Sidney was about to send Claude a reply when he heard the locker room door open.
He was surprised when he found it was Sullivan walking into the room. Usually he stuck around after his post-game speech, especially after games like today when they'd loss to the Flyers by one point the day before Christmas eve, but today he'd been called out of the locker room by someone working at the rink. Sidney figured that since he'd already been pulled away, he would just head out after their conversation had finished.
"Alright team," Sullivan called out. A hush fell over the locker room immediately. Geno had just finished pulling his shoulder pads off. He caught Sidney's eye as he turned, one eyebrow raised in question. Sidney shook his head and gave a shrug of his shoulders. "I've got some bad news for you." He waited a moment, giving everyone time to straighten up and properly pay attention. "The roads outside are pretty bad. We're asking that you all stay for a while to avoid any accidents."
There was quiet second before the room exploded in noise as everyone started asking questions and demanding answers. A fair few of the people in the room were asking things concerning when they would be back with their families. Almost no one had come to the game today. They had all been anticipating the storm and no one had wanted to risk bringing the kids out, but they'd been anticipating that they'd at least get to be with them at their homes tonight.
"I know what day it is," Sullivan said, cutting through everyone's arguments, "and I know you guys want to be with your families. I want you to be with your families. But I'd rather get you guys to them tomorrow than not get you to them at all."
There was some murmuring before Tanger spoke up, "We're staying until tomorrow?"
"Maybe," Sullivan said. Sidney appreciated that he was being honest with him. "The storm's supposed to be done sometime tonight, but it could last into the morning. We'll try our best to get you out tonight, but we may have to wait until the morning yes."
There was some muttering as everyone took in the request, but no objections came. Sidney was glad for that. He'd seen the way some of the guys drove - Geno in particular was terrifying behind the wheel - and he definitely felt better about having them off the roads if they were that bad.
Raising his hand to catch Sullivan's attention, Sidney asked, "Are the Flyers staying?"
"Yes," Sullivan said with a small nod. "I've talked to their management and we all agreed the best option for them was to stay here with us until their bus can make it to the airport."
Putting his palms on his thighs, Sidney pushed himself off the bench. He took a moment to stretch once he was standing, reaching his arms above him and twisting so his back cracked.
When he started to move towards the doorway, Olli called out, "Where are you going, Captain?"
"To find my husband," Sidney answered without turning around.
He would have felt bad about the fact that he got to be with his family today while everyone else was isolated from there, but they got to spend seventy percent of their time with their families while he spent seventy percent of his away from Claude. He wasn't going to let a little bit of guilt interfere with that thirty percent.
Sidney found Claude at one of the vendors in the stadium with a tray of nachos in front of him.
His hair was dark, still damp from his post game shower, and stuck out at all angles. Sidney figured he hadn't bothered trying to smooth it out after drying it since they were stuck here for a while. He was wearing a pair of dark jeans and an old Gatineau Olympiques sweatshirt of his. They were clothes Claude had obviously packed for lounging around the house, but decided to put on instead of his workout clothes since there was a bite to the air in the stadium.
As he'd left the locker room Sidney had heard Sullivan explaining that a few of the vendors workers were staying a well, having not wanting to brave the snow, and they'd agreed to feed everyone even though they were supposed to be off for the night.
"Hey," Claude said, capturing the attention of the young girl working the stand he was at. She'd turned away from him after setting his nachos down, but now she looked back up. Sidney watched as he licked salt covered fingers before reaching back to grab his wallet out of the pocket of his pocket. He flipped it open, pulling out a twenty and holding it out to her. "Thanks for agreeing to do this. I know the management said they would pay for everything, but I'm sorry you got stuck here with us too so you should keep this for yourself."
She looked a little uncertain about whether or not she should take it, but after a moment she reached out. "Thank you."
Claude smiled, lips turning up softly, "Happy Holidays."
"Happy Holidays," the girl returned with a small incline of her head.
Sidney glanced around, noting that Simmonds, Streit, Schenn, and Voracek were grabbing food from other stalls and doing the same. A few of the younger Flyers were watching them. Sidney felt a small smile tug at his lips as he realized that Claude was doing this on purpose. The younger Flyers would follow their veterans leads and Sidney was sure by the time they actually went home everyone who'd gotten stuck with them was going to have a nice pile of cash to add to their Christmas bonus.
Picking up his nachos, Claude turned away from the stand.
His head was tipped down, focused on pulling one of the cheese drenched chips out of the pile, so he didn't notice Sidney until he said, "I'm pretty sure that's not in your diet plan."
Claude glanced up, smile widening when his eyes locked on Sidney.
"It's not," Claude agreed as he walked closer. He popped a chip into his mouth, looking almost unbearable smug about it. "But I think being snowed in allows me some lee-way."
"If you say so," Sidney said.
"I do," Claude said. Grabbing another chip, he held it out, "Want one?"
Sidney considered it for a moment. Usually he would say no, but they were going on Christmas break which meant Sidney's diet plan was going get trashed anyway. He nodded, leaning forward to bite the chip out of Claude's fingers.
"So I guess I'm not getting salted caramel hot chocolate," Claude said, looking around them as he pulled another chip out of the container for himself.
Sidney swallowed before saying, "No, but we can get a regular one. There's a few stands around here that sells it."
Claude shook his head, "It just wouldn't be the same."
Sidney let out a soft laugh. He leaned forward, pressing a quick kiss against Claude's lips. "You're ridiculous."
"Those words mean nothing coming from you," Claude answered. "So what are we going to do while we're stuck here?"
"Play hockey?" Sidney suggested.
Claude looked over at him, going quiet for a moment. Then he let out a heavy sigh, "I don't know what else I was expecting."
Half an hour later, after finishing off the food and grabbing their skates and sticks from the locker room, Sidney found himself standing at center ice with Claude again. Earlier that day they'd been rival Captains both ready to win for their team, but now that the game was over Sidney stood next to Claude with their knuckles brushing gently.
"Mmm," Claude hummed as he eyed the group in front of them. They'd picked up an assortment of Penguins and Flyers when they'd been grabbing their gear. There had been a lot of complaining about getting right back on the ice after such a rough game, but the NHL attracted a certain type of hockey maniac and there wasn't a single guy on either team that would pass up a chance to be on the ice. "Well I was going to see if you wanted to practice shots, but I think we'll need to figure something else out."
Sidney made a soft sound of agreement, reaching out to wrap his pinky around Claude's. Glancing out at who they'd gathered, he suggested, "Want to just pick teams and play a friendly game?"
"Sounds fine by me," Claude said. Addressing their teams he asked, "Everyone okay with that?"
There was a murmur of agreement from the group that'd decided to play.
"Cool." Claude bumped his shoulder against Sidney's, "You can pick first then."
Sidney let his eyes rack over the group in front of him. Picking one of his teammates would be the obvious choice, everyone was probably expecting this to turn into a Penguins vs Flyers thing, but Sidney was forming tentative friendships with the Flyers. The others got chances to play with their friends from different teams when they went to the All-Star game, but that didn't really appeal to Sidney so he rarely went.
"Okay," Sidney said. "Simmonds then."
Simmonds raised an eyebrow at him as he let himself drift towards Sidney. "You and me, Cros?"
"Yeah," Sidney said. "It'll be fun right?"
"Should be yeah," Simmonds answered. His lips curled in a teasing smile as he looped around Sidney so he was standing by his side. "I might have some trouble seeing you though. I usually just look for Claude's hair."
As Sidney let out a small laugh, Claude argued, "That hasn't been relevant since a cut it several years ago, Simmer."
"You could go bald and that wouldn't change the fact that you're a traffic light."
"Your entire team is made of traffic lights," Sidney pointed out.
Simmonds let out a loud laugh, "You aren't wrong."
"Okay then," Claude said, drawing Sidney's attention back to him. "If your going to steal my friends then my only choice is to steal yours. Malkin you're with me."
They spent the next couple of minutes like that, going back and forth to choose teammates as if they were teenagers in PE. As the group diminished, the teammates of theirs that weren't playing started to settle into the stadium seats around them. Many of them had food in their hand and were calling out tips to those on the ice.
When Claude let Sidney take both Gostisbehere and Del Zotto, Streit let out a loud boo from where he was sitting in the stands and told Claude that he sucked at picking defensive-men. Claude's only reply had been to stick one of his middle fingers up at him which had Streit lobbing the cap from his water-bottle over the glass. He'd nailed Claude right in the middle of the head and laughter had taken over the room so intensely that when they went to make their next picks no one could remember who's turn it had been.
Claude and Sidney spent the entire selection process with their hands linked between them.
The only comment any of their teammates made was Flower who skated inbetween them when Sidney picked him, complaining that Sidney didn't get to act all mushy with his husband when Flower's wife wasn't around for him to pay him back with.
It didn't stop Sidney from reaching right back over to grab Claude's hand again once Flower was behind him.
A period and a half into their game, Sidney found himself standing at the face off circle with Claude across from him. Simmonds and Raffl were on his wings while Claude had Geno and Voracek on either side of him. Fehr stood between them with the puck in his hand, one of the guys who hadn't wanted to play themselves but was willing to ref for them.
It'd taken everyone a while to get comfortable, but they had all settled into something loose and relaxed now. The benches were filled with laughter and cheering. Over on Claude's bench, Tanger had his arms thrown around Provorov and Olli. He kept forcing them into loud chants that reminded Sidney of high school softball games. Sidney had spent their makeshift intermission on the bench watching as VandeVelde and Kunitz showed each other pictures of their children.
Sullivan and Hakstol had both joined them as well. Sully was standing in the bench Sidney's team was using, giving pointers to everyone and smiling more than he ever would during a real game. Hakstol was doing much the same thing over on Claudes, joking with his own players and dragging the Penguins into conversations.
Everything was fun and relaxed.
Sidney's chest was bursting with affection and warmth for everyone in the room. The Flyers were Claude's family and slowly they were becoming Sidney's as well. It was nice to have them here and getting along with the Penguins, who had been all Sidney had for a few years, instead of worrying whether or not the people who mattered to them would mesh well.
"What are you smiling about?" Claude asked, snapping Sidney's attention back to him.
Sidney felt the smile he hadn't even known he was worrying stretch wider as he shrugged. "Just thinking about how I'm going to beat you at this face off."
"You sure are cocky for someone whose team is losing for the second time today," Claude answered. They were currently 2-1 with Claude's team leading.
Sidney shrugged, "It's one goal. It's not going to be hard to make it up."
"Thems fighting words, Cros."
They really, really weren't but Sidney found himself laughing and nodding. Cutting a glance at Fehr, he shook his hands a bit to get his gloves loose enough to throw off.
Fehr was laughing himself as he let hismelf drift closer, bending down. "Ready?"
Sidney and Claude both gave small nods.
The second the puck hit the ice, Sidney threw his gloves off and skated into Claude. While he grabbed Claude's shirt, Claude's hands went immediately to Sidney's cheeks and framed his face between them.
"Hi," Claude said, lips pulling up a bright grin as their eyes met.
"Hi," Sidney answered.
"So I considered fighting you," Claude said, voice smooth and casual, "but then I remembered that I love you and decided I'd rather kiss you."
"I am definitely down for that," Sidney agreed.
Claude's smile widened enough that Sidney caught a flash of teeth before Claude was ducking in to press their lips together.
There were a few seconds where the only thing Sidney was concerned with was the warmth of Claude's hands on his face and the softness of Claude's lips against his.
Then there was a sharp cry and Flower called out, "I said no sappy stuff!"
Sidney barely had time to process what had been said before Flower was barreling into them, knocking Claude and Sidney both to the ground.
Lying on the with his husband and one of his best friends sprawled on top of him, Sidney couldn't do anything except let his head rest against the ice under him and laugh.
He was happy.