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Show Me The Way, Take Me To Love

Chapter Text

Show me the way
Take me to love
Things only heard, now I want to feel
Nights are caressed by silken breeze
Whisper secrets to listening trees
Show me that world
Take me to love
[…]

Sidney Crosby doesn’t like Claude Giroux. In fact, he hates him.

He’s always there on the ice, smirking around like he’s the king. Joking, laughing and staring at everyone and everything. He has this snarky smile on his face that makes Sidney angry and, God he just really dislikes him. Why does he still have to see his smile that misses a tooth anyway? That’s just awful.

He knows that he shouldn’t feel that way about an opponent, even if he plays for the Flyers. But he can’t help it. Every time he sees him, he just wants to punch his face so he can stop smiling for once. Like old times… That felt incredible.

Anyway, the game is pretty intense, a lot of fights happened in the second period, and they go to overtime after three. Sidney really wants this win, especially since Tanger got injured in this game. For him, they have to win this.

But of course Giroux decides otherwise and scores when there’s only one minute left. Greiss actually stopped the first shot by Voracek but left the rebound loose. Giroux reached into the pile and scored. This is frustrating, really frustrating, since it’s Giroux.

“Fucking bastard!” Sidney swears without thinking. Anyway, nobody heard him, or they don’t make comments.

They leave the ice pretty quickly, nobody want to stay there longer than necessary. They are in Philly and Sid just wants to stay in his room, sleep and forget about this game.

But when he’s about to leave the Wells Fargo Center, Malkin is there with seems to be Brandon Sutter and David Perron, and it’s like if they were waiting for him.

“Hey Sid, are you up for a drink?” Sutter asks. “Maybe not to celebrate you know, just to have some fun. And we should spend some time with our new teammate, right Perron?”

Perron doesn’t do anything but nods a little bit.

Sid thought about going to his room right after the game, but yeah maybe he could go with them, like Brandon said, it can be good to see Perron in other places than arenas and road trips. He just arrived to the team, and they are supposed to play great together. It cannot be bad for their chemistry, that’s for sure.

“Yeah, okay, that’s an idea.” Sidney responds, not totally sure of himself. “But you’re sure about this, Geno?” Sidney says, looking at him. “You didn’t even play the entire game. You should rest.”

“I’m fine for a drink, captain. You are underestimating me.” Geno replies, sure of himself.

“Fine, I’m going, but just so I could watch you!” Sid answers, smiling a little.

He ends up in a bar - in Philadelphia - with Sutter, Perron and Geno. It is not that crowded and people haven’t seemed to recognize them, for now. Sid just orders a beer and sit at the bar along with the others. Sutter is to his left and Geno to his right. Perron is next to Sutter.

“So Sid, how’s your love life?” Sutter asks. “You definitively need to find someone soon, get laid already!”

“I’m fine on my own, but thank you Sutsy for your commitment.” Sid answers sarcastically, because this is absolutely not the first time he asked him.

Sidney doesn’t want to have sex, or to have a girlfriend. This is not in his priorities. Maybe one day, if he finds someone worth trying a relationship, but for what he knows, he’s going to waste his time with someone who is there for his celebrity status and his money.

“I think I’m gonna stay forever alone, playing hockey” Sid says after being silent.

Sutter doesn’t agree at all: “Oh Sid, one day, someone will catch your eye and then, you’ll have to watch your tongue, trust me.” he answers.

“You’ll find the right one.” Geno says, feeling compassionate.

“I don’t need your pity guys, honestly. I like being single!” Sid ripostes.

“If you say so...” Sutter replies, lifting his shoulders.

The thing is, Sutter is with the same girl for what seems to be forever and they are so beautiful and happy together. And Geno, although he is single, will find someone shortly. He doesn’t have difficulties to do so, because everyone likes to be around him. That’s the difference between them and Sidney. Because Sidney can be so awkward at interacting with new people, that’s a fact.

They stops talking about Sid’s lack of love life – thank God – and they start talking about the NHL All-Star weekend in Columbus. Sutter is going to Cuba with his girlfriend – nothing less – and Perron is going to take the time to settle in his new house, he says that he hasn’t really had the time since he moved to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. Geno and Sid are going to Columbus. Although Geno seems to be really injured, and Sid took an injection to treat a small injury a while back, but he still feel pain. A weekend to rest could be really appreciated, for both of them.

Sid is having a good time, and what seemed to be an actually good idea is now an extremely bad one, as Giroux and the two Schenn enter.

“Oh god, I think there’s going to have some tension here…” Sutter says, looking at the entrance.

When they enter, everyone in the bar is looking at them. It’s like if time has paused. It takes a good fifteen seconds before everyone realizes how dumb it is to fix them and everyone goes back to their own business after that, as if it never happened.

Giroux and the two Schenn go to the bar and see the guys from behind. They recognized them, of course.

“Oh my god, look at them.” Luke says, fixing them with a reluctant face. “I didn’t know you guys wanted to celebrate our win in overtime. What a good intention.”

Sid turns to face them, like the others, and he sees Giroux, who is directly in front of him, Luke and Brayden. They are too close to him. They form a kind of a semi-circle around them and Sid, although he won’t ever admit it, is a little bit intimidated. He knows they are all standing in front of him, judging him.

“Shut up Luke. I’m sure they didn’t come here for problems, right? Brayden says, looking right at Geno. “Besides, we can try to talk without starting any fights.”

“Who are you and what have you done to Brayden Schenn?” Giroux replies, looking all around the place.

“I just want to have fun!” Brayden answers, still looking at Geno. “I’m sure you don’t want to spend all the evening arguing.”

“You’re right in a way.” Giroux says, still not looking at any of them. “But I’m not good in being social with people I don’t really like…”

Brayden doesn’t listen to Giroux. Instead, Brayden approaches Geno and they start talking as if they were already friends. Geno is not sure what is going on, but he answers and seems to be interest anyway. It’s like he can’t believe he’s talking to a Flyers player who appears to be kind with him.

“Do you wanna dance?” Brayden asks after few minutes of talking, looking at the dance floor. For the first time tonight, he seems to be shy. Maybe it’s the colors’ lights all around, but his cheeks look red.

“Yeah, sure” Geno answers, smiling at him. Did he forget that he was injured?

By the time Geno stand up – painfully – the seat next to Sid is empty, but not for long.

“Just sit down, right there.” Brayden says, pushing Giroux to this same seat. Sid had already forgotten his presence. Giroux sits there, and orders a beer. “And you can stay silent, I don’t give a shit, just don’t say anything you’ll regret.” It’s like if he’s lecturing him. Brayden looks at his left. “Oh hey Crosby how are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks.” It’s actually the first Flyers player to acknowledge his presence tonight, that’s a start.

“Have fun with Claude, he can be a little bit nasty sometimes, but he’s a good guy.” Brayden says. He’s leaving with Geno to the dance floor. They seem to get along pretty well, comparing to Sid and Giroux.

“So.” Sid says. “Do you go here often? It’s a nice place.”

“Yes, it is” Giroux answers, looking at his phone.

He seems so pissed off, and yet Sid is still trying to talk to him.

“Do you enjoy dancing?” Sid is still trying, too hard.

“Crosby, I hate you, you hate me, just shut up already.” Giroux answers angrily, than sighs. “Look, I’m here because Brayden didn’t want to be alone with his brother, but I guess he’s doing just fine without me.” He’s looking at Geno and Brayden standing a little bit too close. “And where is Luke anyway?”

Giroux stands up and in a few seconds he’s gone and nowhere to be seen.

“God this guy is a piece of shit!” Sid looks at his left to see Sutter, who hasn't talked for a while. “Who does he think is he? Some kind of important person?” Sutter is angry. “Some Flyers can be pleasant when they want, like Brayden Schenn. He should take example of him.”

“It’s ok Sutsy; I mean, it’s not new. We hate each other.” Sid answers truly, because that’s just the truth.

“You know like me there’s a difference between on the ice and off the ice. He shouldn’t have talked to you like that.” Sutter says. “Right Dave?”

Oh god, Sid totally forgot about him being there.

“Yeah, I think so too. That was pretty mean.” Perron replies.

“I already forgot. Look, I gotta go to the bathroom.” Sid says, standing up.

He walks past a few people, and sees Geno and Brayden who really appears to be lovers, or something more than acquaintances, that’s for sure. He didn’t know Geno could be interested in guys, but it doesn’t surprise him that much now that he thinks of that possibility.

Sid can see Brayden whispering in Geno’s ear something that makes the Russian smile, and Brayden is walking away to go talk to Giroux who is alone in the corner, near Sid now that he recognize him. They don’t see Sid, but he can hear what they are all talking about.

“Seriously Claude, I’ve never had such a good time!” Brayden says. “Geno is really hilarious, you should talk to some of his teammates, from what I’ve seen, they aren’t monsters!” Brayden says ironically.

“Really?” Giroux answers, smiling. “But I can’t interact with them, you know that. I mean, you chose the only one who can be considerate enjoyable.” He continues. “This guy, Sutter, wants to strangle me, and the new French guy, he seems to be lost.”

“You know I’m not talking about those two. Crosby seems to be a fine guy…”

Sid’s heart starts racing in his chess. He knows he shouldn’t hear this conversation, but he wants to know.

“Are you fucking serious?” Giroux replies, with his well-known smirk. “I’m sure he is nice enough but only with people who deeply admire him. But I actually hate him, so no chance.”

“Don’t be too harsh, you don’t really know him.” Brayden responses.

“Neither do you!”

“Maybe, but I talked with Geno enough to know that Crosby is actually an excellent guy and you could learn a few things from him.”

“Like how to be boring” Giroux answers, seriously.

“You know I’m not…”

“Look, you’re wasting your time with me; you have a friend on the dance floor, waiting for your return. Go have fun.”

Brayden doesn’t do the opposite; he goes right back when Geno is. Sid doesn’t wait either. He goes where Brayden was a few seconds ago. He seems to be surprise to see Sid there, but he doesn’t say anything. They are facing each other.

He didn’t see the other Schenn next to Giroux though.

“Crosby… What do you want?” Luke asks, really, but really, just to be polite.

“Oh nothing.” Sid retorts, still looking at Giroux with all the anger he has. “You know, I’m just nice enough with people who like me, so I’m gonna go. But don’t worry, I won’t spread all my hate on you two. Goodnight.”

With that being said, Sid turns around and goes back to his seat, walking rapidly. He feels well, very well indeed.

Sutter is still there with Perron, who doesn’t seem to be lost at all. Who the hell is he to judge anyway?

“Where have you been Sid? That was long.” Sutter says.

“Yeah, sorry.” Sid answers. He totally forgot that he had to go to the bathroom when he thinks of it. But he won’t tell them what he did instead, Sutter is already pretty mad at Giroux. There’s in fact no need to say what he has heard.

“We really should go back to the hotel; we have to leave early tomorrow.” Sutter declares, looking at his phone. “Well today… Would you go find Geno so we can leave?” Sutter asks, looking at Sid.

He definitively doesn’t want to cross Giroux’s path, because it certainly is going to happen. But he can’t really say no.

“I’m here with him in a few minutes.” Sid says, walking back to the dance floor.

Sid doesn’t see Geno right back, although he sees Giroux in the corner, who is trying to ignore Sid without any success, which is pathetic.

Geno sees him, and he walks to join Sid.

“Hey Sid, what’s up?” Geno asks. “Great night!”

“Yeah, about that.” Sidney starts. “We’re leaving. It’s actually pretty late, and even if you’re injured, we still have a game tomorrow, well today.”

“Oh, okay.” Geno strangely sounds disappointed. “I will say goodbye to Brayden and we are out, c’mon.”

Sid follows, and Brayden is standing next to Giroux. He’s actually staring at Sid. He doesn’t seem angry or mad; he seems guiltless with those blue eyes. In fact, the white hat on backwards makes his ginger hair look, pretty well? Sid had never seen Giroux as an attractive guy, but here he is. Although his mind is awake enough for this friendly and important reminder: It’s fucking Giroux and he truly hates him.

They’re staring at each other, for what seems eternity, until Geno has had enough.

“Sid, we can leave.” Geno says, waving in front of Sid’s face.

“Oh, umm, yeah.” Sid articulates, still confused about this strange-unexpected awareness. His mind is definitively tired

Sid and Geno leave the two Flyers. Geno looks back, waving at Brayden. Sid doesn’t look behind him, although he feels that someone is staring at him…

They go back to the hotel, and Geno is still excited about the evening.

“Brayden is a good guy.” Geno says in the hallway. “He has every quality someone fine has.”

Sidney can’t agree more. He didn’t really talk to him, but the least impression he had about him was good. He really is a respectable man. Compared to Giroux, he is the kindest man on Earth.

“Just don’t hang out with the Flyers too much, for your own sake” Sutter says, while pressing the button of the elevator. “I don’t want something bad happening to you.”

“I am old enough to take care of myself, but thank you Sutsy.” Geno replies.

“You’re welcomed.” Sutter answers, smiling.

The elevator arrives at this precise moment. They all enter and Perron presses the button of their floor.

“Seriously, you guys were sticking to each other all night long. That was kind of cute.”

“No way!” Geno cries. “We just, talked to each other” Geno retorts, timidly.

“Sorry dude, but I totally saw how you were standing and whispering in each other ear, I’m not blind you know. I’m sure Sid and David can back me on that.”

“Sorry, but Sutter is right.” Perron replies.

“Totally right.” Sidney answers.

Geno blushes and adds: “I think I might like him, a lot.”

“I knew it!” Sutter says, happy of himself. “I’m so glad for you too!”

“We’re not together” Geno says, seriously.

“Oh, don’t worry” Sutter says, laughing. “By the way he was looking at you tonight, I swear by the end of the season you two are together.”

Geno is still blushing, harder than before.

The elevator stops and they are at their floor.

“Goodnight Geno, have sweet dreams!” Sutter adds, with a wink, before going in his room.

“Goodnight guys” Perron says, before going to his room too. “That was fun. We should do this another time.”

“For sure, but in Pittsburgh! There are places that we need to show you!” Sid responses. “Goodnight Perron.”

Geno is smiling – surely at what Sutter said – and walks in the hallway to go to his room. Sid seems to be following him, but their rooms are just really close.

“Do you think Sutsy is right?” Geno asks.

“I wouldn’t worry about that. I’m pretty sure, with what I’ve seen, that he really likes you. And Brayden seems to be a good guy.”

“I know he plays with the Flyers, but he’s not like everyone may think.” Geno adds. “I’m happy you approve him.”

“You’re welcomed.” Sid answers, while opening the door to his room. “Goodnight Geno.”

“Goodnight Sid.” Geno responses.

By then, Sid is in his room, alone. He takes a shower, drinks some water and takes some pills; he is starting to have a headache. He ends up in his bed, wraps in his sheets in less than a few minutes.

He thinks about the game they lose, how frustrating it was, and still is. How unexpected it was to see Geno and Brayden Schenn together, although they fit so well. How Giroux was a pure jerk. How Giroux is still not that bad looking. How Sidney is tired for thinking such things.

He is indeed tired, because he falls asleep in a few minutes.

Chapter Text

[…]
Show me the way
Take me to love

Come out, blue moon
I need a friend soon
[…]

 

The next morning, Geno doesn’t really feel better, if we mention his injury. In fact, he might feel worse than the night before. Maybe going out wasn’t an extremely good idea after all.

Geno talks to the coaches, and they decide to keep Geno out of the lineup for the game against the Blackhawks. His injury is more serious than he thought. Because of that, he won’t go to the All-Star game. He will take the weekend to rehabilitate. It’s not even sure if he’ll be right back after the All-Star weekend.

Sidney, even if he played more than twenty minutes that night, doesn’t feel at his best. He really just need some days off to rest. After the game, he talks to the coaches about his concern. They immediately decide that Sidney isn’t going to take the risk to aggravate his injury for this.

On Thursday, although Geno was ruled out earlier, it is announced that both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin won’t go to the All-Star weekend. They are going to take the time to rest this weekend, which doesn’t bother Sid. They don’t have a lot of free time during the season, and if he can take those days off, he won’t say no.

 

It’s Thursday afternoon, Sid is not feeling at his best, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t take a little jog to Geno’s house. Actually, he does that quite often. They live close to each other, and Sid likes to run. On sunny days, when he has the time, he jogs to Geno’s house and they end up watching a movie or playing videogames. Sometimes, Sid stays for dinner and then he goes back to his house by walk. It’s really not that far.

Today it’s cloudy outside, and cold since it’s winter, but he doesn’t care. He wants to see how Geno is doing. Actually, this is the perfect excuse to see how his friend is doing. He will be all sweaty and not really presentable, but who cares? He can take a shower there anyway, and it’s not like Geno cares. It happened enough time already.

When he arrives in front of Geno’s house, Sid is surprise to see an unknown car. But it certainly is the car of some neighbors, so Sid doesn’t make a big deal of it.

Sid knocks and he’s surprise – is he? – when he sees Brayden Schenn opening the door.

“Hey Crosby! How are you?” Brayden asks, watching Sid’s face, all sweaty and red.

“I’m fine. I just jogged, I don’t live that far. Is Geno here?” he asks, not sure really what is going on.

“Of course, in the living room. Come in.”

Sid enters, takes off his – really thin – coat and goes right to the living room. Geno’s there, watching TV. He seems to be doing well, but Sid knows how much he hates to be injured.

“Hey Sid!” Geno says, looking at Sid, smiling. “I didn’t know you were coming.”

“I took a jog and decided to see how you were doing.” Sid answers, with concern in his voice.

“I’m doing fine, really.” Geno answers, truly. “You know how much I hate to be injured, but Brayden’s company lights up everything. When I texted him that I was not going to the All-Star game, he came as soon as possible with Giroux.”

“Giroux?” Sid answers, surprised. Where is he then?

Brayden is back, and sits next to Geno.

“He’s in the kitchen, he was thirsty.” Brayden answers, as if he knows what Sidney was asking in his head. “I convinced him to come with me, since his flight to Columbus was cancelled. He’s gonna drive from here, it’s only 3 hours.”

“But you only have one car. Are you going to stay in Columbus?” Sid asks.

“Well actually, I’m here for the weekend.” Brayden answers, looking at Geno. “I had nothing planned and since you are injured, I’m glad to be here. I mean, I’m glad that I’m here with you and we are getting time together, not that you are injured.”

“I get it.” Geno answers, laughing and looking at Brayden.

Sid feels that his presence is too much, when Giroux arrives with a glass of water.

“Crosby!” Giroux says, looking at Sid from head to toes. “You are… here.”

“Yeah I know, not really decent, but I was just here to see how Geno’s doing.” Sid answers, looking at himself. He definitely needs a shower.

“Umm” Giroux answers, still looking at him.

“Have a sit, Giroux.” Geno says, breaking Giroux’s starring session. “And you too Sid.”

Sid has no choice but to sit next to Giroux because it’s the only place available. They keep the biggest space between them. No need to be close.

There’s an awkward silent until someone’s phone is ringing. It’s Giroux’s phone. He just received a text, from what the 3 notes ringtone says.

He checks his phone and sighs.

“Who is that?” Brayden asks.

“Oh, just a girl I had a thing with a while back.” Giroux answers. “She knows that I’m in Columbus this weekend and wants to hang out. But I’m not interested anymore.”

“Anymore?” Brayden asks, curious. “Something made you change your mind?”

“Well, just not my type of girl.” Giroux answers, lifting his shoulders.

“No no.” Brayden answers, smiling. “She’s just not your perfect type of partner, am I right?”

“Can you stop with that already?” Giroux replies, really annoyed. “I was drunk, it doesn’t count.”

“It still definitely counts.” Brayden says, still smiling. He looks a Sid and Geno. “You guys need to know that.”

“Don’t bother with that, I’m sure they don’t wanna know.”

“Actually, I’m quite curious to know.” Sid answers, looking at Giroux with a sense of challenge in his eyes. “Maybe I’ll learn that you like big fluffy girls who smell like pigs.”

Brayden and Geno both giggle.

“To be honest, quite the contrary.” he answers.

Brayden starts to tell the story: “So we were at this bar after a win, and Claude was a little bit, you know, drunk. He already took too much shooters for his own capacities and he was starting to rumble things. He was there and he said, just like that: “My perfect partner – woman or man - must be intelligent, athletic, good looking, interesting, and absolutely good in bed.”

“It’s not that true.” Giroux comments, and then continues. “My perfect partner has to be together, which means that it’s someone that is interested in a lot of things. It has to be someone who is athletic, of course, and who takes care of others in a generous way. Could do some volunteerism or something. Plus, I want someone to know what really matters in life. And I want someone who is good looking – but not in plastic, a real beauty, someone who is beautiful outside and inside, intelligent, and of course, good in bed, as Brayden mentioned.” He finishes, smiling.

Sid can’t believe what he just heard.

“I’m sorry to break your illusions, but nobody is perfect like that.” Sid says. “Do you really think you will ever find someone as perfect as this?”

“We all have prerequisites, right?” Giroux answers, looking at him.

“This is not realistic. Life isn’t “Create your perfect girlfriend – boyfriend –whatever”. You don’t even know someone with all of those qualities.”

“I do actually, thanks for your concern.”

“I seriously doubt that.”

“Don’t be too harsh on yourself, Crosby.”

“The only people I could think that fit all of your stupid requirements are fictional. And even fictional characters are not that perfect, it doesn’t make them interesting.”

“It’s not fiction if I say that I know some!” Giroux ripostes, trying to convince him.

“Can we have an example?” Sid requests, really annoyed by all of this.

“OK guys, it’s alright.” Brayden says. “Stop barking at each other all the time, its suffocating.”

“Sorry.” Both answers at the same time, and look at each other.

The only sound after that is the TV, while Geno is watching Discovery Channel. This is the sign that he is bored. He always does that when he’s bored, because he loves animals and nature. Right now, he’s super interested in a documentary about sharks hunting.

Giroux is still thirsty, because he takes his – big – glass of water and drinks, really quickly.

“So Crosby, looking forward to the All-Star game?” Brayden asks, to reduce the tension in the room.

“Oh well, I’m not going. I’m injured.”

Giroux chokes on his water.

“You’re kidding. You’re not even injured!” Giroux says, exasperated.

“Actually I am. And this is none of your fucking business. It’s not because you don’t see it that I have nothing.” Sid answers angrily, because he is.

“Alright, okay.” Giroux answers, “A lot of people, especially some fans, are gonna be disappointed.” Giroux looks at Sid, with challenge in his eyes. “But you always choke the All-Star game, that’s not new.”

“What are you insinuating?” Sid asks, angrier than before. He can’t believe he hasn’t punched him in the face already.

“Nothing.” Giroux answers insolently.

“Oh so you think that I fake injuries to miss the All-Star game. Do you also think that I faked my concussion for almost a year?

“I wasn’t thinking… Sorry.” Giroux apologizes, trying to fix his mistake.

“I doubt.” Sid answers. He’s not naïve. “I can’t believe you just…”

“Alright guys.” Geno says, cutting him off. He knows, even after four years, how delicate this subject is to Sid. The fear of never being able to play again, that nothing will come back to normal, that’s something no athletes ever want to live.

But Giroux doesn’t understand the subtlety. He continues.

“I didn’t mean it that way. It just that you missed a lot of All-Star, and I’m just wondering…”

“Alright guys!” Geno cries. “Do you want something to drink Sid?” he asks, to change the subject.

“Can I take a shower?” Sid asks instead. Giroux’s efforts to apologize are so pathetic, and it’s weird. Plus, he doesn’t want to talk to him.

“Yeah, sure.” Geno answers. “I think your sweater is still in my drawer.”

“Good. I’m gonna go home after that. I don’t wanna disturb you.”

“First, you never disturb me. And second, by walk? Big snowstorm outside.”

Sid stands up and looks in the window and okay, he can’t walk like that in the big storm. Maybe he should’ve come in car. Especially since it’s winter.

“But I don’t mind?” Sid says, not really sure. It’s a big blizzard outside. Driving in this is still okay, but walking is not a good idea. Since Sid is not really dress to face a storm.

“I can drive you home, when I’ll leave for Columbus.” Giroux offers, looking at him.

He can’t really refuse that. It’s only a ten minutes ride, and he won’t catch a cold. Although he really wants to say no, his better judgment says that he definitely should say yes.

“Okay.” Sid answers, really low, as if he really doesn’t want to hear what he’s saying. “I’ll be right back.”

Sid goes to Geno’s bedroom and opens the drawer. Yes, his green sweater is still there, along with some jeans. He forgot that they were there. He basically has a drawer for his own clothes in Geno’s house. But it’s practically his second house. If he’s not at the arena or at his home, he’s here.

He goes to the bathroom and takes a shower. It feels good the hot water on his skins after a run. And he really has to get his head straight.

He can’t believe how Giroux was so mean. You just don’t insinuate things like that. At that precise moment, he truly hates him, more than ever before. Even his stupid list of requirements is not that bad after what he said to Sid.

The thing is, he’s always so unpleasant to Sid, and then he seems okay with Brayden and Geno. Brayden is his teammate, that’s totally normal – the contrary would have been surprising. But Geno… maybe Sid did something to him and he still is angry… But it was certainly on the ice, just forget about it already!

Anyway, the more he thinks of Giroux, the more he wants to punch the wall.

He changes the water’s temperature. A cold shower will be good to stop thinking about this, and to stop his anger.

When he doesn’t feel his body anymore because he’s freezing, he stops the water and walks out of the shower. He puts his clothes on, which means among other things his jeans and the green sweater. He puts his other clothes in the washing machine, and they will end up in Geno’s drawer that was made for Sid. It’s not even weird anymore.

Sid comes back and sits next to Giroux again, because he just can’t go next to Brayden and Geno, who are really close to each other. Geno is resting his head on Brayden’s shoulder, and he seems to sleep. Among that, Brayden is caressing Geno’s palm with his thumb. He will disturb their romantic moment, if romantic this is. But Sid is pretty sure it is.

“Thank god, I felt really too much here” Giroux says to Sid, whispering.

“I see that.” Sid answers, whispering too, looking at them “Maybe we should go.”

“I thought of that, but I couldn’t really leave here without telling you.”

“That wouldn’t have been the worst thing you’ve ever done to me.”

“You’re right…” Giroux answers, looking into Sid’s eyes. “Can we go now?”

“Yeah, okay.” Sid says. He stands up and looks in the window. The snowstorm is still big outside. He definitively can’t walk to go home.

“Brayden, we're leaving. We feel that we are disturbing a little bit.” Giroux says a little bit louder, standing up and looking at them. Did he just say we, talking of him and Giroux?

“Oh, okay.” Brayden answers. “That way, you won’t arrive in Columbus at midnight, especially with this weather.”

“Exactly.” Giroux answers, smiling. He goes to the entrance and put his coat on.

“Well, I’m going.” Sid says to Brayden. “Tell Geno I have some of my clothes in his washing machine. And that I won’t bother him this weekend.”

“Good, I’ll tell him.”

Geno is right there and he seems so peaceful. Sid knows at that precise moment that Brayden may be the one Geno was waiting for. No, Sid is not jealous, he’s just really happy to know that one of his best friends found his other part.

“C’mon Crosby, I don’t have all day.”

“I’m coming!” Sid answers to Giroux. “Have a good weekend here.”

“I will for sure.” Brayden answers, turning his head to look at Geno, who is sleeping. “Thanks.”

Sid goes to the entrance and put his coat on. Giroux is there, waiting for him.

 

Sid enters in the car and his next to Giroux, again.

“Do you live close to here?” Giroux asks, while starting the engine.

“About ten minutes from here.”

“Okay, just umm. Enter your address in the GPS.” Giroux says, leaning the GPS to Sid. Their hands accidentally touch each other. Sid shivers.

“Just so you know, I don’t wanna be here.” Sid says, while entering his address. He gives it back to Giroux, and he makes sure they don’t touch each other.

Giroux takes the GPS, and puts it on the bracket.

“The feeling is mutual, don’t worry.”

“Good.”

Sid looks outside and it’s still snowing heavily. Nobody talk, and Sid doesn’t want to make efforts trying to talk to him. It just never works. He still doesn’t know what to think of him. He knows his public image as a player. But as a person, he doesn’t really know.

Well he knows that he’s not really friendly, but is it really surprising? We’re talking about Giroux here. He’s so dumb with his stupid list of requirements. And the Crosby-is-faking-his-injuries comment wasn’t nice at all.

“Look, I feel bad for what I said earlier. I just…” Giroux starts after a while.

“Don’t apologize. I know how much you hate me and it’s totally okay, I guess.” Sid answers, looking at the window.

“You really think that because someone says unkind things about you that they extremely hate you, uh?” Giroux asks. The expression in his face is neutral.

“Of course. I know how you feel about me.”

“It’s not because it’s about you that you know everything.”

“I –”

But Sid doesn’t know what to say to that. It definitively leaves him speechless. By the time Sid is still processing this info, and still wondering what it actually means, he’s in front of his house. Giroux stops the car.

“Well, thanks for the ride.” Sid says. At least, he still can be polite.

“Anytime.” Giroux says.

Sid is about to leave the car, but Giroux hold him by taking his wrist. Sid would be lying if he says that he doesn’t feel anything from this contact – in fact every contact with him. Giroux is looking at Sid the same way he was looking at him at the bar two days ago. Those intense blue eyes, definitively Sid’s new weakness.

“Just, take care.” Giroux whispers. Sid is not even sure he heard the right thing.

Sid is still speechless, for the second time in like three minutes.

“Well, I will.” Sid articulates, still in shock. “I – you too.”

“Farewell.” Giroux says, still whispering. He releases Sid’s wrist and breaks the eyes contact. Sid knows its’s the time for him to leave.

By the time Giroux is gone, Sid is running rapidly to his door, because the storm isn’t fading. It will never end, does it?

Sid enters in his big and empty house, and goes to the kitchen. He is indeed hungry right now.

He ends up eating chicken and pasta in front of the TV, watching a shitty movie on lifetime, but he doesn’t understand what is happening. In fact, he isn’t really paying attention to it. He keeps thinking about Giroux and what he said to him.

It’s not because it’s about you that you know everything. What does it means exactly? Perhaps Giroux is just saying things like that to mess him up. But at the same time, he seemed so sincere and cautious when he looked at him that he can’t really deny it.

Whatever. What he knows, is that Giroux is at the All-Star game and Sid doesn’t care about him, because he still really hates him.

Chapter Text

[…]
To share what I'm feeling for him
Shine down on me, so I can see
The silver street that leads me to the place I want to be
[…]

 

Two months has passed since the last time Sid saw Giroux, not that he’s complaining. It’s better that way, really.

But Geno and Brayden are still really close. Sid doesn’t see a day without Geno texting him or skyping him or talking on the phone with him. They try to see each other as much as possible, but it’s really hard because both are always away or too busy to do anything else. They still get in touch anyway, which makes Sid realize how serious their relation is. Nothing is official for now, but it won’t be long.

Now, they are in Glendale to play against the Coyotes. They need this win, because they lost their four previous games, which is not a good thing at the end of the season. They need to win as much as possible, and tonight is a great opportunity to do so.

They finally win 3-1, and everyone is really happy. A win is always a reward, but after one week of losing, it feels good, really good indeed.

Everyone is so pumped after the win that some decide to go celebrate with a drink. Sid cannot disagree with that, he is absolutely in.

Sid ends up in a bar with Sutter, Flower and a lot more. He orders a beer and sits next to Sutter.

“So Sid, anything new with your love life?” Sutter asks, grinning.

He’ll never ever stop, won’t he?

“No, just old stuff, and you perfectly know that, since you asked me the same question yesterday!” Sid answers, trying to sound annoyed but pathetically failed.

“That’s because I feel sorry for you.”

“You shouldn’t be.” Sid answers, fixing his beer. Maybe he does feel sorry for himself after all.

“I wanna dance, you come?” Sutter asks.

“No way, you know how much I suck!” Sid answers, smiling.

Sutter smiles back, and join the others who are making fools of themselves on the dance floor. Well, now he’s all alone.

Sid is about to get up to join them, because he really feels miserable right now sitting all alone, when a cute guy sits next to him. Sid is pretty sure that he has seen this face before, but he can’t say who it is.

“Hi, Crosby.” The cute guy says, smiling at him. He has blue eyes - aka Sid’s new weakness - and an absolute perfect smile, which should be illegal.

“Oh hi!” Sid manages to answer. “Do I know you?” Sid asks, because yeah he definitively knows this guy.

“Well, I just played against you a few hours back, so yeah I’m pretty sure you now me.” he answers, still smiling. God he’s charming.

“So you play in the NHL?” Sid asks. He already regrets it, what a dumb question. He just said he played against him.

“Yes, I do. I’m Tye. Tye McGinn.” he says, presenting his hand.

“Well, nice to meet you Tye.” Sid answers, shaking hands.

Tye has a firm shake. They end the handshake, and Sid can’t believe how he wished it lasts longer.

Although his name sounds a bell, there’s nothing more in Sid’s memory.

Tye seems to guess what Sid is thinking because he says: “I used to play in Philadelphia, but then I got traded last year and now I’m in the West coast.”

“If you played in Philly, then why don’t I remember you?” Sid replies, because right now he wishes he could.

“Well, my situation never was, and still is, pretty uncertain. I only played 18 games in the NHL last season.”

“Oh that sucks.” Sid says, because he can see that Tye tries to sound fine with it, but you see in his – lovely – eyes that he’s not.

“Pretty much, yeah.” Tye answers and Sid feels sad for him. “But it’s okay, I get to see my brother more often. He plays for Colorado.”

Tye starts to talk about his brother, Jamie, and about his love for hockey. Sid learns that he’s Canadian – like him – , and even if he keeps going up and down between the NHL and the AHL, he says he wouldn’t do anything different. It’s his passion and he will pursue his dream, no matter what.

The way he expresses himself is so attractive and Sid really can’t do anything but to smile, and to nod dumbfully at everything he says. He feels like if he’s wrapped in a fuzzy feeling, and although it does sound cheesy, Sid would be lying if he says that he dislikes this new and unexpected sensation.

Sid sees that his teammates are looking at him, because they are about to leave. He also sees that they are making faces like “Oh my God Sid is talking to someone guys pictures.” He totally sees Fleury winking at him and Sutter miming a phone with his hands and saying “ask his number dumbass.”

Sid does timidly, and he feels his cheeks becoming red, but Tye just grin at him and they exchange their numbers. Sid leaves the place with the others and one minute later, Tye had already texted him.

Tye: We should go out after the game on the 28 ;)

Sid is smiling stupidly looking at his phone.

You: Of course, not even a question :)

***

The morning before the game, Sid receives a text from Tye.

Tye: Watch me this afternoon I’m gonna kick your ass ;)

Sid is not a pro of texting, but he knows that always texting a winking face means more than just some friend’s talk. Sid smile at this thought.

Not a chance :P

The Penguins win 3-2 against the Coyotes. Sid had one of his best games of the season with one goal and two assists. That was a team effort and Sid is really proud of everybody. Tanger was solidly hit and didn’t return, which is a big loss, and everybody hope that he’ll be fine for the playoffs.

Although Sid is never interested in the other team matters, he would be lying if he says that he didn’t care about Tye’s goal, which was the first of the game. When he came to his bench right after the goal, he saw that he was smiling and Sid wonders if he was thinking about their texts exchange.

After the game, Sid goes back home, eat dinner and watches the news. He was thinking about texting or calling Tye to see if their date – if date it was – is still happening when his phone rings. It’s Geno.

“Hello Geno.”

“Hey Sid! Good game this afternoon! We need to celebrate! Drink with team?”

Geno seems way too happy to go get a casual drink at the bar. Then Sid thinks that he really wants to say no, because he was supposed to go out with Tye, but he didn’t have any news of him since this morning.

“That could be fun, yeah.” Sid replies, because he can just text him to join.

“Good! Pick you up in an hour.”

Geno hangs up.

Sid is wondering if he should text Tye or not. He finally does, after a good fifteen minutes of stressing, and Tye responses almost instantly that he’ll be glad to join, again with a winking face.

 

Sid enters in the bar with Geno and meets the other who are there, which are Flower and Sutter. Sid sits next to Geno, orders a beer and texts Tye where they are. Sutter asks about Sid’s new crush – aka the cutie in Glendale –, which is becoming pretty irrelevant and annoying, when Tye finally arrives.

Tye smiles when he sees Sid, and sits next to him.

Sid is facing him, just to see more of his beautiful face, and they talk about hockey and pretty basic stuff, nothing serious. Tye asks about Sid’s family and Sid explains his life in Cole Harbour. He also talks about his parents and Taylor. It’s casual and nice and Sid feels that he couldn’t be happier right now, when he sees two familiar faces in the entrance.

It’s Brayden and Giroux.

Brayden, okay. He’s practically with Geno now, and Geno is already running to hug him, which is really adorable.

But Giroux… He has nothing to do here, and it makes Sid indeed mad. He hasn’t seen him for two months, and now it seems that it wasn’t enough.

Brayden and Geno are already getting along pretty well at the bar ordering drinks when he sees Giroux approaching him.

“Hey Crosby, how are you?” Giroux asks, smiling and, is he trying to be friendly here?

“I was fine.” Sid answers.

Giroux is behind Tye when he inquired so he hasn’t seen him yet. But when Giroux is close enough to realize who is talking to Sid, he looks at him with surprise and shock. And then there’s a repugnance look on his face. Tye doesn’t seem to care at all.

“Giroux, what a great surprise.” Tye says, politely laughing.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Giroux asks, really annoyed.

“I’m talking to Sid, really nice guy.” he answers, smiling at Sid.

Giroux looks at Sid, with a mix of disappointment and fear, leaves them to get a beer and sits alone, in the corner. He sees Giroux looking at him from time to time, and Sid feels like the weight of the world is on his shoulders, and he doesn’t know why.

“God, that was weird.” Sid says, after an awkward silent between them.

“I tried to be pleasant with the guy, but I forgot that I was talking to an asshole.” Tye answers, angrily. “Did you know that we’d known each other even before the NHL?”

“Really?” Sid answers, quite curious.

“We played in the same team back in juniors, though we never played at the same time. The year I quit the OHL to go in the QMJHL, Giroux was in the AHL. But we still had some friends in common, so we were friends in a way. For the first years, he was really nice and he was kind of a model to me. But then, I became an important key to my team, and he was always telling me that I wouldn’t be good enough for the NHL, and I did believe him. My last year in the juniors, I wanted to prove everybody that he was wrong. I was finally drafted by the Flyers, even if I was 20 years old.”

He takes a sip of his beer, and continues.

“But then Giroux wasn’t happy about that. I played in the AHL, but I was always going up and down between the AHL and NHL. Then I started to be an important key player to the team, I knew that I was going to play more than 18 NHL game the year after. My agent even told me that the Flyers really liked me, but then I was traded last summer to the Sharks and I didn’t see it coming, not at all. I was still depressed when I received a text from Giroux saying “Good luck in the West kid ;)” Giroux was the captain of the Flyers, and he had influence. He practically said to me that he was for something.”

Sid needs to process everything he knows. Can Giroux be that bad? It seems to, and it’s not surprising Sid at all. Tye looks at Sid with sad eyes, and replies.

“I hope you’re not friend with him because trust me, you don’t want to be.”

“Don’t worry about that” Sid answers, looking at Giroux out of the corner of his eye. “I never liked the guy, but I never thought he could be so mean.” Sid replies.

“He can, I still can’t believe that he’s still here.” Tye says, looking at Giroux too.

“But, does anybody know about what he’s done?” Sid asks, observing Tye.

Tye takes time to respond, but he manages to answer Sid’s question.

“The only people who know are against me, but it’s fine. I prefer to play for a captain who doesn’t want to punch me in the face every time.”

Sid takes a big sip of his beer. He really needs to drink.

Tye looks around and sees Geno and Schenn speaking to each other. “Is Schenn Malkin’s boyfriend?”

Sid choke on his beer and replies: “Not officially, but is that obvious?”

“They’re not? I can’t believe it! Some couples are not even that apparent!” Tye says, still looking at them. “But they should keep it down you know, two NHL players as known as them, rumors are surely already creating. They really should be cautious.”

Sid never thought of that, but surely, they aren’t shy to show their affections, even when a lot of people can recognize them.

“Anyway, this is none of my business.” Tye says while looking at his phone. “And it’s getting late, I really need to go.”

“Already?” Sid says, truly trying not to sound disappointed.

“I need some sleeps; I have a plane to catch in the morning. But don’t worry, I’ll call you.” Tye says, standing up.

Sid stands up too, and they look at each other awkwardly, until Tye approaches. He is taller than Sid, so he lowers his head and whispers in Sid’s ear:

“Just so you know, you’re cute when you blush.”

Sid instantly turns red, and he feels his mouth watering.

Tye looks up to see Sid’s reaction and smile happily of himself. Sid wants to disappear.

“See you.” Tye says, before turning back.

Tye is gone. And Sid is still processing what he just heard. About Giroux, yeah. Not about something that involves his physique…

He’s still able to walk, which is good, and goes with the others, who are at the other side of the bar.

Flower looks at Sid, and invites him to sit next to him.

“Hey captain, you’re good?” Flower asks. Maybe Sid is still red.

“Oh, yeah.” Sid manages to answer.

Flower starts to tell really bad jokes, but Sid is so tired – and maybe he’s not entirely sober – so he starts laughing really hard.

After a while, Flower seems to look elsewhere.

“Giroux is always looking at us. And I’m pretty sure he’s not looking at me.” Flower says.

Sid turns his head to see Giroux, and as soon as Sid gazes at him, he looks away. He was definitively staring at Sid, for how long?

“Seriously Sid, do something about it. I know enough to know that if someone was looking at me the way he’s looking at you right now, I wouldn’t ignore him…”

“I don’t like the guy Flower. He’s arrogant and not trustable...”

“Oh c’mon Sid, he’s not that bad!”

“Oh believe me, he is!”

He tells Tye’s entire story to Flower. Tye never said that it was a secret, and the more people are aware of Giroux’s wickedness, the more people are living in a better world. But Flower seems to be… very wise about it.

“I can’t believe that he acted that way… Are you sure this is really the truth? It seems a little bit, excessive?” Flower answers doubtfully.

“He told me every details, every explanations. How could I not believe him?”

“If you put it that way…” Flower answers. He looks up and stares at Sid.

“So yeah, I don’t want to deal with him.” Sid declares.

“If you say so, but you give your trust so easily…” Flower begins.

“I’m not like that!” Sid says, interrupting him.

“You gave your trust to some people you shouldn’t have in the past, you perfectly know that. Promise me to be careful this time.”

Sid doesn’t want to deal with this tonight, so he just nods in agreement while swallowing his entire beer.

“I don’t want to see you heartbroken; you know how much I care about you Sid. And so is the team.”

Sid smiles awkwardly. He really doesn’t want to talk about this.

Thankfully, Geno arrives at the same time, with Brayden and they sit at their table.

“Hey Crosby, I didn’t see you. You’re doing fine?” Brayden says.

“I’m fine yeah, thanks.”

“Nice to finally properly meet you, Fleury.” he says. “Geno told me you’re a hilarious guy.”

Flower is surprise, but manages to answer. “I like to prank my teammates, they never see it coming.”

“I’d like to see that.” Brayden says, smiling. “Tell me one!”

Geno doesn’t speak and just looks at Brayden listening to what Flower is telling, and Sid can see how Geno is totally in love with him.

Fleury is really happy to tell every single prank he’s ever done. He’s always proud to tell them, and he just found a new listener.

 

Everyone is laughing when Fleury explains the time when he taped Dan Potash’s leg to the cameramen’s leg during a post-game interview.

Sid is having an incredible time. Brayden’s reactions to every single prank are priceless, Fleury is happy to tell them, and Sid and Geno can’t stop laughing from remembering every joke.

They are not even half-through when Giroux approaches them.

“Brayden, you seem to have fun, but we really should go, it’s getting late.”

“Oh right, you’re right Claude. We’re going.” Brayden says to Giroux. “But what were you doing all alone here? I hope you weren’t moping about yourself.”

“Oh no, I actually had agreeable reflections.” Giroux answers, actually looking at Sid. This is getting pretty weird here.

“Good, I’m not that bad as a friend then.” he answers.

Brayden stands up and looks at Flower “It was really nice to meet you… Can I call you Flower?”

“Pretty sure you can, yeah.” Flower answers, smiling.

“Good. Really nice to see you Sid.” he says, looking at Sid.

“You too, Brayden.” Sid replies.

Sid turns his head to see Giroux. He’s looking at him the same way he was when Sid was talking to Tye. Giroux opens his mouth, surely to say something, but then he shuts it.

“And you.” Brayden says, dangerously approaching Geno’s body with his own “I’ll call you, what about tomorrow?”

“Sound good.” Geno answers, smiling.

They both look at each other, wondering what they should do before leaving the other.

Giroux clears his throat, and Brayden seems to wake up.

“Right, I definitively should go.” he says “Well, see you Wednesday guys.”

Brayden leaves, not without smiling to Geno. Sid is now pretty sure Giroux was looking at him the entire time he was waiting for Brayden.

By the time the two Flyers are out of the way, Sutter arrives and sits where Brayden was a few minutes ago.

“So, what do you think about Brayden Schenn?” Sutter asks to Flower.

“He is a nice guy; I totally understand now why Geno is in love with him.” Flower answers, smiling.

Geno blushes, and grin a little.

“I’m happy you all like him.” Geno says, blushing.

“If you want to be with him, we all support you.” Sutter says, patting Geno’s shoulder.

Geno just smiles for the rest of the evening, and Sid is wondering when they will be together, official speaking.

Chapter Text

[…]
A wish, a dream
Magical, it does seem
Has time stood still just for me
It’s saying that we are meant to be together forever, one and other’s destiny
[…]

On Wednesday April 1st, the Flyers and the Penguins play against each other. Although Sidney Crosby scores his 300th NHL goal, his team loses 4-1. Brayden Schenn is the first star of the game with two goals. Malkin didn’t play, because of an undisclosed injury.

This makes Brayden worried.

Well, that the impression Sid has, because as soon as he’s home, his phone rings, and it’s an unknown number. It’s Brayden Schenn.

“Hey Crosby, umm it’s me, Brayden Schenn.”

“Oh, hi.” Sid answers. That’s surprising: Brayden Schenn calling him – and having his number? – but nothing about the Schenn surprises him anymore.

“Umm I’m wondering…Is Geno alright? He didn’t play tonight…” his voice sounds apologetically concerned.

Sid doesn’t really know either, but he doesn’t want to say that to Brayden, who sounds terrified about Geno being seriously injured.

“Well, it’s not that bad, I guess. He should be fine for the playoffs. Or before, I don’t know.” Is he really talking about a team injury to an opponent? That’s something he never thought he would do in his entire career.

“Ok, umm…”

“Is everything alright?” Sid asks, because Brayden Schenn calling him is certainly not just to chat.

“Well, we were supposed to see each other after the game but he doesn’t answer his phone and he’s not here and I don’t know I thought you’ll know where he is.” Brayden says way too fast.

“Wait, where are you?”

“I’m still at the Consol, but I don’t really know where he could be…”

“Hold on. Maybe he’s already home. I’ll go check and I’ll call you back.”

“Oh ok, thank you very much.” Brayden says, before hanging up.

Sid doesn’t like to deal with the Flyers, not that he hates Brayden. He’s a nice guy, but after tonight’s loss, he just wants to stay home and sleep and forget about them. But with Brayden calling him, being really worried about Geno, he has to check if he’s fine.

It’s certainly unexpected when Sid goes in front of Geno’s house and doesn’t see a car or the lights on. He also doesn’t answer his phone, or when Sid knocks at his door. Sid starts to be concerned, too.

He calls back Brayden and says that he’s not home.

“But where is he then?” he says.

“I don’t know, and I don’t like it.” Sid says.

Then he thinks about the place where Geno loves to go when he doesn’t feel good, especially when he’s injured. A place where he just wants to forget everything. And where he drinks too much.

“I think I know.” Sid answers, surprised by his brain for remembering such details. “Do you remember the bar we were on Sunday? I’m pretty sure he’s there.”

“Oh my God of course, I’m on my way.” Brayden says, sounding really worried, because he knows what it implies. “I’m sorry for disturbing you, I just…”

“It’s alright Brayden” Sid says, cutting him off. “I care about him too.”

“Right, ok. Are you coming?”

Sid doesn’t really want to hang out with Flyers, but he needs to see Geno. Just to see by himself that he’s alright.

“Yeah, I’m coming.”

“Good, See you. And thank you, seriously.”

“It’s nothing, really.”

He can feel Brayden smiling when he hangs up.

 

After a terrible loss against the Flyers, Sid ends up in a bar with them. Well, Brayden, his brother Luke, and of course Giroux.

Why is he always there?

Sid arrived after them. They did found Geno, drinking and talking to everyone around, too friendly to be sober. Brayden doesn’t even seem to care a bit. Luke is there, talking to some girls. Giroux is with Luke, but seems to be the super interested watching the news on the TV near them. Or looking at Sid’s direction, which should be odd.

Sid is about to leave, because he has strictly nothing to do here, and he knows that Brayden will make sure Geno is going home without any problems, when he sees Flower in the entrance.

“Hey captain!” Flower shouts “You’re staying right? The night is young!”

He doesn’t really have the choice, not that Flower is that persuasive, but after all he’s already here, why would he leave?

He sits with Flower, laughs at his lame jokes, orders a beer, and he’s about to say that he’s really glad that he stayed, when Giroux approaches them.

Flower is looking at Sid and raises an eyebrow, which means a lot of allusions, because it’s Flower.

Giroux approaches the empty seat next to Sid. He seems nervous, but confident at the same time.

“Can I sit here?” he asks, looking directly at him.

Sid wants to say no, he really is about to say no. But then he sees Flower’s face who is miming yes and then he just forgot what he was about to say.

“Sure.” he says, sounding strangely nice.

Giroux smiles, and sits next to Sid.

“I’m going to find the others.” Flower says, leaving Sid alone with Giroux.

They don’t talk, and Sid is wondering why he is still there, why didn’t he just say no, because he was just about to say no. And the silence between them is totally awkward. Sid is still not looking at him.

This is all Flowers’ fault. It’s always his fault.

Sid needs to say something, because he can’t stand this quietness anymore. And then he found it. This is going to be fun.

“The last time you were here, I was with a new friend.” Sid says. He really wants to see Giroux’s reaction.

This is strangely disappointed, because he doesn’t seem to be as irritated as last time. In fact, he acts normally, although Sid knows something is up. There’s a gleam in Giroux’s eyes, a dark gleam that seems to be hidden. This is baffling.

“Everyone loves McGinn. He makes friend easily, but loses them as just quickly.” Giroux answers, looking at the table. He sounds calm, but Sid knows the subject is not something he likes to chat about.

“It’s sad because he lost your friendship; in a way that he’ll never recover I’m pretty sure.” Sid says indifferently.

Giroux looks at Sid with gravity, and it makes Sid shivers.

“I don’t know what he told you but believe me when I say that you can’t trust this guy.”

“Why would I believe you on that?” Sid asks.

“I wanted to tell you the other night, but I didn’t have the chance.”

Sid remembers Giroux sitting all alone all night long. He could have found a time to just go see him and tell him, if it was that important.

“When I lose my good opinion of someone, it’s forever.” Giroux ads.

Sid is not surprised by that. Actually, it describes perfectly the guy in front of him.

“I hope you are not creating those bad opinions about people.” Sid says, looking at him in the eye.

“I hope not.” Giroux answers.

“Are you sure about that?” Sid asks. He wants to see him react; he wants to see him angry. This would be his consolation for tonight’s loss against the Flyers.

“Can I know exactly what are you insinuating?”

Sid is so confuse about everything involving Giroux, he doesn’t even know himself.

“This sounds exactly like someone who judges everyone and everything. Someone who is blind by prejudice.” Sid declares.

Giroux seems to be shaken up, but manages to answer after what Sid has just told him.

“We all have prejudice about anything. This is not new.”

“Maybe not for you.” Sid says.

“What are you suggesting about me?” Giroux asks. Now he seems to be angry. Sid is happy now, as if he just won the game tonight.

“I’ve heard so many things about you, and I don’t know what to think anymore. One second you are unpleasant, and then you are acting fine. Who are you exactly? Are you playing any kind of game?”

Sid had never seen Giroux so obscure – and definitively angry – in his entire life.

“I don’t ever play with people. And stay away from McGinn for your own sake.”

Giroux stands up and leaves.

What had just happened, exactly?

Sid doesn’t know what to think about any of this, so he just drinks his beer non-stop until someone approaches him. It’s Flower.

“Hey Sid, I saw you with Giroux. What happened?” he asks.

“Oh you know, just the usual.” Sid answers. “We hate each other.”

Flower sits next to Sid and giggles.

“Sidney Crosby, you are such an idiot when you want.” Flower says, smirking a little.

“I’m not!” Sid says, trying to sound rude. “I’m pretty intelligent!”

“On the ice, you are that’s for sure. But when it comes to relationships, ça laisse à désirer you know.”

“Stop talking to me in French, I don’t understand it.” Sid says convincingly.

“I know that you are not as bad as you want to be right now. Tu me comprends parfaitement, quand tu veux.

“Stop Flower. I don’t want to deal with this. My brain doesn’t want to switch in another language tonight. I’m tired.” Sid says, because that’s just the truth. He just wants to leave this place.

“Well, okay for tonight. But when you want to have a little French lesson to seduce you-know-who, tu sais où me trouver.

“I’m not gonna ask you because I don’t want to seduce him! We hate each other.” he shouts.

“Oh Sid…”

Flower was certainly about to add something like “you too would be so cute together.” or “I’m sure you don’t hate him that much” or something more like “I know he’s your type.” – which is not that false, but Flower can’t know this – when he sees Luke Schenn approaching him.

“Crosby, we need to talk. Right now.” he says, really determined.

“What do you want?” Sid asks.

“I just want you to know with who you are dealing with.”

Sid doesn’t understand about who he is dealing with that is supposedly known by Luke Schenn.

Oh, right.

“Tye is a perfectly nice guy, and I’m pretty sure Giroux just asked you to come speak to me so I could believe him. But it won’t happen.” Sid says, angrier than before. Giroux is such a coward when he wants.

“Look, I do this for my friend, because I don’t want to be dealing with you right now, but I also know that McGinn is not a good guy.” he declares.

“You’re his friend; of course you’re going to be on his side!” Sid shouts.

“You don’t understand Cros…”

“You are the one who doesn’t understand.” Sid says, cutting him off. “I am friend with Tye, and I know that Giroux is trying to convince me that he’s not a good guy, which I definitively doubt.” Sid explains angrily. He really just wants to be alone and leave this place. He’s tired of dealing with the Flyers tonight, he just can’t anymore.

Luke looks at him, and seems to be disappointed or something. Or maybe Sid is too tired to understand facial expression anymore. Luke may be just super angry because Giroux will be mad at him for not convincing Sid to be on his side.

“At least, I tried.” he says, before leaving them.

Flower has his mouth open and seems to be wondering what is going on in Sid’s life to be always surrounded by Flyers. Sid is also wondering the same thing. That’s all because of Geno and Brayden being almost together, really.

Speaking of which, he didn’t even speak to Geno this evening.

Sid looks around, and sees him, laughing with Brayden and some other people Sid doesn’t know. He seems to be happy, and Brayden too. But there’s something in Brayden’s eyes, something that seems to be hiding something gloomier. It’s so subtle that Sid isn’t even sure if he’s right about this. He’s maybe too tired to understand facial expression anymore. Or maybe he can’t understand the Schenn brothers’ facial expressions.

Anyway, Flower is looking at them too.

“Seriously, someone needs to make a move. Before Geno leaves for the summer, at least.” he says.

“Well, they are acting like this for a good two months, almost three months.” Sid says, thinking of the first time they met at that bar in Philly. It seems to have happened like a few days ago. Time absolutely flies.

“That’s a lot of flirting. Maybe we should do something about it. Like I don’t know…” Flower says, looking at them. Brayden is whispering something in Geno’s ear which makes him blush, and then he smiles.

“Even if I’d like them to be together, officially speaking, they are old enough to do it themselves. I don’t want to intrude in Geno’s love life.”

“You’re totally right Sid, but I don’t know. I have this feeling that something won’t go as planned. That something bad will happen.”

“Flower, stop drinking.” Sid says, laughing a little.

***

Flower was right. Flower. Was. Right. What a mess.

Geno is in Sid’s hotel room, lying on the bed, wrapping in a blanket, almost as if he’s going to cry.

“I don’t understand Sid, I don’t.” he says, sighing and definitively trying not to cry.

“Honestly Geno, I don’t either.” Sid admits, sitting next to him, a hand on his shoulder.

They played against the Flyers in Philly this afternoon, four days after April first. It’s their third straight loses. At the end of the season, it’s a bad thing. It’s especially a bad thing if you aren’t even sure to make the playoffs, which is really stressful. Add romantic problems to the package and you have Geno who is almost about to cry on Sidney Crosby’s bed.

Geno said they were supposed to meet each other after the game. They talked about this a few days back. Geno even said that Brayden was enthusiastic and that he had even planned something. But then, when Geno tried to call him after the game, he didn’t respond. He even tried to wait for him outside, but then everyone was gone and he just went in his room, melancholier than ever.

Maybe it was a misunderstanding or something like that, so Geno tried to call him during the evening, but Brayden didn’t answer at all. When Geno has called him for the fourth or fifth time, he – finally – answered and said that he didn’t have the time tonight and that they should stop seeing each other outside of hockey purpose.

So that’s why Geno is that depressed.

They were always seeing each other as much as they could, and Geno being in Philly… It wasn’t even a question; everybody knew that they were going out tonight. It wasn’t really a secret in the team. Flower and Sutter teasing Geno in the locker room about his “forbidden” crush was for something.

“I thought I was going to see him tonight and maybe another time before I leave for summer.” Geno says sadly.

Geno takes the remote control and switch channels until he is on Discovery Channel. It’s a TV show about animals in Africa. They’re zebras and antelopes.

Geno seems to watch the show super attentively until he says:

“Maybe he never liked me.”

Sid disagrees so much about that, and he can’t believe that Geno is saying such things. He lies on his bed beside Geno and looks at him.

“Don’t ever say things like that, because it’s totally untrue. Everyone knows how much he likes you, and I still don’t get why he is acting that way. But it’s not because he never liked you, god no!” Sid almost cried the last two words.

“If you say so…” he answers, looking at the ceiling. He doesn’t seem to believe Sid at all “But it’s okay. I will remember him as one of the most funny and kind guy I have ever met. And I don’t want to be sad about him, we never had something anyway.”

“You’re too kind Geno, I can’t believe it.” Sid says, smiling.

It does make Geno smile, and for a few seconds, he can see his friend as happy as he normally is. But it fades away as quickly as it happened.

“Maybe some of his friends don’t like me and that is why he doesn’t want to be with me.”

Geno is trying to find a valuable excuse, but there are none. In fact, Sid can’t even think of a reason why Brayden would do that. It doesn’t make sense.

“This can be a factor, but it shouldn’t guide him that much. If he’s happy with you, why would he do that?”

“I don’t know Sid.” he says and repeats. “I truly don’t know.”

“I wish I was able to make you smile.” Sid says, looking at him.

“Just being there is enough. Thank you Sid.” he says, finally looking at Sid’s face.

“I’ll do anything for your happiness, you now that right?” Sid declares, because that’s the true truth. He could do a lot for Geno, one of the sweetest guys on Earth. And he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. But that is what it is.

“I know that Sid. That, I know.”

They stop talking, and Geno falls asleep in Sid’s bed, wrapping in the sheets. Even if he’s still dress, Sid doesn’t want to wake him up. For the first time tonight, he seems to be peaceful. He needs this break from everything.

And then Sid thinks about Tye who said that he would call. Sid tried to call him a few days ago, but he never called back, which can be considerately weird too. But they weren’t as involve as Geno was with Brayden, so Sid tries to ignore the little tight feeling he has in his chest.

***

The Philadelphia Flyers don’t make the playoffs, which is totally fine. Sid doesn’t want to admit, but he knows how much they suck against them. They won’t meet them in the Stanley Cup race, so that’s good.
Because, after being really afraid of not doing the playoffs for the first time in years, they finally made him. Losing against the Buffalo Sabres could have been really… embarrassing.

They play the first round against the New York Rangers. It won’t be easy, especially since they are having a lack of experienced defensemen, with Tanger and company being injured. It will be difficult, but they can do it, Sid knows that.

But they finally lose the first round in five games (at least they won a game…). It wasn’t a good round. Geno wasn’t really productive, fans and journalists were complaining about him not being as good as he should be. They thought he had an injury. Maybe he had a little-but-really-small one. But it wasn’t the main reason why he was that bad. Brayden who doesn’t want to deal with Geno overnight for no apparent reason was the main reason why he wasn’t the same. That entire story is weird to Sid, but hey it’s none of his business.

Sid had planned to leave for Cole Harbour after being eliminated, when he receives a phone call from Hockey Canada.

Chapter Text

[…]
Show me the way
Take me to love
Things only heard, now I wanna see
Sun sets with glowing flowers
Night live with story shows
Show me that world
Take me to love
[…]

Sid accepts the invitation to play for Team Canada in Prague. Even though playing for the Stanley Cup is better, winning a gold medal could be pretty nice too. It has been a while since he was able to do this, to play for his country in the World Championship. Sid is pumped and excited to do so, he can’t wait to meet everyone and to have fun playing hockey.

Sid hasn’t look at the roster yet, because he didn’t really have the time, and honestly, he doesn’t care. They all need to take everything aside and play great together. He’ll see who his new teammates are when he’ll arrive there.

Well, he knows that Nate is there, because it didn’t take him long to text Sid about how great it is for him to join them. And that all the team is thrilled to have Sidney Crosby as a new addition.

He can’t wait to get there.

Sid shows up at his first practice, and finally meets his teammates. Seguin, Hall, Eberle… All of those names are great players; they really have a chance to win this tournament. It’s going to be hard, they need to work, but Sid looks at them and knows that they can do this.

But then he sees Brayden Schenn. And Sid is pretty sure he saw Giroux too, over there with Seguin.

He didn’t know Brayden and Giroux were going to be there, but then it’s not that surprising. The Flyers didn’t make the playoffs. And both are amazing players, although Sid doesn’t like to admit it when he plays against them.

But now they are playing together, and he can do this. He can play with them, and he can deal with this. Sidney Crosby is a professional.

Even though he needs to talk to Brayden about Geno – because Geno is his friend and maybe it could help – and he still really hates Giroux.

 

Sid is named captain of the team, and okay Sid knows his role, he knows what he needs to do. He needs to take everything aside and lead this team to great success. He doesn’t want to be an improper captain because there are some players he doesn’t particularly enjoy the company – or maybe it’s just one player who happens to be the Philadelphia Flyers’ captain. This is certainly not happening. Sidney Crosby is a god damn professional.

So that’s why he ends up in a bar in Prague, sitting next to Giroux.

Well, he followed Brent Burns to this bar, because he was being really annoying about how Sid needs to go there, and that it was his duty as a captain to go with him and Giroux – which Sid seriously doubts – but then he didn’t know what to do of this free night so here he is.

Maybe this is just a stratagem so Sid and Giroux can try to be civilized toward each other, which nobody should doubt, because Sidney Crosby is a pretty god damn professional.

But Giroux is still disagreeable, so this is not going to be easy after all.

“So Crosby, how’s McGinn?” he asks neutrally, but Sid knows it's to mess with him.

Yeah, even if they are playing together for once, Giroux is still Giroux.

But then he’s not going to admit that he hates Tye’s silence. He hasn’t even responded to his texts. And Sid doesn’t know why. Maybe he’s done something wrong?

“I don’t know, I haven’t heard from him.” Sid replies, trying to sound totally normal and okay about it, although he’s not, not really.

“Well, that’s just like him.” Giroux answers, lifting his shoulders, as if he knew that it was going to happen anyway.

“Why do you hate him so much?” Sid asks. He can’t help it, he needs to know. He is always being curious when he shouldn’t be.

Giroux takes time to respond, and seems to be lost in his thoughts, so Sid can’t do anything but watches him. Sid – although he would never admit it to himself, like never admit it – finds Giroux actually attractive at that precise moment.

Giroux finally looks at him.

“Some things are better left unsaid, and I would ever lie to you. You really need to trust me when I say that he is the nasty piece of shit. It’s a good thing that he hasn’t been in touch.” he says. Then, he breaks their eye contact and looks at the table, almost whispering: “I would hate it if he ever hurt you. I could ever forgive myself.”

That was an unexpected answer, that’s for sure. Sid doesn’t even know what to say. Giroux is being so serious talking about Tye that way, maybe he needs to reconsider everything…

Giroux is perfectly silent after that and seems to be nervous, but then he continues.

“Look.” Giroux begins, playing with his hands, looking at everything but Sid’s face. “We are playing together now, we are in the same team, and we are even going to play together on the power play. So I was thinking that me and you we could, like start all over? As if we never fought in the past?”

Sid is surprised, and it must be apparent, because Giroux seems to regret what he has just said.

“But I mean, if you don’t want…” he says.

“No, I understand.” Sid answers. “I totally agree, we should start all over, you and me. It’ll be better for the team, and as the captain, I really can’t hate one of my teammate.”

Giroux finally looks at him, and smile. Sid feels his heart stuttering, and he can’t even explain why. Nothing about Giroux makes sense right now.

“Good, okay.” he says, still smiling.

Sid definitively needs to ask a question though.

“I just wanna know something… What happened with Brayden and Geno?”

Giroux tenses up, but answers anyway.

“Well, I guess he was having pressure from people not approving this relationship…”

That’s what he thought. But he needs to hear the story from Brayden’s point of view though. Geno is still in Pittsburgh doing some tests and that kind of stuff. Maybe he can call him and try to convince him to play for Russia. Maybe Geno can meet Brayden here and everything can work out.

 

Sid does call Geno the day after. He says that he needs to stay in Pittsburgh, but as soon as he can, he will be there. Russia had already called him to come, and he said yes, knowing that Brayden is there. Geno wants to talk to him, just to know what they are now.

Sid would definitively be lying if he says that he doesn’t enjoy playing for Team Canada. Everyone is getting along pretty well, and they are really playing great.

And he would also be lying if he says that he isn’t surprised by Giroux.

He’s just so Giroux, but it’s in a good way this time. He’s always smiling, making lame jokes, and being excessively a good player. He’s just so different from what he thought he knew about him. He’s his teammate now, and Sid sees things differently now. It’s like he has a new whole vision of everything he ever thought he knew about Giroux.

After that talk at the bar, they are getting along pretty well, and they talk to each other like normal people do. It’s good. Everything is good.

They play together on the power play, and Sid even scored on Giroux’s pass last game against Czech Republic. That was kind of unbelievable.

But then, it’s also unbelievable to end up in a restaurant with Giroux and Brayden on his sides. People are so going to judge him at home, that’s for sure. But then, here he’s not Sidney Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s Sidney Crosby, captain of Team Canada. And he needs to get along with everyone, even if it involves Giroux. But then, it’s not that difficult to get along with him, that’s what Sid definitively doesn’t want to admit.

He thought he was going to pretend to like him, but then he’s not really pretending. He does like the guy – only sometimes. And he knows that he’s screwed. Because this isn’t supposed to happen.

 

After the practice on Thursday, he goes to his room and is surprised to see his little sister, Taylor.

Well, he knows she’s in Prague, he saw her the other night. But she’s in his room, on his laptop, and seems to be chatting with someone.

As soon as she realizes Sid is there, she close everything, and seems to be panicking.

“What were you doing?” he asks raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, nothing, I swear.” she answers, looking at the floor. He knows she’s lying.

“Taylor, don’t mess with me. What were you doing on my laptop?”

“I didn’t bring mine, because it’s too heavy, and I wanted to check some things, and since I had your room card, and that you were not there, well I thought I could use it, because I don’t want to disturb you and…”

“Okay, fine. But don’t do it again please.” he answers, grinning. “I have a secret life to hide from you.”

It makes her smile a little.

“Of course you have. But I won’t do it again.” she says, still looking at the floor. “I gotta go now, bye big brother.”

She stands up and hugs him tightly before leaving the room.

That was a little bit weird, but Taylor can be totally strange sometimes, and it makes Sid realizes that he doesn’t know his sister anymore. They see each other so rarely; it’s almost as if he knows Geno better than her.

Nate – his roommate for the tournament – arrives in the room a few seconds later.

“Hey I just met Taylor in the hallway. Was she here?” he asks.

“Yeah, she was on my laptop, and as soon as I arrived, she closed everything and left on a hurry.”

“Oh, okay.” Nate answers. He sounds strangely disappointed. Sid is pretty sure that Nate has a crush on Taylor. Although he prefers to see her single, for the moment. She has plenty of time to find a boyfriend.

Not that Nate is a bad guy; it’s just that you know, it’s his little sister.

 

Sid relaxes in his hotel room alone. Nate went out with Seguin and others - although they play early tomorrow against France - so Sid has the room for himself until he arrives.

He’s just showered and now is on his laptop when there’s a knock on the door.

Nate really should be there at that time, and he has the room card, so why is he knocking?

Sid gets up, not without sighing about how Nate can open a door by himself, when he opens and sees Giroux, with what seems to be a bag?

What is going on here?

“Hey, umm, I’m really sorry to disturb you, but umm…” he says, and Sid can notice how shy he is. “Nate just stole my bed in my room, and he really doesn’t want to move, so he said that I had to take his bed, and well...” he gestures in front of him as if he needs to make his point.

Sid can’t believe what he’s hearing. Nate is definitively not a good roommate. He won’t ever accept to be with him.

“But you’re sure? I know how much you hate me.” Sid says.

“I don’t hate you; you’re making me nervous.” Giroux answers, whispering the last part, looking at the floor.

The lack of reaction from Sid makes Giroux walks away, and Sid knows he needs to say something.

“You can stay.” Sid says.

Giroux turns around and approaches Sid’s door.

“You’re sure?” he asks sounding strangely hopeful, but then he resumes. “I mean, I could just…”

Sid can’t help but feel bad for him, and it’s weird because he could just try to convince Nate to come back – which shouldn’t take more than two minutes, honestly - but maybe Sid doesn’t really want after all.

“Stay. It’s okay. We’ll figure this out tomorrow. I’m tired.” Sid says.

“You really don’t need to do that, if you don’t want…”

“I decided that you can stay, why would you argue on that?” Sid asks, starting to become impatient.

“Okay you’re right, sorry.” Giroux answers.

Sid lets Giroux in, and he puts his bag on the other bed.

“Umm, I bring my stuff so I could shower, if you don’t mind. I was about to do so but then we arrived and...” Giroux says.

“Do what you want, as long as you don’t disturb me.” Sid answers, cutting him off angrily.

“Yeah… okay.” he says, before going in the bathroom.

Sid sits on his bed, and signs. Thinks are getting pretty weird here, and he really needs to speak to Nate tomorrow. But now he wants to find a movie on Netflix.

Sid is searching on Netflix something he could watch when Giroux appears there, only with a towel around his waist, still wet from the shower he just took, and Sid can’t look away. He’s just really handsome. He already sees him like that in the locker room, but then the context here is so not the same.

Giroux notices that Sid is starring because he starts blushing and then smiles shyly, goes to take something in his bag, and returns in the bathroom.

God Sid is definitively in trouble.

 

Giroux doesn’t appear with only a towel when he exits the bathroom this time – thank God, Sid wouldn’t have been able to deal with this again – but in joggings with an old Flyers T-shirt. Of course, it’s Giroux.

Sid is still looking for a movie to watch on Netflix (why does he still have an account anyway, it’s not like he can find interesting movies there) when Giroux sits on Nate’s bed, in total opposite of where Sid is on his own bed. He starts checking his phone.

They don’t talk for a good – awkward – ten minutes, but then Sid can’t deal with this silence anymore.

“Are you able to find an interesting movie on Netflix? I can't find something interesting.” Sid says, looking at the screen.

“What, Crosby wants my advice in something?” he asks smiling, looking at Sid.

“Well you’re there, so I can use you. C’mon, I need some help.” Sid explains.

“That’s new; I’m surprised that you want my help of any kind.”

Sid smirk and then Giroux approaches to be able to see Sid’s laptop. He sits next to him. Their thighs are brushing together and Sid is distracted by the feeling. And Giroux smells extremely good – a mix of shampoo and salt – and it’s really disturbing.

But then because Sid is too distracted to do anything else than think about this, he doesn’t even realizes that Giroux has taken his laptop.

“Hey, give me my laptop.” Sid says, gesturing to take it, but Giroux put it out of his reach.

“Not a chance, I’m gonna find a movie you’ll love so much, you’ll have to thank me after.” he answers, typing something.

“Sorry Claude, but I’m never gonna thank you.” Sid answers, smiling.

Did he call him Claude, without even thinking it?

Claude – Giroux, whatever – stops typing and seems to be surprised.

“If you call me by my name, I call you Sid.” he says neutrally. He seems to be super invested in researching a movie now.

“Seems a good deal to me.” Sid answers, because yeah maybe they can do this.

Claude smiles at the screen, and Sid thinks it’s because of what he just said, but then he finally shows what he was doing on Sid’s laptop.

Lord of the Rings. I don’t want to watch this.” Sid says, because yeah, fantasy movies are totally not what he likes. He has a preference for realistic and mature subjects matters. Not some weird magic things for kids.

“Oh c’mon, it’s really good. It has been years since I watched this movie!” he answers, still smiling.

“Do you mean that you had already watched that?”

“Do you mean that you have never watched Lord of the Rings?” Claude asks, surprised. “God Sid, you are missing something, you need to watch this!”

“But I don’t…” Sid starts.

“No no no, I decided that you are watching this movie. It’s a classic, and it’s really amazing, and even if it lasts three hours…”

“It lasts three hours? I’m sorry Claude but I’m not watching a three hours movie when we have an important game tomorrow...”

“Oh right of course, you’re Sidney Crosby. You can’t just watch a three hours movie, because we have a game tomorrow. I forgot that you were that stupid.” he says ironically, well that’s what Sid is hoping.

“Excuse you, but I’m not stupid!” Sid shouts. “I’m gonna watch your stupid fantasy movie that lasts three hours!”

Claude smiles, and then gently pushes Sid’s shoulder.

“I knew you were better than that.” Claude says, still touching Sid’s shoulder with his hand. Then, his hand moves to touch Sid’s neck, and then his chin where he has this bruise. Sid is so petrified by all of this, but he doesn’t do anything. He can't push him away. He just stares at Claude’s face, who seems so pleased and then he quickly moves his hand away, and blushes, as if he realized what he was doing.

“I think you should start it if you don’t want to sleep on the bench tomorrow.” Claude says, a hand in his hair and shyly smiling like he does sometimes, but right now his cheeks are red.

“Umm yeah, okay.” Sid answers, still processing what had just happened.

Sid takes his laptop and lies on his own bed. Claude is still sitting on the footboard.

“What are you doing? You don’t wanna watch your own movie?” Sid asks, grinning.

“If you don’t mind…” Claude says.

“I totally don’t, c’mon!” Sid says, smiling.

Claude smiles, and then lies next to Sid. He puts the laptop on both of their thighs, so they both can see properly.

 

After approximatively an hour, Sid has to admit that, okay it’s not that bad. It’s pretty good. Sid really likes Gandalf, being all serious and funny at the same time.

But he feels so tired, even though he doesn’t want to sleep. It really doesn’t help to have Claude next to him, who is warm and really close. Sid can even feel him breathing in his neck. This is getting disturbing when he wants to understand a movie as complicated as Lord of the Rings.

But after two hours, he can’t watch it anymore. He just closes his eyes and gives the laptop to Claude, before trying to be comfortable in this bed.

“You are definitively Sleeping Beauty.” he hears Claude whispering.

Sid does smile at that thought, and realizes how close he is to him. And because he can’t find a comfortable position he ends up cuddling Claude, his head on his chest. He doesn’t really know why he did this, but he is tired and right now, he doesn’t want to move away. And it makes sense.

Sid notices how Claude is surprised, because he seems to tense up, although he doesn’t push Sid away. After a while, he does relax, and even starts to play with Sid’s hair.

Fais de beaux rêves, ma Belle au bois dormant.” he hears whispering, so low, maybe Sid is hallucinating all of that.

 

Sid wakes up in Claude’s arms, and okay he really shouldn’t think that, but Sid doesn’t want to move. He’s so peaceful and he just wants to go back to sleep.

“Hey Sid wake – HOLY SHIT!” someone shouts.

Nate is there, mouth open, looking at Sid who is still in Claude Giroux’s arms.

“Nate, I swear, this is not what you think.” Sid says, pulling away from Claude’s grip, resisting the urge to just stay in this feeling for only a few more minutes.

“No no Sid, this is exactly what I think!”

Claude must have been woken up by Nate’s talking because he gets up, and takes his stuff rapidly.

“I shouldn’t have come, I’m really sorry.” he says, not even looking at Sid. He seems so in a hurry, and Sid would like to say something like ‘No, stay.’ But he can’t say that, he just can’t.

Claude heads to the door, not even looking at Nate, and then he’s gone.

Sid is so ashamed right now; he can’t even meet Nate’s eyes.

“Oh my God, when I’m gonna tell…” Nate starts.

“You are not telling anyone about this, or I swear you will hate me for the rest of your life.” Sid answers angrily.

“Okay Sid, I understand, I won’t tell.” Nate says apologetically. “But I mean, are you two…”

“Nate, this is none of your business!” he answers, still angry.

“Okay, okay.” Nate says. “But we need to go downstairs for breakfast. Cause we’re about to get late.”

Sid takes his phone that is on the nightstand, and okay they are late.

“Oh God you’re right. I’m gonna change clothes and then we’re going.” Sid says, finally getting up.

“Take your time.” Nate says, smiling.

Sid smiles at him.

***

The rest of the tournament goes pretty well. They all win their games, and they do win the gold medal against Russia. Geno was with Team Russia for this last game, and Sid felt pretty weird playing against him, but then Sid was playing with Claude Giroux, so that’s basically the world upside down.

Speaking of Geno, Sid did try to talk to Brayden about what had happened between him and Geno, but then he just never found the proper time to do so. He did talk to him, but then he didn’t want to ask in front of everyone. It wouldn’t have been fair to both Brayden and Geno.

And then, Sid told himself that he shouldn’t play a big role in Geno’s love life, so he just stopped trying to deal with this. Geno did try to call Brayden, but he said that he never responded. This is sad for Geno, who just wants to understand what had happened.

And Sid has enough love drama on his own. Tye never call him back, but he doesn’t care about him that much now. Claude Giroux is pretty much the guy in his thoughts.

It’s just, playing with him was amazingly surprisingly great, and Sid never would have thought that Claude was such a good guy, and fun to be with.

They didn’t really talk about what happened in Sid’s hotel room, and it’s pretty much like nothing had happened, which is totally fine with Sid. It didn’t change anything, except that they are what we can call ‘friends’ now. After playing and winning together, he can’t really hate the guy.

That’s why he asked him to come at his hockey school in Cole Harbour in August.

“You’re sure Sid that you want to see me there?” Claude answered when Sid had asked him.

“It hurts me to say that, but you’re a good player. And kids will be thrilled to see you there. And we could hang out together...” Sid confessed him.

Claude had smiled, and then it just hit Sid that he never thought he could find this guy that gorgeous when he smiles like that.

“I’ll be there.” he answered, looking at Sid, and grinning.

So Sid knows that he’ll see him there. There will also be the Gold Gives Back thing in June when they’ll receive their rings and when they’ll be all together for the last time ever. He can’t wait to see them all, and especially Claude, who will certainly look stunning, as always.

Chapter Text

[…]
Show me the way
Take me to love

Could we fly away
Lie on a cloud all day
Hold hands and get kissed by the sun
[…]

 

Today is the Gold Gives Back ceremony, and everyone is looking good. Claude is looking good, according to Sid’s opinion. But then, he’s not really objective.

They receive their rings – which is extremely too big to even think to wear it – and they take a team picture. Sid is of course in the middle, and he’s totally not thinking about the fact that Claude is just behind him.

It’s a private ceremony, so it’s just them, along with the Juniors Team, so Sid doesn’t feel too persecute by journalists and people, but he knows that he’s going to deal with all of this tonight, when they will be to the real gala.

But now, it’s the time to chat with everyone and to be with all of those guys, as a team, for what seems to be the last time.

Sid hasn’t talked to Claude yet, but then it’s not as if they are only the two of them here. They said hi and smiled when they saw each other, nothing more. And then Sid realized that Brayden was next to him because he asked – super shyly – how is Geno and it just really took Sid by surprise.

“I mean he’s doing fine. In Russia for the summer.” Sid answered, still processing why Brayden asked him about Geno. As if he still cares about him…

“Yeah, of course, umm… Nice to talk to you Sid.” Brayden said, looking at the floor, before walking away.

 

After talking with Spezza for a long time, Sid finally finds himself talking with Tyler Seguin too. When both start to talk about Dallas Stars stuff, Sid loses interest pretty quickly and looks around. He sees Claude over there, talking to Brayden and Couturier, and he can’t look away. He’s just so good looking in a suit, it’s really unfair.

Spezza walks away, so he can talk to others probably, and he’s stuck with Tyler Seguin, who definitely sees where Sid is looking at, or more precisely, who he is looking at.

“Do you like him?” Tyler asks him.

“I mean – I.” Sid starts, but doesn’t know what to say.

“He’s a good guy. Always there for his friends.”

“I figured.” Sid answers, still looking at him.

“I know that as Sidney Crosby, you’re not supposed to even talk to another Flyers player without insulting him, I get it, but G is a really good dude.” Tyler continues.

“Well, at first I hated him very much, but now, I just…” Sid tries to say, but he doesn’t even know what he wants to say. Everything is so strange, but it feels right too. Maybe he shouldn’t talk about it with Tyler. But then there’s a lot he shouldn’t do, like thinking way too much about Claude Giroux.

“When we heard you were gonna join us, everyone thought you two were going to ignore each other, but you got along pretty well I think?” he asks, smiling.

This smile means a lot of implied things, and Sid can’t look at him more than a second. Sid would prefer to hide in a corner than talking to Tyler about this, when they are surrounded by people who can definitively listen.

“I mean, we can say that.” Sid answers, looking at the floor.

“I’m happy that you’re now his friend – I guess – because this guy will always be there to support you no matter what.”

“Oh I’m not sure about that.” Sid answers.

“Oh trust me, nothing is changing here.” Tyler answers, smiling again.

There’s an – awkward – silence, when Tyler continues.

“You know what I heard? It seems that G saved one of his friends from a bad relationship.”

“Really? What’s the story?” Sid asks, starting to get curious.

“Well, he didn’t really tell me much, but I guess it’s a guy in his team. He just said that the guy was seeing another guy from another team, and that it wasn’t good at all for his reputation. So he persuaded him to stop hanging out with him. When I’m telling you that he’s a good friend!”

Sid starts to feel sick, because this is totally Geno and Brayden here.

Or is it? Maybe he’s just imagining things but then everything seems to make sense, and it’s not like Giroux ever told him that he wasn’t for something. He was always pretty vague when Sid asked him.

“God Sid, are you alright?” Tyler asks, looking at Sid who is anything but good. He doesn’t know how to describe it, but it’s like if he’s going to throw up.

“Yeah, umm excuse me. I need to go.” Sid answers, still really confused about everything.

Sid walks away, and he doesn’t look at Giroux when he passes near him, before heading to the bathroom.

He’s really all alone, but not for a long time. Someone is certainly going to come see him, because he really left in a hurry. And Sidney Crosby cannot be sick; he doesn’t really have the right, not tonight.

Sid looks at the mirror, and he seems to be a little bit shaken up, but he’ll be fine tonight. He just needs a break from everything.

The more he thinks about it, the more he’s sure now that it’s Giroux who did it. Everything makes sense. Brayden still cares about Geno, well with the question he asked Sid today, and the way he was when Sid mentioned that he was away, it’s as if Brayden’s world was falling apart. Geno is being sad and he doesn’t understand what he did wrong, although nothing is really his fault.

And Giroux is being the selfish and intolerant guy Sid knew he was. And now he’s so ashamed of thinking that he ever thought about this guy in an extremely good way. He’s so ashamed to even think about him.

Because he is the same, he is as nasty as Sid knew he was. Sid was blind by the tournament in Prague and by all of this fairy tale. Everything seemed to be fine and beautiful, but it’s not. Giroux is the nasty piece of shit. At least now, he’s wide awake. Thank you, Tyler Seguin.

Sid is back with everyone, and this time he doesn’t see the Claude Giroux in Prague. He sees the Claude Giroux before Prague, when Sid was still in Pittsburgh, when Geno and Brayden were still perfectly okay, when everything was good.

And Giroux broke them apart because… Why exactly?

 

Sid tries to ignores Giroux during the gala as much as possible, although his table his exactly in Sid’s viewing range, and he sees that Giroux is with another girl, not that it matters.

The gala goes well, and Sid is a professional, so he doesn’t think that much about what he had learned, and he smiles and gives interviews. He’s okay with that, because right now he knows that he needs some distraction.

Although when all of this is over, he just wants to leave this place, because he can’t stand all of this animosity, he’s just done with everyone.

All of those people, congratulating him on the tournament, makes him think about Giroux, and then about everything that happened between them. And he’s so ashamed that it’s not even tolerable. This needs to stop or he’s going to punch someone in the face.

But Sidney Crosby is a professional and cannot do this, so he just smiles and hope he’s good at hiding everything that his bothering him right now. It seems to, because nobody is asking him if something is wrong.

But then he was so in his thoughts that he didn’t even realize that Giroux followed him outside and that he’s in front of him. And nobody is around.

“Hey Sid, we didn’t really talk this evening, I’m sorry. I was with Anne and…”

“I don’t care.” Sid answers, already starting to become angry.

Sid starts to walk away, and he thought Giroux did the same, but he didn’t because after a while, Giroux is running to exceed him and goes right in front of him.

“Please wait, just… stop.” Giroux says, and then continues. “I invited her because she’s a good friend from Toronto, nothing more I swear.”

“Why are you telling me this? It has nothing to do with me!” Sid answers, still wondering what the hell is going on here.

“It has everything to do with you actually.” Giroux says, looking in Sid’s eyes, and Sid just wants to leave, but those eyes. He can’t look away. His feats are locked.

“I don’t get it.” Sid finally answers, because he really doesn’t.

“God don’t you understand?” Giroux says, sighing and looking at the floor. Then he looks up and Sid notices that he’s starting to blush. “Look, I may like you a bit. Or a lot. I mean no, I don’t just like you, I – I love you.”

What?

Giroux continues: “I know it sounds weird and crazy, and my friends are gonna judge me if they learn about my feelings for you, because I can’t feel that way about you, you’re Sidney fucking Crosby! And I’m supposed to hate you, but I really can’t. What was at first a stupid crush became something more back in January... I really tried to forget you, really. But it never worked. Now I’m just hoping that we can try something out, you and me.”

Giroux approaches to touch Sid’s shoulders, but Sid takes a step back.

“Don’t you realize you just insulted me here?” Sid says, as the first thing he was able to say after Giroux’s confession.

“I don’t…” Giroux starts to say, but then stops.

“You said that loving me is crazy and weird, that I’m not good enough for you according to your friends, and that you tried to forget me because of people’s judgement.”

“You’re twisting my words…”

“You totally meant that!” Sid says, cutting him off.

“I mean, in a way, yeah. But I’m honest with you here. It’s not a good thing to be seen with you, as the captain of the Flyers. We’ll have to hide and if people learn about it… But what I say is that I don’t give a shit now, I just, I want you, only you.” Giroux says, trying to sound sincere, but it won’t work with Sid, it certainly won’t.

“Do you really think that I’m gonna risk a lot of things to be with you after what you’ve done to my friend?

“If you’re talking about McGinn…”

“I’m not talking about Tye here, I’m talking about Geno.”

Giroux tenses up, and Sid knows at that precise moment how much he hates him.

Sid continues: “Tyler told me this afternoon, you’re the one who broke Brayden and Geno apart. Can you deny it?”

Giroux opens his mouth, and then sighs.

“Okay yeah, I did! But it was for the best.” he answers, neutrally.

“For the best? The kindest guy being heartbroken is for the best?” Sid answers, angrier than before.

“Well I mean, they were really demonstrative in public spaces, and people were talking about it. And as the captain of my team, I needed to do something. Even if Brayden was interested in him, being with another NHL player as known as Malkin, it wasn’t a good idea!”

“You’re such an hypocrite. How could you do this to Geno? And to Brayden, who trusts you as his friend?”

Sid can’t even understand how he’s able to stay here without wanting to kill the guy, and Giroux still thinks that he’s right, because he continues his explanation.

“I also think that Malkin wasn’t really that interested in Brayden. The last time I saw him, he was really friendly with everyone and I thought it was the same with Brayden.”

“Bullshit! Are you blind or something? Geno is fucking in love with the guy, didn’t you see it?” Sid cries. He just can’t with this guy anymore. Giroux is so stupid.

“Look, I did the best thing that I could do in this situation and I don’t regret it.”

“Well, you really should regret it.” Sid answers, trying not to scream everything he wants to say. Sid is so angry at Giroux right now. He’s just the coward Sid knew he was. “And what about Tye, would you say?”

Giroux starts to look angry too, and this is not good.

“I told you Sid, he’s the one that you shouldn’t trust.” he answers trying to sound normal, but he failed. Sid sees how much Giroux is managing to stay calm.

“Don’t you dare call my Sid!” he cries. “How could I trust you after what you’ve done to my friend? What tells me that you’re not lying again?”

“I never lied to you S-Crosby, I never did!” Giroux shouts. “Please, just believe me!”

“It’s not because you are supposedly head over heels in love with me that I’m gonna trust you, it doesn’t work like that.”

“What can I do so you can believe what I’m saying?” Giroux says, looking strangely sad.

“Just stop trying, because it won’t ever work.” Sid answers, looking at him in the eyes. “I know how bad you are. I know that you are just a selfish guy who doesn’t care about anyone, and that you did this to Tye because you can’t think of anything but you.”

Giroux’s silence makes Sid continues.

“You know, I always thought you were rude, arrogant and nasty, and I never liked you a bit. When we played together in Prague, I really thought ‘maybe I was wrong about him, maybe I misjudged him.’ But you know what? I was right about you from the beginning! You are the last person on Earth I’d ever want to be with!”

Giroux looks actually pretty hurt, as if he were hit by a truck or something. But Sid doesn’t feel bad about it, not at all. Actually, he feels pretty good.

“I – so that’s what you think of me?” he finally asks.

“Pretty much, yeah. But I can continue if you want!”

“No no, I get it.” he answers, still looking pretty disappointed. “I guess I just need to regret how I ever felt about you. I’m sorry for annoying you that much. Goodnight.” Giroux says practically to himself, before finally walking away.

Sid is alone now with his thoughts, and he can’t do anything but to think about everything that just happened in the last minutes.

So Giroux’s in love with him? This was really unexpected, was it? Sid can’t even understand why this guy can even feel that way about someone. He’s so mean; he’s certainly going to stay single with millions of cats.

But then he doesn’t fucking care about it because he hates Giroux so much, Sid is pretty sure that he never hated someone that much in his entire life.

Chapter Text

[…]
Shall we swim out deep
Watch dolphins leap
Like my heart would if you said I was the only one
[…]

The Sidney Crosby Hockey School is starting in less than a week, and it would be a lie to say that Sid is not nervous. He is indeed nervous. But he’s more excited than nervous, so there’s that.

He’d never done that before, but then he knows that it’ll be a great opportunity for those kids to learn from him, and from Nate and Taylor, who’ll be there too.

Everything will be fine, everyone will be happy, everyone will have fun. He doesn’t need to be nervous.

He called every player personally that he has invited in Cole Harbour, and they all confirmed. But there’s still one player that he doesn’t want to call, even if he knows he needs too. Sid is pretty sure that Giroux doesn’t want to hear from him at all, but he needs to be sure as if he still has planned to be here for the hockey school.

Sid knows that he needs to do it, and that it is strictly professional. But then he hears a voice in his head, lowly saying: ‘Are you serious? You can’t call him after what happened. You don’t even want to see him anyway. He’s such a jerk.’

And that’s the truth. He doesn’t want to see him. But then, he practically begged him to come when they were in Prague (…) and he knows that if nothing had happened at the Gold Gives Back ceremony, than he would have already called him. And he thinks about the kids, who will happy to see Giroux too.

So Sid takes his phone, and composes Giroux’s number. Sid is maybe a little bit too happy to reach his voicemail.

“Hey umm, it’s Sidney. Crosby. I just want to know if you still want to be a part of my hockey school, as we'd disccussed. If you have other things planned, it’s totally okay. We haven't talked about it since then, maybe you'd forgotten. Anyway, you can call the office’s administration to confirm wether or not you'll be there. So yeah.”

Oh my God, that was so lame.

***

Maybe it wasn’t that lame, because Giroux confirmes that he was going to be there. Sid was really surprised to hear that, when the hockey school administration had called to tell him that Claude Giroux left a voicemail saying that ‘He would be happy to join, as Sidney Crosby asked me.’

Sid sees him for the first time at the rink on Tuesday. Sid was talking to Andrew about tomorrow's skating. Someone steps in, and Sid realizes that it is Giroux, with a Flyers practice jersey. Sid also notices that he definitively should cut his hair.

“Hey G! That’s so nice of you to be here.” Andrew says when he sees Giroux.

“Well, I was asked and I had nothing important to do this week, so I thought why not?” Giroux answers, looking at Sid the entire time.

“Yeah of course. I heard you two are now friends, that's pretty nice…” Andrew asks, looking at Sid, smiling. Then he steps on the ice.

Sid can’t answer anything. He wasn’t prepared for this. He won’t ever be prepared to face the world. He can’t do this.

It must be apparent in Sid’s face how much he’s surprised because Giroux looks at Sid and seems to be… well. Sid doesn’t know how to describe it, but it’s not good.

“Maybe I need to go, I shouldn’t have come. I know you don’t want me to be here.” Giroux says, looking down.

“You’re right; I don’t want to see you here. But now that you’re there, you better stay. I have some Philly fans here and they’ll be disappointed not to see you, since I said that you were coming.”

“You mean that there are kids in the Sidney Crosby Hockey School who prefers to see a Claude Giroux showcase?” he asks, smiling. Sid can see in those eyes the Claude Giroux he had once thought he knew. But now, it seems that it was a very long time ago.

“I didn’t say that. You’re twisting my words.” Sid answers.

“We’re even then.”

Giroux steps on the ice and starts skating around, and shooting some pucks in the net.

Sid can’t do anything but stares at him, wondering what did he just say, before stepping on the ice too.

***

It’s Thursday, and now Sid can say that he’ll miss the kids when all of this will be over. He really enjoys seeing those kids who want to improve and to be better. Their smiles are what lighted up Sid’s entire week.

Yesterday was his birthday, and it was a great day full of surprises. He spent the day at the rink, skating with the kids. But before that, he stepped on the ice with Nate, Andrew and even Giroux to shoot some puck and just to mess around. It was fun.

And Sid would be lying if he says that he didn’t realize how Giroux is acting. It’s like a whole new guy. He’s friendly with everyone, and the kids really think that Claude Giroux is their new best friend.

Sid doesn’t know if Giroux is being himself, or if he’s just acting like that when he’s surrounded by people who admire him. It’s certainly the second option. He’s such a hypocrite.

He doesn’t want to give the guy a second chance. Giroux doesn’t deserve to have a second chance. After all that he’s done… But then Sid is watching Giroux playing air hockey with a young girl during their lunch break. He seems to be so fond of everything, and Sid just doesn’t know what to think of Giroux anymore.

***

It’s Friday, so it means that today is the last day of the Sidney Crosby Hockey School. Nate and Taylor left earlier, so Sid spent the last hours with the kids and Andrew. Sid hasn't seen Giroux since Thursday afternoon.

But then, it’s not as if he cares.

Sid is surprised to have a voicemail form Nate when he checks his phone at home.

“Hey Sid, umm. It’s me. I don’t really know, I just can’t find Taylor. We were supposed to meet each other at your place, but she didn’t show up and she doesn’t answer her phone. Maybe you know where she is.”

Sid doesn’t wait; he immediately calls Nate.

“Hello?”

“What do you mean you can’t find her?” Sid asks, trying not to sound too panicky.

“Well I don’t know where she is. I went to the places where I could have found her, but she’s literally nowhere to be seen. Maybe you know.”

“Well I totally don’t know, since I just arrived home. You’re sure she doesn’t answer? If you only tried two times…”

“I tried at least twenty times in the last hour, it doesn’t work. I’m so scared Sid. ” Nate says then corrects himself: “I mean, we don’t really know where she is, so I’m a little bit worried…”

“Well, I am worried to now… I’m gonna try to find her.”

“Do you want me to come?”

“No no, you did enough. Thank you for telling me.”

“Of course Sid. You two are my friends. I really hope that she’s fine.”

“She will be.” Sid answers trying to sound as sincere as he would like to be.

“Good, okay.”

Nate hangs up.

What the hell is Taylor doing?

Sid goes outside; it’s certainly not by staying there that he’s going to find her.

He doesn’t really know where to start. He doesn’t really know what he is looking for. Well, he knows that he’s searching for Taylor, but maybe she just went to the grocery store and forgot to bring her cellphone. Or maybe she was kidnapped.

Or maybe he needs to stop making scenarios that only happen in horrors movies, Taylor is perfectly fine now. He hopes.

He looks around the house and sees that Mrs. Linton, their neighbor, is there watering her flowers. Maybe she saw her coming home earlier.

He approaches her, and when she looks up and sees Sid, her face lights up.

“Oh hello Sidney, how are you?” she asks.

“I’m fine, thank you Mrs. Linton. I’m pretty happy that the hockey school went that well.”

“I saw that on the news. You must be proud of those kids.”

“Yes, I really am.” That’s a nice and polite talk he has with Mrs Linton, who always was really kind to Sid and Taylor when he was still a kid himself. But he needs to ask what he has on his mind. “Have you by any chances seen Taylor today? Maybe an hour or two ago?”

“I did saw her an hour ago maybe. I was outside when I saw that she was picked up by a man with a white car. I never saw him. He’s certainly not from here. I think she called her Kyle. Do you know this Kyle?”

“I don’t think so.” Sid answers, because he doesn’t know anyone who is named Kyle. Maybe he’s a friend of Taylor. But then, he would have known him. Taylor normally tells Sid about her friends, and he never heard that name.

“He has brown hair, and he was tall. He’s certainly athletic, with the silhouette that he has.”

“Are you sure that you saw Taylor picked up by a guy named Kyle?”

“I’m not that sure about his name, I was not really close to them, I must have heard incorrectly. But what I know is that I’ve never seen that gentleman before.”

“I must thank you for your help, Mrs Linton.” Sid answers sincerely. I least, they have some things to search on.

“You’re welcomed Sidney, but you know that you can call me Jane. And don’t be shy to come over before you leave for Pittsburgh.”

“I won’t be.” he answers smiling, before walking home.

Sid sits on the couch, tries to do something else than to think about this, like watching TV, but he can’t.

Taylor is gone with a guy with a white car, supposedly named Kyle, and she doesn’t answer her phone. She basically makes Nate and Sid worried about her. That’s certainly not Taylor’s normal behavior. She never would have done this.

Would have she?

Sid tries to think about someone he knows, someone who is named Kyle, and with brown hair, and seems to be a tall athletic guy.

Kyle… Sid doesn’t know anyone named Kyle!

Or maybe…

No, it can’t be him.

Because it can’t be Tye McGinn?

Taylor and Tye don’t know each other. He stopped answering Sid’s texts and phone calls a while back. It can’t be him.

But then, the name Kyle sounds strangely like Tye, and brown hair, tall, athletic. That’s a good description of him.

But it can’t be him. And even if it’s really him, Tye is a good guy. Maybe he just wants to hang out with Taylor.

Then, Sid remembers what Giroux has told him, again and again and again, that Tye wasn’t a good person, that he shouldn’t trust him. And now Taylor’s gone with him, and maybe she’s not okay. He was so blind about hating Giroux that her sister may be in danger. Sid is so stubborn sometimes, why didn’t he listen?

Sid wants to feel a little less miserable, so he calls Taylor, hoping that she’ll answer this time. But she doesn’t.

***

Sid is sitting on the couch, wondering what the hell he can do, when the doorbell rings. It’s not his parents or Taylor then, because they’d just come in.

He would like that person to just go away, but maybe it’s someone who can help him with whatever is going on with Taylor. Maybe it’s Nate.

Sid opens the door, and it’s Giroux, standing on the doorstep.

“Hello Sidney, I really need to talk to you. Can I come in?” he says, looking at Sid with determination.

“I don’t really have the time for this.” Sid answers miserably. He really doesn’t have the time to deal with someone, especially not Claude Giroux. “And how do you know where I leave?”

“I asked Nate a few days back. I just didn’t have the guts to come before.” Giroux says, not as determined as before. “It won’t be long… please.”

Sid is so done with everything that he just waves at him to come in.

***

They both end up in the living room. Sid sits down, but Giroux stays up, and starts to talk.

“Look Sid, I’m gonna be straight here. I feel like I owe you an apology.”

“About what?”

“Everything. But I’m sorry for Malkin, especially.”

Sid tries to look at him, to define whether Giroux is really meaning it or not, but he just doesn’t want to try, he’s so tired.

Sid’s silence makes Giroux continues.

“I was an idiot. I wasn’t really sure whether it was a good idea for both of them to be together, but when I saw Brayden this summer… I’ve never seen him that sad, and I’m pretty sure this is my entire fault. He still loves him. So if Malkin still feels the same way, he still has a chance…”

“Well I’m glad that you’re finally acting like a decent human being.” Sid says, trying to sound totally happy, but Sid is pretty sure that he had failed.

Giroux is looking at him with those eyes.

“Sid, what’s wrong? I know it has nothing to do with what I just said.”

“Oh, nothing.” Sid answers, looking at the magnificent cushion on the couch. He can’t look at him right now, he just can’t.

“I’m not stupid. Tell me what’s bothering you.”

“It's just...” Sid starts, and then sighs. “Taylor is gone, nowhere to be seen, and I think that she’s with Tye McGinn.”

Giroux immediately tenses up. He definitively looks anxious.

“Oh my God.” Giroux says. “I’m sorry to say that, but that’s not good. Really not at all.”

“What do you mean?”

Giroux deeply looks at him.

“I’m not gonna omit things to you this time. Everything that I’m about to say is true. If you still don’t believe me, you can ask Danny Brière. He’ll be glad to confirm everything.

I don’t know what McGinn has told you, but we knew each other a while back, before he was even drafted by the Flyers. We had some friends in common, because we played for the same team, although he arrived when I left for the AHL. My sister was in Ottawa to study, and he was playing in Gatineau, so that’s basically why they met one day. McGinn became one of my closest friends from that moment. He was dating my sister, and they were happy together, and my sister really thought that he was the one.”

“Your sister, is she the one who got engaged at the Winter Classic?” Sid asks.

“Yeah! How do you know that?” Giroux asks, smiling.

“Well, I’m always watching the NHL Network and I thought that it was nice...”

Giroux smiles, and seems to be lost in his thoughts. Then he continues his story.

“Anyway, McGinn became one of my best friends, and he asked me to talk to the Flyers organization about him. I really respected him, and I thought that he was an incredible talented player, so I did what he asked. They finally drafted him two years later.

He was with my sister during the draft. And as soon as he was a Flyer, he stopped talking to her, and said that he didn’t like her anymore. It really happened out of the blue. She was so heartbroken, there was no way to comfort her. And then he started to flirt with girls and have one night stands. Completely the opposite of what I knew about him.

What I realized then, is that he basically used me to get to his goal, without even thinking about the consequences for others. He dated my sister for the sole purpose of gaining my trust, and then to get to the NHL. He literally confirmed it to me when he was playing with the Flyers. That’s why I was angry at him. I tried not to be, I was the captain, and I couldn’t mix my professional and personal life. But I had no choice. He wanted me to crack, for his own pleasure. I couldn’t bring myself to his level, because my sister was finally happy, and all of this was the past for me. I talked to the management about it, and that’s why he went away.”

Sid doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t even know if he can process everything that Giroux just told him about Tye McGinn.

Giroux continues: “I’m not saying that your sister is in danger right now. I know him. He’s not gonna kill or rape her or something like that. He’s not violent. But he plays with your head. He’s manipulative. He’s going to earn your trust, for his own benefit, and then he’s going to break everything. He’s as selfish as that. His only reason for being friendly with people is to use them.”

“But why is he interested in my sister then?”

“I don't know exaclty, but he certainly doesn’t care about her. He really just wants something from her brother, which is you. You are Sidney Crosby. You could be a great addition to his plan.”

“But I was talking to him before and he suddenly stopped answering me. And I didn’t even know that he knew her!”

“That’s weird, but he’s methodical. He certainly has something in mind.”

They look at each other in silent, and Sid knows at that precise moment that everything about this McGinn is true. Giroux is saying the truth. He knows it’s not a good way to judge, he knows better that that. But he looks at Giroux, and he just – he knows.

“But what do we do now?” Sid asks.

“I guess you just need to wait. She’s not gonna die. But she needs to stop communicating with him as soon as possible.”

“But I can’t just wait! Everything is my fault here. You literally told me that he wasn’t a good person. And I was so stubborn and I -.”

“Stop, you’re making this way more dramatic. Nothing here is your fault.”

“It is my entire fault, you can’t say otherwise. I’m the one who didn’t believe you. I’m the one who was obstinate to think that this guy was a good person. Maybe if I…”

Sid knows that he’s about to cry, that he should stop talking, but he feels so miserable, that her little sister could have a broken heart maybe because of him.

Giroux slowly sits next to Sid, and gives him a hug. He doesn’t seem to be really sure though, his grip isn’t strong. But Sid just lean into it, he really needs it. Sid can even believe that everything will be fine at that precise moment.

“She’s okay. She’s going to come back.” Giroux says, whispering in his ear.

Then Giroux breaks their contact and looks at Sid, who can’t look at him right now.

“Sid, look at me.”

Sid doesn’t do anything but stares at the floor, so Giroux takes his chin, and forces him to look.

Sid had never realized how Giroux is attractive when he wants something. It’s beautiful.

“It’s not your fault, okay?” Giroux says, lowly.

“But I -”

“There’s no but.” he says, cutting him off. “It’s not your fault.”

Sid doesn’t believe him, because it’s basically all his fault, but he doesn’t want to argue right now, he just doesn’t have any strength left. He feels so useless.

“Okay.” Sid answers, trying to sound sincere.

It must have worked because Giroux smiles.

“Good.” he says, before standing up. “I’m sorry, but I really need to go.” Giroux says.

Sid is looking at the ground, wondering why his personal life is such a mess.

“Stop mopping like that… Taylor is fine.”

Sid can’t do anything but shyly smile at the ground.

“I gotta go, I’m leaving Cole Harbour. I guess I’m gonna see you around.”

When Sid looks up, all he sees is an empty room. Giroux is gone.

And that was certainly the last time that he was seeing Giroux in another context than a Philadelphia Flyers game.

***

Taylor arrives home after dinner. Trina is doing the dishes, and Troy is out for the night with some of his friends.

“I’m sorry, my phone ran out of battery. I hope nobody was worried.” she says, sitting on the couch.

Sid really just wants to ask how the hell she started to talk with McGinn, but he knows that he needs to start slowly with the questions.

“Where were you? I thought you were going to that dinner with Nate.”

“Well, I had other plans.”

“Like going out with Tye McGinn?”

Sid was supposed to take it slow, and he just totally failed.

Taylor doesn’t react immediately, but then answers.

“Look, I didn’t know that he was one of your love interests, because I wouldn’t have accepted his invitation.”

“What no, I don’t like him!” Sid says.

“Me neither.”

Sid sighs loudly.

“Oh my God Taylor, you cannot understand how much I’m relieved right now.”

“Well, he’s kinda old for me, and clearly not my type, and with what Giroux told me about him…”

What?

“Why are you talking about Giroux?”

Taylor blushes and starts panicking.

“Oh no! I wasn’t supposed to say it! I literally promised it! I’m not good at keeping secrets...” she says, her head in her hands.

Sid is definitively missing something, and he wants to know now.

“Now that you said it, you need to tell me.” Sid says.

Taylor looks up.

“Well, he’s the one who found us, and he brought me back here. He also convinced Tye to stop every communication with both of us, and it cost him a lot of money. That’s when I realized that Tye was a jerk, honestly.”

“Wait, you mean that Giroux paid McGinn?”

“Yes… And I’m not saying the amount, because I already said too much.”

“Taylor Crosby, you’re telling me right now or I swear it won’t be good!” Sid says, maybe a little bit too rudely.

He hates being as aggressive as this with her, but now he doesn’t really have the choice.

“He gave him 1,5 millions.” she says, looking at the floor, whispering.

Sid can’t believe what he had just heard. 1,5 millions! That’s… that’s just so much money that Tye McGinn doesn’t even deserve, and that’s what Claude gave the guy he hated the most to save Taylor from a broken heart.

He did so much, and Sid can’t understand why. It's just, so surprising. We’re talking about Claude Giroux here.

Maybe he is not as bad as Sid thought.

Chapter Text

[…]
Show me the way
Take me to love
Things only heard, now I wanna be
Running through fields as butterflies
Lost in the twilight of your eyes
Show me that world
Take me to love
[…]

Training camp is going pretty well, Sid is indeed excited for the season to start. The addition of Phil Kessel in the team is certainly awesome, and it feels like they are going to do amazing things.

Although Sid is too busy to think about other things than hockey right now, he can’t really forget what happened a month ago.

He’d like to call Giroux, to say thank you for what he did. Because he really did too much, and he knows that it wasn’t well deserved, especially not after what Sid has done to him. He can’t believe that Giroux gave a guy 1,5 million to stop talking to him and his sister. He shouldn’t have done that, to be honest.

It’s just, wow. He really needs to show how much grateful he is. Sid knows that he’s not supposed to know anything about it – which is still bugging him, why did Giroux want him to ignore this? But now that he knows, it would be really rude to just let this go without even saying properly thank you.

He has several excuses in his head, as the reasons why he hasn’t called to thank him yet.

1- It’s training camp, so Sid is pretty busy.

2- Giroux is certainly busy too; it’s training camp for everybody.

3- He’s not supposed to know, so he can just forget about it.

4- It’s not really important to call him for that. He could wait to meet him another time.

He should do something about it. But hockey is keeping him pretty busy, so he doesn’t really think about it.

Or maybe this is just a big lie.

***

Sid is at Geno’s house, playing videogames – their usual Friday night when they don’t have a game – when there’s a knock on the door.

“Did you order pizza without telling me?” Geno asks, suspicious.

“No, I didn’t…” Sid answers, because seriously, why would he do that?

Geno stands up from the couch and goes to open the door. The person who is standing in the doorway was all but expected.

It’s Brayden.

“Hey Geno…” Brayden says, shyly.

“Why do you do this to me?” Geno asks, and his voice definitively broke.

Even if Sid is in the living room, he can hear what is going on, and even if he’s not a proper witness, he feels that he shouldn’t be here. This conversation is pretty personal, and Sid doesn’t feel comfortable hearing it, really not.

“I’m so so sorry, you can’t imagine how much. I wouldn’t even forgive myself.” Brayden says, his voice shaking.

“Then why should I?”

“I don’t know…” he stutters.

Sid turns off the Xbox, stands up and comes in the entrance. Brayden is in the doorway, and he seems so miserable. Like when Sid turned down Giroux in June.

Sid shakes the thought off.

“I think I’m gonna go.” Sid says while approaching them, looking both at Brayden and Geno.

“No stay, Schenn is going to leave anyway, right?” Geno says, looking at Brayden with intensity.

Sid can see how Brayden looks – or should he thinks is - hurt. Geno should give him a second chance. Geno can be so stubborn when he wants, and he really shouldn’t do the same mistake as Sid did a few months back.

“I think you two really need a talk. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

Geno doesn’t really seem to agree, but he nods.

“Good. Nice to see you Brayden.”

Sid is pretty sure as he looks at Brayden that he sees him whispering “thank you”.

Then, Sid is gone and walks home.

***

Geno calls him in the morning, saying that he and Brayden are officially together.

“I’m so happy! I never thought in April that my story was going to finish like that.”

Sid can’t help but smile through the phone.

“I’m really glad for you Geno. You deserve it.”

“Oh Sid, I’m so happy! I don’t even think that I deserve to be that happy.”

“Well I know that you do.” he says, still smiling.

“If only there was that someone for you… You deserve to be love.”

Sid can’t say of whom he is thinking when Geno tells him things like that, because he knows that it’s a pure fantasy. Just thinking about that possibility is a fantasy on his own.

“I know… Maybe you have a cousin from Russia to present me?” Sid asks, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.

“Are you talking about Elena? I tell you Sid, she’s not good for you. Anyway, she is now with a richer guy than you so…”

Sid laughs.

They talk about training camp, and the season that starts in a few days. Then Geno says that Brayden is woken up, so he hangs up.

Sid can’t think of anything but of how he fucked up everything he had with him by being too obstinate. He’s so stupid when he wants…

***

Sid is trying to watch a movie on Netflix, when someone knocks. That’s weird, Geno is not supposed to come tonight; he said that he had something with Brayden, again.

Sid goes to open the door. It’s another Schenn than Brayden standing in the doorway.

“Can I know what the hell are you doing here? If you’re searching for your brother, he’s with his new boyfriend.” Sid says.

“I know asshole; I’m the one who drove… No, I need to talk to you. It’s really urgent and important.” Luke Schenn answers, looking around.

“Are you sure you’re at the good place?”

“Yeah well, I heard that you are secretly dating Claude Giroux, and I just wanna be sure that this is just total bullshit.”

Sid wasn’t expecting that, really not. And from what he knows of Schenn’s feeling toward him, he’s not approving this relationship.

He continues: “You need to know that this is fucking crazy. You cannot be with him.”

“Why so? Your brother is with my best friend, I’m amazed to hear that you’re homophobic.”

“That’s not the case. But I have to admit that one gay couple in my entourage is enough. Especially if the guy is Evgeni Malkin. God I can’t understand my brother’s tastes sometimes.”

What a jerk.

“I still don’t get why you’re here.” Sid says, annoyed.

“You need to understand how foolish this is. I mean, the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins dating the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers… That’s total non-sense! Our teams hate each other. We are paid to fight!”

“If this is all you have to say, you can leave.”

“I’m not finished. Claude cannot be with you. He could lose his reputation… Think about that before doing stupid and irrational things. You’re being selfish here.”

“I’m not stupid or selfish! My life is none of your fucking business! So is Giroux’s life, or your brother’s life. If I want to deal with the consequences that can happen, than this is my choice. If Giroux wants to deal with those possible consequences too, than this is his choice!” Sid says, almost yelling everything.

“It is not, you are Sidney Crosby. Everything that you are doing could be put against you. And Claude’s name can be severally damaged because of you.”

“You’re telling me things that I already know. I know who I am, thank you very much. But it’s not a reason to stop trying to be happy and live a normal life. I have the right to find someone, don’t you think?”

“Yeah yeah… But this person is not Claude Giroux.” Luke says. “So you better tell me that all of this is just a stupid rumor!”

“You could have just asked him if you really wanted to know! You didn’t need to come here!”

Schenn continues: “Crosby, just answer me already: are you dating Claude Giroux?”

Sid is so irritated right now; he just wants to punch him in the face. But then, he knows better than that.

“No, I’m not.” Sid says, as monotone as possible.

“Good, that’s good… And would you promise me to never date him?”

“You just insulted my convictions, my values and degraded me. I can’t promise you anything. Now, I’ll ask you to leave before I disfigure your face.

Schenn seems so mad, it’s really agreeable to see, in Sid’s perspective.

“You are such a jerk; I can’t even understand what he can possibly like in you…”

It doesn’t take him long to leave, and Sid is definitely relieved that this argument is over. That was absolutely weird.

***

Sid is trying to figure out how he’s feeling about everything the next day. He knows that this conversation he had with Luke Schenn – if we can call that a conversation – is not something he likes to think about, although he can’t stop thinking about it now that it happened.

How did Schenn hear something like that? And why would he take the time to come here, just to ask him? He could have just asked Claude! But, it’s not just so odd…

Who the hell does he think he is? He’s Sidney Crosby; he can do whatever he wants, he doesn’t need Luke Schenn’s approval if he wants to date Claude! Because that’s what Schenn thought they were doing, although Sid hasn’t heard from Claude since last time, when he came to tell Sid that he was sorry for everything.

He never felt that clueless in his life. He’s still wondering what he should do, if he should call him to say thanks, or not.

The season is starting soon enough; everything is going to go back in normality in a few days. He needs to find a way to deal with this since then. When he’ll only have time to worry about hockey, he should be fine.

But for now, he’s not.

Sid wants to watch a movie to change his mind. But then he sees that the second Lord of the Rings is on TV in a few minutes and he just, he can’t watch that. This will just be a big reminder of everything that happened in Prague, which led him to where he is now.

But Sid ends up watching it anyway.

***

Sid is in midway through the movie, when there’s a knock on the door. If this is Luke Schenn again…

Sid presses pause and goes to open the door. He’s so surprised to see him, he’s petrified.

Claude Giroux is in front of him.

Is he dreaming?

“Hi… Can I come in?”

Sid can’t even speak, so he waves the living room to him, and follows.

They sit on the same couch – as far as possible - and they just look at each other without talking. Sid can’t even think about things he wants to say, there are so many. So many things left unsaid, that he doesn’t know where to begin.

“So umm, what were you doing?” Claude asks, looking at the TV.

“I was just watching the second Lord of the ring.”

“Oh. Do you like it?”

“Yes, even though I fell asleep at the end of the first one, so at first I didn’t understand everything.”

Awkward silence.

Sid knows that he needs to say something better than that. So he starts.

“Seriously, I really need to thank you.”

“For what?”

“I know what you did for my sister. That you found her and paid McGinn to stop everything with her.”

“How do you know that?” Claude says, sounding panicky.

“I know Taylor wasn’t supposed to tell anyone, but when she accidentally metionned your name… I just had to ask.”

“It was nothing. You don’t need to thank me.”

“Are you kidding?” Sid says, smiling a little. “You literally saved my little sister when I couldn’t. I owe you so much. I will always be grateful for what you did for her, really.”

Claude sighs and looks at Sid in the eyes for the first time since he’s here.

“I have to admit, even though I learned to respect your sister through the week I'd spent in Cole Harbour, I didn’t do it for her; I did it for you.”

Wow. Is that, even possible?

“Well, thank you, really.” Sid answers. After everything that Claude’s done, he can’t even say something better than that.

Claude is looking at the floor, and sighs.

Sid knows he needs to say something, anything, too see him smile at least. That would be his consolation prize.

“I think that we should try to be friends. I’d like us to be friends.” Sid says in a hurry, already regretting what he has just said.

Claude certainly doesn’t want to deal with him anymore. Sid can’t even believe that Claude is still listening to the lame things that he’s saying.

Claude turns to look at Sid, and he’s so attractive. Why can’t he have him? Why was Sid so blind by prejudices, why did he have to fuck up everything?

“You really want us to be friends?” Claude asks, his tone being hopeful. Or maybe Sid is hallucinating all of that.

“I mean, yeah, I guess so.” Sid answers. He can’t really say that he wants more than that, but then he knows that Claude doesn’t love him anymore, and that he doesn’t deserve to be with Sid. Because that’s right, Sid doesn’t deserve Claude.

“I guess that’s okay for me.” Claude answers, smiling.

Sid grins, and he hopes that it’s not a fake one, well that it doesn’t appear to be a fake one.

“Actually no, I’m not okay with that. I came here to be honest with you and myself for once.” he says.

That’s it, he hates Sid and that’s totally normal. Sid is feeling so stupid right now, to even think that Claude wanted them to be friends. Everything will go back to normal, and that’s better for everyone.

“That’s okay, you hate me right now, I get it…” Sid says, and he knows that his voice broke when he said that last part. He’s so pathetic.

“You think that I hate you, really?” Claude asks, looking… wretched.

“You hate me, right?”

“If I hate you, than I’m seriously doing it wrong!” he says, laughing a little.

Sid is missing something, and Claude looks at him, all serious.

“God Sid, I still feel the same about you as I did in June. And I think that I’m even more in love with you that I ever was... But, if you really just want us to be friends, or you just want to thank me, then I won’t ever tell you those things again. I’ll forget how to love you, as I should have three months ago.”

Sid can’t even react to that, because this is something he wanted so much, but thought impossible. Sid thought that he had lost everything; he wasn’t even expecting this to happen in his dreams.

His lack of reacting is not a good thing though, because Claude stands up, and starts to walk away.

“I guess I have my answer now.” he says, looking down.

Sid is still wondering if this is all a dream, but he’s able to react before it’s too late.

He stands up, and goes to face him with all the courage he didn’t know he had. They are really close to each other’s faces, although Claude is still looking at the floor.

“Don’t be silly.” Sid murmurs.

Sid forces him to look by taking his chin and Sid is definitively starring at his lips.

So he kisses him.

It’s a shy kiss at first; Claude doesn’t react. But then Sid feels that Claude is taking control, kissing him harder. His lips are softer than he thought, and he feels Claude’s hand on his neck and in his hair.

They separate to take their breaths, and Sid looks at Claude and he seems so happy.

“Did you just kiss me?” Claude asks.

In respond, Sid kisses him again, giggling. It’s a messy one, but he couldn’t care less.

Sid feels that Claude his smiling too, and the he breaks the kiss. Claude is taking Sid’s head with his hands, rubbing his cheek with his thumb.

“God Sid, you can’t imagine how much I dreamed about this.”

“Me too, I guess.” Sid answers, blushing.

Claude smiles and kisses him on the forehead. Then he sits on the couch, almost lying down. Sid follows, leaning into him, his head resting on Claude chest. He feels that Claude is playing with his hair.

“Are you sure you want this Sid? Do you really want this?”

Sid frowns, and looks up at him.

“You can't tell that I'm serious about this?”

“Well after everything that you said to me, I just want to be sure…”

Sid takes Claude’s hand and tangles their fingers.

“I know I wasn’t really nice with you, and I’m sorry. I’m the worst in this story, and when I realized that I was wrong about you, I felt so ashamed. I was pretty sure that you hated me because of it…”

“Even after that, I couldn’t bring myself to that level. I loved you too much to start hating you; even after you said that I was the last person on Earth you’d ever want to be with. This really messed with me, you have no idea.”

“Don’t repeat that! God, I don’t know why I said that…”

“But you were right. I never was good at showing affections, and I didn’t know how to react with all of this, so I wasn’t really nice with you. I always told myself to never have a crush on a hockey player. I never thought that I was going to fall in love, especially not with you, that’s for sure.”

“Me neither I guess.” Sid says, smiling.

“I know that I’m not perfect, that I can be a piece of shit, and that’ll be difficult to be together, because of the distance and all. But I don’t care. You make me want to be a better person.”

Sid laughs.

“That was so cheesy.” Sid says, smiling at him.

“I know?” he answers, laughing.

They look at each other, and Sid is thinking I’m so lucky to have this happy ending.

Claude continues: “I heard that Luke paid a visit”

“Yeah, what an asshole honestly.”

“He’s my friend and my teammate. Don’t talk about him like that.”

“Well he was a pure jerk to me.”

“Yeah, he thought he was doing the right thing, but I have to admit that I got my hopes up when he told me how you responded.”

“Really?”

“Well, I know you. If you still had hated me as much as before, you would have said ‘I fucking hate him so I won’t ever date him how could you say such abominable things shut up and leave’ so I thought that I might still have a chance after all.”

Sid smiles.

“You’re right. The old me would have answered that way, but I’m so different now. My feelings changed so much…”

Claude is looking at him with intensity, and he knows that it’s the right moment.

“I hated you so much at first, but then I learned to know you, in Prague especially, and I guess I responded to you that way in June because I was mad of what you did to Geno and Tye.”

Sid can’t stop what he wants to say, even if he feels that he’s saying way too much.

“But when I realized that I was wrong about hating you for Tye, and when Geno and Brayden got together, I had no reason left to hate you. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to be with you because I’m grateful or whatever. I really like you too. And I guess we can try something. Now that I truly see you, as who you truly are."

He feels that Claude is kissing him, harder than before. Sid traces his ginger beard, and god it’s a fucking turn on, and he feels his body shivering by that thought.

Sid is still kissing him when he moves to be on top of Claude, straddling him. It seems that when it comes to Claude, he can do a lot of audacious things.

He feels Claude’s hands touching him everywhere: his chest, his hips, and then his ass. Claude Giroux is touching his ass.

Sid frissons and pulls away by sitting at the end of the couch. This is just too much for him. The feelings he has for him are too important to just take this step further right away. He doesn’t want to mess up again. He loves him too much for that.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again. I just…” Claude says.

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Sid says, approaching him. He sees that his lips are red and swollen, and he’d like to just keep kissing him. “I was just surprised. Let’s take this slowly, if you don’t mind. I still need to understand how my body is responding to everything. I don’t want to fuck up.”

“Yeah you’re right. I want to take this slow too, don’t worry. I just got carried away. I never thought that I could touch you like this, so I’m really sorry.” he answers, smiling. That missing tooth is beautiful.

Sid blushes and hides his face in Claude’s chest.

“Don’t be ashamed.” Claude says, caressing his hair. “I have to say that your butt is a masterpiece, as your boyfriend.”

Sid smiles at that thought. Boyfriend. That’s a… new and nice term.

Something starts ringing, and it seems to be Claude’s phone. It’s a song he doesn’t know. He didn’t think that Claude was the kind of person to put a song as his ringtone.

“You make me wanna shut it all down,
Throw it all away,
Cause I’m nothing if I don’t have you.
What’s the point of being on top,
All the money in the world,
If I can’t…”

“Hello?” Claude answers.

Claude’s still looking at him, and smiles.

“Yeah yeah, I’m good. I’m really good. Everything went perfectly well, you were right.”

Sid is tracing Claude’s chest with his fingers. He doesn’t know what to do now that Claude is speaking on the phone. It’s a valid excuse.

“Oh that’s good Brayden. But now I’m pretty busy right now, can I call you later?” he says, when he sees that Sid is going lower with his fingers, at the line of his boxers.

Sid is smiling, and knows that he should stop, but messing with Claude may be his new favorite hobby.

“Ok, yeah, bye.” Claude says, hanging up.

Claude takes away Sid’s hand.

“You’re sure that you want to take your time?” he asks, smiling.

“I’m sorry, I got carried away. You have some beautiful boxers here.” Sid answers, a little bit sarcastically.

Claude grins and looks at the screen TV, it’s the second Lord of the Rings, on pause now for a while.

“Do you want to continue watching it? I think I can understand what it going on.”

Sid nods in agreement.

“But first, I’m gonna change my ringtone. It doesn’t fit my situation anymore.”

Claude selects the marimba ringtone everybody is sick of hearing.

Sid looks at him with a disapproval look.

“What? I don’t choose a ringtone that I like, because obviously I wouldn’t want to answer. I have some logic that you don’t.”

Sid answers by kissing him on the cheek, because now he can, and presses play with the remote control.

They can obviously take their time. They have plenty of time.

Chapter Text

[…]
Show them the way
Take them to love
Things only heard, now they want to be
Two beings with one beating heart
For their wholes lives not to part
Show them that world
Take them to love

 

It has been almost a month since Claude is Sid’s boyfriend, and honestly, Sid couldn’t be happier, even if the only time that they saw each other was when Claude came during training camp. As hockey players, they are both pretty busy. They manage to talk on the phone and Claude persuaded Sid to create a Skype account, which is the best invention on Earth. He can see Claude’s smile and his adorable sleepy face even if they are apart.

It could be better obviously. Like if Claude was playing with him, in the same team. They could always be together 24/7. But then this is none of his control.

Sid checked the game schedule, and he was nearly surprised to see that they’re not playing against the Flyers until January! That’s after Christmas, in a good three months! Who the hell did those shitty schedules? Obviously, this person should be fired... Because how is he going to see him? It has been only a few weeks, and he’s missing him so much, it’s driving him insane.

But this week, The Flyers don’t play until next Monday, and Claude has the free weekend. Sid has a game on Saturday against Toronto, but after that he doesn’t have a game until next Tuesday. So Claude will stay in Pittsburgh for the weekend, and Sid is pretty thrilled.

But then he’s a little bit anxious about other things. Sid doesn’t know if he wants to tell people about it. Geno knows, obviously. He’s is with Claude’s friend – Brayden - and Geno is his best friend so of course he told him. But then, how is the team going to react, if they knew that their captain is a) gay and b) dating the other captain of their rival team? Sid would like to think that he doesn’t care, but then he’s not really sure of what he should do.

He knows that he loves Claude, and that’s totally overwhelming. Sid doesn’t remember the last time he loved someone that much. But then, it can be scary. Are they going to work this out? How are they going to manage the distance, and not being able to see each other for months? This break the Flyers have is great, but it won’t happen every single week.

They need to trust each other entirely if they want this relationship to last, and this is terrifying.

Even if he hasn’t been with Claude for a long time now, Sid completely trusts him.

And that’s why he’s terrified.

He’s starting to get all nervous about problems that don’t even apply to him yet when his cellphone rings. He got a text.

Sid looks at his phone, what is on TV is pretty boring anyway, and dumbly smiles when he sees that it’s Claude.

Claude: can’t wait for Friday ;)

The winking face… Sid knows what it can imply. He’s probably just seeing too much in a text though.

You: me too :)

Sid thought about putting a winking face too, but then he’s not entirely sure of what it implies, yet.

Claude: sleep well sleeping beauty

Claude uses this nickname now; he knows that Sid hates it. They “argued” over it last time on Skype. Sid doesn’t agree that he should be compared to a girl who sleeps during too much time, and Claude thinks it’s a cute intention from him. Sid smiles at that thought, because that was actually the dumbest thing to fight over, as their “first” argument as a couple. That was certainly not the last one.

You: I will :)

It doesn’t take long for Claude to respond.

Claude: :*

Friday can’t come faster.

***

Friday afternoon, Sid can’t even watch TV without thinking about Claude, who’s going to be here in a few hours, minutes, seconds? He doesn’t know exactly.

He can’t wait any longer, that’s what he knows.

It feels like eternity, until he hears a knock.

Sid feels his heart pounding faster in his chest. Is he a teen in love all over again?

Obviously he is.

Sid goes to open the door, and Claude is widely smiling, a bag on his shoulder.

“Hey Sid.” he says, still smiling. “I missed you.”

Claude is so beautiful, and hot obviously with that hat and this tight t-shirt and his ginger hair and wow he can’t believe that Claude’s actually here.

“I missed you too.” Sid answers, really low. He’s not even sure if Claude heard him. “Come in.”

Claude enters and bends down to put his bag on the floor, and take off his shoes. Sid can’t do anything but to stare at him. Well, Sid is basically checking out his ass, oops.

Claude is smirking when he gets up, and Sid feels like he knows.

“Come here.” he says, dangerously approaching Sid, putting his hands on his hips.

Claude pulls him closer, and gently kisses his lips. It’s soft and it’s feels like it’s precious. Sid can feel his heart beating faster, and he’s shivering when he feels Claude’s hands going up, touching his chest on the way.

Claude pulls back and grins. He’s still touching Sid, one hand resting on his shoulder, the other stroking against Sid’s cheek. Claude bits his lower lip. If that’s not a turn on, then Sid doesn’t know any.

“God I’m so into you.” Claude says, extremely low. He feels Claude’s breath on his lips when he speaks.

Sid feels that he’s blushing right now, because he could tell the same thing about Claude, really.

Sid doesn’t regret what he says next.

“We have all weekend.”

He had never seen Claude smiling that much.

***

Sid is in Mario’s office the next Monday, for the usual captain speech of the year. Nothing’s special.

Sid is about to leave when Mario speaks.

“One more thing Sid before I let you go. It might make you laugh a little.”

Oh okay. Sid likes to laugh.

Mario continues: “I heard some obvious untrue rumors about your love life. Someone told me – and was pretty serious about it - that you are dating Claude Giroux. What non-sense is that?” he says, laughing. “I never laughed so much in a long time Sid, really. People think that everything they hear is true these days!”

Sid tenses up. He doesn’t understand how Mario learned that. Sid and Claude are so careful, always checking around if people are seeing them together. They always hang out in private places. Maybe someone betrayed them…

Mario looks concern, because Sid is all but laughing right now.

“Well, I thought that was funny, sorry.” he says apologetically. “I guess you can go now.”

Sid would like to go, because he really wants to go and forget about what he just heard, but then he could tell Mario about it. He doesn't know that all of this is true, so Sid tells him.

“What you heard about me and Claude Giroux, it’s true. We’re dating.”

Saying it out loud to someone who isn’t Geno or his mirror is certainly new, but Sid would be lying if he says that he hates this feeling. He’s still scared about Mario’s reaction, but he feels better now that he admitted a big part of himself to someone that matters to him.

“Oh my God, Sid… I thought of all but this...” Mario answers, certainly in shocked. “So it means that you are not straight, and Giroux?”

“Claude is bi, and yeah I’m gay.” he says, trying to sound confidence.

He really hopes that Mario is not homophobic or something. He really doesn’t need that right now.

“How long have you been with him?” he asks.

“For a month or so.”

Actually, it has been one month, three days and a few hours, but he’s certainly not going to be that precise. He knows that Mario is judging him right now, enough is enough.

“Well, that’s… Didn’t you say that you didn’t like him to the media?”

Is Mario seriously asking that question?

“It was three year ago!” Sid answers, trying not to scream. “It was during the playoffs, when everyone is too emotional, and I didn’t really know the guy back then.”

“Of course, you know the guy now that you played with him in Prague…” Mario practically rumbles.

“You need to believe me when I say that it won’t affect the team or anyone but myself. It’s my private life, and it’s going to stay that way.” Sid says.

Mario sighs.

“You’re saying that you’re dating another NHL player. It’ll be difficult to have a relationship with someone who is always away. You two are pretty busy people. How you sure you want something like that? You’ll need to stay quiet about dating him too; you perfectly know that, unless you want to come out publically.”

Now it’s Sid’s turn to sigh.

“I know all of that Mario, I thought about it too, and I don’t want to come out publically, not yet. But I still want to try. If it doesn’t work, well that’d be because it wasn’t meant to be. But I have to say… I like him. Well, not really… I’m in love with Claude Giroux.”

Mario is silent, so Sid continues.

“I know I said in the past that I hated him, and that was true back then. But I was wrong, I was wrong about him all along. He’s a good guy. He’s generous, kind, and he loves me. If I tell you what he’s done for my little sister… He’s too good for me, that’s the truth. I was a fool, I was stubborn, I was extremely mean to him and yet he didn’t deceive that I was a bad person, not a second. I’m the one who is lucky to have him.”

Mario grins.

“Wow Sid, you really love him, do you?”

Sid looks down. He feels that he’s blushing, and that his eyes are watering. Mario seems to support Sid’s choice, and that’s the only thing that he wants.

“Yes, yes I do.” Sid answers, smiling at the floor. He feels his eyes filing up with tears. He doesn’t want to cry, really not. He doesn’t talk about his feelings that much, but when he does, he becomes sensitive.

“Well, my only concern is you’re happiness. Do what you want Sid, as long as you’re happy. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

“Thank you Mario, it really means a lot.” Sid says, finally looking at him.

“Come here” Mario says, standing up. His arms are open, and Sid doesn’t really think before hugging him.

Mario is basically his second father, and to have his support is an extremely good thing. Sid feels all the tension in his shoulders going away.

They’re still quiet when Mario speaks.

“Just don’t hang out too much with the enemy. We don’t want our captain to be pro-Flyers” he says pulling back Sid.

Sid smiles.

“I know Mario. Believe me when I say that I still hate the Flyers.”

“That’s my boy.”

Sid is happy - and relief perhaps - to know that he has some support.

***

Again, the scheduled is pretty shitty. And it’s only late October.

Sid is in Toronto right now, while Claude is in Buffalo, but he’s taking a plane for the Canadian West Coast tonight, while Sid is going to be there too in a few days. But they are always so busy during those trips.

The fact that they won’t be able to see each other, even though they’ll be kind of close is worst than anything right now. They haven’t seen each other since that weekend, which was only two weeks ago. That weekend was awesome, more than awesome. One thing led to another, and well, their first time was perfect.

Sid discovered a new facet of Claude, delicate, gentle and really hot. Claude is such a stud in bed.

Honestly, the games against the Flyers can’t come faster.

He never thought that he’ll ever think that in his entire life.

“The scheduled is so shitty.” Sid says to him later that night, when Claude finally landed in Vancouver. They are Skyping for the third time this week. They like Skyping. They share a common interest that isn’t hockey, if we can call Skype an interest.

“Yeah… we knew that it was gonna happen at some point.” Claude answers.

Claude is in his hotel room, perhaps he seems to be alone. The laptop is on his hips supposedly, and he’s in pajamas or something like that. It’s a shame that Claude is only in a screen, Sid would love to touch him. He seems tired, or calm, Sid doesn’t know.

“I know, I just really wanted to see you.” Sid says.

Claude smiles, and rubs a hand in his messy ginger hair.

“But Sid… You’re seeing me right now!” he says, lifting in hands in the air, as if he wants to prove his point.

Claude and his lame jokes… Sid laughs anyway.

“I hate you.” Sid says. It’s the only thing that can be answered in that context, right?

“I know you don’t.” he answers, smiling.

“You know you’re wrong.”

Claude frowns.

“You don’t… You don’t really hate me, right?” Claude says. He seems literally concerned and uncertain.

Is he really doubtful about Sid’s love for him?

“Of course I don’t hate you Claude, you know sarcasm, you use it pretty often.” Sid says, trying to sound convincing. He doesn’t know if he just failed.

Claude sighs of relief.

“Of course Sid, I just… Never mind.” he says, waving one hand.

Now it’s Sid’s turn to frown.

“Claude… I don’t understand.”

Sid really doesn’t get it. Did he say or do something wrong?

God he wishes he was able to take Claude’s hand right now.

“I guess I’m just being paranoid, I’m sorry.”

“Paranoid about what?” Sid asks. Nothing here is clear and Sid really likes when things are clear.

Claude looks down, and starts playing with the sheets of the bed.

“I know it was months ago, but sometimes I can’t stop thinking about everything that you said to me, that I was mean, selfish, rude… I’m still wondering if this is all a dream and that I’ll wake up in a few seconds. I don’t know, I’m being weird.”

Oh, Claude is insecure, and he shouldn’t be, clearly. Sid wishes he could hug him right now, because he shouldn’t even think about that possibility. Sid is the worst boyfriend in history of boyfriends. He feels so guilty to see Claude that way because of what he said.

Sid is hurt to hear such horrible things like that; he can’t even describe how much he’s upset. Sid is not upset with Claude, he's upset with himself.

He needs to reassure Claude, before he thinks that he’s right, because he’s so wrong.

“That’s not true. I don’t want you to ever say and think things like that.” Sid says, trying not to sound to bossy. “Just delete that horrible moment from your memory, because I wasn’t thinking it. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. You’re generous, kind and lovely. You make me laugh, you turn me on so much, you literally have no fucking idea, and right now I would kiss you so hard that you would stop saying things like that. Please, I don’t want to hear that again.”

Sid thinks that what he said was a little bit too much, but then Claude smiles.

“So, I turn you on, Sid?” he asks, with a voice that definitively should be illegal.

“I just said a big monologue about my feelings for you, and you only remember the sexual point?” Sid says, trying to sound annoyed. But really, he’s not.

Dois-je m’excuser d’avoir une mémoire sélective?

Of course Claude answers in French, because he knows that Sid fucking loves it.

Claude continues: “No joke this time, I heard you. I’m sorry about that. I remember what you said – not only the sexual point – and now I know my insecurities are just dumb.”

“Exactly.” Sid answers.

They look at each other, until Claude’s phone beeps.

“I have to go.” he says, looking at his phone. “Jakub is coming up, and he doesn’t know about us.”

“Are you going to tell him?” Sid asks, because he knows that Claude and Jakub are good friends.

“I guess… But don’t worry, I’ll tell you when it’ll happen.”

“Good, okay. Goodnight Claude.”

“Goodnight sleeping beauty.” Claude says, smirking.

“Stop calling me like that!”

“And you, stop arguing about it. You’re so sleeping beauty; you can’t convince me the opposite.”

“Pfff.”

Sid crosses in arms to show that he’s mad, but Claude just grins, waving him goodbye, before disconnecting.

***

Sid doesn’t know how he ended up in a bar with Geno, Brayden and Claude after their first game against the Flyers, in January. Geno and Brayden are dancing – of course – and Sid is talking with Claude. It’s casual, and nice. They don’t usually go out in bars, because the chances that people might recognize them are high, but sometimes, it becomes unimportant.

It’s getting late. They finally leave the bar, and they all enter in a cab. Geno is the one who goes in front. Claude is in the middle, between Sid and Brayden.

Nobody is talking until Claude says something to Sid.

“Sid, can you hold this for me?”

Sid sees that Claude has his closed fist above Sid’s already opened hand.

“Yeah, sure.”

Claude opens his hand and interlaces their fingers.

Sid literally laughs.

“You’re such a dork.” Sid says.

Claude responses by squeezing his hand harder, smiling at him.

They don’t stop holding hands until they arrive at Sid’s house.

***

After the game in March, Sid and Claude are relaxing on the couch. Sid can’t stay more than a few hours; he has a plan to catch tonight. Sid’s head is on Claude’s laps, and nothing could break this moment.

Claude is trying to find something to watch.

He’s changing all the channels, until he stops on what seems to be an old movie. Well with that language and those costumes…

“What is that?” Sid asks.

“I don’t know.” Claude says. “It seems to be super boring though.”

“So haven’t you changed the channel yet?”

“The remote control is not working anymore. And I know that I don’t have any more batteries left. And I also know that I don’t want to leave you to go buy some.” Claude says, stroking Sid’s cheek.

That’s a good reason.

They end up watching that UK movie – well with that accent, it’s obvious that it’s UK English – and Sid knows that he’s seen a lot of those actors before, like that one girl who is in Hunger Games, and Sid knows that he’s seen the girl who played the protagonist before.

It seems to be the story of some girls who needs to be married by all cost by their crazy mother. The oldest sister is in the eye of that Bingley guy – a cute redhead, but for Sid, Claude is the cutest redhead – and then there’s that Darcy guy who is so serious all the time, who seems to be interested in the protagonist, who Sid can’t replace and it’s literally bugging him.

“Do you know who is that girl who plays, whatsername umm, Elizabeth?”

“Keira Knightley. She’s in Pirate of Caribbean.” Claude answers, stocking Sid’s hair.

Oh right, of course.

“I don’t have cinematic knowledge.” Sid says.

“I know, you’d never watched Lord of the Rings!”

Sid smiles at that thought, and yeah a lot of things changed since Claude is in his life.

And that’s truly for the best.

 

Sidney Crosby doesn’t like Claude Giroux. In fact, he loves him.