Jordie leaves the game against San Jose and doesn’t come back. He’s with the trainers for a while after the game, and Jason and Jamie both stick around, trying to look like they have legitimate business keeping them there after the media have cleared out and everybody else has headed back to the hotel or out for consolation drinks and hookups.
When Jordie finally comes out of the trainer’s office, Jason does his best to keep his cool, and let Jamie have his captain and little brother freakout without Jason accompanying it with his boyfriend freakout.
“Knee again,” Jordie says ruefully. “Out at least a week.”
“Shit,” Jamie says, worrying his lip with his teeth. Jason knows what he’s thinking, because they’re all thinking it. There’s never a good time to get hurt, but with his contract up this year, and all the talent coming up from Cedar Park, this is really shitty time for Jordie to go out, especially after how rough their score sheet looks these days.
Jordie’s shoulders hunch in on themselves, and Jason can’t resist putting an arm around him, squeezing him tight.
“You’re lucky you’ve got me to nurse you back to fighting shape,” Jason says, trying to get a smile out of him. It works, sort of. “Come on, let’s get that knee elevated and iced.”
Back at the hotel, Jason plants Jordie firmly in the bed, with half a dozen pillows and an icebag strapped to his knee. “You’re only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom,” he says.
“What if there’s a fire?”
“Then I’ll heroically carry you to safety,” Jason says loftily. “No moving. Daddy’s orders.”
Jordie narrows his eyes at him, and Jason gives him a shit-eating grin.
“No moving, and plenty of blowjobs,” Jason continues. “For optimal healing.”
“Sure am lucky to have such a dedicated nurse,” Jordie says with a grin.
“Damn straight,” Jason agrees and pushes Jordie’s boxers down.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“You’re going to be an uncle!” Jason says again, clinking his glass against Jamie’s. His face is flushed bright red from the cocktails he’s been knocking back like Gatorade and he’s grinning so wide Jamie can see all of his teeth. It’s a little alarming.
“You think maybe you should slow down with the daquiris?” Jamie suggests drily.
“I’m drinking for two now,” Jason says. Jamie gapes at him.
“I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work.”
“Uh-huh,” Jason says. “Gotta drink for Jordie too; he’s tee-total until the baby comes.”
“O-kay,” Jamie says. “Look, I’ll give you a ride home.” And check in with Jordie, because he knows there’s no history of the carrier gene in their family, but…Jordie is on IR.
Jason allows Jamie to pour him into the passenger seat and follows him happily up to the apartment. Jordie’s sacked out on the couch, watching something about gophers on the tv, but he stands up when Jamie opens the door.
“Brought you something,” Jamie says.
“Jordie!” Jason sounds like it’s been days, not hours, since Jordie waved him off to go celebrate the win with the rest of the team. He snuggles up under Jordie’s arm, plastering a hand across his belly. Jamie clears his throat.
“Can I talk with you, Jord?”
The guilty look that flashes across Jordie’s face is all the confirmation Jamie needs.
“Go on to bed, Jason,” Jordie says. “I’ll be there in a little bit.”
Jason nods agreeably, smacking a kiss to Jordie’s cheek. “M'kay. Night, Jordie. Night, baby.” He pats Jordie’s belly. “Night, Jamie,” he adds as an afterthought.
“Drink some water,” Jamie mumbles. “So, uh, I guess congratulations are in order?”
Jordie scrubs a hand through his hair and grins down at his feet. “Yeah. I mean, big surprise, obviously, but we’re pretty excited.”
“That’s good,” Jamie says. “I’m gonna miss you out there, but you’re gonna be a great dad.”
“Thanks, bro. Listen, trainers and coaching staff know, but I wanted to wait to tell everybody else.”
“Gonna be on IR a lot longer than a week,” Jamie says sadly.
Jordie nods. “Yeah. But it’ll be worth it.”
Jordie doesn’t figure it out til Fidds grabs his ass. Because Tyler is Tyler, and whose ass hasn’t he grabbed? And sometimes Kari can be pretty weird when he’s hyped up on a win, and Rous is French so that probably explains the kissing, and Klingberg follows wherever Jason leads, and Jason obviously does a lot of grabbing Jordie’s ass. But Jordie’s pretty sure Fiddler’s never grabbed anybody’s ass in his entire life. Except, now, Jordie’s. So clearly something fishy is going on.
He tells Jamie, first, because Jamie’s the captain and this seems like the kind of thing the captain should be able to deal with.
Jamie blinks at him. “Bro, I do not need to hear about your ass and who wants to grab it. Take that shit to Lindy.”
So Jordie does.
“That explains why everybody’s looked so damn sloppy out there,” Lindy grumbles. “Knew something was distracting them. I’m not saying it’s your fault, son, but I think you should check in with the trainers, see if they can fix it.”
The trainers poke him and run a battery of tests and Jordie can tell even before they sit him down that they don’t have a clue what’s going on.
“Tests all came back fine,” the team doctor says. “One of my colleagues in Montréal has some anecdotal data suggesting some sort of pheromone imbalance, which could theoretically be causing the reactions we’re seeing from the team. It should wear off in a week or two. Until then, I’d suggest you take some time off, for your sake and the team’s.”
Jordie wants to argue, but Oduya’d tried to hold his hand during practice and Eakin had offered to scrub his back in the showers, so yeah. A few days on IR sounds pretty good right now.
Juice wakes Jamie up barking, which isn’t that unusual, but usually Jordie manages to calm him down pretty quickly. Also, usually there’s only one of him. Jamie thinks briefly that maybe Tyler’s let himself in with the dogs, but it’s like five in the morning and anyway, it doesn’t sound like Marshall or Cash. He refuses to wonder if it’s weird that he could pick his liney’s dogs out of a crowd just based on their barks.
“Jor-diiiie, deal with your mutt,” Jamie yells, but there’s no answer, just more barking and the scrabble of paws outside his door. Jamie drags himself out of bed, a little worried now, because Jordie fucking dotes on Juice, and it’s super weird for him to be ignoring the puppy like this.
Juice yips happily when Jamie opens the door and plops down in front of him for belly rubs. Jamie’s bending down to oblige when there’s a loud woof, and he’s knocked on his ass, his face getting thoroughly licked. Juice bounds up and joins in.
“Juice, down!” Jamie orders. Juice obeys reluctantly, still vibrating with excitement. The other dog gives him one last thorough lick from ear to ear, and then joins Juice, mouth lolling open in a doggy grin. It’s a really pretty dog, big feathery ears and bright eyes, its soft fur a deep rich red. Jamie reaches out automatically to scritch under its chin.
“Juice, where’d Jordie go?” Jamie asks. Maybe the dog belongs to one of Jordie’s friends and he’d volunteered to pet-sit? It’s weird that he’s not around, though. Jamie checks all the doors and windows; they’re closed and locked, and the alarm hasn’t been tripped. Jordie’s bedroom is empty and his keys are hanging up by the door. His stupid truck is in the garage. When Jamie calls his phone, he hears it buzzing on the table next to Jordie’s bed. He’s starting to really freak out here.
The new dog is wrestling happily with Juice in the living room. And, look, Jamie knows it’s crazy, blame it on being woken up way too early, whatever, but he kind of thinks the new dog looks like Jordie. You know, if Jordie were a dog. And he’s totally out of ideas for where else Jordie could be.
Jamie puts his face in his hands. The new dog whines, sounding concerned, and nudges his shoulder.
“Okay,” Jamie says. “I’m gonna call Tyler.” Tyler knows a lot about dogs, and about Jordie too, so he’ll probably be able to help.
Tyler shows up fifteen minutes after Jamie calls him, and immediately drops to his knees to ruffle the new dog’s ears.
“Aren’t you a pretty puppy,” he coos. The new dog huffs at him, and it sounds almost exactly like Jordie when he’s rolling his eyes at them for forgetting to buy laundry detergent.
“So, uh, Jordie’s kind of…missing,” Jamie says. “And this guy was just here. I know it sounds crazy, but do you think, maybe….?”
“Probably,” Tyler says, like it’s no big deal. “Happened to Sid once. I mean, not a dog, obviously, he was totally a penguin for like a week, but yeah, it definitely happens. Who even knows, man. But you gotta figure if Jordie was gonna turn into a dog, he’d totally be an Irish Setter. With the ginger and all.”
The new dog wags his tail, which Jamie figures is probably agreement. Okay. So his brother is currently a dog. He should probably call the coaching staff and let them know they’re gonna need to call up somebody from Cedar Park for a few games.
“Listen, I don’t have time to listen to the monologue,” Jordie says. He’s got to be back in Dallas for a game in like four hours. And sure, he can bust out the teleportation if he has to, but it’s the principle of the thing. Next time somebody decides to send gigantic robotic jackalopes rampaging through Austin, Jordie’s just going to let them, and they can call in Captain America or whoever to deal with it. This bullshit is way above Jordie’s pay grade. Jackalopes. What the actual fuck, Texas.
He takes care of the monologuing by knocking the would-be supervillain over the head with one of the sticks from his gear bag that had made the trip down to Austin with him when the emergency alert had gone out. The stick snaps in half, which is a bummer, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good.
Jordie’s kind of hoping that the jackalopes will power down after that, but when has he ever been that lucky? He takes care of one of them by wiping it out with an empty pickup truck. A couple more get neatly skewered by telephone poles, fucking up their gears enough that they grind to a halt. Jordie’s just thinking that he’s totally going to make it to practice on time when another one of the jackalopes bounds out from behind a building, making right for the mostly full school bus rolling down the street, because honestly, the entirety of Austin is conspiring to make Jordie’s life difficult today.
“Shit shit shit.” There’s no choice; Jordie grabs the robot by its big stupid horns and flings it off its trajectory, sending it flying into Lake Travis with a crackle and spark of water-logged wires. He feels something in his knee wrench and then give with a kind of sickening ease as he twists, and fuck, so much for making it to the game.
Jordie bites his tongue against the pain and the impulse to swear a blue streak. There’s a crowd swarming around him now, wanting him to take off his mask, to sign autographs, to talk into microphones. He disappears with apop and manages to land almost right on the couch at home. His teleportation accuracy has gotten a lot better lately.
Jamie’s already gone, headed to the AAC for pre-game skate.
Not making the game tonight, bro, sorry, Jordie texts. Tell Lindy my knee’s out of whack again. Gonna need a week or two. Fucking jackalopes.