Work Header

Get Going

Work Text:

Geno knew he'd be playing with Sydney Crosby. Everyone talked about her, even in Russia. What he didn't realize was that he'd see her laughing like an idiot at practice and...

Well, it's nothing, really. He's just a little hung up, is all.

Just a little hung up.

Nothing happens, of course. Syd never recognizes when guys hit on her, and Geno doesn't know any English at first. When he does, he learns enough to realize that all of the guys treat her like one of them; she's nonsexual to them. She dresses in utilitarian pants and tank tops or long-sleeve shirts most of the time, and there are rumors that she's a lesbian. Geno doesn't know what to think about those. He hopes it's not true, but there's no evidence either way.

He can't help but think that if she was a lesbian, she wouldn't be able to hide it this well. Syd's not exactly known for subtlety.

Everyone's tired, the first month of this season. They went to the Finals last year and were beaten soundly, and the first month is a rocky start that sees them hovering outside the playoffs. The only person who's not feeling the grind is Syd. She's first on the ice and last off, and if anything distracts her from the ridiculous, burning intensity she seems to have, it's certainly not Geno.

They finally start to put something together in November. November is also when Syd starts inviting herself over.

The first time, Syd says, "Hey, do you want to hang out?"

Geno blinks at her. She looks back impatiently before saying, "We need to go over some plays. And you can buy beer and I can't."

Syd doesn't really drink and Geno knows it, which means they'll just talk hockey nonstop until Syd decides she needs to leave. But Geno's not going to tell Syd no. He says, "Okay, yes."

"Awesome," Syd says. "I'll follow you." She waves her keys.

Geno leads them back to his home. Syd parks her car on the street and hops up the steps. "Thanks," she says when Geno opens the door. But she doesn't go ahead of him; she waits until he's already in. Geno's not sure Syd even understands when people try to hold doors for her.

"So," she says, flopping down on the couch. "Beer?"

She makes a face when Geno hands her Bud Light, so Geno says, "Is better. No whole beer."

"I know," she says. "Whatever." She takes a drink. "So I was thinking about how you keep setting me up for goals."

Geno blinks.

"I want you to stop."

"I don't."

"Yes, you do." Syd taps her foot restlessly. "It's really obvious. Okay, not to everyone else, but it is to me. I don't need help, Geno. I was a Calder runner-up without you. I'm fine, I'm - I'm good. I don't need help."

"I know," Geno says. He tries to fit English around what he wants to say. "Is why I pass. You good. I see you, I think - I give puck. Syd make work. See?"

Syd's frowning at him. "You're telling the truth?"

"Don't lie to you."

"Okay," Syd says after a long moment. "Um. That's all I wanted to say, really. So."

Geno smiles a little. "Drink beer, Syd. We watch TV."

They end up watching Survivor. It's terrible, but good practice for English. Syd, of course, whines about it. "I don't see the point of these shows," she says, waving her beer bottle at the screen. "They're stupid."

"Americans, da?"

"That's not funny," Syd says, scowling. "Our fans are American."

"Your fans are all countries."

Syd turns bright red. "Well," she mumbles.

Syd finishes her beer mostly in silence. Then she says, "Want to watch some hockey? There's a game on the NHL Network."

"Yes," Geno says immediately, because he's not going to turn down spending more time with Syd.

"Cool," Syd says. "I'm getting another beer." She hops off the couch.

Geno glances over, remembers she has to get her pants custom-fitted, and looks away before he blushes too much. They're friends, he reminds himself. That's all. Friends.

She comes back with two beers, and hands one to Geno. "Rangers-Bruins," she says, pointing at the screen. "Awesome."

Geno hunches down and watches the game, on the opposite end of the couch from Syd.

After that, Syd comes over a lot. There's no real pattern to when she decides to come over; it's usually after practice, but sometimes there will be a week and a half of time between visits, and sometimes there will just be a day. She always gets this strangely determined look on her face when she asks Geno about coming over, which Geno doesn't understand at all, because he never tells her no.

That doesn't exactly escape Sergei's attention. "You're pathetic," he tells him one day, after Syd makes sure they're still on for hanging out the next day.

Geno shrugs. "We have fun."

"You sit around talking about hockey and being miserable because she sees you as her nice, safe, non-sexual friend."

Geno sighs. "Sergei."

"Zhenya. This is unhealthy."

"It's my business," Geno says. "Not yours."

"Oh, well, I apologize, then. Your argument is very persuasive."

Geno shakes his head. "Nothing's going to happen."

"That's precisely my worry."

"And I'm okay with that," Geno says. "I promise. Okay?"

Sergei stares at him suspiciously, but Geno just looks steadily back. Sergei doesn't need to know about how his stomach is twisted in knots every time Syd comes over, or about how he wishes, with ridiculous fervency, that Syd cared about him the way he cares about her.

"Fine," Sergei says finally. "It's your funeral, as they say."

"Thanks," Geno says sarcastically.

Syd comes over after practice the next day. She's carrying a bottle of - Geno blinks. "Vodka?"

"Good vodka," Syd says. "I went to the South Side and got them to help me. This is good vodka, right?" she adds nervously.

Geno takes the bottle from her. It's hardly top of the line, but it's Russian, and Geno's had way worse. "Yes," he says. "Is good, Syd."

"Good." Syd smiles a little. "We don't have anything tomorrow, so I figured we could, you know. Relax."

If asked, Geno would've said Syd doesn't know the meaning of relaxation. But he doesn't tell her that, obviously. Instead he says, "Sure," and goes inside.

Geno gets a glass of vodka for himself and a few fingers of it for Syd. Syd accepts it with a slight smile, settling into Geno's couch. She's got her usual spot, all the way across the couch from Geno. It's a mixed blessing; on one hand, she has a usual spot. On the other hand, it's as far away from Geno as possible.

Geno pushes those thoughts away and turns the TV on.

"You don't have a girlfriend, right?"

Geno blinks. "No?" Syd's in a strange mood even for her.

"Okay," Syd says, and takes a sip of vodka.

They sit there in silence for awhile. Normally Geno would be able to think of something to say, but normally they'd be drinking beer or the protein shakes Syd insists on, not vodka. So they sip the vodka and sit there, until Syd says abruptly, "You know I sleep with guys, right?"

Geno almost swallows his tongue.

"No, I mean - not often." She licks her lips. "But sometimes."

"Right," Geno says, and takes a huge gulp of vodka.

He doesn't intend to get drunk, but it happens more quickly than he'd have expected. In no small part because Syd's there, and she's drinking more than enough, and she's laughing often and her tank top shows a lot of cleavage and Geno's the worst friend in the world.

Just after midnight, Geno's telling broken stories about his coaches back in Russia, and Syd's collapsed on the couch, laughing madly. Her feet are almost touching Geno's thigh, and a strip of skin is showing between her tank top and her jeans. Geno's trying and pretty much failing not to look.

"So I tell him, puck not for eating, and he not get joke," Geno finishes. "I do suicides."

Syd laughs. "You were a troublemaker! I can't believe it!"

"Only a little." Geno grins at her, feeling flushed.

"I think..." Syd stares at the ceiling. "I don't think I can drive home."

"I have guest room," Geno says.

Syd blinks at him. "Oh. Yes. I didn't mean to drink this much vodka."

"Hold it well," Geno says, feeling like a tool.

Syd smiles, bright and wide.

"Anyway." Geno stands up and offers her a hand.

"I don't need help," she grumbles, but she takes his hand and lets him pull her up. For a second they're too close, Syd blinking up at Geno. Then she steps back quickly, almost tripping over her own feet. "Let's...let's go upstairs," she says.

Geno's throat closes around everything he wants to say. "Yes," he says, and leads the way.

He can't help it: that night he jerks off, choking off the noises he'd usually make and trying and completely failing not to think about Syd in the next room over. He thinks about the way her shirt rode up, and her stupid laugh, and fuck, her mouth - her mouth. He imagines it wrapped around his dick, how she'd suck him like she was dissecting a play, which shouldn't be hot but definitely, undeniably is. He imagines fucking her, holding her ass as she rides him, or pressing her down into the mattress and fucking her until she's falling apart. He wants it - he wants her. He comes into his hand with a barely choked-off moan.

After he's done, he closes his eyes. He feels more than a little ashamed, but that's not enough to stop him from falling asleep.

When he wakes up in the morning, it's to the smell of coffee drifting up the stairs. He goes downstairs to see Syd sitting at his kitchen table, reading the paper.

"Morning," Geno says thickly. She's wearing boxers and a loose t-shirt, which means at some point she found the clothes he keeps for guests. They're too big on her, and they look good. Geno blushes and looks away.

"Hey," Syd says. "Do you ever read the news? They're talking about me."

From the look on her face, it's nothing good. "No," Geno says. "Don't care about news."

"Oh." Syd looks down, red. "Um. Want some coffee?"

Geno smiles a little. "Can get own coffee, Syd."

"Right. Totally. Uh. I knew that."

Geno goes and gets his coffee. He's barely poured it when Syd says, "Um, did you sleep well?"

Geno freezes. For a second all he can think is that Syd must've heard him. Then reality comes back to him, so he says, "Yes. You?"

"I was really drunk," Syd says, sounding embarrassed. "How'd you drink so much?"

Geno snorts. "No try keep up with Russian, Syd. Problem there."

"Well," Syd says. "Anyway. I was going to go to the gym? I keep my gear in the car, so?"

He doesn't know why she's phrasing it like a question. "Put clothes on first," he says, smiling a little and sitting down across from her.

Syd turns bright red and looks down. "Sorry."

"Is fine, Sid. You spend night, is okay. But someone see, problems for you."

"I didn't spend the night, spend the night," Sid says, frowning.

"Yes. I know."

"Anyway," Syd says loudly, "I was thinking, um, you could come with me?"

Geno blinks.

"To the gym."

"Oh. Okay," he says before he can think better of it.

Syd smiles. "Awesome," she says, and sips her coffee.

Geno's not a big fan of going to the gym on his days off, but he thinks it's now pretty well established - to him, anyway - that he'll do pretty much anything Syd wants him to. They go together, taking Geno's car. No one remarks on them traveling together when they get there, which Geno guesses makes sense, considering the sheer number of times he's carpooled with Syd. They spend some time on weights and Syd almost murders herself on a bike, before Geno says, "Dripping sweat. We go shower, yes?"

Syd slows down, taking deep, slow breaths. Even sweating like this, she's distractingly hot. "Right," Syd says, taking deep breaths. "Okay."

Geno offers her a hand, but she ignores it and hops off the bike. They head off to their separate showers, but Syd comes back into the locker room with a towel wrapped around her.

"That felt good," she says. She sounds surprised.

Geno would glance over at her, but he knows her well enough to know she's probably hopping into her underwear completely naked. "Yes?" he says instead.

"Yep," she says. "Want to go back to your place and play Call of Duty?"

For a second Geno just stares at her. She has to realize how weird this is...probably.

But she just looks back at him guilelessly. Finally he says, "Okay, yes. We go."

"Let me grab my stuff," she says, apparently completely clueless to Geno's confusion.

Geno shakes his head and shoves his things into his bag. Today's apparently going to be his strangest day off ever; he'll just have to deal with it.

Syd doesn't talk much on the way home. When they get there, she dumps her stuff and goes into the living room without looking back at Geno. For a second Geno just stares at her back - and, okay, her ass - before he grabs both their gear bags and puts them in the closet.

Syd's sitting on the couch when he comes out, her feet pulled up under her. She doesn't look small, exactly, but she looks like someone Geno wants to put his arm around and kiss, touch, and -

No. He's not thinking about that.

"Call of Duty," he says, going over to the PlayStation. "Here." He tosses her a controller.

She catches it nimbly. "I just want to shoot some stuff," she says.

Geno smiles. "Shoot more, shoot everyone?"

For a second Syd just stares at him. Then she erupts in laughter. "Oh God," she gasps. "Oh God. Geno - that's not funny! That's not!"

He wouldn't make the joke with anyone but her. With her, her laughter just makes him grin back, sitting on the couch next to her. A little closer than normal, since they're hooked up to the PlayStation now; it's not like she'll notice.

They play for hours, only stopping to grab some of Syd's gross protein shakes and some chicken. Syd's winning after two hours, but Geno's pulled ahead after three. Geno mocks her as best as he can with his English, but Syd just glares and starts playing that much more intensely. It's hilarious and very, very Syd.

Finally, though, Syd pulls ahead. The second she does, she tosses her controller down and says, "Okay, I'm done."

"Cheating, Syd."

"Am not."

"Little bit."

Syd crosses her arms and glares.

it's four o'clock by then, so Geno says, "Staying for dinner?"

Syd glances at the clock and then flails, almost falling off the couch. "No! No, I'm supposed to have dinner with Mario. Oh God. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stay this long. I - I'm going to go. I have to - okay, hang on."

"Syd! Breathe," Geno says, standing up. "Gear bag in closet. Go get stuff."

Syd grabs her messenger bag and her gear bag. "Okay. So." She looks up at Geno. "Bye."

She's a little flushed from her panic, and Geno wants to kiss her more than he wants almost anything in the world. He steps back and says, "Bye, Syd."

"Bye!" Syd says, and practically runs out the door.

Geno wants to order pizza and have beer and drown his sorrows. Instead he calls Sergei. "Busy?"

"Not too busy for you," he says.

"Syd stayed over."

Geno winces and holds the phone away from his ear. When Sergei comes back, he says, "I'm sorry, I dropped my phone after you told me you slept with Sydney Crosby."

"What? No! She slept over, because we got drunk."

"Ah. And you didn't -"

"No," Geno says. "I wouldn't. If she was drunk."

"Well," Sergei says. "That's...interesting news."

Geno sighs. "I know."

"What did you do?"

"Went to the gym. Played PlayStation. Nothing, really."

Sergei starts laughing.

Geno's used to Sergei laughing at him when it comes to Syd, so he waits patiently for him to finish. Finally, Sergei says, "You're joking, right? You may as well be dating the girl."

"Well, I'm not."

"You're such a sucker, my friend."

"I know," Geno says. "Are you done?"

"No. Come over. Xenia's out for the night; we'll celebrate your impending nuptials to our lovely teammate."

"I'm not -"

"You're coming over," Sergei interrupts, and hangs up.

Geno sighs, but he goes to get his stuff.

They play the Rangers two nights later. Jordan fucks off to hang out with his brother, but Tanger, Flower, and Talbot convince Sergei, Geno, and Syd to come out with them. "We won't get you in too much trouble," Talbot says, wiggling his eyebrows at Syd.

"Um, okay?" she says.

Talbot laughs, used to his innuendos falling flat with her. "You can't wear that, though. We won't get into the club if you're wearing that."

Syd looks down at her baggy jeans and loose-fitting sweater. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

Flower looks at her. "You know those custom-fit jeans you have?"

"All my jeans are custom-fit."

"The tight ones," Flower clarifies. "Did you bring those?"

Syd flushes. "Yes, but -"

"Those and the skintight sweater," Flower says. "C'mon, it's not like we're making you wear a dress."

"But -"

"Syd," Talbot says, widening his eyes. "Don't you want to be my wingman?"

Syd wrinkles her nose. "No."

"I'll run extra drills with you tomorrow," Flower says. "I swear."

"Ugh," Syd says. "Okay, give me a second."

When she comes back out, all the guys except Geno wolf-whistle. Geno just swallows hard and tries not to look at her too much. Her shoulder-length hair is combed in something resembling a style, and under her wool coat, the tight sweater and tighter jeans look really good. Geno glances at her, then glances away again.

Unfortunately, he falls into step with Flower on the way to the club. "She's pretty, eh?" Flower says.

Geno shakes his head. "Not pretty."

"No, you're right," Flower says. "Hot."

Geno blinks at him. "Not appropriate."

Flower grins at him. "Relax, Geno. You're the one with the hangdog crush on our Syd, not me."

"I don't," Geno says, but he's lying and he's pretty sure it's obvious.

"It's fine," Flower says, but then they're at the club and he can't say anything else.

They probably would've gotten in even without Syd changing, but with her at the front, they get in quickly. Syd makes a beeline for a table in the corner, so they all follow her.

She sits down with the air of someone who has no intention of getting up again. "Come on," Talbot says, grabbing Flower and dragging him out to the dance floor.

"Ugh," Syd says.

Geno watches her with amusement. "Want drink?"

"Not really," Syd says. "We have practice tomorrow."

"Don't have to get, how say? Hammered. Just beer."

Syd eyes him. "What's in it for you?"

"See Syd not sulk."

"Not everyone has evil motivations," Tanger says.

Syd starts guiltily. At least Geno might not be the only one who forgot he was there, Geno thinks. "Right," she says. "Well...okay. You can get me a beer."

Tanger snorts. "Generous of you, Crosby."

Syd rolls her eyes. "I'll get the next round, Geno."

Geno nods and goes to get them some beers.

When Geno comes back to their booth, Tanger's gone. "Where Tang go?" Geno says, handing Syd her beer.

She points wordlessly to the dance floor. Geno squints. He can just barely make out the three guys, each dancing with different girls.

"I don't want to be ground up on," Syd says by way of explanation.

Geno makes a split-second decision and slides into the booth next to her, bumping her companionably. "Me neither," he says.

She laughs. "You wouldn't be."

"If alone, yes."

"Come on," she says, but she's still smiling.

Then Geno gets an idea. A really great, really stupid idea. "Finish beer. We dance."

"No way," Syd says, shaking her head. She takes a long drink of beer. "I don't dance."

"I know, you bad," Geno says. "Horrible."

Syd narrows her eyes. "I know what you're trying to do. It won't work."

"Sure?" Geno grins at her. "Syd scared little girl. No want dance."

"You're a dick," Syd says, but she leans back and finishes her beer. Geno watches the long line of her throat, her lips wrapped around the bottle. "Finish yours," she says threateningly. "We're going to dance."

Talbot sees them almost as soon as they get on the dance floor. He whoops and gives them a thumbs up; Syd flips him off in response. This is a club, so it's not like there will actually be a slow song to trip them up, but once they get on the dance floor, Syd goes still and looks at Geno.

So Geno does what he does best when he has to dance. He hams it up, flinging his arms back and forth and pointing at Syd. Syd looks incredulous at first, but then she laughs and starts harmlessly bobbing to the beat.

On impulse, Geno grabs her hands and twirls her around. She shrieks, "Geno!", but it's lost in the noise of the club. He dips her, then twirls her again. They're not even on the beat and Geno really doesn't care. Laughing, he pulls her arms from side to side.

She's laughing now, too, that dumb laugh that always makes him smile back. She's not pulling away anymore, and that alone is reason enough for Geno to smile and smile and smile at her as they dance.

Once the song ends, though, Syd says, "Okay, enough," and goes off the dance floor. At the last minute, Geno grabs her wrist so he doesn't lose her, following her through the maze of people back to their table.

"That was fun, I guess," Syd says, sliding into the booth. Her hair is stuck to her neck in places; Geno wants to push it away and kiss her neck, press her into the booth.

Instead he says, "Yes. Is point of club, Syd. Have fun."

Syd rolls her eyes at him, but she looks less angry now. Geno settles in next to her again, and they signal a server for more beer.

By the end of the night, Flower and Talbot are leaning on each other and Tanger's drunkenly leaving with a girl who's way out of his league (for starters, Geno thinks, she looks like she showers). Talbot buys a bottle of rum at the bar and then winds up carrying it into the taxi with him. "Party in my room!" he says, waving the bottle.

Flower's laughing and correcting him, "Our room."

Syd and Geno look at each other. "With rookies?" Geno says.

"With everyone!" Talbot yells back. "Come on, man."

Syd shakes her head. "I have stuff to do. We'll take another taxi, see you guys tomorrow," she says.

Talbot knows not to argue with her when she sounds like that - they all do. He shrugs and shuts the taxi door, and a minute later it speeds away.

"Everyone's going to talk about me dancing tomorrow," Syd says glumly.

"Was fun," Geno says, looking for a taxi.

"I only did it because you made me." Syd cranes her neck and then throws her arm out. Geno blinks. He didn't even see it, but a taxi's pulling over for them.

"You want to come to my room for awhile?" Syd says once they're in.

Geno blinks at her.

She scowls at him. "I've got tapes of the Rangers," she says.

"Oh," Geno says. "I..." He needs to learn how to turn down time with Syd, he really does. "Okay."

"Awesome," she says, settling back into the seat with a sigh.

Geno looks away, telling himself he's not allowed to put his arm around her.

They walk upstairs together, ignoring the looks they get from people in the hotel. There are already more than enough rumors flying about Syd's - well, everything. But her relationships with her teammates in particular.

Syd does glance around before she lets Geno into her room. "You can crash here if you go back to a party or something."

"Share with Gonch," Geno reminds her.

"Right," she says, looking away. "I'm going to change - hang on a second, okay?"

Geno uncomfortably sits on the bed that doesn't have Syd's stuff on it. Syd comes out a minute later in her pajamas. "Okay?" she says.

Geno's not sure what he's being asked, but he nods.

"Great," Syd says, climbing back onto the bed.

Her shorts are riding up, and it gets worse when she pulls her legs up to her chest. Geno swallows and looks away.

"See," Syd says, pausing the tape after a few minutes. "Their neutral zone coverage is shit. If coach has me carry the puck in, I need you right behind me. Making Lunqvist move from side to side -"

"Yes, yes, I see," Geno says. "Why we doing this, Syd?"

Syd blinks at him. "Huh?"

"Everyone else out, having fun." Geno nods at her. "Why we here?"

Syd looks away. "No reason."

"Syd," Geno says. "Come on. Talk."

"I just...I don't like going out, okay?" Syd curls up on herself even more. "It feels weird. it's fine for you guys - you can hook up and that's it. Guys hit on me, and half the time I don't notice and they get offended, or they say shit to me, and I never want to deal with it."

"Why dance with me then?"

"You basically made me," Syd says, rolling her eyes.

That makes Geno smile a little. "Dare is make now?"

"Shut up," Syd says. "Fine, you don't want to watch the DVDs. We'll watch the news." She fiddles around with the remote until CNN is on.

It wouldn't feel weird to sit on separate beds with any other teammate. Geno's exactly the kind of guy Syd doesn't want to put up with, and he hates himself for it a little. He looks away from her and focuses on the TV.

He's focusing so hard that he doesn't notice when Syd falls asleep. It's not until Geno hears a thump and a loud snore that he realizes anything's happened.

He looks over. Syd's lying sideways on the bed, arms akimbo, snoring.

Geno smiles in spite of himself. He gets up quietly and goes over to her bed, pulling her upright and then shaking her gently. "Syd. Go brush teeth. Will be mad."

"Huh?" Syd opens her eyes, but she doesn't focus on Geno. She blinks at him for a second, then smiles.

Geno will swear until he dies that he's moving away when she leans forward and kisses him.

It's a slow, sleepy kiss, and Geno kisses back on instinct before he realizes what he's doing. When things click, though, he immediately moves away. She's not awake. "Syd," he says, shaking her more firmly.

Syd shakes her head. "I'm - I'm awake." She bats at his hands. "Lemme go."

Geno lets go of her immediately, stumbling back. "I go to my room," he says. "Goodnight."

She waves a hand at him and lurches up, pushing past him for the bathroom.

Geno closes his eyes and counts to ten before grabbing his wallet off the bed and leaving. Luckily, no one sees him leaving her room.

Syd doesn't mention the kiss the next day, but she does do exactly what she told him she would on the ice. She flies up through neutral ice like someone's lit her on fire, and Geno hauls himself up to keep up with her. Normally he doesn't have that much trouble keeping up - she's good, yes, she's the best in the world, but Geno's got reach on her. Today, though, she's playing faster and harder than Geno's ever seen.

But it's not enough. Their line can't finish, and Lundqvist stones them in the shootout. The Rangers take the two points.

Syd's clearly sulking on the ride home. Flower keeps leaning out into the aisle and giving them all significant looks, and on PS3 Syd's forsaken actually playing in favor of beating bad guys to death and then some. Geno doesn't have a PS3, but Talbot's sitting next to him, and he keeps whistling and muttering, "Damn, Syd."

When they get back to the arena, Geno says quietly, "Syd."

Syd glares at him. "What."

"Left shoes in my car."

"I'll come get them tomorrow after practice," she snaps, and stomps away.

"Shot down," Gonch says from behind him.

"Fuck off," Geno says, and goes, wearily, to his car.


"I'm coming over," Syd announces in the locker room the next day.

Geno blinks up at her. She crosses her arms over her sports bra and stares down at him. "Okay," Geno says.

The locker room goes quiet for a second, but then Flower says, "Hey, Pascal, this yours?", lifting a thong he clearly brought in just for this purpose. Then the room erupts again, and Syd goes back to getting dressed.

She follows Geno out. If anyone notices, they don't say anything - which means that of course people have noticed. Geno resigns himself to the knowledge that he's going to have to deal with Sergei's questioning the next day, and gets into his car.

When they get to Geno's, Syd hops out, grabs the spare key from its spot concealed inside the mailbox by the front door, and lets herself in. Geno blinks for a second before following.

"Do you have Gatorade?" Syd says.

"In fridge," Geno says. He hangs his coat up, then sighs, grabs Syd's, and hangs that one up, too.

Syd's sitting in her spot on the couch with a Gatorade when he comes back. She's swung her legs up, though, so that her toes brush against Geno's leg when he sits down.

She pokes him. "What do you have on Netflix?"

"The Wire. Entourage," he says.

She rolls her eyes. "Entourage?"

"Is good."

"No, it's not," she says. "Put on The Wire."

Geno doesn't know why he's following her orders, but he puts it on. She taps his thigh with her toes, over and over until finally Geno grabs her foot. "No," he says.

She glares at him, but she tugs her foot away and doesn't move it again. And Geno feels weird about it, but this is nice. He wishes he had his arm around her, but then he always wishes that.

After awhile, she says, "We should go out to dinner."

Geno raises his eyebrows. "With guys?"

She shrugs. "Or without them. I'm hungry."

Geno never really looks forward to going out with Syd, because she tends to obsessively order ridiculously complicated dishes. The opportunity to go out alone with her, though, even as friends - Geno's not going to turn that down. "Sure," he says. "When leave?"

"After this episode is over," she says, and they go back to watching it.

Geno lets Syd pick the place, because he's definitely not up for having that argument. Syd picks some fancy restaurant where people won't look at them funny and no one will give her shit for ordering her chicken cooked to her exact specifications. He doesn't even realize she has anything in her purse until she pulls out a Twix.


"What?" she says, chewing.

"Is rude."

Syd shrugs. "I tip well."

Geno shakes his head, but he knows if he tries to get her to stop, she'll just whine at him. So instead he focuses on the menu, trying to ignore the way Syd's casual clothing clashes with everything about this restaurant, and how good she looks in it. Her breasts are right there, Geno thinks despairingly.

"What're you getting?" Syd says.

"Chicken," Geno says.

"Oh, me too."

"Not like my chicken," Geno says, smiling a little.

Syd rolls her eyes. "I have to be careful about my conditioning."

"I don't?"

"That's not what I meant."

"Syd." Geno reaches out and kicks her gently. "I know. Why tense?"

Syd scowls at him. "I'm not."

"Little bit."

"I've had a weird day, okay?" she says.

Geno doesn't buy it for a second, but he says, "Okay. Steelers?"

Syd perks up because she likes every sport anyone's ever invented. They talk about it for awhile, even after they've ordered food. Syd's talking about how great it would be if girls could play football and Geno's giving her shit - "You be big football star, Syd?" - when the food comes.

She does what she always does, poking her chicken and inspecting it carefully before saying, "Good enough," and starting to eat.

Geno tries not to watch her. He does. She's not attractive when she's eating, or anything. Well - she's attractive to him always; but it's not like she turns into some kind of siren when she's eating. Geno just likes being around her.

He's being ridiculous in his own head. He mentally shakes his head at himself and goes back to eating.

"That was fun," Syd says when they're done. "We should do it again."

"Yes," Geno says, because he tends to agree with Syd when she's not saying something hideously stupid.

"Cool," Syd says. "Back to your place for some beer?"

"I have vodka. You have beer," Geno says.

She shrugs. "Okay."

That's how they end up on Geno's couch, watching old episodes of The Office. Syd's still resting her feet on Geno's thigh, but she's not jiggling them, so Geno doesn't really care. It's actually kind of nice. Syd makes a face every time she drinks her Bud Light, but it's better than nothing, and Geno knows Syd feels the same way.

After two beers, and a glass of vodka for Geno, Syd says, "Maybe I should get going?"

It's a question, but Geno nods. It's eleven at night. He kind of wants to sleep.

"Okay, cool," Syd says, and then does one of those impossible moves where Geno can't track her. One minute she's lying back against his couch, and the next she's kissing him, so lightly he can barely feel it, hands awkward against his face.

"No," Geno blurts out, moving away.

Syd frowns. "What?"


"I - I don't know," she says. "I thought we could...have some fun?"

Geno's heart feels like it's being squeezed in his chest. "No," he says. "Not fun, Syd. Not for me, like this."

Syd's face goes blank. "Oh," she says. "Okay. I'll go, then."

It would be crazy to ask if this entire time was a stunt to fuck him, so Geno doesn't. Instead he says, "Okay. I walk to door."

Syd stops at the door, looking up at him like she expects something. Geno hugs her carefully. "Bye, Syd."

"Bye," she says quietly, and leaves.

Geno groans and flops back on the couch when she's gone. His first instinct is to call Gonch and get blindingly drunk, but he can't reasonably do that the night before a game. Instead he cleans up after Syd - she leaves so much shit everywhere, somehow, even when she's not over for long, and Geno hates himself for how much he loves it - before he goes up to bed.

He doesn't do anything stupid like relive the kiss once he's in bed. That would be living in a reality that doesn't even exist, some world where Syd wants to kiss him for real, and not just as a precursor to a quick fuck.

He does jerk off thinking about her, though, the way he shamefully has for awhile now. Her skin was so soft and her lips were chapped exactly how he'd thought they would be. He wants so much from her, and for a few minutes he lets himself think about her riding him, kissing him and coming around him.

It doesn't take him long to fall asleep, but it still kind of feels like there's a brick in the pit of his stomach. He feels the same way when he wakes up, but he has to get to morning skate.

They're playing the Flyers, which means everyone is a little more keyed up than usual. Christmas is two weeks away, and everyone's making corny jokes about Christmas presents, only some of which Geno gets.

But they're off. They're so off. Even Syd can't make her passes connect, and they wind up losing by three goals.

She's so pissed she breaks her stick against the wall on the way out. Geno wants to say something, but he can't think of anything to say; instead, he watches Colby talk to her quietly. Colby tends to know exactly what to say. Then again, he speaks English natively.

She doesn't even look at him that day. Geno tells himself it's for the best, but he still feels shitty about it.

"...think they've broken up," Flower's saying as Geno walks up to him. "Oh, hey, Geno."

"Going out tonight?"

Flower glances at Talbot. "Yeah, but -"

"I come," Geno says.

"You sure, buddy?" Talbot says. "We're going to, you know, pick up."

"Yes," Geno says, ignoring the look Flower and Talbot give each other. "Is good. Let's go."

"You gotta get dressed first," Talbot says.

"Sure," Geno says, and goes back over to his locker.

When he glances over at Syd, she's scowling at him. He waves back, then concentrates on getting ready to go.

The club Flower and Talbot pick is loud and smelly. Geno feels right at home. Flower and Talbot zoom in on the same girl, which surprises him not at all. He finds a girl to talk with. Her name is Elisa and she's in college, and she thinks his accent is cute. Normally people who think his accent are cute are right off the list, but tonight he thinks it's exactly what he's looking for. They talk for an hour before Geno invites her back to his place.

She kisses him in the car, and then against his door. It's harmless; no one will take pictures of him kissing her. So he kisses back, and when he finally gets his door unlocked, they're still kissing.

Which is why, when she screams, he jumps back. "What! What?"

She's staring at the living room. Geno follows her gaze - and then jumps, because Syd's sitting on his couch, staring at them. In the dark.

"You need to go," Syd says, and Geno's pretty sure she's not talking to him.

"Oh my God," the girl says. She yanks her phone out and starts dialing, running out of Geno's house.

"What," Geno says flatly, flipping the lights on and locking his door.

"What was that?" Syd says, standing up. "What, you'll slut it up with anyone with a pussy now?"

She says pussy strangely, like she's not used to saying it. "No," Geno says. "She nice. I want. So we go home. Why you here?"

"Because I wanted to talk." She looks him up and down disdainfully. "But apparently that's not what you're into, so..."

"Unfair, Syd," Geno says. "I not know you here."

"Oh, you would've restrained yourself if you did?"

"Syd," Geno says desperately.

"I don't know why I even tried," she says, voice raising. "You clearly don't want to hear what I have to say. You don't want m - you don't want to be friends, not really."

And that makes Geno mad. "I not want? What you tell me, Syd? We have fun? Friends have fun like that?"

"Sometimes!" Syd yells. "Ugh, God, forget it." She elbows her way past him, running out of his house the same way Elisa did.

So then Geno's alone, hands clenched in fists, confused and turned on and missing Syd.

Some nights he hates being friends with her, he really does. He storms upstairs, more than ready to go to bed.

He wakes up at seven the next morning. He hasn't had nearly enough sleep, since he got home so late - and really, how long was Syd waiting for him? - but he can't get back to sleep, so he gets up.

He's not expecting his doorbell to go off at ten. He goes and answers it: it's Syd standing on his doorstep, carrying -

He blinks. Flowers and candy?


"Hi," she says. "Can I come in?" She muscles past him and into his house before he gets a chance to answer.

"I brought you flowers," she says. "They're lilies."

"Thank you?" Geno says.

She stares at him for a second before shoving them at him. "Take them."

Geno silently obeys. Syd says, "Cool. And, um, candy." She waves the cardboard heart at him. "I kind of ate a few pieces?"

Geno blinks at her, not completely sure he's not hallucinating. This makes no sense. He's pretty sure his English could be perfect and this would still make no sense. "Syd. Explain."

"You were mad at me."

"Yes. Sneak into my house. Tell girl to leave. Is rude."

"Well..." Syd frowns at him. "That was - I had a reason for that. One night stands are bad for you."

That doesn't even make sense. "Guys do it all the time."

Syd crosses her arms. "You don't normally."

"Change mind. Decide want to get laid. Not your business."

"I'm your friend."

"Other friends not sit in house, yell at girls."

"But -"

"No, Syd." Geno goes out to his kitchen and sets the flowers and candy down on the table. "Need to stop."

"I'm trying to apologize!"

"Not very good at it."

"I'm trying," Syd says again. "I - Geno, look at me."

Geno really doesn't want to, but he does what she says.

"I'm sorry," Syd says. "I really am."

Geno can't figure that out, he thinks. He has no idea what's going on in her head half the time. But that's not her fault, and he knows it. She's always going to be weird; that's just how Syd works.

He sighs. "Is okay," he says. "Want breakfast?"

"I ate," she says. "We could play XBox?"

She sounds hopeful, in the awkward way she has. Geno nods, and they go out to the living room.

They really get into it, as usual, and Geno doesn't notice lunchtime has come and gone until Syd says, "I'm starving."

"I cook," Geno says, standing up.

"No." She grabs his hand and tugs him back down. "Let me order. I know a couple places."

Geno blinks at her.

"Just let me buy you lunch, okay?" Syd says crankily.

"Okay," Geno says, because what else is he going to say?

After they've eaten, Syd says, "Right. This was fun, and I'm going to go now."

He blinks at her. "Goodbye?"

"Cool," Syd says. "Oh, Mario wants you to come to dinner tomorrow."

" joke?" Geno says. "Hah, hah?"

"No, he really does." She shrugs. "I don't know. I'll see you there, okay?"

She leaves before he has a chance to respond. He doesn't know why hanging out with Syd always makes him stupid. Well, okay, he knows; he's so hung up on her still, in spite of how weird she's been lately. But knowing doesn't mean he has to like it.

He feels uncomfortably keyed up thinking about the dinner with Mario, like somehow Mario's going to look at him and just know how he feels about Syd. He knows for a fact that Mario would ruin lives to keep Syd safe; her parents aren't the greatest, and Mario loves her. The few times anyone's actually said the shit they say about Mario and Syd to Mario's face haven't gone well.

So yeah, Geno's nervous. He channels that energy into practice the next day. When they're changing, Sergei says, "Dinner tonight?"

Geno shakes his head. "I'm going to Mario's with Sydney."

Sergei blinks. "Really?"

"He invited me." Geno shrugs.

Sergei smiles a little. "You really have no idea why?"

"No," Geno says. "Maybe he needs to talk to Syd and me about..." He thinks. "Line combinations?"

"Have a good time, Zhenya," Sergei says, clapping him on the back. He's still smiling, which is more than a little infuriating. Geno wants to tell him to go fuck himself, but Geno's not currently wearing pants and Sergei is dressed and leaving.

Geno's never sure what to wear to Mario's. Geno's not exactly poor, but Mario's house is really nice and he tends to be permanently dressed in semi-dressy clothes. Finally he settles on slacks and a dress shirt, and drives over to Mario's.

Syd answers the door. "Hey," she says. She's wearing jeans and a slouchy sweater, and she's smiling.

All Geno can do is blink at her for a second. She looks so comfortable - more comfortable than Geno's ever seen her.

"You can come in, you know," she says, stepping aside.

So Geno does. "Brought wine," he says, holding the bottle up.

"Awesome, I'll give it to Nathalie." Syd takes it from him, their fingers brushing. "We're playing Rock Band. Go out into the living room."

Which is how Geno ends up singing while Mario plays a tiny fake guitar. Syd's sitting it out, but she's laughing at them and teasing Mario's daughters.

it's comfortable. It feels like family. Geno's not freaking out about it now, but he probably will later.

Things are pretty normal, for values of normal that include Geno being over at Mario's house, until after dinner. Mario and Geno are on dishes duty, and Mario hands him a plate to dry and says, "Syd's very important to me."

"Me too," Geno says. He knows Mario won't understand just how important, but he figures he's getting the general message across.

"I want her to be happy," Mario says.

"Me too."

"Good." Mario hands him another plate. "That's good, Geno."

Apparently the conversation is over. Geno's relieved, because he has no idea what else he was going to say. He's not sure why Mario would be protective towards him, but he's not going to argue. He's protective towards Syd too.

He and Syd leave together, at almost ten o'clock. "This was fun," Syd says as they walk out to Geno's car. "We should do this again."

With less threatening by Mario, sure. "Yes," Geno says. "Mario nice. Care about Penguins a lot."

"Huh? Oh, yeah."

"And you," Geno says, because he thinks it should be out in the opening.

"Well," Syd says, not looking at Geno.

They stop in front of Geno's car. "So...I guess I'll see you tomorrow," Syd says, looking up at him.

Geno's throat feels tight. She's looking up at him, standing close, and she licks her lips and -

Geno steps away. "Goodnight," he says, and practically runs into his car. In his mirror, he can see Syd frowning, but she leaves for the guest house when he pulls out of the driveway.

The next day, after practice, Syd says, "Hey, so, I got you something."

Geno looks around. She's definitely talking to him, even though everyone else is doing that thing where they're listening even though they're busy putting their equipment away. "What get me?" he says.

She rummages around in her bag and pulls out a cup. It has a smiling monster on it. "See, if you wiggle it it's like it's waving," Syd says, wiggling the cup.

It's strange, but it makes Geno laugh. "Thank you," he says, taking the cup.

When he looks up, Syd's smiling. "You're welcome."

Geno tucks the cup in his bag. "Going to car?"


"We go," he says, standing up.

It's not like he doesn't notice everyone staring at them, but he doesn't really know why. He'd have thought everyone was used to Syd being a little weird by now.

When he gets home, he pulls the cup back out and looks at it. He shouldn't let it matter to him. Someone probably just told Syd that friends buy each other presents. But it still makes him feel...just fond. Happy that Syd saw something and thought of him, even if it's something pretty ridiculous.

Two days later, Syd invites herself back to Geno's after practice. "I got you something," she says when they get to Geno's.

Geno blinks. "Again?"

"It's nothing major." She hands him a box.

He looks inside. It's a lumpy scarf.

"This isn't a Christmas present," Syd says quickly. "My sister Taylor, she knits. But she's not good at it, so mostly she just makes scarves. And I guess I talk about you a lot? So she made you a scarf."

"Thank you," Geno says, throat tight. He pulls it out of the box and puts it on. "How I look?"

"Nice," Syd says quietly. "Yeah, you look nice."

Geno strikes a pose, laughing when he makes her laugh. She kicks him lightly. "Knock it off."

"Maybe I wear always," Geno says. "You like?"

"No. It's not very nice!"

But she's still laughing. "I wear it," Geno says. "Mine now."

"Knock it off." She grabs the scarf and tugs, trying to get it off. Geno mimes choking, and she laughs even more.

She's not leaning into him or anything, but she's closer than she normally is, and for a second it occurs to Geno that it would be so easy to kiss her. But just as he's thinking about it, Syd's eyes widen and she scoots away.

"Anyway," she says, looking away. She's pulling her knees up so that she's completely away from Geno, the set of her shoulders telling Geno she's uncomfortable. "I only use so many scarves, so."

"Is nice, Syd," Geno says gently. "Thank you."

"Yeah, well." She picks at her jeans.

They watch some TV, and then it's late enough that Syd leaves. Geno looks at the scarf draped over the arm of his couch. He wants Syd so badly his chest feels tight with it.

But Syd wants to have some fun, and Geno knows he can't deal with that, not really. Their friendship is going so well lately and he doesn't want to ruin that. So he shakes his head at himself and goes upstairs.

Things actually go back to normal after that, mostly. Syd's still inviting herself over, and Geno's still wanting her so badly he's a little worried about himself. And, well, Sergei's worried too, which he makes obvious. But things are fine, for the most part.

On the 29th, the Penguins have their team Christmas party. It's a day off, so Geno sleeps in, then puts on his best ugly sweater to go to the party.

It's fun. They all give each other dumb gifts - Talbot bought Dupuis women's underwear, and Geno got Jordy a Flower bobblehead - and hang out. Syd's got on an ugly sweater like everyone else, and a Santa hat on top of that. Geno thinks he's in the clear, mostly, until the party's over and Syd says, "Can I come over?"

Geno glances around the room. Sergei meets his gaze and shakes his head a little. And yeah, Geno knows he shouldn't, but he says, "Sure."

"Top line elitism, eh?" Talbot says, laughing. Everyone else laughs with him. Geno didn't even realize the room was silent.

When they get to Geno's, Syd pulls a wrapped gift out of her car. "I got you something," she says.

Geno blinks. He gave her her gift - a gift certificate to the guy who does her pants - a week ago. "I didn't. Just one."

"I know, it's cool," she says. "I just, um, I -"

"Saw. Thought of?"

"Something like that," she says. "Let's go inside."

Geno settles down on the couch. Syd sits in her spot and pushes the gift across to him.

"Thank you," Geno says, picking it up and unwrapping it.

For a second, all he can do is blink. It's a framed newspaper article of Geno holding the Conn Smythe.

"I noticed you didn't have one," she says. "And, um, I found one? I just...I thought you'd like it. So I looked around. And had it framed. It goes with your furniture."

It really does. "Thank you," Geno says slowly. Questions are buzzing around in his mind. After a second, he just decides to say it. "Why?"


Geno turns to look at her. "Very nice," he says, motioning to the frame. "I thank. But why?"

"Oh. Well, I just, you know. I thought you'd like it."

"Said that already. Thought I like cup and scarf too?"

"Well, you did," Syd says defensively.

Geno sighs. "Syd. We friends. You being strange."

"No, I'm not."

But it's obvious that she's lying. "Look at me," Geno says.

She reluctantly turns to look at him. "What?"

"Why you do this?" Geno says again.

He just wants her to say it's because she wants to be more than friends. Even in her stuttering, weird way, he wants her to say it. He wants it so badly that he thinks he's gone insane when she says, "I'm practicing. I was thinking I'd try dating."

Geno stares. "Serious?"



"I can date. If I want."

"Right," Geno says. "Yes. Syd date. Syd find nice guy."

"I'm right here," Syd reminds him.

"Have fun," Geno says. "Should go."

Syd blinks up at him. "Huh?"

"Practicing dating. Not tell me."

"I thought it was obvious," Syd says. "I mean...Sergei kind of threatened me. Everyone knew."

That just makes Geno feel stupid. "Go, Syd." He can't deal with this, not right now. "Find guy. Not me."

Syd's gathering her things, but he doesn't miss her sullenly muttering, "Well, no, because you don't want to."

Geno freezes. "What?"

Syd straightens up. She's bright red, but she says, "I kissed you and you didn't want it. So I'm totally going to date someone else. That's what this is about."

Geno feels like his head is spinning. "Lying," Geno says. "Why you lying, Syd?"

"I'm not lying," Syd lies.

"Yes." Geno takes a step forward. "What happening? Why date without telling me?"

"Because I thought you'd like it!" Syd yells. "I thought, if you didn't want to, I could try it, and then maybe you would want to. I don't know. It was stupid. I'm going to go now."

Geno can't let that happen. He lurches forward, feeling suddenly stupid and clumsy, and kisses her.

It's not world-changing or anything. Syd goes stiff with surprise, but then she wraps her arms around Geno, pressing her breasts against him. She kisses back surprisingly well, just as focused as she does anything else. When Geno pulls away, they're both a little out of breath.

"Oh," Syd says. "Okay."

Geno lowers his head, pressing their foreheads together. "Want date," he makes himself say. "Didn't realize. Want you, Syd."

"You're sure?"

Geno would laugh if he could. "Yes. Very, very sure."

"Okay." Syd leans up and kisses him again. Geno kisses back eagerly, pulling her against him again. She deepens the kiss when he puts his hands on her hips, getting a handful of his hair.

"Hey," Syd says, pulling away. "Does this mean we can have sex? Like, now."

Geno's mind is a little blown for a second. Finally, he manages to say, "Yes. If you date me."

"Of course I'll date you," Syd says. "If you'll fuck me."

Geno has to kiss her then. "Deal."

"Okay, awesome," Syd says, and then breaks away, going upstairs.

It's a nice view, and now Geno gets to enjoy it. He smiles and hurries up after her.

It almost doesn't feel real, pressing Syd against the bedroom wall and kissing her. Syd's kissing back eagerly, tucking her hands just below his waistband over his ass. Geno's more than happy with that; he rucks her shirt up, just wanting to touch so much skin.

Syd's noisy, too. When he moves to kiss her neck, she makes these breathy little moans that Geno wants to hear forever. He kisses her and kisses her, sucking lightly, not even caring if he leaves a mark. Syd's hands scramble at his back as he does it, and he smiles against her skin, sliding a hand down and gently cupping her breast.

"Oh," Syd says. "I - Geno."

"Shh," Geno says. He goes up to kiss her again, brushing his fingers over her nipples. He can just feel how hard they are beneath her sweater.

Then Syd's saying impatiently, "Take it off, I'm sensitive, you'll see," and lifting her arms, looking at Geno expectantly. And, well, it's not like Geno's going to tell her no. He pulls the sweater off and then just takes a second to look at her. She's wearing a tank top underneath, and her bra is doing nothing to hide how turned on she is.

"Syd," Geno says quietly, kissing her again.

Syd presses against him eagerly. She grabs his hand and brings it up to her chest, gasping a little when he touches her again. She really is sensitive, which makes Geno kiss her harder, pushing a leg between her thighs.

"Bed," Syd says, tugging at him. "Now." She follows her own instructions, pulling her shirt off as she goes.

She makes Geno's breath catch. He follows her, stripping his sweater off and getting down onto the bed to kiss her.

He's not surprised when she rolls them so that she's on top. She props herself up on her elbows and keeps kissing him, moving her hands awkwardly over his chest. She's so pushy, and Geno feels ridiculous for how gratified he feels that she's this eager, even with her relative inexperience showing a little.

"I don't do this a lot," Syd admits, pulling away to look at Geno. "I mean, I know what I like, but that's not - um. It's not with people."

That's an image that's not going to leave him soon. "I know. Is okay."

"Well, I'd hope so," Syd says, then leans in to kiss him again.

It's not long before his hands are roaming over her bra strap. She nods against him, kissing his neck, so he unhooks the straps and tugs them down.

The position they're in means she's sitting up when she gets her bra off. She's small-chested, but so gorgeous; Geno cups her shoulders and just looks at her for a second, before she says, "Also, you could do something?"

"Do everything," Geno says, rolling them over. He kisses her collarbone, then the underside of her breast. "Gorgeous, Syd."

"Stop it." She kicks him lightly. "I'm here, you don't have to flatter me."

"Not flattery. True." He licks her nipples lightly, then harder when she moans. She was right; she's sensitive, and it's amazing. He wants to know, someday, if he can make her come like this, playing with her breasts with her slowly grinding against his thigh.

That's for later, though. Right now, he kisses down her stomach - "Careful," she informs him, "I'm ticklish." - and traces his tongue over the spot where her skin meets her jeans. He waits until she says, "You can," before he unbuttons her pants and eases them off.

She's wearing red and white striped underwear, and Geno can tell how far gone he is by the way he thinks the cotton underwear is the hottest thing a woman's ever worn.

"Quit staring," Syd says.

Geno kisses the spot just above her underwear. "For now," he says, and moves back up her body, kissing her as he runs a hand, very lightly, down between her legs.

She arches up against his hand, her own hands moving uncertainly all over where she can reach. He kisses her and then slowly, carefully, slides his hand inside her underwear.

And God, she's already wet. He runs his fingers over her carefully before pulling his hand out. "Geno," Syd whines, trying to follow him with her hips.

"What you want?"

Syd stares at him blankly. "What?"

"Hand? Mouth?"

"Oh." She flushes a deep, dark red. "I, um. Anything's good, really."


"I'm serious."

"What you do when -" He has to swallow. "When alone?"

Syd looks away and mumbles, "I use my fingers a lot. And, um, a vibrator."

"Like it?"

She rolls her eyes. "Of course I like it."

Geno laughs a little. "Good," he says, kissing her neck. He pushes her underwear down slowly, giving her plenty of time to object.

She doesn't, though. She spreads her legs and fixes him with a look that he remembers from two-on-one drills and extra practices with her. It's the kind of look that he's pretty sure got her into the NHL, and it's so hot he can barely think.

He spreads her open for him as he kisses her, then slowly rubs his fingers over her. She makes a tiny noise against him and relaxes back into the bed, going completely pliant. It's a reaction that surprises him, but it's not like it's not something he can work with. He kisses her deeply, stroking her and paying attention to what makes her move a little more.

She's so easy for it, too, moving with Geno like she's never done anything else. When he starts rubbing his fingers over her clit, she makes a muffled noise against his mouth and presses her hips up. He can't keep from smiling, which makes her smack him - but then she keeps her hand on his shoulder, and it's amazing.

When she comes, she's shaking against him, moaning into his mouth. He strokes her through it and goes to pull his hand away, but she grabs his wrist and says desperately, "No, not yet, please, just - I can, again, I'll do you too I promise, just please."

Like Geno could tell her no. He kisses her and kisses her and follows her hand, guiding him to press hard against her as she thrusts her hips. There's nothing he wouldn't do for her right now, with her face flushed and the tiny desperate noises she's making. He starts rocking his hips against hers, just trying for some friction, and she says, "Oh," and starts moving even more quickly.

The second time she comes, she grips his shoulders so tightly he knows he's going to have bruises. She slumps against him, breathing hard, and he can barely see, he's so turned on.

"Oh," Syd says. "I - Geno." She rocks up against him, wiggling a hand between them. She's got calluses, and she's so quick and God, he wants to do this again.

"Syd," he says, thrusting into her hand. She kisses him, pressing up against him, and it doesn't take much of anything at all to make him come.

He moves away from her almost right away, but to his surprise, she scoots a little closer to him, just enough that their sides touch. He blinks hard, staring at the ceiling and trying to get his breath back.

"That was nice," Syd says.

Geno smiles a little. She sounds bewildered. "Enjoy?"

"I mean. Yes."

"Good." He turns and kisses her. "Stay awhile?"

She blinks at him. "Am I supposed to go anywhere else?"

That makes his smile turn into a full-on grin. "No, Syd. No."

"Oh. Okay."

So she stays.