard to do without overshaping the syllables—he can't picture saying that on the regular. There has to be something simpler. Pan? Queer? Bi?

His face, when he rinses it clean, is still just his same old face.

 

He thinks about texting Jason, which he hasn't done in a while. But he doesn't know what there even is to say. It would be terribly unkind to stir up old stuff by asking if Jason really was into him, and although he feels bad that he might have hurt Jason inadvertently, Logan doesn't really feel like he has anything to apologize for, either. At this point it's probably best just to leave it alone.

 

Logan pokes around on some of his favorite shopping sites while Kevin's on the phone with his folks in the other room. When Kevin's done, he wanders into the living room and drops down onto the couch next to Logan. "Whatcha doing?" he asks.

Logan tilts the tablet to show Kevin the shoes he was looking at.

"Oh, nice," Kevin says. "Oh, but you shouldn't get those now."

"What? Why not?"

Kevin grins. "Because your birthday is coming up."

"What—oh, no, you don't— Don't do that."

"But I want to."

Logan bites his lip. "You really don't have to get me anything."

Kevin gives Logan a skeptical look. "One of these days we should talk about why you don't want me to give you presents," he says.

That one's easy. "It's because Pavs said I was taking advantage of you."

Kevin raises his eyebrows. "Straight up? That's why?"

Logan nods.

"You know that was bullshit, right?"

Logan tilts his head to the side and shrugs.

Kevin wraps an arm around Logan's back and kisses Logan's cheek. "Let me get you your new shoes, babe," he says softly.

Logan lets his head rest on Kevin's shoulder. "All right," he says, just as quietly.

Kevin smiles and takes the tablet to send himself the link.

 

They string together a few wins on the road, and then they come home and win a few more. The team goes out to celebrate, but Logan and Kevin mostly just stay sprawled out at the group table while the others come and go. Joel and Micheal sit with them for a while and then get up to head to the bar, just as Barclay, Dylan, and Chris come back from the dance floor. Logan loves his teammates, but they can seriously make themselves look like idiots sometimes. He definitely got the best one.

"You should have just asked her," Chris says, pouring himself a glass from the pitcher on the table.

"Nah, she was way out of my league," Goody says.

"You can't think like that," Dylan says. "You gotta just shoot your shot, man. Look, it worked for Banker."

Logan glances over at Kevin, whose smile is rather smug. Logan's sure his own face must be bright red.

 

Kevin kisses Logan for a long time that night, long enough for Logan to feel Kevin's dick getting increasingly harder against his hip, and for Logan to psych himself up to say something that's been rattling around in his head.

"I want to try blowing you," he murmurs into the warm space between their mouths. "But I probably won't be any good."

Kevin runs his thumb over Logan's collarbone. "Don't worry about that," he answers. "Just do whatever you feel like doing."

Logan makes a face to dispel his anxiety and starts shifting down the bed.

It's definitely awkward to have a cock in his mouth, but there's a thrill to it, too. The solid shape pressing past his lips, the sense of stretching and pushing what he can do, the inkling of a rhythm he's starting to find, all of that is stoking Logan higher, too, and when he hears the groan Kevin lets out, it goes directly to his own dick.

"Will you—do something for me?" Kevin says breathlessly.

Logan lifts his head. "Ok?"

"Can you put your fingers—" Kevin takes Logan's hand and moves it back to his hole. "Not inside, I'm not into that, but just—keep your hand there?"

"Sure," Logan says.

Kevin's breaths start getting faster and faster after that, until Logan has to pull off and jerk him the rest of the way. Then Kevin rolls Logan onto his back and kisses Logan's throat and shoulder while he works Logan's dick with his hand.

"Can I ask you something?" Logan says later when he's sprawled out on Kevin's chest. Kevin's hand is tracing slowly up and down his spine.

"Sure?"

"What else was on your list that time? I mean, the list of sexy stuff. Did you have other things you were going to bring up besides jerking off?"

"Oh, hm," Kevin says. He traces over Logan's eyebrows with his forefinger. "I was going to ask you about phone sex, I think."

Logan wrinkles his nose.

Kevin laughs. "Ok, I take it that's a no. And, um, taking a bath together."

"Oh," Logan says, struck by the idea. "Oh, can we still do that?"

Kevin kisses him. "Sure, babe," he says.

They get up and make their way into the bathroom, kicking aside the clothes they left on the floor. They rinse off in the shower, and then Kevin starts the water running in the tub. When it's full, he gets in and sits down leaning against its back wall. "Ok, c'mon in," he says.

So Logan steps in too and settles himself between Kevin's legs, with his back to Kevin's chest and his knees bent up. He rests his head back against Kevin's shoulder. Kevin wraps his arms over Logan's chest. The water is gloriously hot, leaving Logan surrounded and held by warmth on all sides.

"Oh, wow," he says.

Kevin kisses Logan's temple. "You doing all right?"

"You're a genius," Logan says, closing his eyes. "Fuck, we have to do this all the time."

"Not in hotels," Kevin says immediately. "But when we're home, sure."

"Deal," Logan says.

 

Their win streak gets snapped on the road, the day before Logan's birthday. Still, the team sings to him at dinner, and his parents call, and Kevin gives him the shoes, which Logan immediately puts on. He wasn't expecting Kevin to use up the space in his suitcase to bring them on the trip, but it's certainly fun to get to wear them right away.

Unfortunately the next game is a loss too, and they limp from there to the end of season with only one more win. Nobody's thrilled, but at least it's good enough for third in the Pacific. And then they all try to take a deep breath and reset for the playoffs.

 

"Mom, can I tell you something?" Logan says.

"Of course, what is it?"

"Well—you know I'm dating Kevin."

"Yes."

"So I wanted to say that, um. I'm bi."

"Oh, sweetheart," she says. "I hope you're going to be very happy. I love you very much."

Logan takes in a deep breath. "I love you, too," he says.

"You know," his mom says, and then she hesitates. "This was such a long time ago now," she finally goes on, "but I had a fling once, in college, before I met your father. It didn't last, but oh, I was so fond of her."

"Mom!" Logan says. "You—wow."

"Don't get me wrong," she adds quickly, "I'm extremely happy with your dad. Our marriage has been the best thing in my life."

"Yeah," Logan says, though he still feels a bit stunned. "They don't negate each other. I get that."

"I suppose you do," she says.

"Does Dad know about this?"

"Yes," his mom says. "But I don't want to say any more about that. That's between us."

"Sure," Logan says. He desperately wants to find Kevin and tell him everything he's just heard, but it occurs to him that he shouldn't do that without asking. "Can I—is it ok if I tell Kevin?"

His mom lets out a slightly tense laugh. "If you want to," she says. "I would say, if you think he can be trusted, but I hope you already think that."

"I really do," Logan says.

"That's good. Bring him to visit this summer, all right? I'd like to get to know him better."

"Thanks, Mom," Logan says. "I will."

 

"What's with you?" Kevin says over dinner that night. "You're all antsy."

"I talked to my mom today," Logan says.

Kevin raises his eyebrows. "And?"

"And get this, she—I guess you could say she came out to me? She told me she had a girlfriend when she was in college!"

Kevin blinks. "Wow," he says.

"Right?" Logan says. "I had no fucking idea."

"She just said that out of the blue?"

"No, it was because I told her I'm bi, and she said she loves me and everything, and then she dropped that on me."

Kevin sets down his fork.

"Wait," he says, "you told her what?"

"Oh," Logan says. "Um. I decided, or. I figured out, I guess, that I'm bi."

"Way to bury the lede," Kevin says, starting to smile.

Logan ducks his head. "It just seems like, you know, it's what makes the most sense for me."

"Yeah," Kevin says. "That's cool. I think—I mean, I hope it feels good to know who you are." He leans forward and kisses Logan, and Logan gets lost in it for a minute.

After that they go back to their food. Logan takes another bite, and then his train of thought runs backward again. "I still can't believe that my mom—!"

Kevin laughs. "She sounds like a cool lady."

"She wants you to come visit over the summer," Logan says. "I mean, I do too. I mean, please come visit."

Kevin's face goes pink and flattered. "I'd like that," he says. "And maybe you can come to New York, too."

"Ok," Logan says.

 

Logan calls his brother. There's no answer at first, but Logan calls back until his brother picks up.

"Yeah?"

"Listen," Logan says. "I'm bringing my boyfriend home with me for a while this summer. You don't have to like him, but I need you to be polite to him while he's there."

There's a distinct pause. "Sure, whatever," Logan's brother finally says.

Logan's not buying the disinterested tone, but he'll take that answer. "Ok. And one more thing. If you have a problem, feel free to tell me about it. But I don't need you to be a go-between for Dad and me."

"Yeah, maybe if you're actually here to see him, you won't."

"I saw him in February," Logan points out. "He seemed like he was coping all right then."

His brother gives a huff that seems to express more frustration than either acknowledgment or denial.

"Ok, well. I'll see you in the summer."

"Hey, uh," his brother says in a more conciliatory tone. "Good luck in Anaheim."

"Thanks," Logan says.

 

They get their bags packed and ready to leave for the airport. While Kevin's putting on his shoes, Logan stops and looks at him, at the clear, familiar lines of his face, and thinks again how lucky he is to have Kevin be his.

"You ready?" Kevin says.

"I love you," Logan blurts out.

Kevin stares at him. Then he steps forward and presses a hard kiss to Logan's mouth.

"I love you, too," he says. "Come on, we're going to be late."

He turns and opens the door, and Logan follows him out.