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my old sweatshirt never fit so right

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The weather had finally started to chill after the summer from hell which is something Kyle was grateful for. He loved the autumnal weather more than you loved the hellish weather that came with the summer months. He much preferred the clothes that came with autumn too because they were cozier than the clothes that summer provided him. It also meant that hockey season was close to starting again. And hockey season was his one true love. His one true love aside from his boyfriend, Mark. Speaking of Mark, the autumnal weather made it easier for Kyle to steal Mark’s, clothes because there were more options for what you could steal. Kyle was a lot smaller than his boyfriend so the oversized clothes Mark wore in the autumn were easier to get away with wearing than the tighter fitting clothes that came with summer. Tighter fitting on Mark meant that they were baggy on Kyle and Kyle preferred not to sweat his ass off in the extra fabric when it was a million degrees outside.

 

All of that aside, some of Kyle’s favourite things of Mark’s to steal were his team-issued hoodies. They were always incredibly cozy and kept him warm when he needed to run errands without Mark. It felt oddly calming to have Mark’s number 55 over his heart instead of his number 81. It felt calming in a way that Kyle couldn’t explain. And he wasn’t sure if he could ever find the words to explain it as words were not something that Kyle was great at when it came to feelings. He much preferred to express his feelings through physical touch; a lingering hand there, a hug that lasts a little too long here. Anything physical was what made Kyle happy when it came to expressing his emotions and feelings.

 

There was also the fact that Kyle liked stealing Mark’s jogging pants he always seemed to forget to pack up when leaving the hotel after a road trip. At this point, Kyle had amassed quite the collection in his dresser of Mark’s clothes. He had anything from hoodies to joggers and everything in between. If he had to choose a favourite article, it would have to be Mark’s sweater he was given during his first NHL game. It was slightly faded and the designs were flaking but Kyle didn’t care. It was special to him because it was special to Mark. It signified that Mark had played his first NHL game, an accomplishment he had tried his entire childhood to accomplish. The fact that Kyle was the one in possession of the sweater now, even if Mark didn’t know it, made Kyle feel somehow more connected to his boyfriend. Connected in a way that he thought only married couples should feel connected.

 

And, if Kyle was honest with himself, that had been a lot to process when the realization first struck him. Now that the thought had been with him a while, it was easier to manage but it was slowly starting to eat away at him that he wanted desperately to marry Mark but he wasn’t sure if Mark felt the same. He hated being a gay NHL player sometimes. He wasn’t open to expressing things without fear of backlash. Or worse yet, getting kicked from the league and ostracized from the one thing he loved doing the most. He just wanted a normal life like his captain, Blake, had. The wife, the kids, the dogs. He just wanted all that with Mark without the threat of it being a scandal if anyone in the media or the general public found out. He just wanted to feel normal for once in his life. But the NHL wasn’t exactly the place to do that for people like him and Mark. Doubly so in Mark’s case. His being religious and bisexual would cause a scandal all on its own if people found out about the latter.

 

Even so, Kyle wouldn’t have his life any other way. He saw Mark every day because they were on the same team. He knew that there were couples in the league that weren’t afforded that same luxury (Kasperi Kapanen and Brandon Tanev were the first to come to mind because they had only just joined the queer players' group chat after Brandon went to Seattle). He was also doubly lucky because he not only saw Mark every day at the rink but he saw him every day at home too. Living and working with Mark made Kyle feel like the most special man in the world. He just wished he could make it official and become Mr. Kyle Scheifele without it being such a media headache if someone found out. That was the joy of his career choice, though. And it was what it was. There wasn’t much he could do about it.

 

That’s what Kyle thought until playoffs rolled around. Winnipeg had had a stellar season, finishing in the top three of their division. Their first-round opponent had been determined to be Nashville and the series was set to begin that night in Winnipeg. The only problem was that about an hour before he had to be at the arena, Kyle couldn’t find the lucky t-shirt that he’d been wearing when he’d had a hat trick and two assists against Carolina a month or so ago. He wanted to wear it again to see if it would repeat its lucky spell. He had been rummaging around in his dresser drawers trying to find it for the last what felt like forever to no avail. He was determined to wear it that night against Nashville, even if finding it brought him within an inch of death. He had tossed everything around three or four times but Kyle couldn’t seem to find the shirt no matter how hard he tried. It was starting to frustrate him beyond belief that it wasn’t anywhere he was looking in the dresser.

 

“What are you looking for, babe?” Kyle looked over to the doorway and saw Mark standing there, leaning against the door frame with his arms over his chest. “You’ve been going through that dresser for fifteen minutes.”

 

“I’m trying to find my team sweater,” Kyle blurted. That wasn’t at all what he had meant to say but now that he had said it, there was no taking it back. He quickly turned back to the dresser drawer so Mark wouldn’t see that he was beating himself up for saying the wrong thing.

 

Kyle rummaged around inside of the drawer again, tossing some of the clothes onto the floor and tossing the rest of them around a few more times. “I wanna wear it to our game tonight. But I can’t seem to find it anywhere.” In for a penny, in for a pound.

 

“It’s right there,” Mark chuckled as Kyle heard him walk across the room. Kyle looked over at his boyfriend and saw him bend down to pick up something that had been tossed out of the drawer. Mark’s face shifted to confusion as he tossed the sweater onto the bed about ten feet away. He looked over at Kyle, crossing his arms over his chest again. “That... was my sweater. Did you accidentally get the laundry mixed up?”

 

“No,” Kyle mumbled. “I purposely took it.” He closed the drawer and bent down a little to open the drawer with the pants in it. Stepping aside, Kyle motioned for Mark to look inside. “Go ahead. You might wanna look in there.”

 

Mark cast a sideways glance in Kyle’s direction but stepped forward to do as instructed. He leaned down, rifling through the drawer. He pulled out a couple of pairs of pants, examining them carefully each time. He looked at Kyle sternly both times, though Kyle could tell that he wasn’t all that mad if the half-ass smile he had on his face was anything to go on.

 

After examining the third pair of pants carefully, Mark stepped back from the drawer and crossed his arms over his chest again.

 

“You know,” he started, motioning with his hand vaguely. “All you had to do was ask. I would’ve given them to you, KC.”

 

“Yeah?” Kyle heaved a sigh of relief, thankful that his assumption had been correct. Mark nodded and smiled. “You know I’m nervous about that kinda stuff though, Scheif.”

 

Mark reached over and ran a hand along Kyle’s forearm. He used his other hand to brush his thumb along Kyle’s cheek. Kyle smiled softly as he looked into his boyfriend’s eyes and noticed that they appeared to be fond and gentle.

 

“I know, babe.” Mark patted Kyle’s cheek and tapped him on the nose. Kyle giggled, swatting at Mark playfully. Mark grinned like a cat that got the canary as he stepped back and walked across the room to his dresser. “I have a confession to make though.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

Instead of answering, he opened the middle drawer on the dresser and pulled out a shirt. The shirt Kyle had been looking for. Kyle blinked in surprise as he looked at what Mark was holding and then at the sheepish expression on Mark’s face.

 

“I’ve been wearing it under my under armour because I wanted to feel close to you during games,” he said.

 

“All you had to do was ask, you know?” Kyle chuckled, rolling his eyes and smiling. “And I’m literally at the damn games with you, sap.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah, Scheif. You gigantic sap.”

 

“Alright then. Will you marry me?”

 

Kyle blinked in surprise, holding a finger up with his mouth slightly agape.“That’s not... I... what...” Kyle shook his head to see if this was real. When he opened his eyes and saw that Mark was still looking back as expectantly as he was before, he realized that, yes, Mark had proposed. Against his better judgment, Kyle responded by simply saying: “Yes.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yes, Mark. I’ll marry you. Don’t be stupid and think otherwise.”

 

Mark walked back across the room to stand next to Kyle. He undid the latch on his necklace and slid it from around his neck. He then instructed Kyle to step in front of him so that they were back to front. Kyle did as instructed and Mark slid the necklace around Kyle’s neck, latching it carefully. Kyle brought his hand up and twirled the little cross charm between his fingers. Mark patted Kyle’s shoulder before he leaned down and kissed the crevice of Kyle’s neck where it connected to his clavicle. Kyle tilted his neck to allow Mark easier access but he stepped backwards instead when Mark put his hands under the hem of Kyle’s shirt.

 

“I’d love to, Scheif,” Kyle said when he turned to look at Mark. “But we need to leave soon to make it in time for all of the pregame nonsense.”

 

Mark nodded before he leaned down and kissed Kyle. Kyle smiled into the kiss as he brought his hands up to grip Mark’s shirt by the collar. Mark responded by opening his mouth and tracing his tongue along Kyle’s bottom lip. Kyle scoffed bemusedly as he pushed backwards off of Mark, playfully punching his chest when their lips were fully apart.

 

Swallowing thickly when he saw the beard burn on Mark’s face, Kyle walked over to the nightstand and grabbed his phone. He walked back over to Mark and dropped his head against his fiance's shoulder, putting his arm around Mark’s midsection.

 

“What are you—?”

 

“Taking a picture to post on Instagram,” Kyle said, cutting Mark off. “We’re engaged now. I think it’s time to tell everyone. As long as you’re okay with that?”

 

“Surprisingly, I am,” Mark smiled before he pressed a kiss to Kyle’s forehead. “Wanna make it extra spicy and have me kissing you?”

 

Kyle’s face shifted to something thoughtful as he held his phone against his chest. After a moment, he nodded as a small smile cracked his lips.

 

“Fuck it, why not?”

 

“Language!”

 

“Just kiss me, Mark. Good grief.”

 

Mark chuckled as he leaned down and cupped Kyle’s cheek. Kyle chuckled as well as he held his phone up. When he nodded, Mark leaned forward and captured their lips together. Kyle melted into the kiss, bringing his other hand up to grab Mark’s shirt collar. Kyle snapped a few pictures for good measure before the pair separated. When they did, Mark brushed some hair out of Kyle’s face before kissing his forehead. Kyle hummed softly as he stretched up and kissed Mark’s cheek. Mark smiled and patted Kyle’s shoulder.

 

Kyle then opened the Instagram app and very quickly posted the picture with a cheesy caption about how they were engaged. He didn’t want to have time to second guess himself. He wanted this out there because he was finally ready to be open about the fact that he was getting married. Getting married to a man. Getting married to a teammate. Getting married to Mark Scheifele.

 

As soon as the post successfully went through, Kyle closed Instagram and completely powered off his phone. He’d deal with the comments and responses to the post later. Maybe he’d already have to field questions by the time he got to the arena for the pregame presser. That would be fine by him. He just didn’t want to deal with it right now. Right now was his and Mark’s time. Hockey and dealing with that Instagram post came when they set foot into the Bell MTS Place.

 

“You know?” Kyle said after he snapped out of the little headspace he had gone to from posting that picture. “I stole something even better than your clothes.”

 

“Oh? Yeah? What would that be, KC?”

 

“Your heart.”