So the Flyers were going to face the Pens for the first time that season in a week. In a day. In a few hours. Yes, Claude knew his own God damned work schedule and no, he didn't need to be constantly reminded.
Sure, he and Sid-er, Crosby-managed to make it through World's without causing each other bodily harm. Sure, they had enough chemistry on the ice to help the team win gold. And sure, they had enough chemistry off the ice to make the entire trip to Prague a somewhat pleasant memory for Claude. But Crosby was right. Once the regular season came, they were going to go right back to normal.
And being honest, he'd barely thought about the game. Or Crosby. It wasn't a big deal. People had a tendency to write narratives out of nothing. He still despised Crosby with the fire of a thousand suns, just like he had a season ago. Their short time as teammates hadn't changed a thing and thinking otherwise was downright insulting.
"G?" Schenner leered at Claude as they assembled onto the tarmac to board the team's private plane.
The look on his face and the tone of his voice did not seem amicable. "What the fuck do you want, Schenner?"
Schenner continued leering, and it really was not becoming of him. "You just look... different. Like you actually gave a shit today."
That was just rude. Claude resolved to avoid Schenner for the rest of the day.
"G?" Schenner was leering again as they assembled towards the locker room exit to hit the ice.
Claude narrowed his eyes while quirking his lips and waited for Schenner to either say something or to mind his own fucking business.
"Why do you have your tooth in?"
Jesus fucking Christ. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"You have your tooth in."
"What if you get into a fight?"
Claude scrunched his nose up. "I'm not gonna get into a fight."
Schenner's expression changed from sour to downright condescending. "Bro, we're facing the fucking Pens tonight. Did you somehow forget?"
He was gonna have to teach that boy a lesson about respecting rank in the NHL.
He told Schenner that he wasn't going to get into a fight that game and he was going to stay true to his word, because that was the kind of guy that Claude was. He was also the kind of guy to resist shattering an opponent's wrist or punching simply for the sake of punching. He wasn't saying that he was a better man than certain people, but it took a great deal of self control to keep his fist out of the back of Crosby's skull when he was right there in front of him, middle of a scrum, helmet off, mouth guard spat aside.
Well then, two could play at that game. And the game that Claude played was of the mannerly, masculine variety.
Crosby was clinging to Simmer, both bodies squirming, Crosby's arm looped around Simmer's chest, probably cutting off his air and being an irritating asshole in general. Claude was an NHL captain and one of his instinctive duties was to protect the men under his command.
So that was why he was compelled to come to Simmer's aid, ripping Crosby away. And he looked pissed, which Claude was glad of. He also looked ready for a fight, and Claude was going to take great satisfaction in not engaging him in what he wanted. He couldn't wait to see the foul look on Crosby's face. The snarl of frustration, the hair sticking every which way, the eyes burning with the fire of rivalry, it was absolutely beautiful.
When he took his arms away and slid back Crosby skated forward, following Claude's movements, still trying to draw him in.
Well, Claude supposed as Crosby pressed them chest to chest, he was asking for it.
If Crosby was going to try to fuck with him then he'd fuck with Crosby back with tenfold the trolling.
Claude'd done some strange things on the ice before. Wiped his snot on a ref. Chewed on an opponent's jersey. But his greatest moment was saved for his most hated rival.
He kissed Crosby.
Well, it wasn't much of a kiss at first, just two pairs of lips pressed together. Crosby wasn't recoiling in horror or pulling away in disgust like Claude had expected-had wanted from Crosby. His objective was to corrupt Crosby's sensibilities and had thought that this very act of pressing their lips together would send Crosby into a violent, gay panic rage. And, for a reason Claude could not fathom, it didn't.
Well then he'd just have to up the ante.
Crosby gasped, softly, and Claude took that window of opportunity to slip his tongue inside Crosby's mouth and still, infuriatingly enough, the other man did not pull back.
It was... maddening. Yes, Claude was enraged. Terribly so. But admittedly Crosby's cushioned lips made them... not unpleasant to press his own against and the flavour of Gatorade on Crosby's tongue was not one of the worst ones.
They eased against the boards and the soft little moans Crosby was making into his mouth as he kissed back with equal fervour made Claude want to grab the massive backside of Crosby's hockey pants if they weren't already pressed into the boards. He instead ran his hands over those thick thighs, and shit, he wondered how it would feel to-
"What the fuck is this? Get the fuck outta here!" one of the linesman grabbed Claude by the shoulder and tore him away from Crosby. He could see Crosby panting, cheeks red, sweaty hair swept to the side, mouth swollen, eyes wide with astonishment, not at all the picture of rage as Claude'd originally aimed for. But an ominous heat low in his belly seemed to think that this was better.
As he sat in the penalty box for what the refs decided was "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" they conferred with one another, trying to decide whether or not to give Crosby an offsetting minor. Ultimately they let Claude serve the time alone, having concluded that Crosby'd had nothing to do with the kiss.
Boy, if they'd only known.
The game hadn't gone according to plan and his objective of fucking with Crosby even less so. Perseverance was one of his strong points though. March 19th was when he'd pick up and try again. Until then he'd have to brace himself for the incessant reminders of their next meeting after what'd happened that night.
It was fairly easy to brush the kiss off as a practical joke to his teammates and to the media scrum after the game. All he had to do was make a few disingenuous remarks and throw in a wry smile. Sure, Crosby was kind of cute and the kiss was pretty good but the blurred lines between sarcasm and fact weren't all that important as it hadn't detracted from the main narrative.
Seeing Crosby standing outside the visitor's locker room was like a punch to the face. The kind of punch he got from the blast of heat when he stepped outdoors on those dog days of summer in Ottawa.
Okay fine, so Crosby looked hot in his stupid tight-fitting suit and his stupid perfect hair that could do no wrong. He even smelled good. What sort of mind fuckery was this?
His eyes lit up at the sight of Claude. It did not make Claude's stomach flip nervously. "Hi, uh, Gir... Claude? Can we... talk somewhere?"
After Crosby had led them to a quiet section of the arena he quickly made a second attempt to fuck with Crosby. It had even less of its desired effect than the first. In fact, it looked as though Crosby was almost expecting it. But Claude wasn't the sort of man to back down or give up.
Crosby was making those soft little moans again but Claude was smarter this time and got his hands on Crosby's ass before shoving him against the wall.
Claude was the first to do any talking. "Fairmont. Room 709."
Sid smiled, wide and bright and completely heart-stopping. Claude knew he was fucked.
(And boy, did Sid deliver.)