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The Not-Very-Thrilling Life of Succulents

Chapter Text

It's not like Morgan Rielly can't get laid in Toronto.

 

When he goes out for a drink with the boys, he can take his pick of nearly any girl in whatever bar they visit. At every team event he pockets at least three phone numbers. There is a steady stream of women of all ages and races sliding into his DMs both on Twitter and Instagram. He's a fucking Maple Leaf, of course he can get laid.

 

And yes, sure, he does sometimes take advantage of the ease with which he can hook up; he just feels a little uncomfortable with it. But when an absolute smokeshow invites him back to her apartment, he won't turn it down. Or when it's after midnight and there's a gorgeous brunette purring in his lap, telling him all the things she wants to do with him, pursing her lips around a straw to allude to other ways she could use that mouth...well, Morgan's only human.

 

He always feels guilty when it's over, though; he knows that he doesn't want to pursue a relationship with any of them. He leaves without giving his phone number--it's easier than ghosting them later--but he always makes a note of the address and apartment number. When he gets home he schedules a delivery from a florist.

 

He doesn't buy flowers because he wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong impression. He sent houseplants the first few times, but since then he's realized that those are a lot of work and so now he sends succulents. They're low-maintenance, but they stick around for a while. He figures it's a nice gesture. He doesn't want the girls to feel like they meant nothing to him.

 

He likes women just fine, all smooth skin and high-pitched moans, the taste of lipstick and the smell of vanilla. They're just not the only thing he likes.

 

And that's where it gets a little bit dicey. If there are rumors about him going out in Yorkville and leaving with different girls each time, no one is going to bat an eye. As a hockey player in the NHL's biggest market, it's practically a foregone conclusion that he's going to use that status to get it in whenever possible. But if he started bringing guys home, it would draw a lot more attention.

 

That is where Morgan Rielly runs into a problem with getting laid in Toronto.

 

So Morgan never even attempts to pick up with men in Toronto. He also avoids it at home in Vancouver. Hell, he's given up on ever getting to touch a dick other than his own whenever he's in Canada.

 

But he's a professional hockey player, and that means there are road trips to places like Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles, cities that are either too vast or too clueless about hockey to know his face. There are cities where no one would know who he is if he walked down the street wearing his own jersey. There are cities where he's just another guy on Grindr trying to get a blow job.

 

His profile picture is carefully chosen for discretion. It shows no part of his face, and he's wearing a shirt--he doesn't have the right body to go without--but he's got a pair of shorts on that hug everything just right. It shows his bulge impressively, and he's gotten plenty of compliments. It's served him well thus far, so he hasn't found much reason to change it.

 

The last time they were in New York, he met a construction worker who insisted on eating him out before they traded BJs. When they went to Nashville the guy was an aspiring musician who was the sloppiest kisser Morgan had ever encountered, but he had been willing to bottom so it was worth it for Morgan to wipe his face off after they made out. When they played the Ducks it was an IT guy who didn't take his glasses off the whole time Morgan was fucking him.

 

None of it is ideal, of course. Grindr is a crapshoot; sometimes he finds a good-looking guy who happens to be close enough to their hotel that he can sneak out and back before the boys ever know he's gone. But then there are times when he'll spend the whole night trying to find just one single man worth even talking to, let alone sneaking into his hotel room.

 

He's had some luck in places like Columbus or Raleigh; hockey isn't enough of a draw to make it risky, though there isn't a terribly deep pool of readily available gay men in those smaller markets. He's found that big, anonymous cities are the best--Chicago's pretty good, New York is nearly always a home run--so he looks forward to those games. California road trips are always highlighted on his calendar; he can usually manage at least one hookup between those three cities. Once he even managed to get laid at all three stops.

 

Their first game for this roadie is in Los Angeles. The Leafs are good about scheduling flights so the team gets at least one free night when they go to warmer climates. It's early in the season yet, but that doesn't stop most of the boys from taking advantage and going out on the town; the whole crew will go to an expensive dinner and then try (and usually fail) to pick up aspiring actresses at a club where the music is too loud and there aren't enough lights.

 

These are the nights Morgan begs off from taking up the boys on their invitations to go out. If all of his teammates are out late, it means that the corridor of their hotel will be empty. Which means that if Morgan invites someone to his room, no one will ever know.

 

He orders room service and settles in to scroll through profiles, hoping to find someone who strikes his fancy. In smaller cities he might get a radius of five miles or more, especially with filters set to catch only certain ages and bottoms alone. In Los Angeles, though, those same filters give him results only within a mile--hundreds of guys within just a few city blocks, most of them looking for the same easy sex that he's in search of.

 

He's already finished dinner and put the tray in the hall next to his door by the time he finds a profile he's interested in. The profile is for a 21 year old and the name is listed as only "B." Morgan understands that, plenty of guys on Grindr use either nicknames or names that are altogether made up; he's been simply "Mo" since the day he downloaded the app.

 

The profile picture for "B" has him on a boat, and the picture is cropped just above the collarbone so that his face isn't visible. But he's shirtless, and "B" has a hell of a body. Broad-shouldered, and there are abs there, but he isn't too sculpted either. Morgan might spend plenty of time in the gym, but it's for function, not so he looks good in photos. He doesn't really care for the gym rat type, and this guy doesn't appear to be one.

 

Morgan likes the look of him, so he scrolls through the rest of the profile.

 

Traveling and looking for a good time. Discretion is a must. No face pictures ever. Can't host.

Height: 6'1

Weight: 190

Ethnicity: White

Body Type: Athletic

Position: Bottom

I am: Single

HIV Status: Negative

Last Tested: Sept 2018

 

Grindr tells him that "B" is only a few hundred yards away. Morgan takes another long look at his photo and then finally decides to send him a message.

 

Nice pic. Wouldn't mind getting a view of all that in person.

 

It's only a few minutes before a response comes.

 

B: Not too bad yourself. Looks like we're pretty close. You at a hotel downtown?

 

Yeah, in town for a work thing. Just for tonight. You?

 

B: Same, traveling through. Got some buddies here though, so I gotta get away from them for anything to happen.

 

Well I can host, if you're interested.

 

B: I'm definitely into it, you look hot. Been a while since I got fucked.

 

Morgan doesn't hate it if a guy goes straight for the kill in a Grindr message. They both know what they're here for, wasting time flirting and getting to know each other is pointless if they just intend to get each other off and never speak again. And he can certainly do worse than getting a guy like that in his bed.

 

Sounds like we could have a good time together. You need to be discreet too?

 

B: Def. Gotta be careful, I'm not out. Can't get caught.

 

Most of the time guys who insist on discretion have wives at home, sometimes kids. They just want a little dick sometimes too, and business trips are a good time to indulge that. This guy is only 21, so Morgan doubts he's someone's husband, and that means there probably aren't kids at home. Morgan never wants to be responsible for fucking up someone's family.

 

Same. You can come over, but you just gotta sneak in here quick, in case any of my coworkers are hanging around. I'm at the JW Marriott.

 

B: I'm right next door, I can be there in a few mins. Room #?

 

Morgan glances at what he's wearing: a t-shirt and sweats. Lululemon or not, Morgan never wears sweatpants for a hookup. He knows he's not the hottest guy in the world--and he can't use his profession or wealth to his benefit with a Grindr hookup--so he at least tries to look his best when he's got someone coming to see him.

 

Gimme 20 mins before you come over. Rm 1408.

 

B: See ya in 20.

 

Morgan strips down and pulls on fresh boxer briefs, then a pair of snug jeans that once resulted in Gardiner telling him that he was showing off that "good Canadian moose knuckle." He's going to use whatever he's got going for him, and these pants go a long way to helping him with that. He checks his hair in the mirror--hopeless, mostly--and pulls on a button-down. He doesn't bother with shoes, but otherwise he thinks he looks pretty decent. Enough that whoever "B" is probably won't run screaming when he arrives.

 

There's always an odd combination of excitement and trepidation when he meets someone from Grindr. He probably prefers sex with guys, if he's being fully honest about it, so knowing there's going to be someone solid and muscular beneath him is thrilling. With a guy he doesn't have to worry so much about his size. He's a big guy in more ways than one, and often when he's got a slim, delicate woman in bed he wonders if he's too heavy for her, wonders if he's going too hard or too fast.

 

With a guy, though, he feels more at ease. Even if he picks up a twink, the guy is rarely smaller than 150 pounds; it doesn't leave Morgan feeling like an oaf, too broad, too wide.

 

But at the same time there's an underlying current of anxiety. Morgan is convinced that one of these days he's going to open the door for a hookup and the guy on the other side will be from Ontario and will recognize him instantly. Not that he's Auston Matthews or anything--Morgan isn't a hockey superstar, not even close--but in Toronto even someone from the Marlies would likely get noticed, let alone a top-4 defenseman for the Leafs.

 

Every time Morgan plans a Grindr hookup, there's a nagging worry in the back of his mind that this is going to be the time it all goes wrong.

 

This is the time the guy on the other side of that door is going to know who he is. This is the time one of his teammates is going to see some dude leaving Morgan's room and put the pieces together. This is the time when Sportsnet is going to find out, when TMZ and Deadspin are going to learn about it and it's going to be a huge story not just among hockey types, but every other kind of media too. This is the time he's going to get outed.

 

He shakes off the nerves; it hasn't happened yet, and it isn't likely to happen tonight either.

 

He's expecting a knock at any moment now, so he brushes his teeth and makes sure he's got condoms and lube easily in reach of the bed.  As soon as he's closed his toiletry bag, there's a rap on the door. He takes a breath and rolls his shoulders before he answers. He doesn't bother with the peephole--he's only seen pictures of this guy from the waist down, what good would it do?--and he pulls the door open. He's prepared with a greeting and what he hopes is a seductive smile, but as soon as he sees who is on the other side, any plan goes out the window.

 

Every single fear he's ever had about hooking up via Grindr has just slammed into him. He feels like he's going to pass out, or throw up, or maybe both.

 

"Oh fuck," Morgan mutters.

 

Standing in the hall is Brock Boeser.

Chapter Text

Brock loves hooking up in LA. The city is full of beautiful, flawless people: tanned skin, perfect teeth, guys whose bodies are sculpted for looks and not skating. The guy who messaged him tonight isn't necessarily what he would usually pick. Normally if he's in LA he wants to find someone with cut abs and body fat in the 5% range. This guy, however, if his picture is accurate, he's stockier than your typical D-list actor; he has some bulk on him. Brock isn't against that, really, it just isn't always his first choice. If he's being fully honest, the amount of bulge showing in this photo of "Mo" is a large part of the draw, no pun intended.

 

He doesn't bother to dress for the occasion--he's probably going to be taking his clothes off as soon he gets there anyway--so it's the same t-shirt and jeans that he wore out to lunch with the boys after practice. He does pull on a zip-up, the hood tugged over his head so even if one of his teammates happens to walk by, they probably won't notice him.

 

He glances at his Grindr app once more before he steps onto the elevator at the hotel next door, checking the room number and giving "Mo's" profile another look.

 

Mo, 24

Just in town for tonight, looking for a little less Netflix, a lot more Chill. Must be discreet.

Height: 6'1

Weight: 220

Ethnicity: White

Body Type: Athletic

Position: Top

I am: Single

HIV Status: Negative

Last Tested: Sept 2018

 

"Oh fuck."

 

Brock blinks with confusion when the door opens and the guy on the other side of it looks stricken. "Bud, if you weren't expecting a dude you probably shouldn't be on Grindr."

 

"Mo" rakes a hand over his face and a flash of recognition hits Brock. He's seen the guy before, but he can't place where he knows him from.

 

"Well no, I was expecting a dude." the guy says quietly, barely more than a mutter, and he steps back to usher Brock inside. He glances down the hall one way and then the other, closing the door behind them. "I just wasn't expecting you ."

 

Brock is instantly worried that the man seems to recognize him. He's in Los Angeles, how the hell could someone know who he is here? Or maybe this guy is just a freak. Brock takes a quick look around the room to inspect for any signs that this guy is as weird as he appears. The room is tidy enough, save for a suitcase sitting open on the desk with a few pieces of clothing spilling out. He sees a suit hanging in the closet. The bed isn't made, but the guy made an effort to straighten the sheets at least. It looks a lot like his hotel room.

 

As he relaxes, realizing the guy probably isn't a serial killer, his eyes catch on a flash of bright blue next to the suitcase on the desk. He recognizes it immediately: a Maple Leafs ball cap.

 

Mo.

 

Maple Leafs hat.

 

Guy who weirdly seemed to know who Brock was on sight.

 

" Shit ," Brock says when it finally dawns on him. "You're Morgan Rielly."

 

Morgan glances over at him, lips pursed and threatening to turn to a smirk. "Took you a little while to put it together, eh?"

 

"How the fuck was I supposed to know Toronto was in town?" Brock defends himself. "And what the fuck are you doing on Grindr anyway?"

 

Morgan ducks his head, trying to hide that his cheeks have gone pink. "I'd imagine I'm doing the same thing you were," he says, rubbing a hand over his neck. He's staring at his shoes and doesn't appear to have any plans to look up. "LA is usually a pretty safe bet if you wanna look through profiles on there."

 

Brock leans against the desk and pushes his hood down. He pulls Morgan's Leafs hat on. It actually fits, to Brock's surprise; most hats are too small for his huge dome. "Well yeah, I was expecting some random actor or musician or some shit. Those guys are always weird about their privacy."

 

"I feel like your team wouldn't be happy seeing you wear that hat," Morgan comments when he finally takes a quick glance up.

 

"Pretty sure my team would be way less happy if they knew about me setting up a Grindr hookup than me wearing a Leafs hat." Brock sets the hat down anyway, then rakes a hand through his hair to smooth it. "So what's the play, Mo? I mean, we're already here."

 

Morgan looks at him fully, his eyes wide and incredulous. There is a definite red flush that goes all the way to his ears now. "What do you mean what's the play? You should probably get back over to your hotel so you don't get caught."

 

Brock rolls his eyes. "It's only 7pm, we don't have curfew for hours. No one knows I'm even gone, and if they did they still wouldn't give a fuck, you know? They'd probably think I was banging some actress or her assistant or something."

 

"You can still go do that, you know."

 

Morgan is pacing now, rubbing a hand over his face. Brock takes the opportunity to give him a nice long look-over. He's Brock's height, but he's more filled out. Great ass. Nice arms. And those jeans do his junk a ton of favors. Brock realizes his attention drifted from whatever Morgan was saying.

 

"...happened and never say a word to anyone, yeah?" he's watching Brock expectantly now, but Brock had been too busy checking out his bulge.

 

"Sorry, bud, you're gonna need to catch me up on your crisis here," Brock says with a shrug. "I get distracted when somebody's balls show that much in jeans."

 

"Oh my god," Morgan mutters. He adjusts himself in an attempt to hide the obvious, but his pants aren't built to camouflage anything. "I was saying we should just pretend this didn't happen and not talk about it again. It's too awkward."

 

Brock arches an eyebrow. "Oh right, I'm totally going to not think about the fact that I tried to hook up with you the next time we play the Leafs. Hell, we're already through the 'shit what if somebody finds out I'm gay' panic."

 

"Bi," Morgan interrupts. "Not gay, bi."

 

Brock rolls his eyes dramatically. "Fine. I'm gay, you're bi. Still not a problem. You're not gonna go telling people you know that, because then you'd have to admit how you know. And I'm pretty sure you don't wanna go around Toronto telling people you were on Grindr. And you know I am not going to tell anyone for the same reason. I'd say this is an ideal damn situation, actually."

 

"It's not that easy! What if our teammates find out?"

 

"Mo, if your teammates find out you're fucking me, they would've found out about you fucking some random guy too. We both stand to lose if this comes out, so we've got each other by the balls with this secret, eh?" Brock pauses and looks Morgan over. "Not that I'm opposed to touching your balls."

 

Morgan takes a breath and sinks down to sit on the bed. "I can't be what you were expecting when you signed on tonight."

 

"No, you've got me on that," Brock concedes. He unzips his hoodie and tosses it on top of Morgan's suitcase. "And you didn't expect me either. But we're here now, and I can't figure any reason we shouldn't do what I came over here for."

 

Morgan watches him curiously. His cheeks are flushed pink and he's chewing on the inside of his upper lip. "I guess you do have a point." He hesitates for a long moment, watching Brock intently. "No one is ever gonna know about it, yeah?"

 

"I'm not gonna be telling stories about my Grindr hookups in the room," Brock is walking toward the bed, eyes tracing down Morgan's body. "So I'm pretty sure we're safe as long as you don't go marking me up."

 

Morgan swallows visibly, but he nods once. "Not really my thing, anyway." His voice is strained. "And you can't scratch me up either."

 

Brock tugs his shirt up and off, then stands in front of Morgan. "Too bad, you'd probably look good with some claw marks down your back." He lays a hand flat to Morgan's sternum and nudges him to lay down. "But I guess I can restrain myself."

 

Morgan grabs him by the hips and pulls him onto the bed; Brock follows easily and climbs up to straddle his thighs. He braces his hands on Morgan's chest and slides down his stomach--Morgan's sucking it in, and Brock might just find that endearing--and then he pulls his shirt off, mussing his hair in the process.

 

Brock expects the typical Grindr hookup. Guys usually want their dick sucked, then they'll give him a quick couple of fingers to open him up and then move onto the main event. Usually he's cleaning up and putting his clothes back on within an hour. It's not perfect, but he gets off, most of the time anyway. Everyone gets what they came for and it's over. No numbers are exchanged, not even last names.

 

This is not what he expected.

 

Morgan is cautious, careful as he undresses Brock first. Then he keeps his eyes steady on Brock's face while he's pulling his own pants down, one eyebrow lifted as if he's making sure he's still okay with it while he peels his boxers down and kicks them aside, his already hard--and even more impressive in person--dick bobbing heavily once he's naked. He doesn't even ask for a blowjob; Brock is halfway to his knees when Morgan assures him he doesn't have to do it if he doesn't want to.

 

It makes Brock really, really want to.

 

Morgan doesn't force deep into Brock's throat. He doesn't tug his hair. He pulls him off long before he's ready to come. His face is flushed and his lower lip is bitten red when he asks if he can fuck him.

 

Brock wants to chirp him about asking for permission--it's a fucking Grindr hookup, what the hell else were they gonna do?--but he just flashes a grin and nods. Morgan waits for him to get comfortable on the bed before he starts opening him up, with fingers first and then his mouth too. Morgan stretches him gently, using plenty of lube. It's sloppy, sure, but by the time he has three fingers inside, Brock isn't just hot for it, he's desperate .

 

He begs, just a little bit. He'll never admit to it later.

 

Morgan asks if he's ready. He asks again when he's rolling the condom on. He settles between Brock's thighs and drops a kiss where Brock's hair brushes his neck. He spreads even more lube down the length of his cock and moves to nestle close against Brock. Once more he asks if Brock is sure.

 

Brock definitely begs this time.

 

And it's good. It's really, really good. Morgan gives him time to adjust. He strokes smooth circles over Brock's hips until he's ready for more; he nuzzles into Brock's hair while he thrusts, tells Brock how tight he is, how much he needs this. He turns Brock to his back so he can change the angle, tells Brock how he wants to watch him. Morgan's hands are all over him, holding his hips, fingertips touching featherlight up along his sides, squeezing his thighs firmly but not too hard.

 

By the time Morgan finally wraps a hand around his dick, Brock feels like his skin is going to ignite. Morgan's found just the right angle, a steady rhythm driving into him over and over, and the calloused skin of Morgan's palm gives just the right friction as Brock thrusts up into it.

 

Morgan wants him to finish first, tells him as much. He strokes Brock's dick faster, matches it perfectly to the pace of his hips, and Brock can't hold back anymore; he comes hard , his eyes squeezed shut and his heels digging into the bed, blurting out a string of curses he hopes no one can hear.

 

When he looks up at Morgan, he's still stroking him, but the movement is idle now, and Morgan has a grin tugging the corner of his mouth.

 

"Feeling good?" he asks.

 

Brock snorts a laugh and sucks in a harsh breath. He doesn't quite trust his voice yet, so he just nods.

 

"I'm gonna finish," Morgan says, starting to rock his hips again. "If that's okay?"

 

Brock's eyes snap up to Morgan's face. "You don't have to ask . You're already in me, bud."

 

"Just makin' sure--"

 

Brock cuts him off with a chuckle and rolls his eyes, and even though his legs feel a little bit like jelly, he still tightens them around Morgan's torso to pull him closer. It's more intense now that he's come down from orgasm, his skin a little too sensitive; it's nearly too much stimulation when Morgan thrusts faster, firmer. It's never rough, though, and with all the careful prep before it doesn't hurt.

 

Morgan hides his face against the crook of Brock's neck, panting hot breath into his skin while his rhythm speeds, goes a bit erratic. And then he's swearing, pumping his hips into Brock as his body shudders. Brock tightens both arms around him, holding on while Morgan works through his orgasm, strokes through his hair while Morgan catches his breath.

 

Morgan pushes himself up to hold his weight off of Brock. His cheeks are pink with exertion and his hair is damp with sweat. "Gimme a minute," he says as he disentangles them; Brock bites back a sigh at the loss.

 

Morgan comes back a moment later with his boxers pulled on and carrying a washcloth. He crawls onto the bed next to Brock and wipes the come from his stomach. "We made a bit of a mess, eh?" Brock lets out a laugh, mostly because he's not sure what to say. Tops generally don't bother with the cleanup.

 

"You can't go back next door smelling like sex, y'know?" Morgan shrugs and nudges at Brock's thighs to make him spread them. With light strokes he cleans up the sweat, the lube, leaving Brock feeling tender and maybe a little swollen, but otherwise tidied up. "You're feeling okay, yeah? Not too sore?" His voice is light, but Brock can see the genuine concern on his face.

 

He can't fully hold back the smile threatening to curl his lips. He's not sure he's ever had a top check on him after it was over. Most guys are smug and condescending in the aftermath; he's even had a few smack his ass and snicker at his startled gasp. He's never had a guy treat him like this, though. "I'm definitely feeling okay. Way more than okay. But I'm pretty glad we've only got a video session tomorrow."

 

Morgan tosses the washcloth in the direction of the bathroom. He settles on the bed facing Brock, leans over to brush a lock of sweaty hair off of his forehead. He pauses just as he's tucking the stray hair behind Brock's ear; his nose scrunches up for a moment and he seems to think better of it, shifting to his back and laying his hands on his own stomach (he forgets to suck it in this time, Brock notices).

 

Brock lets out a breath he didn't realize he'd been holding.

 

"I guess, uh," Morgan finally breaks the awkward silence, "you've gotta get back to your hotel now, eh?"

 

Brock waves his hand dismissively. "I've got some time, it's only…" he trails off and glances at his watch. He's been here for more than two hours. "Fuck, I guess I probably should. I wanna get back before everyone else."

 

"Right, yeah, of course. Don't want to risk getting caught." There's a distinct edge of disappointment to Morgan's words.

 

"This was great, though." Brock says while he's picking his clothes off the floor. And he means it. Most tops aren't great about prep, so he's usually a little sore after a hookup. There have been a few bad ones when he's left before he's even come himself, if the top wasn't particularly reciprocal. And there are much better ones when the guy he meets up with actually knows what he's doing, and those are always nice. But even when they're good, they definitely aren't this good. Tonight he's a little achy, an inevitability as a bottom, and his legs are shaky, but otherwise he's sated, pleased. "Told you it was a good idea."

 

Morgan tosses Brock's zip-up to him when he's dressed. "Yeah, I've gotta admit you were right. It was definitely good." He follows Brock to the door. "So, uh. Thanks for all of that."

 

Brock pulls the hood up on his jacket and zips it up to the top. It's too warm for this outside, but he wants to make sure none of Morgan's teammates see him, and that none of his own recognize him. He's not sure how to end this--every other guy he's met on Grindr was someone he was definitely never going to see again.

 

"So, um. Good luck the rest of this season," Morgan offers, extending a hand to shake.

 

Brock can't get over the comedy of it all. Less than a half hour ago Morgan was inside him, and now he's going for a handshake. Before he can stop himself he pulls Morgan in for a half-hug. "Don't gotta be so formal, Mo."

 

Morgan stiffens at first but then relaxes, patting his hand on Brock's back. "Sorry, sorry. I'm not good at this shit, apparently."

 

Brock pulls back enough to catch his eye and wiggles his brows. "You were good at the rest, that's more important anyway."

 

Morgan flushes pink and his smile is bashful. "Thanks." And then he tips his head forward and presses his mouth to Brock's. It's a quick kiss, chaste and light; it only lasts a beat before he's pulling away. "I'll see you around."

 

Brock isn't sure if he manages to keep the surprise from showing on his face. "Yeah," he stammers. "Yeah, I'll see you. Later, bud."

 

It's another first from a Grindr hookup. They never kiss him goodbye.

Chapter Text

Morgan doesn't think about the hookup much after Brock leaves; he tries not to, anyway, but he can't quite stop himself. He wonders if everything was okay. Wonders if Brock enjoyed himself--what's the point if the other person doesn't have a good time too? He's also second-guessing the kiss. He probably shouldn't have kissed him goodbye. You don't kiss Grindr hookups goodbye, do you? He never has before. Sure, in the heat of the moment you make out with them, but a goodbye kiss feels more intimate than that. He's kissed girls goodbye. But he doesn't want them to feel used. He feels like an anonymous Grindr hookup is more self-explanatory than that.

 

And he knows he's never going to see any of those guys again. Niceties feel unnecessary with them.

 

But he does know that he's going to see Brock again. At least twice a year for the foreseeable future, and more if one of them gets traded into the other conference. And he wouldn't want it to be uncomfortable. He doesn't want Brock to think he didn't enjoy it--a lot--but he also doesn't want Brock to feel like he used him either. He doesn't want Brock to think Morgan treated him as just an easy lay.

 

So even though he's never sent a Grindr hookup a plant, he sends one to Brock. He doesn't have an address for him, and he doesn't want to ask because it would seem weird. Well, any weirder than it's already going to be. So even if Morgan doesn't have his actual address, he does have the address to Rogers Arena. While he's sitting in the plane awaiting departure from California back to Toronto, he Googles the closest florist to the arena. He can't have the actual plant delivered , but he can schedule a pickup under Brock's name.

 

He taps out a quick message to go with the card that will be sent to the arena.

 

"B,"

 You were right. It was indeed a good idea. Thanks for everything in LA.

 -"Mo"

 

He scrolls the options on the florist's website and picks a plant that requires very little care. He inputs the address of GM Place and Brock's name, care of the Vancouver Canucks. Hopefully the card just gets tucked in with a pile of the fan mail he's certain Brock receives regularly. He wouldn't want any teammates to find it.

 

Before he can second-guess himself, he submits the order. He supposes he'll find out in a few days if it was a stupid idea or not.

____

 

It takes three days.

 

He's just woken from a pregame nap and is blindly reaching over to silence the alarm when he realizes the light on his phone is blinking. The Instagram widget is up on the screen, with two alerts.

 

bboeser started following you

 

bboeser: cactus??

 

Morgan takes a breath, a shot of anxious energy flooding in and waking him up. Shit, the succulent was probably a stupid idea. Brock is probably freaked out. Morgan sits up in bed and chews on his lip, staring at the message for a long moment. He'll make a joke. It'll lighten the mood. He can pretend it was a prank or something.

 

He breathes in once more and lets it out on a sigh, then clicks around so he can follow Brock's Instagram as well, and then he opens up the message to respond.

 

It's not a cactus, it's a succulent!

 

bboeser: Same thing

 

Not completely, succulents don't have areoles.

 

bboeser: Areolas? Cactuses don't have nipples!

 

It's cacti! And not areolas, areoles! Those are the spots on a cactus where the spikes stick out.

 

bboeser: Okay, fine. SUCCULENT. Why?

 

Morgan stares at the question for a long minute. He still isn't sure if Brock is bothered or entertained. And he's never had this question asked before; he's never had to actually talk to any of the girls he hooked up with after he sent the plants. Why the hell did he send it to Brock?  

 

Because he had a good time. A really good time. Brock seemed like a nice guy. If the situation were any different, he probably would have asked for his number and called him later.

 

He can't really say that, though.

 

I didn't want you thinking I was a dick or anything. So it's a thank you? For a good time?

 

He hits send and sets his phone aside so he can start getting ready for the game. He still has to make and eat dinner before he changes into his suit.

 

bboeser: A hookup cactus? You sent me a hookup cactus?

 

Succulent!

 

Brock replies with an eyeroll emoji, and a moment later he sends another message.

 

bboeser: Sorry, a hookup SUCCULENT. Do you always send hookup succulents?

 

Not always, usually not with grindr hookups

 

bboeser: So I'm special then, I warranted a hookup succulent. Lucky me!

 

Morgan nearly burns his dinner while he's chatting with Brock; he catches the chicken right before it goes from "heavily browned" to "carbon."

 

Well no, when I hook up with girls up here I send hookup succulents.

 

bboeser: Who the hell sends hookup succulents?? Is this some ritual they were supposed to teach me at UND?

 

Brock seems bewildered, but not completely weirded out, and Morgan lets out a relieved huff. This could have gone much worse. Morgan supposes the succulent thing is an odd way to assuage his guilt about sleeping with someone with no intent to follow up, but it's worked for him thus far.

 

Hey, there are no 'Morgan Rielly is a dick and didn't call me after we hooked up' stories going around. The succulents make girls feel special!

 

bboeser: I know I've got great flow, bud, and I guess I AM kinda pretty, but hey, stop comparing me to your girl hookups.

 

He hadn't meant to do that, he doesn't know why he keeps mentioning the other hookups anyway. He mostly just wants Brock to know he's not trying to, like, romance him or anything. That's not what this is. He just also doesn't want Brock to think Morgan doesn't care at all about him.

 

Shit, right. Sorry about that. And if the succulent's too weird, sorry for that too.

 

bboeser: Nah, it's kind of hilarious. Gotta find her a spot at my place now.

 

Her?

 

bboeser: This cactus thing is called a "Sansevieria." So I'm gonna call her "Sansa" like Sansa Stark. GoT.

 

Morgan wonders if anyone else has named the plants he's sent them. He wonders how many of them ended up just getting thrown out. He hopes that maybe some of the girls kept them around for a while.

 

Succulent, but that's a great name. Gonna have to update me where you put her!

 

bboeser: You'll be the first to find out, Mo.

 

Morgan tucks his phone away and heads off to the game with a smile on his face. He likes the idea of Brock having a special place for Sansa.

____

 

Who the fuck sends plants after a hookup? Well, who the fuck other than Morgan Rielly?

 

Brock thinks about tossing it in the trash at first--if he's gonna stress himself out about keeping something alive he's going to bring Coola, the dog he adopted while in Tampa for the All Star Game, to Vancouver instead of leaving her with his mom--but he can't bring himself to do it. It was a nice gesture. A weird gesture, to be sure, but a nice one all the same.

 

He leaves the succulent on his kitchen counter for a full week, unsure of where to keep it. He goes on a road trip in that time and when he gets home, the leaves are just as perky as ever, even though he hasn't watered it. He has the care instruction card from the florist stuck to the fridge. It says the plant needs indirect light and only has to be watered every 4-6 weeks. So at least if Morgan was going to be weird and get him a plant, it's at least a low maintenance plant.

 

Troy Stecher, his roommate, asks him about it. Brock nonchalantly explains that a friend sent it to him. Troy responds with a devious grin and a sitcom-worthy " oooh ." Brock tells him to go fuck himself.

 

He ends up buying a console table for Sansa. He sets her up along the wall between his kitchen and living room. There are windows on either side of the table, so she gets light but no direct sun. He thinks she'll be okay there.

 

Two weeks after he gets the succulent, a small sprout of flowers opens. They're white, delicate blossoms and Brock is pleased that he's apparently not killing the plant as he suspected he might. Instead of dying, she's actually healthy and growing. He feels oddly proud of himself. It makes him think of his sister-in-law and her monthly updated photos of Easton, his nephew, and it gives him an idea.

 

He has a memo pad that he snagged from a hotel on the road and he tears off the top sheet. It says "Hilton" at the top so he turns it over to use the back. He only has a red marker, not a pink one, but he figures that's good enough. He analyzes the most recent progress picture of his nephew.

 

Easton

3 months old

Sleeps through the night!

 

He chews on his lip as he tries to mimic the swirly, flowery script that his sister-in-law used. He tries to make his handwriting look good for this, but even with his best efforts, the result is pretty sloppy. He tries again on the next sheet of paper. It's better, but not by much. He draws a cactus in the corner to class it up a little.

 

Sansa

2 weeks old

First flowers!

 

He props the paper up against the pot she's growing in and takes a picture. He even adds a soft focus filter to the shot. And then he opens Instagram and sends the picture off to Morgan. It's probably weird.

 

But then, Morgan sent him a damn hookup cactus, so the weirdness is his own fault.

____

 

morganrielly: Look at her growing up! You're a good succulent dad, B.

 

The message is waiting when he wakes up for practice the next morning. He laughs to himself at Morgan's excitement. He's a fuckin' weird dude, Mo is, but Brock might like that about him.

 

Well see I hooked up with this guy and all of a sudden I had this whole other life I had to take care of. The guy just bailed and left me with her.

 

morganrielly: Best thing that ever happened to ya, eh bud? Look how proud you are!

 

Hey some of us take our responsibilities seriously, Mo.

 

morganrielly: I'm sure she's really cramping your style over there, the whole sitting there needing to be watered once a month thing. Real high maintenance.

 

I bet you've got succulents all over Toronto, eh? All these girls raising your fake-cactuses.

 

morganrielly: cacti!

 

If only the NHL knew what a deadbeat succulent father you are! Toronto's never gonna give you the C if they find out about this!

 

morganrielly: What would that make you? Succulent-mama?

 

I'm gonna get you an actual cactus and make you take care of it. Something that's a pain in the ass to deal with.

 

morganrielly: Cacti are, by their very nature, not a pain in the ass to take care of.

 

You just know you couldn't handle the pressure of raising your own!

 

Before Morgan can even respond, Brock decides that this is the best idea he's had in a long time. And that is how Brock Boeser finds himself in the midst of a Google search for the most obnoxious cactus he can have delivered in the Greater Toronto Area.

Chapter Text

There's a notification in Morgan's mailbox when he arrives home from a road trip a few days later. The front office has a package that required a signature which is addressed to Morgan's condo, and is now awaiting pickup. Morgan knows he didn't order anything, so he's puzzled at the delivery. Caroline--the woman who works at the desk on weekdays; Morgan has done his best to learn all of their names--tells him that the box showed up earlier that afternoon.

 

He shrugs off his coat and tosses his travel bag into his bedroom, then uses his key to tear the shipping tape down the length of the box. Right on top there's a sheet of paper with a typed message.

 

Mo,

I told you I'd get you a cactus that was a pain in the ass to take care of. Good luck being a succulent-dad!

B

 

Morgan frowns and sets the note aside and digs into the rest of the box. Inside of some carefully laid paper, with air packets to protect them, are laying two pieces of what appear to be a cactus, each one about a foot long. He carefully lifts them out and sets them on the ground, and beneath them there's a booklet with the name of the plant, Peruvian Apple Cactus, across the top.

 

The informational insert includes instructions for potting the cactus, describes its needs with regards to sunlight and watering schedule. Morgan sits on the floor and scans through the pages so he can figure out what he's in for. He needs a particular kind of soil and a pot big enough for it to grow a foot or two in the coming year. The cactus needs direct sunlight--he'll have to put it near the window in his living room--and apparently it can grow fruit if the flowers are pollinated.

 

The flowers that only bloom one night a year. That he would have to pollinate by hand.

 

Morgan looks at the two pieces of cactus lying on the hardwood of his entryway. He can't just let them die. He'll need to get some supplies if he's going to get them planted, though.

 

He asks Siri how late Home Depot is open.

____

 

"Did Boes get you the stick you were askin' about?" Jake Gardiner asks a couple of days later after practice. He's stripping the tape from his shins and not even looking, which is a good thing, because Morgan's eyes bug out a bit at the question.

 

"Wha-huh?" Morgan responds dumbly, focusing entirely too hard on loosening his skate laces.

 

"Boeser, he said he was gonna send one of his sticks over to you," Jake explains. "He messaged me like a week ago asking for your address, I figured you wouldn't care."

 

"No, no, that's cool of him," Morgan tries to cover his fumbly answer. "We bumped into each other in Van over the summer, I totally forgot we talked about those. But nah, they haven't shown up yet."

 

"Tryin' to be a sniper now, eh Mo?" Jake chuckles as he stands, patting Morgan hard on the shoulder as he walks away. "Don't hold out too much hope, you're not that good."

 

Morgan throws a balled up wad of tape at his head. "Hey, at least I'm trying to improve my game, Gards. You could learn something from my efforts."

 

"I'm pretty sure there's not a damn thing I can learn from you, bud," Jake deflects the tape and it bounces into the middle of the room. He heads down the hall toward the trainer's room and Morgan slumps back in his stall.

 

He'd been wondering how Brock got his address to send the cactus, but until now he hadn't thought about the fact that he'd be close enough with any of Morgan's teammates to ask them. It isn't weird, really. Players all have their own custom gear, and it isn't unusual to trade information. Jake didn't think it was suspicious, so long as Morgan doesn't act like a freak about the whole thing, it'll likely be forgotten quickly.

 

He just needs to remind himself that no one knows what happened in LA except for him and Brock. And they're both going to keep it that way.

____

 

You asked Gards for my address! You could've just asked me!

 

bboeser: What? It would kill the element of surprise!

 

Well now he's expecting me to show up at practice with a new stick, ya dumbass.

 

bboeser: Oh fine, I'll send a stick over too. How's the cactus?

 

Morgan is sitting on the couch, feet stretched out on the coffee table, and his cactus is in a heavy, stable pot right next to the floor-to-ceiling window to his left. He followed all the instructions to get it potted correctly, but it's only been a few days, so he's not positive he did it right. He figures it'll be at least a week before it shows signs that he's killing it. He still has the backup piece of cactus in the box if this one dies.

 

He takes a picture of the cactus and adds a soft-focus filter, then sends it off.

 

Pierre is doing quite well. He loves his spot in front of the window.

 

bboeser: PIERRE!? You can't call him Pierre! Like McGuire???

 

Not like McGuire! He's Peruvian. Pierre from Peru!

 

bboeser: No way, you're not naming my cactus after Pierre fuckin McGuire!

 

He's not your cactus! I'm the succulent-dad here, remember?

 

bboeser: Hell no, I bought that cactus, he's mine too. He's not Pierre. Come up with something else.

 

You can't just change his name, he's already attached to it.

 

bboeser: He's like 3 days old, you can totally change it. Look up famous people from Peru!

 

Morgan rolls his eyes, but he opens the browser on his phone anyway. He's scrolling through a list of Peruvian celebrities--"celebrity" feels like a pretty loose description for most of the people on this list--until he hits on the perfect name. He screenshots the information and sends it to Brock.

 

This is better, right?

"Paddington Bear (bear): As we all know, Paddington Bear arrived in London from his home in 'darkest Peru.' He then inspired a series of children’s books written by Michael Bond."

 

bboeser: That's way better! I approve of Paddington. I expect progress pictures!

 

This thing is ridiculous. Do you know how big it gets??

 

bboeser: That's what she said.

 

Morgan shoots back with an eyeroll emoji, and then after a moment's pause he adds an eggplant along with the rest of his response.

 

He's going to grow a foot or two a year. He's going to take over my entire apartment!

 

bboeser: All part of being a succulent-dad, Mo. Gotta find a way to make him fit in your life.

 

I'm not pollinating him.

 

bboeser: Bullshit you aren't! I want to see if the fruit tastes good.

 

Who said I was sharing the fruit with you?

 

bboeser: I'm sure I can talk you into it.

 

Morgan stares at the message for a long moment. He's not sure if that's flirting or not. It might be, but it probably isn't. They hooked up once and that's all it was. He's not flirting now. They're talking about a cactus, for fuck's sake.

 

Only if you help pollinate the damn thing. One night a year!

 

bboeser: I toldja you couldn't handle it!

 

Well now Morgan has a point to prove. He checks to see what month the plant usually flowers and saves the reminder in his phone. He can absolutely handle raising a cactus thank you very much.

____

 

morganrielly tagged you in a post.

 

Brock is sitting at breakfast with the team when the alert pings on his phone, and he opens it immediately. It's a set of three videos, Morgan skating idly in sweatpants and a Leafs hoodie, stickhandling a puck between two traffic cones, attempting to bounce the puck on his stick in mid-air, and then finally shooting into an empty net.

 

Good buddy @bboeser was trying to talk me into using his stick. Pretty sure I'm not gonna be a sniper like him anytime soon. Especially since he sent me a righty twig.

 

Morgan manages to miss the net on several of his shots, and he can only juggle the puck on his stick three times in a row before he drops it. His stickhandling is dramatically worse; he's having a hard time just moving the puck back and forth. Brock realizes that playing with any kind of new equipment takes some getting used to, and that Morgan would be way better with a new stick that was a lefty. He also knows that it takes weeks of practice to get the feel of a new stick. But it doesn't mean Brock won't chirp him for it anyway.

 

He takes a bite of his eggs and taps out a comment with his free hand.

 

How can you not go top shelf with that bad boy every time? You missed the net on half your shots!

 

He tucks his phone away again and finishes his breakfast. He doesn't get a reply until he's getting dressed after their game-day skate. Morgan doesn't post a comment, he sends a direct message instead.

 

morganrielly: I've used this twig for an hour. Can't perfect everything that fast!

 

Idk man, I'm not holding out much hope for you. Those were some pathetic attempts.

 

morganrielly: We'll see how pathetic they are after I use that all week at practice. I'll give you an update then.

 

You're never gonna be a sniper, buddy. No matter how long you practice with my blade.

 

That comes across more suggestive than Brock intends. It's too late to take it back, though, so he's not sure how Morgan will react. They've talked plenty since their night together, but they hadn't ever really said anything about what happened. Maybe Morgan won't notice.

 

morganrielly: I think I did perfectly fine with your blade in LA…

 

Oh.

 

That's an entirely different set of skills, bud.

 

morganrielly: Just saying. I'm pretty good with my hands.

 

Brock has a game to get ready for. He needs to get a nap in. He should definitely not be thinking about the (admittedly fantastic) sex he had with Morgan Rielly. He should absolutely end this particular conversation. He's just not exactly sure how.

 

Or if he really wants to.

 

You're definitely trying to distract me from chirping your awful stickhandling.

 

morganrielly: Maybe. Is it working?

 

You missed the net from TEN FEET OUT, bud. Nope.

 

morganrielly: Can't blame a guy for trying! I'm gonna call my guy at CCM and have him get me an actual lefty stick and then just you wait.

 

You're going to order a BRAND NEW STICK just to prove a point? Isn't that overkill?

 

morganrielly: Hey, I've gotta defend my reputation. You totally sabotaged me with that whole right-handed business.

 

I didn't know you were a lefty! I just sent a stick!

 

morganrielly: Yeah yeah, I don't trust you at all. Trying to make me look bad! I'm gonna get a lefty stick like yours and KILL it.

 

There's something Brock really likes about the idea of Morgan having to call his CCM rep to ask specifically about the Boeser composite. Especially because if they ship it straight from the manufacturer, it'll still have "BOESER" printed down the side. Brock is even more pleased with the idea of Morgan on the ice with a stick that bears his name.

 

It's perfect material for chirping, of course.

 

Just because you're using my stick doesn't mean you're suddenly going to be lighting the lamp every night.

 

morganrielly: You're gonna be real sorry when I start out-sniping you.

 

I'll believe it when I see it, Mo.

____

 

Brock barely sleeps before their game that night. He takes three minors and whiffs on two wide-open chances. He feels worked up and off-kilter, and he hasn't been able to stop thinking about Morgan's comment about being "good with his hands."

 

He also realizes he hasn't gotten laid since that night in LA; that is probably part of the issue.

 

Their next game is in Chicago. They have a late flight and they don't arrive until after midnight; he already knows there won't be practice in the morning, just an afternoon video session. Brock is still sore from the game after taking a few crosschecks to the back, a hard hit along the boards. Exhaustion thrums in his bones, but beyond that tiredness is something far more pressing. He really needs to get off.

 

He generally doesn't mind having a roommate. Troy Stecher lives with him in Vancouver, and Elias Pettersson is with him on the road. He's used to someone being around, used to the occasional lack of privacy. Tonight though, he really wishes he was alone. Fortunately Petey makes it to their room before he does and is passed out on his side of the room before Brock has even changed for bed.

 

Brock grabs his pajama pants and takes them into the bathroom, pressing the button to lock the door. Jerking it in the shower is about the least ideal way to handle his current issue, but it's gonna have to do. He turns the water to hot, letting the steam build up for a few minutes. He leans against the stall and lets his eyes drift shut.

 

He's trying to remember a porn he watched a few days ago, some ridiculous broke straight guy set up where it was all too obvious that the "straight" guy was an actor, no matter how they tried to play it off as if he wasn't. He knows he's seen the same guy in a clip on Sean Cody.

 

Critiquing the gay porn industry is majorly killing the mood, so he tries to keep focused on the sex, thinking about watching the guy bent over and begging for it, the top pulling on his hair and smacking his ass. Yeah, that's better.

 

Morgan would never smack anyone.

 

He doesn't mean to think it, doesn't know where the thought came from, but there it is. He also doesn't mean to replay Morgan's mouth on his neck, his pelvis, opening him up. He doesn't mean to think about how thick he is, all fucking over, or how it felt to be spread out beneath him. He really isn't trying to get himself off to thoughts of Morgan, but thinking about porn wasn't doing the trick and this sure is.

 

He thinks of Morgan hovering over him, panting into his shoulder and stroking over his skin. Thinks of Morgan checking on him, making sure he's feeling good. Thinks of Morgan shifting the angle until it's just the right spot to completely take him apart.

 

He comes hard . Like, seeing white behind his eyes and scrabbling not to fall in the shower hard. Once the rush of orgasm eases, the bone-deep exhaustion takes over. It saps all the energy Brock has left to clean himself up, dry himself off, and put his pants on.

 

He crawls into bed ten minutes later and passes out before he can be too guilty about any of it.

Chapter Text

Morgan has been shut down before, more times than he'd like to admit. He was a dorky teenager with a shy streak--hockey player or not, plenty of girls have given him the hard pass. He can recognize a solid no.

 

But this last conversation with Brock, this back-and-forth that bordered on banter has him baffled. Brock had seemed like he was flirting, and so Morgan returned it in kind. But then it felt like Brock pulled it back. He'd probably thought better of it. It's stupid to flirt like that. Hell, it's dangerous too; what if either of their phones gets hacked?

 

It's better if Brock doesn't want to flirt with him. It's safer this way. Brock is just a friend. A friend Morgan has been inside before, yeah, but a friend nonetheless.

 

And as a friend, Morgan absolutely has a duty to make good on his promise to start sniping with Brock's stick. If only so he can one-up him.

 

He'd contacted his local CCM rep the morning after he talked to Brock and asked them to ship him the same stick but left-handed. By the time he got to the rink the following morning, the stick had already arrived. He's been using it at the end of every practice since.

 

"Bud, give it up, that twig just isn't working for you," Mitch Marner says, skating up alongside Morgan and bumping into him.

 

The official parts of practice are over, Babcock is off the ice and some of Morgan's teammates have followed, but plenty of guys are still milling about, skating lazy circles and separating into groups practicing wrist shots and tip-ins. Morgan is on practice number four of trying to get used to the stick Brock sent him, or at least the left-handed version of it. He can juggle the puck much better now, and he's even been able to accurately place his shots top shelf, but they don't seem to be any faster or harder; no one is going to be mistaking him for Alex Ovechkin anytime soon.

 

"Yeah yeah, I'm gonna give it another couple goes, and then I'll give it up," Morgan admits, rolling his shoulders and leaning on his stick, testing the flex. He pulls a puck back and whips it toward the net. It pings off of the post and in. A goal is a goal, and he'll take that one.

 

"I dunno why you'd change in the middle of the season anyway, your sticks are working fine," Mitch drifts a few feet away, gathering pucks and placing perfect saucer passes right into Morgan's wheelhouse.

 

"Just thought I'd give 'em a shot," Morgan shrugs. He's not about to admit it's about proving a point to Brock Boeser. "Can't hurt to have a little better edge out there."

 

Mitch doesn't press--he probably doesn't really care all that much--but he keeps passing to Morgan for a few minutes more. They chat about their last game, what each of them is planning for lunch. It's mindless small talk and Morgan's focus slips.

 

He's been trying to figure out what to say to Brock after the awkward almost-but-not flirting from a few days ago, but he hasn't come up with anything. Brock has been quiet as well. Perhaps whatever it was, this weird camaraderie they'd developed, it had a shelf life and they're reaching the end of it. They don't have much to go on--Morgan has no idea about Brock's likes or dislikes, what movies he enjoys, what music he listens to--their only real connection is that neither of them are straight. That's probably not enough to build a real friendship on.

 

"Mo, buddy, you awake in there?" Mitch's voice finally cut through his internal monologue. Or more accurately, Mitch squirts him with the water bottle he's holding and Morgan realizes that he was talking.

 

"Shit, sorry Mitchy," Morgan ducks his head, wincing. "Off in my own little world there."

 

"I think me and Naz and a few guys are gonna grab lunch, wanna go?"

 

Listening to his teammates' awful chirps and even worse hookup stories is likely a good distraction from his confusion about Brock, so he agrees. Besides, it's Mitch's turn to pick a restaurant, and he always chooses Chipotle. Morgan's not turning down Chipotle.

____

 

Late that night, Morgan's stretched out on his couch scrolling the channel guide on his TV when he comes upon Sportsnet. They're playing the Canucks game, and Morgan figures it doesn't hurt to catch some of the action. They're playing Tampa anyway; the Leafs are going to face them in another couple of weeks, so he can scout them a little bit.

 

If he's justifying it, well, there's no one here to call him out.

 

At the first intermission there's a feature about the upcoming All-Star vote, including footage of Brock's performance at the game the previous year. The clip shows him kneeling on the ice next to Sidney Crosby during the Skills Competition, and Brock is making absolute moon-eyes at the guy.

 

Morgan rewinds the DVR and digs out his phone, pulling up the DM thread with Brock. He films the TV, the footage of Brock with Crosby, and then he adds a hearteyes emoji that he sticks directly over Brock's face in the video.

 

Not doing a great job of hiding your crush on him, B. He's too old for you anyway.

 

Brock's playing a game at the moment, so Morgan doesn't really expect a response.

____

 

After the game against the Lightning, Brock's phone is blinking and there's a message waiting from Morgan. He watches the video and makes a face as he reads Morgan's comment about it. He waits until he's home to respond--if Morgan's going to chirp him, he can deal with a late night message waking him up.

 

Hey, every kid who grew up watching hockey has a little bit of a crush on Sidney Crosby. He's won EVERYTHING.

 

It's nearly 11pm in Vancouver, which means it's close to 2 in Toronto, so Brock is surprised when the reply comes immediately.

 

morganrielly: Well yeah everyone's got a little mancrush on the guy, but you're actually BEAMING at him!

 

Oh come on, you mean to tell me you don't have a crush on him? Hell, just look at the lips. Imagine what he could do with those.

 

morganrielly: But I'm not swooning over him at the All-Star Game.

 

You've gotta make the ASG first, buddy.

 

morganrielly: Oooh, low blow. I'm hurt, B.

 

I don't even know if Sid's my type. Not in my top 5, no matter how awesome he is.

 

morganrielly: Oh shit, you've got a top 5? Let's hear it.

 

Brock starts to type out a reply but thinks better of it. If one of his idiot teammates gets a hold of his phone and reads this message, it could get real awkward.

 

You got snapchat? We can continue this conversation there. No record of it, eh?

 

morganrielly: Good call. Same name, morganrielly over there too.

 

That's some inventive username stuff there, Mo.

 

Brock taps around on his phone to open Snapchat and he adds Morgan as a contact. Too late it dawns on him that his username on Snapchat is the same bboeser that he uses on Instagram.

 

morganrielly: Oh, and you're chirping me about inventive usernames? Doin' way better yourself, I can see.

 

Yeah yeah, I know. I never claimed to be smart.

 

morganrielly: Which is good, because you're definitely not.

morganrielly: Okay, enough username talk. Top 5.

 

Brock purses his lips and thinks it over. Obviously, there are guys in the league that he finds attractive. There are some damn good looking guys in the NHL. He's just never really thought to put them on a list.

 

Okay, obvi there's Landeskog. Can't go wrong with a built Swedish god, eh?

 

morganrielly: Solid start, gotta agree with you on that one.

 

Then I think I gotta go PK. Dapper son of a bitch and he's funny as hell too.

Gotta add Wennberg too, I mean. The guy's just pretty.

 

morganrielly: Good call on Subby. Wennberg is not the Swede I'd pick, but point taken.

 

And then, okay, on #4 here...Tom Wilson. Fuckin' hot as hell.

 

morganrielly: What? That guy?? He's such a pain in the ass!

 

Doesn't make him less hot as hell, Mo.

 

morganrielly: You've got questionable taste, buddy. Come on, number 5.

 

Ovi. Look I know it's weird but hell, even just for the STORY I'd do it.

 

morganrielly: OVI?! Okay Ovi's awesome, no arguments there. But like. Why??

 

Oh come on, he's the best goal scorer alive right now. Also man, his dick shows in sweats even more than YOURS.

 

That may not have been the best thing to say. Brock probably did not need to bring up the size of Morgan Rielly's junk in the middle of this conversation.

 

morganrielly is typing…

 

And then the screen goes blank.

 

morganrielly is typing...

 

It goes like that twice more before an actual message comes through.

 

morganrielly: Don't try to pump my tires to justify your weird ass taste, B.

morganrielly: Who picks OVI? There are way hotter guys in the league.

 

Brock lets out an audible sigh at Morgan glossing over his flirtation. He can't quite get a grasp on the dynamic between them, whether it's strictly a friendship or if there's the potential for more. He isn't exactly sure which of those he's hoping for, but he's more disappointed than he expected to be.

 

Okay, fine, I gave you my 5. Your turn.

 

morganrielly: Well we already established Landeskog. Obvious choice. But I gotta go Erik Karlsson next.

 

He literally looks like a pirate!

 

morganrielly: OVI, B. You picked OVI.

 

You're only at 2, I know there's gotta be someone on your list I can judge. Keep going.

 

morganrielly: My taste is flawless. Number 3 is Letang.

 

...Alright I can't fault you for that one.

 

morganrielly: Told you. Alright, next up...Leon Draisaitl. I mean, come on. Look at him.

 

Okay, shit, I might need to revise my list.

 

morganrielly: I'm way better at this than you. Okay, and #5...Kesler.

 

KESLER!? RYAN KESLER? Are you fucking high?

 

morganrielly: Oh fuck off, I grew up a Canucks fan! He was the fuckin' man back then! And he's hot as hell anyway.

 

You gave me shit for Tom Wilson, who is way hotter, because he's a dick on the ice. Have you EVER seen Kesler play??

 

morganrielly: Okay sure, he's a shit on the ice. But come on, he's been on my list since I was like 15.

 

And you question MY taste, Mo. You ruined your whole list with that choice. I'm disappointed in you.

 

morganrielly: Overall my choices are still way better, and you know it.

 

I know no such thing, buddy. Worst choice ever.

 

morganrielly: Blame teenage Morgan for that one. Long-standing crush right there.

 

You didn't even pick a good Canuck for it. Worst, Mo. Just the worst.

Okay, new question. Which of my teammates, current only, no former Canucks, would you bang?

 

morganrielly: What?? No, that's weird. Like you're gonna be in the room with those guys tomorrow.

 

Oh come on, it's not a big deal.

 

morganrielly: Fine, you answer first. Which of my teammates?

 

Mo, bud. Your team is kind of ugly. Slim picking.

 

morganrielly: See? You can't pick anyone. I'm not either.

 

FINE. I guess Tavares? He's not ugly. Or maybe just your GM. Let me steam up those glasses for him.

 

morganrielly: Oh my god I hate you. I didn't need that visual.

 

Whatever, I answered. Your turn.

 

morganrielly: ...Okay, fine.

morganrielly: Gudbranson.

 

Oh man that'd be weird, Guddy's like 7 feet tall and most of it are his skinny ass legs. Your calves are as big as his thighs.

 

morganrielly: Hey, you asked, I answered.

 

You redeemed yourself slightly, I guess. It's not KESLER.

 

morganrielly: OVI.

 

It's almost midnight now. Which means it's really late in Toronto. Brock is already in bed, tucked under the blankets with the TV on. He imagines Morgan is doing the same. He wonders idly if Morgan wears a shirt to bed, or if he's a pants only guy. Or if he just does boxers.

 

Or nothing.

 

It's a line of thought he doesn't need to ponder any further.

 

I will have no more of you questioning my exceptional taste. Besides, shouldn't you be in bed? It's like 3 am there.

 

morganrielly: Eh, I'm already in bed, and it's only 2:42. But I should prob crash.

 

Brock takes a selfie this time, trying not to grin while he pulls a sour face.

 

Go have your gross sex dreams about Kesler, buddy.

 

Morgan replies with picture a moment later.

 

morganrielly: Yeah, yeah, good night, ya dick.

 

He's definitely in bed, but it looks like the only light in the room is the TV, bathing everything in a blue cast. He has no shirt on, even though the picture only shows him from shoulders up. And he has the most ridiculous mustache on his upper lip.

 

Brock sends back a wide-eyed, horrified look.

 

WHAT IS ON YOUR FACE?!?

 

morganrielly is typing…

 

Before Morgan can finish his response, Brock sends another snap, this time a quick video of him shaking his head in disappointment.

 

You know what, nevermind. Go to bed. This is gonna take too much chirping for this late at night.

 

Morgan sends a selfie of him holding his middle finger up.

 

morganrielly: It's Movember! Just cause you can't grow one, don't hate on it.

 

Good NIGHT, Mo.

 

morganrielly: Night, B.

 

____

 

The alarm is incredibly unwelcome the next morning, and Morgan thinks briefly about launching his phone across the room while it blares. He should not have been awake as late as he was, but he couldn't bring himself to stop the conversation either. He doesn't have anyone else he can have "hot opponents" discussions with. He can't exactly bring it up with Naz or Mitch or Gards.

 

It's one of those things about being a guy who is definitely not straight in the NHL. There are just certain thoughts that you can't vocalize. There are certain conversations you can't have.

 

Sure, when Morgan picks up a girl at home, there can be talk about that. There are an embarrassing number of debates about which of the girls on The Bachelor is the hottest. But Morgan can't ever talk about how the Bachelor himself isn't his type and how they definitely should've taken that one guy--no Morgan doesn't remember his name, but he had the blonde hair and really dark eyes--from Season 22 instead.

 

It was nice to just talk about his sexuality openly with someone who gets it. So he stayed up until 3 in the morning.

 

He's full of regret for that decision this morning.

 

He normally stops for a small coffee on his way to the rink, but this morning he picks up a large. And he adds a shot of espresso. He's still yawning when he's pulling his gear on.

 

"Oh ho ho, Morgan buddy. Late night? What was her name?" Auston catcalls from across the room. Morgan levels him with a glare and puts up his middle finger.

 

"Like he's gonna pick up with that duster on his lip, boys?" Ron Hainsey chimes in from his stall.

 

"It was nothing like that, guys. Just had a rough time getting to sleep," Morgan explains, tightening his skate laces and biting back another yawn. "I don't have the Auston Matthews game, so I'm not getting it in nearly as much as you, bud."

 

"Auston over there's just swimming in pussy," Naz pipes up. "So that's an unfair comparison."

 

"Don't let him fool you, there's no game involved in that, he's just Auston Matthews in Toronto. He could be the ugliest son of a bitch and still get laid," Gards pauses for a long moment. "Actually he is the ugliest son of a bitch."

 

Auston hurls a roll of skate tape at Jake. "Don't be pissed because you're an old married dad now, and I'm still wheeling every night."

 

The locker room devolves into chirps about who does and doesn't have game, and Morgan is glad for the distraction. It turns into white noise after a while. He finishes his coffee and downs half a Gatorade; it's gonna be a long practice.

Chapter Text

It's a week into November and the Canucks finally have a road trip to Florida. It's warm and sunny and they have a night off in each city. Brock has been counting down the games to this roadie, because he still hasn't gotten laid since they were in LA--since Morgan--and his preoccupation with that is getting to be a problem.

 

He's used Morgan as jerk-off material more times than he wants to admit; even with that awful Movember mustache Brock is still hot for him. Every couple of days he gets a snap from Morgan and he looks completely ridiculous, and yet later that night, Brock finds himself getting off thinking about him. Since Movember didn't interrupt his attraction, he's going to have to crush it on his own. He knows he can't keep it up, using Morgan as his masturbation fodder. It makes it too weird, when he's pretty sure Morgan just wants to be friends.

 

So tonight while all the boys are out having dinner, Brock is in his hotel room and scrolling through Grindr. It only takes a few minutes before he gets a message.

 

Jarrod: That's a nice ass you've got.

 

Brock takes a browse through the guy's profile before he responds. The guy's picture is of his chest, either naturally bare or shaved clean, with his shirt unbuttoned. It only shows the bottom half of his face. That's fine, a lot of guys obscure their faces on Grindr. His body is fine, a little too slim but nothing Brock would kick out of bed.

 

Jarrod, 23

Just looking for a good time.

Height: 6'0

Weight: 175

Ethnicity: Biracial

Body Type: Slim

Position: Top

I am: Single

HIV Status: Negative

Last Tested: July 2018

 

Brock figures it's worth a shot.

 

You've got a pretty good body yourself. Just wanting some fun tonight?

 

Jarrod: Ya. On vaca and looking to get laid.

 

Where ya from?

 

Jarrod: Atlanta, just here for the week. Wbu?

 

Atlanta is good. It's likely no one in Atlanta would know who Brock is. He goes back to look at the guy's profile picture again. Brock could do worse. Brock has done worse.

 

Minnesota. Can you host?

 

Jarrod: Ya man, I'm over at the Hampton. Buddies are out tonight.

 

I can be there in a half hour. In and out, I can't hang long.

 

Jarrod: Even better.

 

Brock doesn't bother dressing up--he never does for hookups--just basketball shorts and a t-shirt, but that'll have to do. It's 80 degrees outside but he pulls on a hoodie anyway. The guy's hotel is only down the block, so he can walk it quickly, but he still wants to be sure he's not seen by someone who might recognize him.

 

Within an hour he's in the guy's hotel room getting the laziest handjob he's ever received. The guy is most certainly not 6 feet tall. He's not unattractive, but he isn't necessarily Brock's type either. Too lean, too short. His head is shaved to a short crop, not enough hair to grip. He convinced Brock to suck his dick when he got there, and Brock figured it was just the prelude to the main event.

 

Instead the guy came within five minutes, and he gave no warning, either, leaving Brock spluttering and coughing.

 

"Really, bud?" Brock had asked as he wiped his mouth and chin, his nose wrinkled.

 

"Shit man, your mouth is just so fuckin' good," the guy--Jarrod--said.

 

"Well can you go again?" Brock had been annoyed by that point. He didn't mind swallowing, in general, but he liked to have some say in the matter.

 

"Bro I just came like 15 seconds ago," Jarrod protested. "Get up, I'll take care of it for you."

 

Brock had thought that at the very least the guy would return the favor and give him a blowjob. That's how he ends up laying on the bed, with Jarrod stroking idly on his dick, looking bored. "Yeah, that's good, isn't it?" he asks, as if Brock is supposed to be getting off on something he could've done on his own, without the trek over here.

 

Brock closes his eyes and tries to thrust up into the guy's fist, trying to get some kind of pleasure from the action. Tries to get into it. It's still a good-looking guy stroking his cock, he should be enjoying himself, right? For all his efforts, though, he can't get himself excited. He glances down after a few excruciating minutes. His hard-on has flagged, he's barely even halfway there at this point, and he doesn't think it's coming back.

 

"Fuck it, dude," Brock mutters, batting the guy's hand away. "The moment's lost."

 

"Aww, come on, gimme another shot. I can get you off," Jarrod insists, but it's half-assed.

 

"Don't worry about it, I'll deal with it myself," Brock says as he pulls his pants on. "I've gotta get out of here anyway."

 

"If you're here a couple days we could try again."

 

"Nah, I'm gone tomorrow." It's true, of course, but Brock would say that even if it wasn't. No way in hell he wants to meet up with this guy again. "Thanks anyway."

 

He goes back to his hotel room and doesn't even have time to find some good porn before Petey returns from dinner, telling Brock in heavily accented and broken English how Bo Horvat had lost credit card roulette that night and how the bill had been huge. "His eyes, they were…" Petey motions bug-eyes, and then flops down on his bed, still talking, oblivious to Brock's current predicament.

 

"Fuck, that sounds awesome, I should've joined you guys." And really, he should have. Dinner with the boys would've been way better than that disaster of a Grindr hookup.

 

Later that night, Brock gets himself off in the shower again. And he's thinking about Morgan when he comes.

____

 

Morgan is finally home after over a week on the road. Four hard games and he's got a bruise that covers his entire shoulder and he's had a twinge in his knee for three days. They got back into Toronto just before midnight, and he can't wait to just sleep in his own bed again. But he dutifully checks his mail first, then he unpacks his travel bag and hangs his suit in the closet. He takes a glance through his fridge and makes a grocery list for the next day. And then he checks on Paddington.

 

He's grown, already a couple of inches taller than when Morgan potted him. Morgan checks the soil, and it's mostly dry. He thinks about watering it, but he checks the care instructions first--the cactus doesn't need much water at all through the winter, so he should probably leave it alone. He hopes that's the right call.

 

"Alright, bud, give a good smile, we're gonna show Brock how you're growing."

 

He thinks for a moment that he's lost his damn mind, talking to a cactus, but he still opens Snapchat and clicks a photo.

 

Paddington's over here growing big and strong. No flowers yet.

 

He plugs his phone in and sets about getting himself ready for bed. It's not until after he's brushed and changed into pajama pants that he notices the yellow light blinking on his phone. He crawls into bed and gets comfortable, sinking into his own pillows for the first time in way too long.

 

Snapchat from bboeser

 

The picture is a selfie from what appears to be the Canucks team bus. Brock is grinning broadly.

 

bboeser: Look at that, you haven't killed him!

 

Morgan clicks to reply and makes a face at the camera, his brow knotted and lips pursed. The shot isn't lit well and he's got a hefty amount of double chin showing, and he briefly contemplates retaking the picture. That would be stupid, though. He leaves the picture as is.

 

You're doubting my abilities as cactus dad!?

 

Brock sends another selfie, in this one his lips are twisted into a half-smirk.

 

bboeser: Succulent.

 

Morgan laughs out loud, he can't help it. He takes another selfie, facing the lamp this time so half of his face isn't in shadows. This angle makes his shoulders look bigger than they are. He flops to his back again instead and reminds himself that Brock probably doesn't care what he looks like.

 

He takes three pictures before he just gives up and uses the one on his screen.

 

Ah ah, Paddington actually IS a cactus. Sansa's a succulent. Smartass.

 

Brock's next response is a quick video of him rolling his eyes dramatically.

 

bboeser: I'm still shocked you haven't killed him.

 

Morgan responds with a more zoomed out selfie so that he can hold his middle finger up for Brock to see. If he's curious to see if Brock reacts to a shirtless-in-bed picture, well, who's going to know?

 

I'll have you know I'm very nurturing.

 

It's a long time before there's a response, and Morgan assumes that it isn't coming. He's drifting to sleep when his phone buzzes on the dresser. When he opens Snapchat there's a new picture of Brock, in his hotel room now, sitting against the headboard of his bed. He's grinning and has one eyebrow arched high.

 

bboeser: Well shit, Mo, shirtless selfies. Is that how you seduce all the guys? And ladies, I guess?

 

Morgan bites back a smile--not that it matters, there's no one here to see it--and he shifts so he can take another picture, making sure the shot includes plenty of his chest and all of his shoulders.

 

What, this? You think everyone's into this?

 

Brock's next message comes quick, another shot of him sitting up in bed. He has a shirt on, though.

 

bboeser: Oh yeah. That should be your new Grindr pic. You'd get all the good ones that way. Just like I do.

 

It's a bit of a gut punch, thinking of Brock with some other guy, or guys. But of course he's not going to be celibate or anything. So Morgan shakes off the inexplicable disappointment and gets ready to take another snap; he puts his arm up and slides his hand behind his head for the next picture. It gives a decent shot of his bicep. He makes a curious face, lips twisted up to one side.

 

Oh man, you breakin' hearts on Grindr these days, 'B'?

 

It's only a moment before the Snapchat widget pops up again. Brock has moved from pictures to just messaging.

 

bboeser: That was sarcastic. Had the absolute worst hookup in Fla last week. Didn't even get to finish.

 

Yikes, that's brutal. What the hell happened?

 

bboeser: Dude wanted a BJ, gave him one. He came in like 3 minutes. Then tried to give me a handy.

 

Morgan frowns at the message. What the hell kind of guy doesn't reciprocate? What's the fun in hooking up if the guy you're with isn't enjoying it? Not that Morgan hasn't had shitty hookups before--everyone has--but he just figures that you should at least try to make it good for both parties.

 

Not even a reciprocal bj?? What a dick. Sucks, man.

 

bboeser: If I'm gonna risk it, I want it to at least be GOOD, y'know?

 

Morgan pauses for a long moment before responding. He's not sure if it's a smart idea to go the flirtatious route here or if he's too tired to care that it isn't.

 

Well not everyone can be a stud like a certain other hookup you had.

 

bboeser: How'd you know about the dude in Phoenix last season!??

bboeser: ;)

 

You're awful for my ego, bud. Gonna go back to just sleeping with women.

 

bboeser: And deny the fine gentlemen of the world their chance at a hookup succulent? Tragic!

 

I don't know. MAYBE you've talked me out of completely giving up on dudes. For now.

 

bboeser: I've done my good deed for the night, then. And you should probably be sleeping, eh?

 

Morgan curls on one side, arm tucked under his pillow, sheets pulled up to his chest. He outstretches his free arm to take one last selfie, his eyes mostly closed so he can feign sleep. It's not the best picture in the world, but he guesses he looks good enough.

 

Already on my way there. Night B.

 

He gets a picture in return, Brock curled on his side, mimicking Morgan's pose. His hair is flopped over into his eyes and there's the barest hint of a grin at one corner of his mouth.

 

bboeser: Sleep tight, bud.

____

 

Morgan tries to sleep.

 

He really does. He slows his breathing and he attempts to get comfortable. He stretches out on his back, but it's not working. He shifts to one side, then the other. He adjusts his pillow. He clicks around and opens a white noise app on his phone.

 

He can't get the image of Brock sucking some other guy's dick out of his head.

 

He knows what it looks like, Brock on his knees, lips stretched wide, his eyelids fluttering and saliva leaking from the corners of his mouth. It was one hell of a blowjob that Brock gave him back in LA. But Morgan knew better than to come in his mouth and then leave him hanging.

 

Who even does something like that? What kind of a jerk do you have to be? Morgan can't imagine treating any guy like that, not even an anonymous Grindr hookup.

 

Morgan would've had the self control to hold back, first of all. And he would've done a whole lot more than just jerk Brock's dick afterward. Who gives a handy to a hookup? You can give yourself a hand job.

 

Morgan shakes his head to clear it; he is not going to lay here and get off thinking about Brock. They're actual friends now, using him as spank bank fodder isn't cool. And if he does that now, he's going to be uncomfortable talking to him later. He takes a deep breath and tries to focus on the hum of his ceiling fan. It's late and he has to sleep. There isn't a practice tomorrow, the team has the day off, but he still has things to do. After a long road trip he has errands to run, groceries to buy. Besides, he's nursing some aches and bruises and he needs the rest so that they'll heal.

 

Nearly an hour later he's still staring at the wall and he still can't shake the image of Brock's mouth on his dick. The low thrum of arousal is incessant and he gives in, realizing that if he doesn't do something about it, he's never going to sleep.

 

Porn. He'll turn on some porn. He can focus on nameless actors to distract from thinking of Brock, and all at once he can also get himself off. Win-win situation.

 

He turns on his laptop and clicks to one of his favorite sites. He goes for straight porn first--the farther he can get from thinking about Brock the better--and it takes him a few minutes, but he finds a clip that should work for him. The girl in the video seems to be into it; genuinely into it, unlike most of the straight porn he's seen. She's moaning but not too much, so it feels more like a reaction and less a performance.

 

The guy in the video is broad, with muscled shoulders and arms, and he has several tattoos across his skin. His hair is dark, on the long side, and every few minutes he pauses to push it back from his face. Morgan finds himself watching the guy more than the woman, watching his shoulders flex, watching the muscles of his ass tighten as he thrusts.

 

Morgan is stroking himself in steady pulls, biting on his lip while he tries to focus. The guy isn't really his type, necessarily, and neither is the woman, but they look good together. He just can't seem to let himself go.

 

He clicks to a different site and opens a gay porn clip. The bottom is too slim, bordering on scrawny, and he talks too much, trying so hard to sound sexy that it comes across as cheesy. His voice is too high pitched and his moaning sounds fake, exaggerated. Morgan tries yet another clip, and this bottom looks bored, disinterested even as he's bent over with a dick inside him.

 

If anything, this experience made his predicament worse. Now he's hard, but he's also seemingly unable to finish the job; none of the videos he's watched are pushing him over the edge. And the vivid memory of Brock spread out beneath him on a too-soft hotel bed in LA is something he absolutely is not going to focus on.

 

Frustrated, he pushes his laptop shut and resigns himself. He's not a 16 year old, he has self control. He's not going to die if he goes to bed without getting off.

 

It takes another hour before he finally falls asleep.

Chapter Text

After three solid weeks of working with it, Morgan thinks he's finally getting a feel for Brock's stick. He's gotten the hang of handling the puck with it, and he's been taking shots with it during practice. He's gotten three shots past Sparks and one past Anderson just today alone. He wishes he was allowed have his phone on the bench so that one of the guys could film him.

 

He sends Brock a Snapchat from his stall later instead. It's a picture of his feet, with the blade end of his stick between his skates.

 

Getting really good with this thing. Gonna start my Rocket campaign soon.

 

The response comes only minutes later, before Morgan even has his laces untied.

 

bboeser: Your hands aren't THAT soft, Mo.

 

Just you wait until I get video. You're gonna be intimidated by how good I am.

 

bboeser: We still talkin' sticks, buddy? Because if not that's a whole different kinda video.

 

The absolute last thing Morgan needs while standing in the locker room in only Under Armour shorts is to think about sending dirty videos to Brock. Even if he is inordinately pleased at the apparently flirtatious response.

 

I'm at the rink, be good. And stop changing the subject! You're scared I'm gonna be better than you.

 

bboeser: You're all talk, Mo. All talk. Prove it.

 

Morgan isn't really planning for that proof to come so quickly, but it does. He's been trying to keep his Brock stick set aside for use during practice only; it's shuffled to the back of his shelf in the supply room. He forgets to put it away after their last skate at home though, and the equipment guys pack it up for their road trip with the rest of his gear.

 

Morgan doesn't realize they packed the wrong stick until the third game away. They're in Boston and it's late in the second period when a slash from Backes breaks his stick halfway up the shaft. As the officials are assessing the penalty, he takes a new twig from Papineau and tests the flex on it. Then he checks the tape at the knob and then down on the blade and there it is, printed on the shaft of the stick:

 

BOESER

 

"Shit, Pappy, this is one of my practice sticks," Morgan tries to hand it back to him.

 

"I gotta get one from the room, go out for the PP and I'll get you a new one for the next shift," Papineau says as he trots down the hall toward the visitor's room.

 

Morgan skates out onto the ice and tests the stick once more, spinning it in his hand. It's just one power play shift, he can make it work. JT wins the faceoff and the Leafs keep possession. Twice Morgan has to reach to keep the puck in at the line but he manages each time. Finally Marns has a clear lane to him and one of the Bruins is screening Rask.

 

"Marns, Marns!" Morgan calls out, tapping his stick quickly on the ice.

 

Mitch finds him with the perfect pass, right on the tape, and Morgan lets it fly as soon as it's in his wheelhouse. The red light flashes behind the goal and then his teammates are skating to meet him.

 

"Nice fuckin' shot, Mo!"

 

"What a snipe, bud, good job!"

 

"We got this one, boys, let's keep going."

 

He skates down the bench and gets fist bumps and high fives. When he gets to the end there's Papineau, holding one of his normal sticks and smirking. "You sure you wanna trade that guy in? He looks pretty lucky to me."

 

"I guess I can play with it a little longer," Morgan offers with a grin.

____

 

It's not like Brock watches every Leafs game or anything. They're on Sportsnet a lot , though, so he definitely sees quite a few. He catches himself mid-fistpump when Morgan sends a shot in past Rask on the PP. Fortunately, Stech isn't home at the moment. He glances over at his succulent.

"Don't you go judging me cheering for Mo, Sansa. I'm allowed."

 

Sansa remains predictably silent.

 

He keeps the game on through the intermission; they said they'd have an interview with Morgan when the period was over, and sure, maybe Brock wants to watch it.

 

"Oh man, it was a lucky shot," Morgan is playing off the goal as if he had nothing to do with it. "One of their guys was right in Rask's face, Marns put it on my tape and I just tried to get it on net."

 

"We heard something from your equipment guy, Brian Papineau--he said he accidentally gave you one of your practice sticks when you went out for that shift? Are you going to rethink using that one for practices now?"

 

Morgan laughs and wipes the sweat from his face. "Right, so my buddy Brock Boeser sent me over a new stick to try a while ago and I've been using it in practice. It accidentally got packed with us for the trip and Pappy gave it to me on the bench. I guess there's a little sniper magic in that one, eh?"

 

Brock has his phone out before he gives it a second thought.

 

He takes a picture of the TV and sends it to Morgan, but not before adding a caption.

 

Oh now you're just showing off. Sniper magic is it?

 

He doesn't get a response until well after the Toronto game has ended.

 

morganrielly: Hey, you tell me. I use your stick in a game accidentally and I net the winner. That's some good luck charm right there, bud.

 

Ha ha, it's a single goal. You don't get to gloat until you've got at least 20.

 

morganrielly: 20?? My career high is 9!

 

Didn't you already hit that?? Besides, you're the one calling sniper magic!

 

morganrielly: I was just showing off that I can score with your stick since you were doubting me.

 

Hey bud, I know very well how good your hands are.

 

morganrielly is typing…

 

morganrielly is typing...

 

morganrielly: Yeah, yeah, that's a different kind of soft hands there, B.

 

Hands definitely aren't soft enough to put up 20, not even with my twig.

 

morganrielly: Hey, don't doubt me. I can snipe a little bit, eh?

 

Brock turns so he can take a picture of Sansa, zoomed in so the photo shows the white flowers that are still blooming, though they're starting to wilt.

 

Sansa is unimpressed, buddy. Gonna have to try harder.

 

morganrielly: Man, when I bought her for you, I didn't know she was gonna be so hard to please.

 

Gotta work for it, Mo!

 

morganrielly: She's a tough one, that Sansa. I'm glad you're letting her watch my games though, she must be missing me ;)

 

You've never even met her! How could she miss you? Such a deadbeat succulent dad.

 

morganrielly: So she wasn't the one watching my game then?

 

Brock walked right into that one. He stretches out and props his feet up on the coffee table. He takes a picture like that, with the TV in the background, Gamecentre on.

 

The Leafs are on all the fuckin time, bud. Your mug is on TV every week.

 

morganrielly: Nah, they don't show me much. You're just hoping for a glimpse of JT.

 

What? No way. He's boring as hell off the ice.

 

morganrielly: So if Sansa didn't wanna watch, and you're not carrying a torch for JT, what you're saying is you're cheering for me over there, eh?

morganrielly: Want me to send you a signed jersey, bud?

 

You're the one name-dropping me on Sportsnet! I apparently should be sending YOU a jersey.

 

morganrielly: Okay as much as I wanna mock you, I actually wouldn't mind that. I've got a few from other guys too, I like having a collection. Makes me look cooler. I'll shoot one your way too if you want.

 

You're gonna have to display it on the wall next to Paddington, you realize that? Gotta have Uncle Brock close by.

 

morganrielly: Only if you put mine up next to Sansa, buddy.

 

Deadbeat succulent fathers don't get prime real estate!

 

morganrielly: I am an excellent succulent father. Wait until you see Paddington, he's grown like 3 more inches.

 

You're gonna have to show me a picture, I don't believe you. You're gonna abandon Paddington like you abandoned poor Sansa here.

 

morganrielly: I made sure she had a nice home!

 

"Boes, buddy, the fuck are you grinning like a dumbass about?"

 

Brock is starting to type a message when Troy's voice breaks into his thoughts. He hadn't even heard him come in, had been completely distracted as he was messaging with Morgan. He also hadn't realized the dopey smile that's on his face. He shakes it off, rolling his eyes at Stech.

 

"Just some funny shit my sister sent me," Brock explains it away. "I didn't hear you come in."

 

"Well move the fuck over, I wanna catch up on Bojack Horseman. Suttsy's giving me shit that I haven't seen any of this season yet," Troy flops down on the couch and stretches his feet out onto the coffee table.

 

Brock pushes up from the couch and chuckles. "I'll let you watch it in peace, I might facetime my parents in a little bit here."

 

Really he just wants an excuse to leave the room so he can continue messaging with Morgan. He doesn't need Troy getting nosy about who he's getting Snaps from. But he also doesn't necessarily want to stop talking with Morgan either. He stretches out on his bed and turns on the TV just for the background noise.

 

You're just trying to get off the hook for abandoning Sansa with me. No can do, buddy. She holds a grudge.

 

morganrielly: Well I'm just gonna have to make it up to her.

morganrielly: I'll buy her some plant food or something.

 

What?! Trying to buy her love? I'm disappointed in you, Mo.

 

morganrielly: I'm trying to do my part so she grows up big and strong!

 

Such a deadbeat. This is why your jersey isn't going on the wall.

 

morganrielly: You don't even ASK about Paddington! You're just as bad!

 

So when I'm in Toronto later this year I'll pay him a visit. Remind him that I saved him from being named after PIERRE MCGUIRE.

 

morganrielly: Oh yeah? So you're just gonna come hang out at my place?

 

Now it's Brock's turn to start, delete, and restart his response. In the end he decides a picture is best. He gives his brightest, sunniest smile and snaps a photo like that. He even adds an angel emoji.

 

You're gonna tell me you'd say no to this face? Paddington wants to meet me.

 

Morgan responds a few minutes later with a picture of his own. He's sitting up in bed, no shirt on, stupid mustache still on his upper lip, and his eyes are heavily lidded and sleepy. Brock is way more into it than he probably should be.

 

morganrielly: Well I guess if you're gonna let me meet Sansa, I've gotta let you meet Paddington.

 

Brock sends a photo back in return; for this he takes his shirt off (Morgan's not the only one who can show off here), and rakes a hand through his hair to fluff it, and then he gives the camera a lopsided grin.

 

Mo, you look exhausted. Go to sleep. I'll still be around to mock you tomorrow.

 

Morgan sends a picture back, and he's laying down in bed now, one hand up behind his head. He's smirking just slightly.

 

morganrielly: What kinda promise is that? I don't need to look forward to you mocking me when I wake up!

 

Brock pulls his phone back farther for the next picture, making sure there's good amount of his chest showing this time. He arches one eyebrow challengingly.

 

Stop sending me your Grindr profile pics or I'm gonna mock you for that too.

 

The photo he gets in return looks like Morgan took it while he was laughing, his smile is wide and his eyes are bright, even if he still looks tired.

 

morganrielly: Ha. No face pics go on there, you know that. You're the only one graced with my shitty bedtime selfies.

morganrielly: But you're probably right, I gotta sleep. Shoot me your address and I'll send over a jersey.

 

Brock reaches onto his bedside table and grabs a black Sharpie, he holds it up for his next Snap.

 

I expect a very heartfelt message with my auto, buddy! Don't disappoint!

 

Morgan responds with a sleepy smile and his hair stuck up on one side.

 

morganrielly: Don't you worry, B. I'm a goddamn poet over here.

 

I'm holding you to that, Mo. Now go to bed.

 

Morgan's next message is text only, with a "Zzz" emoji on the end.

 

morganrielly: Night B.

 

Night Mo.

____

 

bboeser : The fuck is wrong with Canada, why don't they do Thanksgiving right?

 

The message lights up his phone shortly after Morgan gets home from practice a few days later. He's getting ready to respond when another message comes through.

 

bboeser: I just want a decent turkey dinner with some actual stuffing on Thanksgiving but you weirdos do it in October. What the hell is that about?

 

Don't blame us because Americans wait way too long for it. You could've had a lovely turkey dinner a month ago.

 

bboeser: October is for Halloween!

 

I'm sure you can find a turkey dinner somewhere. Aren't you guys in the States right now anyway?

 

bboeser: Keeping tabs on me, Mo?

 

Okay so maybe Morgan has been checking Canucks scores more often lately. He doesn't need Brock to know that. Though he may have just blown his cover anyway. He responds with an eyeroll emoji.

 

There was an ad for your next game that kept playing last night, couldn't miss your huge dome.

 

bboeser: MY huge dome?! Have you looked in a mirror?

 

But I don't draw attention to it with the hair! I have boring non-descript hair.

 

bboeser: Everybody's always jealous of the flow.

 

We can't all be Prince Charming, bud.

 

bboeser: Oh no, not you too. I don't look like that.

 

Morgan opens the camera on his phone and takes a picture of the incredulous look on his face.  

 

Have YOU looked in a mirror? You have the same face! And when you do the hair flip?! Come on.

 

Brock response is a picture of himself, holding up his middle finger, his nose wrinkled up in annoyance. He doesn't even bother with adding any text.

 

It's a short Google search that leads Morgan to the picture, a side-by-side comparison of Brock from All Star weekend last season, his hair blowing back as he skates, next to a gif of Prince Charming from Shrek. The similarities are uncanny. Morgan screenshots and sends the picture to him.

 

Not my fault you look like a goddamn Disney prince, bud. Good genetics or something.

 

bboeser: Yeah, yeah, I get it. I should've been him for Halloween.

 

Hey at least you're qualified for Prince Charming! I'm probably Donkey.

 

bboeser: Only between the legs, buddy.

 

Morgan is really glad he finished his coffee a while ago, or he would have spit it all over his phone. He still waits a long minute before responding, mostly because he isn't sure what to say to that.

 

Uh, thanks? I guess that's a good thing?

 

bboeser: I mean, I don't actually know if donkeys are hung, I haven't checked out too many in my life. But I just gotta figure they are. Y'know, 'hung like a horse.' They're sorta like horses right?

 

We're definitely gonna stop talking about how endowed donkeys are riiiiight now.

 

bboeser: Fair enough. But it was meant as a compliment.

 

And a moment later Brock sends two emojis: an eggplant and then a set of wide eyes.

 

Morgan is pretty sure this counts as flirting. Or it's at least really suggestive. But maybe this isn't weird--they have had sex before, maybe this is normal? He feels out of sorts, unsure how to navigate this.

 

Well I appreciate you pumping my tires, B. Not sure how we got from Thanksgiving to talking about my junk.

 

bboeser: Not pumping your tires if it's true, Mo.

 

Better watch it, bud, I'm gonna get a big head.

 

bboeser: Hate to break it to you but you've got a huge melon already.

 

Oh really now? Your head is easily as big as mine.

 

bboeser: Your hat was too big on me!

 

Bullshit! It fit you just fine.

 

bboeser: Wanna bet on it? Next time I see you, I'll try on your hat and we'll see how much bigger your dome is.

 

We'd have to come up with terms. I'm not sure what I want from you.

 

bboeser: Oh I'm sure I can come up with something…

 

Morgan stares at the message on his phone for a long, long moment. He should flirt back. At least, he's pretty sure it's flirting. But maybe it's not. Brock probably can take his pick of whoever he wants; he doesn't need a guy like Morgan--stocky and undefined, currently with a mustache he knows is pretty suspect, not to mention clear across the country. Brock's just joking, that's all it is. It doesn't mean anything.

 

Maybe.

 

After pacing through his living room a few times, Morgan finally types out a response.

 

Well then, you'll have to tell me what you come up with.

 

And then he checks the schedule to see when exactly they play Vancouver. It's not until after Christmas. Maybe Morgan will have some idea what the fuck this is by then.

Chapter Text

Vancouver has a stretch of road games early in December, and Brock takes advantage of it. In Dallas he meets up with someone named Anthony. His profile claims that he's 6'2, but Brock is easily 3 inches taller. It's not terrible--they don't fuck, Brock has a game the next afternoon--but it's still underwhelming. Anthony gives decent head and he has a nice enough dick. Overall it's fine, but...

 

Brock feels like if he's going to risk hooking up with dudes, it should be better than fine .

 

A week later they're in Phoenix. This time he finds a guy named Matt, who actually is every bit of the 6'4 he claims. They trade blowjobs first, and then the guy wants to bottom. It's not Brock's ideal, but he's topped before and he doesn't hate it. Matt is enthusiastic if a little bit too loud, and his reactions get Brock going too.

 

And it's good, Brock knows it's good. Matt gives him his number and tells him to shoot him a text if he's ever in town again. Brock appreciates the intention, even if he knows he'll never contact the guy; if he's hooking up, Brock definitely prefers to bottom. So he leaves the encounter, however good it was, disappointed.

 

When they get home from Phoenix there's a box waiting for him, the return address from Toronto. He fights back the urge to grin like an absolute idiot and hopes that Troy doesn't see his eyes light up. If he does, he doesn't say anything.

 

Brock tosses his travel bag blindly toward the closet and sets the box on his bed, tearing it open immediately. Just inside, on the very top, there's a bubble-wrapped bottle of Miracle-Gro plant food and a handwritten sticky note.

 

B,

I've gotta make sure I'm taking care of Sansa so she doesn't forget about me! I told you I'm not a deadbeat. Now you definitely have to hang my jersey near her.

-Mo

 

It's dorky. It's impossibly dorky. Brock finds himself smiling anyway.

 

Beneath the plant food, carefully folded, is a Maple Leafs jersey. Brock lifts it up and turns it around; on the second 4 is Morgan's autograph beneath a scribbled message.

 

Brock,

Thanks for the new stick, buddy. I'll give you credit when I win the Norris.

 

Brock sent his jersey to Morgan a week ago, but he didn't think of any kind of extra thing to put in the box. He should've gotten something for Paddington. Point Morgan. Though that doesn't mean Brock won't chirp him anyway.

 

He grabs his phone and taps to open Snapchat while he shrugs off his suit jacket. He spreads the jersey out on his bed and snaps a picture of it, the bottle of plant food laying next to it.

 

There's no way you're gonna win the Norris. Even my powers aren't that strong!

 

Brock unpacks his bag and strips down to just pajama pants. It's still early, but he's tired from the travel and already looking forward to having the next day off to nurse some aches and bruises. He carefully hangs Morgan's jersey in his closet--he'll have to get it framed and find somewhere to hang it--and sprawls out on the bed, queuing up Netflix.

 

A few minutes into scrolling through titles his phone buzzes. A snap from Morgan--sans mustache, thank god November is over--is waiting, a picture of him wearing the jersey Brock sent, while he gives a cheesy grin and a thumbs up.

 

morganrielly: Maybe if I wear the jersey too??

 

Brock might really, really like seeing his jersey on Morgan. He's tapping around to get ready to send a picture back when he bumps the wrong thing and suddenly Snapchat is calling Morgan and this wasn't what he planned at all. He's trying to turn it off, but he's panicking and isn't actually sure how he even sent the call, let alone how to stop it.

 

"Shit. Fuck." Brock is muttering, trying to figure what to push to cancel out. "How do I fucking turn this off?"

 

Morgan is still wearing the jersey when he answers the call. He looks confused, but he's smiling.

 

"Uh, hey man. Problems?"

 

"Shit, sorry for that. I didn't actually mean to call, but then I couldn't shut it off."

 

"Sorry, buddy, I can hang up?" Morgan offers.

 

Brock thinks it over for a moment. "Nah, it's fine. I was gonna chirp you about wearing my jersey, I can do that just as well this way. You're totally not winning the Norris. You're not quite that badass."

 

Morgan plays up a dramatic gasp and holds a hand over his heart. "Hey, just because it's unlikely doesn't mean it's impossible! I've had some good luck with that stick of yours."

 

"Do we need to add another challenge to the giant dome bet? Just because the Toronto media's pumping your tires doesn't mean you're actually gonna win anything."

 

"Oh no, here comes the East Coast bias line," Morgan rolls his eyes. "And besides, you still haven't come up with actual terms for the bet that you're definitely going to lose because you have a huge head."

 

"You're not coming up with terms either, you know," Brock says. "If you're so positive you're gonna win this bet, you should be coming up with what your reward is going to be."

 

Morgan goes quiet, his lips twisted up to one side and his eyes averted in thought. "Okay, fine. So have you been to Goldie's Pizza? It's over in Gastown, they've got the best fucking supreme pizza you've ever had in your life. If I win, you've gotta ship me one of those. Like really do it up, pack it in dry ice, the whole nine yards."

 

"Pizza? Pizza is your go-to for winning a bet?"

 

"You don't understand how good that pizza is!" Morgan protests. "I grew up eating that stuff, and I only get it in the summers now. So when I'm right about your giant head, you've gotta send me a pizza."

 

"Man, you're a boring dude, Mo," Brock shakes his head. "But fine, in the very unlikely event that you're right, I'll send you a pizza."

 

"Hey, at least I came up with something. You're still giving me nothing," Morgan has one eyebrow arched.

 

"Well you aren't in my hometown, so I can't come up with any good childhood food cravings!"

 

The screen on Morgan's side goes blank and a moment later he reappears, having finally taken off Brock's jersey. He has a soft looking t-shirt on beneath. From the look of the room around him he's on his couch, slouching down low. He has a bit of double-chin showing and Brock is pretty sure it's weird that he likes it.

 

"You can't even come up with a win for one bet and now you want to start a second one?" Morgan asks, challenge in his voice. "And we aren't even going to see each other to make good on the first bet for like a month anyway. You guys aren't out this way until January."

 

Brock has definitely already looked up their games against the Leafs. He already has notes for those games in the calendar on his phone. And he checked to see when Toronto is in Vancouver too. But he likes the idea that Morgan has looked ahead also.

 

"It's not like either of our heads are gonna shrink between now and the new year, bud," Brock doesn't chirp him about knowing the schedule, though he really wants to. "I think the bet is still safe."

 

"Well it gives you weeks to come up with something you want, even though we both know you're losing."

 

Brock holds up his middle finger so Morgan can see. "Oh fuck you, Mo. I'm gonna have the best bet terms, and I'm going to win. Just you wait."

 

"You couldn't even come up with anything good to write on the jersey you sent!" Morgan holds up the jersey now, reading monotone off of it. "'Morgan, good luck this year, best wishes!' and then some scribble that I guess counts as your name. And nothing at all for Paddington! He's feeling very neglected."

 

Brock makes a face. "I definitely didn't know we were sending cactus--"

 

"Succulent!" Morgan interrupts cheerily.

 

"Fine, I didn't know we were sending succulent gifts."

 

"It's cool, I get it, you're the deadbeat succulent dad here. Paddington'll just have to get over having a father who totally forgets about him. Look how sad he is!" Morgan switches the camera from selfie mode to film Paddington, who has easily grown six inches since Brock saw him last.

 

"What? He's not sad at all. He's growing like crazy," Brock protests. "He doesn't even need any kind of food or anything. He'd get too big."

 

"Sure, sure, whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night," Morgan turns the camera on himself again, shaking his head in disappointment.

 

"Oh you're in for it now, I'm gonna send you all kinds of stuff for Paddington now. You're going to have Amazon Prime boxes waiting every day."

 

"I'll believe it when I see it, B." Morgan is smiling, but he's looking a little sleepy. It occurs to Brock that it's nearly midnight in Toronto.

 

Brock stretches out on the bed--he's pretty tired himself--and holds the phone so Morgan can see he's laying down. "Alright, I know I'm ready to call it a night, and it's 3 hours later where you are, so I figure I should let you go."

 

Morgan fights off a yawn and then laughs. The view around him changes as he apparently heads from his couch to his bedroom.  "Yeah, practice early tomorrow, I guess I've gotta be ready for it. You've still gotta come up with terms. If you don't figure something out by Christmas it's off, eh?"

 

"You're just scared you're gonna lose."

 

"Never been more sure of a win in my life, staring at your dome for the last half hour," Morgan answers. "It takes up the whole screen!"

 

"What? It does not!" Brock stretches out his arm, holding his phone so the angle catches most of his upper body. "See?"

 

Morgan has one side of his mouth turned up, and Brock is pretty sure he chews on his lower lip for a moment before speaking. There's an edge to his voice that wasn't there a moment ago.

 

"Well now you're just showing off."

 

"Is it working?"

____

 

Morgan really, really tries to keep his face neutral. There's a whole lot of Brock's skin showing, and he's stretched out in bed invitingly. Morgan wouldn't hate crawling into that bed next to him, if he wasn't on the other side of the country. Also if that wouldn't be a monumentally stupid idea.

 

Because Morgan is pretty sure Brock is just a flirt. He says suggestive things but he doesn't mean them, not really. He could get laid in Vancouver in about ten minutes flat; even with the need to stay discreet, Brock could find some guy over there.

 

He's only flirting with Morgan because he's the only one available at the moment.

 

"Well?"

 

Shit, he'd asked a question.

 

"Well it's making me feel real guilty about the full-fat latte I had this morning," Morgan answers, going for self-deprecating to play off his awkward silence. "And it makes me self-conscious of my dad bod, so I guess it's working."

 

Brock rolls his eyes and angles the phone closer, and Morgan is all at once disappointed and relieved. Not that he doesn't enjoy the view--he really, really does--but it's also incredibly distracting and completely unfair.

 

"Oh go fuck yourself, that's not a dad bod. What the fuck type of dads are you looking at?"

 

"Bud, you don't have to pump my tires," Morgan shakes his head. "I do just fine for myself, I just don't have abs like yours."

 

Brock's voice drops to a softer volume and he has the phone closer now, only his face and part of his neck visible. "In case you forgot, Mo. I've been pretty up close and personal with your body. I know you do way better than 'just fine.'"

 

Morgan clears his throat to keep from choking. "Yeah, yeah I remember something about that. Uh. Thanks."

 

Brock huffs out a laugh and shakes his head. "Don't be so enthusiastic about it."

 

"Just a little awkward, I guess," Morgan offers with a shrug. "I usually don't end up friends with a guy after hooking up."

 

"It's no different from any other friendship. Except I've sucked your dick. That's pretty different from my other friends."

 

Morgan groans and rubs his free hand over his face; this conversation has taken a turn and he needs to get it back on a less sexual track. His pants are already uncomfortably tight and Brock talking about blowing him is definitely not helping the situation. "Oh my god, you're the worst."

 

"I am most certainly not the worst," Brock protests. "I give great head!"

 

"I'm hanging up."

 

"What? I'm right!"

 

" Good night , Brock."

 

Brock is grinning broadly now, seemingly enthralled to have gotten Morgan so flustered. He's just barely fighting back a full-fledged giggle, his lips pressed together to hold in not-quite-contained laughter. "Good night, Mo."

 

Morgan flops face-first onto his bed, willing his dick to cooperate. He is not gonna jerk off thinking about Brock. It's weird and inappropriate and he can't do that; even if he can't stop thinking about how good Brock's skin felt, how soft his lips were, the sound of his moans going breathless just before he came.

 

And that train of thought is not doing anything to ease his arousal. He needs to think about something else. Anything else.

 

He pushes himself off the bed, the number six Boeser jersey still lying there, and he carefully folds it and puts it back in the shipping box. He has a row of jerseys already hanging in the hall--from Moose Jaw, his Canadian World Juniors jersey, and Team North America. He can add this one to the collection. He's going to call about getting it framed tomorrow.

 

The mundane trail of thought is doing nothing to quell the arousal tightening at his groin.

 

Shower. He'll take a cold shower. He wonders if he has enough trays to draw a full ice bath. He doesn't, but it's tempting to try.

 

The water is shocking when he steps into the spray, and for a few minutes he can't think about anything but how brutally frigid it is. Which is exactly what he was hoping for. His fingers are chilled and he has goosebumps down his arms when his dick finally gets the message and goes soft.

 

If he's going to be doing video chats with Brock, he needs to make sure the conversation stays PG in the future.

____

 

The Leafs are in Montreal next, and a night off in Montreal means that the single guys on the team take advantage of the exceptional nightlife; the city is legendary for its wealth of strip clubs with very generous policies, but its other bars are just as incredible. Bouncers ensure that they're only letting in the most gorgeous women and very few men. If Morgan wasn't out with Auston he probably wouldn't even be let in. But Matts is a big enough star to get into any club across Canada, and Morgan doesn't mind piggybacking on his fame.

 

"Mm-mm," Auston says as he stands at the bar, nursing a light beer, some disgusting American brew that Morgan wouldn't waste the calories on. "There are some fucking dimes in here."

 

Morgan has a bottle of Molson and is taking a slow sip of it as his eyes track the room. The ratio of women to men is approximately 10-1, and that's precisely what Morgan was hoping for. He's been unable to get Brock out of his mind for days, and he needs a reset. Going home with a woman seems like a damn good way to distract himself.

 

It doesn't take long before there are a pair of girls chatting with them. There's a tall blonde who has her sights set solely on Auston, flipping curls over her shoulder and batting long--probably fake--lashes at him. Her friend is much more petite. Even in heels, she barely reaches Morgan's shoulder. Her dark hair is sleek and glossy, her dress cuts low into her cleavage, and she keeps laying her tiny hand on Morgan's forearm when she talks to him. Her name is Allie and her accent is sexy as hell.

 

Auston is making out with her friend at the edge of the dance floor, but Morgan prefers a little more privacy.

 

"My place is only a few blocks away," Allie says, full lips pouting invitingly.

 

"I'll order us an Uber," Morgan slides his hand to her waist and guides her toward the exit. He could certainly do worse tonight.

 

Allie is practically sitting in his lap on the drive to her apartment, rubbing her hand over his chest and kissing his neck, giggling against his ear that his stubble is tickling her. She drops her purse at the door once they're inside and offers a drink, but it's merely a formality. They're not here for drinks or small talk, and before long they're in her bedroom and she's taking off his pants and he's unzipping her dress.

 

Her hands are silky smooth when she strokes his cock, and her lips spread obscenely around it when she's blowing him. He pets a hand through her hair but he doesn't force--he's not small but her mouth definitely is--and it's not long before they're moving past the foreplay.

 

He gets his fingers inside her first, and she's already wet when he leans in to taste her. She's purring beneath him when he gets a condom on and pushes into her, and she hooks her legs around his hips to pull him closer. He doesn't want to thrust too hard, doesn't want to lean his weight too heavily on her; she's probably half his size. He keeps his eyes on her the whole time, watching for any sign that he's going too rough, that she's not enjoying herself.

 

He can't stop worrying that he's crushing her. Can't stop thinking he's going to hurt her.

 

He can't shut his brain off enough to get fully into it.

 

Allie doesn't seem to notice, and it doesn't take Morgan long to get her off. She has her head thrown back on the pillow, her heels are digging into the back of his thighs, and she's drawing in huge gasps of air, letting them out on soft little whimpers that would be hot as hell if he could just get himself to stop thinking so much.

 

He's a guy, though, and he's inside a beautiful woman, so he still comes. It's unremarkable, for an orgasm; he's distracted, trying to make sure he's bracing his hand on the bed to keep his full weight from crashing down on her.

 

"Mmm," she sighs as he pulls out of her, "that was wonderful."

 

It's genuine, or she's quite an actress. Morgan disposes of the condom and takes the towel hanging in the bathroom, then joins her on the bed once more. They kiss lazily while he dries her off, gently rubbing the towel over her most sensitive spots. She doesn't bother moving from the bed while he cleans himself up and gets dressed.

 

"Next time you're in Montreal, you should text me." She has the bedsheet tucked up under her arms and she's scribbling her number on a piece of paper.

 

Morgan doesn't answer--he knows he's going to throw her number out--and he taps around on his phone to open the Uber app. "Tonight was great, Allie, thank you."

 

"Anytime," she coos, petting down her hair. "Anytime at all."

 

Morgan is scrolling through his normal florist's website on the ride back to his hotel and in his head he hears Brock chirping him about having his succulents all over Toronto. After a moment's pause, he decides to change it up. In lieu of his typical, he orders an edible arrangement--pineapples cut into the shape of daisies, chocolate-dipped strawberries--and sends it to her address.

 

He screenshots the order summary and he composes a snapchat for Brock.

 

No more succulent babies all over the place!

 

He waits, his thumb hovering over the send button, not sure if he should be making it obvious to Brock that he just got laid. Not that it matters, Brock has mentioned his hookups. They're friends. It's not weird if he tells Brock about this either. Well, no weirder than their friendship already is.

 

He closes his eyes and sends the snap.

 

He's riding the elevator to his hotel room when Brock responds with a selfie. He's wearing a pink hoodie and a backwards baseball cap that doesn't quite fit right on his head. He's got both brows raised and his lips pursed into an 'O' shape.

 

bboeser: Oooh, Mo got lucky in Montreal!

 

Not even a minute passes before another snap arrives. This time Brock has his lips twisted up and he's looking off into the distance as if he's lost in thought.

 

bboeser: Although...great sex AND an edible arrangement. I guess SHE got lucky.

 

Morgan secures the chain lock on his door and sends back a quick video of himself rolling his eyes dramatically.

 

Oh yeah, luckiest girl in MTL.

 

Morgan's stripped down to pajama pants and stretched out in bed when his snapchat pings again. This time Brock is in the picture with a devious grin and a single eyebrow arched.

 

bboeser: Call it like I see it, bud. Hope you had a good time.

 

Several responses go through Morgan's head.

 

Could've been better.

Not as good as LA.

I wish it had been you.

 

Morgan can't say any of those. He holds his phone out to take a selfie--he looks pudgy at this angle, and his double-chin is in full force, but it'll have to do--and he smiles innocently.

 

A gentleman never tells.

 

But it would have been better with Brock. If Brock was beneath him, he wouldn't worry that he was too heavy. He wouldn't be afraid of hurting him. Brock is nearly the same size, so Morgan would be able to let go and just enjoy himself. Brock's mouth is larger, his hands bigger, his frame nearly as solid as Morgan's own.

 

Morgan has fought against this urge every time it's come up, but after the unsatisfying hookup earlier, he can't bring himself to resist it tonight. He thinks about Brock kneeling in front of him, full lips spread wide around his dick, shiny and slick with saliva as he works his mouth up and down the shaft. He strokes himself in slow pulls, chewing on his lip while he thinks about Brock staring up from between his thighs, his eyes watering each time he takes Morgan's dick into his throat.

 

As good as Brock's mouth was, Morgan isn't content to just fantasize about that. He lets his mind drift, remembering the curve of Brock's back as he knelt on the bed, his ass arched high in the air while Morgan got him ready. He remembers the way Brock squirmed when he drove his tongue deep, remembers the sound of Brock letting out a breathless string of curses while Morgan ate him out.

 

And he remembers how Brock felt around him, hot and tight, his hips shifting to meet each of Morgan's thrusts. Morgan turns his head and pants into the pillow, jerking his dick faster now; the grip is a little too dry but he doesn't care, not now that he's finally given in and is letting himself fantasize about Brock. It doesn't take long before he's coming into his fist, squeezing his cock tight and gasping for breath.

 

Once it's over he hears his phone buzz and he grimaces when he sees it's a message from Brock.

 

bboeser: Hey, I'm not a gentleman. Tell me about it anyway.

 

Morgan chews hard on his lip and stares at the message, guilt curling in his gut. He never should have given in like that, never should have used Brock as a fantasy. He suddenly feels like he doesn't know what to say to him. It's like he violated some unspoken trust, even if Brock has no idea that anything's changed.

Chapter Text

It's been several days since Brock found out about Morgan hooking up in Montreal, and it's still not sitting right with him. He's aware of how hypocritical it is; Brock has slept with several guys since that night in Los Angeles. He tells himself that he's not jealous, not really. Morgan's a good guy and a hell of a lay, so he might as well get around. Brock just wishes it was that simple for him to get lucky.

 

The thing is that Morgan isn't gay, he's bi, so he can just go to any bar in Montreal and go home with someone. The girl he slept with probably knew exactly who he was, too, and it didn't matter. It doesn't matter if Morgan hooks up with women because that's what everyone expects him to do. Brock could do the same, he supposes, if he was really desperate for it. It's not that he's never had sex with a woman. He just didn't like it.

 

So Brock can't just hook up that easily, because he's gay, and if someone found out about it, it would be a giant debacle. Instead, he has to wait until the team is in a specific city and has to hope that he finds a decent enough guy on Grindr that he wants to spend an hour with. Morgan can spend the night with any woman he wants whenever he wants.

 

And that's what has him so messed up, just the unfairness of it all. At least that's what he's telling himself. He has no other good reason to be so bothered by Morgan hooking up. They're only friends.

 

If he's unreasonably pleased that the girl in Montreal got a measly edible arrangement instead of an awesome cactus-- succulent --well, okay, maybe that's a little bit of jealousy.

 

Las Vegas is the first stop on the Canucks' next road trip, and normally Brock would take full advantage of the anonymity of it. Typically it's an excellent place for him to try to hook up. Vegas is full of millions of people at all times, visiting from all different parts of the world. Most of his single teammates (and several of the not-single ones as well, if he's being honest) try to do the same. No one questions if anyone is out late when they're visiting the Golden Knights; there were definitely plenty of hangovers to go around last time they were here.

 

Which is probably why the Canucks scheduled the Dads' Trip to coincide with the game in Vegas.

 

Brock is fine with skipping the opportunity to scroll through Grindr, though, because this is one of his favorite road trips of the year. He tries to take advantage of every chance he gets to spend with his dad. His father has been through health scares and accidents and Brock has nearly lost him before, so having his father around has gained a lot of importance.

 

In between the times he's getting to spend with his dad, he's at the rink, either on the ice or talking with the media. The story about Morgan switching over to Brock's stick has gained traction and nearly every outlet wants to ask him about it. There was even a full intermission segment on Hockey Night in Canada that included interview clips from not only Morgan but several from Brock as well. Fortunately Brock is always a little bit awkward in interviews, so no one seems to notice that he's definitely blushing as they ask him questions about Morgan's stick. He hasn't stopped chirping Morgan about it, however; he's been giving him shit about riding Brock's coattails all week.

 

Just because you've scored a couple goals with my twig doesn't make you a sniper!

 

morganrielly: I warranted an entire HNIC segment! My stick's hot.

 

MY stick is hot, you mean.

 

morganrielly is typing…

 

"What's got you grinning so much over there?" his dad says, interrupting his thoughts. Which is probably a good thing, if Morgan's going to be making thinly veiled dick references.

 

"Huh?"

 

"You've been grinning at your phone all day," his dad grins and lifts one brow. "Some girl?"

 

Brock groans and tucks his phone away. "Dad, no, it's not that. Just a running joke with a few of the guys back home. They're asking how you're holding up in Vegas."

 

"I can handle Las Vegas just fine," his father insists. "That's why the dads are here, you guys can't be trusted on your own."

 

Brock decides to wait until later to answer Morgan. He doesn't want his dad to think there's some secret girlfriend he doesn't know about, and besides, he feels a little guilty for being so distracted for one of the few visits they get to spend together during the season. But later on, when the fathers are all heading to a steakhouse for dinner and he's in his hotel room for his pregame nap, he looks at his phone again.

 

morganrielly: I guess maybe it's a little of both of us. I'm just having a whole lot of luck with your stick?

 

I mean, we've definitely worked well together in the past.

 

The "seen" notice on Snapchat goes up instantly, but the response is slow in coming. Brock is never entirely sure if Morgan hates when Brock flirts with him or if he's just awkward about it. He keeps pushing, though, to see if Morgan ever returns it.

 

He's nearly dozing off when his phone pings.

 

morganrielly: You do have a point.

 

It's not necessarily flirting back, but he hasn't changed the subject this time either.

 

It's been a while but I was pretty friendly with it, so I'd know all about you having a hot stick.

 

morganrielly is typing…

morganrielly is typing…

morganrielly: And I guess you ARE pretty good at stickhandling…

 

Brock is thrilled that his only roommate for this trip is his father so no one is around to see the dumb smile on his face at that message. He needs to be napping but that sure as hell isn't going to happen now, not with Morgan finally flirting back.

 

I have it on good authority that you enjoyed it. So much that I got a damn cactus out of it.

 

morganrielly: Succulent!

 

Brock holds his phone at arm's length--showing off his mussed hair, his bare chest, his free arm tucked up under his head to flex his bicep--and films himself doing a dramatic eyeroll.

 

FINE. You got a cactus out of it.

 

A few minutes later Morgan sends a mirror selfie from what Brock can only guess is his bathroom. He's dressed in a three-piece suit that is tailored perfectly; his hair is...whatever Morgan thinks passes as "styled." He's smirking and holding up his middle finger.

 

morganrielly: I got a damn awesome cactus out of it, thank you very much. And you got Sansa!

 

Brock really, really wishes that Snapchat didn't alert someone if you screenshotted their snap. Because he's pretty sure he would save this one. He's a sucker for a well-fitted suit, and this one that Morgan is wearing is certainly that.

 

Before the snap expires, Brock decides to screenshot it anyway.

 

He's posing for a reply when Morgan sends another message.

 

morganrielly: heeey, what are you saving that snap for?

 

Brock hesitates for a long moment, thinking up an excuse. Eventually he comes up with one. It's lame, but it'll do.

 

I wanted a visual aid for the next haircut I go for, so I know what to tell her NOT to do.

 

morganrielly: What's wrong with my hair?

 

What's right with it??

 

Morgan sends another mirror selfie; he's making a face, his brows furrowed and lips curled in a smirk. His hair has been fluffed and pushed off to the side more than the last snap. It's still not what Brock would call "fixed."

 

morganrielly: Well what should I do with it?

 

Not THAT. I don't know what to tell you, bud.

 

A moment later another picture comes through, and Morgan is still in his bathroom, but this time he has his hair stuck straight up and he has one eyebrow raised comically.

 

morganrielly: Well what would YOU do with it?

 

You got that answer in LA. Pull on it.

 

morganrielly is typing...

morganrielly: Uh. Thanks. But you know that isn't what I meant.

 

Hey, you asked what I want to do with your hair.

 

morganrielly is typing…

morganrielly is typing...

morganrielly: I've got to get to the rink.

 

I'm supposed to be getting my pregame nap in anyway. Good luck tonight, buddy.

 

morganrielly: Same to you.

 

Brock might stare at the screenshot of Morgan in his suit for a few minutes. He might also get himself off thinking of peeling that suit off of him. In any case, he has an exceptionally good nap afterward.

____

 

By the time Morgan is making plans to go home for Christmas, he has Brock's jersey hung in the hall across from his WJC jersey. He wasn't lying when he said that he has jerseys from a few other friends around the league, but at the moment they're all just hanging in the back of his closet; he figures he needs to frame and hang some of those so that Brock's doesn't seem suspicious.

 

Paddington's growing slower now that it's cold outside, though he's much larger than when Morgan first got him. He still sends Brock a progress picture once every week or so. Brock is doing the same with Sansa, who recently lost her flowers and is unlikely to get them back before spring. Morgan just keeps insisting that Brock is a failed succulent dad.

 

Morgan doesn't think much of it when he goes to Instagram to post a picture of his flight information for Christmas. It's a screencap of his itinerary--though he posts a smiling emoji over the travel times so no one tries stalking him at the airport--and he adds a simple caption. Ten days and then I'll be home for Christmas!

 

He'll be able to spend two full days with his family, his parents and brother and especially his dog, Maggie. His place there probably needs to be aired out anyway. He has a maid service that stops in once a month, and his brother checks on it for him, but otherwise it's pretty empty.

 

He's settling in for a nice night off in front of the TV when his phone buzzes with a Snapchat notification.

 

bboeser: You're coming to Van for the break??

 

Yeah, gonna spend a couple days with my folks and my awesome dog.

 

bboeser: Well damn, Mo, you're gonna have to come meet Sansa!

 

Aren't you going home?

 

A moment later his phone vibrates and hums a tone--a phone call is coming through Snapchat now, from Brock of course. Morgan hasn't shaved in two weeks and his hair is in need of a cut and he's wearing a Nike hoodie. He's not looking his best. He answers it anyway.

 

"Is this an accident again or did you actually want to talk to me?"

 

Brock laughs, and it's a surprisingly high-pitched and melodic departure from the nearly monotone interview voice that Morgan has gotten used to while watching clips online. "Hey, I always wanna talk to you, Mo. But yeah, I called on purpose this time. I can't believe you didn't tell me you're gonna be here for Christmas!"

 

Brock is wearing a hoodie as well, plus a backward cap that doesn't quite fit him. There's clearly no effort in his look--but it's still a really good look.

 

"I figured you'd be in Minnesota for it," Morgan explained, shifting down to slump more into the cushions of his couch. "Aren't you going home?"

 

"Nah, I'm flying my parents out here. Might as well give them a break from a midwest winter, you know?" He takes his hat off and rakes his fingers through his hair, only to put the hat back on.

 

Morgan instinctively pets his own hair down. It's a useless gesture. "Pretty sure I can't meet Sansa, then. I'm not gonna crash your family time, B."

 

"Oh they're not staying here ," Brock wrinkles his nose at the implication. "Stech is going to his parents' place, but I'm not gonna make them stay in his room. And I'm sure as hell not staying in there. So I got them a real nice hotel so they can live it up while they're here."

 

"Look at you being a good son," Morgan says with a laugh. "I've got a place out there anyway, I'll go see my parents on Christmas Eve and then spend the day with them on Christmas itself. I'm pretty sure I could swing by your place to see Sansa."

 

Brock is moving around his place, the view behind him on the screen changing as he walks around. "She's not feeling real pretty these days now that her flowers are gone, you can come and cheer her up!"

 

Morgan laughs and rolls his eyes. "Oh I'm sure she can't wait to see me."

 

Brock pauses and turns around so the camera on his phone catches the view of Sansa in the background. "You're stuck, bud. She already knows you're gonna be in town, she'll be upset if you don't show up now."

 

"Yeah yeah, I've got it. I'll stop late after Christmas Eve with my folks," Morgan says, and the idea of being alone with Brock again is equally exciting and daunting. He wants to see him, of course; he wants to do a lot more than just see Brock, but he's also not entirely sure if Brock's flirting is serious or only in jest. Though spending Christmas Eve tangled up with Brock is something Morgan is definitely interested in.

 

Before he gets too lost in his own thoughts, Morgan does remember something else. "Oh hey wait! We can settle the hat bet!"

 

Brock waits a beat before speaking, and when he does it's over a laugh. "Oh shit, you're right. I guess it's crunch time and I need to come up with what I want you to do when I win."

 

"What I'm never going to do because you're definitely not going to win," Morgan corrects.

 

"When I win, Mo…" he trails off and taps a finger on his chin while he thinks. His eyes light up when he has the answer. "Okay, so when I win, that jersey I sent you? You're gonna have to take it on the road with you, somewhere that people might actually know who you are, so it can't be like, Florida or Carolina. And you're going to have to wear it out for lunch. Or when you go to get coffee or something."

 

"Why? The guys are gonna give me so much shit if I wear your jersey out," Morgan frowns. He has no idea how he would explain it to them. I guess just saying he lost a bet is explanation enough.

 

"Well yeah, that's the point," Brock says with a broad grin.

 

"Okay, but I already framed it!" Morgan protests, making a face before switching to the front facing camera on his phone so he can show Brock where his jersey is hung. When he swaps back to the selfie view, Brock's smile has gone from mocking to genuine.

 

"Shit man, you actually had someone frame it?" Brock is laughing, but it's not sarcastic. "That's way too fancy!"

 

"What else was I going to do with it? What are you doing with my jersey?"

 

Brock doesn't have an answer to that. He opens his mouth and pauses for a long moment before finally answering. "Maybe I wanted to wear it!"

 

"You can't wear a signed jersey! You've gotta hang that up somewhere!" Morgan shakes his head. "And besides, your idea doesn't work, because I'm not taking your jersey out of the frame."

 

"You make 5 mil a year, go buy another one! That's what I want for the bet, buddy. You've got your weird pizza thing," he pauses and rolls his eyes, "which you could get yourself because you're gonna be here anyway, but whatever. You've got the pizza thing, I've got this."

 

" Fine ," Morgan agrees. "If you win, I'll buy myself another one of your jerseys and I'll wear it to lunch on some road trip next month. Deal?"

 

"Deal. You're gonna need someone to get footage of you wearing the jersey out, you know that right? There's gotta be proof you did it," Brock says. "So you should post it on your Insta story or something."

 

"I won't have to worry about any of that," Morgan insists. "I'm gonna win. Your head is huge. Look at the hat you're wearing now, it barely fits on that dome of yours!"

 

Brock scrunches up his nose and checks the hat, pushing it down lower on his head. "You're just trying to convince yourself that you're right. You're not , but if you wanna think it, I'll let you lie to yourself until Christmas Eve."

 

"I'm already thinking about how good that pizza's gonna taste, buddy," Morgan says smugly, raking a hand through his hair. "Though the bragging rights are going to be just as good."

 

"I can't wait to prove you wrong, Mo."

____

 

Every year Morgan tries to finish his Christmas shopping early; he's gotten better at it, especially since he can buy so much online. He knows what to get his parents and his brother, and since he's going to be heading home, he just has everything shipped straight to his house in Vancouver. There's no point in bringing that stuff with him for the flight home.

 

It's now four days before he goes home for Christmas and he's finished with his entire list except for one person.

 

He's not sure if he should get Brock something or not. They've talked at least twice a week since the night in Los Angeles, and now that they've transitioned to calling each other on Snapchat, those conversations aren't even just text any longer. Morgan is pretty sure they're friends now--not just friends the way hockey media pushes as a narrative when they're searching for a storyline, but actual real friends.

 

And you get friends Christmas presents.

 

Morgan has been searching for something but he hasn't come up with any good ideas. It's nearly one in the morning and he has practice early the next day, so he should really be going to bed soon.

 

He's ready to give up entirely when a targeted ad for Home Depot pops up on his Instagram feed with a slideshow of gardening tools and products, and just like that he knows exactly what he's going to get.

 

Even if it's a little more for Sansa than Brock.

Chapter Text

Morgan has a tall stack of mail on his kitchen island and a huge pile of boxes in his living room when he gets home to Vancouver. He hasn't wrapped anything yet--and really, his idea of wrapping is buying a whole lot of gift bags and a few packs of tissue paper--but he has the rest of the night and early Christmas Eve to do that.

 

He opens all the packages and sorts the presents by person, and settles in for a night of "gift-wrapping," then clicks on the TV. The Leafs played their final game before the break last night, but there are still a few games happening now, and one of them includes Vancouver, so he leaves it on while he stuffs gifts in bags and tries (mostly in vain) to make the tissue paper look pretty.

 

Sportsnet shows a closeup of Brock on the bench and then a split-screen view of his parents in the crowd, and for not the first time, Morgan's stomach twists a little. They've been messaging back and forth all week, trying to set up plans for when they'll meet up, and Morgan's looking forward to it. More than he probably should be.

 

Brock has been flirting a lot, and Morgan has even dared to return it a few times, but he's still unsure if it's just that Brock is a flirt in general or if he's actually interested. He's also not entirely convinced that it would be a good idea for something to happen while they're here in Vancouver. A random hookup in Los Angeles is one thing. Sleeping together again is another thing entirely. Sleeping together again isn't just a hookup anymore.

 

That isn't to say that Morgan hasn't thought about it. A lot. He's barely been able to think about anything else since he found out he was going to see Brock while he was home for Christmas. He isn't proud to admit that he definitely used Brock as jerkoff material again. He tries to justify to himself that the night in LA was just really, really good. That's all it is.

 

But they're friends now--the gift bag with Brock's name scrawled on the tag is proof--and Morgan is almost positive you're not supposed to get off thinking about your friends. Morgan is capable of being plenty awkward all on his own, he doesn't need the added knowledge that the man he's going to hang out with tomorrow is the same one he fantasized about only a few nights ago.

 

Morgan has spent his adult life learning to keep his face neutral, though, a skill honed through years of answering tough questions from Toronto media about bad games. If it turns out that Brock really is just a flirt and has no intentions for anything more, Morgan's pretty sure he can keep his dirtier thoughts to himself and come across as merely a friend.

 

The Canucks game is long over and he's finished putting the last gifts for his family into bags when his phone buzzes on the coffee table.

 

bboeser: You sure you don't wanna back out of this bet? Last minute offer!

 

Ha, never! You're just trying to save face now.

 

bboeser: Too bad, Mo. You're gonna look awesome in my jersey, though.

 

You're real confident about this, it's gonna make the W even sweeter.

 

bboeser: I'm confident because I know I'm right! I've been staring at your huge melon on my phone every day for like 3 months now.

 

Not every night! Most days we just message, we don't sent pictures.

 

bboeser: I still see your big head enough to know mine isn't nearly so impressive.

 

You're going down, B.

 

bboeser is typing…

bboeser is typing…

bboeser: I could be convinced, yeah.

 

Morgan takes a breath. If the opportunity exists to have a repeat of the night in LA, he's going to take it. Brock has been flirting enough that Morgan is pretty sure it's a possibility.

 

Well I wouldn't want to coerce you or anything…

 

bboeser: Maybe just a little. Twist my arm, eh?

 

You're gonna have to wait and see tomorrow, I guess.

 

bboeser: Can't wait.

____

 

On Christmas Eve, Brock's entire morning and afternoon are spent with his family. His sister is here with his parents and the only one missing is Coola. He'd made reservations for them to have breakfast out, and he offered to have Christmas dinner catered as well, but his mother insists that she wants to actually make it. She then proceeds to go through his kitchen so she can complain about the fact that the cooking utensils at his place are a joke.

 

"Do you really think we do all that much cooking?"

 

"You don't have a potato masher!" his mom exclaims as she goes around the room opening drawers, rifling through takeout menus and bundles of plasticware.

 

"When do I mash potatoes?" Brock asks. "It's not like Stech and I ever really cook for ourselves."

 

"You're both adults, you should know how to cook!" She's moved on to looking through their cookware, which consists of two baking sheets and one frying pan, which so far has not ever been used.

 

"I still won't need a potato masher. If I'm cooking on my own it's going to be like, baked chicken and veggies or something."

 

The kitchen leaves plenty to be desired, but otherwise it feels like any other Christmas with his family, and it makes Brock feel warm inside. He bickers with his mother, and his sister makes fun of him. His dad wears the same cheesy Santa sweatshirt he wears every year. It's not home , but it feels a little like it.

 

"We'll find somewhere on our way back to the hotel tonight and we'll get everything we need so I can make dinner," his mom sighs. "This is why you're never going to get a girlfriend, women like a man who can take care of himself."

 

Brock groans and flops down on the couch. "Mom, I'm not gonna be settling down anytime soon."

 

"I know, I know, I'm only joking," she walks past and presses a kiss to his forehead. "Mostly, anyway."

 

When Brock was growing up, Christmas Eve was spent with his aunts and uncles, playing in the snow with his cousins. They would have a big feast cooked up by his grandmothers and hot chocolate in mugs that his dad would always fill with entirely too many mini marshmallows. Now, though, a thousand miles from home and his extended family, Christmas Eve is a quiet affair. They have The Grinch queued up on the TV and they paw through takeout menus, arguing over Thai, Chinese or pizza.

 

"Wait, wait, I know exactly what to get," Brock says, interrupting the debate between General Tso versus Pad Thai. "A friend told me about a place here, they're supposed to have the best pizza. He grew up here, so I assume he knows what he's talking about."

 

Brock had saved the link to the website for Goldie's, just in case he does lose the bet and has to send Morgan a pizza. He orders the Supreme, just as Morgan had raved about, and he adds some breadsticks and a salad--he figures he should try to fit in something green--and calls in the order. "Dinner will be here in about 45 minutes, let's get the movie going."

 

While they watch the movie, Brock takes out his phone and takes a discreet picture, a selfie with his nose wrinkled up and his brow furrowed.

 

My mom's already given me a hard time for not bringing a girlfriend.

 

A moment later Morgan sends a picture back, him laying on the floor next to the dog Brock has seen on his Instagram several times. He's wearing a gray, soft-looking sweater, his hair is actually combed, and his grin is beaming bright.

 

morganrielly: Wanna borrow Maggie? She's the best girl in the world.

 

Pretty sure my mom's not gonna go for a dog as my Christmas Eve date, even if Maggie's a beautiful girl.

 

morganrielly: Hey, you've got Sansa! She's a girl!

 

She's a succulent!

 

morganrielly: My mom brings it up every year too. Just tell her you're waiting for a woman as great as she is.

 

Ooh, you're smooth, Mo.

 

The snap Morgan sends back has him giving a wink and a cheesy smile.

 

morganrielly: I don't have much game, but I can charm my mom anyway.

 

If mom starts nagging me more, I'm gonna get you to come charm HER too.

 

morganrielly: idk, not sure it works on other people's moms.

 

Worth a shot!

 

"Who is she?" Brock's sister speaks softly so that only the two of them can hear.

 

"What 'she'?" Brock tucks his phone into his pocket and hopes his ears aren't too pink.

 

Jessica rolls her eyes. "You're not smart enough to play dumb. Who are you grinning so much about?"

 

Brock slouches in on himself, arms crossed over his chest. "It's nothing, just a friend."

 

"A friend you've got a thing for." It's not a question.

 

"No," he insists, scrunching up his nose. "It's a friend."

 

"That you've definitely already slept with."

 

He turns to glare at her this time.

 

"A-ha, you did sleep with her." She pauses, and then her voice goes even softer. "Or him?"

 

Brock glances at his parents, but they're both completely focused on the movie and paying no attention to them. Jessica doesn't necessarily know he's gay , but she knew about the guys he had crushes on in high school, she was the first person he had a big-I-might-be-gay-freakout to. She's the only person he's out to--well, other than Morgan.

 

Brock takes a breath and lets it out slowly, and just nods once. "Him."

 

Jessica smiles and pats his knee, but then she squeezes it hard. "Why the fuck haven't you told me about him?"

 

"He's just a friend," Brock shrugs a shoulder. It's not like he's dating Morgan, they just flirt sometimes. And they hooked up once. And Brock wouldn't mind doing it again.

 

"Try to sound less disappointed."

 

Brock keeps a close watch on his parents to be sure they're not listening, and then he glances at Jessica. "I'm gonna see him tonight."

 

Her eyes light up and she fights back a huge smile. She punches his thigh twice. "Tonight? Why didn't you tell us we had to get out?"

 

"Later, later. He's with his family too."

 

"You owe me details. I can't believe you held out on me this long." She shakes her head and subtly flips him off. "Dick."

 

The arrival of their dinner interrupts Brock's attempt at a comeback.

____

 

Hey I'm here.

 

bboeser: I'll buzz you up!

 

Brock lives in an apartment complex that takes up half of a downtown Vancouver block. Morgan decides that it's easier to just take a cab than it would be to attempt finding a place to park; he also plans to have at least two glasses of wine, so it's safer all around. He smiles and thanks the driver and climbs out of the car.

 

Morgan might be wearing a new pair of boots. He also might have spent more time than usual on his hair. And he's definitely wearing cologne. He keeps telling himself it's not a date, but he also realizes he's most certainly treating it like one.

 

He raises his hand to knock but the door opens before he can. Brock is wearing a Canucks hoodie and joggers, and Morgan feels completely overdressed. "Hey! Come on in!" Brock steps back and holds the door open. "What the hell did you bring?"

 

Morgan is stepping out of his boots and getting ready to answer when he sees a very familiar box on the island between the kitchen and living area. "Were you so sure you were going to lose the bet that you already bought my pizza?"

 

"What, that Goldie's box? That was our Christmas Eve dinner." Brock pushes the box out of the way so Morgan can set down the bags he's carrying. "We couldn't decide so I thought maybe I should at least try the pizza you made such a big deal about."

 

"And it was amazing, right?"

 

"It was fine, I guess."

 

"Fine? Just fine ?" Morgan stares at him. "What are you talking about?"

 

Brock meets his eyes and grins, blinking at him. "You're really passionate about Goldie's pizza, Mo. Okay, it was awesome. Great pick."

 

"You're damn right it is," Morgan sets another Goldie's box on the table. "This feels pointless now, but I figured I was going to make you try the pizza anyway."

 

"You brought me a pizza?"

 

"And wine!" Morgan holds up a shiny bag and pulls a bottle from it.

 

"You brought wine to drink with pizza?"

 

"Well no, I brought pizza so you could see how awesome Goldie's is," Morgan explains. "And I brought wine because...I mean, isn't that just what you bring someone when they invite you to their house?"

 

Brock takes the bottle of wine and chuckles. "Ahh, that's right, I'm dealing with Morgan Rielly. Of course you'd make sure to bring a proper gift."

 

Morgan laughs and makes a face. "Hey, that's not a bad thing. You were the one wanting me to come charm your mom."

 

"You might still be on the hook for that tomorrow if she bugs me about being single again." Brock pulls two beers from the fridge and hands one off to Morgan. "So you brought me pizza and wine, what's the rest of that stuff?"

 

Morgan hands the last of the bags to him. "Merry Christmas, B."

 

Brock's smile fades. "You brought me a Christmas present?"

 

"Well yeah, we're friends. Open it up."

 

"We didn't say we were exchanging gifts," Brock frowns as he takes the bag, confusion clouding his features at the weight of it. "Holy shit what's in here?"

 

"You could just open it and stop talking so much," Morgan leans against the island and watches Brock pull tissue paper from the bag and then finally take out the actual gift.

 

"A pot?" Brock looks up at him with an eyebrow raised.

 

"Well it's not really a gift for you after all. It's actually for Sansa. You kept her in the crappy planter that the florist put her in. She's way too pretty for that boring thing. She needs something nice!" Morgan grins, noting that he had accurately chosen the color; it matches well in Brock's apartment.

 

Brock laughs boisterously. "You bought Sansa a new pot? Are you gonna help me move her?"

 

Morgan takes a drink of his beer and thinks it over. "I mean, sure. We've got time, we could do that. Drink beer and get Sansa repotted."

 

Brock pauses and then shrugs a shoulder. "There are worse ways to spend Christmas Eve, I guess."

 

"First off, though, we've got a bet to settle. Don't think I forgot." Morgan pulls a baseball cap from his bag and holds it up. "This is definitely gonna fit your big ass head."

 

"Ha, no way, you're putting it on first so we're sure you aren't cheating," Brock scoffs.

 

Morgan rolls his eyes but pulls the hat on, trying not to ruin the hair he'd carefully styled earlier. "See? Perfect fit." He turns so Brock can see the hat from all angles. He gingerly takes it off again and pets his hair down. There's only a very slim chance that it doesn't look terrible now.

 

"Man you do have a huge melon," Brock says as he takes the cap. He brushes his hair back from his face and pulls the hat on and it...fits. Perfectly.

 

"A-ha! Victory!" Morgan pumps his fist. "That pizza's gonna be delicious."

 

"No no no, you said my head was bigger than yours. Clearly it's not bigger, just the same size. So I win." Brock turns the hat around backwards but leaves it on. "You're gonna need to wear my jersey out to lunch, bud."

 

"I'm pretty sure neither of us won this bet technically," Morgan concedes. "But I guess I could be gracious, your head isn't actually bigger than mine."

 

"So you're gonna need a jersey to make good on the bet, and I felt bad making you buy one, so…" Brock trails off and disappears down the hallway, coming back with a folded Canucks jersey. "There you go, no excuses."

 

Morgan shakes his head, laughing as he unfolds the jersey and holds it up to his chest to check the size. "You were pretty damn confident, weren't you, B?"

 

Brock has swiped a slice of the pizza that Morgan brought with him and has a mouthful of it when he speaks. "Nah, the team always has some extras around, so I just snagged one in case I won. Which I did, don't forget that."

 

"I have a feeling you're definitely not going to let me."

 

"Not a chance, Mo. Not a chance."

____

 

"You've gotta be careful with the roots!" Morgan exclaims later as they're halfway through getting Sansa shifted from her old pot to the new one he brought. "You're gonna kill her."

 

"Hey, I've kept her alive all this time, she's okay." Brock is chewing on his lip as he tries to maneuver Sansa into her new container. He keeps catching her leaves as he angles her in.

 

"Here, just do your part, I'll help," Morgan insists, tucking the leaves out of the way and holds them up. His hands are resting on top of Brock's, warm and gentle, as they work together to get her moved. Finally she's successfully in the new planter. Morgan presses the dirt in around her, his fingers brushing over Brock's the whole way. "There we go," he says quietly, and his voice might have gone a little deeper than it was a moment before.

 

"Yeah, she's good now," Brock nods and he pulls his hands back, wiping them on his pants. There's dirt on them, sure, but mostly he knows they're also getting sweaty. "She looks way better now, good call on the new pot here."

 

"Gotta take care of her so she doesn't think I forgot, eh?" Morgan places her back in her spot on the console table.

 

"Yeah, yeah, I know you're trying to take over my place as her favorite person. It's not gonna work, Sansa thinks I'm awesome." Brock glances at Morgan's empty beer bottle, his third on the night. "Another?"

 

"Yeah, sure. Thanks." Morgan busies himself with tidying the table where they'd done the repotting. There's dirt all over, as well as a few leaves that were victims of Brock's less than smooth transfer of Sansa. He could've done it better on his own, would have been more steady without Morgan standing too close, his arm pressed to Brock's. Their hands had brushed each other's over and over as they worked to move her, and he couldn't focus on the task. Brock definitely wants another drink.

 

When he opens the fridge, though, he's met with an unfortunate result.

 

"Okay, so we're outta beer. Looks like we're breaking into your wine, Mo." Brock holds the bottle up while he digs in the kitchen drawer. "I'm pretty sure Stech has a corkscrew in here somewhere."

 

"You don't have to do all that, we're good without it," Morgan reaches past him to grab for a paper towel to dry his hands, instinctively puts one on the small of Brock's back for balance. The touch is light, but Morgan's hand is large and warm, and it makes Brock think of what those hands felt like all over his body in LA.

 

Brock turns toward him at that, twisting the corkscrew into the bottle to pull out the cork. "No, I think wine is a great idea. Have some." He holds the bottle up to Morgan's lips and tilts it up, giving Morgan no choice but to take a drink.

 

"Well at least I brought something decent," Morgan says after, licking a drop of the red wine from his lips.

 

"Great. Come on, Elf is waiting," Brock announces, sliding past Morgan--stepping closer than necessary as he does--and goes to stretch out on the couch. He takes a long drink straight from the bottle while he waits for Morgan to join him. It doesn't appear that Morgan's going to make a move here, so it looks like it's up to Brock to make it happen.

Chapter Text

Morgan doesn't normally drink wine. He's a beer guy most of the time, and he'll sometimes have a mixed drink when he's out with friends. He usually only drinks wine at charity events for the team; when you're dressed up it only feels appropriate to be holding a wine glass. Management frowns on being drunk at team functions--even the much less restrictive management of Kyle Dubas--so Morgan always keeps it to a glass or two. The effect wine has on him is something he isn't really used to.

 

His ears are warm and his eyes feel heavy. Focusing on anything is impossible, his thoughts are fuzzy and fleeting and he's pretty sure he's grinning to himself. He's gone past tipsy and is heading toward drunk.

 

"Gimme that," Brock reaches over him to grab the bottle, now nearly empty. He takes a swig of the wine and licks his lips. "This stuff is pretty potent, huh?"

 

Morgan is staring at Brock's mouth. He's staring at Brock's mouth and telling himself that he should really, really stop staring. His lips look soft, darker pink than usual from the red wine. They're just a little wet, shiny from the light of the TV. "Y-yeah, yeah," he finally answers when he realizes Brock is watching him expectantly. "Yes, the wine is kinda strong."

 

Brock grins broadly and takes another drink. "Even better."

 

When they sat down on the couch to watch the movie, Brock was on one side and Morgan was on the other, with plenty of space between them. Now though, halfway through, between chatting and laughing and sharing the bottle of wine, Brock is pressed close to Morgan's side and Morgan is trying very hard not to think about the last time they were touching.

 

"Hey there's only like a drink of this left," Brock says, holding the bottle up, swirling the last of the liquid around the bottom. "Do you want the rest or can I finish it?"

 

"It's all yours."

 

Morgan watches as Brock tips his head back and drinks the last of the wine, watching his throat work as he swallows. Brock sets the bottle on the coffee table next to their drained beers and then stretches his legs out, kicking his feet up among the empties. Brock is leaning into him now, a warm weight, laughing at a scene in the movie that Morgan has definitely been paying no attention to.

 

Brock is close, so close, their hips and arms and shoulders aligned. He smells a little like wine but more like cologne, something soft and clean. He keeps playing with his hair, raking his fingers through it, and it just makes Morgan want to do that for him. Morgan takes a breath and tries to shift slightly away from him, just for the separation, and he moves his arm up to lay across the back of the couch.

 

Only Brock quickly closes the added distance between them and angles himself in even tighter to Morgan's side, his head practically resting on Morgan's shoulder now. "Better," Brock says, glancing up at Morgan and flashing a grin.

 

Morgan swallows hard and hopes the TV is loud enough that Brock can't hear his heart racing. He's out of his depth here. Brock is way out of his league--confident the way gorgeous guys always are--and not making any real mystery of how he wants tonight to go. Morgan has thought about it, fantasized about it...but what if he's wrong? The wine is clouding his thoughts, maybe it's clouding his perception too. Maybe he just thinks Brock's making a move because he wants it to be true.

 

"Man, I love this scene," Brock's voice is quiet, but it's enough to make Morgan jolt, too caught up in his thoughts. Brock looks up at him from where he's cuddled close under Morgan's arm, and Morgan now has his full attention, the movie forgotten for the moment. Brock's cheeks are flushed from the wine and his eyes are lit with amusement. "Doing okay there, Mo?"

 

Morgan's mouth goes dry and he licks his lips to try to fix it. He opens his mouth to answer but he doesn't trust his voice, so he nods instead and offers what he hopes is a reassuring smile, then turns back to the screen to try to focus on the movie, but he can tell Brock is still watching him. He finally meets Brock's eyes and croaks out a "what?"

 

"I guess I've gotta do everything ," Brock answers and leans in, pressing his lips to Morgan's.

Fuck. Oh fuck. Brock's mouth is warm and soft, yet the kiss is anything but. He isn't going for tender, Brock is insistent, demanding. He has a hand fisted at the front of Morgan's shirt and he's now turned sideways toward him; he hums a pleased noise when Morgan slides an arm around his back to brace him there. He's pretty sure he should be pushing Brock away but he really doesn't want to, he's spent two months wanting to do exactly this. Well, he's wanted to do a lot more than just kiss Brock, but this is a start.

 

Morgan kisses Brock back in earnest, tasting the wine on his tongue and panting into his mouth. He runs his fingers through Brock's hair and gives it a tug, just enough to pull a moan out of him. Brock moves to straddle his hips now, tipping Morgan's head back against the cushions and deepening the kiss further, letting his tongue slide over Morgan's, scraping teeth over his lip.

 

Morgan's arms go around his waist, holding him close as they make out, gasping against each other's lips, Morgan surging up for more each time Brock starts to slow down, Brock latching his hands in Morgan's hair when Morgan pauses to take a breath. "Yeah," Brock mutters into Morgan's mouth when his hands drift down to grip the curves of Brock's ass. It's all the encouragement Morgan needs.

 

He turns them to lay across the couch, Brock beneath him. He settles between Brock's spread legs, grinding their hips together, but this time he cradles Brock's face in his hands and kisses him slow and sweet. Not desperate or urgent, just methodically pressing their lips together, firmer at first and then gently, smiling when Brock lets out an actual whimper.

 

He mouths kisses along Brock's jaw and down to his neck, opening his mouth wide there, just letting Brock feel the skim of his teeth as he closes down, not really biting but enough to make Brock moan. Morgan wants to slow things down, linger his mouth on Brock's skin, touch every inch of his body, but Brock's scrabbling at his shoulders, pulling on his hair, and he's making it really hard for Morgan to take his time.

 

Brock's got both hands on Morgan's waist, under the hem of his sweater to touch bare skin. Morgan is all too aware of his mid-season softness, the weight he carries now isn't the thick muscle that he was able to put on in the summer. He hopes that Brock keeps his hands on his back and doesn't venture too near his stomach. Brock slides around to press at Morgan's chest, and he's sure that this is when Brock stops things, sure that this is when he realizes he can do way better than Morgan , but then Brock is shifting beneath him and pulling his hoodie off, leaving him in just a white t-shirt that's rucked up to show off his very flat and not-at-all-soft stomach. "Too fuckin' hot in here," he mutters and tugs Morgan down to kiss him again.

 

Morgan slides his hands to curl around Brock's wrists, pulling his arms up over his head and holding them there. If he holds him like this, Brock can't touch his belly and change his mind about this. Morgan kisses him slow and deep, ignoring the urgency in the way Brock is rolling his hips up, trying to ignore that Brock is already hard. Brock is squirming beneath him, pulling at the grip Morgan has on his wrists, grumbling with frustration against Morgan's lips. Morgan presses down to hold him still, grounds his pelvis down against Brock's, and pulls away completely from the kiss so he can stare at him.

 

Brock's eyelids are heavy, blonde eyelashes fluttering. His lips are wet and darkened red from Morgan's beard, his pupils wide and dark. Morgan can feel his chest heaving as he tries to draw in a deeper breath, breathes in each exhale he huffs out. "Come on, Morgan," Brock pleads, his voice rough with need.

 

Morgan realizes two things. First of all: he really, really doesn't want this to just be a hookup.

 

And the second thing? They're both really, really drunk.

 

"Fuck," he mutters, letting Brock's wrists free. "Fuck, we probably shouldn't do this."

 

"What? No, fuck that," Brock protests, blinking in confusion. "Why shouldn't we do this?"

 

Morgan climbs off the couch and grimaces at his obvious arousal--24 years old and he's raring to go after just making out for a few minutes--and tries to compose himself. "Well first of all, we're both drunk. Neither of us is in the right mind to make this decision."

 

"You think I want to fuck you because I'm drunk ?" Brock asks, his eyes wide now.

 

"Look, Los Angeles was awesome, but we should just let it be a one-time thing, you know? It gets too complicated." Morgan wants to walk back over to Brock and kiss him senseless again. Wants to tell him they shouldn't do this just once, they should do this all the time . But Brock wouldn't want that, not with him, and Morgan doesn't want to be relegated to just a hookup. It would be too much torture to get to touch Brock but never really get to have him. So instead, Morgan is pulling on his jacket and trying to make his shaky fingers work properly to find the number for the cab company. "And I'm definitely too drunk for this, so are you."

 

Brock flops back on the couch, both hands over his face, and he lets out a frustrated groan. "You don't have to leave just because I got a little drunk on wine."

 

"It's just safer this way," Morgan insists. "Besides, you're gonna have your family here in the morning, and I've gotta go see mine. It's just not a good idea."

 

"It seemed like a good idea when you were grinding your cock against me like thirty seconds ago ," Brock stands, but he's unsteady on his feet. It just strengthens Morgan's resolve.

 

"Look, I know, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," Morgan shakes his head. "But we're friends, right? I can't go taking advantage of my friends when they're drunk. You'll be glad in the morning that I stopped us."

 

"Bullshit," Brock rolls his eyes and crosses his arms over his chest. "I'm gonna be just as pissed then as I am now. Maybe more pissed off because then I'll not only be un-fucked, but also sober. Probaby hungover too."

 

"Look, it's a better idea to call it a night. I'm getting a cab, I'm gonna go wait outside," Morgan interrupts, trying to change the subject. He really just needs to get some distance, because all he wants to do is to figure out which of these bedrooms is Brock's and show him exactly what he's fantasized about for the last two months. "Just...just have a good Christmas, okay? I'm sorry for all of this."

 

"You know you're gonna have to see me in like a week, right?" Brock follows him to the door. "You can't just pretend this didn't happen."

 

"We should just leave that in LA," Morgan figures if he says it enough times, maybe he'll actually believe it. "It's way too dangerous. We're gonna get caught."

 

Brock takes a step back and motions around the empty apartment around him. "How? There's no one here, who's gonna catch us? I know we joke about her but Sansa's not actually a person, she's a fucking plant. She's not gonna rat us out to TSN."

 

Morgan chews on his lip and he almost gives in. He almost takes his coat off again. He doesn't want to leave. But he knows that's a bad idea. He's drunk, Brock is drunk, and he needs to go home.

 

"Merry Christmas, Brock," he says as he reaches for the door.

____

 

"So how'd last night go?"

 

Brock and his sister are on potato peeling and cutting duty, same as they've been for every Christmas for as long as Brock can remember. She peels, he cuts.

 

He shakes his head and slices the next potato a bit too firmly.

 

"Shit," his sister mutters, handing him another freshly peeled potato. "What went wrong? You were super excited for it."

 

"I guess I misjudged his interest." Brock has one eye on his parents in the other room, but they're caught up in a conversation about something that happened with his uncle back home in Minnesota. "I thought he was into it but he wasn't."

 

"What do you mean he wasn't into it? You've got beard burn on your lip, he had to be at least a little into it."

 

Brock lifts the back of his hand to his mouth as if he can hide it. "Well I mean yeah, we made out a while, but then he freaked out."

 

"If you made out I'm pretty sure he's into it," Jessica counters, pointing with her peeler. "What kind of freakout did he have?"

 

"We were both drunk on wine and he said it was a 'bad idea' because we couldn't 'make that kind of a decision,'" Brock mimics his voice a little and even adds air quotes. "It's not like I wouldn't be into it sober."

 

Jessica has a soft smile on her face. "Wait, so he was being a good guy and making sure he didn't take advantage of you while you were drunk, and you're mad at him?"

 

Brock scrunches his nose and cuts into the next potato on his board. "Okay I know that makes it sound like it was a good thing but it wasn't, alright? We were really into it, and then he just stopped out of nowhere."

 

"Because you were wine-drunk," Jessica confirms. "And he wanted to make sure you didn't regret it later."

 

Brock sighs and nods, because he knows she's right. He knows it was probably the right call. He's just frustrated and still wound tight with pent-up tension.

 

"I approve of this guy dating my brother," she nods and hands him another potato. "You'll just have to plan another date and stay sober next time."

 

"We're not dating," Brock protests.

 

Jessica doesn't even answer, she just rolls her eyes and waves her hand dismissively.

 

"He has to leave right after Christmas, he's gotta get back to his team."

 

"Oh shit," Jessica hisses out, her eyes widening. "Is he another player?"

 

Fuck, he hadn't meant to divulge that information.

 

"Oh it is ," she smiles, delighted at this clue. "So he's some player from Vancouver, oh man, who can it be?"

 

"You are not allowed to try to figure out who it is," Brock frowns and flicks a piece of potato skin at her. "Besides, I don't think he's going to be down with trying again, so it's probably over anyway."

 

"You said he's still in town, go find out. After we leave tonight, invite him over. Or go to his place." She shrugs a shoulder nonchalantly. "I mean, what do you have to lose? The hickey on your neck says he's into it."

 

Brock nearly cuts himself when he lifts his hand to hide his throat.

 

Jessica snorts and rolls her eyes. "You don't even have one, but apparently he was kissing on your neck last night."

 

"You're a terrible sister."

 

"And you're being a bitch," she responds, deadpan. "Go see him."

 

"Maybe."

 

It isn't until Jessica starts clucking like a chicken that Brock pulls out his phone. He takes a video of the scene around him, Jessica waving at the camera and hamming it up, his parents talking in the living room, the Christmas tree in the corner, finally switching to a selfie and giving a sheepish smile.

 

Merry Christmas, Mo. Hope it's a good one.

 

He's more nervous than he'll ever admit while he waits for a response. He checks every few minutes to see how long it takes Morgan to look at the snap. It's 41 minutes later before he finally opens it. The reply takes a few minutes more.

 

It's a picture of Morgan in a ridiculous sweater that features a T-Rex wearing a Santa hat. He's got an arm around his dad, who is wearing a red Santa jacket and a huge smile.

 

morganrielly: Merry Christmas from us over here too.

 

Brock is relieved to have at least gotten an answer. He thought Morgan might try to avoid him now, after the way last night went. Brock opens the text window, forgoing another photo.

 

Didn't mean to get weird last night. Overreacted. I'm sorry.

 

morganrielly is typing…

morganrielly is typing…

morganrielly: Too much wine, misunderstanding. I'm sorry too.

 

Are we okay? You do still have to pay up on the bet.

 

morganrielly: I think we're good. And don't worry, I won't go back on that.

 

Brock has to find a way to see him before he leaves for Toronto again. He'll see him in only a week--sure, he's kept tabs on the schedule and he knows exactly when they visit the Maple Leafs--but he wants to see him first. If it goes as he hopes, well, that visit out east might be a whole lot of fun.

 

I didn't get to give you your Christmas present last night.

 

morganrielly: What? You didn't get me anything!

 

Ha, that's what you thought. I could swing by your place tonight.

 

morganrielly is typing…

 

The screen goes blank and stays that way for a long moment. Brock's stomach drops. He shouldn't have pushed it. He sets his phone aside, screen-down, trying not to agonize. Ten minutes later it buzzes and he grabs it entirely too fast.

 

morganrielly: I guess you could do that. I can let you know when everyone leaves.

 

Relief washes over him and Brock can't fight back the smile before Jessica sees it.

 

"Gonna see him tonight?"

 

Brock nods and looks down to hide the blush he knows is washing over his face. "Don't look so smug."

 

She ruffles his hair as she walks past. "I told you not to be a bitch about it."

____

 

The thing is, Brock doesn't actually have a gift for Morgan. He just needed an excuse to see him. After some rummaging he comes up with an idea.

 

It's now nearly ten PM and he's sitting in his car outside of Morgan's place. He's wearing a button-down shirt and nice jeans--Jessica insisted that he needs to look nice if he's going to try to seduce someone tonight--and he's got his impromptu present tucked into a gift bag that he repurposed from this morning.

 

He takes a deep breath and heads for the door. Morgan answers just a few moments after he knocks. He's wearing flannel pajama pants and a hoodie that's almost but not-quite pink. It matches the flush on his cheeks. "Hey," he says, visibly flustered. "Uh, come on in. Sorry I didn't, like, dress for the occasion."

 

Brock is pretty sure he likes this look on Morgan better than when he was dressed up last night. "No need to get dressed up or anything," Brock assures him, stepping past and letting Morgan shut the door behind him. Morgan isn't meeting his eyes. He's keeping his gaze cast toward the floor and he's laughing nervously. It's a little bit endearing.

 

They stand in awkward silence for a beat. "So, uh," Morgan finally breaks it. "How was Christmas with your family?"

 

"Oh, it was good. Real good. And yours?"

 

"Great, my family was awesome."

 

The silence stretches out again.

 

"So, right, I uh. I brought your present," Brock thrusts the gift bag toward Morgan. Do or die time now. If he's not into it, Brock's going to know very soon.

 

Morgan takes the bag and finally glances up at Brock curiously. He peeks into the bag and his eyes go wide. "Jesus Christ," he sputters. "What the…?" He trails off as he takes the gift out: an unopened box of Magnum XL condoms.

 

Brock slides to his knees in front of Morgan and flashes a wicked grin.

 

"I figure you're gonna need those tonight."

Chapter Text

"What the hell are you doing?!"

 

Brock is smug as he grins up at Morgan. "Look bud, I know you have this whole good guy persona going on, but I'm pretty sure you know how blow jobs work."

 

Morgan looks at Brock, then at the box of condoms in his hand, then back at Brock. "Well yeah, I get that, but I mean...I just…" he's spluttering, tripping over his words. "We can't just do this."

 

"Bad news, Mo, we've already done this before," Brock has one hand raised and is twisting the tie of Morgan's pajama pants around his finger. "And it was pretty awesome. Right?"

 

Morgan chews on his lower lip and lets out a soft breath, and his answer comes slowly, measured. "...Right."

 

"So it's not that you don't want this, yeah?" Brock has tugged one loop of the bow free now.

 

Morgan is trying very hard to think of things that aren't arousing, but it isn't working. He shakes his head in lieu of an answer, deciding instead to focus his energy on not being embarrassingly hard before Brock even actually touches him.

 

"And see the thing is, tonight?" Brock has the entire bow untied now. "I didn't have anything to drink. So I'm stone-cold sober."

 

Morgan swallows hard and nods just once. "Just had one glass of wine with dinner," he finally says, and he wishes his voice wasn't so soft, so breathless.

 

"So you do want this?" Brock moves forward, his knees at Morgan's feet now.

 

Morgan chews on his lip and hesitantly reaches his hand out to brush a lock of hair off of Brock's forehead. When he answers it sounds desperate even to his own ears. "Yeah."

 

Brock's grin goes wider. "Finally," he enthuses, and he curls his fingers around the waistband of Morgan's pants, tugging the elastic.

 

"Wait, wait," Morgan grips his wrists before he can get his pants down. The disappointment on Brock's face is clear. "No, it's not bad, just...you shouldn't be on your knees. The hardwood." Morgan knows he's not really making sense, so he motions at the floor around them. "Uh, bedroom?"

 

Brock laughs, and it's a high-pitched and relieved, but he stands anyway. "Good guy Morgan Rielly, worried about me hurting my knees while I suck his dick. Lead the way."

 

"You're gonna need to skate again soon," Morgan explains with a shrug of his shoulder. He takes a deep breath as he walks up the stairs to his bedroom, Brock right behind him. "And you don't have to--"

 

Brock cuts him off by pushing him to sit down on the bed. "Well I want to, and there's a rug here, so I'm all set." He starts lowering to his knees between Morgan's legs and tugs on the waist of his pants.

 

"Hold up," Morgan stops him again. He does not want to be sitting here half naked while Brock is still fully dressed. He doesn't need that much scrutiny on his mid-season form. "I wanna see you," he says, and it comes out more bashful than he'd have liked.

 

Brock's smile is maybe just a little soft when he pulls his shirt off. If he's lost any definition from two months of skating and practices skipped for maintenance days, Morgan can't tell. His body is just as perfect as it was in October, just weeks into the season. He pushes his jeans down next, leaving him in just a pair of grey striped trunks.

 

Morgan's mouth has gone dry and he smacks his lips together to get the saliva moving again, and he watches while Brock moves to kneel between his thighs. Brock slides both palms up his legs to the waist of his pajamas before easing them down. He's wearing boxer-briefs beneath, brand new ones no less--he would be lying if he said he hadn't thought that this was a possibility--and he's already tenting them, too excited after weeks of anticipation, after what almost happened last night.

 

Brock sucks in a breath when he peels Morgan's underwear down. "Fuck man, I forgot how big you are."

 

Morgan knows his face has gone pink and he fights the urge to cover himself. "Uh, thanks, I guess."

 

Brock chuckles and presses a kiss to the inside of Morgan's thigh. "You should be way more cocky about it," he pauses for a moment, his face only inches from Morgan's pelvis, and it's distracting enough that he almost misses when Brock adds, "no pun intended."

 

Morgan keeps his hands at his sides while Brock wraps his fingers around his cock. He grips at the sheets to keep from bucking up when Brock mouths a kiss over the head and grits his teeth when Brock's lips stretch wide around his shaft. He doesn't want to force anything, doesn't want Brock to feel like he's taking advantage, so he just watches and tries not to thrust up too hard into Brock's mouth.

 

He's so busy trying to control himself that he jumps when Brock lays a hand over his. "You're allowed to touch, yeah?" Brock's cheeks are flushed and his smile is crooked. He lifts Morgan's hand and places it on the back of his head before he leans in close again, sliding down to take Morgan's cock halfway down the shaft in one go.

 

"Oh fuck," Morgan mutters involuntarily. He doesn't miss that Brock smiles around him at the curse. He laces his fingers through Brock's hair and gives a gentle tug, then another when it elicits a groan. Brock takes him lower, then lower still, until the head is pressing into his throat and Morgan is trying to pull him back. "You don't have to," he says when Brock looks up at him curiously.

 

Brock rolls his eyes and moves his head deftly to the hilt, nose buried against Morgan's pelvis. He gags a bit but doesn't move, and it takes all the self-control Morgan has to not come down his throat. "Fuck, wait, no," he gasps and yanks on Brock's hair, hard this time.

 

Brock clears his throat when he pulls off completely, and he might have been fighting back a laugh. "I'm pretty sure I've never had someone ask me not to deepthroat."

 

"I don't want you to feel obligated--"

 

Brock throws his head back, barking out a hoarse chuckle. "Well no, I'm not obligated to be sucking your dick at all. If you missed it, I want to." He shifts back on his haunches, motioning to his own cock, just as hard as Morgan's, which at some point Brock has pulled from his trunks and is now stroking idly.

 

Morgan is staring, openly and shamelessly, from the flushed skin at Brock's throat to the indentations of his abs, to the neatly trimmed blonde hair at the base of his dick. "Let me do it for you." Morgan realizes that in Los Angeles, Brock gave him a blowjob, but he never returned the favor. And now he really, really wants to.

 

"I'm not about to turn down a blowjob," Brock says, wiping saliva from his chin as he stands. He sits on the bed next to Morgan, then moves to stretch out on his back. "I can't promise to be such a gentleman about it, though."

 

Morgan looks him over again, all spread out on the bed, and he thinks for a moment about how he could get used to this view. He doesn't need to go down that road, though, so he busies himself with pulling Brock's trunks down, skimming his fingers down his legs as he pulls them off. He should have done this the last time, and now his mouth is watering for it, staring at Brock naked, his dick curved up toward his stomach. "Anything you want," Morgan assures him, then wraps his fingers around the base of his shaft.

 

Brock isn't rough about it, but he definitely doesn't mind guiding the action. He threads his fingers through Morgan's hair and pushes him down, pulls him up. He thrusts up into Morgan's mouth and throat. He curses and gasps and swears, and if he's honest, hearing Brock react turns Morgan on just as much as getting his own dick sucked.

 

"Oh fuck," Brock is muttering from above him, his grip in Morgan's hair nearly painful. "Stop, baby, stop."

 

Baby , the pet name repeats in his head as Morgan pulls off. He's got one hand gripped at the inside of Brock's thigh and he looks up at him questioningly.

 

"Gonna come if you don't stop," Brock explains, his voice rough. His eyes look wild and dark, his pupils wide.

 

Morgan grins up at him and takes his cock down his throat again. He cups his balls and gives a gentle squeeze, enjoying the stretch of his lips around Brock's shaft, the smell of his skin, the string of curses and bit off whimpers that Brock can't hold back. It takes only a few more bobs of his head before Brock is thrusting up into his throat and coming, his hips bucking up off the bed and his nails scratching over Morgan's scalp.

 

Morgan manages not to gag too hard as he swallows, and it's mostly because Brock is still rocking up into his mouth. Brock pulls him back and stares down with a dazed look on his face. "Holy fuck."

 

Morgan hides his satisfied smile against Brock's thigh. He's always been a giver, has always wanted to be sure his partner is enjoying themselves, and with Brock he wants even more to impress him. Making Brock come that hard is sexy in a way that Morgan can't fully explain, but there's pleasure curling low in his gut from the sight.

 

"You weren't supposed to take it as a challenge ," Brock huffs out a laugh, still catching his breath. "I wanted more than just that, good as it was."

 

Morgan smiles up at him and nudges his legs apart. "We have all night."

____

 

Brock isn't sure how long he's been at Morgan's place. It might have been forty-five minutes or it might have been two hours, Brock lost track sometime around when Morgan started fingering him open. Brock was sure he was spent after the blowjob, the orgasm wrenching the breath out of him, but Morgan hasn't moved from between his thighs since. He's been spreading him with his fingers and his tongue, getting him pliant and relaxed, and sure enough Brock is now laying here with his dick once again hard and wanting attention.

 

He's been trying not to whimper but Morgan knows just how to touch, just how to curl his fingers; each time Morgan finds his prostate he can't bite back a needy little gasp. "Fuck, baby, come on," he pleads as Morgan works two thick fingers into him again. "I need, fuck, I need..." he trails off at that, unable to even get his mouth working to finish the sentence.

 

Morgan smiles up at him, a pleased, soft thing that makes something twist in Brock's stomach. "Are you sure you're good?"

 

"If you make me come again without fucking me, I'm gonna kill you," Brock says and he's not entirely sure he's joking. He feels slick and open, and as good as Morgan is with his mouth and his hands, Brock really needs more.

 

Morgan chuckles and presses a kiss to the juncture of Brock's hip. "Got it." He moves up to lean over Brock, digging into the drawer of his bedside table. While he fishes for a condom and lube, Brock takes advantage and touches everywhere he can. Morgan matches him for height but he's broader. He's not as defined as the last time they did this, summer bulk softened with the demands of their schedule. Brock lets his hands roam over all the skin he can reach, though; he likes this just as much, if not a little bit more.

 

"Not quite as cut as you, eh?" Morgan is staring down while he rolls a condom onto himself, but Brock can see the flush on his cheeks, the shy bite of his lip. He's sucking in his stomach again, just like the first time they were together.

 

When he leans down over Brock, one hand braced on the bed next to him, the bashful smile is still on his mouth. Brock pushes up to meet him halfway and presses their lips together, kissing it away. Morgan groans into the kiss and lets Brock deepen it, opens his mouth to let Brock slide his tongue inside. Brock isn't sure how else to reassure him, so he bites his lip and tightens a leg around his waist.

 

"Come on, Mo," he says softly, the room feeling heavy now, like only quiet voices will do. "Get inside me already."

 

Morgan lays against him fully now, heavy and wide, but he's gentle as he pushes into Brock. He moves his hips so, so slowly, his eyes unwavering on Brock's face while he sinks gradually deeper, until finally he's fully seated. He's as big as Brock remembered, nearly too thick, but he spent so much time with the prep that it's only a slight discomfort. He doesn't move for a long moment, he just burrows into Brock's neck, panting hot against his skin and swearing beneath his breath.

 

"Please," Brock begs when he can't take the stillness, because it's the only word that comes to mind.

 

It's even better than he remembered. Morgan is still gentle and attentive, watching him intently the whole time, but he knows Brock's body better now. When Brock moans, he knows to repeat what he just did; if Brock grimaces, he pulls back and slows down until Brock asks him for more. He learns just what angle to thrust to make Brock swear and gasp and scratch down his arms. There might be marks later, but Brock can't bring himself to worry about that yet, he's fighting too hard to hold off the impending orgasm that's building. He doesn't want to come twice before Morgan's even come once.

 

Morgan has other plans, though. He braces his elbow next to Brock's head, bracketing himself around Brock, leaving him feeling enclosed, surrounded. Morgan is heavy on top of him, his skin shiny, and there's nothing else Brock can focus on but the heady combination of the full weight of Morgan on him, Morgan's breath in his ear, the smell of sex and sweat. Once Morgan wraps a hand around his cock it takes only a few strokes before he's over the edge, white-knuckled and gasping.

 

He barely registers it when Morgan starts thrusting faster before going still, his hips stuttering forward. He swears against Brock's hair, muttering breathless into his neck. It's not until Brock's breathing slows that he realizes Morgan must have come too. He's no longer bracing himself up, now Morgan is boneless and heavy; he has one hand cradled under Brock's head, fingers tangled in his hair.

 

"Fuck." When Morgan says it, it's more of a sigh than a real word.

 

Brock can't stop the laugh that bubbles up out of him at that. Morgan sounds utterly wrecked, and Brock is glad for it, because he feels the same. When Morgan pulls up to look at him, confusion on his face, Brock presses a kiss to his twisted up mouth. "Was thinking the same thing," he says against Morgan's lips. "Fuck."

 

He feels Morgan smile without even needing to open his eyes.

 

Morgan withdraws carefully from him and disappears to the bathroom, returning a few moments later with a washcloth. Just as in Los Angeles, he cleans Brock up carefully, and Brock is far too lethargic after two earth-shattering orgasms to do much to help.

 

Once they're both tidy and breathing normally again, Morgan stretches out on his back and pulls Brock close. Brock goes along easily, curling in against his side and melting into the light scrape of Morgan's nails along his scalp. Morgan kisses him slow and lazy, nudging their noses together each time he pauses for a breath. Brock is tracing idle circles through the dusting of hair at Morgan's chest and Morgan smiles against his mouth.

 

"Mm, what are you grinning about?" Brock asks playfully, sitting up just enough to look at him.

 

"Just had a really good time tonight," Morgan says, reaching up to tuck back a lock of hair that had fallen into Brock's face. He tugs Brock down and kisses him again, a little less tender this time.

 

"Hey, hey, hold on." Brock's still a little weak and his legs are way too shaky for another go. "Slow down, bud, you're gonna kill me."

 

Morgan chuckles and he hides his face in Brock's throat, but he keeps mouthing kisses there, humming pleased when Brock shivers. "It doesn't feel like you want me to stop."

 

Brock tilts his head back so Morgan can get better access to his neck, trying and failing to stifle a groan when Morgan scrapes his teeth over his collarbone. Morgan pushes him to his back and lets their legs tangle together while his lips trail up the other side of Brock's jaw, tongue flicking out over his earlobe. Morgan's breath is hot against his skin, already a little labored. Morgan's still soft, so soon after they both came, but Brock can feel where his dick is pressed to his hip; he's pretty sure that if he worked for it, he could get Morgan hard again pretty easily.

 

It's very, very tempting. It's late, though. If they start this up again it's going to be incredible, but it's also going to drain any energy he has left. If that happens, he's likely to fall asleep here, tucked in Morgan's arms. And that would really push the lines of what this is. Hookups don't involve waking up together.

 

"Down boy," Brock hums as he tugs on Morgan's hair to pull him away. "You're a menace."

 

Morgan laughs and loosens his grip around Brock's waist. "Sorry," he says, and Brock is pretty sure he actually means it. "You feel too good."

 

Brock sits up now, stretching out his back. "I should probably get out of here, I figure you've got to fly back to Toronto tomorrow."

 

Morgan has one hand on Brock's thigh and is squeezing there, idly stroking over his hip. "Hm? Oh yeah, I fly out in the afternoon."

 

"So I should let you get some actual sleep," Brock climbs off the bed and starts looking around for his trunks. He knows Morgan is watching him, can feel his eyes without even glancing back to check, and if he's taking his good sweet time getting dressed again, well, Morgan doesn't seem to notice or mind.

 

It's not until he's buttoning his shirt when Morgan crawls off the bed and pulls on his pajama pants from before. And now it's Brock's turn to watch as he moves around the room with no shirt on. He has a purple, mottled bruise on his arm, low on his back is another greenish one that's on its way to healed. And there are four red scratches down his right arm.

 

"Shit, I think those are from me," Brock touches the marks, letting his fingers trace them. "Sorry about that."

 

Morgan pauses for a long moment and swallows before he speaks. "Gonna probably hear it in the room for those," he laughs, but it's airy and soft.

 

"Just tell 'em you rocked some girl's world over break, eh? It'll make you look like a stud."

 

"So what you're saying is," Morgan's smile is devilish, maybe a little smug, and he curls one hand at Brock's hip. "I rocked your world?"

 

Brock presses his palm to the center of Morgan's chest, his fingers spread wide, resisting the urge to lean into him. If he doesn't leave soon, he isn't going to leave at all. "I've gotta go," he changes the subject.

 

Morgan squeezes his hip once more but he takes a step back and picks his hoodie up from the floor to tug it on. "Sorry, you're right. Travel day tomorrow."

 

He follows Brock and waits for him to pull his coat on. Brock hesitates at the door. "So, uh. We're in Toronto in like a week. Would you want to...hang out?"

 

Morgan smiles and one of his eyebrows ticks upward for just a moment. "'Hang out'? Yeah. Yeah, I think we could 'hang out' when you're in Toronto."

 

Brock rolls his eyes and lets out a laugh, relieved that even with his awkward phrasing, Morgan agreed to see him again. "I've gotta come see Paddington anyway, you know?"

 

"Right, right, it's just all about Paddington," Morgan nods, and there's a hint of sarcasm there. "Let me know when you guys are getting into town, if you can get away for the night, he'd love to meet you."

 

"Great, so," Brock finally reaches for the door and Morgan holds it open for him. "Safe travels tomorrow."

 

"I'll see you in Toronto."

 

Brock is just about to step outside but he turns at the last moment and presses a firm kiss to Morgan's mouth. He nips on Morgan's lower lip and pulls back, enjoying the surprised grin on his face. "Merry Christmas, Mo."

Chapter Text

It's the Maple Leafs' first practice since the Christmas break and everyone is trying to get themselves back into their routines. Morgan has already finished one coffee and is contemplating another as he's starting to change clothes, when suddenly a loud whoop goes up across the room.

 

"Oh shiiiit, Mo got lucky over Christmas!"

 

"God damn, bud, those are some claw marks."

 

Morgan groans at the catcalls as he pulls his Under Armour shirt over his head and tugs it down to his waist. He had completely forgotten about Brock leaving scratches down his arm, or he would have tried harder to hide them. "Yeah, yeah, you're all just pissed that you aren't good enough to get all marked up."

 

Auston laughs and throws an empty water bottle at him. Mitch lets out a wolf-whistle. Jake holds up a fist for him to bump.

 

Mostly he just wants them all to stop asking about it; not only is it uncomfortable to have his sex life be locker room fodder, because even without their attention drawn to the marks, he can't stop thinking about it. It's been running through his head since Brock left.

 

Not that it wasn't good--it was even better than the first time--but now he's more confused than he was before. Brock was certainly into it, but he also hauled ass out of there pretty quickly. He seemed to enjoy cuddling, but then he resisted when Morgan tried for more. He wouldn't stay the night, but he did kiss Morgan goodbye. Morgan guesses it's a good sign that he suggested they spend some time together when he's in Toronto, but Morgan is pretty sure it's just for a hookup again.

 

Brock is a gorgeous 21 year old NHL superstar. He can have anyone he wants, he's not going to want to settle for just Morgan. And even beyond that, they're across the country from each other. It won't work as more than just sex. This has to be a friends-with-benefits setup only. Morgan figures he can be okay with that.

 

He has to remind himself that there are worse problems than having a guy like Brock only want him sexually. Way, way worse problems.

 

The next day he hears from Brock when he's settled in at home for his pregame nap. Just before he can doze off, his phone buzzes with a Snapchat notification.

 

bboeser: We should be touching down in Toronto by like 2p on Friday, so I can probably Uber over to your place around dinnertime.

 

Sounds good. No nails this time, eh bud?

bboeser: Oh man, the boys noticed?

 

Catcalls all around. So we should probably avoid that this next time.

 

bboeser: Ooh, so sure you're getting lucky again, eh?

 

Morgan takes a long breath and lets it out between his teeth before he responds. He stretches out his arm so he can get an expansive shot of himself in bed. He's bare-chested and he pushes the blankets down lower on his waist; he puts his free hand behind his head and flexes his bicep just a little. He gives what he really hopes is a seductive grin.

 

Well when you suggested 'hanging out,' I thought we could do that right here.

 

bboeser is typing…

bboeser is typing…

bboeser: I think you might be onto something with that plan.

 

I'll even make sure there are fresh sheets for you, eh?

 

Morgan regrets it the minute he hits 'send.' Sheets. Sheets? Who flirts by talking about sheets?

 

A moment later his phone vibrates and there's a picture of Brock sitting in his stall at the rink, just from the shoulders up, and he's wearing a spandex shirt that clings to his skin. He's got a lazy, lopsided grin and his hair is falling in his eyes.

 

bboeser: You sure know the way into a boy's pants. Always a gentleman, Mo.

____

 

"Mo, our buddy Boes is in town." Auston announces as he sits in the empty stall next to Morgan after practice on Friday afternoon. "We've gotta go show him a good Toronto night out."

 

Morgan stiffens at the mention of Brock, wonders how Auston knows about them. He's already running through excuses in his head when he realizes they already have an alibi: their story about Morgan using Brock's stick has become a running theme with the media this season. Auston has no reason to think it's anything bigger than that. Morgan takes a couple of deep breaths to steady himself.

 

"You always want a reason to go out," Morgan says, pulling his shirt on. The scratches down his arm have healed, just faint pink lines now, but he's still made a point to stay as covered as possible in the room for the last week.

 

"Well yeah, but this is a really good reason," Auston responds. "I'll find out when he's free, and we'll show him a good time. You in?"

 

It certainly throws a wrench in the plans that he had already made with Brock, but he can't tell Auston about those, so he just nods. "Count me in, man."

 

Auston has his phone out and is tapping a message as soon as Morgan finishes speaking.

____

 

AM34: BOES, what's up buddy??

AM34: It's Friday night in Toronto. We've gotta go out.

 

Brock stares at his phone and his stomach twists. In all of his anticipation about visiting Toronto and seeing Morgan again, he had conveniently forgotten about Auston being there as well. Auston who will take any excuse to go out and wheel on girls. Of course he would want to go out while Brock is in town.

 

It's already nearly 5pm. Brock was planning to head to his room for a shower so he could start getting ready to go see Morgan. But he knows there's no getting out of going to a club with them now, Auston wouldn't stand for it.

 

Uh-oh, do I wanna trust going out with Auston Matthews in Toronto? I'm not sure my ego can take that kinda rejection.

 

AM34: Haha bud, no way, you're not getting out of it. I've got a list of clubs in mind, depending on what brand of ladies you're looking for that night.

 

So what you're saying is you want me to wingman for you?

 

AM34: Don't you worry, I don't need a wingman around here. You might need me to wingman for YOU in Toronto!

 

Alright, alright. We just finished doing video, heading to the hotel. Gotta change if we're going out, we can go grab drinks.

 

AM34: Not the only thing I plan to be grabbing, but sure. I'm bringing Mo along too, we'll get you at the hotel and head out.

 

Good deal, see ya tonight bud.

 

Fuck. There isn't any good excuse to give Auston about why he doesn't want to go out.. It's a Friday night in Toronto, any red-blooded 21 year old guy is going to want to try to get lucky. Which Brock had already planned for, but he can't exactly tell Auston about it. Oh hey Matty, can't make it, I'm gonna be getting fucked by your alternate captain, sorry about that.

 

So he'll go out with Auston and Morgan and he'll spend the evening flirting with girls he's not interested in and watching Morgan flirt with girls that he might actually be interested in. And he'll just have to hope that Auston is successful at attempting to take home the blondest, skinniest girl in the building, leaving Brock to convince Morgan to take him home.

____

 

It's not surprising that they walk straight past the line and into the club Auston picked for the night. He's Auston fucking Matthews and they're in Toronto. There's not a bouncer in the city who's going to turn him away.

 

The music is loud and the lights are low and there are people filling every corner. There aren't a lot of men inside, almost every person Brock sees is a woman wearing something skimpy, and Auston is already scoping out his targets. Morgan hasn't taken his hands from his pockets since they got here, and he's pointedly standing a respectable distance from Brock.

 

He understands why Morgan is being cautious, but Brock also realizes that there's no one here who would see them standing together and assume they're anything more than friends. They work through the crowd and make their way to the bar and Morgan buys Brock's beer. Brock leans close to him while they wait, and Morgan doesn't quite hide the smile on his face. Auston doesn't notice because he's already chatting up a pretty girl wearing a tight black dress and sky-high stilettos.

 

Brock and Morgan take a step back to let the bartender take his next order, though they stay close at each other's sides. It's dark in here but Brock is pretty sure Morgan's cheeks are flushed. Brock gives him one quick raise of his brows as he takes a drink of his beer and then he looks around the room. Normally he's fine with spending a night out with Auston. They're good friends and Brock always likes to watch him attempt to wheel on every attractive woman in a given bar, especially since he often fails when they're outside of Toronto. He just had other plans for tonight and would rather be at Morgan's place right now.

 

Auston is now talking with two different women--the same one from before and a blonde who Brock assumes is her friend--and he waves Brock over. "Buddy, come here, come meet Victoria."

 

Victoria has long legs and red lips and she extends a hand to Brock. He shakes it and gives his most charming smile. She's gorgeous, there's no denying that. Brock is shocked that Auston isn't trying to take her home instead of introducing her to him. "Hi, I'm Brock. It's nice to meet you."

 

"The pleasure is all mine," she says, looking up at him through her lashes. "How are you liking Toronto?"

 

"Oh, well I'm only here until tomorrow. I've been here before, but it's nice." From the corner of his eye he can see Auston introducing Morgan to yet another girl, short and cute with soft curls in her light brown hair and a dress that clings to her curves. Morgan smiles at her and something twists in Brock's gut. He shakes it off and turns back to Victoria. "Are you from here, Victoria?"

 

She tells him where she's from and what she does for work, but Brock is only half listening. He can't quite stop watching Morgan. The girl he's talking to is giggling when he talks, pressing a hand to his arm when she stands up on her toes to talk to him, pouting her lips around her straw suggestively.

 

Brock picks at the label of his beer bottle and tries not to analyze how Morgan is reacting to the attention. Sure, they had plans tonight, but Auston altered those. It would probably be easier if Morgan just went home with a girl instead. There would be less to explain away tomorrow. He doesn't owe Brock anything.

 

"So would you want to get out of here?" Victoria asks after they've made small talk for what is apparently the appropriate amount of time.

 

Brock is still distracted and he doesn't even think before he speaks. "Oh, I'm flattered, but I'm actually seeing someone."

 

"Too bad," Victoria says, clearly disappointed. "Lucky girl."

 

Brock gives a self-deprecating laugh and shrugs a shoulder. Victoria walks back over toward her friend and Auston, turning her flirting his way. Auston probably owes him one.

 

Morgan is still chatting with the same girl, but when Brock looks over at him this time, Morgan is looking back. He rests his hand on the girl's lower back and dips his head down to say something against her ear; Brock takes a drink of his beer to hide the frown he knows is on his face. Rather than leaving together, though, she walks away on her own and Morgan comes over to him.

 

"How long do you think we have to wait before we sneak out of here?" he asks, and his smile is bordering on a smirk. He stands close enough for his shoulder to bump Brock's.

 

"Isn't your friend going to be disappointed?" Brock doesn't mean for it to come out as sharply as it does.

 

Morgan's brow furrows and he glances in the direction the girl had walked. "What, that girl? Oh god, no. That's just to humor Matty. He likes to play wingman. I told her I was meeting up with someone tonight."

 

Brock definitely shouldn't be jealous. They're friends with benefits and he's pretty sure that's all it is. That's all it needs to be. "She was pretty hot, I don't want to ruin your game or anything."

 

Morgan rolls his eyes and barks out a laugh. "It's real funny that you think I have game. Don't worry, though, there's only one person I have any plans to leave with tonight. Matty's got his hands full anyway." He nods over at Auston who has an arm around Victoria while her friend is leaning into his chest.

 

"He owes me one for that," Brock chuckles.

 

"He'll never notice we're gone," Morgan says, finishing the last of his beer and nodding toward the exit. "I'll tell him tomorrow that we both got lucky."

 

He wouldn't really be lying.

____

 

It's already late when they get to Morgan's place. The Canucks have a relatively late curfew, but Brock knows they still don't have a lot of time, so he doesn't intend to waste any. They're barely inside the door before he's pushing Morgan against the wall and starting to unbutton his coat. Morgan shrugs it off and pulls at Brock's jacket the same.

 

"Wait wait, lemme hang these up."

 

Brock shakes his head. "Just drop them, doesn't matter." He leans in and mouths kisses over Morgan's jaw and down his throat.

 

"Gonna be all wrinkled, hold on." He extricates himself from Brock's grasp and hangs both coats up. "Don't you want like, a tour of the place?"

 

It's endearing how even in the midst of a hookup, Morgan insists on being the proper host. "Is the last stop of the tour your bedroom?"

 

Morgan ducks his head and his cheeks pinken. "Yeah, definitely. Come on." He motions around the kitchen and living area. "Here's Paddington, he's going to take over my entire apartment soon."

 

Some other time, Brock would spend more time checking out Paddington and chirping Morgan's succulent dad skills, but there are more pressing matters tonight. "I told you I was going to find a pain in the ass succulent, and I think I succeeded."

 

"Nah, he's pretty awesome," Morgan nods to lead Brock down the hall.

 

Along the walls are framed jerseys, all Morgan's. Team North America, Team Canada, Moose Jaw, Toronto, and then there's one at the end of the hall that doesn't match: Canucks number 6.

 

He nearly says something about it, but he stops himself. Shouldn't there be other jerseys? Didn't he say he has other players' jerseys? Brock's is the only one on the wall that isn't one of Morgan's. He's not sure what it means, if it means anything at all; he's not sure what he wants it to mean. He likes Morgan, of course, and he enjoys whatever friends-with-benefits relationship they have going here.

 

He's young, though, and so is Morgan. There's also the barrier of dating another NHL player that would get awkward. And then he's in Vancouver and Morgan is in Toronto; they'd barely get to see each other.

 

Brock also can't quite shake the feeling that maybe this isn't wouldn't be worth it for Morgan. Brock's options are limited, but Morgan has an entire other gender he can turn to if he wants to get lucky. Morgan likes women, and as Brock saw tonight, women also like him.

 

"Okay, and here's the bathroom," Morgan says, interrupting his thoughts and Brock shakes them away. It's entirely possible that his jersey being framed and hung means nothing at all. He doesn't really like that idea either.

 

"Oh man, we're at the final stop?" Brock asks when they reach the end of the hall.

 

"Last stop," Morgan confirms and holds the bedroom door open.

 

"It's about damn time."

Chapter Text

It's unlike the other times they've been together. In Los Angeles, and then in Vancouver, they had time for foreplay, time for Morgan to ensure Brock was properly ready for it. He was able to use his fingers and hands and mouth to get him prepped and desperate. But not tonight; after going out with Auston they have limited time, and as soon as they're in his bedroom, Brock is on him.

 

They strip each other quickly, hands stroking overheated skin and pushing fabric out of the way. Brock walks him back onto the bed and straddles him as soon as he's naked, and Morgan doesn't even have time to be self-conscious about it before Brock is asking where he keeps the lube and condoms. It's not enough prep, and Morgan definitely sees a flash of a grimace on Brock's face as he presses up into him, but Brock is insistent that he's fine.

 

It's quick and frantic, and Morgan wants to give him more than this, wants to touch every inch of him, wants to take his time. But time is something they don't have, so he focuses on shifting the angle of his hips just so , watching Brock's face for the moment he knows he found just the right spot, when his mouth drops open and his head rolls back. Morgan doesn't prefer this position, on his back being ridden, it always feels unfair that he's not doing any of the work; but Brock is clearly not complaining, too busy sucking in harsh gasps of air as he sets the pace, so Morgan allows himself to just enjoy. Brock is gorgeous like this, skin slick with sweat, hair falling into his face, abdomen flexing as he moves, and Morgan can't stop touching or staring. It's all too soon before Morgan's coming, and Brock follows him over the edge just moments later.

 

They're both sticky afterward, sweat and come going cold and uncomfortable on their skin. Morgan's barely caught his breath before he's petting a hand down Brock's hip and nudging him aside. "Shift for me, gotta clean us up."

 

Brock pulls himself up to sitting and his eyes look a little bit dazed. "Huh?"

 

Morgan squeezes both of his hands at Brock's thighs. "Move for a minute. We're both a mess."

 

Brock grumbles and shifts to lay sprawled on his back. Morgan watches him for a long moment before he climbs out of bed and strolls to the bathroom. He's tying off the condom and washing his hands when Brock joins him, standing close behind and snaking an arm around his waist.

 

"You don't have to clean me up every time," Brock says against his shoulder, pressing a kiss there and glancing at him in the mirror. "I swear I can do it myself."

 

Morgan watches their reflection as Brock reaches over for a washcloth and then leans over to wet it. He wipes himself clean first and then turns his attention to Morgan. Morgan sucks in his stomach a bit and hopes that Brock doesn't notice. Brock finishes washing them both off and tosses the cloth in the direction of the hamper. When he's finished he leans against the sink and pulls Morgan in close, tipping his head to fit their mouths together. They kiss like that for a few minutes, slow and lazy, Brock letting his lips wander down along Morgan's jaw to his throat, sucking a red mark into the skin.

 

He pulls back and rubs his thumb over the spot, a smug smile faintly curving his mouth. Morgan wants to ask why he's smirking, wants to ask if he's staking a claim, wants to ask what it means.  As he's trying to work up the nerve to say something, Brock turns back to his bedroom.

 

"I should probably head to the hotel, it's late."

 

Morgan gapes for just a moment before he shakes his head clear and puts on a smile. "Yeah, of course. Don't wanna miss curfew."

 

He's too distracted to be self-conscious, too distracted to even think about putting a shirt on, so he walks Brock to the door in just a pair of sweatpants. Brock pulls him in for another kiss, mouth lingering on his. "Gonna be in Vancouver for the All Star break?"

 

"Uh, maybe? I haven't made plans yet." He's floundering now, so he smirks and goes for a joke. "Besides, I might actually be an All Star this year, so I might be busy."

 

It might be disappointment that flashes on Brock's face, or Morgan might just be hoping for it.

"Well then, big shot, I guess we'll have to wait and see."

____

 

Morgan is barely even awake the next morning, standing at his sink and brushing his teeth when he sees it.

 

Dammit.

 

There's a deep bruise just below his collarbone.  Morgan had nearly forgotten about Brock leaving the hickey there the night before. He's really glad he noticed the mark before he goes to the rink for practice but he's not entirely sure he'll be able to hide it. If he's careful to make sure he dresses quickly and wears a hoodie to and from the rink, he can manage to keep it hidden today, and tomorrow he'll wear a collared shirt. And it's cold enough in Toronto that he can wind a scarf around his neck and keep the mark hidden the rest of the time until it heals.

 

It's more work to hide it, but he doesn't necessarily hate seeing it there.

____

 

Two days later Morgan wakes to a string of texts from his agent, from Kyle Dubas, from teammates current and former, congratulating him for making the All Star team. He stays in bed and answers the messages before hauling himself up in search of coffee. He's halfway down the hall when he stops in his tracks.

 

Oh shit.

 

He zeroes in on Brock's framed jersey at the end of the hall, next to all of his own jerseys. He had meant to get some other players' jerseys framed and hung, but he never got around to it. And Brock would have noticed that his jersey was on the wall. But no one else's was.

 

Morgan groans as he stumbles to the kitchen, tapping on the Keurig and burying his face in his hands while he waits for it to warm up.

 

Maybe Brock didn't notice it. He was pretty focused on getting to Morgan's bedroom so maybe he didn't look at the walls. He didn't say anything. Regardless, Morgan needs to do something to make that whole thing look less suspicious. He's got the day off, he'll drop a couple of other jerseys off to get framed, then he can hang them up and post pictures on his Insta.

 

He hasn't heard from Brock too much since the Canucks left Toronto. He tamps down his disappointment, reminding himself that this is just a hookup situation, a friends with benefits situation. He has no reason to be disappointed.

 

Later that afternoon, he's glad that he's home alone, with no one to see the smile on his face, when Brock finally does get in contact.

 

bboeser: Well hey there, big shot, I guess you really are an All Star now!

 

Not sure how I got it over Mitchy, but I'll take it. Any tips to win myself a new car?

 

bboeser: Hey, I might still make it in! I'm not sharing my secrets, maybe I wanna win it again!

 

Your sister already has a car!

 

bboeser: Keeping tabs on me, eh Mo?

 

Morgan taps out an answer on his phone but hovers his thumb over the send button. He closes his eyes when he taps it, as if it that changes something.

 

Always am, B.

 

The "opened" notification pops up immediately, but a response does not. Morgan slumps in deeper on the couch and groans to himself. He should just be satisfied with things as they are. Hoping for more is unrealistic.

 

He jumps when his phone buzzes in his hand. It's an actual photo that comes through this time. Brock is sitting in his stall, hair wet from a shower, no shirt on, a towel draped across his shoulders, full lips curled up on just one side.

 

bboeser: I guess if I've gotta have a stalker, you'll do.

 

I'll try not to be too creepy about it.

 

bboeser: You don't scare me, Rielly.

____

 

A week later Morgan is sitting in the front row on the team plane waiting for takeoff, his shoes already kicked off and his feet up against the wall, when he sees the notification that Brock won the Pacific Division's vote for Last Man In , and he doesn't quite hide the grin on his face. He might have added a few votes for Brock while he was voting for Mitch.

 

Looks like you're gonna be stuck hanging out with me again, eh B?

 

bboeser: You can't quite get rid of me yet.

 

I've got no complaints. We always seem to find ways to keep ourselves busy.

 

bboeser: I'm sure you've already got ideas in mind.

 

I don't know, you aren't going to give me any tips to win the MVP at this thing...

 

bboeser: Alright, alright fine, I guess I AM the ASG vet. I can show you the ropes if you want.

 

Sure you'll have time? You might be following Sid around like a puppy. Or do I get to make hearteyes at Sid this year?

 

Brock sends a selfie--he's wearing a toque and a hoodie, his eyes sleepy and his grin soft, and his middle finger is held up.

 

bboeser: Ha-fuckin-ha.

 

Ooh, sorry. Are you gonna be jealous if I do that?

 

bboeser: Maybe. But am I gonna be jealous of him or you? That's the real question.

 

I guess we'll have to find out.

____

 

As much as Brock had bragged at the time that he won the bet with Morgan, he realized that it was a draw. And because of that, when he got home to Vancouver after the Toronto trip, he went to Goldie's and had them pack up two large supreme pizzas in dry ice and ship them to Morgan's address.

 

He doesn't let Morgan know they're coming. He wants to surprise him.

 

morganrielly: Is this your way of forfeiting our bet? If so, I accept.

 

Oh hell no, you still lost technically. But it was SORT of a tie so I figured you earned the pizza anyway. Enjoy it.

 

morganrielly: Hell, I'd wear the jersey just in return for Goldie's. This is awesome.

 

A half hour later Morgan sends a photo of himself in the middle of taking an impressively large bite of a slice.

 

morganrielly: Team nutritionist is gonna be pissed but you're my favorite person right now.

 

Brock climbs off of the bed and into the bathroom. He tugs his shirt off and takes a mirror selfie, making sure the elastic waistband of his joggers is resting low on his hips.

 

I should be your favorite person all the time!

 

morganrielly: You don't play fair.

 

Consider it a preview for San Jose.

 

morganrielly: I'm even more excited now.

 

Morgan isn't the only one. Even though their night in Toronto was rushed, it was still good. Not quite as good as it was the first two times, but way better than any other quickie he's ever had. And it was mostly his own fault, Morgan wanted to take more time to get him ready, but Brock wanted to get as much as he could. He was sore afterward, though he would never tell Morgan as much. Morgan would be horrified. And it wasn't his fault anyway.

 

They have two nights in San Jose to make up for it.

____

 

A week before they're supposed to head to the All Star Game, Brock gets a great idea.

 

I know when I want you to make good on your part of the bet.

 

morganrielly: You get to decide when I pay up too?? I don't think we negotiated this!

 

Too bad! We'll do lunch when we're in San Jose and you can wear it then. While I'm there!

 

morganrielly: Matts is gonna give me so much shit for it!

 

Do you think that's supposed to make me NOT want this to happen? It's way funnier if I'm there for it. HNIC's gonna do a segment on it or something.

 

morganrielly: If you really wanna do it this way, I'm in.

 

Brock definitely thinks it'll be funnier if they do this at the All Star Game, when they have friends around to chirp Morgan for losing a bet. But if he's being honest, he also just really wants to see it in person, his name across Morgan's broad shoulders.

 

It's a weird possessive thing, he realizes, something he probably shouldn't be feeling when there's been no indication this is anything more than sex. But the thought of going out in public with Morgan, with Morgan in his jersey, it twists something in his stomach. It's a turn on, to be sure, and Brock is already palming his dick through his pants at the thought, but it's something else too. He doesn't have a name for it, or maybe he's just too afraid to give it one.

 

He doesn't want to think too hard about it.

 

So instead he thinks about Morgan wearing his jersey while fucking him and jerks himself off at the thought. And it's the best orgasm he's had since he left Toronto.

____

 

It's only a few days before he leaves for San Jose when Brock Facetimes with Jessica. She's already told him about school and updated him on their parents and extended family. They've only exchanged texts since they were in town for Christmas so she hasn't gotten to ask how things went with Morgan. He's hoping to keep her distracted.

 

It doesn't work.

 

"So how are things with the guy? Are you still talking?"

 

Brock hides his face against his arm and sighs. "We are talking, it's just casual, there's nothing exciting about it to report." He is not about to tell his sister about his sex life. She doesn't ever need those details.

 

"Well are you going to see him over the break?" She pauses for a beat and her eyes go bright. "Is he going to be there for the All Star Game?"

 

" Jessica ."

 

"Oh my god he totally is, holy shit. All Star break with no curfew, you're gonna have a great time." She's rustling around on her end, and he can see the reflection of her laptop screen in her glasses.

 

"What are you doing?"

 

"I'm looking at the rosters to see who this dude is."

 

"No. Nope. Stop it, close the computer down." Brock feels the hair go up on his neck. The rosters for the game aren't small but he can't imagine it would be that hard to figure out. "You're not allowed to research this."

 

"Oh right, because I won't just do it as soon as we hang up? At least this way you can tell me when I'm wrong. He was in Vancouver for Christmas so let's see who's from BC." He hears the click of the keys and then she's mouthing names to herself. "Alright, Pacific. There's you and then there are a few other American guys, a couple of Swedes...just a couple of Canadians. So there's Burns and McDavid. Burns is married and looks like a yeti."

 

"Oh come on I've got better taste than McDavid."

 

She taps around and nods. "Well McDavid's from out east anyway, not BC, so it's obviously no one in your own division."

 

Brock groans and shakes his head. "Don't you have, like, classes to study for?"

 

"This is way more interesting. Onto the Central." She goes quiet to look over that lineup as well. "Okay there are a few Canadians here. Is it MacKinnon? He would be okay."

 

"He's Crosby's like, protege, they're from way out east." Brock is trying to remember if there are other players from Vancouver who will be at the All Star Game. He can't think of any, but he's also currently freaking out that his sister is going to decipher who it is, so he isn't necessarily in the right state of mind.

 

"Right, and okay, none of these other guys are from Vancouver either. No one in the Western Conference." She taps around and Brock's stomach knots up tighter. "Metro!"

 

He clenches his jaw and forces himself to laugh. "You're putting way too much thought into this."

 

She rolls her eyes at him. "You can't pull fake nonchalant with me, I know you too well for that. Anyway. So it's not Crosby, obviously. Got a few more Americans here. Let's see, Hall and Barzal, where are those guys from?"

 

"I'm not going to help you, don't ask me!"

 

"Well Hall is from Calgary, that's too far to have seen him at Christmas, so it's not him." Her eyes light up a moment later. "Shit, wait, Barzal! He's from BC!"

 

"It doesn't mean I'm sleeping with him just because he's from BC," Brock says, pinching the bridge of his nose.

 

"It's a little farther east, but he's close enough to Vancouver," she insists. "Ooh, he's kinda cute too. Is that it? It is Barzal?"

 

He glares at her and hopes that the effect isn't lost via Facetime.

 

"Fine, don't answer. He's on the list, I'm keeping an eye on him."

 

"I hate you."

 

"You think I'm awesome," she says sunnily. "Okay, last division now. Let's see here. Well it's not Auston, he's American and has badly hit on me every time we've met, so definitely straight. Tavares is like, married, and everyone knows he's from Toronto anyway. Eichel's another American, Kucherov is, I don't know Russian maybe?"

 

She's still talking and Brock can't really hear over the blood rushing in his ears. He's probably blushing. He hopes she can't tell.

 

"God why are there so many guys from Ontario in this game?" She shakes her head and clicks around again. "Oh wait, Rielly's from Vancouver!"

 

Brock rolls his eyes and forces out a chuckle. "You're trying way too hard."

 

She glances at her phone and then looks away again and then her face lights up. "Oh shit, Brock. That's who it is, isn't it? The mystery guy is Morgan Rielly?!"

 

"Jessica, you know I'm not gonna tell you."

 

"Oh man it is . All the Hockey Night in Canada stuff with you two!" She's grinning now, wide and bright. "I kept wondering what the hell they were talking about that you two were friends. I know all your hockey friends, he was never around. Oh my god, you're banging Morgan Rielly."

 

He is definitely blushing now. He's rubbing a hand over his face to hide it but he knows he's caught. Jessica knows him too well.

 

"Hey, Brock." Her voice has gone softer now, more gentle. "This is great, he's a good guy! Everyone likes him, right?"

 

Brock does little more than grunt in response.

 

"Dude he might win the actual Norris this year. And he's really cute too!" She's trying to reassure him. He knows all of this about Morgan already. "He might be captain of the Maple Leafs! He's a big deal!"

 

"I never said you were right ."

 

"You're a shitty liar anyway," she says matter-of-factly. "Besides, this is a good thing! You have a really awesome boyfriend now!"

 

"Morgan is not my boyfriend ."

 

She just smirks and stares back at him from his phone screen.

 

"I still didn't say you were right."

 

She completely ignores his protest. "You want him to be your boyfriend."

 

"I'm hanging up."

 

"Tell him you like him! It'll be super cute."

 

"Bye Jess. Tell mom and dad I said hi." Just before Brock can tap the end call button, Jessica gets in the last word.

 

"Have fun with your boyfriend in San Jose!"

Chapter Text

When Brock told Morgan weeks ago that he was the All Star Weekend veteran of the two of them, he had been joking. Sure, he's been here before, but he's still just 21 years old and this event has stars from all over the league that have won scoring titles and gold medals and especially Stanley Cups. He's a kid here, even if he did get supremely lucky last season.

 

So while he's aware he isn't really a veteran of any kind, what he isn't expecting is the fact that even though it's Morgan's first All Star Game, he knows everyone.

 

Brock hopes to see him as soon as they arrive in San Jose, but once he arrives for media day, he's escorted off to do press with Petey. He greets other players as they pass each other. He gets a fistbump from Pat Kane and a handshake from Steven Stamkos, but he still hasn't seen Morgan. When he finally does, it's in the lobby between interviews. He's got a group of other players around him, Nate MacKinnon, Johnny Gaudreau, Seth Jones--Team North America guys, he realizes after a moment--and they're all laughing, engaged in some conversation he missed the start of.

 

Auston isn't around, he's likely off doing some segment with Sportsnet or TSN, and Auston would normally be his easy entrance into the same group as Morgan. Brock wants to talk to him, though, so he hovers awkwardly a few feet away until Morgan finally looks up and notices.

 

"B!" His eyes light up when he says it, waving him over. He grabs Brock's hand and pulls him in for a half-hug, something appropriately macho and masculine, pats him on the back as he pulls away. "What's going on?"

 

Brock makes his way around the group, trading the same kind of one-armed hug with Nate and Johnny, offering a handshake to Seth as he introduces himself.

 

"So I guess Mo here's got you to thank for being an All Star, eh?" Johnny elbows Morgan in the side as he says it, and Morgan chuckles and ducks his head. Is he blushing?

 

"Hey, I can't say I did it all, but he wasn't scoring this many goals with his own twigs." Brock watches as Johnny leans toward Morgan. It's a friendly gesture, if a little familiar, and Morgan doesn't move away. "He needed all the help he could get, I guess."

 

He attempts to keep up with the conversation, but they're trading stories from the World Cup, talking about guys they played on that team with. Brock doesn't have much to add, but he laughs along and tries to ignore the way Johnny keeps grinning up at Morgan and how Morgan seems to enjoy the attention. Morgan is gesturing wildly as he tells a story about Nugent-Hopkins from the World Junior Championships, something about him getting lost only 3 blocks from their hotel but being unable to find anyone who spoke English to give him directions. Johnny is leaning heavily into him as he laughs along, pressing a hand to Morgan's arm, squeezing there. It looks familiar. It looks possessive.

 

Brock can feel his jaw tensing but he forces a wide grin anyway.

 

Johnny stands up on his toes and throws an arm casually around Morgan's shoulders. "Well this guy managed to get just as lost in fucking Toronto at the World Cup."

 

Morgan throws his head back on a laugh and leans into Johnny's touch. "Okay, but in my defense, we were all wasted . I couldn't even walk a straight line, let alone figure out directions."

 

Johnny turns toward Morgan and pats a hand affectionately on his chest. "Sure buddy, sure. Keep telling yourself that."

 

Brock is all too relieved when he sees the familiar face of the Canucks' PR director waving at him from across the lobby. He claps Nate on the back and nods at everyone else. "Well it seems like I've got duties to attend to, I'll see you guys around."

 

"Hey wait," Morgan stops him. "Us and Matty were all planning to head to dinner later, wanna join us?"

 

"Big Team North America reunion, eh? I should probably leave you guys to it."

 

Morgan's brow furrows for just a moment and then his face goes neutral. "Well no, it's just some of the boys hanging out. Just let us know if you wanna come."

 

"Yeah, sure, I'll shoot Matty a text if I can make it," Brock nods to the group and heads off to his next interview.

____

 

Later that night, Brock is sitting in his hotel room, comfortable in a zippered hoodie and Canucks team-issued shorts, scrolling through Instagram on his phone and contemplating whether to bother opening up Grindr. He's in San Jose, All Star weekend or not, he could easily hook up. No one's going to know who he is.

 

His finger is hovering over the icon when his phone buzzes.

 

morganrielly: You okay? Why didn't you come to dinner?

 

Brock's pretty sure that responding with I didn't wanna watch Gaudreau flirt with you all night isn't going to go over well.

 

Just felt like a Team NA thing, didn't wanna intrude.

 

morganrielly: It wasn't that, just a bunch of the young guys hanging out. You should've come.

morganrielly: We could hang out tonight a little, if you wanted.

 

Brock almost turns him down. He can't stop seeing Johnny bumping his shoulder into Morgan, Johnny grinning up at Morgan through his lashes, Johnny blatantly flirting with Morgan as if no one else was standing near them. Brock has no easy explanation for why he feels this way--this thing with Morgan isn't serious, it's just sex--but it irritates him all the same. In the end, though, it's been weeks since he's gotten laid and he knows how good it'll be with Morgan. How good it always is with Morgan. And he's not gonna get sex like that with a Grindr hookup.

 

I'm in room 2316. Gimme 20 to get ready.

 

He showers quickly and gives himself a pep talk to stop being so fucking weird. If Morgan wants to flirt with Gaudreau it's not a big deal. They're not boyfriends. They're just fucking. And even if he is gonna flirt with Gaudreau, fine. He's gonna be fucking Brock tonight. Brock wins.

 

He pulls on jeans and a shirt with actual buttons before Morgan gets there.

____

 

Several hours and a few orgasms later, Morgan flops to his back on the bed next to Brock, who lets out a rough chuckle and mutters a quiet "Fuckin' hell."

 

They're both breathing hard, sticky with sweat and come, and the entire room smells like sex. Both pillows, the sheet and the comforter are all on the floor. Curfews don't exist at the All Star weekend, Morgan's discovered, and he has taken full advantage of that information.

 

Without time restraints, Morgan made up for their hurried hookup in Toronto. He touched Brock all over, and then he tasted Brock all over. He brought him to the brink and pulled back just to see how he reacted. When he finally did make Brock come he nearly bucked them both right off the bed.

 

And then Morgan did it all over again.

 

"Too much?" Morgan stretches on his back out, chest heaving with the effort to get air back into his lungs, and then turns his head to the side to watch Brock.

 

"I really hope they don't try to make me do fastest skater," Brock groans and flexes his thighs, hips. "It'll be a fuckin' joke. My legs aren't gonna work for a week."

 

Morgan shifts to his side--his muscles ache from the strain, but in the best way--and he wiggles his brows. "I could give you a massage."

 

"Down boy," Brock holds a hand on his chest, laughter bubbling up. "If you start massaging me you're gonna go eating me out again and I'm still fucking tingling from the last time. You're gonna break me."

 

Morgan licks over his lower lip and makes a show of looking Brock over, head to toe and back again. "I'll put you back together after, promise."

 

Brock shakes his head, a lazy, sated grin on his lips. "Aren't you supposed to be cleaning me up by now or something? I'm a mess."

 

"Or we could clean up together," Morgan suggests. "Shower's big enough for two."

 

Brock looks at him sidelong and huffs out something halfway between a laugh and a sigh; it's an amused, fond noise. "Yeah, alright." He crawls off the bed and walks a little stiffly toward the bathroom, and Morgan can't help but stare. Brock pauses at the doorway and looks back. "I'm gonna start without you."

 

Morgan rolls over and follows him. "Coming, coming."

____

 

It's nearly morning when Morgan finally goes back to his room. He crawls lazily into his own bed, doesn't even bother to strip out of the joggers and t-shirt he'd worn to meet up with Brock, and after what only feels like a few minutes, his alarm is buzzing him awake. He's really glad that they only have the Skills Challenge tonight and not a real game.

 

He's already finished one cup of coffee and is starting a second when Auston meets him in the lobby, with Brock trailing a step behind, yawning behind his hand.

 

"You two look like shit," Auston declares.

 

"Sorry, bud, had to get some action while in California," Brock smirks and Morgan nearly chokes on his coffee.

 

"How the hell did you both pick up? Did you even go out last night?"

 

Morgan feels his cheeks flush and he pulls his baseball cap lower on his head. "We should really get to the rink, we've got media stuff in like a half hour."

 

Auston puts the lid on his coffee and follows Morgan and Brock toward the door, and fortunately he's too engrossed in telling them about the girl he went home with last night to ask any more questions about their evening.

____

 

morganrielly: Lunch with the boys at 1. You in?

 

Oh, I'm in. And I think you know what you've gotta wear today.

 

morganrielly: How are we gonna explain me wearing your jersey today!?

 

No way, bud, you're not getting out of it. You lost a bet, gotta pay up.

 

morganrielly: Okay, fine. I'll see you at lunch.

 

Brock is the last one to get down to the lobby to meet everyone for lunch. Auston is holding up his phone and filming a brightly blushing Morgan explaining how he lost a bet because he's got a giant head.

 

"And the victor has joined us! Boes, get over here and get a picture with Mo." He smirks and turns the camera toward Brock. "If you can fit in the shot with his dome, that is."

 

Brock definitely likes seeing Morgan in his jersey. "That jersey looks good on you, Mo. You should bet me more often." Brock throws an arm around his shoulders, high enough that Auston can still get a clear view of the name plate.

 

Morgan's ears are bright pink and he's got his head ducked low. Nate is snapping a picture of the two of them together. Brock's pretty sure they're going to be all over Instagram today. He's okay with that.

 

"Are we gonna have to redo the World Cup photo?" Johnny asks, stepping over to Morgan and rubbing a hand over the 6 on his back. Brock tries not to glare.

 

"Oh shit you guys should, we've gotta get you another Davo jersey," Nate is laughing loudly, slapping a hand on his thigh.

 

"Wait, what World Cup picture?" Brock hates feeling so left out of all the inside jokes.

 

"Mo had to fit me into this tiny McDavid jersey when we were at the World Cup," Johnny explains, pulling out his phone and tapping around, finally holding up a photo on his Instagram. He has a McDavid jersey on, Morgan has a Jack Eichel jersey on. Johnny has one arm snaked around Morgan's waist and is tucked in against him. It looks pretty cozy.

 

Brock forces a laugh, hopes that it comes across as genuine. "Well I gave him a jersey that fit a little better, he didn't actually need help putting it on." He rubs a hand over the nameplate over Morgan's shoulders, patting over the letters. "And he's gotta wear it the whole time at lunch."

 

Brock makes sure he sits next to Morgan at the restaurant, but Johnny takes the seat on his other side and keeps leaning in close. He throws his head back with laughter when Morgan makes a joke, he reaches over to squeeze Morgan's arm when he tells an animated story. After they finish lunch they walk toward the arena and stop at the team store; someone films while Johnny tries to pull on a small McDavid jersey and Morgan goes over to help, mimicking the video from the World Cup that Nate had pulled up on his phone to show Brock.

 

It's an easy kind of affection, something that has Brock rankled and frustrated. He should've been able to enjoy this moment, Morgan walking through downtown San Jose wearing his jersey, but the whole afternoon was dragged down by Johnny flirting with his--

 

His what, exactly?

 

Brock doesn't have an answer for that.

____

 

Brock had been strangely quiet on the walk back to the hotel. He fistbumped everyone and took off to his room without waiting for anyone else, and he hadn't met Morgan's gaze at all after they left the team store.

 

Morgan decides to chalk it up to exhaustion. They had been up late the night before, they probably had gotten less than three hours of sleep, and he's dragging too. Morgan is more than happy to crawl into his bed and snag a pregame--or, well, pre-Skills Competition--nap. He's sure that Brock is feeling just as tired.

 

There's a limo waiting to drive Morgan and Auston to the arena that evening. Auston is the fashionable one of the duo, wearing a teal suit with a black waistcoat, his hair slicked straight back. Morgan goes far more conservative, a classic dark blue suit with a subtle checked pattern; he knows how to dress, but he's not the type to push any boundaries.

 

Once they're on the ice and finished with introductions, the four All Star teams abandon their rosters and hang out casually as they watch each drill happen. Morgan knows lots of guys here, between guys he played with for Team Canada and Team North America, there's no shortage of people for him to hang around with. Johnny stays close and so does Nate, and Seth Jones joins them for a while.

 

Brock stays away for the most part. He's sitting with Pettersson at first, ignoring Morgan's stare. And after he does the accuracy challenge, he skates over and kneels next to Sidney Crosby, the two of them laughing and leaning close to chat. Morgan is due up for the next drill, passing pucks to Kucherov while he attempts to outdo Brock's score--Brock is still leading when he's finished--and once he's done Morgan decides to join them, gliding over and dropping to one knee.

 

"B, nice shooting, you might win this again," he nods at Brock, who still only spares him a quick glance. Morgan turns to Sid and taps his stick on his hip. "Hey Sid, what's going on?"

 

"Good passes over there," Sid nods toward the net.

 

"He's not EK or anything, but he did alright I guess," Brock says with a giggle--a giggle --and he elbows Sid, not even bothering to pull back, just staying leaned into him while they watch Kane take his turn. Morgan interjects a few more times, trying to be part of the conversation, but Brock is pointedly focusing on Sidney instead, and after a while he realizes he won't be missed so he skates back over to kneel next to Nate.

 

"Boes made a new buddy, eh?" Nate asks, nodding over at Sid and Brock. His smile is forced, grim. He's glaring just as much as Morgan wants to.

 

"I guess he's trying to make an impression," Morgan shrugs a shoulder and leans on his stick. It almost feels like Brock is trying to show off.

 

"Sid doesn't really notice much, usually," Nate says, and it sounds like something he has experience with. He's still watching Sidney and Brock chat, and now he looks a lot less angry and a lot more sad. The expression on his face feels pretty familiar.

 

Morgan wants to say something reassuring, wants to tell him that maybe Sid will come around someday. But if he isn't reading the situation right, it would make things awkward, so he just taps his stick on Nate's shin and turns to watch the next competition.

____

 

Brock has to follow Johnny for the relay challenge part of the night and he does a good job of putting on a grin and pretending it's hilarious when Johnny mimics shaking his hair in the wind.

 

"I've got nothing on this guy's lettuce," he's telling Jeremy Roenick. "This guy's got the whole look going for him when he doesn't have to wear a bucket." He bumps his elbow into Brock's side and keeps it there.

 

Brock puts on a good fake smile for the camera and manages to not push Johnny away. "Gotta show it off, right?"

 

After Brock's turn on the relay, they're in the lead, and he skates over to kneel down, chest heaving, next to Nate. He's watching Sid skate, and doing a really terrible job of hiding it. Brock leans over, shouldering Nate to get his attention. "He's ridiculous out there, huh?"

 

For only the briefest moment, panic washes over Nate's features, but it's replaced immediately with a carefully neutral smile. "He's just trying to prove he's not an old man yet."

 

Brock nods, doesn't want to push if Nate isn't wanting to talk about his obvious pining for Sid. He glances around and leaning against the boards at the bench stands Morgan, Johnny next to him, laughing boisterously at something Morgan said. Brock doesn't quite stop himself before he rolls his eyes at the scene.

 

Nate stays quiet while the next part of the relay plays out, and when he finally does speak up his voice is light, joking. Only it seems like he calculated it to be that way. "He's such a fucking nerd," he says, nodding at the bench where Johnny and Morgan are standing. "Johnny I mean. He fucking loves everyone, just flirts with everybody all the time. It must annoy the shit out of his girlfriend."

 

Girlfriend?

 

"Oh yeah," Brock forces a laugh and hopes his voice doesn't sound as fake as it does to his own ears. "He's a funny dude."

 

"You've seen the Gatorade thing with Lindholm and Monahan, yeah? He does that shit with everyone."

 

Brock watches Morgan and Johnny for a moment more, and while he watches, Johnny reaches over to play with Erik Karlsson's hair. And after that he's jousting playfully with Connor McDavid. Shortly after, Cam Atkinson finishes his turn at the relay and skates over, throwing an arm around Johnny, some kind of short-dude bonding thing that Brock doesn't understand. He remembers seeing clips on TSN of Johnny's weird ritual with his linemates where he's squirting Gatorade into their mouths.

 

He flirts with everybody.

 

Brock feels really, really stupid.

 

The skills challenge ends--Brock doesn't manage to win anything this time around--and they all shuttle off to their own dressing rooms. Brock makes a point to bump his fist against Johnny's once he gets there; he can't exactly verbalize what his issue had been, but hopefully it's taken as an olive branch. In response, Johnny pulls him into a hug and calls him a stud.

 

He really does flirt with everybody.

 

He wants to go talk to Morgan, wants to talk him into putting his jersey on again so he can appreciate it more this time. He wants to make up for being so weird all day.

 

But when he checks his phone there's a message waiting from Auston.

 

AM34: Night out, boys. I picked the club. No excuses.

Chapter Text

Morgan has kept his distance all night. He's currently standing at the bar talking animatedly with Seth Jones, no indication that there's anything wrong. But he's barely even glanced at Brock save for a nod and a weak smile as they climbed into the Uber that Auston had ordered.

 

Brock realizes this is his own doing. He had openly been flirting with Sidney while Morgan looked on and had done a really bad job of hiding that he was jealous of whatever Morgan's relationship is with Johnny Gaudreau. Of course Morgan is avoiding him now.

 

But this is their last full night in San Jose and Brock doesn't want to waste it. Although he also doesn't need an audience while he tries to get Morgan out of here, and that means he needs to get help get Auston laid.

 

Auston has already been shot down twice and he's trying with a third girl. Brock knows that Auston usually prefers blondes but this one is a brunette, but Brock wants to move this forward so Auston can seal the deal; he doesn't want Auston getting distracted and looking for someone with lighter hair and longer legs. So Brock can work with this, he knows Auston won't walk away from a sure thing.

 

"Auston, buddy," Brock walks over and claps a hand on his shoulder. "I added another drink to your tab." Brock then turns and flashes a wide grin at the girl he's trying to pick up. "This guy can afford it, yeah? NHL superstar here."

 

The polite smile she had been giving Auston a moment ago has turned into one of interest and now she's looking up at him through her lashes. "Superstar, is that so? Well you didn't say that ."

 

"Oh he's a humble guy, but he's the savior of Team USA. You're gonna be seeing his name everywhere soon." Brock is really pumping Auston's tires now, but the girl seems to be eating it up.

 

"Auston, buddy, introduce me to the gorgeous lady you're lucky enough to be chatting with tonight. Where are your manners?"

 

Auston lays his hand at the small of the brunette's back. "This is Hayley. Hayley, this is my friend Brock."

 

"Well, Hayley, don't let this guy get away from tonight without buying you at least two drinks. He's got some big bonuses to spend, and he can only own so many suits."

 

She's eating out of Auston's palm now, leaning into his touches and giggling at his jokes. Brock's work here is done.

 

He slips away and looks around for Morgan, who appears to be settling his tab at the bar. Seth has turned away and is now chatting with a tall blonde, which leaves a space for Brock to slide between them.

 

Morgan jumps when Brock lays a hand on his shoulder. He smiles when he realizes it's him, but it fades after a moment.

 

Brock leans close. Even with the loud music, he wants to be sure that only Morgan hears him. "I'm pretty sure no one's gonna notice if we sneak out of here."

 

Morgan hesitates, mouth opening once and then again, but he signs the credit card slip that the bartender brings him and he nods once. "I'm ready to go if you are."

 

Auston is making out with Hayley when they leave, and the rest of the group is too oblivious to notice they're gone. Morgan holds the door for him when they climb into the Uber and keeps a safe distance inside the car. Brock stretches his legs out enough that his knee brushes against Morgan's, and Morgan finally cracks a smile.

 

"What's your room number?" Brock asks while they stand at the elevator doors.

 

"I'm 2340."

 

"Can I meet you there in a little bit? Gotta grab something from my room."

 

Morgan eyes him curiously but shrugs a shoulder. "I'll be there when you're ready."

____

 

If Morgan's being honest with himself, he didn't expect Brock to ask to leave with him. Brock has been acting odd all day, all weekend really, and Morgan had assumed the worst. Instead, Morgan has barely had time to change into pajama pants and a Leafs t-shirt before there's a knock at his door.

 

When he opens it, Brock is wearing shorts and sandals and an All Star jersey.

 

"What the hell are you doing wearing a jersey?" Brock pushes past him into the room and he notices the 44 on the back. And then he turns and Morgan notices the Maple Leafs logo on the front. "What the hell are you doing wearing my jersey?"

 

"So okay, I was a dick today, right?" Brock has never really been one to beat around the bush, so Morgan supposes he shouldn't be shocked by his bluntness now. "I totally misread how Johnny Gaudreau was acting about you. He was all flirty and I kinda...freaked out a little bit about it? And so I reacted by flirting with Sid and that was stupid. So I'm gonna make it up to you."

 

"Wait, hold on, Johnny ?"

 

"Oh come on, he totally flirts with you all the time."

 

"He flirts with everyone! He has a girlfriend!"

 

"Yeah, I figured that out. But it took a while." Brock is walking Morgan backward toward the bed. "So I'm gonna make it up to you. Sit."

 

"Brock, you don't have to--"

 

Brock rolls his eyes and forcefully pushes Morgan to sit. "Will you shut up about what I don't have to do? Just lay back and let me. I want to."

 

Morgan swallows hard and leans back on his elbows, looking Brock over. He wants to ask a million questions about why Brock was so freaked out that Johnny might have been flirting. He wants to ask why Brock was trying to make him jealous. He wants to ask how the hell Brock got one of his jerseys. But Brock is standing now, shimmying his shorts down, and then his boxer-briefs, and he's standing there wearing nothing but Morgan's jersey and Morgan's mouth goes dry and his brain goes blank.

 

"Speechless, eh? The jersey trick was a success."

 

Brock straddles his hips and shoves his shirt up and off. Morgan doesn't even get a moment for insecurity before Brock has his hands splayed wide over his chest and he's looking Morgan over ravenously. His fingers trace down the faint indentation where Morgan's abs make the occasional appearance, and then back up to his collarbone before they lace into Morgan's hair and hold him steady for a kiss. Morgan tries to lean up to meet him halfway but Brock presses a hand to his chest and holds him down again.

 

"No. You always take over. My turn."

 

"Bu--"

 

Brock cuts him off, pressing his entire hand over Morgan's mouth. "I'd rather listen to you swear and moan and lose your shit for me, but I'll totally gag you if you don't stop arguing."

 

Morgan just nods and breathes deeply through his nose. Brock pulls his hand away and leans in to kiss him again, deep and filthy and not at all rushed. He slides his tongue along the seam of Morgan's lips and dips inside, swallowing each little choked off noise that he can't hold back. Brock rubs all over Morgan's stomach and chest, following up to his shoulders and down his arms, entwining their fingers when he gets there, holding Morgan's hands down on the bed while he rolls his hips in slow, steady arcs. Morgan knows there's no hiding how hard he is, and Brock notices. Morgan knows because he can feel the grin on Brock's mouth.

 

Brock leans up a little bit so he can look down at Morgan. His cheeks are flushed and his hair is falling in his face. He pulls Morgan's hands up over his head and holds them there. "So now you know how hot I was seeing you in my jersey. You're gonna need to do that again."

 

Morgan nods dumbly, and at some point he should do more than just bob his head in response, but he's not sure he trusts his voice right now.

 

"Keep those up here, eh?" Brock wiggles his eyebrows and finally lets go of Morgan's hands, trailing his fingers down and down and down, tickling just for a moment when he reaches Morgan's underarms, grinning broadly when Morgan squirms at the touch. "Couldn't resist, sorry."

 

Brock dips his head down and scrapes his teeth along the scruff on Morgan's jaw, keeps going lower as he kisses down his throat and toward his sternum. Morgan wants to be self-conscious but Brock is hard against his stomach, thick and leaking, and Morgan can't pretend that isn't a boost to his ego.

 

There seems to be no rush to Brock's appreciation of Morgan's body; he's nuzzling at the faint dusting of his chest hair, kissing down the softness of Morgan's stomach, his nose nudging along the waistband of Morgan's pants. Morgan ventures a look down and Brock is smiling up at him, something dark and wicked and fond in his eyes. He knows Brock told him to keep his hands up but he can't resist reaching down to brush Brock's hair from his face. Brock doesn't protest, but he turns and bites down lightly on Morgan's wrist. "Be good."

 

Morgan tries to laugh but it's mostly just a breath. "I'm always good."

 

Brock pauses to mull this over and his grin turns to a smirk. "True. So for once in your life don't be good." And with that he yanks Morgan's pants down. His eyes light up to find that Morgan has nothing on beneath. "Oh. You got a head start on that."

 

Morgan flushes even more. "I mean, if you were coming to my room, I figured this was where we were gonna end up…" He trails off; he doesn't want Brock to feel like he'd assumed too much.

 

"Oh, we were definitely gonna end up here." Brock curls his hand around the base of Morgan's cock and starts to stroke, spitting onto the shaft to slick the way. "You should freeball more often. Especially in sweats, with this thing?" Brock whistles low and waggles his brows.

 

Morgan nearly protests but he doesn't get a word out before Brock is leaning down and wrapping his lips around the head of his dick and it cuts off any rational thought he might have tried to get across. Brock's mouth is wet and warm, and he's sloppy about it, saliva dripping as he bobs his head down to meet his hand. Morgan's fingers are laced through his hair, holding it up so he can see all of Brock's face: the spread of his lips around Morgan's cock, the flutter of his eyelids, the flush on his cheeks.

 

Brock looks up at him and raises his brows and then he moves just his thumb and index finger to wrap around the base of Morgan's dick and slides his mouth down to meet them, taking Morgan into his throat, and Morgan feels like he might bite clean through his lower lip. He mutters curse words and takes the Lord's name in vain and there are definitely some syllables that aren't actually words at all. He's trying not to hold too tight onto Brock's hair but there's fire in his veins and he can't help but thrust up into the heat and tightness of Brock's throat.

 

Only when he can get his eyes open again and he looks down, Brock's looking right back, eyes shiny with tears from gagging, lips wet with saliva and precome, and he looks like he's absolutely challenging Morgan. Morgan tightens his grip in Brock's hair and presses up deep into his throat again, and Brock chokes a bit but he stays at the hilt, and when Morgan pulls him back he sucks in a gasp; there's a string of spit trailing from his lip to Morgan's cock and Brock licks it away before opening his lips wide around Morgan's dick again. Morgan can't resist the urge to pull on his hair and guide him faster, and Brock moans his encouragement. The sounds he's making are wet and sloppy and he's the hottest fucking thing Morgan has ever seen, because the look on Brock's face is unabashed filthy pleasure.

 

"I wanna fuck you," Morgan mutters, and his voice is harsh, like he's the one who's had a cock in his throat.

 

Brock smirks up at him and rolls his eyes. "We've got all night."

 

And at that he takes Morgan's dick right back to the hilt and chokes at the intrusion. Morgan threads both of his hands into Brock's hair then, partially to hold on and partially to fuck up into his throat harder. He never loses control like this, but Brock seems determined to pull him over the edge and he's too turned on to hold back. He comes faster than he wants to, embarrassingly quick, pumping up into Brock's mouth and cursing into the otherwise silent room.

 

It's so good he doesn't even feel guilty about it.

____

 

Brock wipes his mouth clean while Morgan is still shuddering, gasping to catch his breath, and he's feeling pretty goddamn proud of himself. He figures it's not often that Morgan loses control, but he definitely did this time.

 

He crawls up along the bed and grins down at Morgan, who is raking both hands through his sweat-damp hair and trying to steady his breath. He still hasn't said a real word other than "fuck" since he came.

 

"Good thing media day was yesterday," Brock says as he flops down next to him. Sure enough, he sounds wrecked, every bit like he just had his throat fucked. It'll be sore in the morning.

 

Worth it.

 

Morgan turns to face him, the flushed all the way down his neck and chest, his cock still shiny-wet with come and spit. He's mostly soft now, but Brock has done this with him enough to know that it won't stay that way for long. If it wasn't so risky, he would absolutely take a picture of Morgan like this. It would be excellent jerkoff material for later.

 

"Sorry," Morgan starts, but Brock grabs a pillow and smacks him with it.

 

"Shut up, I'll still gag you."

 

"At least let me return the favor," Morgan puts the pillow behind his head and reaches for Brock, fingers tracing along his hipbone.

 

"Mo, buddy, you're still catching your breath. And when you're done, I'm gonna figure out how to get you hard all over again and then I'm gonna ride you until you lose control. Again. That was hot as fuck."

 

Morgan ducks his head but keeps his gaze on Brock anyway. "It wasn't too much?"

 

"I'm not delicate, you know? I can handle if you go a little rough on me."

 

Morgan considers that but doesn't respond. After a long moment he reaches over and tugs at the hem of the jersey Brock is wearing. "This is super hot, don't get me wrong, but I wanna see all of you."

 

Brock shifts to his knees and tugs the jersey off, as sexy as he can make the motion, and tosses it off the edge of the bed before moving over to straddle Morgan's hips again. "Oh yeah? Kinda hot for all of this?"

 

Morgan wastes no time in touching every inch of Brock's body that he can reach. "Who wouldn't be?"

 

"Well then we're in agreement there," Brock lays down against Morgan and kisses him again, slow and deep and just as needy as he feels in the moment. And then he just keeps kissing him until Morgan is ready to go for round two.

____

 

Three hours later Morgan is laying sprawled on his back diagonally on the bed. The top sheet is on the floor and the bottom sheet has been tugged loose at the corner and there are two condom wrappers digging into his back. Morgan isn't entirely sure he can move to throw them away.

 

Brock doesn't quite stroll from the bathroom--his gait is a little too stiff for that--but there's still a confidence in his movements as he walks back to bed, fully naked and with a washcloth in hand. "My turn to clean you up, eh?"

 

"It's your fault I'm too tired to stand up."

 

"I know," Brock beams, his grin smug. "It's awesome." He wipes Morgan's chest and stomach, down over his cock, and Morgan hisses from the stimulation. He couldn't possibly get hard again, but he kind of wishes he could.

 

Both of them clean now, Brock moves to stand and Morgan figures he's looking for his clothes, so he shifts himself up to lay fully on the bed, stretched out in the middle. He should walk Brock to the door, should kiss him good night. But he doesn't trust his legs just yet.

 

"Gonna just take up the whole bed, buddy?"

 

Morgan blinks his eyes open to find Brock standing there holding the sheet, one eyebrow cocked high. "I mean, yeah?"

 

Brock pauses for a moment and then shrugs a shoulder. "I can work with that." He climbs onto the bed and tucks himself in against Morgan's side, head on his shoulder and their legs tangled together, and then he spreads the sheet out over both of them.

 

Morgan hesitates and tries not to let his surprise show; none of their previous encounters ended with them actually sleeping together. He thinks about how Brock had been jealous of Johnny, thinks about how Brock now wants to spend the night in bed with him. Maybe , he thinks, and tries not to hope too hard. He fights back the broad smile that's threatening to take over his face and clears his throat before he loops his arm around Brock, holding him close. Brock tilts his head and nudges Morgan's chin down to fit their mouths together. The kiss is slow, lethargic, punctuated with a sigh. Morgan's.

 

"Night, Mo."

Chapter Text

It's not quite sunrise when Brock wakes to the sound of the toilet flushing and then the bed shifting next to him. He grumbles quietly and is quickly bundled into Morgan's arms. "Sorry, sorry. Go back to sleep."

 

Morgan smells a little like sweat and a lot like sex. Brock burrows in closer, one leg thrown over Morgan's thigh, and he leans in to nose along Morgan's jaw, just at the edge of his beard, scruff scratching at Brock's cheeks. Morgan has one hand rested at Brock's hip, the other in his hair, combing through it idly.

 

Brock yawns against Morgan's neck and lets it out on a sigh, a contented little sound that pulls a sleepy chuckle from Morgan.

 

"Feel good?"

 

Brock hums an answer and nods his head, pressing a kiss to the spot just below Morgan's earlobe.

 

"It's barely past six, we should get some sleep," Morgan says, but Brock can hear how his breathing has gone shallow, notices when Morgan's fingers press into his scalp. Brock ignores his protests and moves so he can lay fully on top of him now, opening his mouth wide over his Adam's apple and swirling his tongue there. The room is quiet and still, mostly dark save for a faint blue glow from the brightening sky outside. Morgan's dick is hardening against his hip and his arm has tightened around Brock's waist. There's no need to go back to sleep just yet.

 

"There are way more fun things we can do than that," Brock pulls up just enough to look down at Morgan, taking in the shadows under his eyes, his hair sticking up in the back, his sleepy smile. He kisses him then, morning breath be damned, and Morgan is definitely on board with his decision to forego rest.

 

They lay there kissing for a long time, legs tangled and fingers exploring each other's skin, barely even making noise except for a moan here, a sigh there. The sky is light but the sun still isn't up when Morgan turns him to his back and nestles between his legs, hands cradling Brock's cheeks, thumbs brushing over Brock's stubble, while he kisses him deeper, like he's drowning for it.

 

Morgan keeps kissing him while he fumbles blindly with lube, messy and slick. Brock doesn't notice him grab one, but he hears Morgan tear open a condom wrapper and then Morgan is panting into his neck and pressing inside so, so slowly. Brock snakes his arms around Morgan and just holds on, letting Morgan take control, letting Morgan set the pace. The sex is just as mellow and unhurried as the kissing before, Morgan moving in long, gentle thrusts and stilling inside him every few moments, leaving Brock feeling full and oversensitized and loving every minute of it.

 

Morgan breathes into his hair, stilted and harsh, muttering a warning when he's close. Brock smiles against his cheek and pushes his hips up to meet Morgan's rhythm, tightening his legs at Morgan's waist and digging his nails into his shoulders. Morgan comes with two firm thrusts and a curse growled into Brock's skin, his breathing shallow and labored while he clumsily gets a hand between them to wrap around Brock's dick.

 

It's a little too dry and the pace is slower than he likes, but Brock still tips over the edge moments later, sucking in harsh gasps and sweating all over like he'd just done a three minute shift.

 

Morgan pulls apart to toss the condom and sits up, presumably to get something to clean them off, but Brock pulls him back down and snakes both arms around him, clingy. "Sleep."

 

"We're a mess."

 

Brock is tired and sated and in the moment he doesn't care at all about sweat or come or if he's on the wet spot. He drags Morgan back to horizontal and tangles their limbs together. "Sleep," he repeats again, and if Morgan responds, Brock misses it as exhaustion pulls him under.

____

 

It feels like he's only been asleep for ten minutes when a loud pounding jolts Brock awake. He's curled around Morgan's back, nose buried against his neck, and they're both still naked, skin sticky and warm, but it's not an altogether uncomfortable feeling.

 

"What the fuck?" Morgan mutters, voice rough from sleep.

 

"Probably some drunk idiot, back to sleep," Brock grumbles in return, hugging his arm tighter around Morgan's waist and nestling in tighter against him.

 

He's nearly drifting off again when the pounding continues, only this time it's punctuated by a muffled voice through the door. " Mo , buddy, wake the fuck up!"

 

" Fuck ." Morgan is off the bed in an instant, frantically looking on the floor. "It's Auston."

 

Brock sits up, blinking with confusion. The sky outside is bright now, the sun already up and throwing light on the walls. "Why is Auston here?"

 

"How the fuck do I know?" Morgan whispers, tossing Brock's shorts onto the bed and stumbling into his own pajama pants.

 

"Maybe just like, don't answer?" Brock suggests, finding his shorts on the floor and tugging them on.

 

As if in response, Auston groans dramatically from the hall. "Come on, Mo, I know you're in there!"

 

Brock sits on the bed, watching Morgan freak out. "Should I like, hide?"

 

Morgan is standing there shirtless, raking both hands through his hair, and Brock is fully aware that Morgan is panicking, and that he should also be panicking, but all he's thinking right now is that more morning sex would be awesome . "Just...here, put this on."

 

He tosses Brock a hoodie and pulls a t-shirt on. Auston has stopped pounding on the door and is now tapping his hands to the rhythm of some song that he must have in his head.

 

Brock is pulling Morgan's hoodie on just as he opens the door and Auston storms inside.

 

"Moooo, bud. You shoulda seen the fucking dime I spent tonight with. Fuckin' stacked all over--" he pauses and grins bigger when he notices Brock sitting on the bed. "Boes! Hey! I can tell you about her too. Good fuckin' call playing wingman for me on that one."

 

Brock blinks at him and can't help but snicker as he rattles off the story of talking himself back to her place the night before. In pure Auston fashion he's so busy bragging about his own conquest, he apparently hasn't found it at all unusual that Brock is in Morgan's hotel room at--Brock glances at the clock on the bedside table--8:39 in the morning.

 

"She was wearing this dress, man, I don't know how it fucking stayed on , her tits were everywhere. And she was so fucking hot for it all, it was amazing."

 

Morgan is standing, leaning awkwardly against the wall separating the living area of the hotel room from the bathroom. "You were pounding on my door before 9 am to tell me about your hookup? Seriously Matts?"

 

"I'm gonna tell everyone about this one. She wasn't just Toronto hot, she was like, LA hot. " Auston is sitting on the edge of the bed, still oblivious to the fact that Brock is in Morgan's hotel room. Before nine in the morning. Visibly rumpled. "I'm gonna brag about this chick for months."

 

Morgan groans and rakes both hands through his hair. "I appreciate your conquest stories, Matts, but--"

 

"Dude she sucked my dick for a full half hour ," Auston interrupts. "And she was fucking good at it too."

 

"Matts," Brock speaks up. "Tell us about it later. It's fuckin' early and you reek of alcohol and perfume."

 

"Shit yeah, I should shower." Auston stands up and heads for the door. "I'll see you guys later."

 

And with that he's gone, without a single question about why Brock was with Morgan at that hour of the morning. Morgan lets out a deep exhale once the door clicks shut. " Fuck ."

 

"Dude, he barely noticed I was here. He's probably still a little drunk."

 

Morgan is pacing, worrying his lip between his teeth. "Still, we should come up with a story. Of why you were here."

 

Brock watches him walk back and forth, over and over, dizzying. "Just say we got caught up watching a movie or something and fell asleep. No one's gonna guess."

 

"We should be way more careful," Morgan stops and catches Brock's gaze. "We could get caught and it would ruin everything."

 

"Mo, it was Auston . He's probably texting Marner right now about the hot chick he nailed. He wasn't even thinking about us. He's already forgotten it."

 

Morgan sighs, his shoulders going slack. "I guess you're right, yeah. It was just a really close call."

 

Brock walks over to him and pulls him into a hug, kissing his cheek and letting it linger. "We're good, bud. If he says anything, we got caught up watching that Ted Bundy thing on Netflix and fell asleep. Not a big deal."

 

Morgan nods, but there's a tightness in his jaw.

 

"I'm gonna head to my room and shower. I'll see you over at the rink later?"

 

"Yeah, yeah of course." Morgan hasn't really calmed down, is still visibly freaking out. "I'll see you over there."

 

"Relax, yeah? All good." Brock kisses him and hopes it's reassuring. Morgan goes boneless against him and moans against his lips, so he's pretty sure it worked.

 

Brock pulls away and heads for the door, but Morgan stops him when he's halfway in the hall. "Wait, B, your phone."

 

They're just inside the open door when Morgan hands the phone off, and Brock tugs him close to give him a quick, reassuring peck on the lips. Brock grins and steps out of his room and turns toward his own, only to walk straight into Nate MacKinnon.

 

"Shit, oh. Hey. Good morning." Brock stammers, suddenly very aware that he has stubble burn and sex hair and is wearing Morgan's hoodie. But Nate wouldn't know it's Morgan's hoodie. Brock just has to try not to look too suspicious.

 

"Morning," Nate responds with a smile, though there's a question in his eyes. He doesn't voice it. "Up early today, eh Boeser?"

 

"Oh y'know, just trying to make sure I don't miss out on anything this weekend."

 

"Seems like you found something pretty good to do last night. Good deal, man." Nate holds up his fist to bump Brock's. "I'm gonna go find some coffee, I'll see you at the rink later."

 

"Totally, yeah. See you later."

 

Brock storms off to his room as quickly as possible without looking like he's freaking out, even if he definitely is.

 

I think Nate might've seen us when I was leaving.

 

morganrielly: Oh shit.

 

I don't know if he did but he was in the hall. He seemed like he knew something.

 

morganrielly: I need coffee to deal with this.

 

Gonna shower. Meet in the lobby in a half hour?

 

morganrielly: Yeah, that works.

____

 

Morgan has been checking his messages all morning, anxiety twisting his stomach in knots, just waiting to hear from Auston or Nate. Waiting to find out they know. Waiting to discover if he's just been outed.

 

Brock steps off of the elevator and trots over to him, hair still wet from the shower. "Hey," he says, voice deceptively light, even if there's worry creasing his brow.

 

"There's a Starbucks a block over," Morgan nods toward the door, heading out onto the sidewalk, Brock following along. "I figure we've gotta come up with a game plan."

 

Brock nods and falls into step beside him. Morgan had woken this morning with Brock spooned behind him, warm and sleepy soft, and it had been nice. So nice. But he should've known it can't be that easy; that was something out of a dream and now he has to deal with reality.

 

The Starbucks is busy when they walk in, but there are no hockey players around, which is why Morgan picked this location even though there was another directly across the street from their hotel. He orders a large coffee, black, and hopes that the caffeine will help him come up with some answers. Answers that he doesn't hate, anyway.

 

After a few minutes of sitting in silence, though, the coffee is having no such effect.

 

"We probably need to stop this," he finally says.

 

"Wait, stop? Why?" Brock's brow is furrowed and he's speaking a little louder than Morgan would like.

 

"I mean, it's way too risky, you know?" Morgan hates saying this--he likes Brock, likes him more than he should--but he doesn't want to risk either of their careers. "It's amazing we went this long without any other close calls. But I think today showed we aren't gonna stay that lucky."

 

"We don't need to stop ," Brock protests, swirling his coffee cup. "We just gotta be more careful."

 

"We can't do it without sneaking away from our teammates, and you know as well as I do that hockey players are nosy fucks."

 

He can tell from the look on Brock's face that he wants to argue, but he doesn't. "So that's just it, then?"

 

Morgan taps his fingers on the side of his cup, keeping his eyes down. He doesn't want this to be it, but he also doesn't want to feel this kind of fear again. "I guess?"

 

"Well that kinda sucks," Brock says, and he's trying for a joke but it falls short.

 

Morgan shrugs but doesn't respond. It does suck. It's unfair. But he knew as an 18-year-old kid at the combine that being bi in the NHL was going to suck. He's been preparing for this his entire career.

 

"We should probably head back so we can get ready for the game," Morgan goes for the change of subject because if he says anything else he's going to give too much away.

 

"Right," Brock says. "Okay, yeah. I guess we should go."

 

Morgan isn't positive of it, but Brock looks more hurt than anything. He's not the only one.

____

 

Brock doesn't say anything on the walk back. He gives a half wave when they step off of the elevator. "Later, man."

 

Auston meets Morgan in the lobby to head over to the arena an hour and a half later and he still doesn't say anything about Brock being in his room. He's talking about the girl from last night. When they get to the rink, Morgan is prepping his sticks when Johnny comes out to do the same.

 

"What's going on, Mo?"

 

"Not much, man, not much."

 

Johnny doesn't know anything of their close call this morning. He tells Morgan about Matty Tkachuk pissing off one of the Kings in their last game. He mentions something dumb that Nate said while they were at the bar the night before. He talks about his dog. He never mentions Brock.

 

He bumps into Nate while he's pouring himself another cup of coffee. "Did you get to live it up last night, Mo?"

 

Morgan startles and glances at Nate. "Yeah, sure, you know me. Party animal right here."

 

Nate takes a drink of his own coffee and shrugs his shoulder. "Hey, you can have a good time without partying it up, you know?"

 

The look on his face is all too knowing. It's the same look he gave yesterday when they were watching Brock flirt with Sid.

 

"Yeah, I guess you've got a point there, Mac."

 

Nate smiles at an equipment guy who's come to refresh his own coffee, waits until the guy has gone before he speaks again. "It's okay to like, be happy? Like it's hard to find with...everything…" he trails off, waving his free hand vaguely in the direction of the locker rooms and then the corridor leading toward the ice. "But I mean, if you can find it, probably don't waste it?"

 

There's plenty that's left unsaid, but there's no mistaking it: at the very least, Nate is suspicious about whatever's been happening between Morgan and Brock.

 

"Easier said than done." Morgan busies himself with adding one more sugar to his coffee.

 

Nate is staring down the hallway where Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang are talking with Marc-Andre Fleury, Sid honking a laugh that echoes down to where they're standing. Nate's forehead is creased, his expression pinched. "Just saying, man. Not everyone gets those chances."

 

Morgan wants to say something reassuring, something sympathetic. There aren't any good words for this situation.

 

"I'll see you around, Mo." Nate claps him on the shoulder and heads off down the hall, head low and shoulders slumped.

____

 

The Pacific is the first team eliminated from the tournament, so Brock is halfway through packing up his gear when the second game ends and the Atlantic Division team loses as well. He supposes he could try to talk to Morgan again, but he's not sure what it would accomplish. Morgan was pretty clear. This arrangement that Brock had grown to enjoy apparently needs to stop.

 

Brock pulls his phone out and he snaps a picture of his Canucks duffel bag, packed and zipped up, along with the text heading home without a car this time :( off to a few friends, and after hesitating, he makes sure he includes Morgan.

 

He's walking back to the hotel when he finally gets a response.

 

morganrielly: Sorry for earlier. When's your flight out? We could talk maybe.

 

Not until 9:30. Heading to the hotel to grab my stuff now.

 

morganrielly: I'll meet you over there.

 

Brock changes out of his suit and into joggers, but he packs Morgan's hoodie into his suitcase and wears a Canucks zip-up instead. If they're leaving this thing in San Jose, he's taking a souvenir, and a sweatshirt that's soft from wear and smells like Morgan's cologne seems a pretty good memento.

 

Morgan knocks on his door nearly an hour later, still wearing his suit but with no tie, the top two buttons of his shirt left undone. It's entirely unfair for him to look like this when he's going to be blowing Brock off. "Hey," he says when Brock steps back to let him in. "I just figured we needed to like, talk everything out."

 

"I wasn't sure there was much else to say." Brock doesn't mean it to sound as snappy as it does. "If you're thinking we should stop this, there isn't much to talk about."

 

Morgan looks tired. Not just from lack of sleep, he has the look of bone-deep exhaustion, the kind of tired that lingers no matter how much rest you get. "It's not like it isn't good, but it's not--" he pauses, tugging at his collar, smoothing it down, then fussing with the buttons at his wrists. "It's not like it's convenient for either of us. We only play one more time and otherwise we're across the country from each other."

 

"Right," Brock nods slowly, and he realizes that what Morgan is saying makes sense, but that doesn't mean he likes it.

 

Morgan rubs a hand over his face and through his hair. "It sucks, it really does. But we need to worry about our careers. I don't think either of us wanna get outed."

 

"Yeah, I know."

 

"I guess I should go get my stuff packed," Morgan is shifting from one foot to the other, staring down. "So, uh, have a good flight home?"

 

Brock nods once, watching Morgan fidget as he walks toward the door. His ears are red and his brow is furrowed. He reaches for the handle and just before he gets it open, Brock makes a quick choice. If this is his last chance at it, he's gonna make sure Morgan remembers him.

 

He pushes Morgan back against the door, clutching his fingers in the lapels of his suit, and kisses him. Nothing fast, nothing chaste, this kiss is wet and filthy and a memory of all the incredible sex they've had together. He doesn't stop until he drags a satisfying whimper from Morgan's mouth, and then he pulls back, smoothing Morgan's shirt.

 

"I'll see you around, Mo."

Chapter Text

Brock goes to Cabo San Lucas and spends nearly every minute on the beach during his days off after the All Star Break. On his second day there, he's already had three frozen drinks with frilly umbrellas when he gets a message from his sister.

 

JessBoes: Well!?!? How did it go?? The ASG announcers wouldn't stop talking about your 'thick, well-built' boyfriend the whole time.

 

He's not my boyfriend.

 

Typing it out hurts more than he wants it to. He notices a server walking by the cabana and he waves for a refill on his drink. He needs to be way less sober than he is presently.

 

JessBoes: Blah blah whatever, technicality. Did you guys hook up again?

 

I'm literally never going to answer that.

 

JessBoes: So you did. And?? Did you actually tell him you like him?

 

No. There's nothing to tell.

 

She doesn't respond in words, just four eyeroll emojis.

 

We almost got caught anyway. It's too risky, ended it.

 

Brock figures if he keeps telling himself that, he'll accept it. Because as it is, he doesn't see why they can't just keep doing what they've been doing and just be more cautious. It's just as dangerous for Morgan to hook up with random guys from Grindr as it is for him to hook up with Brock, if not even moreso. He's typed out as much in messages no fewer than six times and he's deleted them all before he hit send. Morgan seemed pretty determined when he ended this whole thing.

 

JessBoes: What?! Was that your dumbass idea? You like this guy and you're gonna freak out because you ALMOST got caught?

 

Brock waits until he gets his refill and drinks a third of it before he answers.

 

Not my decision. He was too freaked out.

 

JessBoes: Oh, so you just need to talk him out of it then. Which you could probably do if you'd just tell him how you feel like a fucking adult.

 

Who said I have feelings??

 

She responds with six eyeroll emojis this time.

 

It's easier anyway. He's way over in Toronto. Only time he's in Vancouver I'm back home with you guys.

 

JessBoes: Stop being a bitch and TELL HIM.

 

He's never going to be able to explain to Jessica all the reasons why that's a terrible idea. Sure, they had good sex together--okay, great sex together--and sure, waking up curled up with Morgan had been his favorite morning in a very long while. And okay, sure, he's nearly snapchatted Morgan every stupid thought he's had since he left San Jose because he's used to talking to him all the time, and if he's being honest with himself, he misses that just as much as the sex. He just misses Morgan .

 

It's still a bad idea.

 

Knowing that doesn't quiet the voice in his head that's telling him Jessica's right.

____

 

Morgan had thought about running off to somewhere warm and tropical when he left San Jose, but in the end the lure of home, of time spent with his parents and a few days with his dog, was too much to pass up. So he goes back to Vancouver, though he doesn't spend much time in his own place. The last time he was there he was with Brock, and he doesn't need anything else to remind him of that right now.

 

He watches all of Brock's Instastories from Cabo. Twice. He nearly messages him every day he's home. First he wants to send a picture of Maggie. Then he has Goldie's with his parents and he wants to share a picture of the pizza but decides against it. And on his last night before flying to Toronto, he polishes off a six-pack of Labatts and then nearly sends Brock a shirtless photo from bed, but fortunately he isn't quite drunk enough to hit send .

 

Now home in Toronto, Morgan is just trying to shake it off and get back to his routine. He was just fine before Brock, he can be just fine again. He practices hard, he decides to try cooking at home more often instead of going to dinner at least twice a week. He tries to keep himself occupied so he's not thinking about Brock.

 

It's been two weeks since they ended things in San Jose when his Apple watch informs him that Paddington should start to bloom in the next ten days. He takes a long look at the succulent. There aren't any buds just yet, but he's definitely perked up after looking pretty sad for most of the winter.

 

It takes every bit of willpower he has to not send a picture of Paddington to Brock.

____

 

"You know, I could set you up with one of Lucy's friends."

 

Morgan is leaning over in his stall after practice, untying his skates, when Jake suggests it out of the clear blue. "Wait, what ?"

 

"You've been grumpy as hell lately, you know? I thought maybe you were lonely. You've been single a while. Lucy has some really awesome friends."

 

Morgan groans and tugs his skates off, flexing his feet. "Oh man, no. I mean, I appreciate the thought, and I'm sure Lucy's friends are great, but I'm definitely not quite that pathetic yet."

 

"Don't sell yourself short, Mo," Jake claps him hard on the shoulder as he stands up, heading off to find a trainer. "You've always been pathetic."

 

"Why are you pathetic?" Auston asks, walking into the room just as the conversation ends.

 

"Jake's a happily married man nowadays, so he's trying to get me set up to become the same."

 

Auston laughs and nods once. "I mean, you have been pretty bitchy lately, maybe you do need to get laid. We should go out."

 

"That's your solution to literally everything."

 

Auston grins broadly. "And I'm usually right."

____

 

Somehow Morgan talks Auston out of going to a loud club and convinces him that they should go to a bar near his apartment. It's dark and mostly empty on a Monday night, which suits Morgan just fine. He's on his third beer and has barely said a word, though Auston has plenty of tales of his own conquests to share, and that keeps the conversation flowing. Morgan's mind wanders while Auston talks about a hot blonde he picked up when they were last in New York.

 

"So hey, I wanted to ask, why was Boeser hanging out in your room that morning in San Jose?"

 

Morgan is really glad he isn't taking a drink or he definitely would've choked on it. Auston is aiming for nonchalant, but he's a terrible actor.

 

Morgan swallows twice and forces a smile. "Wait, in San Jose?" he asks, as if he doesn't know precisely what Auston is talking about. "Oh, I mean we both struck out at the bar so we ended up just watching some shit on Netflix and passed out."

 

Auston arches an eyebrow but doesn't turn his head to look at Morgan. "Yeah, right. Totally makes sense."

 

Morgan is pretty sure he doesn't believe a word of it.

____

 

The Canucks' second trip of the season to southern California involves two full days between their games against the Ducks and Kings. Brock has barely even thought about sex since he left All Star weekend behind. He knows Morgan has watched his stories on Instagram but that's the only interaction they've had since he kissed him goodbye in San Jose, three weeks ago.

 

Brock has been moody ever since. He's spent most of his time holed up in his room at home, and on the road he's put in a lot of quality time with Netflix. His teammates have definitely noticed, though they're all too kind to ask him what the hell is wrong with him.

 

So okay, Brock has definitely been moping.

 

It seems fitting, though, for him to try to break out of this funk in the same place that the whole thing started. So while Petey and his other teammates head off to dinner, Brock opens up Grindr and starts to scroll. It's Los Angeles, so he has more profiles to choose from than he can count. There are guys who look like models, perfect bodies with cut abs and golden tans. There are some who are tall and slim and waifish. Anything he could want physically, he can find here.

 

After about twenty minutes he gets a message from someone named Shane. Shane lives in LA and works for a studio, something about production crew. After just a few messages Brock realizes he's not into him and closes out of the conversation to find someone else. He taps open another profile, a gorgeous guy named Erik, who has dark hair and light eyes and a squared jaw. There's not an ounce of fat on his sculpted body.  

 

He also doesn't seem to have a single brain cell in his head.

 

Brock tries for another half hour to make some kind of connection, to find someone he wants to bother hooking up with, but no one is stacking up. None of them are Morgan.

 

He uninstalls Grindr.

____

 

It's only a few days before Paddington starts to show real signs of life. Early in the morning, while Morgan is sipping on his coffee, trying to blink the bleariness from his eyes, he notices three small buds. They're still green, tightly closed, but Morgan knows he has to keep a close eye on the plant now. Any day now they could go from buds to blossoms.

 

He has his phone out and snapchat open before he even realizes it, lingering sleepiness preventing him from thinking too hard about what he's about to do. He takes a picture of Paddington and adds a soft filter.

 

Almost pollinating time!

 

He's already tapped Brock's name and send when he realizes that it's probably a bad idea. They haven't talked in weeks, this is going to be completely unexpected. It's too late to take it back, though. The Canucks are in Nashville--not that Morgan has been keeping tabs--so Brock should get the message pretty soon.

 

Morgan has breakfast and takes a shower and gets dressed to go to the rink, and as he's about to head out the door his phone buzzes with an alert. Morgan ignores the twist in his stomach when he sees Brock's name on his screen. The picture he gets is Brock, eyes tired and hair messy, with a half-smile on his mouth. He's wearing a pale hoodie that's nearly pink but not quite.

 

That's Morgan's hoodie. The one he thought he left at the hotel in San Jose.

 

bboeser: Well well, I didn't think he'd actually get flowers. Guess you aren't the worst succulent dad.

 

Morgan smiles at the screen, standing in his hallway, keys in hand, stopped halfway through shrugging his coat on. Only now does he realize just how much he's been missing Brock in ways that have nothing to do with sex. And now here's Brock, smiling at him, wearing his hoodie . He has to be wearing it for a reason. Morgan's heart speeds a bit even if he's trying to tell himself not to get excited. Morgan turns the camera around and takes a selfie this time, in hopes that Brock will be as pleased to see him as he was to see Brock's face on his screen.

 

Just you wait. I'm gonna pollinate the crap outta that thing.

 

He gets another picture of Brock in return, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up, like he's showing it off. Like he wants to make sure Morgan sees it. He's smiling but it's only half-hearted.

 

bboeser: I hope you keep me updated.

 

Morgan knows that the last month of radio silence was his idea, his fault. He realizes now how much he missed this, the easy camaraderie, the playful banter. Sure, the sex was incredible, but he also just genuinely likes Brock, the person, a lot. Even if they can only be friends, Morgan will take it.

 

Morgan sends back a selfie wearing a sheepish grin.

 

I'll let you know as soon as he blossoms.

____

 

Brock has just gotten home from a game against the Avs and is standing in his room, tugging his tie off, when his snapchat alert pings, ringing to let him know there's a call waiting. He doesn't mean to smile like an idiot when he sees Morgan's name on the screen, but he does anyway. He manages to tamp it down to a grin when he answers.

 

"We have flowers!" Morgan exclaims before Brock can even get out a greeting. The t-shirt he's wearing is stretched at the collar, well worn and faded. He has dark circles under his eyes and his hair is as unkempt as usual. Brock's dick twitches with interest anyway.

 

"Pollinating time, eh?" Brock sets his phone on top of his dresser, propped up against a bottle of cologne. He shrugs out of his suit jacket and hangs it up, keeping one eye on the screen. "Just had to prove to me that you did it?"

 

Morgan laughs softly, shy and maybe a little awkward. "I mean, you're the reason I have Paddington at all. I thought you'd wanna see this part."

 

Brock undoes the buttons at his wrists, then the top two at his throat, pausing before he keeps unbuttoning the rest of the way down. He glances at the phone to see if Morgan is watching. He is. "He's gonna think I don't care about him if you don't keep me in the loop, you know?"

 

Morgan pauses at that, thoughtful, and presses his tongue to the corner of his mouth. "Well I guess I'll have to keep you more informed, then. If you care."

 

Brock tugs on the pink hoodie. Morgan's hoodie. He looks straight at the camera. "I definitely care."

 

He's pretty sure Morgan blushes.

 

"So what's the process here, Mo? How do you do this pollinating thing?"

 

Morgan shakes his head just once and puts on a smile. "Okay, so basically I just have to...uh. Rub my fingers in there? To like, spread the pollen between the flowers."

 

Brock arches one eyebrow. "Well you've got pretty skilled fingers, so I think you can handle that."

 

"Right," Morgan says, choking slightly over it. "Right, so. Uh. Here we go." He switches from the selfie to the rear-facing camera and Paddington comes into view. Morgan's fingers are probably a little large for this, and Brock wonders just how delicate the flowers are. But Morgan is gentle as he rubs the inside of the small blooms, alternating between all three of them a few times. He's a big man, broad and strong, but he can also be soft, so soft.

 

Brock is still taking interest in what's happening here, but it's not really his dick this time. This time the interest is coming from somewhere decidedly above the waist, judging by the tightening in his chest.

 

"I think that's probably good?" Morgan says with no small amount of uncertainty. "I don't wanna overdo it."

 

"When will we know if it took?"

 

Morgan has switched back to the selfie camera and the angle is unflattering, but Brock is a mess, because he likes it anyway. "I guess I'll know if any fruit starts to grow? A few weeks maybe?"

 

"Well you'll have to keep me updated."

 

Morgan sets his phone down to wash his hands and then picks it up again when he's done. "I wasn't sure if you'd want that. But I could do that, if you wanted."

 

"It would be nice to know what's going on over there," Brock says, and after a pause he adds, "you know, with Paddington."

 

"Right. With Paddington."

 

The call goes quiet, uncomfortably silent. Brock wants to ask about the Leafs' trip out West. They're going to be in Vancouver in less than two weeks. He doesn't know how to bring it up. But he wants to see him. Wants to do more than see him.

 

"We have a day off in Vancouver," Morgan finally says.

 

Brock rakes a hand through his hair and takes a breath. "That'll be good," he says evenly, carefully neutral. "You can see your parents and Maggie."

 

"We're doing dinner the night we get in, yeah."

 

"But you have another day free? After that?" Brock is trying not to sound too hopeful. It isn't working.

 

"Yeah, a whole day off." Morgan is chewing on his lip. He clears his throat and forces a playful smile. "And I mean, I do kinda need that hoodie back."

 

Brock bites back the laugh that bubbles up, this ridiculous feeling of maybe that has his ears warm and his stomach twisting. "Oh yeah? I guess I should return it to its rightful owner. Though it is really pretty damn cozy."

 

"Well yeah, I know, it's my hoodie."

 

"I guess if you really need to take it back I can let it go."

 

Morgan runs his teeth over his lower lip and the smile on his face is unsure. "So I could stop over for a few? While we're in town?"

 

Brock returns the grin with one that's dazzling, flirtatious, wanting to be sure Morgan knows exactly how much he wants this. "Well of course, you've gotta check up on Sansa anyway."

 

Morgan doesn't need to know that Brock has no plans to actually give the hoodie back.

Chapter Text

Morgan is standing in the bathroom at his parents' house in Vancouver, staring himself down in the mirror, and he's pretty sure he's never felt this nervous at home before. He's going to come out to his parents. It's a decision that he made when Auston walked in on him and Brock that morning in San Jose.

 

Because every other guy he's ever hooked up with was a one-night thing. It was always purely physical: no emotion, no complications. His only relationships have ever been with girls. He always assumed he would end up with a girl, because his only interest with other men was for sex.

 

What happened--what might still be happening--with Brock was definitely not just sex.

 

And now he has to deal with the realization that he actually can have real feelings for a man; he does have real feelings for a man. Even if things don't work with Brock, Morgan knows that it's very likely he could find himself in a relationship with another guy. Hell, someday he might want to marry a guy. He doesn't want his parents to be the last ones to know this information, doesn't want them to find out because 25 Stanley in Montreal, the weird hockey-centric TMZ that it is, got wind of him hooking up with some dude and then spewed the news all over the internet.

 

So he got a fresh haircut and shaved his beard before he left Toronto, and tonight he's wearing a nice sweater, attempting to look his best for the conversation he's about to have with them. He doesn't expect it to go badly, not really, his parents are both pretty progressive. But he can still feel sweat trickling down his spine, can still feel the thumping of his heart in his chest. He takes one more deep breath and heads back out to meet his parents.

 

They've already had dinner--his mom made an extremely not-diet-friendly breaded chicken and homemade mac and cheese combo, though she added some fresh veggies on the side to balance it out--and they're now sitting around the TV, too busy talking to really watch anything. His dad is talking about the goings on at Rielly Lumber, a new contract that he's bidding on, and it feels so familiar and comforting that Morgan aches a little bit. He loves Toronto and knows how lucky he is to be playing in the NHL, but he misses home so much it hurts sometimes.

 

Maggie ambles onto the couch to lay her head in Morgan's lap, and it feels something like approval.

 

"Guys, can I talk to you about something? It's kind of important." Both of his parents suddenly have their concerned faces on, and he holds up the hand that's not petting Maggie. "It's nothing bad, I swear, just something I wanted to...say."

 

"Of course," his mom answers, always the first one to regain her composure.

 

"So I've been kinda, uh, seeing someone for a while. And it might not be anything serious, I'm not really sure yet, but I thought you should know about it." He hesitates for a long inhale, and then an exhale, focusing on scratching the spot behind Maggie's ear that he knows she likes. He knows he's too quiet as he speaks, but he can't seem to get any louder. "And it's, um, it's a guy."

 

His mom cracks a smile first, soft and reassuring. "Morgan, honey, you know we don't care who you date."

 

"As long as you're happy, bud," his dad agrees, reaching over to bump a fist into his knee. He's trying for supportive but there's still confusion on his face. "Though I am curious, you've...had girlfriends before?"

 

"Oh," his mom says, and it comes out sounding sad. Pitying. "You didn't have to come up with fake girlfriends to hide from us."

 

"I still like girls, you know?" Maggie turns her head and licks his palm and then settles in for more cuddles. "I just also like guys. I'm bi. And I don't know if I'll ever really have a serious boyfriend, but it's a...possibility. Someday."

 

"But you're dating a boy right now?" His mom watches him, quizzically, and so does his dad.

 

"I'm not really sure. We have to actually like, talk about it and what it all means first." He scratches at the scruff of Maggie's neck, focusing on the way her fur moves back into place as he ruffles it. "But maybe."

 

His mom shifts over from the armchair where she'd been sitting and takes the spot next to him on the couch, then slides an arm around his shoulders. He hasn't felt small next to his mother since he was 12, but right now he does. He leans into the touch and she hugs him close. "We love you, and as long as you're being true to yourself, we'll support you. No matter who you date, or marry. Just be happy."

 

Morgan feels the tension bleed out of him while he lets his mom hold him. He's not surprised at their reaction, but it feels good to have the conversation over with.

 

"There's only one condition," his dad chimes in, and Morgan looks up with concern. But the faux seriousness on his dad's face falters immediately into a smirk. "He can't be a Bruins fan."

 

And Morgan knows then that it really is all gonna be okay.

____

 

"Stech, come on, I never ask you for anything."

 

Troy glares at him from across the kitchen island, spoonful of cereal halfway to his mouth. "You bug me to bring home takeout at least twice a week."

 

"But I never ask you for anything like this !" Brock has a hand in his hair, tugging on it. He's been begging Troy for an hour to promise that he won't come home after their game tonight. He stays at his girlfriend's place every few days anyway, so it's not as if Brock is asking anything unreasonable. "I'll buy dinner for you and Macy? Wherever you want, it's on me."

 

Troy rolls his eyes and chews slowly. "You really wanna get rid of me, eh? I guess you're trying to make up with your girl?"

 

"Wait what? What girl?"

 

"The girl you've been snapping with like, all year." Troy finishes his cereal and puts his bowl in the sink. "You got all grumpy after the bye, I figured she got tired of you and dumped you."

 

"I didn't get dumped," Brock makes a face and flips him off, "but okay, yeah. It's about that. I need some privacy."

 

"Alright, fine. I'll make myself scarce."

 

"You're the best roommate."

 

"You're full of shit, first of all," Troy counters. "And I haven't told you what you're buying us for dinner yet. And when I decide, it's gonna be expensive. "

 

At this point, Brock would give up a month of his salary to get the house to himself tonight. An expensive dinner is an easy trade-off.

____

 

Brock is amped for the game tonight, more than usual. There's adrenaline in his veins and a twist in his stomach. He and Morgan aren't back to normal, not really, but they've been messaging each other every couple of days. This is the first time he's going to see Morgan in person since they left San Jose.

 

He skates out for warmups and scans the opposite side of the rink, ears going hot when he sees the blue 44 down near the Leafs' net. Brock glides around, partially to get his legs going and partially to expel some of the excess energy that he can't tamp down. He tries to focus on the task at hand--they have a hockey game to try to win--but his shots aren't going where he wants them to, he keeps missing the net or pinging pucks off of the posts, and in one truly unfortunate misstep he rifles a shot off of Markstrom's mask, which he has to immediately apologize profusely for. He shakes his head to clear it as he glides away. It's okay, he'll be fine. He'll be better once the game starts.

 

Brock usually doesn't go toward center ice to get down and stretch out his thighs and groin, but he does it tonight. He's working to ease some tightness in his right hip when Morgan skates to a stop next to him, just on the other side of the red line. Brock glances over and offers a smile, and Morgan returns it.

 

"Hey."

 

"What's going on, Mo? Happy to be home?"

 

"Been a great visit so far."

 

Brock shifts to stretch his left hip, turning more to face Morgan. "Still here tomorrow too?"

 

"Yeah, we don't leave until Friday afternoon. Plenty of time." It feels like there's a promise in that statement.

 

Brock nods and fights back a broad smile. There are cameras and teammates everywhere. He pushes up to his knees and reaches over to tap his stick on Morgan's shinpads. "Have a good game, bud. I'll see you later?"

 

"Later," Morgan confirms, and he's either pink from blushing or from adrenaline. Brock hopes it's the first one.

____

 

Morgan is relieved when he manages to pass by the Leafs PR manager without getting tapped for a post-game interview. It was a frustrating OT loss, but he's answered for losses plenty of times in his career. Tonight though, he has plans, plans that have been twisting him in knots for a week.

 

He isn't sure how this is going to go with Brock. Their interactions have been hesitant, carefully platonic, not the suggestive banter that categorized the first few months of their friendship. It's hard to ignore the history between them, though. He's antsy to get out of the arena so he can see Brock, spend time with him, figure out if their connection is still as strong as it was before. At the same time, though, he's anxious about trying to decipher exactly what all of this means.

 

He showers and changes faster than usual, and he even makes a rudimentary attempt to fix his hair. He gets it combed to one side and manages to tame the cowlick at his part, even if he's not sure it'll stay that way for long. He can't stay at Brock's place very late anyway; their curfew is more lenient tonight than usual, with the extra days off ahead of them, but he'll still need to keep an eye on the clock.

 

As he's shrugging his suit jacket on, Auston comes over to tap his fingertip to Morgan's. Auston not-too-subtly glances around to make sure none of their teammates are paying attention, and he's making an attempt at nonchalance, but he remains a terrible actor.

 

"I was gonna tell you to show me a good time in Vancouver tonight," he starts, and Morgan tries not to grimace. "But I figure you're gonna be busy tonight, yeah?"

 

Morgan spends far too long adjusting his tie and trying not to let the panic show on his face. "Yeah, yeah. Sorry bud. Maybe next time."

 

"No problem, I'm gonna drag Marns out anyway." Auston pats Morgan on the shoulder and just as he takes a step back, without missing a beat, he adds: "Tell Boes I said hi."

 

Auston walks away before he gets a chance to see Morgan choke.

____

 

The cab drops Morgan off at Brock's building and he stands outside for a few minutes, steeling himself for whatever is going to happen. He stopped at the hotel after the game and made quick work of changing out of his suit and into a more casual pair of joggers and a hoodie. He figures he shouldn't overdress for this; it isn't a date, and he doesn't want to look like he's trying too hard.

 

After a couple of steadying breaths, Morgan makes his way up to the front of the building, pushing the button for Brock's apartment, and he's barely pulled his hand away before he's being buzzed up. He stands on the elevator as it ascends and gives himself a pep talk: this is just two friends hanging out, it's not a big deal. Inhale. Exhale.

 

He knocks twice and when Brock answers the door, he's wearing joggers as well, the same as Morgan. He's also wearing Morgan's hoodie.

 

"Hi," Brock says and steps back to let Morgan inside. There's a hesitation where Brock might have leaned in--to hug him? To kiss him?--but neither of those things happen. He keeps his hands and mouth to himself and closes the door while Morgan toes his shoes off. "I have beer, or wine if you want some. I got the same stuff you brought at Christmas."

 

"Um, a beer is fine, thanks."

 

Morgan walks through the dining area to the living room and glances around. He wonders where Brock's roommate is. Brock joins him, carrying two beers and holding out one bottle for Morgan. "Hey, come see Sansa. She's starting to perk up again."

 

"I guess all that plant food I was sending is helping her out, eh?" Morgan tries for a joke; it makes Brock smile, and it feels like a little of the tension in the room eases.

 

"I think it's just my superior succulent dad skills, actually. Gotta keep her happy." Brock takes a drink of his beer, and Morgan watches his throat. "But I guess maybe you helped a little ."

 

"At least you don't have to pollinate her."

 

Brock makes a face. "Her flowers are tiny! My hands are way too big for that."

 

"So clearly I'm the more dedicated father here. You could like, use a q-tip or something if you had to pollinate." Morgan shrugs as he takes a drink, smiling against the rim of the bottle. "But you're too good for that."

 

"She doesn't grow fruit or anything," Brock protests, elbowing Morgan in the side. "I would totally do it if I had to."

 

"Yeah, yeah, that's a lot of talk from you, B."

 

Brock is still standing a little too closely in Morgan's space. Morgan knows that they should talk. About how he feels, about what all of this means, about whether they're just friends or something more. At the moment, though, he just wants to pull Brock close and touch every last inch of him.

 

"Oh hey, I wanna show you something. Come here." Brock interrupts his thoughts. He leads Morgan down the hallway to his bedroom, flipping on the light and waiting for him to follow. He pulls a large frame from where it's leaning against the wall and turns it around so Morgan can see the front. It's his jersey. "I finally got it framed, I've just gotta figure out where to hang it."

 

"I mean, it would look a little suspicious if you had just my jersey hung up on your wall, wouldn't it?" Morgan forces a laugh, because he likes the idea of Brock seeing his jersey all the time and thinking of him.

 

"Well that's how you had it, right?" Brock is watching him intently. "At your place, you had a bunch of your jerseys and mine. Only mine."

 

Morgan swallows hard and looks down at his feet. "Uh, yeah, I guess I did."

 

When he looks up, Brock is standing much closer. Suddenly the intimacy of standing alone in Brock's bedroom hits Morgan. The room is as generic as any other apartment, but scattered throughout are items that are distinctly Brock. A UND flag hangs on one wall. Pictures of his family are on another. And Brock himself is standing here, wearing Morgan's hoodie and it's overwhelming.

 

"I missed you."

 

The words are out of Morgan's mouth before he can stop himself. Brock smiles, small and soft.

 

"Yeah, me too."

 

It's all the encouragement Morgan needs to curl a hand into the pocket of the hoodie Brock is wearing, to pull him in close. He kisses Brock like he's leaving a mark, staking a claim. He tangles one hand in Brock's hair and tugs on it, hard enough to make Brock moan into his mouth. Brock doesn't hesitate to return the sentiment, wrapping Morgan up in his arms and pushing him against the door to close it.

 

"Wait," Morgan gasps when Brock starts tugging his shirt up. "We should talk."

 

Brock lets out one small snort, huffing against Morgan's cheek. "We can talk later." And then he's got Morgan's shirt off and he's sliding to his knees. Morgan should protest, he should insist that they need to talk before this happens, but he doesn't. Brock is pulling on his joggers and grinning something wicked and victorious up at him, and Morgan can already feel arousal snaking through him.

 

Brock tugs his boxers down and gets a hand on him, stroking him to full hardness, and it's embarrassing how fast he gets there. The only person who's touched him since Brock is Morgan himself, and he's admittedly far less exciting a sexual partner. Morgan doesn't even have time to argue before Brock is spreading his lips wide and taking Morgan's cock halfway on the first go.

 

Morgan threads his hands into Brock's hair and holds on, letting Brock run the show. He's eager for it, noisy and wet, and he keeps his teeth covered and his throat relaxed as he takes Morgan's dick all the way in, nose buried in the neatly trimmed hair at his pelvis. He sucks in a breath when he pulls back, choking a little bit, but it doesn't deter him at all. Morgan watches through hooded eyes, muttering out curses and moaning Brock's name, and then it's all too soon before he's coming down Brock's throat without even a warning, the orgasm leaving his legs shaky and his chest aching from the effort to breathe.

 

Brock, for his part, is unfazed by all of it. He swipes the back of his hand across his lips and grins up at Morgan as he stands, fully clothed still.

 

"You didn't-"

 

"Have to." Brock rolls his eyes, but he's smiling. "I know. Shut the fuck up and kiss me."

 

So Morgan does.

 

They kiss against the door like that while Morgan strips Brock, tugs the hoodie over his head--he's definitely not taking it, he likes to see Brock wearing it--and pushes his pants down before walking him toward the bed. Brock is rutting up against him as soon as they're horizontal and Morgan gets his fingers wrapped around him, grinning when Brock grunts out a curse. He starts there and then gets to the work of spreading Brock open for him, getting him loose and relaxed and easy for it. It's better than any porn he's ever seen, listening to Brock, watching him squirm and arch, and by the time he's begging for it, needy, Morgan is hard again. He's got Brock whimpering by the time he's looking for condoms, and he wants to draw this out, wants to show Brock all the things he hasn't told him yet.

 

They don't have time for that, though, not tonight.

 

The sex is as good as always, if a little more desperate after the month apart, the time spent not speaking. They fit together now, know each other's bodies better. Morgan knows exactly how to tilt his hips to make Brock shudder, and Brock knows that if he shifts his legs up a little higher around Morgan's torso, it tugs at the thin veil of Morgan's control.

 

If Morgan's quick orgasm from the blowjob was embarrassing, he at least has company in it, because shortly after Morgan gets his hand on Brock, he's arching high off the bed, body pulled taut as he comes, guttural moans buried into the pillow he's hiding his face against. It takes Morgan a little longer this time, but Brock goes right along with him, staring up at him and touching every part of Morgan's body that he can reach before pulling him down to kiss him, deep and urgent and possessive , and it's enough to push Morgan over the edge all over again.

____

 

When Brock is sure he can actually stand, he disentangles himself from Morgan and walks bare assed across the hall to the bathroom. When he comes back to his room, Morgan is flopped out on his back and catching his breath. He looks over at Brock with a sleepy, sated smile and lets out a quiet chuckle.

 

Brock is going to make it his goal to make Morgan lose control every single time they're together. He can't fight back the smug grin on his face; to be fair, he doesn't try all that hard. He's very proud of the effect he has on one Morgan Rielly.

 

He climbs onto the bed and cleans them both off before straddling Morgan's hips once more. He lays against him and kisses him lazily, tongue exploring. Morgan's hands are all over him, stroking his skin, petting his hair. Brock could do this all damn night. And all day tomorrow too, for that matter.

 

The afterglow is ruined when the front door slams shut. Brock sits up and he sees the look on Morgan's face, his eyes wide with panic, and Brock is pretty sure the same fear is mirrored in his own expression.

 

"Boes I'm home, make sure you're decent!"

 

He is going to murder Troy Stecher.

Chapter Text

Brock is off the bed in an instant, muttering under his breath, grabbing his pants from the floor and tugging them on. Morgan should be freaking out too, but at this exact moment he's enjoying the view.

 

"I'm gonna kill him," Brock grumbles. "I begged him to stay out tonight."

 

Morgan finally shakes his head clear and sits up, looking around for his clothes. "I mean, he could just go to his room or something? I should probably get out of here anyway, I'm gonna miss curfew."

 

Brock runs both hands through his hair before pulling on the hoodie, Morgan's hoodie, that he was wearing before--Morgan wonders if it'll ever get old seeing Brock wear his stuff--and then turns toward the door. "I'm gonna go get rid of him, either by yelling at him or throwing him out the window."

 

He storms out before Morgan can stop him. He pulls his joggers on and picks his sweatshirt off the floor. They have to talk, they were supposed to talk. He planned for them to talk. But then they were kissing and then they were naked and everything was too good to interrupt it with a chat.

 

Morgan knows that they really have to figure out what this is, though. So he decides that tomorrow is the day, he'll ask Brock out, and they'll actually discuss what this is. Determined, he sits on the bed and waits for Brock to let him know the coast is clear.

 

As he sits there waiting, he can hear Brock yelling at his roommate. Brock clearly isn't thinking about the fact that the walls in an apartment like this are paper thin.

 

It means Morgan can hear every word they're saying.

____

 

"What the fuck are you doing home?" Brock demands when he finds Troy in the kitchen, fridge door open.

 

"Had a fight with Macy, she was annoyed, so I came home instead."

 

"Literally one night I ask you to not come home and you pick a fight with your girlfriend?" Brock is incredulous.

 

"Dude, it's not big deal." Troy stands up from the fridge and pops open bottle of beer. "It's not like I'm gonna hit on your girl or something."

 

"Can't you just, like, go away for another half hour? Go literally anywhere else?" Brock pleads, bracing his hands on the kitchen island. "That's all I need, a half hour. Maybe not even that, like twenty minutes."

 

"Shit, twenty minutes? Your girl must be very disappointed."

 

Brock sputters and flips him off. "Not for that , we just need to say goodbye and I need you to be not here for that."

 

Troy leans against the counter and takes a long, slow drink of his beer, a smirk on his lips when he pulls the bottle away. "I've gotta say, I wanna meet this girl who's got you all fucked up."

 

"I'm not all fucked up!"

 

"Oh, buddy," Troy says condescendingly. "You've got it bad. You've been a mess over this girl all season."

 

Brock flips him off again, but he can feel the heat on his face and he knows he's not hiding anything. "I haven't been a mess ."

 

"Boes, you are completely hung up on this girl. You were practically a hermit the entire time she was mad at you."

 

Brock doesn't have a good argument to that one, because he knows that he barely got up from the couch in the weeks after Morgan insisted that they break things off. He actually is pretty pathetic. Not that Troy needs to know that. "Look, Stech, can't you just go away for a little while? I just have to say goodbye."

 

Troy rolls his eyes and drains half of his beer in one go. "Okay fine , I'm going to my room. You have exactly 30 minutes."

 

Brock waits until he's down the hall, fortunately on the other side of their apartment, and until he hears the door slam shut. Only then does he trot back down to his own room. Morgan is sitting on the bed and he's blushing bright pink and the smile on his lips is hovering somewhere between shy and smug.

 

"So I hear you're really hung up on someone you had over tonight?"

____

 

Morgan knows he has to leave. He knows that he runs the risk of missing curfew if he stays here for a few more minutes. But he needs to deal with the conversation he just overheard.

 

Because apparently Brock has it bad for him.

 

Brock bites on his lip and rubs a hand over the back of his neck, and his laugh is bashful. "Uh, so you heard that."

 

"All of it," Morgan confirms, and as much as he wants to watch Brock squirm, he wants to kiss him a lot more than that. He's up off the bed and it's only two strides until he's got Brock wrapped up in his arms and pressed back against the door.

 

Brock is smiling now, all teeth, his eyes crinkling at the corners, and Morgan doesn't know how he thought he could resist this. "I take it you're okay with all of that?"

 

"I am very okay with it." Morgan threads a hand through Brock's hair and kisses him once, twice. It's chaste and sweet and full of promise. He wants to stay here all night, wants to tell Brock everything he's been thinking and feeling for the last few months, but he knows that if he doesn't get in a cab in the next five minutes, he's going to have Babcock very, very pissed at him. "But I have to go. Can we spend tomorrow together? I wanna take Maggie for a hike."

 

"I'd love it," Brock says, but he doesn't let go when Morgan pulls away.

 

"I'm gonna be late, but we've got tomorrow. We need to talk about all of this." Morgan finally disentangles himself from Brock and grabs his things, letting Brock go ahead of him to be sure the coast is still clear.

 

Brock walks him to the door and pulls him in for one last kiss, and Morgan can feel that he's still smiling. "I'll see you tomorrow."

 

Morgan calls for a taxi on his way down to ground level, and he can't even bring himself to be worried about missing curfew.

____

 

Brock watches Morgan walk down the hall to the elevator, still unable to fight the grin from his face. He's not even sure what this means just yet, but his mind is racing with the possibilities. He doesn't have time to process it, though, because as soon as Brock has the door closed behind him, Troy comes trotting down the hall.

 

"Alright, spill. You're grinning like a dipshit so I figure it went well?"

 

Brock grabs a bottle of water from the fridge and flips him off. "If you must know, it was good. And fuck you for not staying out tonight."

 

"Good, so you can stop being a mopey bastard. And hey, fuck you , I'm a good friend, I just wanted to see who your girl is."

 

Brock rolls his eyes. "You don't need to see who it is, it's none of your business."

 

Troy shoulders past Brock to get a beer and throws the cap at him. "Look, you've been swooning over this chick for months, you can't expect me to not be curious."

 

"Well you're gonna have to get over it, we're keeping it quiet, so you're gonna keep not knowing anything."

 

"Look buddy, I'm an awesome roommate, and you can't keep shit from me." Troy takes a drink and points his bottle at Brock afterward. "I just wanna know about the girl you're falling for."

 

"It's not…" Brock pauses, and he mentally runs over a few ways to end this statement.

 

...like that.

...that serious.

...a big deal.

 

He doesn't use any of them.

 

"...a girl." He finishes, finally.

 

Troy stops with his beer halfway to his lips. He blinks twice and sets the bottle down. The smirk is off of his face and he suddenly looks serious. It's not an expression Brock has seen on him very often. "You're serious?"

 

Brock swallows and nods, just one time, and stares down at the floor. He knows Troy, he trusts him, and he's pretty sure he'll be okay with this. He hadn't planned to come out tonight, but he kind of really wants to talk about this with someone.

 

"Hey, Brock," Troy says as he walks over to brace a hand on Brock's shoulder. "That's awesome, dude. As long as he's a good guy and you're happy, that's great."

 

Brock lets out a breath and feels the tension ebb away. "I'm not ready to make a big deal about it and tell the whole team or anything, but I figure you're gonna find out eventually."

 

"Well yeah, I'm your roommate. You can't hide a boyfriend from me forever."

 

"He's not my boyfriend yet," Brock protests automatically, but he starts to smile anyway. Because he's pretty sure Morgan will be his boyfriend by tomorrow. And that's awesome.

 

"You're a cheesy asshole, but it's kinda cute. Good for you, bud." Troy punches him playfully in the shoulder. "I'm happy for you, seriously."

 

"You're still not finding out who it is," Brock gives him a wide, smug grin.

 

Troy wrinkles his nose and scoffs. "What the fuck? Why can't I know? What, did you get some awesome famous boyfriend already?"

 

Brock isn't positive that "famous" applies, but Troy would definitely recognize Morgan if he saw him. He's the Leafs' top defenseman, scored a goal against his home team tonight, and is a potential Norris finalist. Before Brock can actually answer, Troy bursts out laughing.

 

"Oh my God , you did. You did get some hotshot famous boyfriend already," he shakes his head in amused disbelief. "You Prince Charming looking son of a bitch."

 

Brock chuckles and rolls his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I did. It's pretty cool."

 

Troy wrinkles his nose and pushes him toward his bedroom. "If you're not gonna tell me who it is, you can take your sappy ass to your room. Get out of here."

____

 

Brock showers and gets himself ready for bed but when he gets there, his phone is blinking. He has three notifications, all from his sister.

 

JessBoes: Tell me you actually talked to him.

JessBoes: Because you've been a moody asshole.

JessBoes: Answer me!

 

Brock makes a face at the string of messages and sends her a few middle finger emojis.

 

What, you were keeping track of the schedule?

 

JessBoes: Like you're surprised?? Of course I was.

JessBoes: So did you talk?

 

Brock is tempted to leave her on 'read,' just to annoy her, but he knows she won't let it go that easily. So instead he opens up Facetime and calls her. There's an absolutely shit-eating grin on her face when she picks it up.

 

"If you wimped out I'm gonna kick your ass."

 

"You can't kick my ass."

 

Jessica rolls her eyes comically. "Oh, I totally can, but that's not the point. Tell me what happened. Full details." She pauses and scrunches up her nose. "Okay not full details but tell me what happened."

 

"Look we haven't had a chance to talk about all of it yet--" Brock starts, and immediately Jessica pumps her fist.

 

"Oh you totally banged. Which. Gross, first of all. But still."

 

"I never said that!"

 

"You have your dumb guy smile on, I figure that's your 'I got laid' smile." She makes a face again and shakes her head. "But you didn't talk? Are you seriously just gonna pretend you just want sex with this guy?"

 

"No!" Brock frowns and rubs a hand over his face. "Look, he kinda overheard something about how I was really hung up on him? Stech was giving me shit, and Morgan was still here, and he heard it, so he kinda. Knows."

 

Jessica is absolutely beaming now. "Tell Stech that he's awesome. So what happened?"

 

"Stech is not awesome," Brock protests, then continues. "Morgan had to get back to the hotel, he had to get in before curfew. But we're going to go out tomorrow, we're going to take his dog out for a hike."

 

"Oh my god, you're gonna meet the dog?" she exclaims, her eyes bright. "This is serious . Now don't fuck this up, okay? Just admit that you're all dorky in love with him."

 

"I never said-"

 

"Because you're an idiot and a wimp and you're terrified of feelings."

 

"Love is a big word!" Brock protests, but there's something warm in his chest.

 

"And your boyfriend is a big guy, so he can handle it. Tell him."

 

Brock sighs and shakes his head. "You're the worst sister. Go to sleep, you should like, be studying or something."

 

"I'm awesome and you know it. Let me know how it goes tomorrow."

 

"Yeah, okay, fine. You're awful."

 

"You love me!"

 

Brock ends the call and shakes his head, still grinning to himself, thinking the conversation over. He hadn't thought of this thing with Morgan in terms of love. He stares at the framed jersey waiting to be hung and can't stop the flutter in his stomach. And maybe Jessica has a point. Not that he intends to tell her that.

 

His phone buzzes again and he's ready to tell his sister to fuck off, but when he looks at the screen there's a Snap from Morgan waiting. He's in bed in his hotel room, no shirt on, his hair mussed, and there's a sheepish smile playing on his lips.

 

morganrielly: Made it with 2 minutes to spare. Can't wait for tomorrow.

 

Brock makes sure he has the hood of Morgan's hoodie up when he takes a photo in response, curled on his side, and he has to make a concerted effort to keep his grin from taking over his entire face.

 

Romantic hiking date with you AND Maggie? It's gonna be great.

 

morganrielly: Good night, B.

 

The picture that comes with that message is Morgan with his shy smile on, obviously ready for bed, and even on the small screen in his hand Brock can see how his eyes are lit up. He looks happy and soft and Brock wishes he was there with him right now.

 

Jessica definitely has a point about the whole love thing.

Chapter Text

Morgan goes to his parents' house early to pick up Maggie for their hiking date with Brock.  Even now as she ages, with her muzzle greying and her puppy energy long gone, Maggie's excited at the idea of a hike. She dances around his legs as he walks her to the car, dangles her head out of the window on the way to his place, tongue hanging out of her mouth.

 

"Okay Mags, you're gonna meet Brock today, and you're gonna be a good girl for us, right?"

 

Maggie turns her head to him and pants, something like a smile on her face.

 

"Of course you're gonna be a good girl, you're always a good girl." Morgan reaches over and scratches a hand over her head. Maggie huffs and then turns to look out the window again. It's a little cold for this, but he can't deny her the pleasure of the wind in her fur.

 

He told Brock to meet them at his place--Morgan is fine with introducing him to Maggie, but he's not sure about Brock meeting his parents yet--and when he gets home, Brock is already there, leaning against his car. His hair is hidden under a toque, and he's got a puffy vest on over Morgan's hoodie. He has to know what that does to Morgan.

 

Morgan climbs out of his car and smiles broadly. "Hey, you got here quick."

 

"We've only got today, why waste time?" Brock grins and then looks behind him, eyes lighting up. "Oh man, look at this beautiful girl here!"

 

His voice goes soft when he talks to Maggie, and something in Morgan's chest tightens. Brock goes around to open the door for Maggie to get out and she sniffs at his hand for only a moment before enthusiastically asking for pets. "She's generally pretty outgoing, she loves everybody."

 

Brock is kneeling, rubbing down her neck and back, scratching through her scruff and beaming when she tries to lick his face. "I can see that. Hi there, Maggie, it's good to meet you. I've heard nothing but the best things about you."

 

And oh, Morgan is in trouble. "So uh, do you want to get going? It's a little bit of a drive up to the spot I like to take her hiking."

 

Brock turns that wide smile his way and nods. "Yeah, let's get going."

 

There's silence in the car for a while, but it's more anticipation than awkwardness. Here and there they add observations about places along the way: an Italian restaurant Morgan suggests, a place Brock insists makes the best Pad Thai. Morgan asks about Brock's family, Brock does the same.

 

When they get out of the car and start to walk, Morgan loops Maggie's leash around his wrist and hesitates for only a moment before he reaches for Brock's hand with the other. Brock smiles and squeezes his fingers. Maggie trots along just ahead of them and they follow, hand clasped. Morgan knows they have to talk, but he's not sure where to start.

 

"I came out to Stech last night." Brock's words break the silence and well, that's one way to kick it off.

 

Morgan's eyes go wide and he glances over. "Oh, wow. How was it?"

 

"He was pretty cool about it, actually. I mean, he went to Pride last year, so I thought he might be fine. It was pretty chill, I guess." He pauses before continuing. "I didn't tell him about you or anything. He wanted to know why I was so secretive about things. He asked if I had some hot famous boyfriend now, so I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm dating some actor."

 

Morgan feels his face go hot, despite the chill in the air. He huffs out a laugh but it sounds strangled. "He's gonna be real disappointed, isn't he?"

 

"I don't know, I feel like he'll be even more impressed by a possible Norris finalist than an actor," Brock says it nonchalantly, but he doesn't look at Morgan. "I said I didn't have a boyfriend yet anyway."

 

The yet part of his statement hangs in the air.

 

"I'm pretty sure Auston knows there's something between us," Morgan says instead of answering the obvious. "He told me to say hi to you yesterday. And he asked me about San Jose."

 

Brock does look at him now, teeth worrying his lip. "Do you think that's gonna be an issue?"

 

Morgan shrugs. "I don't think he'd tell anyone, and he didn't seem freaked out or anything, just a little suspicious."

 

They walk in silence for a few more moments. Maggie's moving slower now, but she's just as happy.

 

"I told my parents I'm bi." Morgan looks over to see Brock's reaction, but he can't read it. "I told them I've been seeing someone."

 

Brock squeezes his hand just a little. "How'd they take it?"

 

"Good. They had questions, but it was good. I wanted them to know, just in case anything ever came out." Morgan tugs Brock over toward a clearing in the path, right on the shore of the lake that it passes alongside. "I'm really sorry about what happened in San Jose. I freaked out."

 

"Understandable," Brock nods and watches him. "It sucked, though. We were good together."

 

"We are good together," Morgan adds, and hopes that Brock picks up on the distinction.

 

Maggie sits at Morgan's side, content to rest for the moment. It's quiet standing here by the water, just wind in the trees and a few chirping birds. Morgan takes a deep breath; the air is crisp, clear. He turns to face Brock outright.

 

"I like seeing you wear my clothes." It's a weird way to start, probably, but if he thinks too much, he'll chicken out again. "And I like getting messages from you. And waking up with you was the best thing ever."

 

Brock is staring at him and there's a hint of a smile tugging his lips. "And you told your parents you've been dating me."

 

"Well not you ," Morgan flushes, raking a hand through his hair. "But, yeah. I told them I've been seeing someone, but I wasn't sure if it was serious. But, um. I would kinda like it to be serious. Because I really like you. A lot."

 

"I uninstalled Grindr because there was no one like you on there." It's no longer just a hint of a smile on Brock's face now. "And you heard Troy, I've been hung up on you for a while."

 

Morgan hesitates for a moment but he steps closer and slides a hand to Brock's hip. "And he already thinks you have some hotshot famous boyfriend."

 

"Hotshot awesome defenseman boyfriend anyway, I guess," Brock says playfully, wiggling his eyebrows.

 

Morgan pulls Brock in tight now, both arms around his waist, and Brock's hands slide up to his shoulders, one threading into his hair. "I like the sound of that. The boyfriend part, at least."

 

Brock rolls his eyes fondly. "Stop being cute and kiss me."

 

So Morgan does.

____

 

Brock and Morgan spend most of the day out by the lake, talking and kissing and leaning close while Maggie alternately explores around them and naps at their feet. Once the chill in the air turns unpleasant they head toward home, toward Morgan's place. They hold hands in the car, and Brock could get used to this.

 

Maggie is worn out from the hike when they get back so she curls up on the corner of the couch to sleep, and Morgan smiles shy and soft. He has one eyebrow raised and he tilts his head toward the hallway. "Mags wants to get some rest, so we could leave her alone for a while?"

 

Brock grins, arms crossed over his chest. "What are you suggesting, Morgan?" He knows the answer, but he likes to make Morgan squirm a little bit.

 

Morgan walks over to him and hooks a hand in the pocket of his hoodie, uses that to pull him into a kiss. "Well I figured we could celebrate making this relationship official."

 

"I definitely like that idea," Brock says and follows Morgan back to his bedroom.

 

They trip over each other as they walk, neither wanting to take their hands off of each other. Morgan is pushing the toque off of Brock's head; Brock is tugging on Morgan's shirt. Maybe they should be slower, maybe it should be deliberate and romantic, but in the moment Brock doesn't care. All too soon Morgan will be back in Toronto, clear across the country. They won't see each other again until the offseason, so there's no reason not to get their fill right now.

 

Morgan was doting and generous as just a hookup, but none of that can compete with Morgan the boyfriend. Morgan the boyfriend starts with kisses to Brock's mouth, his jaw, his closed eyelids. He peels Brock's clothes off and follows with calloused palms over his skin. They're both a little sweaty from the hike, so Morgan pulls him toward the bathroom and while the water warms, Morgan makes out with him, leaned against the sink, hands in his hair and one thick thigh anchored between Brock's legs.

 

Brock is the one to pull Morgan into the shower, slicking his hair back under the spray, grinning when he catches the hunger in Morgan's gaze. He grabs for the bottle of body wash but Morgan beats him to it, pushing him against the wall and sliding soapy hands over Brock's body. Neither of them really get clean, they spend the time mostly kissing under the water and feeling each other up.

 

Morgan has fluffy, soft towels and he dries Brock off meticulously before they go back and tumble onto the bed together. Morgan digs into the drawer for lube and then maneuvers himself between Brock's thighs, panting into his skin, teeth scraping over it; he's in no rush for this part, using just one finger, then two, stretching and spreading. Brock can't bring himself to care if he's begging, if he's whimpering for it, especially when Morgan moves to replace his fingers with his mouth, tongue swirling slow and then pressing in deep.

 

He's content to stay down there, tasting and teasing, and Brock doesn't stop him; hell, he can barely form real words after a few minutes. Brock gets a hand around his own cock and lets himself get lost in it, Morgan licking into him and then pulling out to ease fingers in again, curling them up just right. Brock wants to wait, wants to drag this out, but Morgan knows him too well by now, knows how and when to touch. Morgan plays him like a well tuned instrument, and it's not long before Brock is coming, head thrown back and body arched high off the bed.

 

Morgan crawls up between his legs, mouth pressing to his stomach and his chest and up to his neck; Brock is overheated, too sensitive, and he latches his hands in Morgan's hair and drags him up for a kiss, desperate and needy. Morgan fumbles for a condom and after two tries he gets it rolled on, and Brock is still trying to catch his breath from the orgasm but he doesn't want to stop, doesn't want to wait.

 

"You okay?" Morgan checks in with him before he presses inside.

 

"Please," Brock pleads simply, his voice rough.

 

Morgan smiles and nudges his nose over Brock's, while he uses one hand to guide his dick into him, gently, carefully. He cradles Brock's cheek and keeps their eyes locked as he sinks deeper, deeper, until he's fully seated, their bodies flush. Brock feels dazed; it always aches just a little bit, but in the best way, and this is no different. He couldn't get hard again, not this soon, but he's still overwhelmed with sensation. Morgan's thumb traces slow lines along his cheekbone, the cut of his jaw, but his gaze stays trained on Brock's face.

 

"Sure you're alright?" Morgan asks again, and Brock can hear the strain of it, knows he's just barely holding back. "Not too much?"

 

"Fuck, Morgan," Brock mutters as he tightens his legs around Morgan's hips. "I can handle it. Fuck me."

 

Morgan's lips turn up, and his grin is nothing dirty, nothing wicked. It's soft and sweet and god, Brock loves him so much. He brushes a hand through Brock's sweat-damp hair and cups the back of his head, fitting their lips together, kissing him deep, licking into his mouth while he rocks his hips ever-so-slightly. His rhythm stays slow, the barest movement for long, long minutes, until Brock isn't just panting and holding on, until Brock is clawing down his arms and begging into the kiss; somewhere along the way his body came back on board and he's getting hard again.

 

"There we go," Morgan says when he gets a hand fisted around Brock's thickening cock, stroking in easy pulls, and his eyes are bright, maybe a little bit smug. "Ready for more?"

 

Brock doesn't answer, he just grunts out something affirmative and digs his heels into the back of Morgan's thighs. Morgan chuckles and kisses him again, and this time it's deep and filthy, wet mouths sliding over each other while he fucks into Brock, rhythm stuttered and off-pace from his grip on Brock's dick. Brock just clings to him, arms tight around his shoulders and face hidden against Morgan's throat.

 

Morgan mutters a hoarse fuck as he comes, hips canting forward as he shudders through it, no longer stroking Brock, just squeezing him a little too hard; it shouldn't be enough to push him over the edge but it is. Morgan gets his hand moving again, erratic movements to coax Brock through his orgasm, while he pants soft curses and encouragements into his neck.

 

When it's over, Morgan disentangles them and goes to clean himself off, coming back to do the same for Brock. "So boyfriend sex is pretty awesome," he says with a silly, sheepish smile on his face, crawling back into bed and pulling Brock into his arms.

 

Brock turns into the touch and snuggles up close, rubbing his cheek over the scruff of Morgan's stubble. "I mean, the sex was awesome before we became official."

 

"So I guess it's the boyfriend part that's great?"

 

Brock leans up to kiss his stupid boyfriend's stupid grin. "Yeah, that part is pretty great."

____

 

It's well into the evening when they finally pull themselves out of bed, stomachs rumbling and Maggie fussing to go outside. Morgan will need to get to the hotel for curfew, but it's late tonight and they still have a little bit of time together.

 

Morgan pulls out his phone to order delivery and Brock calls dibs on going out with Maggie, who seems to be perfectly fine with this decision, trotting out the door with him, tail wagging the whole way. Morgan can't keep himself from smiling, watching Brock--his boyfriend , he keeps reminding himself--hang out with his dog.

 

He orders dinner and digs around in the kitchen for drinks. He finds a couple of beers his brother must have left when he checked on the place, and makes a mental note to replace them later. After a few minutes, Brock comes back in, baby-talking with Maggie.

 

"Alright, sweetheart, go snuggle on the couch! Come on!" He looks over at Morgan, cheeks going pink at being caught. "You should see me with Coola, I'm a total nerd for dogs."

 

Morgan hands one of the beers over and leans in to kiss him. "I am very much looking forward to seeing that. Dinner should be here soon."

 

Brock takes his beer and heads off to find Maggie on the couch, and he lays down across the cushions with his head resting on her side. She looks down at him and is clearly fine with the cuddling, her mouth wide in a semblance of a grin, and then she settles her head down. Morgan stands and stares at them for a long moment, his heart tight in his chest.

 

Noticing him, Brock looks over and he arches an eyebrow, amused. "What?"

 

"I love you," Morgan blurts, and he really didn't mean to say that. Not like this, he wanted to make it special.

 

There's no shock on Brock's face at all, just a slow, easy smile. "Damn right you do."

 

Morgan laughs, he can't help it; he's just so glad that Brock doesn't seem bothered by the admission. "What do you mean?"

 

"Mo, buddy. You have no poker face. Everything you're thinking? You don't hide any of it." He waves a hand in front of himself. "All over your face."

 

Morgan wrinkles his nose and he joins Brock on the couch, and he knows he's still blushing. Brock chuckles and pulls him close, hugging him tight. Morgan hopes he gets to spend a good chunk of the summer like this, snuggling on the couch with Brock and Maggie. It's a pretty nice setup.

 

"I love you too, you know," Brock says after a few moments of silence.

 

Morgan looks at him and can't keep the smile off his face. "Damn right you do."

Chapter Text

The first person they tell is Auston.

 

He's been suspicious about them for a while, and they figure it's easier to just own up to it rather than keep it a secret from him. Once the Leafs get back from their Western Canada road trip, Morgan invites Auston over to watch the Raptors game and have some beers, and while he's there, they fire up a Facetime call with Brock.

 

Morgan watches him as Brock explains that he's gay, that he and Morgan have been hooking up for months, and they just now became official. Auston looks confused, but that's not necessarily a huge departure from normal. He turns to look at Morgan during a pause in Brock's explanation.

 

"So wait, I've totally seen you take girls home."

 

"I'm bi, so yeah, I'm into both men and women," Morgan is toying with the string from his hoodie--one of Brock's that he brought back from Vancouver--and hoping this goes well.

 

"Like, isn't that weird? Aren't you worried he's gonna want pussy some night when you're not here?" Auston directs the question at Brock.

 

To his relief, Brock merely smirks and snorts out a laugh. "Matts. Buddy. Have you met Morgan? Do you honestly think he's capable of cheating on anyone?"

 

Auston pauses and thinks this over, looks over at Morgan and then back to Brock on the screen. "Okay. Solid point."

 

"It's just like any other long-distance relationship, you know?" Morgan says. "You have to be able to trust each other. And we do."

 

"But like, you two will still go out with me? I know you aren't gonna pick up or anything, but you can hang out with me while I do?" Auston is looking back and forth, asking them both.

 

"Well yeah, we're dating, but we're not going to ignore our friends just because we're boyfriends." Brock makes a face at the implication.

 

Auston's eyes light up after a moment. "Holy shit, that means I'm not competing with you assholes. More pussy for me!"

 

Morgan can't stop himself from laughing. "Right, no competition from us."

 

"Fuck, I've got two wingmen! This is awesome!"

 

And just like that, they're talking about Auston picking up, and Morgan and Brock's big coming out moment is over.

____

 

Brock does the long drive back to Minnesota two days after his season ends. He spends most of it thinking about Morgan; he's going to fly to Toronto from Minneapolis, and he can't wait to see him. It's only been a few weeks apart, but they're very much still in the honeymoon phase so it still feels like too long. However, there's an important conversation he needs to have first.

 

He's talked to Jessica about it, ever since he and Morgan officially became a thing . He's always known that eventually he would have to come out to his parents, but he kept putting it off. Now though, he has a boyfriend, he's in love with that boyfriend, so he has to tell his parents.

 

He goes over the discussion out loud while he drives, rehearsing how he's going to word it, how he'll tell them. He worries over their reactions, wonders what kind of questions they'll ask. By the time he's pulling into his neighborhood in Minnesota, he has a full script planned out.

 

Jessica sits next to him, one hand steady and supportive on his knee, while he announces to his parents that he's gay. They ask about his high school girlfriends (he was still figuring himself out). They ask how long he's known (he knew for sure when he was 17). They ask if he's seeing anyone (he tells them that he is, but he's not ready for him to meet them just yet). Most importantly, they tell him they love him no matter what.

 

Overall it goes pretty well. He thinks that maybe his dad is a little bit less comfortable with it, but he still gives Brock a hug and tells him that of course he'll always support him. It's new information, and a big ball to drop, so Brock expected that it might take them some time to fully come to grips with it.

 

However long it takes for them to fully accept it, it feels good to no longer have to hide the truth from his parents.

____

 

When the Norris finalists get announced, Morgan is not among them. He would be lying if he said he isn't a little bit disappointed. But he finds out during the first intermission of Game 6 against Boston and in the moment he has more to worry about than a personal accolade.

 

And then two days later, for the third year in a row, Morgan is facing down a crowd of reporters and dealing with questions that he doesn't really have answers for after yet another first round exit. He aches all over, muscles tight and limbs fraught with exhaustion, and he can't remember the last time he actually slept well.

 

He gets home from Boston late, well past midnight, and Brock is there. Still awake, sitting on the couch in pajamas and one of Morgan's t-shirts, and as soon as Morgan walks inside, Brock holds his arms open. Morgan collapses onto the couch, resting his full weight against Brock's chest, melting into the embrace. He's just so tired , the thrill of adrenaline and competition gone, emptiness left in its wake. Brock pets through his hair and holds him, though he doesn't say much. Just having him there is enough.

 

Eventually they make it to bed, though Morgan only vaguely remembers being ushered down the hall and to his room. Brock strips him down and for once it's not sexual, there are no wandering hands or dark gazes, it's tender and careful, and Brock hisses at the bruises blooming dark on his skin from blocked shots and crosschecks.

 

He sleeps late the next morning, well into the afternoon, and by the time he wakes up, Brock is sitting next to him on the bed with a coffee in hand and the biggest cheese danish Morgan has ever seen. They don't move far from bed for the rest of the day.

 

Brock stays with him while he finishes everything he needs to do in Toronto before they part so Morgan can make his trek across Canada to Vancouver, to his parents and to Maggie. Brock goes home to Minnesota for a few weeks while Morgan settles in. Brock sends videos of himself hanging out on the lake, taking Coola for walks. Morgan returns the favor with selfies of himself cuddling with Maggie on the couch.

 

They're used to the distance now, but neither of them want to keep it up for very long.

____

 

Jessica is adamant that she wants to meet Morgan, no matter how many times Brock protests. He insists that it's too soon, that he's not ready; she counters that she's known about it for months anyhow, and he's in love with him, so it's just a matter of time anyway.

 

It's Morgan's second night in Minnesota when she shows up unexpectedly.

 

"Heeey Brock," she sing-songs, pushing past him when he opens the door. "I brought snacks. Where's Coola?"

 

"You're awful at playing it cool," Brock follows her into the kitchen.

 

"I don't know what you mean," she says breezily. "I just wanted to come hang out with my favorite brother."

 

Brock rolls his eyes and pulls her aside before she can head out onto the patio, where Morgan is sitting near the firepit. "Don't be weird, okay? I really like him."

 

She looks at him slowly, her lips pursed. "Oh really," she deadpans, "you like him? I never would've known."

 

Brock flips her off.

 

"You're the biggest nerd ever about him, you haven't stopped with the heart eyes in months." She grabs a beer from his fridge and heads toward the patio doors before he can yell at her that she's too young.

 

"This is what I mean about being weird!"

 

"I won't scare away your boyfriend," she calls back to him and heads outside, a wide grin splitting her face.

 

Brock rushes out to join them.

 

"Well hello!" Jessica chimes when Morgan looks over at her.

 

Morgan glances at Brock for a moment and then smiles warmly at his sister. "Hi, you're Jessica, right?"

 

"My brother has mentioned me? I'm flattered, I thought he was too busy keeping you all to himself."

 

" Jessica ."

 

Morgan stands and extends his hand to Jessica. "He says only good things, I promise. I'm Morgan, it's really nice to meet you."

 

"He's a dork anyway," she says. "But it's very nice to meet you too. Thank you for putting up with this weirdo."

 

Morgan chuckles and looks over at Brock, his gaze openly fond. "He's pretty easy to put up with, actually."

 

Jessica groans. "God, you're as sappy as he is. It's gross. Cute, but gross."

 

"You should probably be nicer to me if you're gonna be drinking my beer," Brock sits down by the fire and Morgan joins him. He sits close, their arms pressed together, but that's all the contact he offers with Jessica sitting there with them.

 

"Hey, this is an important discussion I need to have and you're not included." Jessica levels her eyes on Morgan. "Look, you seem like a good dude, but I just need you to know, my brother is completely head over heels for you--"

 

"Jessica, I'm gonna kill you."

 

Morgan just steals a sidelong glance at Brock, a soft grin on his lips.

 

Jessica barrels on. "So if you hurt him, I've gotta tell you, I can probably kill you if I have to. Or at least do some solid damage."

 

Morgan laughs and nudges his elbow softly into Brock's side. "Well I definitely don't plan on hurting him. I love him a lot too."

 

Jessica wrinkles her nose, but she smiles, satisfied with Morgan's answer. "Okay good. Also you're both still gross."

____

 

It's been a month since their season ended and Morgan is trying to adjust to the idea of what changes will await him when training camp starts up in November. Morgan has spent his entire career alongside Jake Gardiner, as a best friend off the ice and sometimes a partner on it. He doesn't know hockey without Jake being around: sitting next to him on the plane, walking into the arena with him, playing soccer before games with him. But now it appears as if Jake is going to be in some other room with some other team and Morgan is not really happy about the idea. He gets the invitation for Jake's birthday celebration on the Fourth of July, and there's no way he would miss it, especially not this year.

 

Jake knows Brock too, and he also gets an invitation to be included in the festivities. They're laying by the lake at Brock's house, and debating how they're going to handle the party. Their friendship is well known by now, but as of now the only people who really know about them are Auston and Brock's sister. Morgan has been on cloud nine for months and he hasn't really gotten to talk to anyone about it, and he really wants to.

 

"We should probably tell Jake." Morgan suggests, checking Brock's reaction. "He'll be offended if he finds out from someone else."

 

Brock is laying on him, back to Morgan's chest, between his legs, beer cradled against Morgan's thigh. "Do you think he'll be cool with it?"

 

Morgan thinks it over, the nights he and Jake stayed up bullshitting while they were roommates. Thinks about Jake when he told Morgan he was going to propose to Lucy. They've been really good friends for a long time. They've been through a lot together, on the ice and off. Even if Jake is unsure, Morgan knows him well enough to know that he'll be supportive.

 

"Yeah, he'll be good. And then we can just go together."

 

"Wanting to show me off?" Brock asks, turning to look at him, his eyes dancing.

 

Morgan pulls him closer and captures his mouth in a kiss. "Always."

____

 

Morgan and Brock are both unsure about introducing each other to their parents, with both still asking questions about their coming out revelations, and they decide to put that particular relationship milestone on hold for the moment.

 

While they aren't entirely ready for their families to merge, both decide that their dogs should meet. Brock and Morgan make the trek from Burnsville to Vancouver with Coola spending most of it asleep in the back seat, while they take turns driving and critiquing each other's music choices. After far too many hours they flop out together in Morgan's bed when they arrive, too tired to even strip each other naked, let alone do anything else.

 

The next morning Morgan goes to get Maggie from his parents' house and brings her to meet Coola. They sniff at each other, slow circles as they check each other out, and after a moment Maggie sits down and hangs her tongue out, her tail wagging wildly behind her. Coola takes it as a sign and starts dancing around her, Maggie taking the cue and following her out into the yard.

 

Brock sits next to Morgan on the porch to watch them play and slides his hand into Morgan's. He's pretty damn happy about where his life is right now.

____

 

It's not quite summer yet when the fruit from Paddington ripens. Just one of the blossoms actually grew anything, and the fruit is small, barely the size of the palm of Morgan's hand. Brock keeps joking about it, how it's Morgan's fault for not being a doting enough succulent dad.

 

"It's his first time growing anything, you can't expect anything yet!"

 

"Sure, Mo, sure. Blame Paddington for your failures."

 

They're back in Minnesota now, on the deck overlooking the lake behind Brock's house. They'd spent the day out on the water and are now watching the sun dip down toward the horizon. Morgan has the fruit from Paddington in one hand and a large knife in the other. "Hey, I read up on it, they usually don't produce any really good fruit until they're a couple of years old."

 

"Did you really need something that big? You could use a pocket knife!" Brock is taunting him now, standing next to him while he balances the fruit and cuts it down the middle.

 

"I'll show you something big," Morgan mutters and bumps his hip into Brock's.

 

"I'm holding you to that."

 

Morgan ignores him and looks at the inside of the fruit. It's got white flesh with black seeds speckled throughout. It smells good, even as tiny as it is. "Alright, here we go."

 

He holds up a piece for Brock and takes a bite himself. It's mildly sweet, though it tastes like someone watered it down. It doesn't have much in the way of flavor. Brock chews slowly and glances at Morgan, who purses his lips together and can't quite bite back a laugh.

 

"Disappointing, eh?"

 

"Pretty disappointing," Brock agrees. "But it's his first piece of fruit ever, it'll get better!"

 

"So we'll just have to give it another shot next year," Morgan says, and his voice is light, but he's watching Brock intently, his questioning tone evident.

 

"Next year," Brock confirms. "It'll be even better next year."