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Re: Hockey RPF, Sid/Geno, 1001 (Reply)
Re: Hockey RPF, Sid/Geno, 1001
2015-05-08 05:15 am (UTC)
Sidney doesn’t make it easy, he knows that.
He’s never been an easy person to love, even for his family. Taylor tells him that sometimes, fondly and… not as fondly. “Why can’t you just tell people how you feel?” she yells in the middle of an argument, “how do you expect me to help you, or, like, just exist or whatever around you? It’s exhausting, Sidney.”
When he was 12, his parents decided it would probably be better for him to take off his jersey between games, so that the other parents wouldn’t recognize him. “It’s a game,” his mom told him. “A hiding game. It’s not about you, Sidney.” You could hide a lot, if you tried.
At 23, he decided he had to move out of the Lemieuxs’, stop taking advantage of their hospitality. They told him he could stay as long as he wanted, and he believed them, but he wasn’t stupid, he knew what people said. Emotionally Crippled Crosby, still living with Mom and Dad. He had to grow up, he told himself, to take responsibility for himself. He could still visit them, but they both knew it was different. He’d retreated a little bit more.
He doesn’t take it personally when his relationships, what there are of them, fail. He knows that he’s hard--he talks too much about hockey, he doesn’t talk enough about his feelings, he forgets basic tasks and to ask other people how they’re doing. His last girlfriend threw an avocado at him because he "doesn't know how to think about what I need!!!" He forgot Valentine’s Day for the last boyfriend, and, he thinks, the one before that (though he can't be sure). So it’s been awhile since he’s been with someone for longer than a night.
Sidney catches Geno staring at him when he’s making his sandwich one afternoon before their game. Geno doesn’t look away when Sidney meets his eyes. He just raises his eyebrows and smiles a little bit and wrinkles his nose, like Sam did when she was a puppy. Sid shakes his head and ignores him. It’s part of the ritual, all the guys know that. If Geno’s going to tease him, there’s nothing he can do about that. But it happens again the next game day, and this time Geno stands up and walks over to the table in the lounge. Sidney doesn’t look up, spreading the jam smoothly.
“You do always peanut butter first?” Geno asks after a minute of silent proximity.
Sidney coughs, surprised, but continues. “It keeps the bread from getting soggy,” he explains. Geno stands there for another moment, hands in his pockets, while Sid finishes, cuts the sandwich. Then he walks away.
They win by one, Geno assist to Sid.
After a road game in Edmonton, the team goes to a steakhouse that Perron recommends (“It’s awesome, I swear, there’s like a billion different sauces”) because it’s too cold to debate and they’re all tired. Sidney sits in his normal spot, between Flower and Duper, and all but collapses into the chair. He picks up the menu, stares at it for a second, and puts it back in front of him. Geno says his name, but everyone’s chatting loudly, and he has to say it again before Sidney recognizes and looks down the table.
Geno points to his menu, pantomimes eating. “What you order, Sid?”
“Medium rare, sauteed spinach,” he says shortly. Geno nods and looks thoughtful. “You?”
Geno shrugs. “Don’t know.” He grins. “Maybe get same as great Sid. Score three goals.”
Sidney laughs, despite the tiredness in his bones, and his disappointing performance on the road trip. He laughs, because it’s Geno's joke, and they’re here with the team, and it’s all going to be ok. It'll work out.
Geno pokes his head in when Sidney’s cutting his sticks. Sid expects him to chirp him about the perfect length, or the brand, or any of the other things he hears every day. When they were younger, Talbo would hound him every day about the “perfect Sidney Crosby stick” until Tanger or Flower or somebody shut him up. Instead, Geno quietly stretches out against the doorway like a lazy cat.
Sidney clears his throat, uncomfortable. He doesn’t usually feel… on edge around Geno. It’s unsettling. “‘Sup, G?”
Geno lifts both his arms over his head, revealing a little skin at the hem of his shirt. “What right length?”
Sid blinks. “What stick length do I use?” Geno nods seriously. “Short… 55, 56.”
Geno bites his lip, shrugs nonchalantly. “All same, yes?”
“Yeah.” Sid rubs his hand on the back of his neck. “I mean, they might be a little short for, uh, for you, but if you w-wanted, I guess you could... You could have one.”
Geno laughs. “No, no.” He moves to stand by Sid and looks at the sticks he’s already finished, lined up precisely against the wall. “These Sid stick.”
“Why do you want to know,” Sidney asks, all of a sudden frustrated. “About the sandwich, and the other stuff, and the sticks. What are you doing? Did Duper tell you to do this?" Geno smiles, the crinkle eyed smile that means he is winning, even if the other person doesn’t know it’s a competition. He leans in, close enough that Sid can feel him peripherally, but not so close as to make him uncomfortable. Not too many people know the difference. Then again, not many are Geno.
"I'm like learn Sid,” he says, warmly. He looks into Sid’s eyes. “Is ok?”
Sid swallows, something stuck in his throat. “Yeah, Geno. You’re ok.”
They have a couple of days off from games, and normally Sid enjoys this, pure practices and the feeling of getting stronger. He can, despite what Tanger says, feel when his shot gets more precise. It's nice getting groceries and being "so booooring, as Taylor calls it, which usually entails watching HGTV or Friends reruns. But he can't keep still. He runs around the block, and makes more of his mom's frozen casseroles than any one country could ever eat. He keeps coming up with reasons he needs to call his mom, or Nathalie, or Duper, who are all basically the same person. And all of these conversations inevitably become, "What's wrong Sid, what's going on?" because they do know when something’s wrong, when he babbles on and on, keeping them on the phone and eating away time. And he can't tell them because he doesn't know, and he doesn't know until he talks to Geno.
The phone rings three times before he picks up. "Hello?"
"Are you at home?" Sidney asks before he can talk himself out of it.
"Yes, Sid, I am old now, and boring like you, I do tax things," Geno says.
Sid ignores the rest. "Can I come over?" There’s a pause on the line. “Is it too late?” he asks anxiously. “We could do it another night, or get coffee or, or som-”
“Sid,” Geno says, laughing, “is eight o’clock.”
“Yeah, I don’t--you might go to bed early, I don’t know.”
“Come now,” Geno says. “I'm wait up for Sidney Crosby.”
When he opens the door, Geno's wearing blue sweats and a threadbare T-shirt, one of the ones they got from the Steelers that Sid gave away and Geno treasured forever. He looks rumpled and before he can think better of it, Sidney says, "you should get better conditioner."
Geno cracks a smile. "Come in, big meanie." He steps aside and Sid steps over the threshold, looks around while taking off his shoes. There are a bunch of papers on the kitchen table. "For 'countant," Geno explains. Sid nods. "Is worst," Geno says. Sid smiles nervously.
Geno offers water and orange juice, and takes a beer for himself. They sit in comfortable silence for a few minutes.
"Am I weird to you?" Sid asks.
Geno's eyebrows snap together. "Weird? No. Who tell you you weird." He looks angrily at the papers on the table, as though he could grill it out of them.
Sidney tries another tack: "I mean, do I confuse you? Or, I don't know... make things harder for you? All the stuff that I do? The touching sticks, and, and the path to the locker room, and..."
Geno looks bemused. "No. Is Sid stuff. Is fine." He corrects himself. "Is good."
"I worry, sometimes," Sid says, tearing at the wrapper on his water bottle, "that I'm throwing people off. Like, maybe my things distract people."
"You're always worry," Geno says kindly. "This is not worry, promise." Sid frowns, unconvinced. Geno reaches out and puts his hand on Sid's, resting on the table. "Sid." Sid looks up from his wrapper. "Is comfort. For Sid, yes but for team too. Knowing Sid there, ready." Sidney stares into his soft, gentle eyes. "Comfort also me," Geno adds softly. “I’m know you there.”
"I'm not," Sid starts and stops. He fidgets, uncomfortable with his skin. "I'm not good at, um, talking, about, whatever, about feelings, I guess. I don’t… I don’t know how to tell you..."
Geno makes an upset noise and Sid stops abruptly, furious at himself. He stares at the floor. How could he have been so stupid, telling this to his teammate, his friend.
Geno clears his throat. “You think, after all time together, I not know this?” Sidney shrugs and starts to explain. "I'm not an easy person, I'm terrible at-"
Geno ignores him. “I'm know Sid. I'm know Sid best.”
Sidney smiles, the familiar refrain still making him warm inside. “G, I’m not the best.”
“No, no.” Geno shakes his head, looking frustrated with himself. He takes a deep breath. “I am know Sid. Best know. Know Sid don’t like photoshoot where hair brush, know how Sid hate self little bit after fall on ice, disappoint. Know Sid like talk about hockey, but sometimes need talk about not hockey even if annoy. Yes?”
Sidney’s mouth falls open a bit. He sees Geno's eyes drop to the space between his lips, and a shiver goes up his spine. Geno moves forward hesitantly. “Know… know you like being touched when can do touching,” Geno says quietly. “Know in the shower sometimes, you, neck back and close eyes, look peaceful… but also, open. Easy?” He watches Sid’s lips.
Almost instinctively, Sid reaches out and touches Geno’s jaw. Geno closes his eyes and leans into his hand, almost nuzzling. “I don’t… I’m not as good at this as you,” Sid says finally, nervously.
Geno’s eyes open. “Yes, you very bad,” he says, mischievously. Sid laughs, and something in his chest relaxes. “Also bad at not put pressure on self,” Geno says thoughtfully, “but we work on this. Work hard."
Before he can think better of it, Sidney presses a quick kiss to the corner of Geno’s lips and feels Geno smile. He pulls back to see the fond look in Geno’s eyes, the look he's seen so many times, before Geno leans forward and whispers in his ear:
“I want always, always learn more Sid.”
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