Jonny’s definitely not a fighter. Definitely, definitely, not. So, Patrick’s pretty confused as to why he’s hooked onto Martin Hanzal with his fist repeatedly beating his face in.
It started when Martin delivered a crushing hit to Patrick. He hadn’t even realized what the fuck was happening until he was practically airborne, the force of his entire body hitting the ice at once almost as painful as the raw contact from Martin — almost. He groaned in misery, trying to scramble to get back onto his own two feet.
That didn’t work out.
Because some dickhead — Patrick saw nothing but the number ‘41’ on his back — skated carelessly by him, his skate knocking his helmet clean off as he received another agonizing hit from his blade. That was fucking demeaning, but he could do nothing but clench his skull in despair as the violent sound of the ref’s whistle ripped out. He was pretty confident the play was stopped because of his refusal to move. But the sudden eruption of cheering in the arena dragged his attention elsewhere.
Jonathan Toews was mad. That was something no one wanted to see. Well, no one but the tongue-in-cheek hockey fans who came to games just to watch the fights. Okay, so, mostly everyone.
So, that fight was — oh. That fight was because of him. That took some time to click.
Patrick observed it hesitantly, watching as Martin, who had a clear advantage over Jonny as he was taller and heavier, delivered bone-breaking upper cuts to him. Patrick exhaled heavily, silent and anxious. Though, he felt his anxiety fluctuating as Martin toppled over with Jonny right on top of him, clinging hard to his chest. At this point, the referees got involved, tearing them both off one another before Jonny bust the guy’s lip open. Or better yet, knocked out a tooth. That would really get everyone going, wouldn’t it?
The fight ending didn’t disappoint him one bit, in fact he cherished it. Jonny just stood up for him, fought for him, sacrificed himself for him, and it was fucking exhilarating. He sent him a wide grin as the ref ushered him towards the box and the look on Jonny’s face was easily the happiest he’s ever seen it. He didn’t even know the meaning of regret.
Martin was simultaneously led to the penalty box and he was grinning just as wildly, which was sort of backwards. But he knew you can’t end a fight with Chicago’s prized Jonathan Toews (whether you lose or win) without feeling even a small flurry of pride — especially if it’s your first fight.
He initially forgave Martin. Even though he later caught Jonny yelling out to him and demanding him to stay the fuck away from Patrick. It was all in good-nature, though. Jonny didn’t hold grudges. He just had an incredibly dry sense of humour.
It sounded like a really good idea at the time. It came along with a plausible excuse and everything. Or, at least, that’s how Patrick read the situation. Sometimes while you’re playing a friendly game of Mantracker with your hockey team and you see a tree open for business, just waiting for you to hide in the leaves, you take the opportunity.
Patrick was an agile little guy, he prided himself on it — the agile part, not the little part. So he was pretty sure getting in and out of the thick branches would be even easier than he expected. Reality check, it wasn’t. As a matter-of-fact, it was at least twenty times harder than he could imagine. Maybe this was in his head, but he was finding it difficult to move off of his current branch without the entire tree shaking beneath him. His fear of heights was beginning to rapidly kick in too. He definitely climbed up way too high. Too high to jump down, and too high to process the situation lightly without panicking.
He was contemplating his choices when he heard footsteps approaching his tree. His tree, he scoffed. He’d give anything to be back on the ground and the farthest possible distance away from this damn thing. Between scanning the area and trying to move off the branch, he heard a short fit of laughter before words of concern began stirring.
“Kaner, what the fuck are you doing up there?!” It was Vinnie, a wide unfaltering grin pressed to his lips.
Jonny was right next to him and for a guy his height he looked extremely short from the angle Patrick was looking at him. “Vinnie,” he warned, his voice low as he elbowed him in the ribs. “Patrick, you gonna come down anytime soon?” He tilted his head up at him, worry in his voice. Patrick opened his mouth to respond but was promptly interrupted by him, “Or am I gonna have to call animal control to come get your ass?”
Vinnie guffawed, waving at Patrick — and Patrick waved right back, a single finger proudly in the air. “Get your ass down here, Kaner!”
“Why are you even up there?” Jonny called out, hands cupped around his mouth so his voice reached Patrick.
Patrick mumbled something and Vinnie made an obscene huh? sound. He cleared his throat, “This is a good hiding spot!”
“That’s cheating, you fuckwad!” Vinnie protested.
“We never agreed on hiding in trees being cheating,” Patrick countered, brows raised in disbelief that that was the one thing Vinnie was concerned about.
“We never agreed on it being okay either!” He kicked at the trunk of the tree and Jonny rolled his eyes so far back he swore he saw his brain.
“Can we please focus on Kaner being in a fucking tree?” He scolded Vinnie before turning his head to look back up at Patrick. “Can you come down, bud? Games over; you won. The guys have been looking for you for like the past 10 minutes.”
“Really?!” Patrick beamed at him and Jonny flashed him a half-hearted smile. “Okay, I’ll be—“ He began to try and move, his leg shifting before he realized he was a grown ass man in a fucking tree and something was eventually going to break, whether it was his bones or the branches. “Actually, I, uh, the weather up here is really nice.”
“He’s bluffing,” Vinnie scoffed, his neck craned uncomfortably to watch Patrick make a dissatisfied face down at him. “Dude’s scared.”
“I’m scared for your well-being once I get down there,” he jabbed back.
“If you get down here,” he challenged, a smirk prominent on his features.
“You okay with moving at all?” Jonny checked in, the only guy with a level-head anywhere near them. Patrick was certainly thankful for it, he’s not sure what he would do if it was just Vinnie here trying to get him through this.
“Yeah,” Patrick responded.
“Can you try to—“
“I can move my eyelids,” he announced with false pride, blinking accordingly afterwards. Vinnie said something to Jonny and he grinned, making Patrick strenuously worried for his future. “What?”
“Pat, you gotta jump.”
“Oh, fuck no, I’ll just stay up here forever,” he glowered down at him. The thought of jumping scared him shitless, especially from however many feet in the air he was.
Jonny huffed and crossed his arms. “Well, then I’ll have to call the fire-department,” he announced, turning to Vinnie.
“That’s rough, imagine the headlines,” he made a face of pity. “Mediocre NHL player caught in tree: how not to turn out like him.”
Patrick grunted, perching himself farther off the branch, “Shut up, dickhead.” He looked down at the ground beneath him, then Vinnie, then a more comforting sight — Jonny. “I think I might be able to— fuck!”
He heard the branch snap and didn’t even have a second to twist his head to check out the damage, because it fell along with him. He crashed to the ground and in the moment, he felt no pain. It was just him on the ground, Vinnie’s laughter echoing in his head as his vision blurred. He tried getting up but his knees buckled and he toppled right into someone’s arms, the grip firm around his waist.
“Holy shit, his arm!” Jonny yelled right behind him, and despite the magnitude of his voice Patrick had to strain to hear it. It was muffled and forced to rival the high ringing in his head.
“I’m, fuck, fine,” he muttered, eyes flickering shut as he pushed all his weight back against Jonny.
“What the hell are we gonna do?!”
“My car keys are in my back pocket,” Jonny instructed, nodding towards them. “Grab them, we’re taking Kaner to the hospital, I don’t give a shit what the press’ll say.”
Patrick hissed when he felt a surge of pain crawl up his arm and Jonny gingerly hushed him, telling him with a soft voice that everything will be okay.
They walked to his car, well, Patrick was slumped against Jonny as he lead him along. Every now and then, he grimaced in pain but Jonny was there to comfort him, assuring him not to worry about it, that it’ll be fine.
They found out later that Patrick had broken his arm.
Patrick sighed theatrically and it certainly caught Jonny’s attention. “And if I don’t get laid tonight I’m gonna throw a fucking tantrum,” he grumbled, eyes flitting around the bar before landing right back on Jonny, who was twirling the ice cubes in his jack and coke with a straw.
He snorted, turning his head to briefly watch the people behind them chatter. “What kinda mood you in tonight?”
“There’s an ache in my jaw, you know what I mean?” He winked, flashing his teeth in a bright grin that Jonny rolled his eyes at.
“You’re not helping.”
“Dick, I want dick,” he explained flatly.
Jonny scanned the bar. He stilled, then reverted his gaze back to Patrick. “How about him?” He subtly pointed to a guy in the distance and it looked a little like he was wearing a Bruins hoodie.
Patrick wore a look of disbelief before laughing obnoxiously. “No offence, but... really Jonny?”
They’ve been each other’s wingmen for about as long as they can remember. They both just naturally fell into the positions when they came to their first dive bar together. That was way back in 2007. They’ve both tried using other guys as wingmen, too, but it never really worked out. Patrick knew Jonny and Jonny knew Patrick.
“So, that’s a no, huh?” Jonny hummed and Patrick just punched his shoulder as he kept searching the bar. “Oh, right there,” he motioned with his chin and Patrick followed his gaze.
He looked at him for a second, eyes drifting over him and Jonny was pretty sure Patrick was undressing him with his eyes. “He’s...”
“Yeah?” Jonny asked, anticipation dripping from his voice
“Really short — too short.” Patrick shrugged. “I like tall guys. I hate being on top, fuck that, too much work.”
Jonny rubbed the bridge of his nose, a groan leaving his lips. “You can be on the bottom as the taller guy, dipshit.”
“Do you realize how awkward that is?!” Patrick defensively shot back. His eyes looked over Jonny and he made an incoherent face. “Tall guy’s are just... better.”
“Well, it’s not too hard to find a guy taller than you.”
Patrick’s lower lip slipped into a pout. “Suck my dick.”
“I don’t swing that way,” he sneered. Jonny turned his head to watch as a guy began advancing them, eyes wide as he looked towards Patrick. “There’s a guy coming this way,” he whispered urgently.
“Holy shit, how do I look?”
“Amazing,” he said, and it was far more honest than Jonny had meant it to be. “Don’t fuck this up.”
“I won’t.” They gave each other a discreet fist-bump before Jonny turned back towards the bar, feigning extreme interest in his drink.
The guy approached them and Patrick instantaneously noted his strong features, yet softened out by the freckles sprawled across his nose. “Hey,” he drawled out.
His accent sent strong hints towards him being southern. Patrick swooned a little and Jonny chuckled to himself, knowing full well.
“Hey. Patrick — I’m Patrick.”
“Kyle,” he responded, a charming smile on his lips. “Can I buy you a drink? Friend of mine told me he’d seen you looking me up and down earlier.”
Patrick swallowed, unsure of how to respond. “There was something in my eye?”
Kyle laughed and Patrick swore he felt shivers run down his back at the deep timbre of the sound. “I’m sure. So, that a yes?”
Patrick looked back towards Jonny, who sent him an enthusiastic thumbs up.
He didn’t have to tell him twice.
Kyle quirked a brow at him, a small chuckle leaving his lips. “Was I just wingman approved?”
Patrick waved his hand and clicked his tongue. “That’s besides the point.”
“Come on, dude,” Patrick whined, pulling obnoxiously on Jonny’s arm, like a kid would to their parent, but in this case it was two fully grown hockey players. He tugged him through the crowds adorning the carnival, eyes darting back towards him every once in a while to confirm Jonny hadn’t sawed his arm off and ran away. It wasn’t entirely likely but Patrick had seen enough slasher films to know it was possible... somewhat possible. Slightly possible.
“Remind me again why we couldn’t just stay home and play Chel?” Jonny complained, easily for the tenth time that day. He bumped into an older woman and hurriedly voiced an apology before getting jerked back along by Patrick.
“Because carnivals are fun,” He asserted, skidding to a stop to eye up one of the games. Jonny made a sound of annoyance.
He yanked his wrist free once they stopped. “Yeah, I mean, if you’re nine years old.” The booth in front of them was quick to catch his attention. Flashy lights, bottles, softballs, and giant stuffed animals decking the entire thing. “Pat?”
“Jonny.” He faced him with sincerity, but it was an obvious facade, seeing how the corners of his lips were twitching uncontrollably. “I need you to win me that fucking polar bear.” He pointed obnoxiously to the stuffed polar bear toy that was hanging near the top of the booth. The booth attendee tilted his head at Jonny.
“Oh, god, you’re not actually serious.”
“Dead serious,” Patrick deadpanned. He rifled through his pockets and handed Jonny a few coins, who took them reluctantly. “You have my money now, so you gotta do it.”
Jonny absentmindedly weighed the coins in his hand. “Actually?”
“Actually. Carnival code.”
He sighed, handing the booth attendee the currency in exchange for three softballs. “Rules of the game are simple. Three chances to knock down these three bottles,” she explained with a stewardess smile on her lips. “Good luck, fella.”
Jonny tossed one of the balls up in the air before catching them. “And you couldn’t just do this, why?”
“It adds to the effect of the prize,” Patrick tried. “Plus, you got good aim, dude.”
“Just like me.”
Jonny threw one of the balls and Patrick watched with amazement as the bottles came toppling over. Jonny really just needed one.
“Wow. We got a winner! Pick your prize, Mister!” She flashed him a thumbs up.
“Uh, the polar bear,” he pointed and Patrick stood beside him, giddy on the balls of his feet.
The second she gave it to him, he handed it to Patrick — who had to be smiling wider than physically possible as he squeezed it in his arms. The polar bear was at least three quarters the size of him and Jonny found the sight to be absolutely endearing, he didn’t linger on it however.
“This is fucking bomb, dude,” he announced as they walked along the rest of the path.
“That bear is just bragging rights, isn’t it?”
Patrick chuckled. “Yeah.”
“Five bucks.” Patrick held an outstretched hand in Duncan’s face as he ogled the giant Kit Kat bar situated in the vending machine in front of him.
Duncan looked at him like he was speaking fucking French or something. “What?”
Patrick sighed, turning towards Duncan with a look of desperation. “You gotta spot me a five, Duncs. I need that shit.” He tapped the window on the machine, vaguely over the chocolate bar. “Pretty please? With like, tits on top.”
“I don’t have any money,” he responded, slowing his speech to get his point through Patrick’s thick skull.
“Jonny?” He just peered at him with big cerulean eyes. He looked like a lion who enjoyed being petted, despite being completely capable of ripping you in half.
It started the same way as the first time it occurred. They were playing the coyotes, down by one when it happened. It’s just, the roles were reversed this time. This time it was Patrick that was forced to watch as Jonny took a jarring hit from some asshole. The refs made a signal for a delayed penalty, it was a clear interference. Patrick narrowed his eyes at the guy who’d delivered the hit. He kept skating, aware fully of what the fuck he just did, but uncaring in all ways.
Patrick didn’t wait for the whistle. He took one look at Jonny still on the ice wallowing in pain and dropped his gloves.
“You fucking coward! Lets go, right now, tango. Drop ‘em, you pussy,” he growled at the man, who was just as eager in accepting the fight as Patrick had been to initiate it.
Jonny was back up on his skates now, balancing wearily on his stick as he watched the quarrel. “Fucking shit, Kaner! You for real?!”
Patrick didn’t reply, a wide grin on his face as they tussled, instantly tangling his fist in his jersey and throwing out a couple punches. It looked promising. Patrick was a good fighter. But this guy was fucking touchy. Soon enough he had Patrick doubled over, battering him with punches until his helmet was clear off his head.
Jonny winced as he watched him drop to the ice once it was broken up. He tried to skate over but soon found bending his knee led to immense pain. He called out to him, “You good, buddy?!” Only getting a dry laugh in return as Patrick swiped his hand over his mouth, wiping the blood on his lips. Jonny eventually got helped off the ice by Alex, who had his arm firmly snaked around him, muttering things about Patrick being an absolute fucking idiot. But Jonny thought it was classy; a real fucking power move.
He must’ve missed it when Patrick muttered something about doing it for him.
* * *
“Smile. Right now,” Jonny demanded. Patrick had his lips practically cemented together, shaking his head no in defiance to opening his mouth. “I know you lost a tooth, dumbass, it was all over everything. Patrick Kane, golden boy, gets fucked in the mouth, everyone knows about it.” Patrick shrugged. “Let me see!”
“It’s no big deal. Remember that one time when you fought Hanzal for me?” Patrick held a hand over his mouth as he spoke.
“In 2008?” Jonny gaped. “You were thinking about that?! You lost a tooth because I dropped my gloves with Hanzal? Oh my god—“
“If you’re that guilty about it, make it up to me,” Patrick grinned at him, or at least Jonny assumed he did from the way his features crinkled — his hand was still obstructing the view of his mouth.
“How do you want me to do that?”
“Hmmm,” Patrick hummed, tapping his chin for effect. “I’ve been craving those cool little Italian wrappy things, you know what I mean?”
“That sounded better in my head.”
Jonny shook his head. “You want me to take you to dinner for Perogies?”
Patrick nodded, but then held up a finger. “Not dinner, a date.”
“You’re actually fucked in the head. You sure you don’t have a concussion?”
“Honestly! You owe me this much, you got my tooth knocked out.” He pouted and lowered his hand, Jonny sighed, eventually giving in after Patrick kept badgering and guilt-tripping him.
He had to pretend he didn’t want to, obviously.
“Smile for me, then?” Patrick beamed at him and Jonny’s eyes went wide. There was a small gap in his front teeth; he looked like a dollar store Brent Burns. “Holy shit, it really is gone.”
“What? You think I was pulling your leg?”
“No I... I don’t even know.” Jonny kept staring at it and Patrick scolded him for it.
Jonny’s eyes darted to his wristwatch. “I’ll pick you up at six-ish? Look pretty for me, will ya?”
Patrick had to fight the urge to kick him in his bad knee. “I’ll wear my team USA jersey — for you.”
“Fantastic.” Patrick ended up leaning in to press a chaste kiss to his lips, but Jonny held a hand up to his face. He made a shocked nose, grumbling against the fingers. “No kisses until the date, fuckwit.”