Work Header

When You're Ready (Come and Get It)

Work Text:

Danny hears about it at breakfast. He's at a table by himself, next to a table of a bunch of the younger guys, and McGinn is laughing and saying, "No, it was cool. G's great. You'll get your turn. He's doing a whole captain hangs out with everyone on the road thing."

"I already see enough of him," Schenner says. "Am I still going to have to hang out with him?"

"He said everyone," McGinn says. "That's gotta mean you too."

Danny's not sure where Claude came up with it, but it's a good idea. He's already their leader, but cementing his relationships with each of them can only help.


Danny figures he's not at the top of the list, and as their road trips go on, he's sure he isn't, and then he hears Luke telling Schenner, "Hey, we're supposed to hang out with G later," as they get off the bus.

"Do we have to?" Schenner says. "Don't we see him enough at home?"

Luke laughs. "I think that's why we're at the end. He said he'll be done by the end of this road trip."

It's a short enough road trip, and Danny's expecting Claude, but he never shows up.

If Claude included the Schenns, there's no reason for him to have skipped Danny. Unless he isn't including the As.

Danny hugs the boys for longer than usual when Sylvie drops them off.

Carson squirms out of his hug. "Why are you being weird?"

"I'm not being weird. I missed you." Danny grabs at Cameron, who's just a little more amenable to being hugged.

Cameron says, "You're being weird," but he allows the hug.


Danny joins Claude and a handful of other guys for dinner on their next road trip. Everyone else declines the dessert menus - there's a lot of discussion about going to a bar - but Claude accepts one.

"We're having dessert," he says to Danny.

"We are?"

"I've seen at least two kinds of cake go by. You love cake."

Claude tells the other guys he'll take care of the bill, and tells the waiter that only two of them are staying for dessert and says, "We don't need to take up all this space. We can move to a smaller table."

The other guys take off, and the waiter moves them to a small table in the corner that was occupied by a couple holding hands earlier.

The dessert menu has three kinds of cake. They all sound delicious, but Danny settles on the chocolate.

"You could get chocolate cake anywhere."

"It's a classic for a reason."

Claude gets the creme brulee, and they talk about nothing until their dessert plates arrive.

"Carson texted me to say you're acting weird," Claude says when Danny has a mouth full of cake and can't defend himself. "What's up?"

"I wasn't acting weird," Danny says. "I missed them."

"If Carson says you're acting weird."

Danny rolls his eyes. "Carson's in junior high. He thinks everything is weird." He pushes his plate forward. "This is really good. Do you want to try it?"

Claude takes a bite of the cake and lets Danny take a spoonful of creme brulee in return.

"You'd tell me if you really were being weird, right?"

"Yes, Claude. You're my friend and my captain, and I will tell you if I'm being weird."

Claude seems to accept that, and they go back to conversations that aren't about Danny's comportment.

They don't leave the restaurant until late, and Claude leaves an extravagant tip in payment for having taken up space and time for so long. It's cold outside, but they walk back to the hotel. They pause for a moment in the hallway between their rooms - they're across the hall from each other, and Danny's still not used to having a room to himself.

"Thanks for dessert."

Claude smiles at him. "Anytime. Good night."

"Good night."

So maybe Danny's not on Claude's spend time with everyone as the captain list, but that doesn't mean they can't still hang out.


Danny doesn't expect it to become a thing, but it happens a couple of other times, that everyone else takes off and he and Claude hang out and share a pair of desserts. There's a raspberry cheesecake to die for, a red velvet cupcake so good that they both give up on Claude's sorbet and order a second cupcake, a lemon tart that's so sour Claude laughs at Danny's face and switches it out for his apple crisp without letting Danny protest.


Once, Danny's in his room after a bad loss, sitting on his bed with the TV on, and he gets up at a knock on the door to find Claude with a slice of cheesecake and a pair of forks.

Danny lets him in and turns off the TV. They sit cross-legged on the bed with the cheesecake between them, and Danny makes a noise when he takes a bite. It's not just chocolate; it's also cool with mint.

Claude swipes his fork through the whipped cream and then cuts it through a piece of the cheesecake. "It's good," he says after a minute. "I didn't know if it would be."

"It is." Danny takes another bite, and thinks about it, and then says, "Unlike our playing tonight."

"Unlike our playing this whole damn season." Claude sighs, and then stabs his fork through the cheesecake. "Stop talking about it. We're having dessert."

Danny stops, and they don't talk about it when they're done either, just sit there for a while until Claude goes back to his own room.


Scott comes back, and the next time Danny and Claude stick around after dinner for dessert, Scott joins them.

It's fine, because Scott's their friend and he's fun to be with, but by silent accord they each order their own dessert without discussing it, and they don't share.

Their goodnights are different with three of them in the hall instead of two, but not in any way Danny can pinpoint.


They're coming off a win at home, with a game the next day Danny's feeling cheerful about, and Claude definitely said he was just going to have a quiet night when there was talk about going out later, so Danny orders the brownie sundae and two spoons from room service and takes it down the hall to Claude's room.

Claude grins at him. "I was thinking about dessert." He closes his laptop and they sit on the bed to eat. "This is perfect."

They're about halfway through it, taking bites of ice cream, brownie, and whipped cream in even measure, when there's another knock at Claude's door.

Danny raises his eyebrows, but shrugs when Claude sighs and gets up.

From where he is on the bed, he can hear Scott but not see him, until Claude comes back into the main part of the room with Scott trailing behind him.

"This is cozy." Scott pulls the chair out from the desk and turns it around so he can sit in it with his feet up on the bed. "How's the sundae?"

"Good," Danny says.

"You can't have any," Claude says. "Order your own if you want one."

Scott laughs. "I wouldn't dream of getting between the two of you and your dessert."


They're back at home when Scott corners Danny on his way to his car and throws an arm around his shoulders. "Danny B," Scott says, "the Schenners are very disappointed."

This could be going anywhere, but Danny plays along. "Why are the Schenners disappointed?"

"Apparently," Scott says, "G will never go get froyo with them anymore. And do you know why?" He pauses, and Danny obligingly shakes his head. "Because he saves up his empty calories allowance for dessert dates with you. Is it because he's the captain now? Is that getting in the way of your alone time?"

Danny rolls his eyes. "Why are you talking to me about this? Go bug Claude about it if the Schenners are annoying you."

"They're not annoying me," Scott says. "I'm talking to you because I can trust you to tell me the truth without telling me more than anyone needs to know about your sex life."

"I have no sex life," Danny says, and then cringes and amends it to, "I have no sex life with Claude."

Scott squeezes his shoulder. "Danny, we've been friends for a long time. I respect your privacy, but you don't have to lie to me."

Danny steps out from under his arm. "I'm not lying."

"You're at least dating him," Scott says, "in some sort of strange sugar-related courtship ritual. If you want more alone time, Kimmo and I can step up."

Danny clicks his keychain to unlock the car. "Goodbye Scott. I'll see you tomorrow."


Claude shows up at the house on a rare home day that the boys are at Sylvie's. He rings the bell instead of letting himself in, and he has a single slice of cake in a plastic container.

Danny lets him in and gets forks, and they sit at the table and eat cake straight out of the box.

Sean comes into the kitchen and doesn't seem all that surprised to see them, just waves and says, "Hey, G."

Claude waves back, and Sean wanders out with a bottle of Gatorade from the fridge.

"Hartsy thinks we're dating," Danny says halfway through the cake.

"The Schenners think we're dating," Claude says.

"Yeah, I think they told Scott something. He says they're disappointed you won't get froyo with them."

Claude makes a face. "I'd rather have cake with you."

Danny takes another bite of cake. "He also said he and Kimmo can step up if we need them to." He watches Claude concentrate very hard on cutting into the cake with his fork. "I can too, if you need help."

That makes Claude look up, and he smiles. "I know."


Claude comes to one of Caelan's practices. It's unscheduled, and he shows up just as Danny and the other coaches have the boys organized into drills.

Claude wades into it, takes the opposite side of the ice from Danny and helps guide the drills, but it requires a lot of whistles to get the boys to pay attention.

"Next time," Danny says to Claude after all of the kids have gathered around him at the end of practice, "show up at the beginning so they can get it out of their systems."

"It's not fair," Carson calls from the boards. Danny missed Sylvie dropping them off, but Carson and Cameron both have their backpacks and skate bags with them. "Can we skate with Claude now?"

"No," Danny calls back. "Caelan, shower. We're going for dinner, and then you all have homework." He sends Claude to confer with Cameron and Carson about what to have for dinner while he heads for the locker room to talk to the other coaches for a couple of minutes.

The boys have decided on a restaurant by the time Caelan's ready to go, and Claude says, "I texted Couts. He's meeting us there."

Dinner is a fairly raucous affair, although nothing like when the boys were toddlers. All three boys turn pleading looks on Danny at the end of dinner, and Carson acts as the spokesman to ask, "Please, can we have dessert?"

Claude's no help, and Couts is also eying the dessert menu.

"Yes," Danny says, "but," he holds up a hand, "no arguing or delaying about homework when we get home."

There's a chorus of promises Danny hopes they'll remember when they actually get home and have homework to do.

"What are you getting?" Claude asks.

Danny eyes the menu. "Are you going to call me boring if I get chocolate cake?"

"No," Claude says, "because I want the brownie sundae."

They push both plates to the middle of the table and split them. Somehow it's something they can do with the boys and Couts around, even though it had felt weird when they had dessert with Scott.


They don't make the playoffs, are mathematically out before the end of the season. They go hard, though, and win that last game in Ottawa, and Claude tells everyone they're going out Sunday night, no exceptions, no excuses. Locker clean out isn't scheduled until Tuesday anyway.

Danny figured they'd be doing something, so he already arranged for Sylvie to have the boys until Monday afternoon. Still, he's not twenty-five anymore, and he leaves the hard drinking to the younger guys while he sticks to beer at a booth near the back with some of the older guys.

They've been there for a couple of hours when Claude comes over with two small plates with shot glasses on them.

"Are we doing shots?" Mike asks. "That's not enough for all of us."

"They're not for you." Claude shoves his way into the booth across from Danny and pushes one plate at him.

"No," Danny says. "I'm not doing shots."

"Just one." Claude picks up the lemon and shot glass from the plate in front of him. He looks oddly intent, so Danny sighs and does the same. "You have to drag the lemon through the sugar, do the shot, and then the lemon."

They drag their lemons through the sugar on their plates, and tip their glasses together before they take the shots.

The shot, with the lemon and sugar, tastes exactly like a slice of cake, and it surprises Danny into laughing.

Claude grins at him, and it's the happiest he's looked since they found out for sure they weren't making the playoffs.


Danny wakes up late on Monday morning to a mass text from Scott about brunch. He texts back, gets dressed, and knocks on Sean's door.

"Just kill me," Sean calls.

Danny laughs. "Are you going to brunch?"

"Yes," Sean calls back.

He meets Danny downstairs later, hungover and miserable, and Danny doesn't laugh at him. Much.

About half the team shows up for brunch, the young single guys, mostly, and all of them wearing sunglasses they're reluctant to take off.

The place is mostly empty, midmorning on a Monday, and they have a table at the back. Sean sits with some of the younger guys at one end. Danny sits in the middle of the table, and Claude sits next to him when he shows up.

Claude squints at him as he takes off his sunglasses. "How are you not hungover?"

"I didn't drink that much."

"You were drinking all night," Scott says. "I saw you."

"Not that much," Danny says. "Three beers and a shot."

"Why weren't you drinking more?" Claude asks.

"I'm too old for that," Danny says, "and I have the boys this afternoon."

Their waitress brings coffee for all of them, and they all turn their attention to the menus.

There's a decided lack of hockey conversation over their meal, mostly tales of last night and plans for the summer.

Claude ordered some sort of combination breakfast, but is only eating his eggs, so Danny steals a piece of his bacon. Claude shoots him a look, but then turns his plate so it's easier for Danny to take the rest of it. In return, Danny doesn't comment when Claude steals a bite of his omelet.

When Claude's eaten half of his omelet, Danny just switches their plates so he can get to Claude's pancakes without dripping syrup everywhere.

He blinks at the plate after he takes a bite. "How much syrup did you put on these?"

"I like them sweet," Claude says.

"You should know better with a hangover," Scott says.

Danny steals back a bite of his omelet before Claude can eat it all and leaves the last two bites of pancake for Claude.


Tuesday is a nightmare of cleaning out their lockers, closing out their season, and giving interviews. Danny answers question after question, comments that the season didn't go the way they wanted and that they plan to do better next season, and makes sure to mention his absolute faith in Claude as their captain. When he picks the boys up from school, he hugs them for a long time, but this time they don't complain about it.


The Schenns are flying out early on Wednesday - Danny heard more than anyone really needed to say at the rink on Tuesday about how early they're leaving - so after lunch on Wednesday, Danny swings by a bakery for a really good brownie and half a dozen cookies, and then to the grocery store for ice cream, a jar of hot fudge, and whipped cream, and takes it all over to Claude's.

Claude finds a largish bowl and some spoons, and they split a cookie while Danny makes them one large sundae.

They eat on Claude's couch, legs folded beneath them and bowl on the center cushion.

"Decide what you're doing for the summer?" Danny asks.

"Going home for a while," Claude says, "but I think I'm going to spend most of it here. Hartsy's staying."

"I'm taking the boys up to Gatineau at the end of July," Danny says, "but we'll probably be here for the rest of it."

Claude nods, and doesn't say anything, and Danny doesn't push because he suspects whatever it is Claude does want to talk about is the kind of thing they don't talk about over dessert.

They take turns scraping hot fudge off the bottom of the bowl until they concede that there isn't really anything left to be eaten and let the spoons fall into the bowl.

"That was a terrible first season as captain," Claude says.

"It wasn't just you." Danny leans back against the arm of the couch. "We couldn't get it together. We'll do better next year."

"If I'm here next year," Claude says. "If they don't trade me."

"They're not going to trade you."

"They traded Richie, and he had the C."

"They traded Richie after three years, fights with the press, and too much public partying during the season."

Claude looks at him with more surprise than is really warranted. Danny might not have ever said any of that to a reporter, but there's no reason he can't say it to Claude.

"They're not going to trade you," Danny says. "You'll still be here next year. You'll still have the C. You can take us all the way to the Finals next year."

Claude seems comforted by that, and Danny leaves him the rest of the cookies and doesn't mention that he's the one who might not be here next year.


Claude goes up to Ottawa for a while. They text back and forth while he's there - he sends Danny pictures of ice cream and Danny sends back a picture of the cake he buys for Caelan and his friends for a sleepover - and start training together when Claude gets back. Scott, Kimmo, and the other guys still in the area join them most days.

On a day when Danny and Claude are the only ones on the ice and when it's early enough in the offseason that they're still building up their conditioning, they give up on drills and play keep away, chasing each other up and down the rink and stealing the puck every chance they get.

It's a good day.


Caelan's out of school before the other boys, and they have half-days their last three days of school, and all three of them are keyed up, bouncing off the walls and testing Danny's patience, and it's not even fully summer yet.

Yet another video game related argument starts up, and Danny pulls out his phone and texts Claude: Are you busy?


Good, Danny sends back. We're picking you up in ten minutes.

Where are we going? Claude asks. Skating? Beach?

Danny sends him, No, and says, "Enough," to the boys. "You have five minutes to get into the car. I told Claude we'd pick him up in ten."

Carson tumbles himself out of his impossible position on the couch and onto his feet. "Are we going skating?"

"No. Five minutes."

They make it in four, and Danny drives them over to Claude's place in Cherry Hill.

"Who wants to go get Claude?"

"I will." Caelan hops out of the car, and comes back a couple of minutes later with Claude.

"Hey," Claude says when he gets in the car, a general greeting that seems to encompass everyone.

"Do you know where we're going?" Cameron asks.

"No," Claude says. "Your dad wouldn't tell you, eh?"

"No," Cameron says. "Where are we going?"

Danny refuses to answer, no matter how many guesses they make, and drives them back toward Haddonfield. He finds a parking space, and still doesn't tell them where they're going, just leads them down the street until he turns and pulls open the door to Cold Stone.

"Ice cream?" Carson asks. "Yes!"

The boys rush ahead of them into the store, and Danny and Claude follow behind.

"Ice cream, eh?"

"It's going to take them forever to choose," Danny says, quiet enough that they can't be overheard, not that the boys are paying them any attention anyway.

Claude puts an arm around Danny's shoulders. "They're not even all out of school yet. You're in trouble if you can't handle them already."

Danny makes a face at him. "It's the half-days. They'll calm down once school is really over."

Claude still laughs at him, and they stand behind the boys while they pore over the menu and their options for ice cream and mix-ins.

It does take forever, but it's a forever when they're not fighting with each other, and Danny gives up on good parenting and lets them each get a medium sized ice cream instead of the small. Claude goes for a milkshake, and Danny gets something that has banana and caramel.

Danny pays and gives Cameron a couple of ones to put in the tip jar so the people behind the counter will sing for them.

The place is quiet, because it's a Wednesday afternoon and most of the schools around aren't out yet, half-days aside, and the large table in the corner is empty. The boys crash into three of the chairs - Cameron tucking one foot under him to get above his ice cream and Carson and Caelan settling into the sprawl of teenage boys everywhere - and leave two next to each other for Danny and Claude.

Sitting there with ice cream requires a lot less of Danny's attention than the boys arguing over video games at home.

Claude tips his cup in Danny's direction, and Danny takes it while Claude takes Danny's spoon out of his hand because he didn't think to get another one. Claude's milkshake is something minty, and Danny relaxes a little more. He takes a few more sips, and Claude eats about half the banana out of his ice cream, before they swap back.

Danny looks across the table at his boys, deep in some sort of discussion about Iron Man, and at Claude sipping his milkshake and putting it down on the table between them, where Danny can get to it if he wants. He would hate to lose this.


Danny texts Claude about dinner, and Claude calls him back a couple of minutes later.

"Are you really going to make me dress up?"

"It won't kill you to change out of your plaid shorts for one evening," Danny says.

"It's summer," Claude says. "I don't have to wear a suit in summer."

"One evening," Danny says. "Not the whole summer."

"You're picking me up," Claude says. "And buying me a drink."

"I was going to do that anyway," Danny says, but it works despite that, and Claude's in a suit when Danny picks him up.

"No kids?"

"Just us."

"Couldn't get them into suits, eh?"

Danny laughs. "They're with Sylvie."

Claude complains again about having to wear a suit, and he chirps Danny about making the drive into Philly.

There are people waiting for tables in the entryway, but Danny walks past them, and he and Claude are just reaching the podium when the maitre d' says, "Mr. Briere, Mr. Giroux. Your table is this way."

Danny does better than just buy Claude a drink; they split a bottle of wine with dinner, and Claude orders another glass of wine with dessert. Danny takes a sip of it, but no more since he's driving.

It takes until halfway through dessert before Claude looks around them and says, "You had reservations."

"Yes," Danny says.

"You can't make same-day reservations here for a Friday night. They won't even do it for me."

"They might for me," Danny says with a smirk.

"But they didn't." Claude sips his dessert wine. "You had plans."



"Because," Danny says, "it's June twenty-ninth."

Claude stares at him blankly.

"It's June twenty-ninth," Danny says, "and I'm still a Flyer. They didn't buy out my contract."

Claude's fork clatters onto his plate. "They wouldn't have."

"They might have."

Claude frowns at him. "You promised you would tell me if you were being weird."

"I wasn't being weird."

"But you were thinking about it. You should have told me."

Danny sighs. "I didn't want you to worry about it."

"I'm your captain," Claude says, "and your friend. You should have told me." His voice is low enough that they the people near them probably can't hear them, but his anger comes through clearly.

Danny cuts his fork through the cheesecake in front of Claude. "Dessert," he says, invoking their unspoken rule about what they do and don't talk about over dessert.

Claude lets him eat, and they don't talk about it again until they're in the car on the way back to Jersey.

"What would you have done with the reservations if they did buy out your contract?"

"Told you over dinner." Danny glances over at Claude. Even in the semi-darkness of the car, he can tell that Claude's jaw is set.

"And then spent all night on the phone with Pat strategizing," Claude says. "Don't-" He switches to French. "That doesn't work for us. Don't keep secrets from me." A moment of silence and then he says, "Danny," and there's a lot more than just his name in that.

Danny's hands tense against the wheel for a second; Claude is getting close to all the things they haven't said about this, the part of it that made the Schenns think they were dating and Scott ask if they weren't getting enough alone time.

"Okay." Danny glances over at Claude. "I won't."

Halfway back home, after a lot of silence, Danny says, "I'm sorry. I really thought it would be better if you didn't have to worry about it."

"I'm not one of the boys," Claude says. "You don't have to protect me."

Danny rubs his hand over his eyes. "Okay," he says. "I still want to, but I won't." That promise will have to be good enough for now.

They sit in silence for a moment when they get to Claude's.

"Thank you for dinner," Claude says. His mouth quirks into a kind of smile. "I'm glad it was a celebration."

Danny smiles - more or less - back at him. "Me too."


They get back to normal, mostly. They work out, skate, have lunch. When the boys ask about Claude coming over, Danny lets them call him. They still share cookies, pieces of cake, smoothies, but they take to offering them to each other instead of just taking. It feels like they've gone backwards.


They ease back into things, and one night when Claude comes over and sits around the table with Danny and the boys, he reaches across and steals the last egg roll from Danny's plate. Something in Danny's chest that he didn't even know was tight relaxes.

They have ice cream after dinner, and even though they're both having essentially the same thing, Danny reaches over to eat some of Claude's.

Claude gets himself another scoop of ice cream while Danny puts the rest of the plates in the dishwasher and stands there eating it slowly at the counter.

"Are you still worried?" Claude asks when Danny finishes cleaning up and leans on the counter across from him.

Danny shrugs. "They could still buy me out next year, or ask me to waive the no-movement clause."

"You wouldn't," Claude says. "Would you?"

Danny sighs. "I don't want to. I want to retire here. It could be good for you. Good for the team. We're weak on defense."

Claude dips his spoon into his bowl and holds it out. Danny leans in and eats the ice cream off of it.

"It could put you on team that's a real contender for the Cup," Claude says. He doesn't look like he wants to say it.

"We're a real contender for the Cup," Danny says. He takes the spoon from Claude. He doesn't really want more ice cream but he takes a bite so Claude will take the next one when Danny holds it out to him.

"If a trade could give us both good chances," Claude says, "would you take it?"

Danny holds out a spoonful of ice cream for Claude to give himself a moment before he has to answer.

"I don't know," he says. "I wouldn't want to leave the kids, or the team, but." He shakes his head.

"But you're getting close to retirement and you want to win the Cup," Claude says. He takes the spoon back. "I don't know what I would do either."


Danny drives the boys up to Gatineau at the end of July, and Claude drives up to Ottawa a couple of days later. They both have a lot of things to do with family and friends, but they still make time to hang out. They go golfing with their dads, take the boys minigolfing, go skating with the boys once.

Claude calls Danny one day and says, "I heard the boys have a sleepover with their cousins. Want to have dinner?"

"How much do you talk to my kids?" Danny asks, and doesn't wait for an answer before agreeing to dinner.

"I thought you didn't dress up during the off-season," he says when Claude tells him where they're going.

"I do for dates," Claude says.

Danny's a professional hockey player with very good reflexes; he does not drop his phone. It's a close thing, though.

"It's what we've been doing, right?"

"Yeah," Danny says. "Yes. Dinner. I'll meet you there."

"No, I'll pick you up."

"You don't want to drive out here and back to Ottawa twice," Danny says. "I'll come to your place if you really want to drive."

"Fine," Claude concedes. "Just wear something nice."

"It's a good thing I brought a suit," Danny says.

"You would have needed it anyway. You would have taken me out somewhere nice while we're here if I hadn't thought of it first."

He's right, although that wasn't necessarily what Danny was thinking about when he packed his suit.


Claude is waiting for him outside when Danny gets to his building.

Danny tweaks Claude's lapel. "Plaid?"

"It's the only suit I brought."

"Convenient." Danny grins at him, Claude makes a face, and they get into Claude's car and head to dinner.

Dinner is easy; they do this often enough that even both of them knowing it's a date this time doesn't get in the way of it. They talk about training, about what the boys have been up to, about what Claude has been up to.

The only awkward part is over dessert. They order two and put them in the middle of the table like usual, and it's only as Danny cuts through the lemon tart that he realizes he was about to hold out his fork to Claude, and they can't do that here. There are too many people around, and as much as no one's overtly looking at them, someone's bound to have noticed them.

Claude must catch something in Danny's expression, because he asks, "What?"

Danny shakes his head without answering - whichever language he chooses, they run the risk of being overheard - and eats the bite of lemon tart instead.


"Come up?" Claude asks when they get back to his place.

"Yes." Danny follows him into the building and up the stairs - Claude's only on the third floor - which leaves him looking at a lot of plaid and contemplating the build of Claude's body underneath it.

They pause inside Claude's door, and then Claude keeps walking into the kitchen and gets them each a bottle of water out of the fridge. Danny drinks from his, and then puts it down on the counter. Claude puts his down too, and steps toward Danny.

Danny's never been in the position of waiting for someone else to make a move, so when Claude doesn't follow through, Danny steps forward, cups one hand around the back of Claude's head, and kisses him. He starts it, but Claude escalates it, teases Danny's lips open with his tongue and licks into Danny's mouth.

Danny keeps kissing him on instinct, figuring out what works for them, how to fit his body against Claude's. He's the one to step back, though, after a long few minutes of finding out how much he likes kissing Claude.

"I haven't done this before," he says.

Claude blinks at him. "You've dated."

"Not a man," Danny says.

"Oh," Claude says. "Never?"

"You're the first one I've kissed," Danny says. "I met Sylvie when we were teenagers, and by the time we got divorced." He shrugs. Claude knows that part. "I never really thought about it anyway."

Claude takes a step back. "I, uh, when I was a teenager. There were a couple of guys I hooked up with." He rubs the back of his head. "Do you still want to do this?"

"Yes," Danny says. He tugs at Claude's lapels so he can't move any farther away. "I like dating you. I just think we should take it slow."

Claude steps in close again and puts his arms around Danny. "I don't think we could go any slower."

Danny slides his hands up over Claude's shoulders. "I meant sex," he says. "Let's take that part slow."

Claude makes a hilariously disappointed face. "Are you sure?"

"Yes." Danny kisses him to make up for it, and they end up kissing for longer than he meant to. "I'm still getting used to this part," he says when he has to stop before they both forget they're taking it slow.

Claude sighs. "Do you want to stay anyway? I promise I won't try anything."

Danny quirks a smile at him. "You'd better not." He pushes Claude back, then wraps a hand around his arm and lets Claude take him to his bedroom.

Danny knows how to share a room with Claude, even if they've never shared a bed. He knows more than he thought he did about that, though; somehow over a couple of years of sharing a room, he knows which side of the bed is Claude's and how Claude likes to sprawl out in bed. By necessity that comes from having three children and two dogs who don't always respect the boundaries of other people's beds, Danny knows how to sleep in a smaller space, but he'd rather not if he doesn't have to, so he nudges Claude over to make space for him.

Claude cedes him the space, then leans into it to kiss him soft and slow. Danny kisses him back the same way and lets his hand slide from the back of Claude's head to his neck to his shoulder. He lets his hand drop away after that, and they separate into their own spaces to sleep.


Danny wakes up before Claude in the morning. He takes a shower, borrows a shirt from Claude's closet, and goes to the kitchen to make coffee and see what there is for breakfast while Claude's in the shower.

"Get out of there," Claude says, and he pushes Danny away from the refrigerator. "You can't cook."

"I can make breakfast."

"You can make cereal." Claude gets eggs, milk, and butter out of the fridge. He puts them down on the counter and comes over to where Danny's pouring them coffee. Then he leans in and kisses Danny.

Danny puts his hand in Claude's hair when he kisses back, and it leaves it a mess when Claude steps away to make breakfast.

They sit down to eat, comfortable in the silence. Claude takes a couple of bites of Danny's eggs when he finishes his own, Danny takes half a slice of bacon from Claude, and they share the last piece of toast, passing it back and forth.

They put their dishes in the dishwasher, and Danny looks at the clock, then puts his arms around Claude and draws him down for a kiss, and another and another.

"I have to go," Danny says eventually, breathless and half hard. "I have to go home and change before I pick up the boys."

Claude plucks at his sleeve, Claude's shirt on Danny's body. "What's wrong with this?"

"It looks like I never made it home and stole a shirt from someone else's closet." Danny puts his hand up when Claude opens his mouth. "Which is what happened, but the boys don't need to know that." He kisses Claude quickly. "Taking it slow."

Claude says, "Taking it slow," with a sigh and steps back to let Danny leave.


They don't see a lot of each other for the next week, with Danny busy with the boys and family and Claude busy with his friends and family. They text, and call, even on days when they don't manage to get together, and Danny has no doubt about how committed he is to dating Claude, or about how much Claude wants him.

They take the boys to a movie, and the boys fight over who gets to sit next to Claude, which means Danny doesn't get to.

"So much for holding hands in the dark," Claude murmurs to him on the way out. "I didn't think we were going to take it this slow."

Danny laughs and bumps his shoulder into Claude's. He doesn't quite dare to hold Claude's hand under the table when they go for frozen yogurt after the movie, but he rests his hand on Claude's thigh for a minute, and they take turns eating out of both of their cups of yogurt.


Claude comes over for dinner a few days later, with a couple of cartons of ice cream for dessert. They let the boys get their ice cream first, and take it outside onto the back porch. From the kitchen, Danny can hear them talking and the clink of spoons against their bowls.

Danny takes the ice cream scoop out of Claude's hand and puts it down before he puts his arms around Claude and kisses him.

Claude makes a surprised, if muffled noise, and kisses back. Danny doesn't dare keep it up for long; the boys are bound to notice if they don't join them soon, and come looking for them. It's a little like summers when he was a teenager, he thinks: spending only the summers in Gatineau, and sneaking around with someone from Ottawa trying to get time alone, only this time it's Claude instead of Sylvie and he's hiding from his kids instead of his parents.

They take their ice cream out onto the porch. The boys are on the steps, the dogs flopped on the flagstones at their feet, so Danny and Claude sit in chairs behind them, watching the boys and exchanging bites of ice cream.

After they eat, they grab sticks and play hockey in the driveway until it gets too dark to see the ball. That also makes it late enough that Danny can send the boys to bed, and he checks to make sure they're all at least in bed with their doors closed before he goes into the kitchen where Claude is lingering next to the sink with a half-drunk glass of water. He takes Claude's phone out of his hand and puts it down next to the glass.

"I was doing something," Claude says mildly.

"More important than this?" Danny tugs him down and kisses him.

"No." Claude puts his arms around Danny's waist and nuzzles at Danny's neck.

Danny lets him for a minute before he slides his hand into Claude's hair and licks into his mouth. They make out for long minutes before the ping of Claude's phone draws them apart.

"Not important," Claude says, reaching out to turn it off and slip it into his pocket without looking away from Danny.

Danny smiles at him, letting it spread slowly over his face. "We could be more comfortable," he says, and he takes Claude's hand to lead him to the living room.

The couch isn't the right size for two grown hockey players, and they collide and laugh, shushing each other so they won't wake the kids, before Claude pushes Danny to sit down and straddles him, knees on either side of Danny's hips taking most of his weight. Most, but not all, and he grinds down against Danny after a couple of long minutes of kissing and wandering hands.

It really is like being a teenager again, only Danny has a little more self-control at this age, and while he's hard, he doesn't feel like he's going to come in his pants. He's reminded that Claude's ten years younger when he stops before Danny would have.

"If we're still going slow," Claude says.

"We are," Danny says. "Time to stop?"

Claude nods.

Danny kisses the corner of Claude's jaw and slowly draws his hands out from under Claude's shirt.

"Just so you know," Claude says when Danny walks him to the door, "I'm going home to jerk off."

Danny cups his cheek and kisses him. "I'm going upstairs to jerk off." He grins at Claude. "You can think about that on the drive home."

Claude groans and kisses Danny deep and dirty. "I'm not going to be able to think about anything else."

Danny watches through the window until Claude pulls out of the driveway, then he turns off all the lights downstairs and goes upstairs to stretch out on his bed to jerk off. He thinks about Claude as he does it, Claude's mouth on his, Claude's cock against his, what it would be like to touch Claude more than he has already, Claude jerking off.

Danny pauses and reaches for his phone. He fumbles with it one-handed and snaps a picture of his hand still wrapped around his cock, thumb rubbing over the head, and sends it to Claude. He drops his phone back on the nightstand and jerks himself off until he comes thinking about Claude jerking off to the picture Danny sent him.

He cleans himself up a little bit and lets the haze of a good orgasm drag him down into sleep.

In the morning, he has three missed texts from Claude. The first says, FUCK. The second says, How is this going slow? The third is a picture, Claude's fingers pale against the flush of his cock.

The other important thing on his phone is the time, and Danny forces himself out of bed - the boys will be up any minute - and jerks off quickly in the shower.

When he has cereal and milk on the table for the boys, he sends Claude, It's slow because you only get to look, not touch.

His phone buzzes when he's eating a bowl of the sugary cereal he only lets the boys have when they're on vacation, and he almost chokes on a spoonful of it when he opens the message from Claude that says, I can't wait to touch. My fingers will look better on you.


When Danny's time with the boys comes to an end, he drives them into Ottawa to drop them off with Sylvie and her parents, and then he goes over to Claude's.

Claude buzzes him up, smiles at him when he opens the door to his apartment, and kisses him once the door is closed behind him.

Danny smiles into the kiss and presses closer to Claude. "The kids are with Sylvie for two weeks." He puts his hands under Claude's shirt and slides them up his chest.

"Does that mean we don't have to go slow?"

"Not quite as slow," Danny says. He finds Claude's nipples and rubs his palms over them.

"Good," Claude says, and then they give up on talking in favor of kissing. They move away from the door after a bit, and Danny tugs Claude's shirt off while they stumble toward the couch.

Claude falls back onto the couch, pulling Danny with him in a confused tangle of limbs. They don't really get it sorted out until Claude jerks Danny's shirt off and manhandles him to lie on top of Claude.

It's a lot of skin to skin contact, which is something Danny hasn't had with anyone in longer than he'd like to admit, and something he's never had with another man. It's different. Not bad, and he could kiss Claude like this for hours, but it's different.

Danny loses track of the passage of time in the simple pleasure of kissing Claude, touching Claude, listening to the small noises Claude makes.

They're both hard, and they rub against each other. It's good, blindingly good, like the night they made out on Danny's couch.

One of Claude's hands slides down Danny's back to his ass. It's good for a moment, Claude pulling Danny in and the pressure on his cock, and then Danny has to stop kissing Claude and just rest their foreheads together.

Claude stills too, and the hand that isn't on Danny's ass runs through his hair. "Are you cockblocking me again?"

"Yes," Danny says. He kisses the corner of Claude's mouth in apology. He does understand how annoying it is, but he sits up anyway, Claude's hands falling away from him.

Claude closes his eyes without moving for a second, two, five, before he sits up and says, "Going slow."

"I'm sorry," Danny says. He's still hard, and nothing about the way Claude is sitting does anything to hide that he is too.

"You told me we were going to go slow," Claude says. He doesn't quite sound like he's regretting it.

Danny runs a hand through his hair. "I want to," he says. "It's just." He shrugs. "It's always been women." He doesn't want to, but he asks, "Do you want to, even if it's slow?"

"Yes," Claude says, blowing out a breath. He sends half a smile Danny's way. "I've eaten too many desserts to back out now."

Danny laughs at that, just a little.

"Are you staying?" Claude asks.

"If it's okay with you."

"Yes." Claude leans over and kisses him so they don't touch anywhere but there. "Will it bother you if I go jerk off?"

Danny has to fight a blush. "No," he says.

Claude kisses him again, a little deeper, then gets up and leaves the room.

Danny closes his eyes, trying to control his breathing and the pounding of his heart, but it's nothing compared to knowing what Claude's doing in the other room. This probably isn't why Claude has a place with a second bathroom, but Danny retreats to it to jerk off.

He straightens his clothes afterwards, but when he meets Claude in the living room, it must still be obvious what he was doing, because Claude bites his lip, and then kisses Danny as thoroughly as anything they were doing before.

Claude tugs him down onto the couch again, but this time they just sit, sprawled together, and watch the Jays game.


Danny goes home for some clothes, but other than that, he spends the rest of the two weeks the boys are with Sylvie at Claude's. They're training together anyway, Danny's family is just across the river, and he has his phone if the boys need him.

They make out a lot, standing in the kitchen, in bed as they're falling asleep, stretched out on the couch. Sometimes they stop and go on with whatever else they have to do, and sometimes they rub against each other for a few minutes before they retreat to separate rooms to jerk off.

They're on the couch ignoring a Jays game on the last night before Danny needs to go close up the house in Gatineau before he gets the boys and drives back to Haddonfield. It's as hot and heavy as anything else they've done, and Claude groans when Danny pulls back.

"Can I at least watch you jerk off?" Claude asks.

Danny's breath stutters, and he nods without speaking. He gets his pants open and his cock out, and sits at the opposite end of the couch from Claude and jerks himself off. He can feel Claude watching him.

"Fuck," Claude says, and Danny looks up to watch Claude unzip his shorts and get his cock out.

Danny can't take his eyes off of Claude's hand on his cock, his whole attention on how hot it is, and he's almost surprised when he comes.

"Oh, fuck," Claude groans. "Danny." He's even hotter when he comes, and Danny's fingers twitch, almost wanting to reach out and touch.

Danny leans across the couch when Claude does, and they kiss without touching before they take turns getting cleaned up and ready for bed.

"That was so hot," Claude murmurs when they're curled up together in bed.

Danny murmurs his agreement and kisses Claude until he falls asleep.


Claude makes breakfast in the morning, and they eat off of each other's plates even though there's no reason for it.

Claude hovers while Danny packs the rest of his stuff that's gotten spread out over Claude's apartment over the last two weeks, and he follows Danny around when he does a last sweep to make sure he hasn't forgotten something.

Claude kisses him at the door, and they make out for a lot longer than Danny planned.

"I have to go," Danny says.

"You could stay."

Danny mouths at Claude's jaw. "I can't. I have things to do before I get the kids." He kisses Claude again, what he means to be the last one. "It's not that long, and I'll call you."

Claude presses his thigh against Danny's half hard cock. "Can we have phone sex?"

Danny groans and kisses him again. "Yes."

Claude finally lets him go after a couple more minutes of kissing, and Danny makes the drive back to the Gatineau house on autopilot. When he gets there and checks his phone, he has a picture waiting for him from Claude. It's Claude's cock sticking out of his pants, Claude's hand wrapped loosely around the head.

Danny groans and jerks himself off before he works on closing up the house.


The sexting is nothing compared to what phone sex does to him. It's not that Danny's never had phone sex before, but he and Sylvie were still just kids who didn't know what they were doing in the beginning, it was never easy to work around roommates on the road, and it just got harder when they also had to work around the kids. Claude doesn't have any roommates and the boys are old enough to both entertain themselves and knock on closed doors - and they're at Sylvie's, their friends' houses, or hockey and lacrosse camps more than half the time.

Danny spends a lot of time behind the closed door of his bedroom with one hand on his dick and the other holding the phone to his ear while he listens to Claude jerk himself off. Danny has to keep the volume down, but Claude doesn't.

"Danny," Claude groans down the line. It's already hot, even before Claude says, "I want to suck you off. I haven't done it in years, but I could. Put my mouth on you. Taste you."

Danny swears, trying so hard to keep his voice down. "Yes," he says, "I want that. I want you."

Then it's Claude's turn to swear, a mix of French and English slurring together. "Would you suck me off after?" Claude asks.

The image of it flashes through Danny's mind, him on his knees with Claude's cock in his mouth, Claude's hands in his hair. His cock twitches and his balls draw up tight. "Yes," he says. "Yes, I want-" He loses the ability to string together words, and jerks himself faster, tighter, no clue what's coming out of his mouth, while he listens to Claude's gasps and moans.

Claude comes first, Danny recognizing the sound he makes by now. Danny's almost dizzy with how hard he is now, and it's barely a few more strokes and the sound of Claude's breath barely beginning to slow before he comes all over his hand and stomach.

They're quiet, just breathing down the line at each other for a couple of minutes.

Danny wipes his hand on his chest - he's already a mess; a little more won't make that much difference - and asks, "When are you coming back here?" when he can talk.

Claude groans. "Not for three more weeks."

Danny closes his eyes and tries to breathe. He doesn't want to wait for three more weeks to touch Claude. He's ready for it now, spent enough time listening to Claude come over the phone that not being with him while he does is getting harder and harder to bear, far outweighing any last trepidation he might have about it.

When Danny opens his mouth, what comes out of it is, "I miss you."

"Fuck," Claude mutters. "I miss you so much. I want to kiss you all the time."

"Three weeks," Danny says. In the big picture, it isn't that much time.

"Three weeks," Claude says, "and then you're not going to know what hit you."

Danny laughs. "I can't wait."


Danny smiles down at Claude's name on his phone and answers with a pleased, "Hi."

"Hi," Claude says. "I'm back. Can I come over and suck you off?"

Danny flushes hot all over and keeps from groaning only because the boys are in the next room. "You can come over for dinner. I have the boys for two more days."

"Can I suck you off after they're in bed?"

Danny really, really wants to say yes, but he doesn't want to have to worry about the boys being around the first time they do this. "No," he says. "Two more days. You can come over for dinner today."

"Two days is a really long time," Claude says, just short of a whine. "I'm going to have to jerk off, like, three times a day, at least, until then."

Danny closes his eyes and thanks all that is holy that he's old enough not to give in to the urgings of his dick. "Bring dessert," he says, and then he hangs up before Claude can say anything else to try to change his mind or make him need to go jerk off.

He still takes a minute to compose himself before he dares go into a room with the boys, but then they're enough of a distraction that he can put thoughts of Claude aside, at least until Claude gets to the house and lets himself in.

The boys pile on him, Claude holding the box he came in with above their heads and eventually passing it over to Danny. "That needs to go in the fridge," Claude calls after him as he takes it to the kitchen.

Danny resists the urge to open it and puts it in the fridge without looking. By the time he does that, the boys have calmed down enough that Claude can push them away for long enough to hug Danny. It isn't anything more than a hug, but it's still so good to feel Claude's body against him.

They don't get to do anything else until later, when the food arrives and Danny sends the boys out of the kitchen to wash their hands for dinner. Danny doesn't waste any time meeting Claude in the middle of the room for a quick, hard kiss that isn't anywhere near enough to satisfy him.

It leaves Danny a little distracted all the way through dinner, which doesn't matter because the boys keep up enough conversation for all of them, and after they put away the leftovers, Claude brings out dessert.

He brought cupcakes, an assortment of flavors. Danny doesn't even pretend not to know that he did it so the two of them can each choose a different flavor and have an excuse to hold them out, paper wrappers folded back, and feed each other bites.

Claude stays, even after Danny sends the boys to bed, and even if Danny doesn't want to do anything more with the boys still in the house, he does pull Claude down onto the couch with him. They make out until they're both hard and gasping into each other's mouths and Danny has to push Claude away before he loses his resolve.

Claude groans. "I can't wait until you stop cockblocking me."

Danny kisses his neck. "Two more days."

"Two days too long." Claude kisses him fast and hard, then stands up. "I'm going home to jerk off. I'll see you in two days."

Danny walks him to the door, where they kiss again, one more deep moment of contact before Claude goes home and Danny stumbles up the stairs to his room to jerk off.


Danny and Sylvie have an agreement that they'll tell each other things about their lives that affect the boys, so when Danny drops the boys off at her house, he tells them, "I need to talk to your mom for a minute."

The boys hug both of them and disappear into the house. Sylvie lets Danny in, and gestures him toward the living room. They sit down, Danny in a chair and Sylvie on the couch. There's no point in dragging it out, so Danny dives right in.

"I'm dating Claude."

"I know," Sylvie says, which throws Danny for a loop. This is not how he expected this conversation to go.

"You know?"

"The boys told me," Sylvie says.

Danny doesn't even know what to say to that. "When?" he finally asks.

Sylvie shrugs. "A while ago. Before they were out of school."

"Oh," Danny says, even more stunned by that. "Okay. I guess that's it. I wanted you to know."

"Okay," Sylvie says. She gets up when he does and smirks as she walks him to the door. "How is it?"

Danny knows her well enough to know she's not just asking about the state of his relationship. "Amicable doesn't mean you get to ask about my sex life," he snaps.

"Less amicable by the minute," Sylvie says without heat. "If you marry him, don't wait months to tell me about it."

Danny didn't even mean to do that this time, but he doesn't say that to Sylvie, just says goodbye and gets into his car. He puts his phone on speaker and calls Claude as he pulls out of the driveway.

"It's been two days and you're calling me," Claude says, "does that mean I can suck your cock now?"

"Yes," Danny says. "I'm coming over."

"Thank God," Claude says.

"I told Sylvie we're dating."

There's a second of silence before Claude says, "That's not getting me in the mood."

"She said she knew," Danny says. "The boys told her, before they were out of school for the summer."

"So she's not upset about it?"

"No," Danny says, "but I'm going to have to talk to the boys about not telling other people."

"They probably know that," Claude says, "if they haven't told anyone else since then."

"What were they doing telling anyone then? We didn't even know we were dating before they were out of school."

"Your kids are smarter than we are," Claude says. "Will you please come over and let me touch you now?"

"I'm almost there," Danny says. He doesn't hang up, even though they don't say much of anything, until after he says, "I'm here," and Claude opens the door.

They barely manage to close the door and turn off their phones before they're kissing, Claude sliding a thigh between Danny's and grabbing his ass. Claude's already hard, and it doesn't take long, just a few minutes of kissing and grinding against each other, before Danny is too.

Claude takes a step back. "Get up the stairs," he says, "or I'm going to blow you right here."

It wouldn't be the worst thing, but Claude has a bed, and that's going to be more comfortable after even if they don't start out on it, so Danny takes the stairs two at a time. Claude catches up with him at the top, putting his hands on Danny's hips and plastering himself to Danny's back as they stumble from the top of the stairs to Claude's bedroom. They don't bother to close that door.

"Fuck," Claude says when Danny steps away and pulls his shirt off. "I want to blow you so bad."

Danny's hands shake a little bit while he unbuttons and unzips his jeans, but not enough to make him stop. He wants this as much now that he's thought about it with Claude's cock hard against his hip as he did before when he was thinking about it with just Claude's voice in his ear.

"Fuck," Claude says again when Danny gets himself naked in Claude's bedroom. They've made out shirtless before, but never with one of them quite this naked. They do now, Claude closing the distance between them and initiating a kiss that's deep and wet from the start.

"Get your clothes off," Danny says after a minute. He kind of likes the brush of Claude's clothes against his bare skin, but it's not going to get him what he wants. "I want to see you."

Danny watches as Claude strips quickly. It hasn't been that long since he last saw Claude, but he can see how well Claude's kept up with his offseason training, more definition in his muscle. Claude lets him look for a moment before they're kissing again, bare skin to bare skin all over now.

They've done enough rubbing against each other with their clothes on that the hard length of Claude's dick isn't as strange as it could be. It's just good, proof of how turned on Claude is. And then Claude's moving away from him, going to his knees in front of Danny and, fuck, that's so hot.

It's not as weird as doing something else might be; he's seen Claude turned on plenty of times, and it's not the first time someone else has been on their knees about to suck his dick, even if the rest of them were all women.

Claude might not have done this in years, but he does have some idea what he's doing. He licks for a little bit, flicking his tongue all over Danny's dick in a way that just makes him want more.

"Claude," he says, "please."

"Payback for how long you were cockblocking me," Claude says. Despite his words, he stops teasing and takes the head of Danny's cock into his mouth. Then it doesn't matter that the circumstances are different from any other time Danny's done this. It's just wet heat and suction and Claude rubbing Danny's cock between his tongue and the roof of his mouth.

Danny would like to take the time to enjoy it, but Claude has a point about the cockblocking; he's been waiting for this for long enough that it's barely any time at all before he can feel his balls drawing up tight.

"Going to come," he chokes out, trying to be polite about it.

Claude hums around his cock and doesn't draw back in the slightest, even when Danny starts to come. He swallows most of it, just a tiny bit slipping down his chin that he licks at when he draws off of Danny's cock.

Danny stares down at him, knees wobbly and brain blank.

Claude settles back on his heels and looks up to meet Danny's eyes.

Danny lets his knees give out and folds down to press sloppy kisses to Claude's lips.

Claude puts his arms around him and takes charge so they're really kissing, pulls him in so Danny can feel that Claude's still hard while he tastes the traces of his own come in Claude's mouth.

It's the taste that makes it easier for Danny to say, "I said I'd blow you too."

Claude groans and presses his forehead to Danny's. "You don't have to. You can jerk me off."

Danny says, "I want to." It's mostly true anyway, and it makes Claude kiss him frantically.

Then Claude is pulling away, and Danny grabs at him reflexively.

"Bed," Claude says. "This'll be easier." He gets up from the floor, pulling Danny along with him over to the bed. He lies down on his back, and Danny follows him down, kissing him for a minute before he moves down Claude's body. He's touched Claude's chest before, his hips, but he hasn't kissed any of it, hasn't had the chance to run his hands all over Claude.

It's not weird at all. It just feels good to have Claude under him, Claude staying still for a minute and then trying to move against Danny.

It's a little weirder when he gets to Claude's cock, but there are enough pictures of it on his phone that he's used to it. He hasn't ever wrapped his hand around it before, but he doesn't hesitate now, stroking it a couple of times, and then holding it in place. The taste, when he licks at it, is new, different from the rest of Claude's skin at the tip where he's already leaking and different from what his own come tasted like in Claude's mouth.

Danny goes slow as he figures out what he's doing. He gets the idea, but he's never done it, and it takes him a minute to get used to the feel of Claude's cock in his mouth, the way he has to be careful of his teeth.

Claude is unbelievably patient with him, until Danny gets comfortable enough to start bobbing up and down Claude's cock. Then Claude curls halfway up with a strangled moan and grabs at Danny's hair.

"Danny," he says. "Danny, Danny, fuck, yes, please."

Claude's hands aren't too heavy on Danny's head, and he mostly just keeps them there while Danny moves. The way Claude is catching at his hair is a little uncomfortable, but not enough to make him stop, not when Claude sounds like that. He's beginning to see why people like doing this.

"Danny," Claude says, his tone changing, "I'm gonna-"

If Claude swallowed, Danny can too. He keeps his mouth on Claude's cock.

"Oh, fuck," Claude says, and then he doesn't say anything other than a lot of vowel sounds in his moan as he comes.

Danny doesn't quite choke on Claude's come, but he also doesn't do as well as Claude did at swallowing all of it. He has to wipe the rest of it off his chin. He licks it off his hand instead of wiping his hand on the sheets, but he can't help the face he makes; it doesn't taste that great to begin with, and worse when he's not caught up in swallowing to make it good for Claude.

Claude groans. "Come here."

Danny does, moving up the bed to lie next to Claude. They make out for a while, this part completely familiar.

"You good?" Claude asks him. "First time with a man."

"Yes," Danny says, surprised at how true it is. When it came down to it, it was more good than anything else. "I'm good. We can do that again. We can do that a lot more."

Claude beams at him and kisses him for a little while longer before he rolls out of bed.

Danny props himself up on his elbows. "Where are you going?"

"I'll be right back." Claude walks out of the room naked, and watching his ass as he goes almost makes up for him leaving.

He comes back a couple of minutes later with a couple of bottles of water, a fork, and a plastic box with a slice of chocolate cake in it. He gives Danny one bottle of water but keeps the cake and the fork.

Danny sits up and swigs some of the water.

"Here." Claude holds out the fork with a bite of cake on it. "Nothing like chocolate cake to take the taste of come out of your mouth."

Danny barely manages not to choke on the cake when he laughs at that.

Claude grins at him and doesn't resist when Danny takes the fork from him.

They split the cake, taking turns feeding it to each other, and there's nothing to taste but chocolate frosting when they make out after they're done.


Claude gets everyone who's coming back this year together for a casual thing - beer, chips, cookies, a cheese platter - at his place a couple of days before training camp begins.

Danny leaves the boys at home and spends the evening catching up with guys he hasn't seen in months. He doesn't drink too much - he has the boys, and he does have to go home eventually, as much as he'd like to stay with Claude - but he can't say the same for everyone else.

Scott is well on his way to smashed when he throws an arm around Danny's shoulders and says, "Danny, Danny, Danny. Danny B, are we going to lose you and G to your alone time on the road again this year?"

Danny looks over to where Claude is organizing some of the younger guys into teams for beer pong. Claude looks up and flashes him a smile as he bites into a cookie.

"No," Danny says to Scott, smile settling easy on his face. "We get plenty of alone time."