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Patrick wouldn’t say he’s more in tune to Jonny these days—when they were younger he was somewhat of the Toews-weathervane that the other guys relied upon to figure out which way the wind was blowing, but he finds himself noticing things in different ways. Differences that he supposes make sense when you start having sex with someone. What he can tell you right now—Jonny is rundown, frustrated with his production even though he’s still doing fine, and Patrick thinks there’s some family shit going on that Jonny hasn’t shared—won’t share, really. He’ll eagerly take on everybody else’s emotional burden, but can never bear to unload on someone else, not even to Patrick. Patrick looks at him and he just knows that he must not be sleeping well.

One night in Denver he’s more active in the team group chat than Patrick has ever seen him, sounding almost manic, and it sets off Patrick’s alarm bells immediately. It’s late and they have a game tomorrow and he’s tired, but Jonny’s repeated barrage on the group chat is so out of character, he finds himself sliding out of bed, pulling on a hoodie and shuffling down the hall to go find him and figure out what’s eating him.

When Jon opens the door, he’s breathing hard, not like he’s been working out, or jacking off, but instead, deep repeated inhales like he’s on the verge of panic.

Patrick widens his eyes. “You okay?”

Jonny closes his eyes and takes a slower inhale, letting it out through his mouth, and then shakes his head. “I’ve been struggling with falling asleep again, and Duncs picked up these Sleepytime Drops that have weed in them, and I’m too fucking high right now. Too fucking high to go to sleep. Who the hell thought this would be relaxing?”

He’s twitches spasmodically, and makes a sound in the back of his throat close to anger, before throwing himself back on the bed.

“If I don’t do something,” he breathes, “there’s all this space, too much to feel, the whole room feels like it’s sloshing, and I—I just wanted some rest. Fuck I hate this.”

Taken by an urge that he can’t quite explain, Patrick leans down over him and presses a kiss to his parted lips. Jonny moans into his mouth, whole body arching and then he’s reaching for Patrick’s hand, lacing their fingers together and holding on tight.

“Fuck, I want you,” Jonny says, when they pull apart, nuzzling his forehead against Patrick’s throat. “I had to stop myself from finding you and telling you to fuck me.”

Patrick puts a hand on his cheek, thumb moving across Jonny’s cheekbone. “Why? I would’ve done it.”

“Didn’t seem fair, didn’t seem—”

“Hasn’t this been a helping hand between friends?” Patrick interrupts. Jonny stills, blinking wide eyes up at him, lips parted. Patrick swallows. “Do you still want me to?”

Jonny twitches against him again, in full grip of the cannabis shakes. “You won’t hate me in the morning?” he asks softly, eyes drifting closed again.

“You’re the one who’s high. Maybe you’ll hate me,” Patrick says with a chuckle.

“Incorrect,” Jonny says, “could never.”

Patrick has lube in his room, and he’s already considering extricating himself from Jonny’s death grip to run and get it, when Jonny says, “There’s lube in my dopp kit.”

His eyes are still shut, like it’s too overwhelming to even look around right now, and Patrick can’t help smiling down fondly at him. “Sounds like you were planning to ask for my help at some point.”

Jonny furrows his brows above his closed lids. “Maybe I’d hoped you’d ask me…”

Patrick swallows. He’d maybe been afraid to make the next move, wondering if it was even smart to do so when there was so much riding on the line. He kisses Jonny again, slow and deep, telling Jonny as best he can that he’s stupidly invested in this and knowing in the same moment that Jonny’s too far gone to understand what it means. It’s safer that way.

“Okay,” he says gruffly, pulling away. “Lemme just grab the stuff. Wanna take your clothes off?”

Jonny nods, and starts shimmying out of his pants without getting up from the mattress. Patrick wants to laugh, but figures that won’t help.

He finds the travel size tube of lube buried deep in the dopp kit, like Jonny put it there a while ago. Patrick has to take a moment to grip the bathroom counter, because what’s even happening between them? There’s no name for this that he knows, except maybe ‘possibly life ruining consequences’ and even aware of the gravity of what they’re risking, he can’t bring himself not to.

He leaves the bathroom and finds Jonny stretched out naked on the bed, absently stroking his cock. He’s painfully erect and flushed all over, and Patrick notices fine tremors shaking his body, like every pass of his fist is on just this side of too much.

“Wish I didn’t know it would be a terrible idea for you to fuck me bare,” Jonny says.

Patrick smiles. “I have condoms that’ll fit me, loser. I’m not the one who’s unprepared for these things.”

“No, want to feel it,” Jonny says emphatically.

Patrick pauses. He wouldn’t, he won’t. Because he knows sober Jonny would likely never without a signed affidavit from a judge that he was STI free. Only the best goes in that body.

“Things to think about for next time,” Jonny breathes dreamily, digging his head back into the mattress like he can’t get comfortable. He makes a humming noise and then rolls over onto his stomach and then says, “Nope, nope, the bed will not stop spinning. Fuck, how long am I going to feel like this?”

“I kinda like you like this,” Patrick says.

“Can’t play hockey like this,” Jonny growls. “Who thinks weed is relaxing? I don’t think weed is relaxing. I feel like I’ve taken speed and gone on the merry-go-round in the ocean.” He opens his eyes and then glances at Patrick, up and down. “Take off your clothes. Gimme something good to focus on.”

Patrick chuckles, even as he feels that encompassing and urgent warmth building in his middle. Objectively, Patrick knows he’s got a great physique, and an enviably girthy cock, and that people have been pretty pleased when they get him naked. But Jonny is a fellow athlete with an equally great physique, and if not as big a cock, he’s crazy groomed, like a bronzed greek statue. He’s just a lot, and it’s good to know that Jonny finds him attractive, that it’s more than proximity and one-upmanship that lead them down this road.

“Of course I find you attractive,” Jonny says, and Patrick realizes he must’ve said all of that out loud. “I—for years, Peeks, I would—” he stops himself with a bizarre choke like he knows he’s admitting too much.

Patrick shuffles out of his sleep pants and hoodie and slicks up two fingers. “Lift your knee,” he says, and Jonny does, drawing his thigh up the bed so that his hole is exposed, rutting a little into the sheets like he can’t help himself.

“It’s not gonna take much,” Jonny says.

And he’s not kidding, Patrick’s fingers sink in so easily, he could almost think it was a pussy. Jonny’s spine curls and he reaches out to grab one of the pillows, hugging tight to it like he needs something to hang onto.

“So maybe there are some benefits,” Patrick says.

“Maybe,” Jonny says, almost woozily, cheek turned into the pillow he’s hugging, and for the first time, now that he’s got Patrick’s fingers in him up to the third knuckle, he doesn’t seem overwound.

Patrick curls his fingers into his prostate, rubbing and nudging at the gland, until Jonny is shuddering and crying out.

“Just please—” he says.

And Patrick nods, stupid because Jonny isn’t looking at him, although he’s glad that Jonny doesn’t see the way he fumbles with the condom, like he’s the one who’s high.

He pushes Jonny’s thighs further part, knee walking up the bed between them, the tantalizing curve of Jonny’s spine and his thick ass laid out before him like a buffet. They both groan when Patrick gets the tip inside him and then Jonny’s raising his hips off the mattress, and pushing back on him until Patrick’s fully sunk inside, cock holding Jonny open. Now it’s his turn to gasp, usually nobody wants or can take all of him. But right now Jonny’s letting out relieved gasps, like it’s the only thing making him feel better.

“C’mon, Patrick, move,” he says, rolling his hips like he’d screw himself even deeper if possible. Nobody has ever been this hungry for his cock in his life. He gets his hands on Jonny’s waist and then pulls out as far as he can, before slamming back inside. Ordinarily he’d never go this rough, but he’s working on an instinct, and he’s rewarded with Jonny’s softly worded ‘oh god,’ as he picks up the pace. Jonny keeps grinding his cock into the mattress, Patrick’s thrusts shoving him into it. And then Jonny’s pushing up to his knees, hand snaking down underneath him. Patrick can hear the wet slap slap of his hand working his cock, and it heats his blood further. Jonny must be so wet, practically ready to burst just from this.

Jonny tenses up all over, thighs going rock hard, and he starts begging, “Fuck, right there, don’t stop.”

Patrick’s barely got a grip on himself at that point, but he does what Jonny asks, pounding into him with a strength that leaves him breathless, more exercise than not. He thrusts in yet again, and Jonny lets out a ragged gasp, coming, clamping down on Patrick’s cock like his body doesn’t want to let go, and then Patrick’s there too, slamming his orgasm into Jonny’s, until it feels like something endless and miraculous, like he’s the one who got too high.

Jonny collapses his chest to the mattress, and Patrick goes to pull out, but Jonny stops him, flapping a hand behind him. “No, stay, just...for a little…” his breathing has evened out, like he’s on the verge of passing out, and Patrick thinks, well, one more minute won’t hurt. He settles his weight down on top of Jonny, draped over his back, and Jonny gives one soft murmur of contentment and then he’s out like a light. Patrick smiles and strokes the velvety skin over his shoulders fondly. He’ll get up and deal with the condom and head back to his own room, in a minute, just one more minute...

*

Patrick honestly isn’t sure how to act anymore. After Jonny’s weed escapades and waking up the next morning tangled up in him and then getting off in the shower together, lazily trading handjobs, everything feels even more confused. If Jonny was a hookup he’d just met ten seconds ago he’d probably have a better handle on it. But Jonny is his de facto other half. The first people to ever call them an old married couple were his own parents. It’s safe to say that Patrick has never had a girlfriend that was even half so deeply embedded in his life, his history, his own sense of self.

So what does he do? He feels stupid for puzzling over it. Jonny seems far less troubled by it, going about his business as usual. Patrick doesn’t know if he should be getting some kind of hint from that or if it means exactly what he hopes, that this is the new normal now. That they could maybe be exploring something big, something potentially great, but he doesn’t want to show his hand if he’s wrong. It would be crushing. There have been a lot of imbalances in this partnership of theirs, imbalances that are slowly starting to swing back the other way. Maybe it’s immature, but he’s not sure he could handle it if he cared about Jonny more than Jonny cared about him.

Either way, he doesn’t really get his chance to find out until after they play Minnesota and Dumba tries to polish the ice with him. He passes the concussion protocols, thank you, sweet Mary mother of Jesus. If Matt Dumba had ended his season early he’d sue for pain and suffering, emotional duress of just missing out on the Richard being a chief concern. But he’s fine, a little banged up, got his ego firmly handed to him, but fine. Jonny sounds like he’s planning to find his local mob boss and put out a hit on him. As much as Patrick would love to see Dumbass (it’s just too easy) at the bottom of the ocean in a nice pair of cement shoes right about now, he pulls a page out of Jonny’s zen handbook of pithy captainly sayings, and says, “Let it ride.”

Jonny huffs at him and insists on driving him home that night. He tips a stadium worker a stupidly high amount to drop Patrick’s car off at his building.

“Shouldn’t getting to drive my car, me, Patrick Kane, hero of Chicago, figure of fervent adoration, be reward enough?” he grumbles playfully.

“You’re never going to let that shrine go, are you?” Jonny says with a melodramatic sigh, flipping between songs on some post-game decompression playlist he’s always trying to peddle on everybody. It involves a lot of ambient noise, thunderstorms, and eerie choral music. “I gave him so much because driving that horrid monstrosity is a genuine chore.”

“My car is big pimping, don’t even play,” Patrick protests.

Jonny shoots him a quick narrow eyed glance that he ruins with a slight smile. “Did the doctors actually look at you, or did you make that up?”

Patrick sticks his tongue out. It’s not childish. It’s efficient. A split-second gesture that conveyed a wealth of meaning. Perhaps he should just reduce all communication down to tongue gestures.

“What would that even mean?” Jonny asks when they’re stopped at a light.

Patrick puts up two fingers split into a ‘v’ and delicately licks between them.

Jonny’s eyes grow intent, like he finds the lewd parody of cunnilingus hot. “Not really telling me what you want there, bud.”

Patrick sighs. “My head hurts, my back hurts, my freakin’ teeth hurt. All I want is a blowjob and half a decade of sleep.”

He didn’t even mean it to be a proposal, but when they get up to Patrick’s apartment, Jonny takes off his jacket and gives Patrick a slow onceover. “Bed or couch?” he asks.

“Uhhh,” Patrick replies, mystified. Obviously he doesn’t want to sleep on the couch, and Jonny shouldn’t either.

Jonny rolls his eyes. “Where do you want this blowjob?”

Patrick goggles at him for a second. “The bed,” he works out finally. “Definitely the bed.”

Patrick likes to think he knows a few things about oral. He has a philosophy on it, really. Of the creme de la creme of head, you can have sexy or skilled. The intersection of both is rare. Jonny just about blows his mind by somehow managing both on his first try. Or at least he assumes it’s his first try.

“What have you been doing, deep throating bananas while I wasn’t watching?” Patrick asks, an arm thrown across his face, because even watching Jonny’s tongue sliding down his cock is too much. His voice cracks embarrassingly on a moan when Jonny sucks hard at the head while his hand twists around him.

Jonny hollows his cheeks around him and then pulls off, pumping his hand up and down the entire length. “I may have watched some uh, instructional tutorials on youtube,” he says with a cheeky grin, and seriously only Jonathan Toews could admit that with no shame and have it be utterly fucking charming.

“I suppose I should be glad I don’t have a grapefruit wrapped around my junk right now then,” Patrick mutters.

Jonny drops his forehead to Patrick’s thigh, breaking out into laughter. Patrick can’t even be mad that he’s decidedly not moving his hand anymore. He’s getting a blow job from Jonathan Toews, who’s got their name on that trophy? Patrick Timothy Kane II, that’s who.

I think I love you, crosses his mind despite himself, heart suddenly too full in his chest to bear. He nudges Jonny with his knee. “Where’s the rest of my victory fellatio?”

Jonny runs his tongue over a lower lip that’s already gone swollen and then gets back to it with a wink. Patrick passes out like a bad cliche when he comes a few minutes later. He’s vaguely aware of Jonny settling the covers over him and sliding in beside him, and he thinks, well, perhaps, hard to be too mad at Dumba if it gets him this.

*

Somehow, somewhere, the sex became the remedy. Jonny’s got a headache? Patrick will fuck him better. Patrick’s in a pissy, antsy mood because of some more shitty preemptive press about how he absolutely does not, at all, ever, deserve to win a single NHL award again, and Jonny gives him the reach around. Jonny’s stressed and not sleeping? How about we just stick with orgasms rather than pot. It works for them. Patrick’s always felt getting laid good and getting laid often actually has a positive impact on his play. Jonny’s certainly less tense. Seabs even remarks on it as they draw nearer to playoffs that Jonny seems to be unwinding rather than spooling himself up like a record.

It’s been a season of learning things. Even if they call it quits for whatever reason, they might have to resume for future high pressure situations. Just doing their best preparation and getting into the winning mindset and all that.

But none of that tells him why he’s sitting in Jonny’s living room on a free day, no ailment or issue in need of sexual resolution in sight, offering to let Jonny fuck him. He supposes he could argue it’s preparatory in court pretty convincingly if it came to it, but the dirty dark truth is he’s just plain curious. Let it never be said that Jonny can do shit that he can’t (aside from speak French, play guitar, and read dumb inspirational novels—and that last isn’t so much a can’t as a won’t, thank you very much). He’s sucked Jonny off more times than the reverse by now, and hell yes, two previously unquestioning NHL stars can give really great head. He’s starting to worry it actually might be his only other skill outside the game. Maybe they’re past playing chicken with this, but Patrick nevertheless feels the lack of his own reciprocity in this arena kind of like a dare.

Be a man, Patrick Kane, sign up to get your ass fucked. Seriously what has his life come to? What is he even doing? He’d try to blame it on the Dumba hit, but his brain was already pretty addled by Jonny’s everything well before that happened, and the way Jonny’s eyes go all soft and dark when he suggests it only proves how deep in it he is.

“Do you expect me to refuse?” he asks, from his position on Patrick sectional, facing the tv screen.

Patrick raises his brows, gestures down his body to indicate his loose limbed sprawl with one hand. “Obviously not. Who would refuse this?”

Jonny snorts. “People who haven’t been getting regular concussions since the age of 8 probably.”

And it’s their dynamic to argue and take shots at each other, but that is not worthy of a joke. It’s something he actually worries about pretty constantly, that the smart, articulate, zany person that Jonny is might one day disappear, helpless against CTE. It’s taken too many of them now. But for the grace of god, he finds himself thinking. He’s never told anybody but when Jonny was out for months on end the season before the lockout, he would go and light a candle for him at Holy Name Cathedral once a week, on whatever day their schedule permitted. He’s the worst sort of lapsed catholic, got to miss too many Sunday masses to games, and once he moved away at 14, he was down to only Christmas and Easter Sunday, but he started going to confession, because he figured asking God for things when you weren’t on your best behavior probably wasn’t going to get him very far.

And god he really does love Jonny, inexorable and constant. It’s the East and Jonny the sun, and all that yadda yadda. He’s lived a long time not looking at that too closely, too worried about what it might mean, what others might say, that all the nasty taunts he’d received over the years were right.

Some of Patrick’s inner monologue must show on his face, because Jonny sits up straight, leaning forward in concern.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t—I know you worry about it,” Jonny says, and then he’s climbing into Patrick’s lap and kissing him deep and desperate and full of fervor. He breaks away to breathe, resting their foreheads together. “I never did say thank you.”

And Patrick’s aware of how tight his hand is on Jonny’s hip, but he can’t bring himself to ease up. “For what?”

“For lighting a candle for me,” Jonny says.

Patrick jerks in surprise underneath him. “You know about that?” he asks, and he knows he sounds horrified and embarrassed.

But Jonny chuckles. “You told me! You don’t remember?”

“No, I—no.”

“It was during the cup celebration after we got back from Boston. You told me not to go undoing all your hard work, letting Boychuk hit me like that.”

“Oh god,” Patrick says. Closing his eyes and dropping his head back to the couch cushions in mortification.

“Hey, hey, look at me,” Jonny says and traces a thumb across his lower lip, but Patrick refuses to open his eyes. “I went when you were in surgery for your collarbone. An old lady had to show me how to do it, because I was getting ready to set fire to the whole place for good luck.”

Patrick chuckles involuntarily. “You always have to be so extra.”

“You’re my world, you know that,” Jonny says. “My whole entire world.”

“Jesus Harold Christ, you just had to say it first, you competitive fuck,” he says, shoving at Jonny’s shoulders so that he sprawls back onto the couch and he’s laughing and kissing Patrick some more. And Patrick is happy, but half-disbelieving, because, what, really? How is he supposed to top that? He hates PDA with a passion that rivals his hatred of the St. Louis Blues and cocktail onions.

“Not my fault you can’t get your shit together,” Jonny says. “Also cocktail onions?”

“They look like eyeballs! I want none of that shit anywhere near me,” Patrick says, braced above him, their legs tangled together.

Jonny makes a considering noise. “The texture ain’t anything to write home about either.”

“Ugh, fuck, no, don’t tell me, I have never put one of those in my mouth, and I don’t intend to.”

“Not to abruptly change the subject from martini garnishes,” Jonny says, sliding a hand down his back and stopping just short of his ass. “But did you still wanna?”

And that’s the other thing that’s such a surprise about this. Jonny’s sex drive. He will never forget Duncs coming into practice, covered in hickies and bleary-eyed, explaining how Jonny had abandoned him with two chicks who turned out to be animals.

“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining,” Duncs had said, “but seriously that one chick who was into you? That’s as close as you get to a perfect ten.”

Jonny demurred, but it was the first of many such incidents and part of what really fueled the Captain Serious moniker. Jonny didn’t really hook up on the road, he only rarely did it at home, he didn’t want to distract from the game or some shit, devote his precious energy to something other than winning forever and ever amen.

“You know, before we started all this up, I always kinda assumed you had low libido,” Patrick replies. “You hooked up so rarely. That time in Philly is one of the only times I remember.”

Jonny laughs. “No that was just me being an uptight teenager, so freaked out about making a mistake. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was spending nowhere near as long in the shower as you were in those days, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested.”

“Mmm glad to hear it,” Patrick says, “because I like sex a lot.”

“You don’t say,” Jonny replies, voice fond, and then he’s cupping Patrick’s cheek and kissing him, before saying, “I don’t think you want me to pop your cherry on this couch though.”

Patrick sits back, horrified. “My mom sits here.”

“Does she sit in your bed?” Jonny asks cheekily.

*

Patrick does not love the fingering thing. The stretch on his hole is mentally disquieting, some things maybe just shouldn’t be open this wide, or at all. Maybe this is for one way traffic only. The idea had seemed so hot, and Jonny had been so fucking into it the first time they ever did this, it would figure that it’s not really Patrick’s bag. He’s opening his mouth to tell Jonny that it’s a lost cause when Jonny sucks the head of his now soft cock into his mouth and presses at the magic button also known as his prostate gland. It feels like the beginning of an orgasm, and after ten minutes of that right on the precipice feeling, Patrick is thoroughly out of his mind.

He thinks he could maybe actually come from this and just this, and while a part of him feels that’s entirely unfair, because Jonny still needs Patrick to play with his dick during, another part feels like a fucking winner. He’s so lost in it, when Jonny withdraws his fingers, he curls in on himself from the sudden lack of sensation.

“What the—” he breathes, but then Jonny’s rolling him over onto his side, moving in close and kissing his shoulder. Patrick draws his thigh up, because he’s never been on this end, but he knows how spooning works and when Jonny slides inside with a squelch of lube he can’t stop the harsh expletive that leaves his mouth.

“Hurts?” Jonny asks, lips against his ear.

“No it does not hurt, you asshole, just fucking do something already, I’m going to die, jesus.”

And Jonny does, rocking smoothly back and forth, and dear god, Patrick thinks the head of Jonny's dick might be some kind of reward for all those prayer candles. It keeps catching him just right until he’s beside himself.

“I love my cock in you, I really fucking do,” he says, “but this, this—Jonny, I don’t know. I can’t breathe.”

And Jonny’s hips stutter and he pauses, his palm coming up to press over Patrick’s heart. “Sorry, sorry, just...stop talking if you want me to last through this.”

By now it’s been twenty minutes. Twenty minutes of one endless almost there sensation. He has never wanted or needed to come so bad in his life and while he suspects it’s gonna be better for his virgin ass to stay on their sides like this, it’s honestly not enough.

“Okay, baby, I hear you,” Jonny says, softly, nipping at his earlobe. He blankets Patrick with his body, forcing Patrick flat on his belly, and then with a hand on his shoulder to hold him in place, fucks back inside with all the power of his thighs. Patrick’s entire being seizes up tight, the sensation feels so achingly overwhelmingly perfect. Jonny keeps hammering into him, forcing his thighs wider to really get in deep and Patrick knows he’s little more than a litany of moans and curses.

“Oh god. You are never allowed to have sex with anybody but me ever again,” he says bracing himself against the onslaught. “Your cock is mine.”

“Always,” Jonny tells him through harsh gasps that Patrick will never, ever be able to listen to in any other context without thinking of this. Fuck his life, he sees springing boners on the ice a lot in his future.

And finally his body has had enough and he comes with a hoarse cry, completely dry. And the noise Jonny makes is akin to relief, and then he’s letting go too, and holy goddamn, he can feel it, come coating his insides, because Jonny isn’t wearing a condom, and Patrick’s stupid dick is still hard, because apparently prostate orgasms are a different thing, and then he’s coming a second time, making a mess of his sheets, Jonny’s cock snugged up tight inside him like it’s part of his own body now.

He can’t stop trembling, like he’s worked out too hard without enough calories for fuel, and Jonny’s still inside him, and Patrick bizarrely finds himself wanting to cry. He would take Jonny without the sex. Of course he would. But he’s suddenly so goddamn wrung out that the people in his life enforced a culture of shame and hatred towards this. He hates that he can walk into the locker room tomorrow and share the nastiest shit that he's ever done with women, but there’s no way any of them would be able to hear this.

“You might be surprised, Peeks,” Jonny says. “They love you, you’re a fucking warrior on the ice, best player in the league, none of that changes because you like assplay.”

Patrick chuckles weakly, because he does try to be honest with himself. Most of the time. Or well, he’s trying now. He made enough mistakes trying to avoid the one thing he really wanted. Some that will probably hang over his head forever. “Like is probably not the right word.”

Jonny pushes up onto his hands and slowly withdraws and Patrick’s feeling it now, hole tingling and aching like an over-exercised muscle. Plus he’s going to have to go the bathroom in a little bit to deal with that squishy feeling of come inside.

“Okay?” Jonny asks, hands moving up and down Patrick’s sides.

“Worth it,” Patrick says blearily, because everything else can wait until later. Right now he just wants Jonny close.

*

By game five of the playoffs, Patrick has upgraded his hatred of the Blues well above PDA and cocktail onions. This team is somehow made up of the worst humans in the world and everybody who cheers for them must be similarly defective. As such, when he puts that goal in on double OT, he is fucking elated. And he can’t even be mad when Jonny lays a smacking kiss on his cheek in the middle of the team dogpiling on them. Is it PDA, if it’s like, team PDA?

Playing poker on the plane with TVR, Duncs, and Hoss afterwards, he expounds on this worst humans ever theory. Hoss laughs at him. “I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you express such strong negative emotions.”

“That’s because I’ve usually got Jonny to do it for me,” Patrick says, eyes on his cards.

“Yes, well, Tazer’s the rare breed who actually plays better when he’s fucking furious,” Duncs points out. He leans back in his seat to yell over his shoulder, “You celebrate those negative emotions, Toews.”

“Fuck you, what about my health, huh?” Jonny calls back. “Gotta think about my blood pressure here.”

“There’s no I in team, Jonny Be Good,” Duncs says primly.

“Just work yourself up and then go get laid to decompress,” Shawzy butts in from a few rows away and it’s actually not the most terrible advice. As far as Patrick can tell it’s been working pretty well for them. Jonny was apopleptic at Shawzy for calling the ref a faggot during their last game in Chicago. He’d already lit into him in the locker room before the press even caught a hold of it. And Shawzy had deserved the tirade, although maybe Patrick wouldn’t have felt so strongly about it a year ago, and that’s on him. But Jonny was next level angry, and part of it, Patrick knew, was because of Patrick’s own fragile feelings around...maybe, possibly, actually being bi. But Patrick blew him in the shower the evening afterwards and again the next morning, and now all Jonny’s got for the mutt is a slight eye roll.

“What are you smiling about?” Duncs asks, kicking at his foot.

“Can’t I be happy that I just saved all our collective asses?” Patrick asks, innocently.

“No, that’s like that manic crazy grin, this is...I dunno, something else. Tell him, Hoss.”

Hoss snorts. “What this plebeian is trying to say is that you look...what’s the word, mushy?”

Patrick laughs. “Maybe it’s just my cards.”

Duncs narrows his eyes and raises him.

“Hey, have you seen this article that says you’re more likely to get prostate cancer if you don’t regularly massage it?” Shawzy says out of nowhere. And oh boy, he better watch himself if this goes where Patrick thinks it’s going. He doesn’t even have to look at him to know that Jonny has tensed up in his seat.

“I thought all men got prostate cancer eventually,” Duncs replies.

“No, isn’t it like ten percent?” Hoss says.

“Let’s ask the wizard,” Duncs says. He raises his voice, “Tazer, how many men get prostate cancer?”

The answer is rapidfire. “80% of men who reach age 80 have been found to have cancer cells in their prostate.”

“Well there you have it,” Duncs says. “Better get on that prostate massage.”

“Ugh, talk about the cure being worse than the disease,” Shawzy replies. “I think I’ll just have to accept my eventual fate.”

“You know you don’t have to stick anything uh, up there, right?” TVR says, before folding. “Like, you can get it from the outside from your taint.”

“Well that’s for pussies who can’t take a dick,” Patrick says without thinking, because he’s tired and in a good mood and about to win this fucking card game. He throws his cards down. “Royal flush, boys.”

He looks up and nobody’s even paying attention to his clear triumph. They’re all staring at him. And yeah, that really did come out of his mouth. He’s desperately spinning his tires trying to come up with a save when Hoss leans over and claps him on the shoulder.

“Good for you, Kaner,” he says and Patrick sincerely hopes his abject relief doesn’t show on his face. He’s got to be able to play it cool sometimes.

“You don’t need a dick, you know,” Duncs says, throwing down his defeated straight with a disgusted noise and pushing the bags of accumulated pretzels they were using for chips Patrick’s way. “You can get it pretty good with a toy.”

Shawzy splutters. Clearly all these revelations are a little too much.

“Ask any group of guys, and I bet you most of them like butt stuff,” Laddy points out. “That’s not even news.”

Patrick is shocked at the number of guys around the plane who are suddenly chiming in. He only hopes they’re seated far enough away from Q, Kitch, and Dineen. There’s things your comfortable with certain people knowing, but maybe not the guys who are old enough to be your father.

“Really?” Turbo’s asking Shawzy. “Like not even a finger?”

“Thank god Sharpy’s not here,” Seabs says dryly, raising his newspaper in front of his face like the grumpy old man he is.

“I feel like Sharpy’s the last person to judge about that stuff,” Patrick says, and realizes he honestly believes it. If there’s anybody who wouldn’t raise an eyebrow to Patrick saying he was doing said butt stuff with Jonny, it would be Patrick Sharp.

“No, he’s just the king of overshare,” Seabs replies.

Patrick laughs. “Is there any overshare amidst teammates?”

Seabs shudders. “Believe me. There is.”

“What the fuck, why did he tell you and not me!” Duncs protests.

“He did,” Seabs says, lowering his paper, brow raised. “You know the whole thing with the…” he makes a weird incomprehensible hand gesture, “and the...you know?”

“Oh come on,” Duncs scoffs, “That was nothing!”

Seabs eyes widen comically. “It was not nothing! I’m surprised he’s still alive after that.”

Jonny, who’s got about ten years of payback against Sharpy to make up, says, “Okay, Biscuit, don’t be a cocktease. What the hell happened?”

“Nope, nope, not telling,” Seabs says. “I don’t even want to think about it.”

It devolves from there, with the rest of the guys cajoling and pleading with him to share.

“Give it up! You couldn’t pay me enough money to tell this story,” Seabs cries.

“But I also know,” Duncs points out, “and I’m happy to share for free.”

Jonny catches Patrick’s eye and winks. They’re going home together when they land, and someday the guys will start to notice stuff like that, and they’ll have to have a few painful conversations. But Patrick’s more than happy to kick that can down the road.

*