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The Distance Is Numbing, The Only Cure Is You

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Teddy hates to think about how subjective a thing like distance really is, but it seems to be all he can think about. He finds himself dwelling on it at least once a day, usually when he's at home alone, enjoying his new found nightly ritual of sitting out on his back porch and watching the wind ripple the surface of the small lake that's nestled in between the oppressive condos. It's calming to sit in the quiet darkness and let his mind wander, except for when it ends up wandering onto that dreaded subject of distance, and just how fluid a concept it can be.

He finds it odd that when someone you love spends most of their time far from where you are - another state, perhaps - you try to convince yourself that the distance isn't that bad, not really. You spend hours repeating in your mind 'it's fine, it's really not that far, and there's always the next time.' Just the chance of seeing that person again, face to face, is enough to get you through. It's amazing how quickly things can change though, and you find yourself looking at the matter in a completely different light.

Teddy knows the all important shift in perception, the difference between 'not that far' and 'painfully distant', comes when you finally get to see that person again. It's in those moments that every inch of distance feels like a world away, and every breath, every second you're not together is a vice around your chest, crushing you and making it hard to breathe.

Teddy's never experienced that earth moving shift more than during the late night hours when Matt's laying peacefully asleep in his bed. Most days of the year, he's busy convincing himself that New York isn't that far away, and there's always the promise of their next game against the Rangers to get him through. But when the game schedule allows them the rare opportunity to reunite, either in Tampa or New York, Teddy spends every second he can drinking in Matt's presence, and relishing in the feel of Matt's touch on his skin. They cram every second so full of longing touches, hungry kisses, and needful gasps, that even the sparse seconds where Matt's lips aren't touching his feel like an eternity.

When the time finally comes that they've both run out of touches and things to say, they collapse into the soft comfort of bed, a tangle of limbs and cotton sheets. This time is no different. This time finds them at Teddy's apartment, after a long, hard fought game against the Rangers. Exhaustion has worked it's way into their systems long ago, and silence filled the small bedroom as Teddy lay on his back, with Matt curled against his side. Teddy doesn't want to close his eyes, doesn't want to fall asleep for fear of missing a single moment. His fingers are laced with Matt's, Matt's palm warm against Teddy's skin as his hand lays over his chest. Matt's hand hadn't moved since the second he had collapsed, sated, beside Teddy. Not that Teddy would have it any other way.

A dim light filters in through the window, illuminating the sharp outline of Matt's sleeping form, and Teddy carefully turns his head to take in the shallow rise and fall of Matt's chest, trying not to wake him. He wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life in the warm comfort of his bed, Matt pressed against him with his hand resting in his. Teddy's breath catches in his chest when he hears Matt shift beside him, and small, sleep drenched mumblings escape him. Teddy knows the moments he has with Matt just make the moments he doesn't all the more painful, but it all seems forgotten the second Matt's eyes flutter open and meet Teddy's across the small distance.