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Oh Sid

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The heat of the room was nothing compared to the hot hands that ran up and down Sidney’s sides. The sound of skin slapping against skin filled the hotel room, whilst outside the sun was rising over the Nashville skyline illuminating the city in pinks and orange. Dirty Russian was whispered into his ear and a cock stretched Sidney wide. They’d won, the second time in two years. But this was something else. Sidney had never thought he would want something as much as he wanted the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup was something he had worked for his entire life. But having Geno thrusting into him from behind, hot breath teasing his neck and sloppy kisses and bites tasting his skin, was Sidney’s deepest darkest desire.

They had been celebrating loudly. The entire team ecstatic at the win, as they should be. The floor of their dressing room at the Predators arena was filthy, covered in spilled booze and stray pizza. The party had followed them out of the arena, the team taking over the bar at the hotel. They couldn’t go out and celebrate around the town like they would if they’d won in Pittsburgh, but the hotel offered them a level of protection; they were at less risk of being on the receiving end of abuse from Predators fans.

They drunk the bar dry, the party flowing into the early hours of the morning. Sidney had rose on unsteady feet, wobbling around where Flower and Murray snored on the floor, the Stanley Cup cuddled between them. Kessel had already taken a photo of the two goalies, and when he was more sober Sidney would ask for that picture to be sent to him. The other side of the bar was bouncing, half of the team dancing like they were possessed. Sidney had stumbled over, tipping his head back when Geno danced over to him. Champagne was pored down his front, only a small dribble landing in his mouth. Sidney grinned up at the Russian, wet and stick and with eyes glazed over from the drink. Geno was in a similar state, his cheeks red from the alcohol and the dancing. Sidney didn’t know when the night changed; one minute he was pressed up close to Geno on the dancefloor, and the next he was lying naked on his stomach with a hot body pushed against his.

 

It should have been nothing more than a drunk one-night stand; the next day they woke up in the early afternoon in the same bed. Wrapped in stained sheets, Sidney had shared a hungover look with Geno. They sheets were pooled at their hips, exposing their bare chests and the subtle tease of hipbones. Geno merely shrugged, offering a smile before rolling over and quickly falling back to sleep. With Geno’s back facing him, Sidney could see the red scratches that spread down the Russians shoulders and back.

Resisting the urge to pull the sheets up with him, Sidney rose from the bed, embarrassment colouring his cheeks red as he waddled naked across the room. Hiding in the bathroom, he saw for the first time the scattering of bites and purple bruises that covered his throat. Dried cum was flaking on his stomach and on his inner thighs, leaving Sidney grimacing. The shower called from him, and Sidney was answering that call. The water down his back, washing away the evidence of his sex life, leaving only his bruises as a reminder. Sidney let his eyes droop closed as he ducked his head underneath the spray.

“Use all hot water, I share.” Sleepy words were whispered next to Sidney’s ear. Sidney jolted his eyes open, jumping at the hand that pushed at his hip, urging him out from underneath the shower spray. Geno didn’t seem to care as he shook his head under the hot water. The shower wasn’t designed for two hockey players, Sidney felt like he was being surrounded by Geno.

After the shower, Sidney and Geno separated as if nothing had happened the night before. They joined the rest of the team on the flight back to Pittsburgh, joining in with the flowing alcohol that fuelled the short flight. The party continued as the team debarked the plane, the celebration leaving the following days mixed together in a haze of drunken memories and embarrassing photos. After that first night, Sidney and Geno danced and partied like crazy, but they didn’t end up entwined in sheets again.

 

The second time they had sex, Sidney was drunk again. It was the night of the NHL Awards, and he had fought tears when the camera panned on his face as he watched Marc Andre Fleury waltz on stage, accepting a jersey for a different team. He was losing one of his best friends to a team on the other side of the country; he was no longer going to be able to drag his best friend down to the rink and take numerous shots on goal whenever they were in a bad mood. He wouldn’t be able to head over to the Fleury house for dinner and spend most of the evening playing tea party with Flower’s two little girls. He wouldn't be able to see his best friend every single day for nine months of the year.

Once the cameras had been turned off, leaving the players to the free bar, Sidney drank like he was a dehydrated fish. Flower had forced a smile on his face for a few moments as he sat down next to him. The smile only lasted a few moments before it fell away, revealing Flower’s distraught face, matching Sidney’s. Flower joined him in his depressing drinking for a few hours before Vero came to escort him to bed before they could create a scene by crying on each other’s shoulders.  Geno appeared at his shoulder, his hand coming to rest on the middle of Sidney’s back.

“Sad night.” Sidney nodded at Geno’s words, throwing the rest of his drink down his throat. “Time for bed.” Geno continued, hovering by his side until Sidney dipped his head in agreement. He allowed himself to be led out of the bar in Vegas. The entire hotel had been taken over by hockey players, and it felt like every step they took they had someone else pop up, wanting to talk to them. By the time they got up to the twelve floor and stopped outside of Sidney’s hotel room, the alcohol and the sadness had Sidney desperate for company.

“Stay.”

 

Sidney awoke in an empty bed, the smell of sex still perfumed the room and once again his thighs were stained with cum. Geno was gone from the room, and the darkness coming from the bathroom told Sidney that he wasn’t just using the toilet. Sidney dragged over the pillow from the other side of the bed, burying his nose in the soft fabric. The faint scent of Geno’s aftershave clung to the pillow. Sidney felt empty inside, and he felt ashamed. He stayed lying in the soiled sheets, the pillow he held in his arms growing damp as he quietly sobbed.

Chapter Text

The summer passed in a haze, he was kept busy for the remainder of the break with his hockey school, training for the next season and spending a large amount of time on his own by the lake. He had worked his way through seven of the books that he’d been meaning to finish and adored the privacy his little house in Halifax brought him. Sidney had hidden away in his house for a week after the Awards Ceremony in Vegas, licking his wounds and scraping his dignity back together. He learnt through a combination of gossip and Instagram stalking, that Geno had returned to Russia the day after Vegas. Sidney had allowed himself to scream and cry in the privacy of his own home when he saw the photos that Geno kept posting on social media, his arm wrapped around a pretty little blonde woman. The first time the woman made an appearance on Geno’s Instagram was only a week after Vegas.

Sidney flew back to Pittsburgh a week before Training Camp started, spending the few remaining days of freedom alternating between his own home and Mario Lemieux’s. All four Lemieux kids were at home on break from college, leaving the house reminiscent of the days back when Sidney had first come to Pittsburgh. Even though they were all technically adults, the craziness and the bickering was the same as it was back when they were kids. Sidney embraced the mania, playing street hockey with Austin and Stephanie, and fighting over Mario Kart with Alexa and Lauren. Nathalie and Mario watched the hysteria with twin looks of happy acceptance, only wincing when the it sounded like something was being broken.

Sidney concentrated on the utter madness, as he shied away from the impending training camp. He was dreading seeing Geno again, and he was already feeling the loss of the Flower shaped hole in his life. He texted Flower every day, but it wasn’t the same. Mario had made a point of taking Sidney into the office on the first day back in town, explaining to him why they hadn’t protected Flower. He understood the reasons that Mario gave, but his love for his friend made it difficult for him to accept. Sidney knew that he was being selfish in his desire to have Flower remain on the team; it wouldn’t have been fair for him to stay though. In the last few seasons, Flower had been chosen to start less and less. It was unfair to keep Flower on the team if he was going to end up just warming the bench. Sidney knew that in Vegas, Flower would be given the chance to remind the hockey world that he wasn’t a back-up goalie. He could deal with the flower shaped hole in his day, but Sidney didn’t know how he was going to deal with seeing Geno again.

 


 

The first day of training camp, Sidney had felt his heart plummet into his stomach. His stomach had already been tying itself in knots the past week as the anticipation and anxiety twisted at his insides. Geno was stood in front of Kessel with a big smile on his face, his arms flapping as he talked excitedly. The words were rushed and rusty from a summer of talking Russian, but that just made Sidney want to smile like a love-sick teen. It took Sidney an embarrassingly long minute to realize he hadn’t walked over and joined a conversation about what everyone had gotten up to on their holiday. Instead Sidney was forced to keep a smile on his face as he listened to Geno talking excitedly about his new girlfriend.  “Hoping she come over and visit later in season,” Geno exclaimed in heavily accented English before turning his smile to Sidney, “Sid! Good summer!”

Sidney struggled to find his words as he battled to keep his true emotions off his face, “Hi Geno, it was good thanks.” The niggle in his stomach as he said those words stuck with him even as he was shepherded off for his fitness tests.

His fitness tests left him with mixed emotions. Whilst he passed and excelled in all of the physical tests, Sidney was left feeling confused at the results he got from his height and weight measurements. Chris Stewart had frowned at the numbers on the scales, jotting them down with a shake of his head. Sidney had been the same weight at the beginning of every season, he always aimed to be 200lbs on the start of training camp; he may not end the season at that weight, but he always started on it. The numbers on the scales didn’t read 200 this year, instead they ready 207lbs. Sidney didn’t know what to say as he waited for his body-fat to be measured, fearful of what those results would say. He didn’t realise his weight was one of his weird superstitions until it was; panic pulsed through him as he wondered what it would mean for his season.

Training camp passed in a wave of skating drills, and hard hits. Sidney was able to loose himself in pushing the rookies to work harder, encouraging them and poking them to be the best they could. He knew that some wouldn’t make the cut, but he liked to try and help them reach their potential. The veterans showed their credentials, delivering bone-crushing hits with brutal intensity. One scrimmage had left him on his arse, his helmet banging back against the ice. It hadn’t hurt, and he knew that he hadn’t done any damage to his head, but Sidney did end up feeling nauseous for a good hour after.

Sidney left the rink on the last day with a smile on his face and more than one bruise on his body; he knew that the team had a lot of talent to play with this year, and he hoped they could take the cup for the third year in a row.

The bruises didn’t bother him as much as Geno unknowingly did. It was as if the Russian had forgotten the two nights they’d spent together, or he was perfectly content in never bringing them up. It was as if nothing had changed for him, when it felt like the entire world had been flipped for Sidney.  He wanted nothing more than to share his troubles with Flower or Tanger, but he didn’t know what he would say. Sidney didn’t want to disturb Flower when he was in the middle of his own training camp, and he simply didn’t know how Tanger would react.

 


 

The weeks flew by, the team playing their preseason games and the first game of the season was looming on them. The team were still working to find their feet with the new changes to the team, new lines practising finding each other’s tapes and learning to play with new teammates. Sidney tried his hardest to put some space between himself and Geno, but the Russian seemed to be unaware of that idea. There was always an arm thrown over shoulders, and chairs pushed closer. It would have made Sidney’s heartbeat rise if it wasn’t combined with continuous mentions of Geno’s new girlfriend. It was as if Geno was intentionally trying to drive down the point that he wasn’t interested in Sidney in that way.

Sidney had spent the three weeks since training camp throwing up. It was like a bug had taken over his body and was making him throw up at random intervals every day. It was never at the same time of day, and it wasn’t from anything he’d eaten. He forced down bowls of plain pasta and toast despite his desire to stuff his face with chocolate doughnuts. He didn’t even know why he wanted doughnuts, they hadn’t been part of his diet plan for over a decade, and even before then they had never been his favourite treat. Whenever he wasn’t fighting the urge to throw up, he felt like he constantly needed to use the bathroom. Whatever was making him sick was making him need to pee more than ever.

The team lost the first two games of the season, including a gut-wrenching 10-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. It wasn’t how they wanted to start the season after winning the Stanley Cup, but it was what it was, and Sidney had to remind everyone to look ahead to the game against Nashville. They knew that Nashville were going to come out like a raging bull.

It was after the warmup for the game against the Predators, when Rusty walked into the locker room bathroom and found Sidney crouched on the ground and clinging to the toilet bowl. “Do you need Stewart or one of the docs?”

Sidney groaned, spitting the taste of vomit into the toilet as he flushed away the contents of his stomach. His stomach gurgled, threatening to dispel anything that was still left. Sidney wiped at his forehead, the sweat glistening on his skin. He had hoped that he would be able to hide his recent bout of sickness from the rest of the team, knowing that some of the older players would panic and think it was a symptom of a concussion. Resting his head back against the toilet wall, Sidney let his eyes flutter close as he focused on his breathing as he tried to distract himself from the churning that was still threatening his stomach.

“I’m going to get Stewart.” Rusty announced, the sound of skate’s blades tapping against the rubber floor. Sidney tried to push himself back to his feet. He knew that if the trainers came in and saw him sat on the floor, he would probably end up benched and pushed up into he press box with Mario. He could hear the chatter from the locker room echoing into the bathroom, and on unsteady feet, Sidney wobbled over to the sink. Splashing his face with water, Sidney breathed heavily through his nose as a wave of dizziness washed over him. He focused on the sound of the water filling the sink, his body swaying with every exhale of breath.  The sound of the bathroom door slamming open, bouncing off the wall had Sidney standing up tall and forcing his eyes open. The light of the room left him with a slight throbbing in his head; combined with the sickness that still lingered along with the smell of vomit, Sidney felt the worst he’d felt in weeks. He still forced himself to stand up tall and look like he wasn’t second away from running back to the toilet.

“Bryan said he found you throwing up,” Chris Stewart leaned against the counter next to Sidney, watching with a critical eye. Rusty hovered by the doorway watching the exchange, nervously wringing his hands together.

“Something must have not agreed with me, I’m feeling better now. If it starts again, I will leave the bench.” Sidney promised, rehearsing a line he’d been practicing since the first week of throwing up. He knew it was just a bug, and he just had to let it work its way out of his system. Chris merely raised an eyebrow in response, waiting for Sidney to dig himself deeper into his hole. Sidney knew the game that was being played, having fallen victim to it before; he knew that if he kept talking trying to prove that he was fine it would just backfire against him and he’d be pulled regardless.

“If you throw up again, you’re spending the rest of the game in the office with me.” Stewart threatened, waiting for Sidney to make the first move out of the bathroom. Rusty followed him out the room like a shadow, his head hung in guilt as they returned to the loudness of the locker room. The rest of the team didn’t seem to notice them as they dropped into their stalls just in time for Coach Sully’s pre-game speech.

 

Sidney managed to keep his stomach in check for most of the game. In the third period, he was sat in the penalty box for his second stint in five minutes. The Penguins were winning but the Predators were fighting them every step of the way. The team had received so many penalties, and Sidney’s second one had left him agitated. He had been penalised for a cross-check that had had been done in retaliation for a cross-check Subban had delivered to him. He was marched off to the Penguins penalty box whilst Subban got to skate back over to the Predators bench with a shit-eating smirk.

The penalty clock was counting down, and with less than ten seconds left in time, Sidney felt his stomach clench in the all too familiar way. He gritted his teeth against the rush of acid that coated his mouth. He could feel the vomit working its way up his throat with every second that passed; the official was stood with his hand on the latch ready to let him out. Sidney knew that Sully would want him to join the powerplay team and make an impact straight out of the box, but Sidney knew that the only reason he hadn’t thrown up yet was sheer will power.

The door on the penalty box opened, and Sidney rushed out onto the ice. Olli Maatta had the puck up behind Murray’s net, and instead of skating over and helping to drive the puck back towards the Predators net, Sidney skated straight to the Penguins bench. He could feel Sully’s burning glare on his back as he rushed down the tunnel towards the dressing room. Chris was running directly behind him, following him every step of the way. Sidney shook his gloves off as he ran and threw his helmet onto the bathroom floor just before he dropped down onto his knees in front of the toilet bowl.

A hand rested on his shoulder as his body shook with the ferocity of his wretches. Chris waited until Sidney had stopped spitting the remnants of vomit into the toilet. Pulling back, Sidney wrinkled his nose at the smell of vomit that clung to the air. Falling backwards onto his butt, Sidney let his head drop back, watching through half-closed eyes as Chris reached over him, flushing away the contents of the toilet. Strong hands pulled him up onto his feet, supporting Sidney as he was led out of the bathroom. He wasn’t led back to his stall, instead he was led down the hall and into Chris’s office. Sidney sat down on the edge of the examination bed, not putting up a fight when his skates were tugged off and he was slowly stripped from his gear until he was sat in nothing but his undershirt and shorts.

“How long this been going on?” Chris asked impatiently, dropping into a seat as he watched Sidney with an analytical eye.

“Couple of weeks, keep throwing up and feeling dizzy. It’s not like a concussion though.” Sidney explained, a hand absently rubbing at his stomach as another bout of nausea twisted at his insides.

Chris looked at him with a frown as he rose from the chair and motioned Sidney to lie down on the bed. He waited until Sidney had laid down before he indicated towards his stomach, “May I?”

Sidney nodded, fidgeting as the hands gently poked and prodded along his covered stomach. “Let me know if there is any pain,” Chris explained. Sidney nodded again, resisting the urge to wiggle away from the touch. Chris continued prodding his way softly around his abdomen, frowning when he finished working his way across his stomach. “Anything?”

“No pain, though if you press down on my bladder again, I will need to pee.” Sidney mumbled, his eyes staying closed. He wanted to say it was because the overhead lights were too bright, but in honestly, he was feeling exhausted, and lying down just made him want to drift to sleep.

“Is that something that has also increased within the last few weeks?” Chris asked, a sharpness to his voice that made Sidney’s forehead wrinkle into a frown.

“I guess.”

“What about heartburn or indigestion? Any instances of that?”

“Yh a few times,” Sidney shrugged his shoulders. He heard Chris step away from him, rattling the contents of one of his drawers as he searched through them.  He obviously found what he was looking for because the noise stopped, and the soft sound of footsteps followed.

“Okay, You’re not going to like this question. Have you had unprotected sex recently?”

Sidney whined in the back of his throat. Chris had known him for years, and he also knew that he was not one to talk about his sex life. Sidney had thought the topic had been firmly banned from conversation years ago.

“I need to know Sid.”

“The end of July.” Sidney mumbled, throwing an arm up over his closed eyes. He could feel his cheeks burning at the admission. It was the first time he’d said it out loud.

Chris sighed deeply, as if he had been told the wrong answer. Silence ticked by between them, before Chris found the words he wanted to use. “Was that unprotected sex with another man?”

Sidney stayed still, unwilling to even let out a breath. “Y-yes.”

Chris sighed again, following it up with a pained, “Oh Sid.”

Sidney blinked his eyes open when he felt a box being pressed into his hand. He pushed himself up into a seated position, staring down at the words on the blue box. “I can’t be pregnant.”

“We need to rule out the possibility.”

His eyes grew wide and panic had the box shaking in his hands. It couldn’t be true, it had to be a mistake. Sidney had spent weeks believing it was just a stomach bug, and he didn’t want to believe it could be anything but. He watched as Chris opened the door to the small en-suite that was attached to the room, flicking the light on ready for Sidney to follow. Sidney rose onto unsteady feet, the wobble in his step having nothing to do with the balance problems that he’d been having an issue with. Every unsteady step left him feeling like he was walking to the gallows, and the blue box in his hand felt like it weighed a tonne.

He barely focused on Chris’s words as he left him in the bathroom, “Just pee on the stick, it should give us a result in a minute or so.”  The door closed behind him, giving him the pretence of privacy as he shakily pulled the instructions and the pregnancy test from the box. Despite knowing in theory what he had to do, Sidney still read through the little instruction pamphlet before reluctantly accepting his fate.

He could hear Chris on the other side of the door as he waited. The stick was resting on the side of the sink, and Sidney was sat down on the closed toilet lid. He didn’t know if a minute had passed or if ten had gone by. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the test, just in case it gave him the answer he didn’t want. A soft tap on the door made Sidney jump, “Everything okay?”

He couldn’t put it off any longer. He slowly reached towards the test, closing his eyes as he held it up in front of him. Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes and instantly felt like he’d been hit by a truck. Sidney didn’t want to believe the truth in front of his eyes. His hands were shaking as he read the word on the stick.

Pregnant.

Nausea bubbled in his stomach, like it had been doing for the past few weeks; but this time it was different.

Chapter Text

Male pregnancy was deemed a disease when it was first identified in the late 19th century, a time where it was largely illegal to practise homosexual acts; in a way, a disease is exactly was what it had started out as. The bacteria that made up the common-cold mixed with the genetic make-up of a retrovirus and spread itself around the world as a viral infection. The disease invaded the populations genetic make-up, evolving and changing the human anatomy in a ground-breaking way. The disease became part of human DNA, but it only manifested in a small part of the male population.

For those born with the gene, tucked away in the anal cavity was the opening of a womb. Unlike with female reproductive organs, males with the gene did not suffer from periods; instead of an egg being released from an ovary every month, a male host created an egg cell from a normal one which remained in the womb. The sperm still had to fight to impregnate the egg and if none managed the egg would simply remain in the host’s body. If the male was to end up pregnant, a new egg cell would only form after the birth had occurred.

There had been millions of studies and research done on the phenomenon, but it took the world nearly a century to finally accept it. There were places in the world that still criminalised homosexuality, and having a pregnant male was a clear sign that a homosexual act had taken place.

The United Kingdom, United States and Canada had been one of the first countries to accept the change in male anatomy, even though it took them until the 1970’s to openly accept it. Before that date, the pregnancies and the births had been done private and often led to medical complications. In the 1970’s a test was created which would allow someone to find out if they possessed the gene. The test was expensive, even twenty years later, and some thought it pointless. Male pregnancy was only possible from anal sex and when you considered the small percentage of people possessing the gene, the figure got drastically smaller when you then took into account only approximately 5% of the population identified as gay. The vast majority of men who had the gene identified as straight, meaning it was irrelevant to them if they could get pregnant or not.

Sidney did identify as a gay man and had done since he was a teen. At thirteen years old hockey was his entire world, and his shoulders bore the weight of expectation already. He didn’t want to be the first gay hockey player, and he didn’t want to be judged on his sexuality rather than his skill. His parents had been amazingly accepting, and his father had joined him in the opinion that he should be careful about his sexuality. There would always be time for relationships after hockey, and that stuck with Sidney. He spent his adolescence fighting for control of the puck, honing his skills on the ice instead of being led by his hormones.

His parents had researched the test when Sidney first came out to them, counting the pennies and contemplating re-mortgaging the house. The test easily cost 20,000 dollars, and that was simply money they didn’t have. The test was also known to give false negatives and they didn’t trust that the information wouldn’t one day be leaked. They knew that if the results were leaked, it would inevitably out his sexuality simultaneously.  Sidney had already agreed with his father that hockey was more important, insisting that he had no intention of being the poster-child for gay athletes.

 


 

Holding the pregnancy test in his shaking hands seventeen years later, Sidney regretted not getting the gene test. A sample of blood and an intimate examination might have saved him from this nightmare. Chris was tapping on the door again, the taps louder and faster as time continued to slip by.

Sidney forced himself to move, his hands not co-operating with the lock on the bathroom door. Chris instantly knew what the test said before Sidney even got a chance to show him, the white expression on his face told the trainer more than enough. “Oh sid.”

He could barely focus as Chris took the test from his shaking hands, and slowly led him back over to the bed. Sidney collapsed down onto the bed, dropping his head into his empty hands. He was pregnant. He didn’t even know what to do or where to start. There was a baby forming inside of him, and there were only two dates that could have started it; the 11th of June or the 28th of July. Sidney let his hands drop away from his mouth, resting them on his flat stomach. There was no evidence of a bulge, and no evidence that a baby was growing there. One of the dates would make him four months pregnant, and he knew that he’d have started showing. The other date meant that he would only be two months gone.

He rubbed his hand over his clothed stomach, unable to concentrate on whatever Chris was saying to him. He was pregnant, and he was alone. Sidney couldn’t even begin imagining trying to tell Geno, not after being left alone after that night, and especially not now Geno was in a relationship with someone else. Bile rose up his throat as he pictured Geno’s new blonde girlfriend round with a pregnant belly of her own; Geno smiling with so much pride as he slipped a ring on her finger and asked her to marry him. If Sidney told him, would Geno look at him with disgust? Would he come with Sidney to hospital appointments? Or would he stand by Sidney’s side as he got an abortion.

He’d been playing hockey. He’d been hit into the boards and he’d been cross-checked. Subban had crosschecked him tonight, his stick catching him low in the stomach. He didn’t know if you could miscarry from a hit to the stomach. Sidney felt light-headed, barely able to focus when Chris squeezed his shoulder.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” Sidney voice broke as he sobbed. Cheers from the crowds in the stands above the office were just audible. Sidney wondered if the Penguins had scored another goal or if the third period had ended. “Is the game finished?”

Chris raised an eyebrow at him before checking his watch, “Probably got a minute or so left on the clock.”

“Can you go get my phone please? It’s in the bottom drawer of my stall,” Sidney asked. Chris simply nodded, gathering up all of Sidney’s discarded equipment before leaving the room. Alone in the trainer room, Sidney shifted so that he was curled up on his side. One of his hands rested almost protectively over his flat stomach. This was too much, too insane. A hundred different questions and thoughts were screaming as they raced around his head, and Sidney didn’t have an answer for any of them. What was he going to do? How was he going to tell Coach and Mario? How was he going to tell his parents? Did he even want it? How long would he be out of the game for? Did he want an abortion? How long would it take him to recover from that?

The cheers from the crowd once more echoed down from the stands just as Chris came back into the room, flicking the lock on the door. He passed Sidney the requested phone, before pulling the desk chair over to the examination bed. “We need to get you booked in for an appointment with a doctor.”

Sidney squeezed his eyes closed as tears threatened to spill. He knew it was inevitable, but the words still made him feel panicked. “You don’t have to know what you’re going to do, but the doctor will be able to tell you how far along you are and when you’d be due. He’d also be able to explain your options more than I can.”

What options did he really have, he couldn’t have a baby. Sidney’s body shook as his sob escaped. He felt stupid; he knew that he wouldn’t be in this situation if he had just been smart enough to insist on a condom. Instead he hadn’t thought, and he had trusted Geno entirely. He hadn’t thought about the possibility that he possessed the gene, and he hadn’t even considered if Geno might have an STD. For all he knew that could very well be the icing on the cake.  Apparently, Chris thought that too; “The doctors will also be able to check if you’ve transmitted anything.”

“Nothing could be worse than this.” Sidney mumbled.

Chris sighed at him again, rising from the desk chair, “I’m going to go tell Sully you have a stomach bug. You’re going to have to be benched for the road trip.”

Sidney didn’t think he was capable of even arguing against Chris’s decision. The click of the lock and the sound of the door closing behind him signalled Chris had left to go back to the locker room. Sidney flipped his phone around the phone in his hand a few times, before finally unlocking it. He ignored the usual random notifications that plagued him, tapping the little phone icon. He brought the phone up to his ear, absently rubbing his thumb over his stomach as he waited for the call to be picked up.

He felt horrible when he heard his best friend’s voice coming through the phone. Sidney felt guilty but he needed his closest friend in a moment like this. He knew Flower had a game and he knew that with the time difference his game hadn’t finished yet. “If you’re calling me just to tell me you have another concussion, I will fucking murder you.”

Sidney’s sobs escaped before he could stop it, the noise capturing the attention of his friend. “Sid. What’s wrong?”

Flower’s serious voice only made Sidney break more. Tears streaked his cheeks, “Flower I’ve fucked up.”

The only sound that came through the phone was muffled, the familiar clipping of skate blades tapping against rubber floor. “Okay no one is around, what’s happened?”

Sidney’s chest ached as his cries quickened, his lungs aching as he fought to catch his breath in between sobs. “I’m. I- I’m pregnant.”

Flowers response made Sidney feel like he was fast developing his own catchphrase. The way he said the two words made Sidney feel like Flower was sharing in his pain and his fears, “Oh Sid.”

 

Flower stayed on the phone to Sidney up until he had to go back out for the second period of his own game. He hung up with a promise to get on a flight to Pittsburgh instead of joining the Golden Knights on a charter back to Vegas. Neither of them had games for a few days, and though it wasn’t going to go down well Flower had simply stated that he was going to tell his coach that he had to go for family reasons. Sidney made him promise that he wouldn’t miss his next game, but he felt relieved knowing that his friend was going to be with him in the morning.

Chris returned to the room just as Sidney finished the call, the trainer squeezing his shoulder in a comforting manner. “Told Sully you had a bug, it will be able to give you a few days to think. I also got in contact with your doctor and we have you booked in for an appointment at 10 tomorrow morning.”

Sidney nodded, curling himself into a tighter ball. He was still dressed in just his sweaty under-armour, but he couldn’t bring himself to go back into the locker room just yet. He didn’t know if he would be able to hold it together if the guys started swarming him and checking he was okay. Sidney knew that he would probably burst into fresh tears if Geno was to be the one to ask. He also didn’t want to face the media, knowing that the reporters would automatically assume the worst. After the concussion he got in the playoffs, the press had started assuming he was one or two head hits away from being unable to play professionally again. His concussion history was always a great click-bait article, and reporters knew it and fed on it. Sidney huffed sarcastically as he thought of how many articles would be written if they were to find out about this.

He waited in the office until he was sure all the media had disappeared, and the locker room would be nearly empty. Chris waited with him, despite Sidney repeatedly telling him that he didn’t have to. This was one of the reasons Chris Stewart was one of the best trainers that Sidney had ever had the pleasure to work with. He was always there for his players, even if it was helping with personal issues like Sidney’s. Chris had left him after nearly forty minutes to act as a look-out, checking that Sidney would be able to shower and get changed in privacy.  Upon his return, he had stayed by Sidney’s side as they walked the few metres to the locker room. “Do you want someone to come with you tomorrow?” He finally asked as Sidney gathered his wash-stuff from his stall.

Sidney paused, his hand curled around his towel. His voice was croaky from crying when he spoke, “Flower’s catching a flight and coming up tonight.”

If Chris was surprised by Sidney’s words he did well to hide it, “Okay, just let me know how it goes okay. I will be in your corner no matter what you decide.” He left the room with a final parting pat to Sidney’s shoulder. Sidney embraced the silence of the normally loud locker room as he slowly stripped out of his clothes, wrapping the towel around his waist as he walked over to the showers.

In the showers, Sidney allowed himself to fully explore his naked stomach underneath the hot spray of the water. As the sweat and smell of the game washed away, Sidney as unable to pull his attention away from his flat abdomen. There was no bump visible yet, but Sidney could see the little bit of fat that had begun forming on his hips. The bones and muscles not quite as defined as they had been a few months ago.

 

Sidney booked a driver to take him home, not trusting himself behind the wheel of his car when his head was a million miles away. He fell into bed, sleep finding him easier than he thought it would. His tiredness overpowered his brain, and he only woke when he heard the shuffle of feet on his bedroom floor. The corner of the covers was lifted, and a breeze of cold air hit Sidney’s back. Whining at the temperature, Sidney turned to face the other side of the bed when he felt the mattress dip. Flower was just visible in the early morning light that snuck through the small gap in the curtains. His friend looked exhausted from his game and a nearly four hour flight; his hair dishevelled and shadows forming around his eyes. “Did you get any sleep on the plane?” Sidney mumbled half-asleep.

“Got a bit. What have you got yourself into?” Flower asked, relaxing into the pillow and tugging the covers up over his shoulders.

“I didn’t know I could, I only found out last night.” Sidney’s voice cracked as the urge to cry swelled in his throat.

“Who’s the other father?” Despite how tired he looked, Flowers eyes were open wide; his attention fixed on Sidney.

Sidney audibly swallowed before mumbling the answer aloud, “Geno.”

Flowers eyes only widened further at the revelation, “Oh Sid.”

“And I don’t know what to do.” Sidney sobbed, allowing himself to cry properly again. He had no reason to try to control his cries, the noise billowing around the room. Flower reached forwards, pulling him against his chest, his shirt growing damp from Sidney’s tears.

 


 

Sidney liked his doctor, which he knew was a strange thing to say. His doctor was close in age to his mother, and had the kindest soul, but she took absolutely no nonsense. She was also incredibly versatile in her field, trained initially as a obstetrician before moving primarily into general medicine. As soon as he stepped into the reception area of her office, he was immediately led into a little side room and greeted by one of the surgery’s nurses. He was used to needles, and he sat unphased as the nurse took vials of blood for testing. She explained what she needed them for, but the words flew over Sidney’s head; by his side, Flower nodded along with her. Flower had been through the process twice before with Vero, and he tried to explain what the nurse had to check as well. Sidney just nodded his head at both of their words. A moment of embarrassment filled the room when the nurse turned to Flower and asked if he was the other father. They quickly denied it, the nurse apologising for her presumption and explaining that they may need the fathers information and bloodwork later on in the pregnancy. Sidney blew out a breath, refusing to tell the young woman that he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to keep it.

After the bloods were taken the nurse led them across the hall towards the doctor’s examination room. Dr Harper sat waiting for them, her greying hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun. She smiled warmly at Sidney as the door closed behind him and Flower; Sidney forced himself to return the smile despite the bubble of anxiety in his stomach. “Chris told you what this is about right?” He tapped his foot nervously as he sat down in one of the chairs opposite the desk.

“Yes he told me, now have you got a full bladder as requested?” Dr Harper asked, returning the nod that Sidney provided in answer. “Brilliant, so what I need you to do Sidney is lie down on the bed in the corner and we can double check.”

Sidney rose to his feet, walking slowly to the bed and lying down as directed. The upper part of the bed was raised at an angle so that you were able to clearly see the screen on the ultrasound machine next to it. His heart was pounding in his chest as Dr Harper came to stand beside him; his entire leg began to shake as his shirt was pushed up towards his chest revealing his stomach.

“Okay Sidney, I just need you to unbutton your jeans and just push them down your hips a little bit.”

Despite decades of changing in locker rooms and public showers, Sidney still blushed slightly as he pushed his jeans down a little. He wasn’t exposed by any means, but it still felt odd. Flower had come over with Dr Harper and was standing next to Sidney’s head, offering him silent support by holding onto his hand.

“So we’re just going to put the jelly on your stomach, it’s going to be cold.” Sidney still flinched at the coldness even with the warning, earning a small huff of laughter from both the doctor and Flower. “And now let’s have a look.”

The wand pressed down on his stomach firmly. It wasn’t painful, but Sidney was definitely aware of the stick pushing at his skin. Dr Harper pushed the wand around his stomach for a few moments until she paused as she found what she’d been looking for on the screen. A few taps on the keyboard and the screen was magnified, focusing on the black space on the grainy screen. “This is the uterus, and just there is your baby.”

Sidney brought his spare hand to his mouth, biting down on his fist. The image on the screen was more evidence than the pregnancy test had been. There was something growing in him, and that thing was right there on the screen. With the image zoomed in he could see the outline of the head; the blurry little imagine didn’t look exactly like a baby just yet but it was getting there.

“Judging from the size of this little one, I will date your just over ten weeks. Which means your baby will be due around the 3rd of May.”

Sidney tore his eyes from the screen, staring up at the ceiling as he blinked away tears. He would miss the entirety of the season if he chose to keep it. But after seeing the small blob on the screen, Sidney could already picture a baby with dark hair and blue eyes that would darken to match his light brown ones. He sounded like he was broken when he finally managed to speak, “I got hit in the stomach, is -”

“It’s absolutely fine, they’re more resilient than we give them credit for. If you decide to keep the pregnancy, there would be no contact sport though. There’s resilience and then there is stupidity.”

Flower snorted at the doctor’s words, mumbling an apology when Sidney shot a glare at him.

“Mr Stewart mentioned last night that you hadn’t made your mind up what you wanted to do. Would you like me to discuss the options with you?”

Sidney shook his head, turning his eyes back to the blob on the screen. He focused on the tiny shape of the foetus, pointing at the shape of his baby as he asked, “Can I have a couple of copy of that, and can you give me any information you have on male pregnancy?”

Tears prickled at the corners of his eyes once ore, and Flower squeezed his hand reassuringly.

“Of course, and we’ll get you booked in for another appointment before you leave. Do you want to hear the littles one heartbeat?” Sidney nodded at Dr Harper. A wave of love had filled his heart as soon as he’d seen the shape of the growing foetus on the screen; his baby. Having seen the image, he knew that there he would never be able to live with himself if he chose an abortion. The sound of his baby’s fast heartbeat filled the room, washing over him and removing any niggling worries about his baby’s health disappearing. He may have been boarded and hit in the stomach, but the heartbeat proved that his baby was alive despite it.

“I get to be the god-father, right?” Flower asked, earning a honking giggle from Sidney. “Don’t laugh, it’s only fair. You’re god-father to mine!”

“Yh, you’re going to be the god-father. Uncle Flower.” Sidney teased, using the back of his hand to wipe at his damp cheeks.

Chapter Text

Flower drove them back from the doctor’s office, his eyes on the road whilst Sidney’s eyes were unable to tear away from his ultrasound print. A confirmation receipt of his next appointment was tucked into the front pocket of his jeans, and a paper bag hid the bottle of prenatal vitamins that a nurse had collected for him.

Sidney was tracing a finger around the tiny outline of his baby; it was so small that he was effectively just outlining the uterus. He knew as soon as he’d seen the imagine on the screen that he would never be able to live with himself if he had an abortion. It may not be the perfect scenario, but what would the chances of him ever having the option again. He was thirty years old, and other than checking out strangers as they walked by, he had only really crushed on one person in his life. Sidney had learned years ago that it was very difficult to get over a crush when you saw them every day of your life. It wasn’t just fleeting moments; it was being around them constantly and texting whenever you were apart. Taylor used to complain about her crushes when she was younger in high school, and Sidney used to just listen silently relating to his sister’s issues. 

He had never imagined his first time would be a result of the drunken excitement at winning the Stanley Cup. He had always hoped that it might be with Geno, but actually having the Russian bare and hovering above him as he slowly pushed into Sidney’s entrance. His legs had been spread wide almost into a split, Geno’s large hands splayed over the back of his thighs holding him open. His hands stroked their way up Sidney’s body before landing on his hips, holding him down as he thrust. Sidney had hooked his ankles around Geno’s back, holding him closer with a hand wrapped around the back of his neck, pulling him down into insistent kisses.

The night in Vegas, the night that resulted in the tiny baby growing inside of him, was different. Sidney had been devastated, and just as drunk as he’d been the first time. He’d realised in the cold sobriety of the morning, that Geno hadn’t been drunk. The flashes that he could remember from the hazy night, had Sidney lying on his front with Geno plastered across his back like a blanket. His neck was licked, kissed and bitten, and Geno had gone slow, taking his time tearing Sidney apart.

“Do you want me to go with you to Mario’s?” Flower asked, as they pulled off the main road and started driving down the quiet roads of Sewickley’s suburbia. Sidney hated how his heart lurched as they drove past Geno’s house; the big white house disappeared from view behind a lush green privacy hedge. Sidney wondered if Flower had driven this route on purpose; it was the quickest way to get to Sidney’s house, but it also meant they had to drive straight past Geno’s.

“I don’t know who I’m meant to talk to first.” Sidney admitted with a sigh. They had made a quick list of the important people who needed to be informed straight away: Mario, Pat Brisson, Jim Rutherford, Coach Sully and then his family. Flower had tried to convince him that he needed to include Geno on the list, but Sidney was reluctant. He wasn’t ready to even touch that issue with a stick.

They were pulling onto his street, and Sidney could see the house that he had effectively pulled down twice in his desire to make it perfect, and he could see Mario’s family home exactly opposite. “Turn left.”

Flower did as he was instructed, flicking the indicator to the left and turning into Mario’s driveway. It was part of their friendship, Flower loved teasing Sidney about his closeness to the family. Flower himself had spent a year in the 3rd floor attic room that had later became Sidney’s bedroom for eight years, and it had simply become a running joke that maybe he’d have been adopted into the family too if there hadn’t been a lockout.

Sidney reached over and grabbed onto Flower’s arm as soon as the car was parked behind Nathalie’s dark blue range-rover. He felt like the blood was draining from his face as he looked up at the front door of his second home. He had a key to this house, and the room on the 3rd floor was now permanently considered his. “What if he’s mad?”

Flower reached down, gently squeezing Sidney’s hand on his arm, “Sid, that man considers you a son. He is going to probably burst into big manly tears because he’s going to consider that baby his first grandchild.”

Sidney nodded along to Flower’s soothing tone, worryingly biting at his bottom lip as he tried to believe the words. Stepping out of the car, Sidney carefully slid his copy of the ultrasound into the paper bag, exchanging it for a duplicate. The doctor had handed him half a dozen copies of the photo and Sidney had been left wondering why he would need so many. Flower had been quick to snatch one from his hands, slipping it into his wallet alongside a photo of Estelle and Scarlett.

Sidney paused on the step outside the front door, debating if he still had time to change his mind about telling Mario. The split second he had stopped, Flower had reached ahead of him, twisting the doorknob and swinging the front door open. The entrance room was as messy as it normally was, even with all the kids away at college now. Shoes were kicked in various directions, and coats overflowed off pegs and hangers. Sidney breathed easier, settling into the cosy feeling of home. No matter how much he worked on his house, it was yet to let off the same sense of family and home.

Nathalie and Mario were sat at the kitchen island, cups of coffees sitting next to open laptops. Twin looks of surprise filled their face as they saw Sidney stood next to Flower into the doorway. “Marc-Andre!” Nathalie gleefully shouted, jumping from her chair and nearly spilling her coffee. She rushed across the room gathering Flower into a tight hug, “What are you doing up here?” Nathalie pulled back from her hug, reaching up to smoosh Flower’s cheeks.

“Flower’s here because of me.” Sidney whispered, two sets of eyes shooting to stare at him. The ultrasound print was buried in the back pocket of his trousers, waiting for the opportune moment to be pulled out.

“Sid, what’s going on?” Mario asked, pulling his reading glasses off so he could properly level a stare. Sidney bit down on his lip, hard enough to feel the metallic taste of blood in his mouth; he glanced to his side at Flower, finding the confidence to continue from the small nod that his friend sent him.

“I’m out for the rest of the season.” From the corner of his eye, he saw Flower face-palm. Sidney knew that it wasn’t the best way to start it judging from the frown on Mario’s face and the concern on Nathalie’s.

“This have something to do with the game last night?” Mario asked cautiously, pinching the bridge of his nose as he sighed. Sidney knew instantly that Mario had automatically assumed it was another concussion, just like everyone else would.

Sidney fished the ultrasound photo from his back pocket, holding it against his chest as he walked the few steps over to Mario. He put the photograph face down on the island, worrying his lip as he watched Mario pick up the picture in slow motion. The frown that had filled the older mans face melted away as he turned the picture over. A softness filled Mario’s eyes and his smile continued to grow as he stared at the ultrasound print.

“Is this real?” Mario asked. Nathalie came to stand behind her husband, a hand covering her mouth as she gasped at the sight.

“I’m due at the beginning of May.” Sidney continued, accepting the excited hug that Nathalie swept him up into. She tore away from him after a quick squeeze, rushing back across to Flower ready to pull him into a hug of his own. She stopped herself just before she pulled him back down into a tight hug, frowning as her thoughts caught up to her.

“Don’t worry. It’s not mine.” Flower chuckled, his laugh only increasing as Nathalie sighed in relief. Sidney’s honking giggle escaped him before he could stop it.

“Flower came because I needed help. I only found out yesterday.” Sidney explained, dropping onto the stall next to Mario. Mario was still clutching the ultrasound picture in his hand, smiling down at the little blur.

“Who’s the other father?” Mario’s voice was quiet but there was an edge of firmness that had Sidney exhaling. He wanted nothing more than to claim some kind of immaculate conception, but he knew that no one would accept that.

“I haven’t told him yet,” Sidney mumbled, he absent-mindedly stroked a hand softly over the bottom of his stomach. A cup of orange juice was placed down in front of him, and a hand was lovingly stroked through his hair. Sidney smiled up at Nathalie in gratitude as she stepped away pottering around making Flower a cup of coffee. Flower had perched on a stall on other side of the island, silently watching the conversation.

“Are you going to?”

Sidney shrugged at Mario’s words, twirling the glass of orange juice around in small circles on the counter. He carefully considered his words, “I don’t know.”

“Oh sid. You can’t not tell someone that they’re going to be a dad.” Mario sighed loudly.

Sidney let go of the glass, clenching his hands into tight fists as he fought to control the sea of emotions that were crashing in his head. The doctor had explained that his hormones and emotions were going to be going crazy, and Sidney had nodded. It had explained why he had found himself crying so much. “Why? Why do I need to tell them? They left me.”

“They deserve to know.” Nathalie chimed in, setting a cup of coffee down in front of Flower. Sidney eyed the cup, wishing he could have one of his own. Flower had already declared that he was going to be sorting through Sidney’s cupboards and fridge before he had to leave.  Coffee was unfortunately one of the things that was now banned from his life, and Sidney was already aching from the loss.

Mario patted Sidney on the back as he rose from his perch. Sidney watched with a weak grin on his face as Mario strode over to the fridge and pinned the print of the scan underneath a magnet. The magnet hid the small text at the top of the scan; the Crosby, S text was no longer visible to anyone who was to enter the Lemieux’s house. Sidney wondered what Mario and Nathalie might say if someone asked about the scan, but he trusted them with his entire being not to reveal his secret. They would probably make up a lie about a niece or a god-daughter being pregnant.

Sitting back down on the stall, Mario once again patted Sidney on the shoulder. “I’m really happy for you Sid, and I want you to know that I have your back throughout all of this.”

 


 

Sidney and Flower were forced to stay for lunch, and dinner. Nathalie finally letting them leave with arms piled high with Tupperware boxes of food and a promise of more to follow. Between them, they had tackled everyone on the list of people to contact. Mario had called Rutherford and Sully whilst Sidney had phoned Pat Brisson. His agent had sighed deeply at the phone-call, joining the growing list of people who had taken the news with a response of ‘Oh Sid.’ Sidney had voiced his worries about what the press would say when they found out.

“You’re not the first hockey player to find out he has the gene.” Pat had announced, surprising Sidney.

“But I’m the first to decide to keep the baby?” Sidney had asked, his stomach bubbling with anxiety and morning sickness. His heart broke slightly, when Pat confirmed his question; Sidney instantly suspected who the player was and his heart ached to find out the reasons why they’d chosen not to keep their baby.

“You’re in a good place Sid. The Pens are a lot more supportive and accepting than other teams out there.”

Sidney had hung up the phone once the conversation had finished with Brisson with a heaviness that failed to budge from his stomach. He wanted to find out more about what Pat had meant, but Mario was still engaged in his call to Mike Sullivan. From the sounds of it, they were thinking of a reason why Sidney would be benched for such a prolonged period.

Mario and Sidney had agreed that it was inevitable that the truth would be found out eventually, and that it was better just to accept and prepare for the incident. If they had the PR department ready and waiting to reply to the news reports and articles when the truth broke, it would be easier to deal with. They had ruled out a public announcement straight away, hoping that they could make the secret and the privacy last as long as possible. Sidney didn’t know if it would work, but he believed in Mario’s optimism.

Sidney waited to call his family until Mario was finished with his calls, and Nathalie and Flower had returned from his house across the road. The two of them had cleared his fridge and cupboards of foods that were apparently banned instead filling it with food that would be better for him. Gone were the meals that were designed for optimal workouts and gamedays, and instead it would be food that would help him, and his baby grow over the next few months. Sidney just hoped that in the mass cull of his cupboards, his chocolate stash had been saved from the bin.

With everyone gathered around him for moral support, Sidney had placed his phone on loud-speaker and dialled his parents. There were tears, both from his family and from Sidney, and there had been shouting as his father demanded to know who the other father was. His mother had shouted at his dad, telling him they should have just found the money all those years ago. Taylor had been the one to be happy from the start, gushing her excitement and chattering away giddily. She had also pestered about the baby’s other daddy, but she had done it by texting Flower instead. Sidney had text her back, whilst listening to his parents on the phone; he had simply repeated what he’d told his parents and Mario, he didn’t want to say. 

Eventually his parents wore down, slowing down the comments about his career, and the press. They ended the call with a congratulations that felt flat after how long they’d spent shouting over the phone. Flower had wrapped Sidney into a squeezing hug, whispering into his ear, “Ignore them. You’re doing the right thing and you will be an amazing dad. You’re so good with Estelle and Scarlett, and Alexander.”

Sidney had snuffled a giggle, wiping the tears from his eyes as Flower listed off his three godchildren. He knew it wasn’t going to be the same, but the praise made him feel a lot lighter.

 


 

Flower flew back to Vegas early the following morning, leaving Sidney alone in his big house. He’d spent nearly an hour curled around the toilet after he’d eaten a spoonful of porridge. The taste of his normal breakfast meal had left him gagging; he only just made it to the toilet before he fell to his knees and threw up. When his stomach had stopped feeling like it was doing backflips, Sidney had risen shakily from the bathroom floor. He pinched his nose when he walked back into the kitchen, spooning the cold porridge into the bin as quickly as he could. The smell alone made him want to run back to the toilet.

The team had an afternoon practice scheduled for the day, and Sidney debated making an appearance. Even when he had been at his worst with his concussions, he would try to at least show his face, watching practice from the bench. Dr Harper had informed him that he was allowed to skate, but he had to take it carefully. The no-contact jersey was going to be his friend for the next few months, but at least it meant he could join the team on the ice even if he wasn’t allowed to participate in anything. Weight-training was banned, as was excessive exercise; Sidney was encouraged to do cardio, but at a steadier pace than he was normally used to. There was already a panic that was setting off alarms in his brain as he pondered how his body was going to change in the upcoming months. He was going to get big, and his weight was going to get higher. The research that he’d done, and the leaflets that he’d been given suggested that it was normal for men to gain approximately 2 stone throughout a pregnancy. That number terrified Sidney, leaving him panicking as he thought about how that might affect him after the baby was born. Would he be able to get back to prime fitness for the next season? He’d only have four months to recover and get back in shape.

His body craving sweetness wasn’t going to help the imminent weight gain. With the porridge in the bin, all Sidney wanted was sugar. He wanted sugary cereal, the kind of stuff he hadn’t eaten since he was a child. Scanning through his kitchen cupboards, Sidney had grinned manically as he saw that despite all the healthy food Nathalie and Flower had brought, they had also brought him an immense amount of junk food that he wouldn’t normally buy. Pulling a box of Lucky Charms from the shelve, Sidney fired off a ‘thank you’ text to Flower. He knew that his friend wouldn’t be able to reply for a while, but at least he’d get it when he landed back in the desert.

Sidney moaned as he took the first bite from his bowlful of sugary marshmallow diabetes. It tasted so good and so forbidden. If his personal trainer saw him eating this, the man would probably scream at him for a good hour and a half. The guy was probably going to shout at him anyways, so why not.

As he ate, Sidney began scribbling notes on a piece of paper. He had to write a list of all the things that he needed to do. The first thing to do was get his house prepared. The house was ridiculously big for one person to live in, and Sidney was ashamed to admit he probably used only five rooms in the entire place. Leaving his empty bowl on the counter, Sidney walked upstairs and began examining the six guest rooms as he tried to figure out which one would be best to transform into a nursery. He briefly recalled his architect saying one of them was the ideal size and had the best natural light for such purpose; looking in at the rarely used bedrooms, Sidney couldn’t figure out which one it was. It wasn’t something that needed to be done immediately, but he wanted to at least have a vague idea of what he wanted to do. There was a room next to the master bedroom, but it was tiny. Whereas the biggest guest room was on the other side of the house which wouldn’t work for him.

Walking back and forth between the spare rooms was quickly stressing Sidney out. A quick glance at his watch told him he’d have enough time to make it to the rink before practise started. Any previous thoughts about missing practise disappeared; dealing with his teammates nosy questions seemed much more bearable than trying to choose a nursery seven months before it’s needed.

 


 

Sidney didn’t get a chance to step into the locker room before Sully dragged him into the office. Sully deposited him in a seat before falling into the chair on the opposite side of the desk. Sidney looked sheepishly at his hands, twiddling them in his lap as he waited for his coach to say something. “I guess a congratulations is needed.”

“Thank you,” Sidney smiled up at Sully. The typical frown on the coach’s face had softened, a small smile threatening to pull at his lips.

“You figured out when you’re going to tell the team?” Sully cut to the point. They had already announced to the media that Sidney was out undeterminably with a lower-body-injury, and the team would undoubtedly rush and hover like mother hens as soon as Sidney walked into the locker room.

“I think I’m going to wait a little longer, and just keep saying it’s something wrong with my hip.” Sully nodded at Sidney’s words, rubbing thoughtfully at his chin when Sidney continued, “I would like to continue going on road trips, but I also understand if you would like to give someone else the C this season.”

It hurt more than he realised for him to say those words. He knew that this year would be different to the long time he had off back in 2011 and 2012 with his concussion. Unlike then, he would have no chance to play for the rest of the season. There was a firm date of when he’d be returning, and that date wasn’t in the regular schedule. Sidney knew that he would be selfish to try to cling on to his C when he wouldn’t be able to play; he had offered up his C back during his concussion also but Dan Bylsma has refused him then. There had been players on the team who hadn’t agreed with that decision, and despite the attempts to keep the information from him, Sidney had found out about the almost coup. He absently wondered if Geno would breakup another coup for him if it were to happen again.

“Why would I take the C from you? Just because you’re not on the ice doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be leading this team.” Sully frowned as if Sidney had said something utterly ridiculous. Sidney wanted to correct him, point out that some of the players hadn’t agreed last time a different coach had chosen to the do the same thing. What was stopping new teammates from doing the same thing this time around?

Sully cut Sidney off as soon as he opened his mouth, stopping him before he could speak. “I personally want to get a hat-trick and win the Cup for the third year in a row. Just imagine your baby sitting in old Stanley.”

Sidney couldn’t help but grin as he allowed himself to imagine that possibility. He feebly pictured him and Geno standing on either side of the cup, their baby lying in the bowl, but that was just the fantasy. The mental image of him standing on his own next to his baby in the cup was good enough. Rising from his seat, Sidney thanked Sully before stepping out of the office. The noisy chatter echoing down the hall warned him that the locker room was already full. Sidney braced himself for the craziness before he pushed open the door.

Chapter Text

The team reacted how Sidney had expected of them. His teammates hovered around him like protective mothers as soon as he stepped into the locker room. They were eager to hear any details of his injury, and desperate for an approximate date of his return. Sidney felt awful lying to the disappointment filled faces; the older guys tended to favour a more worried expression when he mentioned that he didn’t have an approximate date yet, all of them worried that the injury was more severe than he was saying. The younger guys seemed to take their disappointment with a shrug, offering words such as ‘that sucks’ and ‘hope it gets better soon.’

Out of the younger lot, Rusty was one of the few who took the news with a frown. Sidney knew that his winger was remembering the vomiting incident from the previous game and was trying to decide if that was linked to the apparent injury reported to the media. Sidney could feel the curious glances that Rusty was sending him as he dressed for practise, donning the bright yellow no contact jersey that now hung in his stall. He thought the guilt that bubbled inside as he tugged his helmet from the shelf above his head; he was the only one in yellow at practise and he knew that any media watching practise was going to have their eyes glued on his bright back.

Sidney followed his drills and skated the length of the rink under the watchful supervision of both Sully and Chris. When the rest of the team were running speed drills, Sidney was hovering by the bench with the athletic trainer. Sidney was watching Geno racing against Kessel to reach the blue line when Chris whispered to him, “I’m glad you chose to do what you have.”

“I couldn’t bring myself to do the other thing. I think it would have killed me,” Sidney admitted. Their conversation was tactfully quiet and the baby unmentioned, both of them wary of whether anyone was able to hear their conversation. Sidney felt his heart clench as he watched Geno whoop gleefully at winning his little race and start skating circles around Phil as the pair playfully chirped away at each-other. He couldn’t hear what the pair were saying, but he knew exactly what they were like together; they were two big kids, both eager to win all the time.

Beside him, Chris made an affirmative noise in the back of his throat, agreeing with Sidney’s comment. “Sully will be telling the rest of the coaching staff after practise, so just be warned Gonch will probably start blubbering at you next time he sees you.”

The laugh that escaped Sidney drew the eyes of several teammates over to them, eyebrows raising as Sidney clutched the edge of the boards and howled. He couldn’t stop the giggles because he knew Chris was right. Gonch was a crier, especially when it came to family; when Flower had announced Vero was pregnant with Scarlet, the Russian had nearly burst into tears before busting out celebratory vodka from somewhere. Sidney knew that Gonch would probably cry at him, but he worried that he’d be able to figure out the truth if he asked about the other father.

He did wonder just how many times he’d be asked who the other father was before the secret eventually slipped out. He hoped that when it did, it would be to someone who would be able to keep his trust. Flower had reminded him before he left for the airport, “You can’t let him find out the truth from someone else.” Sidney had bitten back a retort when he’d heard it, wanting to snap that he didn’t care, but he honestly did. Just because Geno had hurt him, it didn’t mean Sidney wanted to hurt him back.

 


 

It was not a good day from the start. The team were driving the short trip to Washington on the morning of the game, and then flying out to Tampa Bay straight after for the next game on the road. Sidney woke up feeling more tired than he should have felt after an eight-hour sleep, and he’d spent the better part of an hour hunched over the toilet once again. When his stomach had stopped flipping and bubbling at the slightest movement, Sidney had tried to get dressed. His pant trousers which had fit perfectly only a week before now felt tight, bordering on uncomfortable. When he’d looked in the mirror, there had been no obvious change in his appearance; his stomach was still flat and there was no visible reason why his pants should have felt different.

Sidney fought valiantly against the urge to throw up on the entire bus trip to Washington. He’d kept a small sick bag hidden in the messenger bag by his feet and had found himself nearly reaching for it more than a few times on the four-hour drive. He wasn’t one for travel sickness and being surrounded by twenty teammates and the coaching staff whilst violently throwing up would not be ideal. The coaching staff had all being told about the pregnancy, and just as Chris Stewart had predicted, Sergei Gonch had nearly burst into tears when he saw Sidney. Wheeling his suitcase over to the team bus, Sidney had not expected to be suddenly spun around and captured in a death grip of a hug by the assistant coach. Thankfully there wasn’t any other players around at the time, so no one saw the exchange between old teammates.  When Gonch had finally dropped Sidney back on his feet, he had held out his hand in offering, asking in his thick accent, “Can I feel?”

Sidney had smiled, chewing on the inside of his lip as he nodded. “You can’t feel anything yet, you can’t even tell,” his words had been waved away, Gonch’s hand resting on Sidney’s flat stomach. The frown on the Russians face had Sidney chuckling, “I did warn you.”

“I know. Just can’t believe Sid going to be a Папа.”

“I’m going to be a papa.” Sidney confirmed, resting a hand on his lower abdomen when Gonch pulled back. He had no qualms saying the words when he was with a friend and no one was around. The words felt right as they fell from his tongue, as if they were meant to be there.

 


 

When they finally reached the hotel in the early afternoon, Sidney wanted to do nothing more than crawl into bed and sleep until the game started. With the back-to-back game, the team were due on a plane that evening. The hotel that they had booked was effectively just for the day, they would have a team-lunch and then retreat to rooms for a nap. After the game, they’d have to have a nap on the flight down to Tampa and catch as much shut-eye as possible when they finally arrive at the hotel in the early hours. Even when he wasn’t feeling unbearably nauseous, Sidney always felt drained from road-trips like this. You soon learned as a hockey player to sleep as much as you could, whenever you can; road-trips like this were one of the reasons why.

The hotel was just like every other hotel that he’d stayed in before, posh receptions always gave way to dark corridors with patterned carpets and elevators which rattled on every floor. Sidney felt so tired that he didn’t care if the elevator broke down when he was inside, which was always an option considering the shudder it gave when it had first started up.  Coach had handed out the room keys to everyone in the reception area; the group of twenty players somehow filled the large open space with their loud personalities. Sidney had made a point to wait at the back as everyone flocked on mass to the elevator as soon as they received a key. He simply watched and waited as his teammates tested the weight limit of the elevators. Only when he was one of the few stragglers remaining did he even start to walk over and begin the search for his room.

He knew it was only for the afternoon, but the bed that greeted him when he pushed the door open made Sidney want to weep in happiness. The sheets were the standard bright white, promising an impression of clean and sterile, when in reality the duvet and pillows underneath were probably far from that. Sidney didn’t want to think about how filthy the duvet and pillows might be underneath the covers and sheets, he only cared about how comfortable he would be when he crawled under them.  Stripping out of his suit, Sidney left his shirt and his pants in a pile on the bedroom floor, leaving himself in just his boxers and an undershirt. The comments about food and team-lunch were forgotten as soon as Sidney placed his head on the pillow; the soft feathery touch lulling him away into dreams of pink dresses and tiny blue socks.

 


 

It felt wrong to be stood watching down on the game from the box that evening. Sidney wanted to reach into his suit pocket and pull out the ultrasound picture to remind himself why he was doing this. His pants were once again uncomfortable tight around his waist, but at least this time he no longer felt like he was going to be sick at the slightest movement. He could feel the eyes of a few reporters and stray cameramen on him as he watched the Penguins claim a win against the Capitals; he knew that the game reporters and the commentators had probably made a comment about him at some point during the intervals, but there was nothing he could do about that. During the intermissions, Sidney had left the box in the last few minutes of play and headed down to the locker rooms to spend the break with his team. He wanted to join in with Sully and encourage his players even when he wasn’t playing out there with them.

Sully had asked if Sidney had wanted to stand behind the bench with him and the assistant coaches. Sidney had reluctantly declined, even though it would have saved him a lot of hassle. It wasn’t normal for injured players to stay on the bench, the media attention would have been even more focused on them if he had accepted.  

Sidney waited until the final buzzer rang out in the arena signalling the end of the third. The penguins had won the game with three powerplay goals, against the Capitals two. The team had also amassed less penalties than the other team, which was always a bonus. Sidney clapped from his box, as he watched the two teams meet in the middle of the ice and shake hands; his eyes glued to the numbers on Geno’s back despite his attempts to look away at other members of his team. He smiled weakly as he watched Geno and Ovechkin pat each other on the back, leaning closer to quickly whisper in Russian; he didn’t need to be on the ice to know that’s what they would doing. He was glad that Geno and Ovi had buried whatever rivalry and animosity that they’d previously had over the years. Geno never told him fully why Ovi seemed to have had it out for him, but Sidney wasn’t blind, and he knew first-hand what it was like to have a target on your back.

Below him the fans were rising and moving like ants towards the exits. The sight of the crowds, knowing that they would be filling the concourse levels made Sidney stay where he was, waiting for the coast to be clear before he even bothered to make his way down to the locker rooms. He sat down on the edge of the leather sofa that dominated one of the box walls, closing his eyes and focusing on the sound that filled the Capital One Arena. Despite his afternoon nap, Sidney felt like he was due another.

He timed it well, by the time he finally made it down to the locker room, most of the reporters had left. Only a few hovered hoping to catch the sought-after soundbite from Sidney. Sidney was forced to smile and play up the fake injury that was supposed to be ailing his hip. He smiled and repeated the rehearsed lines that came to him naturally after years of media training; he had been coached by PR teams for so many years that Sidney felt like he was unfazed by any questions a reporter could ever ask him. The one exception would be if someone was to abruptly ask him about his pregnancy right then. He knew that question would catch him by so much surprise, that he wouldn’t need to give an answer, his expression would tell the reporter enough.

No one asked him that question, and eventually Sidney was able to escape the repetitive questions that were asked of him. He was effectively the only person in the locker room, everyone one else in either the shower or the work out room. He leant against the wall, flicking through his phone as he waited for his teammates. Flower didn’t have a game for the next few days, so Sidney didn’t feel too guilty texting him. Flower and Vero had been sending him countless messages including reminders to eat healthily and links to articles about male pregnancy.  Sidney knew before Vero had even send him her text that Flower would have immediately told his wife as soon as Sidney had first called him.

He was just scrolling through one of the latest articles that he’d been linked over when Ovechkin burst into the away locker room like he owned the place. Sidney raised an eyebrow at the Russian captain, discreetly locking his phone before the guy could walk over. Ovechkin was dressed in his work out gear, still sweaty from the game or from his post work-out. Sidney’s raised eyebrow was matched by the Russian as the space between them was closed, Ovechkin leaning into his space in a way that set off Sidney’s nerves.

“You never think about others.” Ovechkin grinned almost maliciously down at Sidney. Sidney felt his insides twist as the words hit him with the force of a truck. He had no idea what Ovechkin meant by his comment, but he’d said it with intent. Sidney opened his mouth, ready to ask what he’d meant when the sound of a bottle hitting the floor reiterated around the small room.

“Sasha!” Geno snapped in a venomous tone; a half-drunk bottle of Gatorade rolled on the floor by Ovechkin’s feet. Sidney had jumped back when the bottle had been thrown at Ovechkin, his back slamming hard into the side of a stall. Ovechkin took a step backwards, moving out of Sidney’s personal space. The grin on his face still left Sidney feeling uncomfortable, combining with the pain that was throbbing in his back from the hit.

“What? I didn’t say anything.” Sidney could decide if Ovechkin’s smile was friendly, mischievous or evil. He did know that the glare on Geno’s face was genuine.

A derogatory noise echoed from Geno’s throat, twisting into something almost like a growl. Geno stomped across the small room, physically dragging Ovechkin back with a tight grip on his arm. Sidney wanted to follow as the two Russians left the room, the door slamming closed with a deafening bang. He wanted to know what the entire encounter was about and judging from the loud voices that spilled in from the corridor, the argument was only just beginning. By the time others started returning form the showers and the workout room, the voices on the other side of the door were now shouting at each other in fast Russian that no other player on the Pens had hope of understanding.

“What’s pissed the bear off?” Olli pondered, creeping up to Sidney’s side. Sidney reached up and ruffled at the defenseman’s damp hair, wishing he had an answer to give the young player. Those two hadn’t been at each other’s throats like this for years, not since they had resolved old fights and arguments.

“I don’t know.” Sidney admitted quietly, before gently pushing Olli back over to his stall. “Go finish getting ready and we’ll get out of here.”

 


 

Coach Sully shepherded his players onto the bus that would take everyone to the airport; Sidney had dropped into his seat in the middle of the bus when everyone else was still finishing getting redressed in their gameday suits. He needed the time to think, as he tried to understand what possibly could have occurred between Geno and Ovi over the summer that could have resulted in the screaming match that took place. It had taken Gonch, Sully and three members of the Capitals front office to finally tear the two apart. Sidney had tried to help but had been quickly pushed back from the confrontation by Gonch; the only one who could understand what the two were shouting at each other.

He wished he knew Russian, but his understanding of the complex language was worse than his pitiful French. He understood only a scattering of words; the words he knew best were not fit for common conversation, instead they were just the curses that you were bound to learn if you had a Russian on the team. Ебать, fuck, was commonly shouted by Geno during practise and games; it was also whispered into Sidney’s ear back in the darkness of hotel rooms. It had been one of the only words that he’d been able to pick out from the shouting match.

Geno was the last to climb onto the bus, the frown on his red face and the way he stamped down the thin aisle told the entire team that he was still angry. No one was stupid enough to call him an angry bear when the hostility was bouncing off him in waves; everyone left him to his own anger as Geno stomped to the very back of the bus, kicking Jake Guentzel off the back row. Sidney hoped that the rage settled down at some point before they reached the airport. He wanted to check that Geno was okay, and that was a conversation that couldn’t happen when Geno was angry. Sidney knew that Geno would never turn aggressive, but he was prone to shouting at everyone when he was angry; Sidney tended to flinch when being shouted at, and he knew from experience that Geno ended up feeling awful if he was the reason why Sidney flinched away in the middle of a conversation or argument.

 They reached the airport quickly, the late-night traffic nearly non-existent. The charter plane was waiting for them, and the teams gear was already being loaded into the hold by the time they started to get off the bus. Sidney had been embarrassed to find himself already drifting off, his head dropping down every few moments as sleep tried to claim him. Rubbing the back of his eyes, he shouldered his bag as he followed Kris off the bus. Walking up the steps of the charter plane, Sidney wasted no time dropping down into his usual seat. Without Flower on the team, the window seat beside him remained empty reminding him daily of his missing friend. Having the window seat empty meant Sidney had the luxury of tugging up the armrest separating the seats, allowing him the extra space to curl up a bit more comfortably. Whilst the rest of the team quietly chattered at each other as they waited to set off, Sidney gratefully accepted the blanket and cushion that a hostess offered. He was asleep before take-off, one hand curled tightly around the blanket that covered him; the other hand rested protectively over his flat stomach, the blanket hiding the action from everyone else.

Chapter Text

The game against the Tampa bay Lightning’s ended 5-4, leaving the team mellow on the plane ride back up to Pittsburgh. Sidney had spent the game in a press box again, unable to do anything as he watched his team fight tooth and nail and still loose. He knew that you can’t win every game, and sometimes the other team simply played better, but that logic never soothed the disappointment after a loss. The air in the away team locker room was stifling with regret when Sidney finally made it down at the end of the game.

The team were scattered around the room, some of them redressing in their stalls whilst others were still attempting to drown their sorrows in the showers. Sidney would have normally been besides the guys who took out a loss on the exercise bike, his frustrations pushed into the pedals as he pushed them faster and faster. It was difficult not being able to join his friends in the work out area and hit the bike until his legs felt like jelly. He was left to stand awkwardly in the room and offer words that gave little comfort to the players in that moment.

Sidney knew words weren’t the only way to help his teammates regroup after a loss, so he stopped hovering in the centre of the room.  He helped Olli throw his gear back into his travel bag; the younger guy always tried to help the equipment guys out, even if it tended towards being more hinderance than help. Sidney didn’t have enough fingers to count how many times Olli had thrown only one glove in his kit bag. After Olli, Sidney dropped down onto the bench next to Kris, wordlessly joining him in peeling off the tape from the sticks he hadn’t used for the game; some players didn’t understand why Kris did this if he hadn’t used the stick, presuming that it was unused so it would be fine for the next game.  Kris liked to tape his sticks fresh before every game, and having a stick already taped would mean he would have to peel away the unused tape only to redo it. Sidney wasn’t one to judge a man on his superstitions.

Slowly Sidney worked his way through most of the room before Coach Sully began pushing them towards the bus. The team would get to stay in a hotel for the night before flying back home in the morning. Sidney for one was eagerly looking forward to trying to regain a solid sleep schedule for a few days; after this road-trip they wouldn’t have any more night flights for two weeks. The bus ride back to the hotel was painstakingly silent, no one was in the right frame of mind to start cracking jokes like they would if they’d have won. It might have also been down to the time; it was close to midnight when the bus finally parked up outside the hotel they were staying at. Having checked in, in the early hours of the morning, there was no dawdling in the lobby, everyone slowly making their way to the bar or back to their rooms. 

 

Despite the tiredness that had seemed to plague him for the past few days, Sidney was still awake enough to answer to the rumblings in his stomach. Whoever decided to call it morning sickness had a sick twisted sense of humour. Sidney had been throwing up periodically throughout the day, and when he wasn’t throwing up his stomach rumbled hungrily. Room service was an option, but Sidney didn’t trust himself to still be awake when by the time it arrived, leaving him with no other option but grabbing a snack from the vending machine. Hardly the healthiest thing in the world, but at least it would quieten the rumbles in his belly until the morning.

Sidney dropped the few things he had brought to the game back in his hotel room, toeing off his black shoes as soon as he crossed the threshold. His feet ached from the shoes, so with his room key clutched in his hand, Sidney padded from his room and down the corridor in his socks. The vending machines were located in a little alcove next to the elevator, and Sidney was eagerly contemplating what candy he wanted.

Hushed Russian drifted from the alcove, halting Sidney in his step. He didn’t know the language, but he was eager to hear the conversation that was happening. There were only two people on the team who could communicate fluently in Russian, one was Gonch and the other was Geno.

“Ты собираешься объяснить дерьмо, которое сказал Sasha?” Gonch asked in the tone Sidney had heard him use before. It was the voice that he used when his daughters were in trouble. Sidney peaked around the corner, watching the two men interact in the alcove. (Are you going to explain the shit Sasha said?)

“Sasha не знает когда заткнуться,” Geno snarked, crossing his arms in front of his chest. The muscles in his arms flexed visibly though the thin fabric of the dress-shirt. Sidney wished he didn’t notice Geno’s body as much as he did. (Sasha does not know when to shut up)

Gonch snorted in amusement, sarcasm embedded into the Russian as he replied, “Значит, ты не влюблен в Sidya.” (So you’re not in love with Sid)

Sidney may not know Russian, but he did know what his name sounded like in the language; memories of Geno whispering Sidya into his ear flashed through his mind. From his indiscreet hiding spot, Sidney could see the pout on Geno’s face as he sulkily whispered, “нечего сказать. Вы все ебля сплетни.” (Nothing to say. You all fucking gossip)

Gonch sighed loudly, “o женя.” Sidney knew that the conversation between the two Russians was finished, so he quickly ducked away from the alcove, desperately looking for somewhere to hide so that he didn’t get caught snooping. (Oh Zhenya.)

Sidney had just managed to duck into the fire-escape stairwell when Geno stomped out of the alcove, so focused on getting away from whatever conversation he’d been having with Gonch that he failed to notice Sidney glancing through the small window on the door. He waited a few moments in the bland concrete stairwell before pushing the door open with a quick glance down the corridor. Geno was no where to be seen as Sidney tiptoed back towards the alcove, his intrigue over the harshly whispered conversation hadn’t quelled his craving of candy.

Gonch was leaning forwards against the vending machine, shaking his head in distain. It looked like the older man had the weight of the world balanced on his shoulders. Sidney slowly walked closer, quietly asking, “Everything okay?”

“When are you going to tell him?” Gonch breathed slowly, refusing to look up from the hole he was glaring into the floor. Sidney felt his heart sink into his stomach and felt his gut clench around it.

“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sidney stammered. He no longer wanted anything from the vending machine, all he wanted to do was run away and hide behind a locked door. He wasn’t ready for this conversation, and he certainly hadn’t expected the second person to find out about his baby’s heritage to be one of Geno’s closest friends.

“Really?” Gonch snapped sarcastically. Sidney prayed for a hole to appear in the floor and swallow him whole as Gonch finally pushed himself backwards away from the vending machine. The man didn’t look angry, but there was venom in his voice when he spat out the next few words, “So Geno isn’t the father?”

The words hung in the air, and if Sidney had felt like his heart was beating madly before it was nothing compared to how fast it was now. Panic was coursing through him, making his blood run cold. Sidney reached forwards, gripping onto Gonch’s sleeves so tight that the fabric bunched under his white knuckles. “Please don’t tell him.”

“Oh Sid.” Gonch sighed in response to Sidney’s begs. He reached up gently prying his shirt sleeves from Sidney’s grip.

Sidney felt like the world had just collapsed around him, and he sounded utterly defeated as he breathed out with a shudder, “How did you find out?”

“Geno yelled Sasha yelled and I connected the dots.” Gonch shrugged, and for the first time Sidney had a vague idea about what Geno and Ovechkin had been screaming about the previous night. One question answered pathed the way for a hundred more questions. Sidney wanted to know exactly what the two Russians had shouted at each other, and how that had led to Gonch being able to figure out the truth.

“Tell him before someone else finds out,” Sidney nodded, unable to find his voice to say anything. He was left alone in the little alcove, watching as Gonch offered a final sigh before walking back to his hotel room. Sidney no longer felt hungry, the very thought of eating any of the candy and snacks in the vending machine made him want to throw up. Instinctively he let his hand drop down to his stomach, his fingers splayed wide over the flatness. Behind the walls of skin and muscle his little baby was growing and soon the bump would start showing. Would it be easier to tell Geno now, or wait until he was round and too far gone to hide his pregnancy. He had tried over the last few days to put himself in Geno’s position, with Russia’s anti-gay opinion weighing heavy on his back. If Geno was to publicly announce the child was his, he was going to lose so much more than just his reputation; he could lose his friends, his family, and his country over two drunken nights. Sidney flinched as he remembered the girlfriend that filled Geno’s recent Instagram posts, and whom he was always happy to talk about, Svetlana. Sidney didn’t know how that poor woman would react to finding out her boyfriend had gotten his male teammate pregnant.

Sidney stumbled his way back to his hotel room, thoughts screaming in his head as he tried to figure out what to do. He wanted to call Flower, but it was already so late in the evening and his friend had a game to play tomorrow. In the privacy of his room, Sidney pushed the tight suit trousers down his hips, before falling onto his unmade bed. The sheets were still scattered from his afternoon nap, but that just made it more comfortable for him as he tugged the duvet over his shoulders. Tiredness prickled at his eyes, his eyelids refusing to stay open, but sleep refused him. There was too much running around his heap on a loop, too many thoughts and worries unsettling him.

 


 

Sidney was exhausted as he collapsed down into his usual seat on the plane ride back to Pittsburgh. He had only managed to catch a few scattered hours sleep, but he felt like he hadn’t gotten any. His eyes were bloodshot, his skin pale and he had dark shadows under his eyes. He looked positively ill, and when combined with the morning sickness that he’d been unable to hide, some of the guys on the team were giving him a wide berth not wanting to catch what they presumed was a bug. As soon as the plane was in the air, Rusty walked over from his seat a few rows back, offering Sidney a rolled-up hoodie to use as a pillow. Sidney smiled gratefully at the winger, tucking the hoodie underneath his head as he lied down across the two seats on his row.

He was shaken awake a few hours later; Sidney looked up at the person with a hand on his leg with through lidded eyes. Geno stared down at him with a smile which didn’t quite reach his eyes. Even half-asleep the smile made Sidney’s insides somersault, though he couldn’t decide if it was a happy somersault or a sad one. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Sidney pushed himself upright instantly missing the warm hand on his leg. “You okay?” Geno whispered, his words almost loss amongst the noise of their teammates at the back of the plane. Sidney nodded, leaning his head back into the seat. Geno stood by him for a few moments, his throat moving as if he was contemplating saying more. Sidney blinked slowly up at him, watching with regret as Geno turned and walked back towards the back of the plane. Before Sidney could fall back to sleep, the captain announcement sounded, and the seatbelt sign flashed on.

The team technically had an off day once they got back into town, meaning that they could do as they wanted, whether that be spend time with loved ones or deal with other work commitments. Most of the players would return home, spend time with their families before catching up with lost sleep. Sidney would normally try to get in a workout, before heading home to catch up on some TV.  Today though, he shouldered his carryon bag and collected his suitcase with the rest of his teammates before driving over to the rink. A good thing about not playing was that only his skates had been brought with them on the road. Sidney had joined them in practise, but he hadn’t worn any of his normal gear, simply skating around the edges of the rink in slow or fast circles.

If anyone had questions when Sidney showed up at the rink and immediately headed to the locker room, no one was brave enough to ask them. He stripped out of his suit, pulling on the pair of jeans from his suitcase and swapping his white dress shirt for a rumpled t-shirt. The hoodie that Rusty had let him use as a pillow earlier completed the outfits as he tugged it over his head. The hoodie was tight around his shoulders, but it was loose and baggy around his waist. Sidney pushed the sleeves up to his elbows, as he gathered his spare skates from his shelf. They felt familiar like an old friend when he tied his feet into them; he always had two pairs of skates on the go at one time, ones that he wore most of the time and then a pair that he wore every so often. The ones on his feet were his every so often pair, nearly brand new and just barely bedded in; they would be the replacement for his normal pair when they broke or got worn down. 

On the ice, Sidney skated circles, wearing a track around the boards as he lost himself in the rhythm. He knew what he had to do. He’d known what he had to do even before Flower told him to do it, but now Gonch had pieced together the information and it would only be a matter of time before someone else did too. Sidney had to tell Geno, and he had to tell him soon.

 


 

The team were only back in Pittsburgh for a few days before they were due out on another road-trip. One game on home ice before they were on the road for the best part of a week. Sidney watched the home game against the Florida Panthers in the box with Nathalie and Mario by his side. His pants were tight but not quite bordering on uncomfortable, but Sidney knew that it would only be a matter of time before that started. He didn’t understand why they were feeling tight when his stomach hadn’t started showing yet. He had an appointment booked in with his tailor before the road trip, so at least he would have some pants in his wardrobe that could last him for a few more weeks. His jeans weren’t as bad still fitting comfortably, but they weren’t something he could wear to games much to his annoyance. Nathalie had smiled as he grouched about it during the intermission, regaling him with tales of being pregnant with her fourth child, Alexa; “I was so big, I looked like I was nine months pregnant before I even got to six months. I used to get so angry when people would come up and say, not long now.”

Sidney had looked terrified at the thought of being so big, before Nathalie soothed him with a giggle, “Your bump gets bigger with every child you have, and I’d had all of them in such a short time frame that I was still carrying a bit of the pregnancy weight from the last one.” Sidney nodded, but still looked down at his stomach wondering what it would be like in a few months’ time.

The Penguins won and the crowds screamed in delight. It was always different hearing the cheers up in the stands instead of on the ice. One the ice, with your helmet on and the team whooping in your ear, the noise that the crowd made was just background noise. In the stands, the noise surrounded you completely. Sidney cheered demurely alongside Nathalie and Mario, none of them making a scene by celebrating exuberantly. Sidney left them in the box with a promise that he would join them for dinner the next day, before making his way down to the locker room.

In the locker room, the guys were joking tossing balls of rolled up sock tape at each other as reporters tried to keep the players attention for long enough to ask them questions. Sidney couldn’t help but to smile at the madness, letting himself soak it all in. He wished he could properly join in with the team’s celebrations, but it didn’t feel quite right. He was proud of his guys, but he hadn’t been on the ice helping that win so all he could offer was congratulations to the guys who had. Sidney knew that the feeling of being on the outside looking in would only get worse as the season progressed.

 


 

The road-trip started in New York, one of Sidney’s favourite cities to visit, and the Penguins once again won. Sidney had watched the first three periods from the box, before heading down to the locker room when the game went into overtime. He watched from the tunnel as Geno buried the puck in the back of Lundqvist’s net only a minute into the overtime. He jumped in the air and cheered just as loudly as any player on the bench. When the team jumped over the boards and went through the handshake line, Sidney joined Coach Sully on the bench. He shook hands with the Rangers coach, and clapped shoulders with the players as they waddled on their skates down the tunnel and back to the dressing room. Everyone was in a good mood, a mood which was only improved when Sully removed the curfew for the night, simply reminding the team that breakfast was at ten and the flight to Florida was at midday. Some of the guys eagerly started making plans for their night of freedom, Ryan Reeves trying to tempt them into going to a strip club. Sidney wrinkled his nose at the thought, thankful that none of the guys seemed interested in Reeves idea. He didn’t like the idea of strip clubs, and he didn’t like the thought of having to bail one of his players out of trouble.

A few of the older guys decided against heading out into the city, comfortable with a plan of taking over the conference room that the Pens organisation booked at the hotel, ordering food and watching a film. Once they’d returned to the hotel, Sidney ducked quickly into his room swapping his suit for the fleece bottoms and a cotton t-shirt that he wore to bed. The conference room that the team had booked was situated on the same floor as Sidney’s room, so he pulled on his fluffy socks instead of shoes. The large tv was already turned on, and Horny had dragged his duvet into the room with him. The large white duvet was spread out on the floor and Tanger and Dummy had already jumped underneath it, trapping Horny between them. The three of them were sat with their back pressed against the couch which Geno had claimed for himself; the Russian lying across it so that no one else could sit down on it. Sidney grabbed one of the throw cushions off the couch, dropping it on the floor so that he would be a bit more comfortable sitting on it, before stealing some of the duvet from Tanger. Whatever film they’d chosen was paused at the opening credits, waiting for everyone to get there. A few more players rolled into the room, before someone finally pressed play. Sidney giggled quietly as the opening credits to the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 started playing; he’d seen the film with Taylor over the summer and she’d then brought him a bonsai tree for his birthday with ‘Groot’ carefully painted on the edge of the basin.

Fingers were teasing his hair, and people were whispering around him. A familiar voice was saying, “Don’t wake him.” The next time Sidney woke, he was lying in his hotel bed with no memory of how he got there.

 


 

The team left New York at midday flying down to Florida. They had two days off before the game against the Panthers, meaning the players could relax and play a few rounds of golf in-between practise and workouts. Most of the guys had brought their golf clubs along on the trip, and Sidney was one of them. They touched down in Florida in the early afternoon, and the warm air hit them as soon as they stepped off the plane. The bus was already waiting to take them to the airport and the guys were eager to enjoy the rest of their day. The hotel was nice, as they always were, and had a scattering of golf courses nearby. Propping his clubs by the door to his hotel room, Sidney smiled at his reflection in the full-length mirror by the door. Stripping down to just his underwear, Sidney turned to look at his reflection sideways on. He ran his hand delicately over his stomach, his fingers gliding over the gentle swell. He looked more bloated than pregnant, but it was definitely a tiny bump to his eyes.

Tugging on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, Sidney bit the inside of his cheek when he saw the subtle protrusion of his belly through the fabric. He wasn’t big enough to be noticeable, but it was visible.  He was a few days shy of his twelve week mark, but he already had another scan booked in for when they arrived back in Pittsburgh. Male Pregnancies tended to have twice as many scans as a woman would, just so the doctor could keep a closer eye on both father and baby’s health. Woman were always designed to carry children, whilst the male body wasn’t. Despite the centuries that had passed since the first male pregnancy, there was still an imbalance of information in what the medical community knew. To put it simply, they knew more about female pregnancies simply because they were more common. Sidney didn’t mind the extra need for scans, he was eager to see the blurry picture of his baby once more. The scan from his first appointment travelled everywhere with him, it was always in either his pant pocket or his jacket pocket.

Shouldering his clubs, Sidney glanced once more at the reflection of his tiny baby bump before leaving to meet the others. He could hear his teammates voices echoing down the hallway as he walked, and he momentarily felt sorry for the other guests who were staying on their floor. Knocking on Tanger’s door, Sidney heard his friend shout from inside the room, “Two seconds.”

“Hey Sid,” Tanger greeted, swinging his clubs over his shoulder as he let the door shut behind him. They walked side by side towards the elevator; everyone else who was coming golfing had planned to meet downstairs in the lobby. Sidney had to force himself not to touch his stomach, not wanting to draw attention to it; but all he wanted to do was feel his bump. In the lobby, Kessel was herding Matt Murray, Sheersy, Kuni and Rusty together, all of them clutching their golf bags. Sidney frowned when the group started moving towards the front entrance as soon as they saw him and Tanger.

“Where’s Geno?” Sidney asked. Geno never normally turned down a golfing day.

Kuni snorted as he threw his bag into a waiting cab. “Turns out his girlfriends in town, so he’s spending the days with her.”

Sidney felt his face drop, and his heart sink. He could ignore the poor woman when she was on the other side of the world, but he didn’t know how he was meant to cope with seeing her and Geno together.  

“His girlfriend? I thought she was in Russia.” Matt frowned.

“I didn’t ask for details dude. I think she’s on holiday with friends or something, I don’t know.” Kuni explained with a shrug. The rest of the guys joined in with a nonchalant shrug, Sidney forced himself to copy the action.

 


 

Sidney managed to avoid seeing Geno’s girlfriend until the game against the Panthers; he didn’t know how he managed it, but he did. As he’d expected Svetlana was given access to the box that Sidney was in, and he was forced to smile and make conversation with her like the polite man his mother raised. What made it worse, she seemed to be a nice person who seemed to like Geno, even if she had no interest in hockey. During the game she tapped intermittently on her phone, the pitter-pat of her long nails on the glass screen grating on Sidney’s nerves slightly. She would occasionally look up from her phone when the crowd cheered or booed, but other than that she little attention. Sidney bit the inside of his cheek hard when Svetlana failed to react to the gorgeous goal that Geno netted; a lot of players wives and girlfriends didn’t care for the game, but they still cheered for their partner. Sidney was quickly rethinking his judgement of the girl, when Geno scored his second point of the night.

The game ended 4-3, with Sheersy putting the puck in the back of the net with only a few minutes left on the clock. Sidney quickly moved from the box as soon as the buzzer rang out signalling the end of the game. He wanted to get down to the locker room before most of the fans started to move from their seats. The clicking of high heels on vinyl floor was the only evidence that Svetlana was behind him, joining him on the trip through the no public access areas of the arena.

They made it down to the dressing room at the same time as the media being removed. Sidney smiled at the reporters he knew by face if not name and greeted the ones he did know. A few tried to grab a quick question from him, but he shook his head with a small smile as he pushed open the locker room door. Inside the room, most of the players were still stripping down to their under-armour. Beside him, he saw Svetlana wrinkle her nose at the overpowering smell of sweat; she wasn’t going to last long being a hockey wag, he maliciously thought to himself.  Sidney pinched himself quickly, he knew he should try to be nice, but he just found it hard. It was difficult being nice to the woman who was in a relationship with the only person he ever liked in that way.

He didn’t know if it was the heat in the room, or just the general Florida heat but Sidney was boiling. Tugging his jacket off his shoulders, Sidney draped it over his arm as he listened to Coach Sully’s team congratulations speech. He was so focused on what his coach was saying that he didn’t notice Svetlana crouching down beside him and picking up a piece of paper from the floor.

“Oh Sidney, how far along is your girlfriend?” Svetlana clapped gleefully. The room fell silent, everyone stopping to stare at them. Sidney’s eyes flew wide, the look mirrored on Coach Sully’s face, as he spun on the spot to stare at Svetlana. In her hand was the small square photograph that was kept in Sidney’s pocket. He blinked down at the jacket in his hands, it must have fallen out when he’d folded it over his arm. There was nothing he could do about it now, everyone knew.

Geno rose from his stall, stomping over to them with his skates still tied to his feet. On his blades, he easily added another inch or two to his height, leaving him towering over Sidney as he plucked the picture from Svetlana’s hands. Sidney could do nothing but watch as Geno’s face crumpled at the sight of the ultrasound photo, and he knew the exact moment Geno read the name on the top of the picture. Crosby, S.

Around them, their teammates were all frowning, daring each other with silent interactions to be the one to creep forward or ask a question. Sidney wanted a hole to form under his feet, big enough so that he could fall through and hide from the world; Coach stood pinching the bridge of his nose, looking like he would readily join Sidney in the land of ignorant bliss. Everyone just seemed to not know what to do.

Gonch sidestepped around Sully, walking carefully across the room, seemingly unaware that everyone’s eyes were on him. The look he shot at Sidney spoke volumes, it told him that he should have been more careful and that this was exactly the situation he wanted to avoid. Sidney didn’t need a pointed look, he already knew that perfectly well. Sidney stared at the floor, not wanting to look at anyone as he listened to Gonch introducing himself to Svetlana before escorting her out of the locker room. He didn’t hear the reason Gonch was giving the woman about her sudden dismissal, all he could focus on was the heavy breathing coming from the man next to him.

Geno waited until the locker room door clicked shut behind the pair, before stepping closer into Sidney’s personal space. He felt like he was on display, and that all his dirty laundry was being aired out to the world. Geno snarled into the space between them, his words causing gasps from around the room, “Is it my baby?”

“Ge-” Sid began, his words cut off when Geno pushed the ultrasound picture at his chest. The move didn’t hurt, but it startled him making him take a step backwards.

“Is it my baby?” Geno shouted. If there was a guy in the room who hadn’t heard it the first time, they knew now.

Sidney clutched at the ultrasound picture in one hand, his other dropping down to his stomach. His voice caught in his throat, as he sobbed, “Yes. I’ve… It’s only been you.”

“Were you even going to tell me?” Geno snapped. Sidney could see the anger in the Russians eyes, and he could see the judder in the mans jaw as he worked not to cry.

“Yes! Of course I was. I just didn’t know – Geno!” Sidney shouted after him, as Geno spun on the spot and stomped away from him. The sound of the locker room door slamming closed behind him shattered Sidney’s already breaking heart.

Chapter Text

The silence in the locker room was deafening. Everyone was alternating between staring at him or staring at the closed door. Sidney stood with his hand squeezing the ultrasound picture to his chest, his feet frozen to the floor. He knew that he should go after Geno, but he couldn’t make himself move. He had thought of a thousand different ways to tell Geno about is impending fatherhood, and not one of those ways had been the way that it turned out. Sidney felt humiliated, and he couldn’t help but blame Svetlana even though he knew it wasn’t her fault. How was she to know that the ultrasound was his, and how was she to know that none of the team knew.

Glancing up from the floor, Sidney immediately wanted to look away when he saw the heart-breaking look on Tanger’s face. Sidney felt like he’d betrayed more than just Geno; he hadn’t trusted one of his closest friends with his secret. On the other side of the room, Kessel rose to his feet, pushing his untied skates to the side with a socked foot. Sidney watched the movement, before forcing himself to look him in the eyes. Phil didn’t look devastated, more like disappointed and Sidney didn’t know which look he would have preferred. He knew he’d fucked up when Kessel walked over to him, announcing just loud enough for the entire room to hear, “I’ll go after Geno.”

Sidney nodded in response, watching as Phil walked towards the locker room door. Pulling it open, he stopped, turning slowly back to face the captain. In a toneless voice that hid his emotions, he said “Congratulations by the way.”

The door closed behind him before Sidney even got a chance to reply. Phil was normally of the more diplomatic guys on the team, breaking up arguments more often than instigating them, so it upset Sidney knowing that the man wasn’t happy with him. Glancing back around the room it was evident that some of the guys didn’t know whether to be upset or happy for him. Rusty, Horny and Junior were all biting their lips, glancing around as if waiting for someone else to make the first move. Sidney wished someone would say something, he felt like he was an exhibit at the zoo, and everyone was pushed against the glass watching him.

Coach was the next one to move, raising his head from his hands and looking at the ceiling as if god would give him an answer. With a sigh he let his gaze drop back to Sidney, and once again Sidney could see the disappointment in another person’s face. “I’m going to go with Phil to check Geno isn’t breaking anything. We’ll have a chat later okay?”

Sidney nodded quickly, not trusting any words that may come from his mouth. Coach Sully walked the length of the room, squeezing Sidney’s shoulder softly on route to the door. The door swung closed behind him with less noise that it had done the previous two times. His teammates stared at the closed door, before turning as one to watch Tanger rise to his feet. He, like the rest of the guys, was half-stripped from his gear as he slowly creeped over to where Sidney stood in the middle of the small room. “Come on, show us the picture of my godchild.”

Sidney honking giggle broke the tension in the room, tears forming in his eyes as he slowly moved the slightly crumpled ultrasound away from his chest. “You’re going to have to fight Flower for that one.”

“Oh that’s blatant favouritism! You told him first!” Tanger grinned madly, throwing an arm around Sidney’s shoulder as he plucked the small photo from his hand. He looked down at the picture, his face softening as he took in the little blur of a baby. “Holy shit, you’re actually pregnant.”

Sidney rubbed at the tears in his eyes with the palm of his hand, chuckling wetly at his friends quiet shocked voice. His other hand continued to stroke small circles over the top of his belly, “Yeh about twelve weeks.”

“Huh.” Sidney knew that the only reason a small frown creased Tanger’s forehead was because his friend was trying to countback twelve weeks in his mind, trying to figure out when Geno and Sid had been together when they had both been on vacation. The moment of realisation dawned on his friend, quicker than Sidney expected. Tanger opened his mouth, just about to say something before he decided against it.

“So this is why you were throwing up?” Rusty asked, practically skipping over to them, standing tall to see over Tanger’s shoulder.

“Fun fact, morning sickness happens all day.” Sidney joked. Around him more players were rising to their feet, crowding around to see the small picture. The ultrasound was passed from hand to hand, as if it was the holy grail, a prized priceless artefact. He could hear Olli playfully arguing with Rusty, and he could hear Murray and Sheersy cooing over the little image. Everyone offered congratulations, whether personally or shouted form the outskirts of the circle that surrounded him.  By the time Coach Sully returned still sans Geno and Phil, the photo had made it’s way around the team twice.

“Come on guys, hit the showers and get changed.” Coach raised his voice, gathering the attention of the team. They sheepishly made their way back to the stalls, restarting the process of stripping out of hockey gear. Schultz carefully passed the picture back to Sidney, earning a grateful smile in response. This time, he carefully tucked it into the back pocket of his trousers, even going as far as to do up the small button that kept the pocket closed. Sully beckoned him over once all of the guys were undressing, leading him from the room.

Sidney followed him down a maze of corridors that seemed vaguely familiar. It wasn’t the same as their arena back in Pittsburgh, but nearly all the arenas carried the same kind of floor plan. Sully swung open a door to an empty trainer room, making sure it was closed fully behind them before he began to speak. Sully once more pinched the bridge of his nose, sighing as he asked, “Why did you not tell us Geno was the other father?”

“It wasn’t my place to tell people that.” Sidney mumbled, dropping down into the small chair behind the desk. He purposefully ignored the paperwork that covered the desk; it was the office of one of the Panthers trainers, and it wasn’t his place to accidently read the papers on one of the other team’s players.

“A warning at least. You could have at least warned us that it was another player.”

“No I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell you it was Geno’s because I didn’t know if he would want to acknowledge it.” Sidney didn’t know what came over him as he snapped the words at his coach. He wanted to steal the words back as soon as they left his mouth; he’d not even voiced that anxiety to Flower. His eyes were wide as he brought his hand up to cover his mouth, as if that would stop anymore secrets from escaping. 

Sully began kneading at his forehead as he fought against the impending headache. “Geno is pissed that you didn’t tell him, I don’t think he’s pissed that your pregnant,” he sighed at Sidney.

 


 

Sidney didn’t see Geno again until the team crowded onto the bus heading back to the hotel. They had one more night booked before they travelled for four hours the next morning to head to Tampa. For the first time ever, the bus ride back from the arena was quiet. It was as silent as the locker room had been, the tension building with every passing minute that they spent on the bus. Sidney had sat in his usual seat near the front of the bus, and he’d felt his heart pulse sickly as Geno stared right through him on his way to his normal spot near the back. Sidney could feel the glare on the back of his neck for the entire short trip, but whenever he turned around to try and catch the Russian’s eye, Geno was adamantly staring out the window.

When the bus parked up in front of the hotel, Sidney ignored all his better judgements. He stayed in his seat, waiting for Geno to move first, before following behind him like a shadow. Logically, he knew it wasn’t the smartest thing to do when he followed Geno past the reception and towards the elevators. Other players watched them warily, breathes being drawn in as Sidney pushed his way into the elevator with Geno. The guys stepped back, not wanting to stand in the middle of the inevitable argument. The elevator door closed leaving just the two of them inside.

“Geno,” Sidney began cautiously, biting his lip when Geno raised a hand signalling him to stop.

“No.” Geno snapped with a flare in his nostrils as he tried to control his rage. It made Sidney mentally compare him to a dragon that was seconds away from burning its prey.

“I was going to tell you.” Sidney offered quietly, his head dropping down with a sigh as the elevator doors swung open to the correct floor.

Geno immediately stomped out of the small space, stamping down the hall with barely a backwards glance as he retorted angrily, “But you didn’t.”

“I’ve only known for two weeks.” Sidney called as he raised to catch up with, nearly catching himself between the closing doors of the elevator.

His words may have sounded okay in his head, but in the open it was evidently the wrong thing to say. Geno swung back around to face him for the first time since he’d stormed out of the locker room. The fire in his eyes hadn’t dimmed since then and the rage that marred his face only seemed to be more furious. Sidney slowed down, stopping a few feet away from him as Geno shouted loud enough to heard on the next floor up, “Then you should have told me two weeks ago! Instead I have to find out by seeing the picture!”

Sidney flinched at the shouting, breaking eye contact, and dropping his gaze to the floor. He brought his hands up to tug through the short strands of his hair to centre himself as months old anger boiled to the surface. Sidney snapped, not caring if the entire floor heard, “Can you really blame me for not knowing how to tell you?”

Geno threw his hands in the hair, stomping off towards his hotel room without a response leaving Sidney stood staring after him angry and speechless.

 


 

The bus ride to Tampa was filled with the same anger and awkward tension that had left the short trip back to the hotel the night before so uncomfortable. It left the entire team feeling like they were walking on eggshells around both Sidney and Geno. Sidney didn’t know how to fix the issue when they weren’t even able to carry a conversation without shouting imminently occurring. During the team breakfast, they had sat at opposite ends of the room, with every single one of their teammates in between them.

Sidney spent the four-hour drive with his head pressed against the window of the bus, staring out at the ever-changing landscape around him as they crossed the state. It was past noon by the time they parked up in front of the Tampa hotel, and it felt like the inhabitants of the bus had only just been able to start talking amongst each other comfortably. Two voices had remained silent for the entire journey, and words were still not exchanged when they slowly disembarked from the bus with a stretch. Sidney wanted to follow Geno once more, but he knew it wouldn’t get them anywhere, it would only lead to another shouting match in a public place.  

Sidney knew even before the team had their pre-game nap that the game against Tampa Bay was going to be a catastrophe that night, and he could do nothing to prevent it. He wasn’t vain enough to say that he was the reason behind the thought, but he did feel like the atmosphere that he and Geno had projected had affected the whole team. Everyone was on edge, and that was not a feeling that you should bring to the ice.

He wanted to focus on the good things, he had officially reached his twelve week of pregnancy, and with that the risk of miscarriage was severely lowered. His morning sickness had stopped being a constant presence in his life, fading to an occasional inconvenience. Everyone important in his life now knew his secret, and Sidney no longer felt like he was carrying a burdening weight on his shoulders. His little developing baby was no longer the size of strawberry and was instead the size of a plum. To top it off, although Geno wasn’t happy, he now knew.

Sidney tried to replay those happy and good things on repeat in the back of his mind, using them to fight against the inevitable feeling of approaching loss. He hated how he had already written off the entire game before the team even arrived at the rink for warm up, but it was a feeling that clung to his thoughts even as he slipped in between his sheets for the pre-game nap. His dreams flashed with scattered imaginings of how the game ahead was going to play out, leaving Sidney waking up to his alarm feeling like he’d already watched the match.

The team had once again arranged for Sidney to have the privacy of one of the boxes, but he didn’t want to be cooped up in a small glass room for the two and half hours the game would take. The sickening dread that was still scratching at the inside of his stomach left him wanting to be closer to the action, and able to give encouraging words there and then to his teammates. Coach Sully was unfazed when Sidney approached him as the team were getting ready, nodding with a shrug when Sidney asked if he could join the coaching staff behind the bench for the game. It would raise some eyebrows especially with the media and reporters, but he could deal with that.

 


 

It was like he was back on the bench, waiting for his chance at a shift as Sidney watched the game from behind the bench. Every time a player skated past him, racing for the puck, a gush of cold air would fill his lungs leaving him longing for the chance to join the chase. He knew he couldn’t but being this close to the ice made him want to count down the days till he could be back in the game. Hockey had been his everything for all his life, it felt strange to sit so close to the action and not be able to take part.  

The game against Tampa Bay seemed to be playing out just like it had done in Sidney’s dreams. The penguins were being tossed out like rotten garbage, and they could do nothing about it. The team were playing well, and the Lightnings were receiving just as many penalties as the Penguins, but there just seemed to be nothing the Penguins could do to get on the board. By the third period, they were losing 6-0 and the locker room was a mix of depression and anger. The conjoined mood of the team failed to improve when the Lightning’s netted their seventh goal of the night, and Geno was slapped with a ten-minute game misconduct for arguing with the ref. Instead of heading to the penalty box, Geno swore loud enough for him to be heard from the other side of the rink before skating back over to the visitor’s bench. Sidney watched from where he stood behind the bench watching as Geno stomped down to the dressing room, chucking his stick to the side halfway down the narrow corridor. Sidney exchanged a quick glance with Gonch, nodding in silent communication. He slowly squeezed past Gonch, careful not to hit any of his teammates in the back as he went, before following Geno towards the locker room.

Geno was sat in his stall, his gloves thrown on the floor be his feet as he ripped the Velcro apart on his pads. Sidney watched him for a moment, as Geno whispered angrily to himself in Russian. Old rage from the night before and fresh anger filled Geno’s eyes when he finally looked up and saw Sidney standing in the locker room watching him. He knew that he was probably the last person that Geno wanted to see right now when he was already in a bad mood, but it was too late for Sidney to go back and change his mind; Gonch would kill him if he even tried to return to the bench when Geno was still a pit of fuming rage.

“You going to kick me when I’m down?” Geno huffed, throwing his leg pads onto the ground with enough force that they bounced back up into the air.

“I just want to fix things.” Sidney admitted with a whisper. Despite his quiet words, it still felt like they were seconds away from shouting at each other once more.

“Fix things? Go back and stop getting drunk. You only want me when you’re drunk.” Geno’s words stabbed at Sidney, piercing him and leaving him with holes that wept confusion. He didn’t understand what Geno was saying and it wasn’t because of a language difference.

“What are you on about! Are you trying to blame this entire thing on me?” A lump formed in his throat, which Sidney automatically wanted to blame on his increased hormonal state. Geno merely shrugged, not offering a response.

His silence only sparked Sidney, leaving him raising his voice as he cried, “You were the one who ran off. You were the with a girlfriend only a week later. So don’t go saying that I only wanted you when I was drunk.”

“I got a girlfriend because I was trying to make you jealous!” Geno shouted, rising to his feet and crossing the dressing room so quickly it was as if he was skating on the rink. Even without his skates, he still stood over Sidney by a few inches.

“Geno…” Sidney breathed slowly, his anger fading with his departing breath.

“You never looked at me like you did that night when you were sober. Never!” Geno snarled, his hands tightening into fists at his side. “Sasha’s idea. Get girlfriend, keep Russia happy. Stay on National team. Hopefully Sid get jealous too.”

A loud unanimous boo echoed around the locker room, either the Penguins had scored outside or the Lightnings had received a penalty, Sidney didn’t know which. Sidney glanced at the clock on the wall just behind him, before turning back to face Geno. The anger in Geno’s eyes had disappeared leaving behind just a sorrowful expression. “Why couldn’t you just say hey Geno, I pregnant?”

Geno sounded like he was close to tears as he spoke, and Sidney knew he didn’t sound any better, “As if it’s that easy.”

Geno shrugged, spinning on the spot and slowly walking back to his stall. Sidney followed as the Russian dropped down to sit on the small bench that ran the length of the room.  They still had five or so minutes before the official end of the game, despite everyone watching already knowing who would be victorious; that meant they had about ten minutes before the locker room was once more filled with people. Sitting down on the bench next to Geno, Sidney crowded himself into the small space between the shelf dividers for Geno’s stall. The space wasn’t really designed for two hockey players in mind, but they both just about fit into the small space leaving barely an inch between them.

Sidney looked down at Geno’s hands, watching as the Russian wrung them together as he asked, “How far?”

“12 weeks today,” Sidney mumbled in reply, a hand automatically moving to rest on his stomach like second nature.  

“Vegas baby.” Geno stated rather than asked. Sidney leant his head against Geno’s shoulders, the padding underneath his jersey poking him slightly. At the touch, Geno’s entire body seemed to relax, and he stopped wringing his hand together between his spread legs. Sidney hid his smile into the sleeve of Geno’s jersey when a hand came to rest over the top of his knee.

“What are we going to do?”

“We have baby.” Geno stated once more, as if Sidney was ridiculous for even suggesting anything else. He didn’t sound annoyed as he spoke, he sounded like having a child with your teammate was the most natural thing in the world.

“Yes, but what about after? What about us? Are we going to raise it together, are we going to share custody? What happens if one of us gets traded? I just don’t know what’s going to happen.” Sidney rambled in a panic; his anxieties bubbling to the surface. There were so many uncertainties, and that was something that would freak out anyone. Sidney was not anyone, he was a superstitious control freak who could be borderline neurotic at times; uncertainties didn’t tend to mix well with that.

Geno paused, considering his answer. His words were slow and delicate, “I want to stay, with you and with our baby. Want to make things right if you let me try.”

The crowd of fans above them once more let out an echoing boo, but this time Sidney could hear the softened sound of cheers of his teammates. They must have finally been able to put a number on the scoreboard, and that was the icing on the cupcake. It felt like things were slowly shifting back to being right. Hiding another smile into the sleeve of Geno’s jersey, Sidney nuzzled his forehead against the Russians shoulder.

“I might,” Sidney teased contently.

Chapter Text

Sidney was still sat leaning against Geno’s shoulder when the team finally scurried into the locker room. Despite the effort that the Penguins gave, Tampa Bay still dominated the game 7-1. The team were downhearted, but the smiles on their face grew when they saw the two of them curled up beside each other. It was like a peace had befell the locker room, erasing the tension that had tainted the air for the past twenty-four hours.

Sidney blushed at the literal heart-eyes that filled his teammates faces, but he made no move to pull away from his leaning post. Geno’s shoulder was oddly comfortable beneath his head, and he didn’t want to break the moment they’d been having just yet. The peace between them was fragile at best, and he knew they still had a long way to go before things could return to a vague resemblance of normal between them. Geno’s hand still covered his knee, and he gently squeezed it as he whispered softly at Sidney, “Need to move so I can get changed. Media be in soon too.”

Sidney whined pathetically in the back of his throat, grinning manically at the snort he received in response. Reluctantly he moved his head away and pushed himself out of the tiny stall. He stretched his back, smiling at his spine cracked at the movement. The rest of the team were still watching the pair like they were the new hit show, waiting to see what would develop next. Sidney rolled his eyes affectionately at them all; his decision to not tell his friends to mind their own business was a good one, as the doors to the locker room opened only a moment later and the usual media began swarming inside. The reporters flocked to Geno’s stall immediately, everyone wanting a soundbite about the misconduct and his overall temperament throughout the game. None of them seemed to expect the chilled Geno that was sat there, after seeing the angry version that had stormed off the ice.

Sidney moved to sit down next to Matt as reporters floated around the room talking to various players. His friendship with Matt had taken a bit of a hit after Flower had been traded, neither player really knowing what they were meant to say to each other. Matt didn’t know if he was meant to say sorry for the management protecting him, and Sidney struggled not to feel angry about the circumstances. Rationally he’d understood the reasons behind it, but personally it was his best friend that got shipped 2000 miles away. “You okay?” Sidney asked quietly after checking that the hum of reporters weren’t paying attention to them.

“Yh I’m good. Some games just don’t go our way.” Matt sighed, forcing a smile onto his face. Sidney clapped the padding on his shoulder in response, before running a hand through the younger man’s sweaty hair. Sidney giggled loudly as Matt playfully slapped at his hands, earning he attention of the room. He nodded at the young goaltender as the media began to circle around them; Sidney stayed sat in the stall by Matt’s side until the last reporter was ushered out of the room.

Clapping the goaltender on the shoulder once more, Sidney rose to his feet allowing a hand to fall to the small bump as he stood. The team watched the movement, as if seeing for the first time the small bulge that was barely visible through the shirt. “Can we see?” Kuni piped up, with others nodding their heads in agreement.

Sidney blushed as he ran his hand self-consciously over his small bump. He considered his words carefully, “Not just yet.” He didn’t think it would be right for the team to see his growing bump before he got the chance to let Geno see it first. Sidney’s pregnancy reveal had already happened in front of the rest of the team, and he didn’t want to deny the other man the opportunity to have a private moment.

“Soon though?” Rusty asked optimistically.

“Soon I promise.” Sidney smiled. The chatter around the room upped its tempo as the guys slowly stripped from their gear, heading off in varying directions to the gym or the shower. Sidney sent a final smile at Geno before turning to leave the locker room. He walked through the maze of interlocking corridors, before reaching the team bus that was sat waiting for them. There was no one on the bus, not evening the coaching staff, so Sidney happily dropped into his usual seat with a content sigh. The silence was blissful as he leaned his head against the cold glass.

Sidney was jostled awake a short time later by a large hand shaking at his shoulder. Wiping at his eyes, Sidney glanced up blearily at the person who woke him. Geno was standing over him, blocking the bus walkway for the rest of the team. “Here,” Geno pressed a familiar orange packet at Sidney. He took the packet with a frown, flipping it over so that the yellow logo for Reese’s stared up at him.

“I’m never going to say no to chocolate,” Sidney accepted eagerly tearing apart the bright wrapper.

“It’s size of baby.” Geno stated with a smile. Sidney paused with the peanut butter cup halfway to his lips. Pulling his hand away slightly, he tried to ignore the chocolate that was slowly beginning to melt from the warmth of his touch as he examined the size of his favourite snack. It was hard to image that the baby that was already making his belly protrude slightly could only be that small.

“Thank you,” Sidney returned Geno’s smile after a moment of silent fell between them. A hundred questions bubbled on the tip of his tongue as he brought the chocolate treat back to his lips.

He didn’t care about what anyone else thought as he devoured the treat in a single bite, humming happily as he chewed. Geno raised his hand as if he was about to reach forwards and touch Sidney in some way, but the hand hung in mid-air for a few seconds before it dropped back down to the Russians side. Sidney watched as Geno turned and began to walk down the aisle of the bus towards his usual seat. He knew that their talk in the locker room was still far from over, and the space between their rows on the bus suddenly felt like a symbol of how much they still had to work through.

 


 

It was midnight by the time the bus parked up in front of the hotel. The team rose slowly to their feet, some stumbling like zombies as they dragged their tired bodies into the reception. Sidney forced himself to open his eyes and find the effort to stand. He wasn’t quite at the level of exhaustion as Tanger, who looked like he might fall asleep before he even got to his room, but he certainly felt like it. Growing a baby was exhausting, more so than a game of fast-paced hockey. He attempted to hide a yawn with his hand as he followed Tanger into the reception. He had his room key ready in his hand, before he even got to the elevator.

The team separated into various directions, some of the guys headed with Kessel towards the bar, whilst some were heading towards their rooms. Sidney leaned his head against the mirrored wall in the elevator, his eyes dropping closes as he waited for everyone to finish getting in. He opened his eyes when the elevator dinged for the first time, and the doors opened onto the 3rd floor. With a quick glance at the faces around him, Sidney raised his eyebrows at the sight of Geno standing close beside him; it wasn’t strange for Geno to head straight to his room after a bad game, he wasn’t really the type to drown his sorrows after a loss. The guys collectively stepped out of the elevator, splitting to head towards their rooms. Tanger waved a goodnight at Sidney, before leaving him stood in the hallway with Geno at his shoulder.

“Talk?” Geno asked softly, his voice a whisper in the empty hallway.

“Tomorrow, when we’re back in Pittsburgh.” Sidney sighed, wiping at his dry eyes. Looking up he caught the downtrodden expression that filled Geno’s face, “I just really need to get some sleep.”

Once more, Geno reached halfway into the space between them, stopping before he touched Sidney. Sidney wanted to step forwards and close the space that was remaining between his body and Geno’s hand, but he couldn’t bring himself to move either. They were stuck in a silent stand-off where anyone could walk out and see them.

Geno finally decided, his hand moving to cup the back of Sidney’s neck and his fingers softly stroking at the exposed skin. Sidney gasped at the feel of Geno’s hand; it left him feeling like he was melting beneath the touch. “Goodnight.” Geno’s hand disappeared with his farewell, leaving Sidney to watch as his teammate stepped backwards, once more creating space between them. Sidney leant against his hotel room door as he watched Geno turn slowly and begin walking back down the hall to his own room. Sidney offered a small wave when Geno turned back to face him; Sidney finally opened the door to his room when Geno returned the small wave.

In the silence and privacy of his room, Sidney slowly stripped from his game day suit, leaving his clothes in a messy pile on the floor. He stood in just his underwear, his hands cupping his small bump as examine his changing body in the mirror. Sidney never thought that he would take such simple pleasure from his body changing, having been so petrified of weight gain and muscle loss over his years of playing hockey. His little baby bump, despite looking like nothing more than a bloated stomach, made him feel so happy. Sidney didn’t know what was going to happen over the coming months, or how he was going to be a father, but everything felt less daunting now that Geno knew.

 


 

Despite catching a good nine hours sleep, Sidney still felt exhausted as he settled down into his empty row on the team’s plane. The noise coming from the surrounding rows said that the rest of the guys were not feeling the same exhaustion; it was as if his morning sickness was fading into a constant tiredness that no amount of sleep could fix. Sidney curled himself around the small travel pillow that he’d purposefully brought along for the trip, leaning his head against the closed window the plane as he waited for take-off; he planned to stretch out across his two seats as soon as the plan was in the air.

They had two hours in the air, and Sidney wanted to do nothing more than sleep for the entire two hours. The captains voice filled the cabin, the sound distorted from the tannoy system. Sidney pushed himself to sit up straight in his seat as the plane began journeying towards the runway. It was only a few minutes before the plan was up in the air, and the seatbelt sign was turned off. Before Sidney got a chance to pull the armrest up and lie down across the two seats, Geno was collapsing down into the vacant chair. Sidney frowned at the Russian, no one had dared tried to sit in Flower’s old seat since the trade, not even for a minute. In Geno’s hand was a small plastic cupcake container, housing an exquisitely decorated cake. The cupcake was small, barely three inches tall even with the mountain of blue buttercream sitting on top.

“Why are you feeding me?” Sidney asked as the container was pushed into his hand.

Geno shrugged nonchalantly in response, fiddling with the edge of the armrest with his now free hands. “I was wrong yesterday, checked date and baby would be size of cupcake not peanut butter cup.”

Sidney felt his heart burst with emotion, his fingers shaking slightly as he eased the lid of the container away. He couldn’t resist scraping a finger through the delicate pale blue icing, moaning as he brought the sweet taste to his tongue. The icing was flavoured like blueberries and melted in his mouth. Turning his attention away from the cake, Sidney looked up into Geno’s red face. “Thank you.”

“It’s okay.” Geno smiled, absently rubbing a hand over his blushing cheeks.

“Bit of a size difference to a Reese’s cup,” Sidney examined, spinning the cake container in his hand. It had been weird enough to imagine his baby being half that size, but to now be told that the baby was twice as big as he’d originally thought was insane.

“Baby be size of brownie by next week.” Geno stated in a knowing tone that told Sidney that he’d done his research. If Sidney’s heart hadn’t been fluttering before, it certainly was now.

“Brownies come in different sizes,” Sidney teased, swiping his finger through the buttercream icing once more. He watched as Geno tracked the movement of his finger, and the way the Russian stared wide-eyed as he licked the sugary treat away. Silently he offered the cake towards Geno; he bit his lip as he smiled watching as Geno copied his earlier actions and stole a small bit of icing with his finger.

“Cupcakes come in different sizes too, but I try to get it to match.” Geno shrugged, licking his finger clean. Geno dropped a hand onto Sidney’s knee, gently squeezing it before slowly rising from the seat. Sidney smiled up as the Russian hunched his back and ducked his head in the small space, “Eat cake, and get some sleep. Okay?”

Nodding in response, Sidney watched Geno’s smile widen. “Okay.”

 


 

By the time the plane landed in Pittsburgh, Sidney had moaned the entire time it took him to eat the cupcake, before falling asleep for nearly an hour and a half. Sidney swiped the remaining sleep from his eyes as he shifted his backpack onto his shoulder, following his teammates down steps off the plane. Stepping onto the tarmac, Sidney felt a hand settle on the small of his back. Swinging around to face the owner of the hand, Sidney’s frown instantly shifted into a small smile as he saw Geno standing directly behind him. There was no one else around but their teammates and the Penguin staff, so Sidney didn’t flinch away from the public touch. “We need to talk, let me drive you home?” Geno asked quietly so none of their nosy teammates could start making the lewd jokes that were bound to occur.

Sidney scrunched his nose up as he contemplated his options, “I don’t want to leave my car at the airport.”

Geno nodded, his shoulders slumping at the apparent dismissal. The hand on Sidney’s back fell away, leaving him feeling chilled from the lack of touch. He snapped his hand out, grabbing at Geno’s wrist before the Russian man could take another step away.

“Follow me back to my place?” Sidney offered. It wasn’t much of a trip, they lived only a few streets away; the distance was barely a few minutes’ walk away, it wasn’t like they were having to travel across town. Geno nodded slowly, pulling his arm gently from Sidney’s grip as a few of their friends turned to watch them. As his wrist slipped from Sidney’s grasp, Geno purposefully ran his hand down the length of Sidney’s, as if they were holding hands for the briefest of moments.

“Meet you at home.”

Sidney watched frozen, a hint of a smile teasing the corner of his mouth as he watched Geno walk on in front of him, heading towards the car park. He felt like his decade long crush was finally coming true, the reality and potential finally feeling reachable. It felt strange that despite having slept together already, a simple phrasing of a sentence left him feeling like he might finally be able to have what he’d wanted for so long.

The last few days of confessions had given them both a collection of questions and a scattering of truths. Sidney clung to the hope that his feelings were returned to some extent as he clambered into his range rover. The car was considered old by some members of his team who preferred a new flashy set of wheels every year, but the car had served him well for the six years Sidney had it so far. It survived the cold winters, and with a quick glance at the backseat, it would be big enough for the baby-seat that would soon be needed. The screech of tires and the revving of an engine brought Sidney’s attention to the sleek sportscar that was so low he often wondered if Geno had to crawl to get inside; Sidney bit the inside of his lip as he contemplated on how to suggest a more family friendly car to Geno.

Pushing the car into gear, Sidney slowly drove out of the carpark, following the familiar route back towards his house. The twenty-minute drive left him with plenty of time to imagine a handful of scenarios of what was about to occur. In his head a dozen different conversations and arguments had already taken place before he even pulled up behind Geno’s parked car on his driveway. Sidney didn’t know how Geno knew the code to the gate; even he didn’t know the code, simply accepting that the only way to get it open was to always keep one of the button keyrings with him. Whenever he’d tried to use the code that his friends claimed work, nothing opened, and Sidney was left standing in confusion at his closed gates. If anyone new ever asked him for the code, Sidney always had to deal with the laughter and jokes as he tried to explain that he didn’t know.

“Took you long enough,” Geno joked leaning against his sports car with a smirk that left his eyes twinkling.

“Not all of us drive as crazy as you,” Sidney retorted, grabbing his bags from the boot of his car. Geno was next to him within seconds, large hands swiping Sidney of his luggage. Sidney stood with one hand hovering by his open boot as he watched Geno strut over to the front door as if it was his own home.  Pushing the boot of his car closed, Sidney followed his stolen luggage with a small shake of his head.

 

Geno was the first through the front door, stepping in as soon as it was unlocked. Sidney half-expected Geno to leave his bags in the hallway, but his friend immediately began climbing the stairs; the golf bag that was hanging from Geno’s shoulder was dangerously close to scraping against the cream walls with every step the Russian took.

“Make tea, going to put these in your room.” Geno leaned over the bannister on the upstairs hallway, oblivious to the mild panic Sidney was having about the possible damage that could occur. It had taken Sidney long enough to get his house the way he wanted, who could blame him for being pissed if there was a scratch or mark on his walls; if he found one, he was going to make Geno fix it.

Sidney waited until Geno bounced away from the bannister, his heavy footsteps echoing as he stamped down the hall. When no bangs or crashes were heard, Sidney kicked off his black oxfords, curling his toes as soon as they were free from the tight shoes.  He left his shoes in a pile by the front door, before sliding his socked feet childishly across the wooden floor as if it were ice. He slid his feet along the floor until he reached the doorway for the kitchen, where Sidney began walking like a normal human being once more, his moment of silliness leaving him. He dug through his cupboards looking for the tea that he knew was hidden somewhere. The last time he’d drunk it had been when Geno had been around one evening last season and Sidney though he remembered putting it away in the cupboard above his coffee machine. The cupboard was filled with various cereal boxes and can’s but there was no sight of the metal tea cannister. Pushing the door closed, Sidney simply pressed the button on the coffee machine, filling the kitchen with noise as it whirled to life.

Geno returned just as the machine had finished its warm up cycle and was noisily grinding the beans. “You not meant to have coffee,” He chastised lightly, smiling in response to the scowl that Sidney shot at him.

“I am allowed two cups a day, this is my second cup.” Sidney snarled defensively, mentally berating himself to calm down as soon as the words slipped from his mouth. He knew that Geno wasn’t trying to assume that he didn’t know he had to take care of himself differently now that he was pregnant. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap.”

“I know, don’t worry.” Geno shrugged, opening one of the cupboards and pulling out the tea cannister. Sidney stared at the tin can with an opened mouth; he was certain that he hadn’t put it away in the snack cupboard that Geno pulled it out from. Sidney filled the kettle before watching silently as Geno pottered about filling a penguin shaped strainer with tea leaves. The strainer came as a set of two, one in yellow and the other black, and was Sidney’s secret santa gift from a few years ago. Sidney knew who they had been from as soon as he opened them.

The kettle had just boiled when Sidney broke the silence between them, nursing his small cup of coffee in his hands as Geno filled his own cup with water. “I know we’re meant to be talking but I don’t know what I’m meant to say.”

“You do want baby right?” Geno’s eyes shot up as if only realising for the first time that Sidney may not have wanted to keep the baby.

“More than I ever thought I would,” Sidney smiled as he let a hand drop down to his small belly. His hand was warm from holding the cup, and the touch made him wish for someone else’s hand to be caressing his stomach. “Would you like to feel?” Sidney offered quietly.

Geno didn’t respond with words. The taller man flung himself across the kitchen, closing any space that was between them, his large hands cradling the small belly that was barely stretching the fabric on Sidney’s shirt. Sidney smiled brightly at the heat that was coming from Geno’s hands, his heart feeling heavy with love as he smiled up into Geno’s face.

“So happy,” Geno mumbled, his face filling with too many emotions for Sidney to interpret.

“Do you think we can do this?” Sidney asked after a moment, Geno’s hands still stroking softly at his belly. They were so close, it made him wish he could fully remember the nights they had shared together, to remember what it felt like for Geno to touch him so intimately without the layers of clothing between them.

“Да. You, me and our baby.”

 

Chapter Text

Geno stood with his hands cupping Sidney’s belly for what felt like an age. Sidney lost himself in the warm touch, loosing himself in the fantasy that played out in his mind. He could imagine the relationship that could have come with the baby, and he could easily see a reality where they were more than just a one-night stand and prepared to be raising their baby together. In his mind, Geno was there by his side as they watched their little boy or girl snoozing in a Moses basket, and Geno was there lacing up their toddlers’ skates for the first time.

In reality there was still an unease that Sidney couldn’t forget when he wasn’t in his little fantasy world. For all the words and promises that were said, there was still the fear that Geno’s interest in the baby would wane, and that the happiness that the Russian currently felt would fade as the news set in. Sidney had time to accept the news, and he had come to terms that he was going to be having a baby; for Geno it was still new and exciting. Sidney worried that once reality really hit, Geno wouldn’t want to be invested in the baby’s life.

Other worries tingled at his thoughts; Sidney dreaded the moment the media found out about his pregnancy, and the judgement he would get when he refused to talk about the other father. He pondered on the great sadness which would fill him when Geno got married to a girl and had children that he could be open about.

“Why pouty?” Geno asked with a grin, his wide hands still gently stroking over the material of Sidney’s t-shirt. The simple touch made him feel like he was the most valuable thing Geno had ever seen, and it warmed Sidney’s insides more than he wanted to admit. Cautiously he let his hands slide down to rest over the top of Geno’s, both of them caressing his small stomach. The subtle change was barely visible, but Sidney felt like the small bump was so big.

Sidney shook his head, placing a small smile on his face as he stared up at Geno’s face. The Russian was smiling down at him so brightly, and the smile only grew bigger as Sidney replied, “Just thinking, don’t worry.”

“Thinking about how our baby be the best baby,” Geno teased, one of his hands slowly slipping down to rest on Sidney’s hip instead of his small belly. A giggle escaped from Sidney as he playfully swatted Geno on the chest, his heart beating a little bit faster in his own chest at the feel of Geno’s hand on his hip. It made him think of the drunken memories from the nights they had spent together.

“You can’t say that,” Sidney laughed.

“Why not, it true. Our baby be best and most beautiful baby.” Geno persisted, his fingers squeezing Sidney’s a little bit harder as they both chuckled softly. Sidney knew his face was crimson as he ducked his head to hide his persistent blush.

“I have something for you. If you want it.” Sidney said to the floor, instead of looking back up into Geno’s bright eyes. The hand on his hip squeezed again, and the hand that was still softly stroking his belly teased him as it hit a ticklish spot near his ribs. Sidney couldn’t help the small shudder that ran through his body at the tickle, an involuntary reaction to the touch.

“You already give me baby, what more do I ever need?” Geno practically beamed with his words, but he still let his hands fall away from Sidney’s side and belly. Sidney tiptoed backwards, stepping away from the touch that had felt almost loving. He quickly grabbed an open envelope that sat in the middle of the large island in the kitchen. Out of the six scans that he had received when he went to his doctor’s appointment, only two remained. One was pinned to the Lemieux’s fridge, and one had been sent to his parent’s house, and one had flown back to Vegas with Flower. Sidney’s copy had remained with him, and he knew what he wanted to do with one of the remaining pictures. Tentatively Sidney pulled one of the pictures from the envelope, clutching it facedown against his chest as he stepped back towards Geno.

With a deep breath, Sidney extended the picture forwards. Geno frowned in confusion as he took the picture from Sidney’s outstretched hands; the frown faded away as he flipped the photo around and saw the scan picture for the second time. Every part of Geno’s body relaxed as he physically cooed at the small piece of paper.

“Boy or girl?” Geno asked, utterly mesmerized by the small picture. Sidney’s heart felt full as he took in the blinding happiness that radiated around the room. It felt like this was how Geno should have first seen the picture, a happier moment than an unexpected reveal in the middle of a locker room.

Sidney huffed a laughter, reaching for the cup of coffee that had been abandoned on the counter, the contents now cold.  “We won’t be able to find out for another month or so,” Sidney answered, wrapping one arm around his belly; it was becoming a habit for him to cradle his stomach in such a way. Another giggle escaped when he watched Geno finally tear his eyes away from the ultrasound scan with a pout. Sidney pondered the rim on his cup, smiling into the drink as he slowly sipped at the cold coffee inside.

Slowly he brought the cup down and tried to hide his grin. “We may not be able to find out the gender, but I do have a check-up tomorrow. You could come-”

“Yes.” Geno exclaimed before Sidney could even finish the sentence. Sidney couldn’t help the flutter that pulsed through his heart as he grinned manically.

“Great,” Sidney settled his half-drunk cup down on the counter besides Geno’s abandoned cup of tea. He didn’t want to ruin the happy moment, but he also knew he had to address all the other problems that remained between them. Sidney admitted with a sigh, “I don’t want to ruin the moment, but I need to know.”

“Sid not ruin the moment,” Sidney rolled his eyes at the soft tease in Geno’s voice; it reminded him too much of the easier times before they slept together and made their lives so much more difficult. A dry chuckle escaped from Sidney despite himself, but it wasn’t like the earlier happier giggles they had exchanged.

“I need to know what’s going to happen with Svetlana? Are you going to tell her about the baby?” Sidney hated the way his own voice sounded when he said the words. His emotions were showing through his tone, and he knew that it sounded like he could cry depending on the answer that was given. He wanted to blame the pregnancy on his hormones, but he couldn’t blame the urge to cry on just the hormones. Sidney didn’t want to imagine the idea of the baby being with Geno, having Svetlana being the one caring for his child; or worse Svetlana looking at his child with distain and hatred.

Geno rubbed awkwardly at his nose as if he was trying to put off answering. The silence that fell between them was deafening and with every second that passed Sidney felt his hope dropping. “We broke up after game,” Geno finally mumbled.

Sidney’s eyes grew wide as the realisation hit him. Hundreds of different questions and thought probed his mind, but the only thing he could think to say was, “Why?”

“Not fair on her. She nice girl, but not what I want. Wasn’t serious anyways, just a thing.” Geno admitted in a small voice that was verging on sadness. Sidney didn’t know if the sadness was from the break-up, or if it was because they hadn’t been as serious as Geno had made them out to be.

Sidney did know that it wasn’t his place to ask that intrusive question, instead settling for being respectable. “Is she okay?”

“No. Very angry. Understand why.” Sidney’s eyebrows shot up as he realised what Geno meant. His stomach dropped as he tried to think of a way to reply. “Walls thin, and I shout a little too loudly.” Geno continued, rubbing the back of his neck as Sidney tried to rationalise the new information. Svetlana was no longer Geno’s girlfriend, she was angry, and to top it off she knew the truth about the pregnancy.


 

They spend the rest of the morning perched at stalls around the breakfast island, with Geno explaining more about his relationship with Svetlana. Sidney had listened with a bright flush to his cheeks as Geno gushed about the drunken night they had spent together after they had won the cup. How happy he had been when Sidney had joined with Geno’s drunken dancing, their clothes soaked with spilt champagne. Sidney heard about their first kiss, giggling quietly as Geno retold the story, “You so drunk, so pretty. Didn’t care about anything else just leaned up and kissed me. I was tipsy when you kissed me, but that’s not why I kissed back. You then giggled for like five minutes.”

Sidney giggled again, his honking chuckle echoing around the room. Geno beamed over at him, fingers playing with the ultrasound picture that he hadn’t let go off since being given it. “Yh, you laugh just like that. Then you grabbed my hand and asked me yes or no.”

“Why did you say yes?” Sidney asked, biting his lip softly as he fidgeted with his hands on the table. Geno reached across, resting his hand over the top of Sidney’s effectively stopping the nervous fidget.

“I’ve been wanting to say yes since first time I see you play.”

The room felt like it was spinning around him as Geno’s words settled in Sidney’s thoughts. All the different girlfriends and one-nights stands that he had to watch on Geno’s arm over the years, and all the nights he had gone home with thoughts of a certain Russian tinging every thought. Sidney felt like all his Christmas’s had come at once, but he wasn’t allowed to touch any of the presents under the figurative tree. Slowly he breathed out, “Why didn’t you say anything before?”

 “I Russian. Russia not like that.” Geno shrugged, his hand remaining covering Sidney’s. Sidney allowed himself to smile down at the sight, enjoying the feel of Geno’s large hand nearly covering his. He was so inexperienced in relationships, that the handholding made his heart flutter.

“And now?” Sidney dared himself to ask.

“And now, I know what it is like to have you. Even if it was just for two nights. Can’t forget that.”


 

It was past lunch by the time Geno left his house, with a promise to pick Sidney up for the doctor’s appointment early the next morning. Sidney had smiled to himself, pottering around his big empty house after Geno left. With the new information he had learnt from their conversation, the idea of Geno being there and being an active part of raising their baby was more prominent in his mind. His insides warmed knowing that Geno had wanted him and that it wasn’t a drunken mistake had left Sidney giddy.

They hadn’t talked as heavily about the second encounter, the night that started the chain of events that led them to today, but Sidney felt like the outcome was growing more and more positive. He didn’t need to remember how disgustingly drunk he had gotten after the awards ceremony in Vegas, and how he had cried and moped about the trade. He had vaguely remembered the anger he had felt towards Mario and the rest of the team at the Penguins for doing this to Flower, and Sidney remembered the prick of shame those thoughts still caused him. He hated that he had initially felt angry at Mario, it was undeserved and childish. His rationality had slowly re-joined him once he had sobered up, but it was just another aspect of that night that had left him feeling ashamed in the morning.

 

Sidney was skimming one of his bookshelves, trying to find something to lose himself in when his phone buzzed in his pocket. Carefully putting a book on the Dunkirk Evacuation back on the shelf, he couldn’t help but smile as soon as he saw the name on his phone screen.

     Don’t forget eat. Baby need good food to grow big and strong. – Geno

Sidney cradled his phone against his chest after rereading the text message twice. In all honestly, he had forgotten about eating lunch, too distracted by the conversation he had shared with Geno that morning. Now with a reminder written in front of him, his stomach gurgled eagerly as he walked out of his reading room, his socked feet thudding across the wooden floor as he made his way into the kitchen.

The thought of food was met with disappointment as he pulled open the doors to his fridge and found the contents to be despairingly empty. Whatever remained from before he’d left on the road-trip had long since lost any appeal and Sidney knew he was probably going to throw up if he caught a bad smell coming from any of the leftovers. There was a sad orange sat on one of the shelves, but even that had seen better days. Sidney closed the fridge door with a sigh, his stomach rumbling in protest. He couldn’t even make himself a sandwich as he had thrown his bread out the morning he’d left for the road-trip. There had been no point keeping it when he was going to be out of town for a week, it would have gone mouldy before he got back.

Sidney stood in his kitchen considering his options for a few moments, he could easily just call in and get some food delivered or head to the store to restock on groceries, but he couldn’t face either of those options. He grinned mischievously to himself as he grabbed his keys off the side as he skidded out of the kitchen and back into the main hall. Pushing his feet into the first pair of shoes he could grab from the rack.

He wrapped his arms around himself as the late October chill pierced through his thin t-shirt as he hastily trotted down his drive. The sharp breeze in the air signalled to Sidney that the start of another cold winter was fast approaching the city, and it made him long for the snowy days back home. A small smile filled his face as he darted across the empty road as he pictured building a snowman with his child in a few years, and the thought of a house filled with Christmas spirit and toys.

 

His breath was visible in the air as he quickly pushed his key for the Lemieux’s house into the lock, grinning happily when the door easily slipped open. Eight years living under the roof, it had become accepted that Sidney was forever going to be part of the family. Sidney knew he was just as bad as the Lemieux children who often timed visits home just for a free meal. Nathalie would always playfully scold at her children and Sidney whenever they turned up just in time for dinner, the smile betraying the humour she found in their visits. Kicking off his shoes haphazardly in the entrance hall to the house, Sidney called out his greeting to the seemingly empty house as he walked the familiar path into the large kitchen.

From the silence he received in response to his house, Sidney wasn’t expecting to walk into the kitchen to see Mario sat at the island, his laptop lying open in front of him. Sidney jumped slightly, clutching at his chest at the unexpected shock of seeing someone there. “Jesus Christ, ” he mumbled as he waited for his pulse to slow to its normal rate.

Mario grinned devilishly; his love for jokes and joining in with team games had never faded away fully once he hung up his jersey for good, he merely grew more subtle with them. Sidney had been privileged to see the normal man that didn’t wear the businessman mask that a lot of the team knew. “I see you’ve come to steal my food, it’s like your one of my own miscreants.” Mario joked as he rose from the kitchen stool and made the way to the fridge. Sidney watched as the man who was like a second father to him, pulled out two familiar jars. Sidney crossed to the other side of the kitchen, grabbing slices of bread from the bread box before moving to stand next to Mario. He watched as the man set about making two plates of P+B sandwiches, in just the way Sidney liked it. The perfect moment should have been the warning, but Sidney was so focused on the prospect of food that he missed Mario’s subtle smirk.

Mario waited until he had handed a plate to Sidney, and for the first bite to be taken before he asked jollily as if he was merely enquiring about the weather, “So how’s Geno?”

Sidney paused mid chew, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich sticking to the roof of his mouth as he tried to formulate a response. The laughter seeping from Mario’s eyes, left Sidney loudly exhaling as he worked at chewing the bite. Swallowing the sandwich with a large gulp, Sidney shook his head with a sigh as he stated, “Sully told you.”

“I would have rather you told me,” Mario retorted, his tone strict but not angry. Sidney hadn’t realised he had feared Mario’s reaction until he was faced with that moment. It reminded him of when his parents used to say they weren’t mad, they were disappointed.

“Geno’s the other father.” Sidney breathed out slowly, staring down at his barely eaten sandwich as he listened to Mario sighing next to him. The food which he had wanted now looked unsatisfying, and the bite he had already taken felt heavy in his stomach.

“I know that now,” Mario’s voice changed to a more playful jokey tone, the disappointment only just audible underneath the pleasantry. Sidney picked at the crust of his sandwich, tearing at the corner as he forced himself to look up at his mentor’s face.

“We’re still trying to figure everything out,” Sidney offered. The kitchen fell into silence and Sidney watched as Mario accepted the answer, picking up his sandwich. He watched as Mario slowly took a bite of his sandwich before pointedly looking down at Sidney’s plate. Sidney picked up the food even though his stomach still twisted at the thought.


 

After the awkwardness had settled between them, Sidney had found his hunger returning and had devoured his sandwich like a man possessed. Mario had asked that he and Geno would come to the arena after the doctor’s appointment the next day so that the team could have a basic plan in place. Sidney had bristled at the idea. He knew Geno wanted the baby and wanted to be part of its life. He also now knew that Geno also had some form of attraction towards him, but that didn’t mean that Geno wanted the world to know. After some of the annoyance had eased, Sidney spent the rest of the evening at the Lemieux household feeling happy and content. He sat in the living room with Nathalie and Mario and listened to stories about pregnancy and being a parent before returned to his house on the other side of the street.

He smiled affectionately as he entered the master bedroom, seeing the little neat pile Geno had made of his away bags. It was a small gesture, but he knew how messy Geno was with his own bags, so the gesture felt huge to Sidney as he tugged off his clothes. Stripped down to just his underwear, Sidney caressed his stomach, exploring his little bump with both hands before crawling under the heavy weight of his duvet.

 

The bright lights of Vegas shone through the open curtains, illuminating Sidney’s room on the twelve floor as Geno followed him inside. They didn’t bother turning on the overhead lights, allowing themselves to be lit only by the city skyline as they leaned against each other. Sidney wanted to cry and release all the emotions that he had forced himself to hide as he sat through the awards ceremony. He was an emotional drunk at the best of times and having lost his best friend to another team just sent his drunk emotions to a whole different level of extreme. He felt tears on his cheek being brushed away by Geno’s hands as they faced each other instead of looking out at the amazing view. “It’s not fair,” Sidney found himself saying, not caring about the whine in his voice as he pouted down at the floor.

“We all miss him, will see him and call him. Flower always a penguin.” Geno soothed, slowly reaching out and rubbing his hands up and down Sidney’s arms.

“You won’t leave me Geno?” Sidney asked, looking up from the ground with big teary eyes, the little tear drops clinging to his lashes as he blinked.

“I never leave you.” Sidney rose on his tiptoes, pressing his lips hard against Geno’s. Geno’s hands tightened around his shoulders, holding him in place before he moved to wrap his arms tightly around the captain.

“Stay,” Sidney repeated, his words murmured between kisses. He barely heard Geno’s response as his jacket was pushed down from his shoulders, and he was walked backwards towards the bed. The back of his knees hit the side, and Sidney allowed himself to be pushed down onto the mattress. He moaned loudly when he felt Geno climb on top of him and felt the weight of other man pinning him to the bed.

Geno broke away from their kisses, leaning just out of Sidney’s reach. He grinned at the heavy breathes that were making Sidney’s chest visibly rise, and he greedily reached down to pull at the shirt. Buttons ripped apart, spraying over the bed and the floor, and Sidney’s eyes looked almost black with lust. Geno wanted to lose himself fully in the moment, but he whispered into the heated air of the room. “I need leave early. Flight home to Russia first thing.”

“Just stay for the night,” Sidney gasped, grabbing at the back of Geno’s neck before pulling him down into a dominating kiss.

Chapter Text

Sidney woke up early most days from habit alone, and he hated it. He had conditioned himself to be awake early back when he was younger, and as he got older first thing in the morning was the only ice-time he could get when he was back home. He used to stand in the darkness of his home in Halifax pulling on his hockey equipment before driving in full kit to the rink; he would only have to throw on his skates when he got there. Now he wasn’t waking up to pull on his gear to get to the rink for five in the morning, but he was frowning in frustration as he saw the little five brighten his phone screen.

He blamed it on the anticipation of being able to see the blurry picture of his baby filling the screen in the doctor’s office once more. It felt like too much time had passed since he first got the chance to see his little blur in the fuzzy black and white image. Today was more important than the first time he had seen the baby; today would be the first day Geno would get to the see the real-time moving image of their baby on the screen. No number of pictures could ever beat the feeling of seeing their baby on the ultrasound. Sidney didn’t know what he wanted to watch more, his baby appearing on the fuzzy screen, or Geno’s reaction.

Sidney rolled over in bed, his hand resting on his little belly as he curled into his thick duvet. His mother hadn’t waited until he was past his twelve-week mark before sending anything down from Halifax for the baby and pretty much the day after Sidney told her about his pregnancy there was a box being delivered to his house.  One of the first things she had sent was one of his old teddy-bears that had apparently been his as a baby. The fabric was tatty, and he could feel the old stitches from old rips and resewn limbs, but he remembered how much he loved the soft toy. As soon as he pulled it out from the box, he had clutched it to his chest before placing it on his bed. The teddy had been with him through some of the harder times in his life, and Sidney pulled it towards him now just like all the times he had done as a child. He used to snuggle it and cry into the soft fabric when he returned from hockey practise as a child, the threats made by kids and adults alike leaving him distressed. He prayed that his own child would never have to suffer through the things he did, as he inhaled the comforting yet indescribable smell that clung to the fabric. Sidney let his eyes close as he attempted to forget how early in the morning it was.

 

There was the smell of coffee in the air when Sidney finally lifted his head from his pillow. In his half-asleep daze, Sidney frowned as he sniffed cautiously at the air. The fresh smell of coffee perfuming the air quickly woke him, his head dropping down onto the pillow as Sidney stretched his legs out wide. The smell of coffee shouldn’t have alarmed him as much as it should, he had a habit of giving out house keys to his friends, so much so that Sidney no longer remembered who had a key and who didn’t. It wouldn’t be the first time he found one of his teammates helping themselves to the food in his kitchen as they waited for him to get up, and he knew it wouldn’t be the last.

Reluctantly pushing the covers so they pooled at the bottom of his bed, Sidney tugged on a t-shirt as he whined at the chill in the room. He couldn’t remember if it was the t-shirt he’d worn yesterday or one that had possibly been sat on his bedroom floor since before the road-trip, either way it didn’t smell as bad as his hockey gear, so Sidney classed that as fine.  The smell of coffee and a tinge of cinnamon wafted over him as he stepped from his room, the smell only intensifying as he made his way downstairs. Sidney couldn’t keep the smile from his face, even as he stepped onto the cold wooden floor in the entrance hall. The sound of cheesy pop music and the awful singing that was a mutilated mix of English and Russian informed him who was in his house.

Sidney leaned against the doorway to his kitchen, both hands cradling his belly as he watched Geno singing off tune to the radio as he tore pieces off a cinnamon roll. He sung in broken English, switching to Russian halfway through sentences, leaving the songs disjointed and lacking sense. There was a cup of tea next to him, and another cup waiting beside one of the other stalls at the island. Warmth filled his chest as he watched Geno’s beautiful carefree attitude and at how thoughtful the man was. Sidney didn’t even care if it turned out the coffee wasn’t how he normally had it; it was the fact Geno had tried that made the entire moment perfect.

Geno paused, mid-song as he finally turned and saw Sidney standing in the doorway. His smile grew and filled his face, and Sidney felt himself blushing as his own smile grew to match. He looked down at his feet as he padded across the kitchen, feeling very aware of his current state of dress. Dropping down onto the barstool, Sidney pulled the cup of coffee closer inhaling the sweet smell before taking the initial sip. He sighed as the taste hit his tongue, the coffee made perfectly as if he’d made it himself.

“You finally wake. So lazy Sid,” Geno teased with a grin as he pushed a plate of cinnamon buns across the table. Sidney eyed them eagerly, gulping one more sip of warm coffee before grabbing at one of the fresh pastries. There was thick cream cheese frosting smothered over the top of them, and Sidney moaned loudly at the first bite. It was delicious, and the frosting melted on his tongue. His eyes closed as he savoured the taste, chewing slowly to prolong the flavour. When Sidney finally swallowed and opened his eyes, he was met with Geno’s darkened gaze.

“Jesus Sid, just Cinnamon Rolls.” Sidney wiped at the corner of his mouth, catching a stray bit of frosting on his thumb. He could see the lust in the Russians eyes; a sight he hadn’t seen since the summer. Sidney grinned despite himself, chuckling as he saw Geno fidget in his chair. He resisted the urge to overdramatize the act as he took another bite of pastry. He could feel the Russian’s eyes burning into him as he slowly devoured the sweet treat.

“When doctors appointment?” Geno asked, a smile in his eyes as he timed his question at the exact moment Sidney took a large bite of pastry. Sidney mock glared as he gestured for Geno to wait as he chewed his food; the time ticking away slowly between them as Sidney suddenly felt like this was the slowest he had ever eaten.

Sidney brought his hand up to cover his mouth as he swallowed most of his food, answering from behind his fingers. “We need to be there just before ten.” As his doctor had previous experience as an obstetrician, before moving onto the more open field of general medicine, it didn’t look as suspicious for Sidney to be visiting her. He knew that if he was seen going to the doctors it would be assumed that it was to do with the fictitious lower body injury that the Penguins organisation had fabricated. Sidney knew what reporters were speculating, and he had read the blatant suggestions that he was trying to hide another concussion.

Geno reached over without pausing, his hand resting on Sidney’s stomach as if it was meant to be there. Sidney moved one of his hands so that it rested over the top of Geno’s. It felt so natural between them, as Sidney grinned wide as he gently stroked the back of the Russian’s hand. The moment felt like they were something real, like their baby was more than just the result of a drunken night. Sidney knew that there were feelings between them, but they hadn’t touched much on the discussion the day before. He had been in love with Geno for years, and Geno had stated that he had wanted him for just as long; Sidney didn’t know if their mutual feelings were going to equate to a relationship, but he did know that was something that they would have be discussed at some point.

“Go get dressed. Want to see best baby,” Geno announced gleefully, his hand remaining on Sidney’s stomach almost reluctant to move it away. Sidney giggled loudly, as Geno continued enthusiastically, “Need to see how big baby is, get cupcake right size.”

“Are you trying to make me fat?” Sidney huffed good-naturedly, taking one final sip of his coffee before rising from the bar stool. Geno’s hand slipped away from his stomach as he stood, and Sidney instantly missed the subtle warmth of the touch.

“Feed you, so you can grow our baby and you both be healthy.” Geno shrugged as he rose to his feet, collecting up empty plates and half-drunk cups. Sidney watched Geno bustle about his kitchen for a few moments, admiring the familiarity he had. Geno moved around as if he was at home, leaving Sidney shaking his head affectionately when he finally tore himself away from the sight.


 

Sidney cuddled closed into an old Rimouski hoodie, brought in an XL size over ten years ago, it was well-worn and ridiculously baggy. It was warm against the light breeze in the late October air, and helped fight off the slight chill as they climbed out of Sidney’s car at the doctor’s office. Geno walked around from the driver side, Sidney’s car keys dangling between his fingers as they glanced around the small car park. There was no one around, but they still felt as if they were risking being caught by someone. Sidney didn’t know how he would try to explain why he was attending a doctor’s appointment with one of his teammates, and he was thankful that the situation never arose where he would have to make excuses.

The waiting room was busy, but Sidney and Geno bypassed it entirely. No sooner had Sidney walked up to the reception desk to book in, he was directed towards his doctor’s examination room. Dr Harper smiled warmly at him as he entered the room after a knock on the door; if she was surprised to see Geno walking in directly behind him, she was professional enough not to let it show.

“It’s nice to see you again Sidney, and it is a pleasure to meet you Mr Malkin.” Dr Harper rose from here seat at her desk, crossing the room to shake Sidney’s hand as she did every time he had an appointment with her.  Sidney watched in amusement as his doctor turned to Geno, the Russian man towering over her as she shook his hand in greeting also.

“Hello,” Geno greeted with a soft almost shy smile, his accent thickening as it often did around people he had never met before. Sidney found himself so focused on Geno, he failed to notice the question posed to him until Geno turned to him with a small frown. Shaking his head as he returned his attention to the room, remembering that they weren’t alone, Sidney apologised to Dr Harper.

“No need to say sorry, I just asked how you’ve been feeling since we last saw each other,” Dr Harper repeated, the knowing look on her face informing Sidney that he hadn’t been discreet in his staring a few moments prior.

“I’ve been good. The morning sickness has stopped, and I’m feeling like I’m getting some energy back.” Sidney replied, his hand dropping to his stomach. His oversized hoodie hid his small bump, but he could still feel the subtle curve of his belly through the fabric.

Dr Harper watched his movement with the eyes of a hawk, “Should we get a little look before we do the other tests?”

Sidney and Geno nodded eagerly, both rising to their feet in sync with the doctor. Dr Harper led the way over to the bed in the corner of the room, and Sidney wordlessly climbed up onto it. Tugging his hoodie over his head, his bump was just visible underneath the thin t-shirt. Shrugging his jeans lower on his hip, Sidney didn’t need to wait for instruction as he pushed his shirt up to his chest. Geno moved like a cautious animal, hovering beside Sidney’s head as he watched Dr Harper pour the gel onto Sidney’s stomach.

“You’ve already got a nice little bump,” Dr Harper observed as she pressed the Ultrasound wand against it. Sidney didn’t jump at the coldness of the gel, nor did he jump at the sensation of the wand being pushed into his stomach; but he did jump slightly when he felt Geno grab his hand, squeezing it tight enough to hurt.

Sidney glanced up to look at Geno, but he was so focused entirely on the screen. Twisting his head, Sidney turned to look at the fuzzy image on the screen; just like last time, Dr Harper pushed the wand around his stomach for a few moments as she searched for what she wanted to see. “And here we have it. Your baby is growing well, nearly double the size from the last time we saw it. Right on target for what we would expect.”

Dr Harper continued to move the wand over his stomach, looking at various other aspects that she needed to observe. Sidney tore his eyes away from the little grainy image of his baby and turned to look up at Geno’s face. Geno had tears streaming down his cheeks, and Sidney could see in his eyes the love he had for their child already. He felt tears prickling at his own eyes, as Geno looked down at him.  

The hand that wasn’t clutching at his, went to Sidney’s cheek as Geno leant down and kissed him. Sidney could feel their mixed tears on his cheeks as he let the kiss wash over him. He didn’t care if there was someone in the room witness to their exchange; nothing mattered in that moment other than him, Geno and their baby. The kiss felt like nothing they had shared before, it spoke of promises and a commitment, and when the kiss ended, they stayed for a moment staring into each other’s teary eyes. Their noses rubbed together from the closeness, and watery giggles came from them both. Sidney smiled as he turned his head back towards the screen; he could still feel Geno’s breath on his cheek as they both watched in awe at their baby.

 

The appointment lasted just as long as the first one had; more tests were run, and Sidney sat perfectly unphased as he was subjected to more blood samples. He tried not to grin when it was Geno’s turn for blood tests; who would have thought that the big angry Russian bear would have such a strong distaste for needles. At one point, Sidney was sure the nurse was either going to give up or try to physically restrain Geno to get a blood sample. In the end, distraction was the key. Sidney picked up one of Geno’s clenched fists, and after easing his fingers open pressed his hand underneath his hoodie. They couldn’t feel any movement, and Sidney knew that wouldn’t happen for several more weeks, but the simple touch was enough to distract Geno for the moment it took the nurse to push the needle into the man’s arm.

Geno’s grouchiness at the blood test carried on, even as they left the doctor’s office and drove towards the rink. The Penguins had a game the next day, and that meant the team had practise and treatment sessions scheduled for today. Sidney felt sorry for his teammates; he knew from experience that Sully would not go easy on them after their devasting loss against Tampa Bay. Sully didn’t care if they had a game tomorrow, if a player couldn’t recover from a hard practise session, how were they meant to recover after a game.  It sounded sadistic but Sidney wished he could join his teammates for their corporal punishment. He missed the ice already, and it had only been a few weeks; he didn’t know how he was going to manage for the next six months without the smooth feel of his blades slicing along the rink as he chased for possession of the puck.  It wasn’t going to be like his concussion when he didn’t have a definite time of return. Sidney knew approximately when he would be able to play again; it was out of his hands whether it would be in the postseason or next year’s preseason.

Sidney peeled open the envelope containing the latest ultrasound pictures and just like the last time there was half a dozen copies. Pulling one out, Sidney examined the blurry outline of his baby. He knew his baby was exactly eight and a half centimetres long thanks to all the questions Geno asked Dr Harper during the appointment, and Sidney was already anticipating the next sweet treat which would be to the exact measurement of his baby. He smiled as he traced the outline, catching Geno’s attention as they stopped at a light. “Baby already so beautiful,” Geno smiled as he alternated his attention between the road and the passenger seat.

“I already want to see it again,” Sidney admitted. The photo was nothing in comparison to seeing the little wiggles that the baby did on the screen.

“How many pictures?” Geno asked as he nodded his head in indication to the envelope on Sidney’s lap. Setting the one in his hand against his thigh, Sidney once more flicked through the envelope as he double checked the quantity.

“Six. I was going to keep one and give one to Flower.” Sidney replied. He didn’t know what he was meant to do with the other four. He had sent his parents one of the pictures from the last scan only a few weeks ago, and although he knew they would like it he also knew that by the time he had reached the end of his pregnancy he would have over a dozen different ultrasound pictures; his parents didn’t need to receive a copy of each one. With Flower it was different. Flower was his best friend, and just like how he had a copy of each one of Veronique’s scans, he wanted Flower to have a copy of each one of his.

The lights changed, and Geno pulled away slowly leaving Sidney to smile despite himself. Geno was always one who would try to race against other drivers at the lights to see who could get in front first, so having him drive carefully in the big range rover was a pleasant surprise. Sidney turned his gaze to Geno, watching as the Russian concentrated on the road with both hands on the wheel, and his heart melted as he asked cautiously. “Can I have some?”

Sidney reached across, his hand gripping Geno’s knee as he squeezed softly. “Of course you can.”

Geno sighed, relaxing into the seat as the car once more stopped at a set of lights; they were getting closer to the arena and the traffic was as busy as it ever was at lunchtime. The sun was shining down on Pittsburgh, and everyone seemed to want to go somewhere, leaving the roads nearly gridlocked. “Just want one for me, and one to send Мама and Папа.”

“Have you told them yet?” Sidney asked cautiously. He had met Geno’s parents plenty of times before, and despite the fact they didn’t speak great English and Sidney couldn’t speak Russian, he really liked them. They were so open with how proud they were of Geno and his accomplishments, and they were so loving and supportive of their son. From what he had seen of them, they were some of the nicest people ever. He worried that Geno’s parents agreed with the popular opinion in Russia: that homosexuality was wrong, that pregnancy should only be for straight couples. Sidney also worried that them knowing about the baby would change how they were with Geno. He didn’t know what it would be like for Geno if his parents were against the baby and the thing that was forming between Geno and himself.

Geno’s jaw clenched, and his hands tightened on the steering wheel for just a second before he relaxed once more. “I told them when I found out.”

“Are they-”

“They happy. They will spoil you, Мама wants to send food.” Geno grinned, leaving Sidney to smile and shake his head. If Geno got his feeder tendencies from his mother, Sidney knew he stood no hope.

Sidney squeezed Geno’s knee once more, “What do you think we should do with the leftover photos?”

Geno’s answer was instant as if it was the simplest question that had ever been asked of him, “Mario, and then put other up somewhere in room.” Sidney knew what Geno meant by room; he meant the locker room at the rink. It would allow the rest of the team and all their close friends to see the baby instead of everyone clawing at Sidney or Geno’s copy.

“We’ll put it somewhere that only team can see.” Sidney agreed. In his mind he was already trying to figure out the best place where they could display the ultrasound scan in the locker room, without it being seeing by the multitude of journalists that came through the arena.


 

The team were already out on the ice when Sidney and Geno finally got through the midday Pittsburgh traffic. They stood on the bench, watching as their friends skated through drills before someone finally pegged their presence. Whatever Rusty shouted had everybody else spinning on their skates and racing over to the bench. It was a closed practise for the day, and no reporters were hovering watching the team. Shearsy was the first to reach them, throwing his upper body over the board, leaning over with his feet barely touching the ice. Other stopped around them, Olli slamming into the boards next to Shearsy in his eagerness. Geno chuckled at the antics of the baby penguins as they all began to resemble meerkats rather than penguins, all of them rising on tiptoes to look over the top of people’s heads.

“Where’s the pictures?” Phil shouted from the back of the crowd. Sidney had informed Sully the night before that Geno would be coming with him to a doctor’s appointment, explaining that he wouldn’t be at practise on time because of it. He should have known that it would have become common knowledge between the team; they were all gossipmongers.

“Yh! Where is the picture of my first godchild?” Tanger proclaimed, his voice only just loud enough to be heard over the top of the excited squabbles. Sidney leaned his head into Geno’s shoulder as his honking giggle seemed to fill the arena. One of Geno’s large hands came to rest on Sidney’s hip, pulling him closer against his side. Someone cooed, but neither of them cared to glare at the offender. Sidney felt like he was glowing, as he chuckled at Geno’s proud puffed out chest as he passed over the copy of the ultrasound. He watched as his teammates scrambled over one enough trying to look at the small square photo.

“We need to find a place for that to go in the locker room,” Sidney smiled as two dozen excited eyes turned their attention to him.

“Are you serious?” Olli gleefully asked as he pressed himself again Shultzy’s back to look over the defenseman’s shoulder at the little picture.

“We need like a timeline of all Sid’s baby scans.” Rusty smiled eagerly, before going off into a ramble about what they should make. Sidney had to agree it did sound like a cool idea. Rusty wanted to pin a piece of string or ribbon across a wall and then clip all the ultrasound photos to the string. It was all very Instagram-like, and completely Rusty’s style and aesthetic.

“Should get a photo of Sid’s bump next to every scan as well.” Tanger enthused, clapping Rusty on the back of the helmet for his idea. Sidney knew that he had no control over his teammate’s idea now; he was surprised someone hadn’t already run off to hang up a skate lace as a make-shift string.

“As long as only we can see it,” Sidney rolled his eyes affectionately when he saw the mischievous glint in Tanger’s eyes at his words. He knew instantly he had opened a whole can of worms, but it was too late to take back his words now. Tanger jumped the barrier, nearly cutting Murray with his skates as he threw his legs over the side. Sidney allowed himself to be pulled along by his friend as he was dragged back down the tunnel, Geno’s laugh following behind him.  

 

The photos that were taken weren’t bad; Sidney had shredded his hoodie, his little bump just visible underneath his t-shirt. Tanger had been over-enthusiastic, directing Sidney on how to stand and where to put his hands as if he was a pro-photography instead of a professional hockey player. The rest of the team had filed into the locker room as Tanger was still dragging Sidney around the room trying to find the best place to position him. In the end it was a crazy storm of shouts and suggestions as everyone wanted to share their opinions and ideas. Some of the coaching staff, including Coach Sully joined them in the manic locker room. It was eventually decided that it would make the best photo if Sidney would stand showcasing his little stomach in front of the giant Penguin logo on the wall.

Finding a place to hand the string for the photos was still an ongoing process, and as Sidney had envisioned the string being used was an old skate lace that Horny had pulled from his skates as Tanger went trigger-happy. He had left the guys to their planning as they discussed different places to hand the string. Sidney didn’t know where it was going, but every had agreed it wouldn’t be somewhere visible for the press. He knew he wouldn’t walk through the locker room doors after the next home game and see a picture of his bump for the whole media world to see.  

Sidney allowed himself to be escorted from the rink, Geno’s hand ghosting over the small of his back in a barely there touch. The team had a game tomorrow, and he realised quite quickly into the impromptu photoshoot that him being there today was not going to help practise. The team needed to be put through their paces, and him being there was just a distraction that they could afford. His pregnancy was still a new thing for everyone, and the buzzing excitement was still in the air. Once the news settled, it would be easier for the team to focus, and maybe handing them the scan mid-practise hadn’t helped the overall concentration.

“Everyone’s so excited.” Sidney voiced his thoughts as they drove back through the busy Pittsburgh streets. The lunchtime rush they had driven into the city with, seemed to have joined them as they drove out, the roads busy with traffic.

“I’m most excited.” Geno smiled, reaching down to hold Sidney’s hands. If they hadn’t been stuck in traffic with countless over cars around them, or maybe if his car windows were more tinted, Sidney would have closed the space between them and kissed him, just like how Geno had kissed him in the doctor’s office.

“Me too.” Sidney grinned, squeezing the other man’s hand.

 


 

The next days were a blur of busyness. Even though he wasn’t playing, Sidney didn’t find he had free time. He still went down to the rink during training sessions, joining the team for the game-day meals and sitting down in the gym as the others went about pre-game warm-ups. He watched from the box with Mario as the Penguins snuck the puck into the Edmonton Oilers net in overtime; Sidney had to stop himself from cheering for Geno as the Russian got the assist on the game-winning goal. He then joined the team in the locker room for media questions after the game, answering anything that was asked at him with a smile. He was happy to see that the skate-lace string hadn’t yet made its way onto a wall in the arena. Sully had kicked the team back into position once Sidney had left the day before, leaving them with no time to continue planning.

Sidney initially decided against joining the team on the trip to their usual bar that they frequented after a game win, before eventually being worn down by Geno’s pout and Tanger’s constant pestering. He typically spent the evenings after games drinking the least, but it was different to see the night from an entirely sober perspective. He watched as the single guys tried and mostly failed at chatting up girls at the bar, and he watched as more and more drinks were spilled as people drank more and more. It left him feeling warm inside when Geno politely declined all the invitations for drinks and dances from the brave woman who approached him. Geno was a gentleman, matching him in glasses of soda and water instead of joining in with the other guys throwing back beer.

When Sidney finally called it a night, Geno had rose from his seat and joined him on the short walk back towards the arena. They had walked side by side, shoulders brushing with every step as they buried their hands into their trouser pockets. There were still a few people who did double takes as they walked past, but no one paid them any attention beyond that. In the relative privacy of the players car park at the arena, Geno leaned down and pecked Sidney once on the cheek before moving his kiss down to his lips. The kiss was short and chaste and perfectly simple. It wasn’t a kiss of passion, but a kiss that promised something more in the softest of touches. Sidney chased after it when Geno pulled back, pouting in response to the soft huff that the Russian made.

“Sid,” Geno whispered into the space between them, before closing the gap once more. Sidney pressed himself into the kiss, demanding for more as he flicked his tongue along the bottom of Geno’s lip. Geno was insistent, refusing to pander to the urgency that seemed to radiate from Sidney. They had still yet to have a full discussion about what they were to one another, mainly because neither of them could think of a way to approach the awkward topic. Sidney was too nervous to bring it up in case the answer he got wasn’t the one he desperately desired. He could temporarily accept that Geno wanted him, and he was willing to leave it at that for the time being. It wasn’t just a drunken mistake between them now; after thinking it was for the last three months, Sidney was okay with knowing there was something more between them.

This time when they pulled back, Sidney felt flushed as Geno kissed him on the tip of his nose, “Drive safely.”

 


 

The next game was against Winnipeg Jets, and Nathalie had joined Mario and Sidney in the box as they watched the team gain another win in overtime. The long practices that Coach Sully had put the team through over the last few days, and the chance to spend time with their families after a long week on the road had uplifted spirits once more. It was always difficult at the start of a season, for some players it took longer to get back into the swing of spending a week at a time away from their families. Sidney realised it would be him in that position next year, and that thought unsettled him slightly as he watched the game from above. He knew that would be a thing that would need to be added to the long list of things currently due for discussion with Geno. The team were flying out the next day for the start of the next road trip; ten days away and six different flights would allow plenty of time for talking.

Sidney hugged Nathalie and Mario goodbye as the puck hit the back of the net only a minute into overtime. He rushed down to the locker room, making it through the doors just before they were opened for the media. The room was filled with laughter and happiness from the teams win. Sidney found himself automatically searching around the room for Geno, smiling brightly when he caught the Russians eye.

The doors opened and the reporters swarmed the room before Sidney got the chance to cross the floor and say anything to Geno. There was a buzz of reporters around Kessel for scoring the game-winner, but there were still a small gaggle of reporters that stopped in front of Sidney.

“How do you feel the team have been performing so far this season?”

“Any idea when we might see you back on the ice?”

Sidney answered them as diplomatically as he could, showcasing all his experience and years of media training within his answers. Reporters tended to like him or hate him; he tried to always be polite to everyone, but he also tried to never give a negative opinion to any reporter. He didn’t want the backlash from saying the wrong thing about the wrong person, so he learnt quickly back when he was just a kid that if he didn’t voice his negative opinions nothing bad would come of it. As an adult that logic worked, but it also left others with an opinion that he was typically a bland interview. Everyone still grappled to ask him questions, but they had long since given up expecting to get any juicy clickbait tagline from him.

Sidney had just finished answering how he thought the teams powerplay was holding up in comparison to other teams, when a voice from the back of the small crowd cut through the noise and successfully silenced an entire room. “Sid! Can you tell us when the baby is due?”

Chapter Text

The silence that fell upon the room was profound. Sidney felt like the world had been ripped out from underneath his feet as time stopped, leaving him feeling like he was in freefall. His ears rang in the silence, the normally rowdy room turning still as everyone’s attention turned to the small gaggle of reporters in front of Sidney. The gaggle quickly turned to a swarm as every reporter in the room abandoned their current interview or question and flocked on mass towards the frozen captain.

Where there had been shocked silence only a moment before, there was now a wall of noise as three dozen reporters began shouting and pushing their way towards Sidney. Sidney’s stomach was in his throat, leaving him feeling like he would throw up at any possible second.

“Baby!”

“Who is the mother?”

“How long have you been together?”

The same voice that started the swarm piped up again, “Sidney how long have you known you’ve had the gene!”

“Are you a carrier!?”

“Sidney, how far along are you?”

“Are you out for the season?”

“Who is the father?”

Sidney open and closed his mouth like a fish as he struggled to think of how to respond to the questions that were being fired at him from all angles. On the outskirts of the crowd of reporters he could hear his team trying to push their way through and fighting to be heard over the continuous shouting of questions. All the cameras in the room were poised on him, and every few seconds another flash from a photo being taken, left him blinking away spots in his vision. His hands felt clammy as he shakily wrapped them around his belly, instinctively trying to protect his baby from the crowd of people who were pushing closer and closer towards him. The move met with increased hysteria from the reporters, the action confirming to everyone in the room that the question had started the swarm was indeed based on truth. Sidney felt trapped, and he felt the outline of a stall divider digging into his back; he knew that if he let himself fall onto the bench he would be swarmed even more by the reporters.

He tried to look over the top of the reporters, trying to find the man he needed to see. He could hear Geno angrily shouting in Russian, but Sidney couldn’t see him at all through the crowd. The same voice from before echoed above the nearly deafening noise of so many people talking and once more effectively stunned the room into temporary silence. “Geno how do you think Russia is going to react to the news of your impending fatherhood?”

Sidney felt like he been kicked in the stomach as his resolve finally crumbled. He felt tears forming in his eyes as he brought one hand away from his stomach to cover his mouth as he gasped in shock. The reporters were frantically looking between Sidney and behind them, where Geno presumably was at the back of the crowd. Sidney couldn’t help the small sob that rattled his chest as Olli finally managed to push his way through the crowd, standing protectively in front of Sidney, shielding him with his body. This wasn’t someone who had simply figured out that he was pregnant, Sidney realised, this was a planned attack that was designed to hurt. This was a reporter who had known exactly where to look and had planned it in such a way that would cause the most distress to both people involved.

The reporters barely got a chance to turn their firing range of questions onto Geno, as Jen stormed through the locker doors, and boomed in a voice that shouldn’t have been able to come from such a small frame. There was a reason she was the director of communications and an amazing PR manager, as she commanded with a savage and cold tone, “Anyone who is not a player is asked to leave the locker room immediately. Failure to do so, will lead to permanent ban from the room.”

Sidney watched from over Olli’s shoulder as the reporters slowly began to file out of the room, none of them wanting to risk Jen’s wrath. Those who didn’t know about Jen’s temper was warned by other reporters as they moved as one. As the reporters slowly dwindled, Sidney could see Geno for the first time after the reveal. He looked furious, face red with rage and his fists clenched at his side. His breath caught in his chest in between the sobs that still wrecked him; this level of rage in Geno was the type that was reserved solely for the rink. Off-ice, he never let his temper get this extreme. He stomped across the room, the rest of the team ducking to the side to escape his war path. Olli was the last to the move, carefully stepping to the side, but remaining in close distance to Sidney. Olli’s reluctancy to leave Sidney’s side wasn’t because he thought Geno was going to be aggressive towards Sidney, but due to lingering anxiety that had left the entire teams hearts pounding in their chests. No one on the team had ever encountered reporters falling prey to a mob-like mentality like what they had just witnessed.

The echo of the locker room doors filled the room as Geno paused in front of Sidney, and Sidney felt Geno’s gaze checking him over. He knew the tears that had formed had fell down his cheeks, leaving glistening streams in their wake, and he could feel his fingers shaking against his mouth as he continued to bury his sobs into the palm of his hand. A large hand covered his own hand that was pressed against the curve of his belly, and the feel of Geno’s warm touch broke any resolve that Sidney had left. He let his head drop down leaning into Geno’s shoulder, uncaring of the discomfort as his forehead rested against the solid shoulder pad of the body armour that Geno had yet to remove. A hand squeezed the back of his neck comfortingly, before softly stroking the small hairs at the base of his head.

Sidney tangled his hand in the loose fabric of Geno’s jersey as he sobbed, “How did he know?”

“I don’t know,” Geno whispered, his voice calm despite the rage that was still rolling off him in waves.  Sidney tightening his grip on the jersey, as he tried not to focus on the movement of his teammates in the corner of his eye. “We find out,”

“Everyone knows, there were cameras and I don’t know which ones were filming the room live.” Sidney stammered, as his panic caught in his throat. His parents were going to find out Geno was the father from gossip-hungry reporters who were probably already calling their landline; that was if they hadn’t already watched the scene on TV already. His stomach felt like lead; it wouldn’t just be his family affected by one reporter’s announcement; Geno stood to lose so much more from this.  Russia would not be happy, and Sidney feared they would make life difficult for Geno, just like they had when he had run away from them all those years ago. Geno’s relationship with his home country was a difficult once; it would always be Mother Russia to him, but it was hard to forgive the country when they had forcefully tried to make him stay, and then been so angry when he ran away. Sidney had learnt over the years the sort of harassment that Geno had put up with, and the sort of harassment that had been forced upon his family after he escaped to Pittsburgh. He feared that the reveal of the baby would force that harassment to restart and would permanently destroy the fracture bridges between man and country.

“We made a plan for telling.” Geno tried to soothe Sidney’s rising panic. His large hands unrelenting in the gentle strokes on the back of his neck, and the soft caress of his baby bump.

“We planned for when I got too big, we didn’t plan for this Geno. That guy knew! He knew I was pregnant, and he knew you’re the other father. This was planned and -”

“And Jen will have another plan.” Geno cut off Sidney’s rant. Sidney slowly unlocked his fingers from Geno’s jersey, raising his hands to his face to press the palms into his eyes as he wiped the tears away. His fingers were shaking as he brought them down, and Sidney found himself staring at them for a moment as he tried to comprehend what was going to happen. Geno was right in what he was saying, that they had a plan for telling the press about the baby, but the plan hadn’t gotten past the planning stage of a small press release. Nothing had been decided about exactly what was to be said, and Sidney hated himself for putting off sitting down properly with Jen to plan it out fully. Now they were up a creek without a paddle, and it was too late to try to control the situation.

“I get dressed, and I’ll meet you at office.” Geno promised with a small kiss to Sidney’s forehead that had his eyelashes fluttering closed at the touch.  Sidney instantly missed the subtle warmth of Geno’s space as soon as the Russian stepped backwards, the hand on his bump was the last point of contact between them. Olli stepped back into Sidney’s space, an arm wrapping around his shoulders as he was slowly led towards the locker room door.

Jen had followed the straggling reporters out and must have escorted them away from the players area entirely as the corridors were practically empty apart from a few equipment guys running back and forth prepping for the away trip that the team were due to leave for the following day. Sidney stared down at the floor, as Olli led him towards the PR offices. The offices were nearly hidden away in a maze of corridors, and although he rarely had to go because of his own actions, Sidney hated stepping foot into the room.

 


 

With a knock on the door, Sidney stepped inside and was greeted with the sight of Jen sat behind her desk with her elbows on the wooden surface and her hands twisted in her hair. She looked exhausted as if the weight of the world had been dropped on her shoulders, and Sidney knew that he was probably the one who had dropped that metaphorical weight. Olli left him in the open doorway with a clap on the shoulder, and a promise to get Geno to hurry up. Sidney paid no heed to the promise, he knew that Geno would probably be joining him in mere minutes, having left a trail of discarded equipment in his path. If they even managed to get Geno to have a shower or even do a small cool down, it would be a miracle.

Sidney crossed the room slowly, contemplating every step he took before he perched on the seat on the other side of the desk. He felt like he was a child who was sat in the principal’s office, waiting to be scolded. Jen was not someone he would have thought would make him feel so small, but the look on her face when he sat down in the chair sent chills down his spine. She released her tight grip on her hair, to glare at him like he had personally announced it to the entire room of reporter. She interlocked her fingers together and perched her chin on top of her clasped hands as she kept her icy stare on him. “I have already had six calls from networks asking for a statement, I have had twenty-eight voicemails, and my mobile has not stopped beeping with emails; and all of this could have been sorted if you had sat down and planned for this type of response.”

A response began to roll from his tongue, but before he could even let the first word escape, Jen was talking over him with a fierce expression that dared him to try to interrupt her. “I have nothing to give them, I can’t even do damage control because of how much of a fucking shitstorm this is.”

Sidney fought the urge to wince. Jen was a demon in a suit at the best of times, and despite having a temper that could scare any journalist or hockey player into behaving, she did not swear. Sidney couldn’t even remember how many years he has known her, but he knew that she had never sworn at him or any other player ever in that time.

“Right now, I have nothing I can say in a press release other than two of the players decided to have a drunken one night stand. I can not even spin this to look like you two have been in a committed relationship and this pregnancy was a happy accident! I get to try and convince the media that two supposedly straight hockey players just decide to have one night stands together instead of finding some dumb blonde at a bar, and oh woops here’s a baby, and oops one of them is a carrier!”

Sidney flinched at the almost acidic tone in her voice as the volume in her rant raised to a point where she was shouting her words at him.  He could think of nothing he could say in response that would help the situation. Nearly every single word that she spat across the table at him was true, and if he even wanted to risk pointing out he had never been straight he wouldn’t be surprised if she lost it. Sidney apparently wanted to risk his PR Managers wrath, as he whispered into the otherwise silent room, “It is a happy accident.”

Whatever scathing remark was about to fall from Jen’s lips, remained unsaid as Geno stomped into the room with damp hair and a t-shirt sticking to his wet skin. Sidney turned to look over his shoulder at the sound of the door slamming open. He must have taken the quickest shower in existence, before dressing immediately instead of drying off. The deep frown, and the darkness in his eyes warned Sidney that Geno had heard most, if not the tail end of Jen’s shouting.

“You don’t speak to him like that.” Geno sounded calm, but the even tone of his voice, and the way his words were pronounced against his usual accent showed the anger in his words as he sat down into the chair next to Sidney’s. His hand came to rest of Sidney’s knee, but his eyes never left Jen. He was daring her to try to talk like that again.

Jen huffed, leaning back in her seat and examining the two players with scorn. Sidney knew that Jen wasn’t against them in the situation, but he had sat through enough meetings in his time as a captain to know that Jen had the capability of reaming out a player as good as any coach. Although Sidney had been witness to it before, it was the first time the anger had been directed at him. Geno had never been sat in this chair and he was experiencing Jen’s rage for the first time.

“We need to give them something, or the media is going to rip your entire life history apart to get a story they can sell.” Jen commented. She was no longer shouting, but her voice sounded empty and devoid of any emotion as if she had resigned herself to the situation.

“They’re going to rip our history apart regardless of what we say to them.” Sidney replied softly, squeezing Geno’s hand as he continued, “No matter what we tell them, they will drag little moments from our past out and use it as proof or evidence. We might as well just give them something as close to the truth as possible.”

“Sid-”, Geno began, before Sidney turned in his seat to look at him.

“We’ll tell them that it’s the beginning of a new relationship between us, confirm that we are expecting a baby. Say it was unplanned, but we’re happy and looking forward to becoming parents. Keep it short and simple and mention something about not letting the relationship affect how we work together as well?” Sidney suggested. He tried to ignore the calculating look in Jen’s eyes as she ran his idea through her mind.

“There will be too many questions asked.” She finally replied.

“There’s going to be questions asked no matter what. Sid’s idea good.” Geno glared at the woman. Jen didn’t get her job from backing down, and she met the glare with one of her own.

“We can have a press conference organised for tomorrow, allow some pre-approved questions to be asked you both.” Jen continued, grabbing a pen off her desk as she began jotting down the plan as she spoke.

“No.”

Jen’s glare shot back up at Geno’s face, the refusal reigniting the anger that had started to dim inside of her. “You cannot say no to this. People are going to have questions.”

“They can know we having a baby, we not going to stand and explain. They do not need to know how, when, where, why or any other question they want to ask.” Geno stated blandly. His eyes never left Jen’s as if she was a wild animal that he couldn’t turn his back on out of fear of attack, but Geno squeezed Sidney’s knee reassuringly.

“If you do not give them answers, they will hound you as soon as they step into the locker room after a game.” Jen fumed as she slammed her pen back down on the desk, the sound causing Sidney to flinch at the unexpected noise.

“They do that, and you not be doing a good job as PR.” Geno antagonised her with a wide smile that did nothing to hide the rage in his eyes. Sidney watched as Jen’s jaw visibly clenched in her attempt not to snark back at Geno, as she settled for once more picking up her pen in a tight grip that left her knuckles white.

“Let’s start by just get something written so that we can try and take back some control of the situation.” Jen sighed in resignation.

 


 

The arena was empty of the rest of their teammates by the time Sidney and Geno left Jen’s office. They walked down the concrete corridors, elbows brushing with every step. Sidney felt like a cinderblock had been thrown on top of his shoulders and the arguments that had been constant over the last few hours played on repeat in his head. Jen’s mood had not improved as the time past and they still were fighting for a suitable compromise. Eventually she had unwillingly accepted that he and Geno did not want anything more than a basic press statement; no conference, no questions, no interviews.

The statement was simple, but Sidney still felt like it was opening them up to wide for the public. If he had the choice, he would have wished the events of the evening had never occurred; he wanted a reality where he could be pregnant and have the baby in peace without the rest of the world finding our and judging him for his actions. Male pregnancy was more widely accepted than it had been in the past, but there was still plenty of people out there who thought less of the men who got pregnant. Before the news had broken, he had people speculating about is sexuality and making derogatory comments; with the release of the statement Sidney was nervous to see what comments would be made.

“Can you-”

“Stay with me tonight?” Geno asked, stealing the question from Sidney’s mouth. Sidney sighed contently, leaning slightly closer into the Russians side as they stepped through the door to the private car park. He didn’t want to be left alone and had been on the verge of asking if Geno would stay with him tonight. Sidney nodded, feeling the flush in his cheeks even as the chill from the outside air pierced through his coat. He huddled closer into the fabric of his coat as he followed Geno towards his ridiculous sports car. The inside of the car was warmer than the chill outside when Sidney eased himself into the vehicle with a grumble about low to the floor it was.  

Geno waited patiently until Sidney was comfortable in the passenger seat and safely strapped in before slowly pulling out of the underground carpark. It was such a drastic change to the way he typically sped out with his foot on the gas and the deafening sound of the engine. Sidney relaxed into the seat, happy that he wasn’t gripping at the seat in his fear of Geno’s normally fast driving.

 


 

The drive back to the quiet suburbs was eventless, the streetlights casting golden shadows as the flickered past them. The drive seemed to pass quicker than it should have done, and the twenty minutes seemed to fly by as Sidney alternated between staring out the window and glancing appreciatively at Geno. The golden glow from the streetlamps illuminated his profile, and Sidney couldn’t help but admire his beauty.

“Your staring,” Geno smirked as he pulled into his drive. Sidney flushed, as he turned his attention out the window. He didn’t know what he had been expecting when they reached Sewickley, but he expected there to be reporters waiting outside their houses for their return. It might have been because it was two in the morning, but there were no waiting cars outside of Geno’s gate and there were no cameras trying to take photos over the privacy hedge.

“I like staring at you,” Sidney admitted quietly as Geno pulled the car up outside the door to his garage. He continued to stare as Geno elegant slid out of the low car in a way that seemed to defy logic for someone so tall. Sidney attempted to replicate the grace, but he felt unbalanced as he tried. Geno rushed to the passenger side of the car, his hand held out in an offer of assistance.

“I’m going to get new car,” Geno stated as Sidney accepted the offered hand, allowing himself to be heaved up form the sports car. “Big car, no room for baby seat in this.”

Sidney smiled as he stepped a little closer so that he pressed himself closer to Geno. The cold October air was forgotten as he embraced the warmth in his stomach at the thought of Geno already preparing to make adjustments in his life. Geno loved his fast cars, and the sportier the better; it reinforced how serious Geno was about the baby, that he was willing to sacrifice his cars, his image and his homeland. With a slight rise of his toes, Sidney closed the space between them, brushing a faint kiss against his lips before falling back on the heels of his feet.

Geno smiled underneath the sensor light that shone above their heads, as he began to lead Sidney by the hand towards the house. The lights in the house were already on, illuminating them as Geno worked the key in the lock. The house was warm and waiting for them, as Geno led Sidney up the stylized staircase. Geno’s style showing in his decorations and his furniture as he led Sidney past the variety of random knick-knacks that filled his home. The giant alien statue in the backyard was impossible to see in dark as Sidney glanced out of one of the windows at the top of the stairs, but he knew it was there.

Sidney let himself be led into the master bedroom, stepping over the random bits of clothing that littered Geno’s floor. Geno dropped his grip on Sidney’s hand, as he spun on his feet to stare down at him. Sidney felt himself shrink underneath the stare. He allowed Geno to push his suit jacket down from his shoulders, his tie poking out of the inside pocket as the jacket hit the floor. A kiss was pressed against his forehead before Geno stepped out of Sidney’s space. Sidney toes off his shoes as he watched Geno begin to root around his open closet, before raising his hands in triumph. A balled-up t-shirt was thrown over his head towards where Sidney was stood. With a quick snatch in the air, Sidney huffed out a laugh at the ridiculously cute design of a cartoon penguin wrapped in a rainbow scarf and holding a hockey stick. The design was well worn, parts of it crackled from wear and countless washes, but the fabric was soft under his hands. Sidney laid the t-shirt carefully on the bed before undoing the buttons of his shirt trying to ignore the heat from Geno’s stare as the other man watched him.  

Sidney’s shirt fell from his arms, joining his jacket in a rumpled pile on the floor. Sidney placed his hands on the subtle swell of his bare belly, watching with hooded eyes as Geno strutted back across the room. He stopped with his feet bracketing Sidney’s and his hands trying to cover any space on the bump which was free. Sidney looked up from his baby bump to smile brightly, his smile widening at the identical happiness on Geno’s face.

“I’m all in, no regrets.” Geno said slowly before leaning down to press his lips against Sidney’s. Dropping down into a crouch, he kissed Sidney’s stomach with a mumble, “Семьи.” 

 


 

 

“Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pleased to announce that they are expecting their first child.

The couple would like to thank their friends, family and the Penguins organisation for the love and support and are looking forward to the future ahead of them.”

 

Pittsburgh Penguins Press Release- Sidney Crosby Pregnant

 

Post game interview reveals hockey superstar, Sidney Crosby, is pregnant

 

Sidney Crosby is pregnant, and you won’t believe who the father is!

 

“I mean this is a joke right? Did I not realise April Fools Day had moved to October?”

“Exactly! Are we going to have to question it every time a player is out with a lower body injury?”

“Is he the first player though, or just the first one to decide to keep it?”

“That is definitely a question we probably will never have the answers to, but the question I want to know is how long have Malkin and Crosby been a couple?”

“Well from the looks of Malkin’s summer, it’s hard to say what has been going on behind closed doors.”

-

Click here - 38 LGBT+ Athletes, including Tom Daley, Nicola Adams, and Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby

 

“So the Pittsburgh Penguins released a statement last night after that incident in the locker room.”

“A little too little too late in my opinion. We have some of the footage of that scene last night to hand, but what bothers me is how long it took the Penguins to react and respond to that.”

“I know what you mean. It took them two hours to release that statement; two lines!”

“Got to wonder if the organisation even knew at all.”

“My thoughts exactly, if they had known it wouldn’t have taken them two hours to release that, more like two minutes.”

“But the real question now is, will Sidney be playing at all this season?”

“Well that press statement didn’t give us any information about it, or about how far along he is. For all we know he is just a month or so along, and then what he’d be due in July?”

“How are the Penguins going to play without their captain for the next seven or eight months?”

-

Sidney Crosby – A carrier

The tragic secret that has haunted the star for years

-

Sidney resisted the urge to throw his phone down on the bed in anger as he skimmed through the articles and watched the videos where reporters were talking about the press conference.  Geno mock-glared at him as he tried to bury his head beneath a blanket as Sidney raged at his phone. “How is being a carrier tragic? And how the fuck could it have haunted me for years when I only found out a month ago!”

“Sid, I tell you not to read,” Geno mumbled, reluctantly removing his grip on the inside of the covers so that he could move his hand across the bed to rest on Sidney’s stomach. After they had shared their moment getting changed out of their game-day clothes, Geno had bundled Sidney up in his borrowed t-shirt and an obscenely tight pair of shorts and tucked him into bed before climbing in next to him. They had fallen asleep quickly despite the stress of the day, with their hands entwined in the space between them.  Geno inched his fingers underneath the thin t-shirt Sidney wore, smirking as Sidney huffed at the temperature difference in Geno’s touch on his stomach; nonetheless he moved one of his hands to rest over the top of Geno’s.

“I never normally read what they say about me, but I need to know this time. It’s not about just me now, it’s about you and its about our baby.”

Chapter Text

cheekyseeky72 - What a surprise Sidney Crosby is a carrier.

weet191023 - Sidney takes it in the ass

jaw_kewell - We all knew Crosby was the taker

almeerasill - Always knew he was really called Cindy.

Sidney had scrolled through the mass of articles for a little while longer, every word he read making him angrier and frustrated at how quick people were to judge him or comment on his status. His own anger and his need to see what people other than journalists were saying led him down to the comments sections on social media. Sidney had borrowed Geno's phone to scroll through the different posts made on Twitter and Instagram, and the words he read made him angrier the more he scrolled down. People had no shame and no regrets about making harsh comments simply because they were hidden behind a phone screen on the other side of the world. Sidney didn't know if they realised he may read their mean words, or if they simply didn't care.

His anger must have been visible on his face, as Geno had lifted his head from his pillow to frown at him; the look had been completely destroyed by the pillow creases that marked his cheek, making the Russian look soft and sleepy. Geno may have looked sleepy, but he was quick as he snatched the phone from Sidney's grip. The frown deepened when Geno saw the comments that were on the screen, and Sidney could see the angry temptation in his eyes as Geno visibly contemplated hitting reply on some of the comments, his thumb hovering over the reply button. The fire in his eyes was aimed at those who felt the need to make derogatory comments on the internet, but it made Sidney feel warm inside when the gaze was lifted from the phone and aimed at him. "I tell you not to read," Geno repeated, the anger enunciating the Russian accent that thickened with his emotions.

"They are always going to say things like that. They always have." Sidney reminded him softly. Some of the insults were just butchered versions of the things he had been called for years. He couldn't even remember if Cindy had been an insult that had been born from his time in the NHL, or if it was an insult that had existed for far longer. He knew Cry Baby was one that had originated from his earlier years playing hockey, just like he knew speculations about his sexuality had been around since he was approximately sixteen.

"Doesn't matter if they always say them. You never normally read them." Geno pointed out, pushing himself up so that he sat with his back pressed against the headboard. The covers slipped down from around his chin, exposing the hideous t-shirt that the Russian had worn to sleep the previous night. The design was camo patterned but in an obnoxiously bright orange that could put the Flyers uniform to shame.

Sidney opened his mouth, ready to retort when Geno cut him off with a small smirk and a silent dare for him to try and argue back, "Not good for baby to be getting upset over what idiots say."


 

Both his phone, and Geno's phone was confiscated from him, leaving Sidney sat upright in the bed with his back supported by a fluffy pillow. He folded his arms across his chest, and pouted dramatically as he watched Geno potter around the room in nothing but a pair of boxers and the disgusting orange t-shirt. He could hear his phone vibrating with messages and emails, and he could hear the continuous ringtone from Geno's phone, a high pitched song that was quickly getting on Sidney's nerves. He knew that he should push back the covers and leave the warmth of the bed, but he didn't want to face the day ahead. Whilst Jen had agreed that they did not have to do a press conference about the pregnancy, she had demanded that they attend a meeting at the arena to help combat the responses made. Whilst Sidney had seen some of the things published about them, Jen would have had her team sift through most of the official articles. Some of the articles or comments made would require further action or responses, and Sidney and Geno were to have an input in what response was made. Sidney could already tell that there was going to be a few articles or journalists they would need to contact regarding slander, or takedown requests.

Sidney watched as Geno tugged the obnoxious orange shirt off, exposing the long lines of muscles across his shoulders and back. He felt his cheeks flush at the sight, as he self-consciously fidgeted. Geno was the most attractive person in the world to him, and seeing him half naked in his bedroom, left Sidney needing to adjust himself in the tight shorts that had been given to him the night before. The rustle of his hand underneath the covers caught Geno's attention, the knowing smirk that filled the Russians face leaving Sidney to blush brightly. In the moment, the exchange of heated looks and laughing eyes made Sidney forget about the drama that was exploding outside of the bedrooms four walls. The world knowing about them didn't matter as long as Geno kept smiling at him like that.

"Stop looking at me like that," Sidney blushed, tearing his gaze away from Geno. His eyes dropping onto his lap where the thick covers worked to hide the blood that was pumping south. He clutched his hands in his lap, angling them to cover any visible sign of his erection. He hid his smile as he looked down at his clasped hands, the mattress dipping at the bottom of the bed. He flashed his eyes upwards for a second, glancing at Geno as the Russian knelt down at the foot of the bed, his thick arms bracketing his ankles. Sidney could feel the bed dip with every movement Geno made, as he crawled his way up the bed until his hands were fisted on either side of Sidney's hips, and he was perched over his thighs.

"I want to look at you," Geno whispered into the small space that he had left between them, before he surged forwards closing the remaining gap. Sidney melted into the kiss, his hands moving from his lap to curl into Geno's messy hair. He shuddered as Geno ran his tongue along the top of his mouth, his grip on Geno's hair tightening to a level which Sidney was sure was painful. Geno didn't seem to care about having his hair pulled, leaning closer into the touch as he chased Sidney's mouth. Sidney moaned in the back of his throat as he desperately tried to pull Geno closer to him; the Russian was unmoving, leaving their lips and Sidney's hands in his hair as the only point of contact between them. The moan turned into a whine when Geno pulled back, his lips red and his eyes slightly glazed. The passion in the first kiss faded to tenderness in the second kiss as Geno once more closed the space between them. Sidney melted against the pillows as he loosened his grip on Geno's hair, slinging his arms around his shoulders.

"You're beautiful," Geno whispered against Sidney's lips as he once again pulled away from the kiss, the arms hooked around his neck preventing him from pulling back more than a few inches. Sidney ducked his head in pleasant embarrassment. "Want to stay here in bed with you, but we need to get up before Jen drives here and drags us."

Sidney giggled loudly, as he relented his hold on Geno. He couldn't deny he enjoyed the sight of Geno crowding over him, and a quick glance down erased any paranoid thoughts that his interest wasn't reciprocated. Geno's dick was tenting his underwear, leaving the fabric looking strained against the sizable bulge. "Such a bad influence," Geno huffed with a smile, quickly leaning close for a brief kiss before he pushed himself off the bed. Sidney watched from the bed as Geno gathered clothes from his drawers and began trying to make himself look presentable. Sidney pouted as he pushed the covers down from his hips, he was reluctant to leave the bed for a different reason than the one previously. He still didn't want to face the day, but now he wished he could stay in bed and continue kissing Geno. 

Geno smirked over his shoulder at Sidney before grabbing their phones and heading into the bathroom. The sound of the shower being switched on, and water thundering down onto the basin floor echoed into the bedroom, leaving Sidney to stare at the closed door. Memories flashed through his mind of the day after their first time together. The afternoon sun had washed the bathroom in a bright light as Geno had joined him in the shower. Sidney bit his lip as he remembered Geno looking down at him with sleepy eyes before capturing him in a kiss, the water falling all around them. Geno had pulled him closer, his hands stroking down Sidney's thighs, before stopping just above his knee. Sidney felt weightless as Geno had lifted him up as if it was nothing, before pushing him against the cold tiled wall. Sidney had hooked his ankles around the Russian, and they had rutted against each other in a passionate embrace that had them moaning as their cum was washed down the drain. 

Sidney flushed at the memory, the thoughts and images flashing in his mind doing nothing to ease his arousal as he pushed himself out of bed on unsteady legs. He wished he was a brave as Geno had been, to have no fear of rejection and just push his way into the bathroom. He tried to distract himself by admiring the collection of knick-knacks that were scattered round the room, covering tables and dressers. Sidney ran a finger along a line of Russian porcelain dolls, they were laid out in a military straight line along the back of one of the dressers, the smallest no bigger than a fingernail. They were all exquisitely painted, with fine details and bright colours; the quality of them suggested they were a gift or souvenir that Geno had picked up one of his trips back home to Russia. Sidney absentmindedly straightened the largest doll, pushing it a millimetre back into line. 

From the corner of his eye, he caught his reflection in the mirror, and he was unable to stop the burst of laughter that escaped him. The cartoon penguin shirt that Geno had leant him the night before was obnoxiously large on him, falling past his hips; whilst the ridiculously tight shorts that he had worn to bed were being stretched to the extreme, from the size of his arse, and his erection which was tenting the front.  He huffed in a breath as he fought to stop the next bubble of laughter that formed in his throat as he stared at his appearance. Sidney couldn't help but wonder if Geno was in the same predicament, or if he was stood in the shower relieving his own arousal. Sidney blushed as he turned his attention away from his reflection, the sound of the shower cutting off leaving the room in a prominent silence. 

The door to the bathroom swung open, bringing with a small cloud of steam as Geno walked back into the bedroom, a towel clutched at his waist; his grip on the material made it look like the towel could fall to the floor moment. Sidney felt like his face was on fire as he darted around where Geno stood, ignoring the mischievous glint that flashed in the Russians eyes as he passed. 


 

The cold water felt exquisite against his heated skin, and Sidney was able to push his arousal back under control.  He wrapped a towel securely around his waist as he pushed open the door the bedroom. The room was empty, and the bed had been remade whilst Sidney had been getting washed. At the foot of the bed sat a small pile of clothes that Geno had left out for him, and Sidney picked them up, examining them against his body with a cryptic raised eyebrow. Despite Geno being taller than him, Sidney was wider in the shoulder, and there was no competition when it came down to the size of his arse. The team had teased him constantly over the years about the size of his hockey arse, and the nickname 'Monster' was definitely about the size of his rear end and not the size of his front. One time when Fleury had been drunk, he had flung an arm around Sidney's shoulder and proclaimed it was okay to be average in something. Sidney had elbowed his best friend in the rib at the time, but it was all in jest. 

Sidney sighed at the jeans as he quickly pulled on the underwear and socks that Geno had left out for him. His own jeans had to be adjusted for him, unless he wanted to walk around looking like he was dressed in flares; and the pair Geno had left out for him looked like they were designed to be skinny jeans. Tugging them up his legs, Sidney found himself pleasantly surprised by the stretch in the material as he shimmied them over his arse, the fabric stretching to accommodate. They were not a style he would have chose for himself, but they fit, and they didn't feel like they were digging in around his hips. They did cling to every curve of his leg like a second skin. The T-shirt that had been folded on the bed next to the jeans made Sidney have the same sceptical look on his face as he held it against his chest. It looked like it should fit, but it was going to be tight around his shoulders. Unlike the jeans, there was little give in the fabric as he tugged it over his head and over his small bump. The shirt hugged his bump in a way that Sidney had tried to avoid when picking his clothes recently, but he figured that he could throw a hoodie on over the top. It wasn't like the entire world didn't know about his pregnancy now. 

Sidney swiped a hoodie from Geno's wardrobe, snuggling into the softness as he inhaled the lingering scent of aftershave that clung to the fabric. He tugged on the cuff sleeves, dragging him down so that covered his knuckles as he wondered from the bedroom. He could hear the scattering of voices as he walked down the hall, and when he reached the top of the stairs he caught the small hint of coffee. The smell put a spring in his step as he practically bounced down the stairs, nearly skidding into the kitchen. 

He wasn't expecting to see Mario and Geno sat next to each other at the kitchen table, three phones in the middle of them. Sidney could see that two of the phones belonged to him and Geno; he assumed the other one was Mario's. All three phones were flashing on the counter, and when Sidney sat down on the other side of Mario, he could see all of the notifications which were spamming the phones. The three takeaway cups of coffee caught Sidney's attention more than the latest buzz of an email.

"Hey Kid," Mario knowingly smiled, pushing the largest cup towards Sidney. Sidney eagerly accepted the cup that was pushed his way, wrapping his hands around it as if it was the holy grail before bringing it up to his lips to take a small sip. He barely brought the cup down before his phone flashed and his phone lit up with an incoming call.  Sidney grimaced at his fathers name as he reluctantly picked his phone up and swiped accept on the call. 

"Hi Dad," Sidney greeted, trying to keep the sigh from his voice. 

"Sidney." Sidney couldn't help the flinch that shook through him at the tone of his father's voice. He could tell his father's anger from the way he said his name in full. 

Sidney opened his mouth, a reply was on his tongue, but he couldn't speak before his father cut him off,

"Do you-"

Whatever his father was going to say next was lost as Mario tugged the phone free from Sidney's hand, bringing it up to his own ear with a false cheer, "Troy, its so nice to talk to you again. How are you?"

Sidney could hear his fathers voice on the other side but he couldn't make out whatever words were being said. Mario had a mask that refused to reveal just what was being said, but Sidney could see his father figures hand tighten around his phone; his knuckles blazing white as his grip tightened. He rose slowly to his feet, offering Geno and Sidney a tight smile as he took the phone conversation out of the kitchen. Sidney watched Mario leave the room, unable to fight the sinking feeling as the phones on the table continued to buzz. 

"You okay?" Geno asked, reaching across the space Mario had left to put his hand on Sidney's knee. Sidney reached down with one hand, clutching onto Geno's hand tightly. He had to put down his coffee cup, his hands shaking too much to hold it steady. 

"They didn't know," Sidney admitted shakily. "I haven't called them since you found out." His parents knew about the pregnancy, but Sidney had not told them the truth about who the other father was. He couldn't even begin to imagine how they must have reacted finding out in such a way. He didn't know if they had found out from watching the news or if they had found out because of some nosy reporter calling the house. His extended family hadn't even been told yet, and he couldn't even begin to imagine the fallout that would create. 

"It will be okay." Geno soothed, stroking his thumb along the back of Sidney's hand. Sidney let out a shuddery breath as his shoulder slumped forwards. He wanted to believe Geno, but he didn't know what his father's reaction would be.  Their relationship had been in a weird semi-fractured place for most of Sidney's life. He knew that his father loved him unconditionally as all parents should, but sometimes unconditional love wasn't enough. There were too many broken bridges between them, and hundreds more which were barely holding together. Sidney didn't know what had started the destruction of the bridge, but he knew what one of the biggest contributory factors was. His father worried about him, and Sidney understood why. What parent wouldn't be worried when their child was threatened, and bullied from such a young age. 

His father had been the one who bore witness to the hate filled words spat at Sidney by the parents of fellow kids in his little league and junior teams. He had been the one to hear people wishing that Sidney was injured, and he had been the one who heard parents encouraging their children to go after the small kid in the 87 jersey.  Even after all the years had passed, and he found the success that none of those kids reached, Sidney knew that his father had not been able to get over the fear that someone would try to hurt him again. That left Troy being overbearing with his worry for his son, and whilst Sidney had been able to accept what had happened to him, Troy had not. Outside of hockey and his fathers worries, it left little room for other topics of conversation. Sidney's mother and sister were the glue that had kept their family together for so long, and they were the ones who were there constantly trying to hold up his relationship with his father. 

"I just feel..." Sidney shook his head as he gathered his thoughts, he didn't know what he felt. "I feel like I should be asking how your family is right now."

Geno copied his shrug with ease, but Sidney couldn't help but wonder how much was weighing on the Russian's shoulders. In the articles he had read earlier, there had been no mention of Russia's commentary on Geno, but that didn't mean a statement hadn't been realised whilst he was getting ready. He knew from some of the horror stories and comments made over the years about the type of pressure Russia had put on Geno's family when he first ran away. "Mama messaged, they okay. She worried about you more than her own son, new favourite."

Sidney rolled his eyes with an affectionate shake of the head at Geno's attempt to hide the tension, "Lets face it, this little one is going to be everyone's favourite soon." He rubbed his small stomach pointedly, relaxing into the touch when Geno moved to rub his hand alongside his. 

They remained sat like that for a few minutes, neither of them wanting to move their hand off of his small stomach. Sidney couldn't deny that he was intrigued to learn what it would be like when he got a little bigger. The thought of getting huge with a big pregnancy belly still terrified him, but he was eager to feel his baby moving around inside of him. 

 

Mario cleared his throat announcing his return to the room. Sidney spun around in his chair to face the older man, frowning as he glanced at the hand that was extending the phone out to him. Sidney slowly rose from his seat, instantly missing Geno's hand as it fell away from his stomach. He gingerly took the phone from Mario, his heart thundering in his chest and his hand shaking as he brought it up to his ear. Sidney felt a wave of fear wash away from him when he heard his father sighing his name down the phone, "Sid."

"Dad I'm sorry," Sidney gushed, as he brought his clenched fist up to his mouth. His hand trembled against his chin as he listened to his father breathing down the phone.

"No I'm sorry. I'm proud of you buddy." Troy replied, and a throb of emotion hit Sidney in the chest at his fathers word. "Me and your mum are going to come and visit in a few weeks, spend some time with you, and I guess with Geno."

"Dad." Sidney sighed, his voice low and verging on emotionless. 

"I'm just saying, it will be nice to get to know him as family. Anyways I will give you call when we have the details planned out. Love you buddy." Troy promised. Sidney bit back the urge to roll his eyes, he wouldn't be surprised if his father had already began searching for flights down to Pittsburgh. His parents knew the Penguins schedule just as well as he did, and his father was undoubtedly aware that the team wouldn't be in town again until the 5th of November. 

"Love you too dad," Sidney signed off, holding his phone to his ear for a few moments after the call finished. He could feel both Geno and Mario watching him carefully, their gaze fearful as if he was going to break at any possible moment. Sidney exhaled loudly, his hands falling away from his face, and his phone hanging down by his side as he walked back over to his vacated chair. Mario squeezed his shoulder comfortingly as he sat back down, the hand kneading away the tightness in his muscles as he waited for Sidney to speak first. 

"What did you say to him?" Sidney asked curiously.

Mario grinned down at him, the glint in his eyes informing Sidney that he would never get the full story about what was said in the phone call, "I just reminded him that you are his son, and none of this is your fault."

"That's not all you said," Sidney chimed, leaning his head all the way back so that he could look up at Mario. Mario moved his hand from Sidney's shoulders, raising it to Sidney's forehead and pushed his hair back, stroking the soft strands. Sidney leaned into the touch, like a  cat seeking being pet. It was moments like this where Sidney was grateful at how much the Lemieux's had opened their arms and welcomed him into their home and family. He had his bedroom at the Lemieux's house, and the invite on vacation was always there for him; most of the times they didn't bother asking him, merely letting him know the dates of the holiday. He knew that his baby was going to be adored; they would have three lots of grandparents, half a dozen aunts and uncles, and family of hockey players who would adore them.

"That's not all I said," Mario confirmed. 


 

Geno and Sidney clutched their take-away cups in their hands as they climbed in the back of Mario's car. Sidney was surprised that there was still no reports waiting for them outside the house when they pulled out of the drive. Mario caught his frown in the rear-view mirror, explaining as he navigating the quiet streets, "The majority of reporters who are trying to hunt for the story are camping outside the rink; anyone who has done their research would know that it is a travel day."

"Is that not going to cause problems for the staff?" Sidney asked, fiddling with the cardboard sleeve around his coffee cup.  Geno reached across the space between them in the back seat, holding onto the hand that was fiddling. The stroke of Geno's thumb over the back of his hand left Sidney wishing he could curl into the Russians side and hide from reality. 

"I've made everyone aware that they are not to travel to the rink alone, it should stop anyone being cornered as they try to get in." Mario continued as he pulled out onto the main roads, leaving the quiet suburbs behind them. The morning traffic was yet to reach its extremes, leaving them able to drive along without being caught in gridlock. Sidney found himself staring out the window as he watched the streets of Pittsburgh fly past him. The closer they got the city and the arena, he could feel his stomach dropping and his chest tightening. He was scared of what was going to be greeting him when they got there. 

 

The rush-hour traffic had caught up with them by the time they got to the arena, and Sidney felt his heart racing as they creeped towards the staff parking area. Every person he saw as he looked out the window, made him nervous. He didn't know who was civilian, and who was a reporter. Geno squeezed his hand as they pulled up in front of the staff entrance, and Sidney was glad for the dark windows in Mario's car as they carefully drove through the small crowd of reporters that were hovering in front of the guarded entrance. The security guy waved them through, but Mario had to drive slowly past the journalists who didn't care about the moving car. 

The private parking area was miraculously empty,  the security doing well at keeping those who weren't meant to be there out.  Sidney climbed out of the car slowly, glancing around him as he leaned into Geno's side as they quickly rushed into the arena. The corridors were bustling with activity, the equipment managers rushing around with sticks and equipment piled in their arms. The team were setting off on a five game road trip that afternoon, and the last few things were being packed for the long journey. A road trip was so much more than just throwing game day equipment into a bag, trunks and sticks were being pushed through the corridors ready to be loaded onto the truck heading towards the airport. Sidney stepped quickly out of the way as someone came barrelling towards them, a dozen sticks balancing precariously in his arms. His side-step had him stepping backwards into Geno, his back hitting the Russians chest and strong arms instinctively moving to wrap around him. 

"You good?" Geno asked cautiously when Sidney took a step back, leaving a small space between them once more. Sidney nodded in acknowledgement, reaching his hand out in offering. Geno smile lit up the corridor, as he entwined their fingers. They followed Mario through the maze of cinderblock corridors, before they hit the panelled corridor that let them into the PR department office. 

 

Jen was sat at her desk, her fingers tugging at her hair in the same way she was doing last night. She looked tired underneath her make up as if she had barely slept a wink. Scattered across the desk were piles of spread out papers, and Sidney could see as he stepped closer that they were all different articles and reports about him and Geno. On the other side of her desk sat four waiting chairs, one of which Sidney sunk down into. He presumed that the fourth chair was set out in waiting for Sully, the coach would be one of the main people outside of themselves who would face the questions that the reporters would fire at them at any given opportunity; it was only right that their coach was prepared and knew what was being written before he faced the media. 

"What have we got?" Mario asked, as he dropped into the chair on one side of Sidney, as Geno fell down on the one on the other side. 

"Russia dropped their statement about forty minutes ago." Jen sighed, releasing the white knuckle grip she had on her hair to grab for a piece of paper that was resting to the side of her phone. She passed the paper to Geno first; Sidney leant into his side frowning in frustration as he saw the Cyrillic alphabet instead of the English one. 

Geno sucked in a shaky breath, as he mouthed along to the words as he read the short statement. His frown deepened as he read the last word, letting the paper fall down to rest on his lap. Sidney glanced down at the paper before bringing his gaze back up to Geno's face. The small nod he received at the silent communication was all Sidney needed as he reached over and carefully took the paper from Geno's loose grip. The words on the paper meant nothing to him, but Sidney still glanced across the Russian words praying that they would magically translate in front of him. 

"It roughly translates to them saying they are not happy with Geno's decision to father a child with another man, and then its a vague suggestion that he won't be chosen for the national team." Jen explained. Sidney glanced at the PR manager before catching the tightening in Geno's jaw out of the corner of her eye. He could only presume that the rough translation she gave was not the exact way it was worded in the original statement. 

"The media have sunk their teeth into it, every article since has been updated with something about Russia's reaction. Team Canada have gone for a different response. They've joked that they hope the baby will be a Canadian citizen and to watch the team in eighteen years’ time." Jen continued as she began to shuffle through some of the papers on her desk.  As she lifted sheets in search for the one regarding Team Canada, Sidney spotted the paper that sat at the top of the pile, and the one that had Jen pulling at her hair when they had entered the room. 

Sidney rose to his feet suddenly, snatching the paper from the pile. He clutched it in his hands, red hot rage burning through his veins as he stared at the photos attached to the article. He felt sick with anger as he stabbed his finger at the printed photo, "That's not my baby!"

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 EXCLUSIVE - Svetlana Voronin tells all about Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby's baby. 

Svetlana Voronin was in a relationship with Malkin for two months prior to the revelation that Sidney Crosby was pregnant and the father was Evgeni Malkin. Svetlana, 27, had been unaware of any relationship between Malkin and Crosby, and she first found out about the pregnancy when an ultrasound was discovered in the locker room. Initially believing it to belong to Crosby and a potential girlfriend, she had congratulation the Penguins Captain, before Malkin asked for her to be removed from the room. It was only after she had been escorted from the locker room did she hear the pair shouting at each other about the pregnancy. 

'It was the worst day of my life, I have never felt so humiliated standing outside the locker room listening to my boyfriend asking another man if the baby was his. I didn't even know they had a relationship.'

Svetlana and Malkin's relationship has been well documented across social media this summer, and one has to wonder if this was all a clever ploy by Malkin to try and hide his recent gay affair with Crosby. 

'I really though we had something, I could already picture having a family together.'

 

Sidney clenched his hands into fists, his entire body shaking with anger as he watched Geno read through the article. The photo of Svetlana holding an ultrasound scan photo was such a click-bait image. If people didn't read the entirety of the article it could easily look like Geno's ex-girlfriend was holding a picture of her own scan. The second image was a close up of the scan that Svetlana had been holding, and it was not one of Sidney's. It looked nothing like his two previous scan photos so it was clear to him that Svetlana had sourced a stock image for her interview. 

"Do we have the name of the journalist who wrote this?" Mario demanded, rising to his feet so he could read the article over Geno's shoulder. Sidney could see the fire hidden behind the older man's calm demeaner, and it was clear that everyone was feeling the same rage that Sidney was.

 Jen sighed loudly in immediate response to the question. "Yes. His name is Daniel Marston, he was the one who made the announcement in the locker room yesterday." 

Sidney felt like he had been shot, as the shock pierced through his chest, pushing him back down into his seat. He had thought that yesterday's outing had seemed like a planned attack, but now he was certain. The way the article was written was evidence that it had been prewritten to some extent, preluding the questions asked the night before. He didn't have to ponder on how the journalist must have discovered the secret, Svetlana must have searched for who would pay her the most for the exclusive interview and then proceeded from there. He could barely focus on Geno's hand clutching his as he listened to Mario and Jen talking over them. 

"Is he one of the regular reporters in the room?"

"No. Yesterday was the first time he had been there; we're trying to find out how he got his press card yesterday as we don't have any paperwork logged on him." Jen explained, her voice sounding as defeated as it had towards the end of the night before.

Mario hummed under his breath as he tapped his fingers against his lips, contemplating his words, "Is there any chance another journalist lent him there access card for the locker room last night? Maybe there were more people involved than just him?"

"It is a theory, but it's one that we can't possibly prove." Jen sighed. Geno and Sidney sat watching the conversation occur above them, neither of them had any input into how the journalist had been able to access the room if they weren't on the media list for the game. Somewhere along the line there had been a lapse in security, but they didn't know where the lapse had occurred; it might have simply been a piece of misplaced paperwork or it could have been something meticulously planned. Sidney didn't care about how the journalist had got into the room, that information was irrelevant to him. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the fake ultrasound scan that Svetlana had claimed to be his though. The hand that wasn't clutched in Geno's grip fell to his stomach, softly stroking the thick fabric of the borrowed hoodie as he ran his fingers along the small curve of his belly. His baby was the victim in all of this, more so than he or Geno were. 

"Can we issue a takedown?" Sidney piped up, his voice nothing more than a whisper but it brought both Mario and Jen into silence. 

"We can, but this article dropped half an hour ago, straight after Russia's statement, and unsurprisingly every news company has pounced on it. It is everywhere." Jen answered sympathetically, her face softening when she saw the defeated look that filled Sidney's eyes. 

"Then we sue," Geno declared. 

"I wouldn't recommend that either. The reaction to you filing a lawsuit against her would not reflect well."

"But that's not our baby," Sidney mumbled, finally tearing his attention away from the printed article. Mario quickly flipped the paper over so that the photo of Svetlana wasn't staring up at them. Sidney didn't know what he was supposed to do. He wanted to cry and he wanted to scream. The red hot anger that had burned inside of him had cooled to an icy sadness that mingled with a sickening feeling of defeat. He felt like he had lost, and he didn't even realise he had been in a fight. 

"I have an idea," Geno offered with a small smile that didn't reach his eyes and a tight squeeze of Sidney's hand.


 

It was early afternoon by the time Geno and Sidney finally left Jen's office, after working there way through a large amount of the articles that kept piling up on her desk as time passed. Whenever they though they had made a dent in the pile, more reports were printed and the pile grew taller and taller until it resembled a small mountain. The entire PR department had been pulled from their regular duties to work on the damage control,  and the two interns that they currently had hired were watching and listening to hours of the days news footage for any reference to Sidney and Geno. 

Sidney had read through a lot of the articles alongside Jen, but none of them had made the same impact as Svetlana's interview. As Jen had warned them, everyone had picked up on the article and from what they could gather Svetlana was being offered big money for further interviews or tv spots. Whilst Jen had insisted that they could no longer issue a takedown notice, she was quick in putting through a gagging restraint. It was a thoroughly detailed restraint for being put together in such a short amount of time; it would permit Svetlana to be interviewed but if she mentioned anything other than what had already been written in the initial article she would be fined and could face a potential court appearance. Jen had explained that she couldn't put in a full non-disclosure as it would be too obvious, but a partial one would mean the media got what they wanted with an interview but Svetlana would not be able to provide them with anything new. She had reasoned that if Svetlana could not give any further information, the interview requests would quickly dry up and she would become an irrelevant factor in the story.

 

Mario was still working in the office when Sidney and Geno rose to leave. He waved the pair off with a small smile, pressing his car keys into Geno's hand when he went to shake it. "Just leave the car at yours, and drop the keys at mine when you head to the airport later," Mario explained. Sidney tried not to bristle at the mention of the flight that night; it had been a fight to convince everyone that Sidney was going to go with the team. Mario had been the only one other than Geno to agree that it was best for Sidney to be with the team, whilst Jen voiced her opinion on how the press would react and Sully feared how the team would fare with the possible distraction that Sidney and the media would create. Mario had pointed out firmly that the media were going to cause a distracting stir regardless of Sidney being there or not.  

It was decided that Sidney was not going to be let out of the teams sight, and instead of watching the game in a box he would be either on the bench or in the locker rooms. Sidney hadn't tried to argue with the decision. He felt safer knowing that he wouldn't be able to get trapped again. His face behind the bench would do nothing to calm the gossip, but it would be less fuel on the fire than if he spent the week hiding out in Pittsburgh. 

Sidney felt like Geno was going to be the most enthusiastic in the plan to not leave him on his own at any point, going as far to suggest that it would be silly for the team to pay for two hotel rooms when they could just share the one on the road. Sidney had blushed at the comment, and the little cough that Sully gave, told him that he wasn't the only one amused by Geno's brashness. Jen had tried to be the voice of reason regarding the gossip that could spread, before Mario reminded her with a chuckle, "I think everyone knows they've shared a bed before."


 

Geno was more cautious driving back than he had been the previous day, the added pressure of it not being his car left him barely hitting the speed limit as he focused firmly on the road. Sidney sat curled up on the front seat, his feet tucked underneath him as he half leant against the side of the door. He distracted himself from the slow moving traffic and Geno's light foot on the gas pedal by simply watching the other man as he contemplated his thoughts on the day. He felt exhausted from battling the constant mixture of switching emotions, every article making him alternate between anger and sadness.  Geno's tried eyes turned to him when they stopped at a traffic light, reaching across the car so that he could wrap a hand possessively around Sidney's knee. "Proud of you."

"What for? All I've done today is try not to cry," Sidney attempted to joke, but both of them knew that it was too close to the truth to be funny. 

"Always proud of you." Geno smiled, all too soon having to pull his hand back so that he could put his hands back on the wheel. The lights above went green, and Geno pulled away slowly merging through lanes with precaution as if he was driving the most precious cargo in the world. 

 

They made it back to Geno's house with just over an hour left before they had to drive over to the airport to meet the rest of the team. The equipment managers had just finished packing away all of the gears that would be needed for over a week of away games, and all that was left was for the players and staff to pack their own personal bags for the week long trip. They wouldn't be arriving back in Pittsburgh until the 5th of November, and then it would only be for a few days before they were once more off again. Sidney's parents hadn't yet messaged with their flight details, but they knew the Penguins schedule just as well as he did, so he didn't have to worry about them arriving when he was out of the state. 

Geno had his bag already packed, so it was a quick grab before they made the short drive over to Sidney's house; despite Mario's comment to leave the car at Geno's they once again drove in Mario's car, parking it on his drive and leaving the keys in the bowl in the Lemieux's hallway before darting across the road to Sidney's home. Sidney wasn't afraid to admit he was not as prepared as Geno was as he rushed up the stairs to his bedroom. His travel bag was already open on the floor, left there from the previous away trip. Thankfully he had at least pulled the clothes out and cleaned them, meaning he had to repack everything. He carefully placed his gameday suits in the suit bag that Geno had tugged free from the side of his travel bag, before throwing in jeans, shirts, and underwear. Sidney accepted the large coat that Geno had pulled free from his closet, but rolled his eyes at the scarf and gloves that followed. It was the end of October, but there was no need for scarves to be dragged out just yet, even if the road trip was mainly in Canada. 

 

His bags were packed, and Geno and Sidney were out of the door and driving in the Range Rover to the airport with time left to spare. Geno pulled into a Starbucks on the way, leaving Sidney in the parked car as he popped inside. Sidney watched him through the window, rolling his eyes affectionately as he saw the barista behind the counter pull out the largest take-out cup they did. He turned his attention away from window watching, sending a quick message to Mario letting him know that they left the car at his house. Sidney had enough of dealing with the day, so instead of opening up any further articles about himself, he opened one of his reading apps and began to scroll through what books he wanted to download for the flight. 

The car door opened, and the smell of coffee filled the car. Sidney locked his phone screen, accepting the large cup that was offered towards him. "This for you," Geno smirked, pulling a paper bag from his coat pocket. Sidney carefully put his cup down into the holder before accepting the bag from him. The waft of chocolate overpowered the delicious smell of coffee, and made his mouth water.  Sidney ripped the bag open eagerly, finding a generously sized slab of brownie. 

"Let me guess," Sidney teased as he tore off the corner of the brownie, moaning at the rich taste of chocolate that exploded on his tongue. 

"Size of baby." Geno agreed as he leaned across the console and kissed him. He used the kiss as a momentary distraction to steal a tiny bite of the brownie. He nodded his head in agreement as he chewed the rich treat. 

"The size of our baby," Sidney repeated, smiling down at the brownie as he pulled another small part away from the treat. He offered the chocolate towards Geno in offering, biting his lip when Geno licked the offering from his fingers. He couldn't help the soft moan as Geno blinked up at him as he sucked on his fingers.  "Geno," Sidney whispered.

Geno pulled away from Sidney's fingers, with a raise of the eyebrows. He knew exactly what he had been doing, and he knew the reaction that he had evoked from it. "Time to go airport, all the baby penguins want to check you okay." He grinned devilishly as he put the car back into gear and pulled away from the car park. 


 

The flight felt like it lasted only thirty minutes instead of over two hours. Sidney had the usually empty seat next to him filled by every single player at some point during the flight. Everyone wanted to make sure he was okay, and offered some form of support for him. Geno initially sat in the seat next to him, but kept standing to switch out with the others. The bus that would take them to the hotel, was waiting for them at the airport as soon as they landed. Sidney gathered up his bag, rolling his eyes when Geno swept in and grabbed his travel bag without saying a word. Sidney accepted the theft, rolling his suit bag over his arms as he followed his teammates down the aisle of the plane and down the steps. The sky above them was dark despite still being early in the evening, and the wind blew a breeze that had Sidney tugging his coat slightly tighter around him. He suddenly wished that he hadn't rolled his eyes when Geno had brandished the scarf at him earlier on. 

The bus was thankfully much warmer than outside, and the team fell into their normal seating pattern. Like on the plane, the only thing that changed was that there was no empty seat beside Sidney. Geno dropped in beside him, trapping him against the window. Sidney found himself leaning into the Russians shoulder as he listened fondly to his teammates enthusiasm and shouting around them. Plans were being made for dinner, and no one could decide if they wanted to eat at the hotel or if they wanted to take over one of the small restaurants scattered around Saint Paul. Sidney didn't mind where the team ended up for dinner, he just wanted to eat, head back to his room, and maybe lean against Geno's shoulder whilst they watched a movie before going to sleep. Geno's hand was warm where it rested on the inside of Sidney's leg, and Sidney lost himself in gentle stroke of the Russians thumb as it drew large semi circles on the side of his knee. 

The drive to the hotel passed in haze of shouting teammates, at some point it had turned into a game to point out every restaurant and fast food place that they passed on the way to the hotel; everyone's thoughts focusing on food. The winner of the game came from Olli, who pointed out the window at the dirtiest taco truck that Sidney had ever seen. Olli had pointing at the food truck with a shout, "Taco with quac, salsa and a side of the shits?"

Sidney's honking giggle joined the rest of the loud laughter that filled the bus, accompanied with a collection of 'ewws' and 'grosses'. Whilst the taco truck that Olli pointed out did not look like it could serve food fit for human consumption, the thought of Mexican food sounded like a good idea. The chocolate brownie that he'd eaten before the plan now felt like it was a long time ago, and Sidney could hear his stomach rumbling in protest. Geno heard the small rumbles, and leaned down to whisper in Sidney's ear, "Baby not want Taco's. Baby wants good food." Sidney sucked in a breath, feeling the warmth of Geno's breath tickling at his ear, and his heart skipped a beat when before Geno pulled away, he pressed a small kiss on the side of his face. 

The bus pulled up in front of the hotel shortly after, and the team moved on mass trying to get off the bus as quickly as they could. The plan seemed to be dump bags in rooms before meeting back downstairs to head to get food. Where they were going to get food was still undecided, but Sidney figured someone would take charge and choose a place by the time everyone had regathered in the hotel lobby. Coach Sully was the first to head inside, his hands full of the key cards that had been ready and waiting for them at the reception. Everybody already knew who they roomed with, or for the senior guys on the team like Tanger and Kessel, they had their own room. Sidney and Geno used to have their own rooms, and it would be the first time they had shared with anyone since they were rookies. Any times they had shared with other people, like at the Olympics or the World Championships didn't count in Sidney's mind. 

 

"Keep the noise down you two," Phil shouted on route to the elevators, a huge smile covered his face, unmoving even when Coach Sully turned to glare at him. 

Geno stuck his middle finger up at Phil in response, earning Sully's glare to shoot from one player to the other. Geno was smarter than Phil, as he quickly lowered his hand and shifted his weight on his feet, shooting an apologetic grimace at their coach. Sidney accepted their two room keys, steering Geno towards the rest of their team waiting at the elevators. Around them, there were a few banter comments about the noise, and Tanger piped up with, "Well least he can't get pregnant twice."

Sidney giggled at his friend as he slapped a hand over Geno's mouth. He could already imagine the comment that was going to be said, and he knew that it would have been something along the lines of, 'Well never know, we could try.' The topic of conversation made Sidney think of the small moment they had shared in bed that morning. It felt like it was so long ago with the amount of things that had gone on today. It was bizarre to think that it was less than twelve hours ago. 

They crammed into the elevator, Geno wrapping his arm protectively around Sidney's shoulders, pulling him closer as more and more people tried to squeeze inside. Sidney tried not to flinch when he felt Colesy accidently elbow him in the back, and he tried not to panic when he found himself completely surrounded on all sides by people. It was too much like the encounter with the journalists the day before, with them all pushing towards him stealing away the space around him, and all but destroying his personal space boundaries. He curled his hand into the front of Geno's shirt, accidently tugging the fabric as he tightened his grip at the feel of someone brushing against his side. 

"You okay?" Geno frowned down at him, tugging him closer, his arm around his shoulders a firm comfort as the elevator whirled into life. Sidney shook his head, not trusting his voice as he focused on breathing. He wished the elevator had beeped at them saying that it was over the weight threshold, but he was out of luck. Thankfully the teams rooms were on the second floor of the hotel, so they only had to put up with the crowded space for a few seconds before the elevator stopped and the doors opened. Sidney stayed where he was stood, waiting until everyone else had pushed their way out before he took a step back away from Geno. 

"Sorry, it was too much like last night." Sidney explained. Geno nodded in understanding, letting Sidney lead the way from the lift. Their room was at the end of the hall, in the corner of the hotel. Sidney found himself glad that he didn't have neighbours on both sides of the room, not that he expected him and Geno to be making the noises that their teammates teased them about. Unlocking the hotel room door, Sidney stepped inside, moving out of the way of Geno as he dropped their bags down onto the small sofa sat against the wall. He had been in hundreds of hotel rooms over the years, but he was sure this was one of the bigger rooms that he had stayed in on road trips. There was one bed, but it was so big Sidney thought you could have easily slept four people in it comfortably. If it was just him on his own, he would have looked lost amongst all of the bedding.  The door to the bathroom was open, and Sidney scoffed at the size of the room. He had stayed in rooms which were smaller than the bathroom was. Admittedly that had been when he had travelled on road trips as a teenager in the QMJHL, but the point remained. 

"Nice room," Geno nodded, as he fell down onto the bed, bouncing as he sat on the mattress. Sidney nodded in agreement, because he couldn't deny that it was a nice room, but he couldn't help but wonder if everyone else's rooms were this size or if he and Geno had a different type of room. He knew that they had been the ones to suggest sharing a hotel room, but Sidney didn't want to have a special treatment just because he was in a relationship with another player. 

"It's not the worst room," Sidney agree, as he shuffled across the room to sit down on the bed next to Geno. Automatically a hand came to rest on his thigh, with a small squeeze. Sidney bit his lip as he reached down and rested his hand over the top of Geno's. He slowly traced his fingers up Geno's arm, stopping his movement when he reached his shoulder. "I'm hungry," Sidney sighed with a small pout.

"Hungry for food, or hungry for something else." Geno whispered, leaning into Sidney's space so that he could breathe his words against his cheek. Sidney shivered at the words and the feeling of the breath on his cheek. 

"Food," Sidney chuckled quietly. His stomach was grumbling for food, but he had not been touched for 3 months and his emotions felt like he had been electrocuted. Geno had been his first everything, and despite his lack of sex life Sidney knew what he wanted. He had experienced Geno, and he desperately wanted to experience the man again sober; whilst Sidney wanted to continue what they had started in the morning, he didn't feel like it was the right time for them to take a step further in their relationship. Things were still new, and despite admitted feelings on both sides, Sidney didn't want to build their budding relationship on sex. Sidney leaned forwards, pecking Geno softly on the lips before pulling back to create a small space between them. "I know it sounds silly, but I don't want to rush us."

"That's okay, I understand. We'll go get food and then come back go to sleep." Geno smiled warmly, his smile widening when he felt Sidney sink into his side. He rose to his feet, holding his hands out towards Sidney to pull him up off the bed. "Come on, got to feed you and our baby."

Sidney allowed himself to be pulled to his feet, pushing himself up against Geno's front with a little smile as he raised on his tiptoes to push a final kiss to his lip. He admitted with a huff as he checked his pockets for his phone and wallet, "I don't know if I want Mexican or Pizza."

"Spicy Chicken Pizza?" Geno suggested as he slipped his hand into Sidney's, laughing at the disgusted look that flickered across the captains face. They left the room with their hands entwined, walking down the hotel corridor without caring who may be see them. The elevator was empty, but Sidney still stepped into Geno's space only stepping back when the elevator dinged and the doors opened into the lobby. The majority of the team were stood waiting for the stragglers before heading out for food. A few cat-calls started up again, as they watched Geno wrap his arm around Sidney's shoulders. The noise from the team caught attention of some of the other guests passing through the lobby, but no one paused to stare, simply shaking their head or rolling their eyes at the loudness of the group. 

Sidney found himself encircled around the group, as they waited for the last few people to turn up. Kuni was the last to arrive, running out of the elevator as if he was running form a fire. The team cheered loudly at his arrival, clapping as he ran towards them to a chorus of remarks.

"Finally!"

"Took you long enough."

"You only had to go down one floor, did you get lost?"

Sidney shook his head at his teammates teasing, leaning into Geno's shoulder as he watched them all fondly

Chapter Text

The team had chosen a small Italian restaurant barely a five minute walk from the hotel, and it was obvious as soon as they stepped through the door that the staff didn't know what to do with the group of two dozen men who took over the place. It had been thankfully quiet, barely a dozen other customers, but the small number of clientele didn't mean the food wasn't amazing. The smell of rich sauce, and the candles that sat in the centre of the tables created a warm atmosphere that calmed the evening. The team were not the craziest bunch of guys in the league, but they were loud and jolly. It was the night before a game however, so alcohol was restricted and most of the guys joined Sidney in an evening of sobriety. Geno had shook his head firmly at Phil's attempts to persuade him into drinking, and pointedly sipped at his water with a raised eyebrow whenever Phil looked like he was about to try again. 

In the end Sidney didn't get end up with Mexican or pizza like he had originally thought of. One look at the menu as they were handed out around the table, and he knew instantly what he wanted. The bowl of Pesto Pasta that was served to him could have easily fed two, but Sidney attacked it with ferocity. It was deliciously spicy, even when he avoided the bites of chilli that were scattered in the mix. Sidney had offered his fork to Geno, trying to hide the mischief in his smile as the Russian accepted the offering. Geno had barely chewed the bite before he was guzzling water, and Sidney was howling in laughter as the heat of the food turned Geno's cheeks red. Sidney ignored his friends whooping and cat-calls as he leaned forwards and kissed Geno's flaming cheek. 

"Dying," Geno gasped; he drained his glass of water, slamming it down onto the table before stealing Tanger's drink, gulping it down as quickly as he could. "How can you eat that?"

"It tastes really good," Sidney moaned as he filled his fork with another mouthful of the spicy pasta. Geno flashed his eyes at Sidney as he practically melted at the bite of good. The rest of their team were watching them like they were the most fascinating thing in the world, but Sidney and Geno only had eyes for each other. They felt relaxed in the company of their friends, and the quietness of the restaurant allowed them to feel like they could be themselves without fear. It helped that there had been no press at the airport or at the hotel, it allowed them to have the moment without worry. 

 

When it came to the team ordering desert, Sidney had been indecisive about whether he should order the cheesecake or the tiramisu. Geno had leaned into his space, with a hand on his thigh and a whisper into his ear. "Whatever you want, I get other."  Sidney beamed up at him, as if he had just been offered the moon.  Sidney felt delirious with happiness when the servers returned with their plates of dessert. Geno pushed his into the space between them, smiling encouragingly when Sidney kept sneaking his spoon across to steal tiny bites of the creamy cheesecake. In return he offered his only plate of Tiramisu towards Geno to share, earning a fresh wave of jokes and comments from their teammates. 

"It's going to be like this forever now," Tanger chimed through a mouthful of cake, grinning despite the mouthful of food when Geno stuck his finger up in response. 

"Flower would have fucking killed to see this," Guentzal chuckled, elbowing Matt Murray in the side, "That's an idea, get Flower on facetime!"

Desert ended in a scramble to see who could call Flower up the fastest, a game that Horny won. When Flower answer the call, the table rushed to pile into the frame so that their former goalie probably had a phone screen filled with his old teammates faces. Geno and Sidney rolled their eyes at the enthusiasm as they all tried to talk over each other to explain why there were calling him. 

"I wonder if they would notice if we just stole their dessert now?" Sidney joked, eyeing up the mostly untouched slice of cheesecake that Sheersy had abandoned when he rushed around the table for the phone call. 

"Slice for you, slice for me, slice for baby." Geno teased leaning closer into Sidney's space, their noses brushing together in an unintentional eskimo kiss. 

"You're going to make me fat," Sidney grinned, the light in his eyes shining brightly in his humour. Geno was beautiful, and Sidney didn't care that they were sat in a public restaurant as he closed the space between them with a kiss. He chased the taste on Geno's lips, wanting to devour the taste of sweet vanilla and the sharp raspberry sauce that had accompanied the cheesecake. 

"They're kissing!" Guentzel shouted, drawing the attention of the rest of the team. Sidney broke apart from the kiss, dropping his head, and burying his face in Geno's neck as he giggled and blushed. Horny swung the phone around so that Flower could see the two of them sat on the other side of the table. Sidney turned his face from Geno's neck so that he could laugh at his friend’s eager smiles as they watched him. 


 

The team had a curfew, so they paid the bill and evacuated the restaurant before Sully could come searching for them to drag them back to the hotel. Sidney and Geno walked with their hands buried in their pockets to fight the chill in the air, their bellies felt comfortably full and the small smiles they shared in fleeting glances warmed their insides. The hotel looked bright and the reception was delightfully warm after the cold wind outside. Geno held Sidney back from the rest of the group, waiting for their teammates to squeeze themselves into the small elevator. It was like watching a group of children play a game of sardines, trying to squeeze as many people as possible into the smallest place. Sidney remembered playing it with some of the other guys during his year at Shattuck St Mary;  it was a butchered version of hide and seek, but instead of only one seeker, there was one initial hider and whenever a seeker found the hider, they too had to join them in the hiding spot. Sidney recalled one round of the game ending with eight of them squeezed into a tiny shower cubicle, and the only reason they got found was because someone accidently turned on the water. 

The next elevator dinged only moments after the doors closed on the elevator containing most of their teammates. The short time it took them for the doors to close and reopen on the first floor, Sidney wasn't surprised to see his teammates still dotted around the hall on route to their rooms. A few of them gave them some flashy winks or knowing grins as they passed, but none of them said anything apart from goodnight as everyone separated. Sidney was cast away in his thoughts, absentmindedly following Geno as the door to their room was opened, and he was once more faced with the large bed that devoured the room.  Sidney slunk down onto the comfy mattress, kicking out his shoes and abandoning them where they fell. He sprawled backwards, raising his hands above his head as his eyes followed the patterns and marks on the ceiling. "I've spent so much time worrying about today, I've only just begun to worry about what tomorrows going to be like." Sidney admitted quietly. 

Everything that they had gone through today had been about what the press was saying or writing about them and dealing with the written aspects of the situation. At no point had they been forced to answer questions with microphones or cameras pushed in their faces. Tomorrow they had a game and dealing with the press face-to-face was inevitable and unavoidable. Sidney was going to be sat behind the bench, and behind Geno for the entire game. Afterwards the media would be allowed access to the locker room, and despite strict instructions, Sidney knew they would ask questions about his and Geno's relationship. 

Geno fell onto the bed beside him, throwing himself down so hard that Sidney felt himself bounce off the mattress slightly. Fingers trailed feather like touches up the back of his hand, before moving up his covered arms; his coat sleeves too thick to feel the delicate touch. Sidney sighed, rising off the bed by a fraction so that he could drag his coat off, before flopping back down once the task was complete. Without the thick material of his coat, Sidney could just about feel the soft lines Geno was tracing through the fabric of the hoodie he still wore. Geno traced up to his shoulder, drawing imaginary patterns up his arm before he began to stroke his fingers down Sidney's chest, settling on his bump. "Tomorrow will be tomorrow. You know what we decided, we will give them what we choose to give them." Geno soothed. 

Sidney forced himself to relax further into the comfort that was surrounding him. The soft mattress was inviting him into its embrace, and Geno's fingers were drawing shapes on his stomach reminding him that all the stress and the issues were going to be worth it in the end. Sidney turned his head towards Geno, as he reached to tug at the bottom of his hoodie. Geno smile filled his room and the happiness rolling off the man filled the room as he eagerly pushed at the fabric so that it bunched up at the top of Sidney's belly exposing the pale skin. His hands eagerly fell up on visible skin, his fingers caressing and tickling as they once again began exploring and stroking. "Dealing with them idiots is worth it for this baby," Sidney whispered, as he shuffled his head forwards towards Geno. 

Geno nodded, understanding Sidney's message as he closed the small space remaining between them and kissed him gently. His lips explored just like his fingers; both mapping out the man and absorbing him. Sidney raised his hand to rest on Geno's cheek, pulling him into the kiss and keeping him locked there. The kiss broke before Sidney was ready for it be over, and Sidney pouted into the small space that was created between them. Geno nuzzled against Sidney's hand that was still resting on his cheek, placing a small kiss on the palm of his hand. "We need to get some sleep," Geno mumbled against Sidney's hand.

Sidney sighed, his pout remaining on his lips. He knew Geno was right in what he was saying, but Sidney was reluctant to end the moment they were sharing but they had an equally busy day tomorrow. The team had practise in the morning, followed by treatment and preparation for the evenings game. A quick return to the hotel for an afternoon nap, before checking out and a return to the arena for food and warm up for the game. After the game, the team had a short window to get changed and have everything packed before they were back on the road heading to the airport and destined for the next city. He knew that even though he wasn't joining in with the practise or the game, Sidney would be exhausted by the time they got on the plane bound for Winnipeg. 

"Come on," Geno encouraged him gently. Sidney felt lost when the fingers disappeared from his stomach, coming up to hold the hand that was resting against Geno's cheek. They interlocked fingers as Geno moved to sit up in the bed, carefully dragging Sidney to sit upright also. It was Geno's turn to pout when the move caused the rolled-up hoodie to dislodge, and once again fall to cover Sidney's belly. Sidney ruffled his hair, despite the desire to have stayed in the moment with Geno, he couldn't deny that tiredness from the busy day was catching up with him. He moved to cover his mouth as he yawned wide, an apology glinting in his eyes as Geno automatically yawned in response. 

"Sorry," Sidney mumbled when Geno stopped yawning. 

"Proof we need to get some sleep," Geno grinned tiredly. Sidney watched as Geno rose to his feet and began pulling his toiletries and sleepwear from his suitcase. Neither of them had made any move to unpack their belongings, knowing that they were in town for such a short amount of time that it would be counter-productive to unpack everything in their bags. Sidney watched like it was a personal show as Geno tugged his t-shirt over his head and began unbuckling his jeans. 

"You can't expect me to sleep when you start doing that," Sidney groaned, bringing his knees up to his chest, and burying his head in his hands as he flushed. He was getting hard, and his horniness was battling against his tiredness. Geno spun around to face him, and Sidney bit back the groan at the sight of the Russian man stood half naked, his jeans open and pushed down just enough to see the outline of his dick in his underwear. Even soft and hidden beneath a layer of cotton, Geno was a sight to behold.

"Says you. Look at you." Geno retorted, resting his hands on his hips as he stared up and down Sidney, eyeing like he was a piece of meat. "You always so beautiful, but now your stunning. Your beautiful baby bump, and you look glowing." 

Sidney blushed under the praise, peeking out from behind his hands to mile through his fingers at the other man. "You're biased."

"Nope, I'm honest." Geno grinned. He tugged on a t-shirt before pushing his jeans down his long legs. Sidney momentarily pouted as the broad back muscles disappeared underneath a new t-shirt, but his pout was traded for a smile when he saw the jeans pool on the floor. Socks were toed off, before Geno stepped back towards the bed. Sidney raised his arms in the air, allowing Geno to tug his hoodie from over his head. The hoodie joined the discarded jeans on the floor, before Geno leaned forwards pressing the briefest kiss to the corner of Sidney's mouth before he pulled away. "I'm going to brush teeth."

Sidney glared playfully at the Russian as he practically skipped into the en-suite leaving Sidney to stare at his retreating behind. He fell backwards onto the bed, splaying himself in a starfish as he shook his head at the ceiling in mock-despair. He was still hard as he reached down to unbutton his jeans, but just like that morning he chose to ignore his urges as he lifted his hips from the bed to push his jeans down. He threw them aimlessly onto the floor, not caring where they fell. Sidney found himself surprised at how at ease he was being so openly exposed in such a vulnerable position; he was dressed in nothing but underwear, his t-shirt having been pulled off simultaneously with his hoodie. He knew he could just grab some clothes from his bag, but he didn't see the point. He rarely slept in anything more than boxers, and Sidney figured Geno would be thrilled at being able to continue touching his stomach without clothing being in the way of the small bump.

 Sidney glanced down his body, running his fingertips up the length of his bump. He couldn't believe that inside was his brownie-sized baby. Sidney was still stroking up and down his belly when Geno reappeared from the bathroom, eyes flickering up Sidney's body, taking in everything before settling on the mass of skin on display. Sidney blinked up at him slowly, his eyes hooded as he bit his lip and let his hand slip away from the belly until it rested on his hip. Geno froze in his step, hand outstretched towards Sidney as he rose from the bed slowly, darting around Geno's frozen frame to take his own turn in the bathroom. 

On his return, Sidney found the duvet had been left open in invitation to him, and Geno was already waiting, lying in the bed leaning back against the fluffed-up pillows. Geno shuffled down in the bed, so that his head was on his pillows before holding his arms out to his side in offering as Sidney crawled into the bed. Sidney accepted the offer, curling himself around Geno's side, slinging an arm across his chest. He fell asleep focusing on Geno's steady breaths and enjoying the feeling of being wrapped in big warm arms. 


 

Sidney woke the next day to warm breath tickling the back of his neck, and large hands wrapped around his bare stomach. His back was plastered against Geno's front, and the soft snuffles informed him that he was the first to wake. He contemplated stretching for his phone on the dresser but decided against it when he felt Geno grumble in sleepy Russian behind him. Sidney smiled as he reached down to rest his hands over the top of Geno's, snuggling back into the pillow to the sound of the Russian words Geno was mumbling in his sleep. 

The first wake-up had been the calm before the storm, Sidney realised as he jolted awake to the sound of the alarm. Geno leant over him, and Sidney tried not to groan at the feeling of Geno's morning wood pressed against his arse. The feeling made his own hard-on throb, and Sidney exhale sharply as he tried to chase away the fantasies that he'd been dreaming about. From above him, Geno slammed the phone back down onto the bedside table with a grunt, "Fuck." 

Sidney opened his eyes and frowned as Geno all but jumped from the bed, throwing on the first pair of clothes that he pulled from his suitcase. Sidney pushed himself up, his weight on his arms as he watched Geno nearly fall over as he hurried to get dressed. "Is everything okay?" Sidney asked carefully. 

"I very late. Bus leaving in ten minutes to go practise." Geno replied, as he shoved his feet into a pair of trainers. He glanced up to look at Sidney, and instantly slowed his hurry. He crawled up the bed, so that he was leaning over Sidney, dipping his head to drag him into a morning kiss. Sidney wrapped a hand around the back of Geno's neck, brushing against the soft curls as he held him close. They broke apart reluctantly when another beep from Geno's phone brought their attention back to the room. "Go back to sleep," Geno whispered, brushing his lips against Sidney's forehead.

"No, I'm awake." Sidney insisted, pushing himself up further. Geno followed with him, moving backwards until he was straddling Sidney's hips and smiling at him with eyes that were far too bright this early in the morning. 

"Give me two minutes, and I'll be ready to go." Sidney continued, wriggling underneath Geno as he tried to free his legs. He tried not to blush as his hard-on pressed against Geno's arse. "Geno you need to let me get up," Sidney honked as he continued to try and dislodge Geno's weight from his hips. 

Geno grinned down at him, grinding his hips down against Sidney's mischievously, before pushing himself backwards, freeing Sidney from underneath him. Sidney pushed the covers back, not even bothering to hide his hard-on as he climbed out of the bed. Geno had been able to feel it trapped underneath him, so there was no point in trying to hide it from him now. Sidney grabbed his pair of jeans from yesterday from the floor, pulling them up his legs with little jumps. He pushed his hard-on into the jeans, wincing at the obvious outline through the already tight trousers. He breathed in deeply, counting to ten in his head as he willed it to go down. He could feel Geno's blatant stare on him, even with his eyes closed. 

"Want a hand?" Geno teased; his accent sultry as he stepped behind Sidney. His breath teased Sidney's ear, and the hands that came to rest on his hips left him feeling like his entire body was on fire.  Sidney knew that Geno was only joking, after their conversation the night before; he knew that the Russian man would wait for Sidney to make the first move before they took their relationship any further. 

"Yes. Find me a clean hoodie," Sidney huffed, reluctantly extracting himself from Geno's grip scurrying to the bathroom.


 

They made it down to the hotel lobby with seconds to spare. They were thankfully not the last to arrive, but Coach Sully was already glaring. The team hurried onto the bus that would take them to the arena for morning practice; there was a handful of people who had been watching them in the hotel lobby, and Sidney could see the nervous tick in Sully's jaw. The Coach didn't want to get caught by people stopping to ask for autographs when they were already on a tight schedule, and the longer the team stood in the open reception area, the higher the chance someone would be brave enough to ask. 

The streets of Saint Paul were busy with morning rush-hour traffic. Sidney stared out the window as they slowly crept along the road. He could just see the Xcel Energy Center a few streets away; the large red letters vibrant against the cloudy sky. When the time the bus pulled onto the street of the arena, Sidney suddenly wished he had chosen a different option that morning and stayed in bed when Geno had suggested it. 

"Oh shit." Tanger exclaimed, rising to his feet as he stared out the window. Whisperings broke out around the bus as everyone stared open-mouthed out the window. Sidney felt Geno freeze beside him, and the mumbled 'Fuck', was only audible to him. There were people lining the sidewalk, some of them were holding signs and Sidney felt his stomach drop as he read one.

Homosexuality is a sin. 

Sometimes abortion is the right thing.

 There were police and arena security scattered amongst the crowd, trying to contain the protestors. A few of the people started shouting, waving their arms when they saw the bus. Sidney tore his eyes from the window, covering his ears with his hands to stop himself hearing the shouts coming from outside. The noise that had been muffled from the glass, were silenced when Geno covered his hands with his own. Sidney squeezed his eyes closed when he saw the flash of movement at the glass. He allowed himself to be tugged against Geno's chest, focusing on nothing but the hands that were clutching at his head. He could feel the bus take a turn, and he could feel the moment the bus slowed down to a stop, but Sidney didn't open his eyes until he felt hands drop away from covering his own.

Sidney dropped his hands into his lap, blinking his eyes open slowly. Glancing at the window, he frowned at the remnants of a tomato that clung to the glass. The team were all visibly fuming, Geno looked like he was a bull who had seen red, and Sully was no better. The bus was parked in the arena's staff car park and was empty of any other person. There were alone, with only parked cars for company. "Everyone, stay here," Sully commanded from the front of the bus. The entire team watched as he left in a storm; stomping across the concrete and into the back entrance of the arena. Sidney offered a silent prayer to whoever was unlucky enough to find themselves in Sully's warpath. 

"What did you read," Geno demanded, fingers sliding into Sidney's hair with his other hand hovering over his baby bump. Sidney grabbed hold of the hovering hand, pushing it down against his belly, the touch easing the tension and the fear that was filling him. The words on the signs he saw felt like they had been burned into his eyes and forever scarred onto his mind. 

Sidney shook his head, not wanting to repeat any of the words that had been written. "Is it going to be like that in every city?" He panicked. Was he going to see the same hateful words and see the same kind of vicious people in Winnipeg, or in Edmonton and Calgary? What would Philadelphia be like? 

"Breathe Sid," Tanger calmed, leaning over the seat in front of them. Sidney didn't even realise his breathing had changed, and that he was nearly hyper-ventilating. He clung to Geno's arm as his breathing shifted into small sobs. Geno carefully moved to wipe away the tears that were starting to run down Sidney's cheeks, his lips brushing away the track-marks that the tears left. 

"Okay guys, gather your stuff and let’s get inside quickly." Coach Sully announced to the bus on his return. Outside in the car park, he had three members of arena security staff waiting to escort the team into the building. Everyone rose to their feet as one, grabbing whatever they had brought with them to practise and scrambling to get inside as quickly as possible. Geno was a constant at Sidney's back, a hand resting protectively on his hip, ready to push or pull him out of harm at a moment’s notice. When Sidney reached the front of the bus, Sully patted him on the shoulder, "You good?"

Sidney didn't both lying, simply shaking his head in response. One of the security team was at the front leading the team inside, leaving the other two waiting by the bus door. When Sidney stepped down onto the concrete with Geno firmly at his side, one of the remaining staff fell in behind them. 

 

Sidney couldn't shake the fear that had settled into his bones as he watched the practise from the players bench. The Penguins had the ice to themselves, and Sidney hadn't seen any of the Wild's players wondering around the halls on the way in. He wasn't the only one distracted, most of the team kept glancing around the empty arena as if to make sure that none of the protestors from outside had managed to get inside.  Gonch kept skating back over to the bench, whether it was on Geno's command or Sully's, Sidney didn't know. But he appreciated the occasional distraction in conversation from his old friend. He had left his phone at the hotel, so he was unable to see if the little protest had made the news outside, and he was unable to find out if they were still there waiting for the teams exit from the arena. 

"Well it's true, Sid the Kids got a little one on the way?" A voice sounded from behind him. Sidney spun around on the bench, his face breaking into a smile when he saw Matt Cullen leaning against the entrance to the players bench. 

Matt had been a good guy on the team for the last two years, and he was another one that the Penguins had lost before the start of the new season. Sidney rose to his feet, clapping him on the shoulder in the 'bro-hug' that he remembered Matt seemed to favour. He was not the kind of guy Sidney would hug like he hugged Flower or Tanger. "Hey, hows it been?"

"It's been good, but man what about you! You and Geno! When did that happen?" Cullen crowed delightfully, straddling the players bench when Sidney moved to sit back down.

Sidney huffed, shaking his head as he automatically sought out Geno on the ice, his eyes following as the Russian tight-turned and sped after a puck. "Yh, happened a couple of months ago."

"No shit." Cullen nodded down towards Sidney's stomach, where his hand was resting on his belly. The large hoodie he wore hid the small swell, but his hand cupping it confirmed that there was something hidden beneath the fabric. "Well I'm happy for you both, you'll have to keep me updated as to how everything goes for you buddy."

Sidney nodded in response. Cullen slapped him on the shoulder before turning to head back to the locker rooms, leaving Sidney alone on the bench once more. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips, the short conversation with his former teammate left him feeling slightly more at ease with how his friends and players outside of his team would react to his news. He only knew of one other player who possessed the gene, and that was only from Pat telling him he wasn't the first to get pregnant. He had suspicions but Sidney didn't know who the player was for certain, he only knew that the players team hadn't taken it well. Sidney knew that some people weren't going to be as accepting as others, and he could deal with that as long as he some people in his corner. 


 

The thrown tomato had been cleaned off the buses window by the time they were escorted out of the arena after the morning practise. The same security set up was in place as they walked out the door, one security guard leading the group, one walking behind Sidney and another following up at the rear of the team. Sidney opted out of his usual seat at the window, eying Geno only once; the Russian understood the silent message, ducking into the row first and turning so that his back was half against the seat and half pressed against the glass. Sidney only glanced outside once, when the bus pulled out onto the road. The crowds were still there, lining the streets as they drove past, but there was visibly more security personal and police blotted around. Squad cars sat parked on the side of the road, acting as a partial barrier between the bus and the line of protestors. Thankfully the morning rush hour had past whilst the team were busy at practise, leaving the bus free to drive up the empty street; if anyone more fruit was thrown, it missed the target as the bus drove away. 

The protestors either hadn't found out where the Penguins were staying or they had been chased away from the hotel already, as there was no sign of any horrendous signs with hateful slogans sprawled across them. Sidney let himself be led inside, flanked on all sides by his teammates serving as a protective barrier between him and the rest of the world. The team had a few hours to catch a nap and repack their bags before they had to once more be at the arena for pre-game prep and warm-ups. Sidney didn't feel like he could sleep, even when he watched Geno strip down to his boxers and fall face-first onto their bed. The sheets had been remade fresh, and Sidney watched with affection as Geno tried to wiggle his way under the covers without getting up.  He wanted to crawl in beside Geno, and feel his warm embrace, but his brain was too wired, and Sidney knew that he would just end up fidgeting in the bed instead of falling asleep. The last thing he wanted to do was keep Geno awake when he needed his energy for the game that night. 

"I'm going to have a chat with Sully, and then call Flower to check how he's doing. I'll try not to make any noise when I come back in." Sidney resisted the urge to tuck Geno into the big fluffy duvet when he received a mumbled 'Да' as a response. It made Sidney feel warm inside seeing this different side of the big scary Russian. He had seen Geno tired, and he seen Geno sleeping plenty of times over the years, but Sidney hadn't known that Geno would fall into his bed as soon as he came back after practise. Sidney found it cute, marvelling at how quickly Geno seemed to be able to fall asleep for his pre-game nap. 

Sidney grabbed his phone from where it had been left on the bedside table, pausing when a hand shot out and wrapped around his wrist. Sidney eyes followed the length of the arm, taking in the small frown that marred Geno's eyes. Sidney sat down on the edge of the bed, poking the wrinkle between Geno's eyebrow gently. "Be safe."

"I will. I promise," Sidney leaned forwards, bracing himself on the mattress as he closed the space between them, kissing Geno slowly.

Chapter Text

Sidney stood in the hallway, gripping onto the door handle as he tried to fight with the doors slow close. He didn't want the door to slam closed at the last second and disturb Geno as he tried to fall asleep. His phone was flashing with messages and notifications from dozens of different people. He had already swiped at the notification regarding his missed calls, deleting them from his phone with a grimace at the sheer quantity of them. He didn't need to see who had called him, if it was important or if it was his family or agent, they would eventually call him back. 

The door eventually closed, Sidney stopping the door before it could slam loudly. The hallway was empty and silent around him; the team had all separated into their rooms and were probably following Geno into a world of dreams. Sidney swiped through his contacts, pressing Coach Sully's number as he walked down the hallway to the elevators. The phone barely rang once, before coach answered, "Everything okay Sid?"

"Everything's fine. I was wondering if we could talk quickly?" Sidney asked quietly, pausing in the hallway as he listened to the background noise on the phone. He could hear footsteps and the sound of a suit jacket ruffling as Sully moved. 

"Downstairs or in private?" 

Sidney contemplated his choices, he knew that the conversation was probably best had without others listening in, but he remembered walking past the entrance to the small coffee shop that sat off to the side of the hotel reception. The coffee shop had been relatively quiet when the team had walked past it on their way back to their rooms. "Downstairs?"

"Okay, I will be a few minutes."

The phone cut out, leaving Sidney to continue his walk down the corridor to the elevator. He stared around at the standard hotel furnishings, and the worn carpet beneath his feet as he waited for the elevator to stop at his floor. The empty elevator opened after a few moments, and Sidney pondered his phone as he stepped inside. The notification for his inbox said there were over two hundred new emails, and Sidney exhaled loudly. Most of them would be interview requests which would be met with the standard email declining the offer. It would take him a good hour to go through them all, weeding out the requests from the actual work that needed to be done. Pat had called Jen's office yesterday, promising to check on all his endorsement deals to make sure that they all wished to continue having him as the face of their brands. Sidney didn't want to think about if any of the brands would drop his face. 


 

The reception of the hotel was blissfully quiet, it was the witching hour between check out and check in, where the only people around were those already staying in the hotel or the staff. Sidney tugged his hood over his head as he walked across the room to have some illusion of anonymity. He knew the illusion would be broken as soon as Sully came to sit opposite him in the café, but Sidney clung to the few treasured moments of avoidance. There was no one behind the counter, and no barista walking around as he dropped down at an empty table in the coffee shop, enjoying the rich smell that perfumed the air even when there was no coffee brewing. The small area was practically empty, except from a man on his laptop on the other side of the room. Sidney paid him no attention, tugging on the lip of his hood as he began to scroll through his messages whilst he waited. There were messages from old teammates and friends from back home that Sidney opened as he waited. He read the messages and felt his heart warming at the kind and supportive words. There were messages from his Team Canada guys, former Penguins, most of the Golden Knights team, some from the guys from Shattuck's who he still kept in touch with, and then some from his friends back in Halifax. 

Most of the messages were some variation of a 'Congratulations', but a few went a little further and made Sidney chuckle wetly as he read them: Jack Johnson had sent him a picture of his own face, with the comment underneath it saying Sidney best bring the baby along to cheer for him at one of the Jackets games. Flower had sent him a picture of the Golden Knights dressing room with a big handmade banner spread across the stalls reading 'Congratulations Sid+ Geno'. Ovechkin had somehow got his phone number and sent him a picture of a baby Cap's jersey, complete with the comment 'Baby needs to support best team.' 

Sidney replied to the Jack with a smiley face and 'Of course.' He decided against replying to Flower's message straight away, easier to say his thank you when he called him. Sidney knew that as soon as he sent a message, Flower would take it as permission to call him straight away, and Sidney didn't want to have to cut his chat with his best friend short when Sully arrived. For the Ovechkin message, Sidney bit his tongue and grinned as he eagerly tapped out a reply. 

Penguins are the best team, and 2nd and 3rd have already been claimed. Maybe the Cap's can be the babies 4th favourite?

The reply was instant, making the phone buzz in Sidney's hand. 

You wound me Sid. I am wounded.

Sidney huffed out a laugh, shaking his head as he closed the messages on his phone. He felt the tug on the back of his hood, and Sidney froze in his laughter as he tensed up at the slight touch. Sully tugged the hood down, a smile on his face as stepped into Sidney's view. Sidney relaxed when he saw who had been behind the touch, fluffing the back of his hair up as Sully sat down in the seat opposite him. "If you're trying to be discrete, don't wear Geno's team hoodie as your disguise," Sully chuckled as he picked up the small cardboard menu from the table. 

Sidney glanced down at his front before throwing his head back with a small groan at his foolishness. The small embroidered 71 sat to the left of his chest, the only thing betraying the true nature of the hoodie from the otherwise plain front. Sidney knew what hoodie he had on instantly; it was the one with a giant distressed Pittsburgh Penguins logo on the back, and it was a hoodie that wasn't available to the public to buy. Sully glanced up from the small menu, "So what did you want to talk to me about?"

"It's about earlier. With the protestors." Sidney began. Sully sighed loudly as soon as Sidney spoke, knowing instantly what the conversation was going to be about. 

"Unfortunately, we are unable to have them forcefully removed from the area. I checked with arena security, but the guys were smart. They have chosen an area of land which does not belong to the arena, so we are unable to get rid of them." Sully explained, placing the menu he was holding back onto the table before folding his hands in front of him. He looked like he was in full business mode with his hands clasped like that and dressed in a suit. 

"So, we can't do anything about them?" Sidney posed, folding his arms across his chest as he stared down his coach. 

"I didn't say that. We have organised more security to be on site tonight, including more thorough security checks both at the doors and in the concourse. As well as requesting a higher police presence." Sully explained, a hint of the smile wrinkling the corner of his eyes. Sidney knew that his coach wasn't finding the situation funny, but the smile irked at the instinctive urge to protect his unborn baby from the meanness of the world.

"And if they get inside? What then?" Sidney asked testily.

"Then we will have them removed from the premises, and the Wilds Organisation will ban them." Sully explained calmly. "Sid, no one in the team and no one in the Wild's organisation is going to let anyone hurt you, Geno or the baby."

Sidney leaned back into his seat, as he contemplated Sully's words. He didn't know how to response and as a result his silence stilted the conversation. He had to trust that Sully was being honest and that an increased security presence would be enough to stop the hate from mingling with the crowd. He didn't want to look up into the stands and see signs telling him that his baby was wrong. There was nothing worse than seeing pro-lifers saying that an abortion would be better than his baby being born.

"I'll see you later okay? Go get some sleep, it’s going to be a long night." 

Sidney nodded, watching as Sully rose from his seat. His coach patted him on the shoulder as he walked past, and Sidney glanced over his shoulder watching the other man walk away. Sully was just at the door to the coffee shop when Sidney found his voice again, pausing the coach in his step. "You know sometimes words hurt a lot more than any hit ever could."

Sully sighed in response, not providing Sidney with a response as he left the shop leaving Sidney to stew in the thoughts that were racing around his head. He fiddled with the edge of the menu as he tried to cool the simmering anger that had settled in his gut. He didn't mean to be angry at Sully, he knew that his coach was doing the best he could with the situation but the sign from the morning still played on his mind. He didn't know how the team would be able to maintain their focus if someone in the front row held up that sign. Geno would probably drop his gloves and try to fight someone through the plexi-glass, and that was something that didn't need to be shown on every highlights reel. 

 

A small clearing of a throat had Sidney snap his head upwards. "Sorry for disturbing you. I just wanted to say Congratulations and thank you."

"Thank you?" Sidney frowned up at the man in front of him. It was the man who had been sat in the corner of the coffee shop when he had first walked in. Sidney hadn't thought to pay the man any attention once Sully had walked in. The man didn't look to be any older than he was, and Sidney's opinion of him skyrocketed when he didn't automatically drop down into the vacant seat. 

"Yh. I know you probably didn't want it to be the way it was. But you’re such a big face in the media, I think your pregnancy will really change how a lot of people still see male pregnancy." The man continued, unrelenting in his chatter even when Sidney wrinkled his nose slightly at the thought of being the unintentional face of male pregnancy.

"I'm sorry if this is a personal question but do you have the-" Sidney asked cautiously, exhaling in relief when the man didn't take any offense to the probing question.

"No. My husband does though. We've been wanting to try for a baby for a while, but his work is being difficult in regards to wanting to give him his full paternity leave rights."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Sidney offered feeling awkward as he struggled to think of a better way to respond to the honestly being offered by the complete stranger in front of him. Sidney had people over the years tell him their life stories pretty much immediately after meeting them, but it was something that Sidney never managed to comfortable converse about. Guys like Geno and Flower made people comfortable, and they always knew the best response to give. 

"Don't worry. I've been telling him he should quit the job for ages. They're not great employees. But yh I just wanted to say congratulations again. I hope everything goes okay for you and its amazing meeting you." The man waved off without even a request for a photo or an autograph. Sidney smiled, offering his own small wave back with a short, 'you too.' 

 

Sidney stayed in his seat, watching as the man left, leaving him alone in the otherwise empty shop. He huffed as he busied himself with his phone; during his short talk with Coach Sully, more messages and notifications had come through. Sidney swiped away all the notifications regarding emails and promised himself that he would read through the new messages later. Sidney held his phone out wide in front of him, as he clicked onto the facetime app that Flower had installed on his phone months ago. Sidney had insisted at the time that he didn't know how to work it, but Flower had made it his point before he flew out to Vegas to school Sidney on how to use all the apps that he had previously avoided. Flower's face filled his screen in seconds, and the big warm smile on his best friend’s face mirrored the one that filled his.

"Sid! How is my favourite godchild doing?" Flower practically squealed in delight. 

"I thought you were the godfather to your sister’s kids." Sidney giggled, hiding his smile behind the palm of his hand. He watched on the screen as Flower waved his hand nonchalantly.

"But this one is the baby of two of my best friends, how can she not be my favourite." Flower grinned as Sidney once again burst into laughter. His laugh filled the empty café, and if anyone else had been there they would have looked at him like he was insane. 

"Who says it's a she, might be a boy. We don't know yet," Sidney reminded through his giggles. Flower was always able to put him at such ease, and Sidney would always be grateful that he had found such amazing people in Pittsburgh. He had found another set of parents in the Lemieux's, he had found the two greatest friends anyone could ever ask for in Flower and Tanger, and he had found Geno, the man who he had secretly been in love with since he was nineteen.

"I'm putting bets on it being a little girl, and I want to be there watching the first time she brings a boy home to meet Geno." Flower howled, wiping away actual tears that fell from his eyes. 

Sidney tutted under his breath, grinning at the image in his head. He could picture it to clearly as well, Geno would be the biggest pushover if the baby was a girl, and no one would be good enough for their daughter. But he knew that if the baby was a boy, Geno would be so proud of anything their son accomplished.  "What do you think it is?" Flower asked.

"I don't know, I just want them to be happy and healthy." Sidney bit his lip as he smiled, his hand drawing tiny circles around his bump. 

"We all want that but come on tell me. Boy or girl?" Flower insisted, his smile only seeming to grow wider and wilder as he carried on. 

Sidney giggled at his friend’s eagerness, and he ignored the pan of sadness at how much he missed being able to see him every day. "I'm not saying."


 

Geno was still asleep when Sidney returned to the room. He crawled into the bed, pushing his way underneath one of his arms not caring that he was still fully clothed. His chat with Flower had left him pleasantly relaxed swimming in the feeling of the love that the friendship possessed. As a child in Halifax, it was the sort of friendship he had always wanted, and it wasn't until his teens where he started forming close friendships with people. Sidney didn't care about the loneliness he suffered as a child, because now he had an amazing group of people around him. Geno was the highlight of that amazing group of people, and Sidney shone in the love and adoration that Geno had been showering upon him. His one regret was not telling Geno his true feelings sooner; Sidney had wasted years fearing his love for the man would be unrequited and ruin the dynamic of the team.

People could try to bring him down and shout abuse at him; Sidney had suffered through that for years already, and years of therapy had taught him ways to cope with the feelings those words caused. But no one could take away the feeling of Geno's hand on his belly, and the warm breath on his cheek as his eyes grew heavy and sleep claimed him, wrapped in the warmth of the duvet and the heat of Geno.


 

The game against Minnesota was a shit show from the start. The protestors seemed to have multiplied when they drove down the street towards the arena. As Sully promised, there were more police and security scattered amongst them, but that did nothing to break apart the mass of people that had seemed to converge outside the arena. Sidney ducked his head down against his chest, refusing to let himself look at the crowd for too long. He didn't want to read the signs that were being held up high above their heads. Just because he had been a victim of bullying before, and knew how to cope with the feelings of doubt and worthlessness that came with it, it didn't mean that he was going to openly put himself in the firing line of those people on the street outside. The inside of the arena was much quieter than it usually was before a game. It felt like the protestors had sucked some of the usual joy and enthusiasm out of the team’s pre-game rituals. Even the round of football during warm-up failed to bring the normal spark to the team. 

When the team first skated onto the ice, Sidney walked onto the players bench with his head held high. He tried to block out as much of the noise in the arena as possible, trying to focus on the sound of blades slicing across the ice, and the pucks hitting against sticks as the team followed their usual pre-game rituals during their warmup. It was when the arena was filled, and the national anthem began playing that Sidney looked up into the crowd for the first time. He didn't know what he had been expecting to see, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. There were people in Wild jersey's and there were people dressed in Penguin jerseys. There were people holding up signs asking for pucks, and signs proclaiming it was their first game, but nowhere could Sidney see anything that was like the words written on the hateful signs outside. He allowed himself the moment to believe that hockey was still hockey, even if one of the players was out for a season because of pregnancy. No one cared about that, all they cared about was their team getting the puck in the back of the net more than the other team. 

Sidney allowed himself to believe that, relaxing the tension that had squared his shoulders. He believed it up until the moment halfway through the first period after watching Geno score the first point of the game. The big grin covered Geno's face as he skated past the bench high fiving the team as he went, and Sidney cheered loudly at the replay that played on the big screen. The cheer died when it came to the face off at centre ice and Chris Stewart said something to Geno that had wiped the smile form his face and replaced it with the look of a man who was contemplating murder. 

He was surprised at how restrained Geno had been, resisting the urge to drop his gloves and throw his stick down at whatever words Stewart had chirped at him. The tightness in his jaw as he skated back to the bench after his shift and his refusal to talk to anyone until after his next shift was what told Sidney just how much the words had infuriated him. Sidney feared what would happen if Stewart tried to say anything else to Geno during the game, as it would undoubtedly lead him  to being sat in the penalty box for at least five minutes. 

In the end it wasn't the worst game the team had played that season, but it wasn't what they needed in the moment. They could have done with the win to boost the moral after the morning drama, and to prove that the team could still perform even with their captain out for the season. Sidney knew what the hopes were by having him sit behind the bench as well; it was the offices way of proving to the media that unlike with his concussion a few years ago, there was no discontent about the Captain being on long-term injury. It had been Geno who had stuck up for him back then the first time, shutting down any talks of having the C taken from Sidney during the year of concussion symptoms. This time Sidney  knew that the Penguins as a whole were a much happier team, and the people who had thought he had been faking the symptoms that had claimed a year of his life had long since been traded or realised the wrongs in their accusations. 


 

The locker room was sullen when the team stomped inside, shoulders slumped in defeat. Sidney ran a hand comfortingly through Geno's sweaty curls when the Russian dropped down into his stall. Geno leaned into the touch, his eyes fluttering closed as he sighed softly under the gentle touch.  The moment between them was cut short when Sully's voice rung out in warning, "Two minutes till door opens guys."

Sidney bent down to press a kiss against Geno's sweaty forehead, before stepping away from the Russian. He didn't want the media to push their way towards them, and the smart thing to do was create as much space between them as possible so that the media would have to split up and choose who they wanted to talk to. Tanger had kicked his skates from his feet and rose to stand next to Sidney as a wannabe bodyguard, and everyone braced themselves for the onslaught when Sully gave them the final nod before the doors opened and the media came rushing into the visitors’ locker room. 

The room was significantly smaller than their locker room back home, and Sidney felt it when the media started to dilly out between the players they wanted to talk too. Unsurprisingly the majority of the media went towards Sidney or Geno. The dark glare that Tanger gave from his side warned off anybody getting too close and a neat semi-circle formed around Sidney. 

"Sid, how do you feel the team played tonight?"

"I think the guys performed well, they all worked really hard and it just wasn't our night tonight. We will be back on the ice tomorrow, so we'll hopefully get some more pucks in the net then." Sidney flashed his media smile at the man, thankful that some of the press were actually starting by asking about hockey and not jumping immediately into his personal live. 

"Any comments about the protestors?"

Sidney grit his teeth behind his smile, "I'm afraid I don't have any comments regarding that. I avoided reading what was written."

"Are you going to be out for the whole season? Or is there a chance we may see you back on the ice?"

"We don't have a date for when I will be back." Sidney could feel his smile wanting to fall away, as he fought to keep the pleasantry in his voice.

"Will you be back though?" A reporter asked in a snide voice as if he was suggesting Sidney would no longer want to play after the baby was born.

"I'm pregnant, I'm not retiring," Sidney retorted waspishly, his eyes flashing in annoyance at the reporter.  He didn't know what was being said to Geno on the other side of the room, but he hadn't hurt any short angry words yet, which was always a good start. 

"Have you anything to say about the comments that Chris Stewart made on ice tonight?" Sidney frowned in the direction of the reporter who had asked the question. 

"I'm afraid I wasn't on the ice, and I don't know what was said out there." Sidney shrugged his shoulder nonchalantly, but in his head, he was making a mental note to try and find out what was said on the ice. If the reporters knew about it, it meant that it must have been picked up by whoever was miked up that night. 

"So, you have no comment on Stewart?" The same reporter posed, as the crowd of reporters seemed to tighten their grips on their microphones and their recorders, all of them leaning just a little bit closer. 

"I can't comment on something when I don't know what was said." Sidney smiled despite the obvious exaggeration in his voice. It was rare for him to have a dip in his composure when in front of the press and judging from the big cheesy grins that started to fill the reporters faces, he had probably just made Christmas come early for them. They all looked eager to press for more questions, words already spilling off one reporters’ tongue when Sully shouted gathering the attention of the entire locker room. 

"Time people. Got to get on the road, bags packed and out." 

The reporters grumbled to themselves as they slowly began filing out. Soon it was just the Penguins team and staff who remained in the room. Some of the team were already stripped down to their under-armour, whilst others had barely managed to pull off any of their gear. Sidney glanced across the room at Geno as the Russian man yanked his jersey over his head, pulling his shoulder pads off at the same time. The tension in Geno's jaw was still present, and Sidney wondered how long it would take for him to relax enough to talk about what was bothering him. 

 

Once stripped from all his gear, Geno pushed his feet into his trainers and walked slowly towards the door leading to the small gym. He stopped in front of Sidney on his way, pressing a warm hand against his belly and offering Sidney a small apologetic smile. Sidney clutched onto Geno's forearm, holding him in place for a moment longer. Geno ducked down nuzzling his cheek against the top of Sidney's head before gently pulling away from the touch; an exercise bike was calling his name. Sidney watched him walk away, before he turned to pull his phone from the pocket of his jacket. Thanks to google, and the sudden spotlight on Geno and himself, it didn't take Sidney long to find out what was said during the game. 

"Did your captain cheer that loudly when you scored with him?"

Sidney could understand immediately why Geno had been so angry at Stewarts words. It was a level of chirping which was inappropriate, and left Sidney shaking with rage. Sidney felt hot shame, as people he had played against making such comments about him. It was different when it was his teammates, they made soft jokes that were humours; they weren't saying things that left Sidney feeling ashamed of his own body. 

Sidney put his phone away, exhaling loudly as he clenched his hands into tight fists at his side. His chat with Matt Cullen that morning had allowed himself to believe that other teams and other players would be as accepting and conscientious as the Penguins had been. His anger formed tension that tightened his entire body, and Sidney felt the urge skate laps around the rink to relieve the tension that was stiffening him, making him feel more statue than man. He didn't know where his skates were though, and the equipment staff were busying around everyone gathering things into bags and trunks. There was no time for Sidney to skate until he felt relaxed. 


 

The anger inside of Sidney was still burning when the team got onto their plane and was still raging inside when they landed in Winnipeg a short time later. Some of the players around him were already flagging from the effects of playing the game, and the beds at the hotel were calling out to them as they shuffled through the hotel lobby. Geno took their room key from Sully and lead the way to the elevator with Sidney following shortly behind. They hadn't said a word to each other since the game and Sidney still didn't know what to say. The silence that hung between them was one that had never existed before, not even when they had a language barrier in the way. 

Their hotel room was practically identical to the one that they had in Minnesota, both in the size of the room and the size of the bed. Sidney perched down on the edge, testing the firmness under him as he leaned back with a sigh. He could feel Genos eyes rolling up and down his body as he settled their bags down on the floor by the foot of the bed. "I'm sorry I got mad on ice."

Sidney pushed himself up so that he was leaning his weight on his forearms. "Geno, I love it when your mad on the ice."

Geno offered a small smile as he sat down next to Sidney, crossing his legs underneath him. He reached over and placed a hand on the subtle swell of Sidney's stomach. Sidney returned the smile as he hesitantly reached up to rest his hand against Geno's cheek, smiling when Geno nuzzles into the touch. Geno admitted quietly, “Stewart said bad things... bad things about you."

"I know what he said. I am so angry that he thinks he can say such things about me." Sidney sighed, dropped down from his elbows so that he was staring up at the ceiling. He could feel Geno's hand stretching out wide on his stomach as he continued, "I hate that he said such things, and I hate that he said them to you."

Geno lied down on the bed beside Sidney, inching closer so that there was only a small space between their heads. Their shoulders were pressed together, and Geno's hand returned to rest on Sidney's stomach. Geno mumbled, "People are going to say mean things. Next one who says anything I will hit them." 

Sidney huffed in humour as he stroked his hand through Geno's hair, "No you won't. I don't want you in the penalty box during every game. I want you on the ice and scoring goals. That will shut up the idiots more than a punch will."

"But I want to defend you." Geno pouted. Sidney wanted to close the space between them and kiss the pout from Geno's lips. He looked adorable with his bottom lip protruded, and Sidney realised that if their child tried that look with him in the future, he would instantly cave. 

"As angry as Stewart made me when I found out what he said, I don't want you defending my honour because only you have seen me like that and only you will." Sidney felt his cheeks burning as he admitted his secret quietly. Geno's hand stilled on his stomach as the words sunk in. 

"Only me?" Geno asked slowly, as he remained frozen in his movements. Sidney stroked through Geno's hair as he nodded in response.

"You were my first time Geno, there has never been anyone else." Sidney repeated, the blush on his cheeks felt like it was slowly filling his entire face. 

"But you're thirty, and you're so pretty." Geno wrinkled his nose in disbelief, causing Sidney to giggle into the small space between their faces. 

"What can I say, I'm a bit obsessive." Sidney joked, shuffling his head a little closer so that the remaining gap between them was marginal. 

"What about before we met?" Geno teased. He slid his hand up Sidney's stomach, so that it rested against his chest just over the top of Sidney's heart. The touch warmed Sidney from the outside in and left him feeling like nothing outside of them was important. 

"Before we met my entire world was about hockey, and then you came along. The first time I saw you, we were playing in the world juniors and I had this crush on you. Then you got drafted to the Penguins, and the lockout happened. When I got drafted, I hoped that we would get to play with each other, but you couldn't come over until the year after."  Sidney rambled, only stopping when Geno finally closed the space between them and kissed him firmly.  Sidney sighed into the kiss, tightening his grip in Geno's hair to keep him close. Geno kissed like he was trying to devour Sidney in one bite, and it left Sidney wanting it to never end. 

The kiss broke, and Sidney panted against Geno's lip as he caught his breath. He wanted to continue what was building between them but over Geno's shoulder, he could see the small clock on the bedside table and the shown time did not bode well. It was late, late enough that they would have been tired normally; the earlier game just fuelled the tiredness and Sidney knew that if they hadn't been talking Geno would have long since fallen asleep. Sidney nudged his nose against Geno's, kissing him on the corner of his lips. "You need to sleep; I want you to get me a goal tomorrow."

"Will get you all the goals."

Chapter Text

The day fell into a similar pattern as the day before. The team woke up earlier, hurried through breakfast before driving to the rink to get on the ice for practise. If there were any protestors waiting on the street outside the arena, Sidney didn't see them, burying his head into Geno's shoulder as the approached. After practise the team returned to the hotel for their game day naps and Sidney curled up under Geno's arm as they slept the early afternoon away. There was no rush to leave the hotel that night, the team had two days before there next game allowing them a lie in before a flight to Edmonton the next day. Sidney was looking forward to having a day free of back-to-back games, a day where he could spend the entire time with Geno. Geno had readily agreed to the plan, smiling sleepily into his pillow when Sidney had suggested it when they woke up after their nap. 

Whilst Geno and the team were warming up in preparation for the game against the Jets, Sidney was scrolling through his phone looking at things to do in Edmonton. The team would land in the city in the early afternoon, before heading straight to a rink for a practise session. After the practise, they would return to the hotel where they had the evening and the following day to themselves. Most of the team would use their free evening to find a bar and for some of the single guys, they would try to find a partner to pick up for the night. Sidney was never the biggest fan of going to bars; whenever he went and joined them, he preferred to sit in the corner of the table watching as his friends got deliriously drunk and shut down by girls who were out of their league. Sidney would probably join the team for dinner the next day, before heading back to the hotel before they hit the bars. 

Sidney was still scrolling through what activities Edmonton had to offer when Geno appeared in front of him, half dressed in his gear and a hopeful look on his face. He crouched down in front of where Sidney was sat on one of the Penguins supply trunks and carefully pressed a kiss against Sidney's stomach. "Will score for you and our baby tonight."

"I know you will." Sidney whispered, capturing Geno's face between both of his hands and guiding him up so that the Russian's lips were where he wanted them to be. After their kiss the night before, they had been unable to find any time to continue their talk, and the truth of his lack of sexual history being revealed was still something that Sidney had yet to really explain with Geno. All he had said was that he had never had sex before that drunken first time with Geno in a random chain hotel in Nashville. He hadn't explained to why he hadn't tried to have a sexual relationship or experience with anyone prior to that moment, and he hadn't told Geno about the aspects of his past that he needed to know.  He knew Geno probably had his own tales to tell, but the stories they had to share were for another time. All that mattered was the feel of lips as Sidney held Geno close. 


 

Sidney watched and tried to keep his cool as Winnipeg took the Penguins defence apart and wiped the ice with them. The goal Geno promised was delivered, towards the end of the second, but that was the only time the Penguins managed to find the back of the net. The seven goals that the Jets put behind the Penguin's goalies destroyed the team’s self-esteem and the team returned to the locker room after the final buzzer with the heads hung and the loss heavy on their shoulders. Sidney followed behind Geno as everyone fell into the visitor stalls waiting for the onslaught of reporters that no one was prepared to deal with tonight. It was one of the many hardships of the game, sometimes you had a shit game, and even when you didn't want to talk about it, the media would be there eager to press on the fresh wounds. 

Gonch was stood by Geno's side when the doors opened to the press whilst Sidney stood side by side next to Sully. Like with the previous night, the reporters differed about who to head to first. Surprisingly most of the reporters chose to head towards the two goalies instead of immediately swarming towards Geno or Sidney. It admittedly didn't make them look the most approachable having Gonch and Sully by their respective sides. There was a few that still dared to approach them, but none of the journalists tried to breach any topic outside of hockey with them. Sidney waited impatiently as the journalists were allowed to stay for a slightly longer time than the day before. Without the excuse of a late-night flight, there was no reason to kick the reporters from the room early, leaving the team to grin and bear as the questions kept on coming. 

The last reporter finally left the room, leaving the team in relative silence as the team allowed themselves to bask in self-pity. The Jets were unfortunately the better team on the night, and the second loss in as many days meant that Sully would not be going easy on them the next day at practise. Sidney felt sympathy towards his team and promised himself that he would join in as many of the drill at tomorrows practise that he could in his condition. He wouldn't be able to participate in any of the contact drills or any drill that risked him getting hit with a puck, but he could join in with the skating drills; even pregnant Sidney was sure he could outskate half the team.  

"Okay guys, hit the bikes, hit the showers. Breakfast is at ten tomorrow. I expect everyone to be there regardless of how hungover you are." Sully announced, clapping his hands to gain the attention of the room. Sidney nodded along to his coach's words even though he would be the last one to end up hungover. He knew that some of the guys like Kessel and Reeves would spend the evening drinking, but Sidney planned to have a date with the hotels room service menu. 

 

As the team scattered off in the directions of exercise bikes and showers, Sidney sat tiredly down in Geno's stall, absently rubbing at his belly as he ignored the hunger pangs that rumbled quietly. The lunch the team had when they first got to the rink seemed like a long time ago and the only thing that the team had in the locker room was energy bars; Sidney had already eaten three. He simply had to sit and wait as his team took their time going through the notions.

He didn't know how long it took the guys to finish getting ready, but he found himself being gently shaken awake. Geno stared down at him, dressed up in the suit he had worn to the rink earlier on in the day. Sidney rubbed the sleep from his eyes, rolling his shoulders as he tried to relieve the small ache in his back from the way he sat. "Sorry, I didn't realise how tired I was." Sidney mumbled as he stretched. 

"It's okay, we go back to room and sleep." Geno replied ignoring the tittering's from the guys as he looked lovingly down at Sidney. The rest of the team were dressed in their suits, returning to the room to gather up their things. Rusty was practically doe-eyed watching the two of them interact, whilst Horny was giggling like a hyena at the scene in front of him. 

"Sleep and eat." Sidney confirmed, letting his eyes slip closed once more. Geno's small chuckle rung in his ears as he gently tugged at Sidney's ear lobe. Sidney whined, but he opened his eyes once more regardless. "You don't have to stay with me, you can go out with the others if you want."

"Want to stay with you." Geno whispered, his hands falling to entwine with Sidney's. He pulled Sidney up onto his feet, smiling at the tired and relax sway that swung through the captain's body.  Half the team were stood behind them quietly jeering at the couple, whilst the other half was rolling their eyes affectionately at them. Sidney didn't care about either group, he only cared about the weight of Geno's hands in his as he was led from the locker room. Sidney fought the tiredness that was desperately trying to keep its grasp on him as the team climbed back onto the bus. The streets around the arena were empty, a telling of how long it had taken the team to finish up inside. The fans had all but disappeared from the street, crowding the bars that scattered the streets around the arena, and Sidney allowed himself to stare out the window as the city lights passed flew past.


 

By the time the bus stopped in front of the hotel, Sidney felt like he was teetering on the brink of sleep. His stomach as still growling and begging to be fed, but his head was calling out for his bed. He followed Geno blindly as he was led into the hotel, and towards the elevator. He curled into Geno's side as the elevator ascended to their floor, ignoring the soft comments that his teammates were making over him. 

"He reminds me of Catherine when she was pregnant with Alex. She could fall asleep in seconds." Kris remarked.

"My wife like that with our Natalie. With Victoria, she used to kick Ksenia so hard she struggled to sleep. " Gonch grinned mischievously as he turned to face Geno, glancing down at Sidney leaning against him. "I think Sidney is definitely going down the sleepy route."

"I'm still awake," Sidney grumbled, just as the elevator pinged and the doors opened to the floor that the Penguins were currently staying on. A dozen players filled out of the elevator into the hotel corridor, laughter ringing down the hall. Sidney whinged in the back of his throat as he rubbed at his eyes to wake himself up. He blamed the lack of coffee that had been in his diet for the day, and Sidney feared that he would be like this for the rest of his pregnancy if he listened to Geno's advice and ditched the caffeine. 

 

The laughter continued as everyone began separating to their rooms, half-made plans being shouted up and down the corridor in regards to where people were going to spend their evenings. Sidney didn't pay attention to the decisions being made as he headed towards his room, with Geno following closely behind. "Wait till the hormones start to hit," Gonch chuckled as he walked behind them on the way to his own room. He slapped Geno on the shoulder in parting as he stopped at his door, “Let me tell you, Ksenia got so horny; it made up for the weird craving runs I had to make. Anyways see you two in the morning." 

Geno and Sidney paused and watched as the assistant coach disappeared into his room, leaving them both stunned and blushing in the corridor. Sidney was so grateful that no one else seemed to have heard Gonch's comments; they would have been ecstatic at the chance to tease and chirp them over it. He wanted to murder Gonch simply because he was right, and that just made Sidney more embarrassed. He was feeling a subtle change in his emotions, blaming the new development in his relationship with Geno for the reason why he was suddenly feeling like a teenager. He didn't know if it was normal for a kiss to turn him on as much as it did, or if it was the pregnancy hormones that were just magnified on his urges. 

"We can ignore Gonch, he old man. Not know anything." Geno tried to joke as their door closed behind them, leaving them both trying to avoid looking the other in the eyes. 

"He's right though. I have spent so many years without having sex, and now all I can think of is you." Sidney blushed as he busied himself with undoing the cuffs of his shirt. Sidney's hands were shaking, unable to undo the button when Geno stepped closer and gently held his wrists stopping the movement.

"Let me help," Geno whispered as he loosened his grip and carefully undid the cuffs of the shirt, rolling them halfway up Sidney's forearm. "Why did you never... before me?"

Sidney huffed, levelling an unimpressed look at Geno. "I had people calling me and insulting me by calling me things like fag since I was probably seven years old. When I realised that I was in fact gay I was terrified of everything. I told my family, and my dad panicked and told me not to act on it." 

Sidney held up his hand to stop Geno when he saw the Russian frowning, and opening his mouth ready to make a comment, "My dad was just protecting me, and I agreed with him. I had heard people insulting me and calling me names for so long that when I realised, I was what they called me, I started to hide that part of me. After I was drafted, my dad must have told Mario because one day before camp started, he just sat me down and said that he would support me no matter what."

"Mario is a good man," Geno agreed, plopping down onto the bed, and urging Sidney to sit down next to him.  Sidney smiled as he did as he was told, leaning his head against Geno's shoulder as he chuckled dryly. 

"Yh he is. He realised that I was unhappy and dragged my arse to a therapist. Saw her for a good year before I started to accept who I was, and who I loved." Sidney attempted to bury his face into the sleeve of Geno's suit jacket as he admitted his secrets to Geno. 

"That doesn't explain why there was no one else." Geno teased, his hand coming to rest on Sidney's thigh. 

"By the time I was happy with what I felt, you were here, and you were everything I wanted. If I had slept with anyone else, it would have been me pretending I was with you. I also couldn't trust people to keep it a secret, and I imagine it would have been hard to discretely pick up someone at the bar." Sidney smiled, yawning behind his hand as he finished speaking. 

"I'm glad it was me then." Geno grinned, stroking up and down Sidney's leg reassuringly. "Now you need to sleep though."

"I want food, but I think I'll already have fallen asleep by the time the food arrives," Sidney pouted.

"Well order, you can go to sleep and I'll wake you when the food is here." Geno's suggestion earned him a kiss. Sidney craning his head up so that he could press gently against Geno's lips. 

"Thank you, for being you," Sidney sighed as he dropped his head back down onto Geno's shoulder. His eyes flickered closed as he sighed contently. Geno gently manoeuvred him so that he was lying down on top of the covers, before pulling off his shoes and lining them up neatly on the floor by their bags. Sidney wrapped his arms around the pillow beneath his head, opening one eye to watch as Geno perched on the bed by his head. Geno had the room service menu in his hands, when Sidney mumbled sleepily, "Mozzarella sticks and whatever comes with asparagus."


 

Sidney was already on his second cup of coffee for the day when the Penguins boarded their charter to Edmonton. Geno as promised had woken him when the food had arrived and watched him fondly as Sidney devoured the plate of Mozzarella sticks before diving into the bowl of roast asparagus salad. Sidney had moaned loudly at the explosion of taste in his mouth, causing Geno to blush pointedly as he cut into his own food. Well fed, Sidney had once again allowed sleep to claim him once he had changed out of his suit.  He had woken up feeling more alive than he had the evening before, and the energy was still with him when the team landed in the next city. 

Sidney had forcefully pushed Geno to go join his normal card-game squad on the two-hour flight, before plugging in his headphones and loosing himself in an audiobook. He loved having Geno by his side, but Sidney needed to have a little time to himself, and he knew that Geno needed it as well. Sidney may not be an expert in any form of relationship, but he had seen enough of his friend’s relationships fail because they forgot that they didn't need to spend every waking hour together. 

It was only a two-hour flight, but Sidney was itching to move when they landed. The team were heading straight to the rink for practise, and Sidney couldn't wait to feel the ice beneath his skates and the burn in his thighs from a good workout. Geno took his place on the bus next to Sidney, his smile wide across his face as he sat down. "Have fun?" Sidney teased, leaning into Geno's space as he spoke. 

"Good time, you should learn to play," Geno laughed as Sidney wrinkled his nose at the thought of the card game. Players had tried and failed to teach Sidney the various card games over the years, to no success. Sidney preferred to play video games, even if he got ribbed whenever he made silly mistakes. 

"I'll leave you to that," Sidney grinned as the equipment managers hurried around outside. Their gear bags were being piled up into the truck that would lead them to the arena, and the team were just forced to wait whilst everything got unpacked from the plane. 


 

Sidney didn't even get the chance to put on his skates before his plans to join in with part of the practise were found out. Sully had chosen the exact moment to walk past, when Sidney was digging through the equipment trunks in search of a new set of laces. Sully paused looking between Sidney and the laces that he had in his hands before growling in frustration, "Not a chance in hell."

"I'm just joining in with the skating drills," Sidney retorted, holding his hands out in front of him in exasperation.

"No you're not. Have you asked Stewart if you’re okay to skate? Have you thought about how pissed off Geno will be if he sees you trying to exhaust yourself?" Sully snapped, his voice not growing loud, but his annoyance was as clear as glass as he glared down at Sidney. 

"My doctor says I'm allowed to skate." Sidney matched his coaches glare, copying Sully's stature as he crossed his arms across his chest also. 

"Skating laps is very different from doing suicides. For the sake of my own blood pressure and Genos, if you want to skate you will have someone skating with you."  Sully sighed pinching the bridge of his nose as if he the entire conversation was giving him a headache. Sidney suddenly felt like stealing someone's entire gear and stepping onto the ice just to irritate his coach. 

"I'm not a child." Sidney hissed not caring that he was talking to his coach, who he usually held in high respect. He was being treated like a child; Sully didn't need to know about his childish thought not a moment previously. 

"No you're not, but you sometimes need someone to tell you to stop." Sidney had no words to say in response to Sully's statement. He was annoyed, but the comment hit home with its truth. He had overworked himself so many times, and it was always because of the idea of one more. One more shot on goal, one more lap, one more drill. 

"Fine," Sidney snapped, stalking off towards the locker room with the new laces clutched in his hand. As he stormed off, he thought he heard Sully whisper under his breath, 'God give me strength.'

 

Sidney didn't care, he needed the ice like he needed to breath. He hadn't skated for weeks and he needed to feel the cold air against his skin as he moved across the surface, and he need to hear the sound of his blades carving thin lines through the ice. The team were most half-dressed in their gear when Sidney stormed back into the Oiler's visitors’ room. He could feel both Tanger's and Geno's eyes on him as they clocked, he laces in his hand. "I've already had Sully on me, I'm only doing laps under supervision," Sidney snapped at no one in particular as he threw himself down into the empty stall next to Geno, pulling his skates from where they had been stored in the Russians kit bag. 

"We know you're going to skate Sid. What would you do without hockey?" Geno reassured him, palming his gloved hand over Sidney's head. The action caused whatever frustration to fade away as Sidney patted the hand away. Geno responded by playfully pushing the glove in Sidney's face, earning a grimace from the captain. 

"Why do yours gloves smell!" Sidney laughed, as he pushed Geno's hand away from his face. The locker room cackled along with them as they watched the mini play-fight erupt between them. Geno practically tackled Sidney, in an attempt to push his gloves back in Sidney's face, their laughter blending into one noise as Sidney kept evading, ducking his head and pushing the Russians hands back. 

"You can’t say anything about smell. Your jock stinks Sid." Sheersy heckled from his stall on the other side of the room, his words were met with jeers of agreement from half the team. 

"Don't sniff it then weirdo," Sidney laughed, letting his hands fall back to his sides as Geno stopped trying to shove his smelly gloves in his face. Geno waited for a second, letting Sidney believe that the game was finished before pushing his gloved hand into his face one final time. The action earned a surprised noise to escape from Sidney's lips, and caused the room to laugh hysterically in response to the small noise. 

 

Sidney followed everyone else onto the ice, sighing contently at the familiar feel of the ice beneath his feet as his pushed himself forwards. The air whipped past him as he pushed himself a little bit faster. He could feel Sully’s hard stare following him around the rink as he sped around the boards faster than he had promised. Sidney barely made it a lap before Gonch was skating up to him with a raised eyebrow. Sidney rolled his eyes, but stopped pushing himself faster, letting himself glide along until his speed slowed.  "So, are you the designated babysitter?" Sidney frowned as he watched the team huddle around the coach in the centre of the ice. It would only be a matter of time before they were put through exhausting skating drills that would leave their legs resembling jelly. 

"Can't I be a good godfather and just skate along with my friend?" Gonch jested, grinning at Sidney when he shook his head with a small huff of amusement. 

"Everyone wants to be godfather apparently. This baby is going to be so spoiled," Sidney smiled as he stroked his hand softly over his stomach. He glanced around the arena quickly when he realised what he did, his eyes scanning around for any signs of media watching. 

"Just us in here again, the media ban is in place for today and then it will be back to normal after that." Gonch explained as he idly pivoted so that he was skating backwards in front of Sidney. "And who else wants to be godfather?"

"You want the entire list? Flower, Tanger, Jack. Even Ovechkin messaged me and pretty much suggested it." Sidney listed, counting people off on his fingers. Gonch frowned when Sidney said Ovechkin; whilst it was not the rivalry that the media bigged it up to be, there was a certain amount of dislike between the two of them. They were simply two very different people in the way they lived and the way they acted. Sidney was humble with his money, and earnest about his achievements, Ovechkin was lavish and loud. Whilst Geno had forgiven Ovechkin for the bad blood that had happened in the past between them, Sidney had not forgotten and had not been thrilled with the excuse that Geno offered when he tried to explain it, 'He acted like that because of Russia.'

"Sasha messaged you?" Gonch asked as he stopped, making Sidney pause in his movements also. His face furrowed into a frown at the sudden stop to their skating. 

"Yh?" Sidney replied, offering the assistant coach a confused look. From the corner of his eye he saw Rusty fly past him at full speed, Geno following loosely behind him. The team were skating from one blue line to the next as fast as they could, going back and forth until it hurt to stand. After that Sully would probably follow up with passing and shooting drills whilst Murray and Casey DeSmith would be put through their paces until they were a sweat smelly mess. 

"Stupid boy is trying to get himself in trouble" Gonch sighed.

"What do you mean?" Sidney probed; his brow furrowed in confusion when he watched Gonch dig his phone from his pocket. He watched as the older man tapped away at the screen before handing it over to Sidney. Sidney took the offered phone, finding it open to a paused YouTube video. Ovechkin's face filled the screen, and the locker room in the background. He tentatively pressed play, the sound just loud enough to be heard amongst the noise that filled the rink.

"Depending on if they allowed him, would you still be comfortable playing on Team Russia with Malkin knowing of his homosexuality?" A reporter off camera asked, and Sidney instantly bristled at the wording of the sentence. The reporter had made it sound like not only did he think Geno would not be allowed to represent his country anymore, but also suggested that gay people was enough of a reason for him not to. 

"Why wouldn't he be allowed? He's one of the best players from Russia." Ovechkin shrugged, turning to face a different reporter behind the camera. 

"Will you still play for Team Russia if they don't invite Malkin?"

"They'll be stupid not to invite him. If they didn't invite him what would be point of playing."

Sidney hit his forehead with the palm of his hand at Ovechkin's words, knowing that the Russian was going to end up paying the price for his comment in some format. From what information Sidney had gathered over the years, with all the stories that Geno told about his countries team, he knew that the governing body would contemplate making a spectacle by not inviting either player to the next squad. 

"Why is he siding with Geno when he knows that shit will just come back to bite him?" Sidney groaned. 

"Geno and Sasha have a weird friendship, and not like that so don't worry." Gonch explained, grinning when Sidney frowned at the first part of the sentence. Sidney opened his mouth as if to question what Gonch had meant by calling the friendship weird; over the years, people had called his friendship with Geno weird so the comment worried Sidney more than it should have. "Besides Sasha knew a lot more about you two than you realised. His shouting match with Geno a couple of weeks ago was how I figured out he was the daddy to your little one."

"The time Ovechkin basically called me inconsiderate. What were they shouting about?" Sidney asked. he handed back Gonch his phone, and slowly began skating around the boards once more; he wasn't wasting his valuable ice time by standing still gossiping. Gossiping could be done at the same time as skating. The sound of blades behind him told him that Gonch was keeping close pace, and Sidney rolled his head from side to side as he waited for the reply. 

"He called you more than just inconsiderate, trust me." Gonch snickered, sighing when Sidney crossed over shifting to skating lazily backwards as he scowled up at his assistant coach. He didn't even need to look behind him to know when the boards began to curve. "Listen they were shouting about you; I can't remember exactly what was said but those two argue so much it wouldn't surprise me if they have already put it past them."

Sidney nodded even though he didn't fully believe the words Gonch said, but he faked a smile as he spun back around and started to skate a little faster. In the middle of the ice Geno was practising his puck-handling skills with Guentzel, the pair chirping each other whenever the other missed the puck. Sidney's smile turned genuine as he watched them, knowing that it didn't really matter what was said between Ovechkin and Geno weeks ago. He didn't understand their friendship, and he doubted he ever really would even if he and Geno spent the rest of their lives together.

"I don't think those two are holding grudges; but Ovechkin being nice to me is weird," Sidney turned his smile on Gonch, his words leaving the older man chuckling as he watched Sidney speed away. 


 

Geno forcefully pushed Ovechkin out into the hall, his mouth practically foaming with anger as he stepped into the other man’s face. He whispered in Russian as "You need to leave him alone,"

 

Ovechkin shoved Geno backwards, the angry bear had to steady himself by taking a small step. His anger multiplied and was radiating off him in waves as Ovechkin matched his earlier tactic. He stepped into Geno's face, pointing his finger as he snapped back, "I'm going to call him a dick when he acts like a dick."

 

"He doesn't know how I feel," Geno raged as he tried to make his friend understand the situation. It was more than just a misunderstanding; it was a catastrophic disaster; and Ovechkin getting involved just made it worse. Geno had gone home to Russia after the night in Vegas and his heart had felt heavy in his chest. He had returned to his empty apartment in Moscow, and he had felt empty and wanted nothing more than to fly back over to America to see Sidney again. He had spent the first evening in Russia drunk on whiskey looking for flights that would take him to Pittsburgh or to Nova Scotia. He had forgotten that he had made plans weeks before to grab food with Ovi, until his friend had banged on his door. Ovechkin had let himself into Geno's apartment and found his friend drunk and brooding, and when he had seen the page Geno was looking at, he had demanded answers. Answers that Geno had drunkenly given.

"The fact he doesn't know makes it so much fucking worse. It makes him blind and ignorant." Ovechkin shouted, not caring that there were people scattered around the corridors and that they were stood right outside of the visitors’ locker room. The doors were thin and not made to keep noise out, and it was inevitable that everyone inside would be able to hear the angry Russian words being spat at each other.

"Fuck off Sasha. This is none of your business, and I am trying to get over it. I cannot do that when you keep bringing this shit up!" Geno shouted back, glaring at his friend. People were starting to pause and stare at the two Russians yelling at each other; it was any other location, cell-phones would have been taken out and the alteration would have started to be recorded. Thankfully the people who were pausing to watch must have had some thought to what recording the scuffle would mean for their jobs and their careers. 

"If you were so bothered about getting over him, you would have asked for a trade years ago." Ovechkin grinned maliciously as he watched Geno's hands tighten into fists at his side. He wanted to take a swing, and he would have done if one of the Cap's front of staff chose that moment to try to separate the two players. The man spread his arms out between them, pushing them both in separate directions. 

Geno paid no mind to the man in between them, stretching an arm around him to point his finger at Ovechkin, "I have a girlfriend! Remember you set me up with her! You told me I had to date her!"

"Yes, because Russia was ready to kick you out. They were able to see your fucking infatuation for Crosby, even if he can't!" Ovechkin snapped; his voice louder than it had been any time before. Their loud voices had gained the attention of more people, Gonch and Sully who came streaking down the corridor in a hurry, and the locker room door was opening, and the Penguins were watching the argument with interest. One of the people who exited the room was Sidney, who stepped forwards as if to intercept. Gonch immediately wrapped his arms around Sidney's shoulders, pulling him backwards and out of the way of the confrontation. He let go after a few moments, but kept his hands out in front, stopping Sidney from trying to step towards Geno and Ovechkin.

Geno failed to notice the people who were watching, nor did he see Sidney being held back by Gonch as he growled, "I'm trying to make it go away. What fucking right do you have to say otherwise."

Sully grabbed Geno from behind, holding him back as he once again pushed his hands towards Ovechkin. Another member of the Cap's staff grabbed at Ovechkin as if they were all suddenly worried that there was going to a brawl happening in the middle of the corridor. 

"I'm trying to help you Zhenya and if that means telling that idiot that he is a dick, I will!" Ovechkin spat. Geno shrugged Sully off him, pushing himself backwards away from the argument. He was red cheeked, as he raised his arms above his head, pulling at his hair in frustration. Sully took a step away from Geno, simply watching with the rest of them as Geno stormed off away from the argument. 

Chapter Text

  Sidney left practise with Geno's arm around his waist as they walked from the rink to the bus. It was a new bus, new city, but it was the same routine and Sidney smiled as he leaned his head against the window watching the streets and the pedestrians on the sidewalks. Geno seemed to sense that there was something that was haunting his captain as the bus drove through the city streets. "You okay?" Geno whispered gently. He turned his torso towards Sidney, one hand resting on his knee and the other moving to rest on Sidney's belly. 

"Sorry I was just thinking," Sidney turned, his smile blinding Geno with how bright it was. 

The smile only grew brighter when Geno rubbed his thumb over the small bump, "Did you know the baby can now frown, I bet they have the same frown as you." 

Sidney giggled, wrapping his arms around his belly as he leaned into Geno's shoulder. He grinned up at him as he chirped back, "They'll scowl like you do."

"No, they'll have your captain serious face." Geno teased, poking Sidney in the side. The move rewarded him with a squeal as Sidney jerked away from the touch. 

"Last time I checked it’s our baby not Toews'." Sidney chuckled, swatting at Geno's hand as he tried to poke him in the side again. Geno pulled Sidney's hands together, as they continued to playfight in their seats. There fun and games had drawn the attention of some of the other players who turned to watch the two of them like it was their favourite show. Sidney could hear Tanger taking bets on who would win the game, and Kessel was already loudly proclaiming it a Geno victory. Sidney allowed Geno to get a final ticklish poke into his side, the entire bus cheering as Geno won the battle. He smiled into the Russians shoulder; he really did love his team and he knew that the team loved and supported him too. 


 

"So, what's the plans for tonight?" Sidney asked when he had set down his bag in his and Geno's latest hotel room. Geno smiled, stepping closer into Sidney's space as he crowded him against the side of the bed. Sidney knew that if he took a step back, he would catch the back of his knees of the frame and would end up falling onto the mattress. Sidney blushed at the thought, standing his ground despite the want that pulsed through his veins. He wanted to feel Geno above him and feel the weight of the other man pressing him down into the mattress behind them. 

"The guys are thinking of heading to the Chinese on the corner," Geno started, pressing a kiss against Sidney's forehead before whispering into the small space between them, "But I want to take you out."

"Like a date?" Sidney found himself asking as he bit the bottom of his lip. He had never been on a date before, and the thought of Geno wanting to take him on made him deliriously happy. 

"Like a date." Geno confirmed. He kissed Sidney again, lips meeting lips instead of another kiss to the head. Sidney sighed, clutching at the sleeves of Geno's shirt as he tried to pull him closer. The need for air was rising, but Sidney didn't want to let the other man go. Reluctantly, Sidney broke the kiss, gasping for breath and relishing in the feel of Geno's breath on his cheek. "You're bad man Sid. Make me not know when to stop." 

Sidney breathed out slowly, when Geno pressed himself further against him. He could feel the lines of long muscles even through the clothing that separated them, and he could feel Geno's hard cock pressing against the bottom of his stomach. Sidney's own erection was throbbing in his pants, and if he could feel Geno's, it was certain that Geno could feel his against his hip. His hormones were going crazy, but Sidney couldn't blame it entirely on his pregnancy. He wanted Geno, and he now had him, but they had shared nothing but kisses. 

"Go get ready, comfy and casual." Geno sighed as he stepped backwards. There was no discretion between them as Geno adjusted himself through his trousers, and Sidney licked his lips as his eyes flicked down to watch the movement. When he looked up, Geno was smiling as he shook his head at Sidney. There were no further words between them as Geno disappeared into the bathroom with a smile. Sidney took a deep breath before reaching for his travel bag. He shifted through the shirts in his bag; he didn't really have anything outside of sleepwear and the occasional t-shirt that could be considering comfy. He huffed as he dragged the last of his clothes from the bag creating a small pile on the carpet. Sidney crouched back on his heels as he contemplated the clothes in front of him; there was nothing that called out to him to be worn on his first date. 

 

If Geno was not on the other side of the door, Sidney would have called Flower up for help and advice; but that was something he couldn't do when Geno would be able to hear every bit of his nervous ramble. He settled for pulling his phone and texting Flower with a simple message, 'Geno's taking me on a date.'

Sidney knew that Flower would jump on the message and would probably send him an over-excited message back complete with plenty of exclamation marks and smiley faces. It would either a be the text message or a phone call where Flower would squeal loudly down the phone at him for a good minute before he had anything else to say.  Sidney smiled to himself as he put his phone on the bed, returning his attention to the search for something to wear. The only thing that was standing out to him was the hoodie that he had commandeered from Geno's possessions and promptly claimed as his. Geno beamed at him whenever he saw him wearing it, and Sidney could only presume that the man liked seeing Sidney wearing his clothes with his number across his back. Sidney made a mental note to locate a 71 jersey from somewhere to wear when he got too big for button-up shirts. The team would give him no end of friendly grief when they saw him in it and the press would have a field day; but Sidney didn't care what anyone else may think, all he cared about was what Geno would think or say. Sidney smiled as the plan continued forming in head as he tugged off his shirt and pulled on Geno's hoodie. 

Years of suppressing his desires meant that Sidney had managed to find some control over his lower body by the time Geno re-appeared from the bathroom, dressed in tight jeans and a baggy top that showed off his collarbones. He paused when he saw Sidney sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed in the skinny jeans that he had borrowed from Geno a few days previously and Geno's hoodie. "You look really good," he breathed, clearing his throat as he held out a hand towards Sidney. Sidney accepted the hand, allowing himself to be pulled to his feet. 

"You look really good too, " Sidney replied as he stepped himself closer to Geno, their chests pressed against each other as he rose up on his tiptoes to kiss him. He broke apart after a second, blushing as he smiled at him. Geno returned the grin, placing a hand on Sidney's hip as he led him from the hotel room. Sidney wrapped his arm around Geno's waist in return as they walked through the hotel and out onto the cold Canadian streets. He didn't care if anyone saw them, as he curled into Geno's side to shelter from the chill.  No one cared about the two men that were walking down the street wrapped in each other’s arms.


 

The restaurant that Geno led them to was not what Sidney had been expecting. It was a one level building which was dwarfed by the buildings on either side of it. A bright yellow and green canopy was pulled out covering the crowded outdoor seating area; people were bundled up in coats and scarfs, but no one seemed to care about the cold. As Sidney stepped closer, he could feel the heat from portable heaters warming his cheeks, and the smell of cinnamon filled the air. There was more seating inside the building, and it was just as crowded as the outdoor area. Sidney eyed the mixture of different foods that people were eating and he could feel his stomach growling at the sight of everything. It all looked delicious and Sidney was close to drooling as he and Geno were led to a small table towards the back of the restaurant. 

The décor was rustic with wooden tables and exposed brick walls, and large pillar candles sat in the centre of each table illuminating the room in a soft glow. Geno pulled Sidney's chair out for him, grinning like a Cheshire when Sidney blushed furiously. He glanced around at the other patrons, returning the smile when he saw that no one seemed to be obviously staring at them. The server left them at their table, handing two menus over to Sidney with a promise to return to them in a few minutes to take their order. Sidney thanked her, busying himself with the menu to hide the awkwardness that fluttered in his chest. One look at the menu had him snapping his attention up to Geno's face. "How did you find this place?"

"You approve?" Geno teased, as he picked up his own menu. Sidney practically moaned at the menu, as he continued to pursue it. He kept reading, but nothing sounded as good as the first thing he had seen on the list. He liked the sound of Chicken & Waffles, and nothing on the menu sounded as good in that exact moment. 

"I think I want Waffles," Sidney hid his smile behind his menu as he looked up at Geno.  Geno seemed to browse the food for a few seconds longer before placing his menu down on the table, returning Sidney's smile. The server chose that moment to return, flashing a warm smile at the two men staring at each other over the romantic glow of a candle. They could have been anywhere in the world, but they would still only have eyes for the other. 

"You guys ready to order?"


 

Sidney glanced up over the rim of his glass of water, raising an eyebrow flirtatiously as Geno mirrored his actions. The food had been delicious, and Sidney had to hold back the urge to moan at every bite he took. He had tried to distract Geno with aimless chatter as he tried to steal fries from Geno's plate. Sidney knew from Geno's small smile that he was being anything but sneaky, but the Russian allowed the theft. They talked about everything and nothing, not touching on the tough subjects that had filled more of their recent conversations. They didn't discuss the baby, but they talked about the team and how they thought the game against the Oilers would go. 

They waved off the idea of dessert, paying the brill and heading back out into the cold Edmonton streets, holding hands as they walked slowly back to the hotel. Sidney buried his chin into the neckline of his hoodie, pulling the fabric up to cover his lips as the wind blew a chill. He buried the hand that wasn't clutched in Geno's into the pocket at the front of his hoodie, feeling the soft swell of his baby bump and his food baby stomach. Sidney smiled to himself, he was going to have to work so hard to get back into shape after he gave birth, but until then it would be interesting to not have his usual hang-ups about maintaining his diet. Geno was turning out to be a natural caregiver, and it reminded Sidney of Nathalie Lemieux when she took care of him during the worst parts of his concussion. 

 

Geno stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, jolting Sidney backwards slightly when he realised that the Russian man had stopped walking. Sidney turned on the spot to look at the other man but found that Geno was looking up at the night sky. Sidney stepped closer, craning his neck upwards to try and find whatever had caught Geno's attention. "Why have we stopped?"

Geno stayed looking up at the sky, before letting his chin drop back down to his chest, his gaze falling on Sidney. "It's snowing." 

Sidney frowned before he saw a small snowdrop fluttering from the sky, landing on his cheek and melting into his skin. His mouth fell open in a little o-shape as the snow began to fall around them. It settled on the ground in small white droplets and it wouldn't surprise Sidney if people woke up tomorrow to the city blanketed in white.  He stared up at the sky as the darkness seemed to grow lighter as the snow fell heavier. At home in Halifax he used to try and guess when it would snow, the night sky used to appear auburn instead of shades of black; and Sidney could see the sky taking on a shade of ochre. 

He tore his eyes away from the sky above him, dropping his gaze down until he was staring up at Geno. Sidney had no words, as he wrapped his hands around the back of Genos neck. He rose up on his tiptoes and pulled Geno down the last centimetre. Their lips crashed together with a passion and a hunger that had Sidney reluctant to let go. Geno's tongue traced along his bottom lip, and Sidney stopped caring about where they were. The street was quiet, and only a few cars were driving past. The snow was leaving a dusting on the floor at their feet and was falling thicker with every passing moment. Geno kissed like he needed to breath, and Sidney kissed like he played with fierce determination and a desire to win. Both were fighting for a dominance, and both knew that Sidney was one flick of a tongue away from giving up all control. Geno's arms were wrapped securely around Sidney, holding him close and pressing their bodies together. 

The snow was falling thick and fast when they broke up, their breath visible in the air between them as they blinked at each other. Sidney pressed one more kiss against Geno's lips, sighing when one of Geno's hands came up to tangle in his air, holding him close. "Let's head back," Sidney breathed against Geno's lips before letting his hands fall away from the taller man’s neck. Sidney took a step backwards, grinning as Geno watched him like he was a predator and Sidney was his prey. Geno stalked his movements as Sidney stepped back once more, before jolting forwards, wrapping his big arms around Sidney.  Sidney giggled manically as Geno pick him up, swinging him around in a circle before putting him back down on the ground with one more kiss.  


 

They barely touched on the rest of the walk back to the hotel, the only contact between them was the brushing of shoulders. Sidney looked down at the ground as they walked into the reception. It wasn't ridiculously late, but the entire area was empty apart from the skeleton staff that were running the desk. Sidney didn't even realise he was feeling cold until the warm heat of the reception hit him as he stepped inside. The snow had made his clothes soaked, and his shoes squelched as they walked into the elevator. Sidney felt himself shivering as they got off at their floor, following Geno towards their hotel room.

Their hotel room was how they had left it with clothes scattered out from suitcases which had been abandoned at the side of the bed. The room was chilled, and when Sidney glanced at the thermostat he groaned when he saw that the air-con had been left on whilst they had been out. He angrily stabbed at the buttons, pushing the temperature setting up and turning off the air-conditioning setting. Sidney's clothes felt like they were getting colder the longer he stood in them; the wet fabric clinging to him as he wrapped his arms around himself. He felt Geno's hand on his back, a firm touch as he pushed him towards the bathroom. "Come on get you warm."

 

Geno flicked the light switch, bathing the room in bright light that gleamed off the white tiles. Sidney perched on the edge of the bathtub, watching as Geno began adjusting the settings in the separate shower cubicle. He couldn't help the flush that flamed across his cheeks as he watched the water begin to rain down. His thoughts flashed to the time they showered together after they won the cup, when Geno had lifted him up like he was weightless and pinned him to the wall. Sidney found himself pulled to his feet, and he answered the silent question in Geno's eyes with a small nod. Geno nodded back in response before slowly reaching his hands underneath the front of Sidney's hoodie, his fingers teasing the chilled skin beneath before carefully tugging the fabric up and over Sidney's head. 

Geno kissed Sidney on the lips, before leading the kisses in a line down his neck. Geno's lips fluttered further and further south; he kissed Sidney's shoulder, and the next kiss was placed directly over Sidney's heart. The kisses moved down onto his bump, Geno's hands rubbing at the sides of the small swell, before he pulled back to stare up at Sidney. Sidney was flushed, staring down at Geno kneeling in front of him with hooded eyes and shallow breathes. Geno's hands slid away from Sidney's stomach, trailing down a denim covered leg before stopping at the top of his shoe. He lifted Sidney's foot off the floor, smiling when the captain leaned his weight onto Geno's shoulder as he tried to balance. Geno carefully pulled off his shoe and sock, before placing Sidney's bare foot back on the floor, repeating his actions with the other. 

Geno rose back to his feet, temporarily leaving Sidney in just his jeans as he kissed him once again. Sidney clung to the front of Geno's shirt holding him close as he melted into the kiss. The heat from the shower was starting to fill the room, and when the kiss broke, Sidney saw that the large mirror in the room had fogged up from the steam.  Another silent question was in Geno's eyes; words were not needed again; Sidney knew what was being communicated. 'Are you sure?'

"Yes," Sidney breathed into the room, his quiet voice nearly lost under the sound of the shower. Geno surged forwards, their kiss nearly as heated as the water that was falling behind them. He was unashamedly hard when the kiss broke, his jeans feeling uncomfortably tight as he watched Geno tug his shirt over his head.  The shirt joined the pile of clothes that were already scattered across the bathroom floor, and the pile only grew larger as Geno pulled his shoes off and kicked his jeans down his long legs. He stared Sidney in the eyes as he pushed his underwear down. His cock bounced free from the fabric, standing at attention. Sidney bit his lip as he stared at the member, it was just as big as he could remember, and Sidney wanted to feel it pressed up against him and inside of him again. 

He didn't feel self-conscious as he peeled his wet jeans down his legs. They both stood staring at each other, exploring the mass of skin on show; the long looks were more intimate than any touch they had shared. Sidney wanted to simultaneously blush and preen under Geno's attentive eyes. He felt like he was being stripped, not out of his clothes but stripped so that his soul was visible for the man to see. 

 

Sidney stepped into the shower first, sighing at the hot water that pounded down on his shoulders. He let his head fall back, the water raining down and sticking his hair to his head. He had left the shower door wide open, and the water was splashing onto the tiles outside. With his eyes closed, he smiled under the spray when he felt a hand on his hip gently guiding him to the side. The shower door slid closed behind him, and Sidney opened his eyes to find himself completely surrounded by the Russian. 

Geno manoeuvred them around so that he was pressed flush against Sidney's back, the shower spray fell on them from a rain-shower head. The warmth from the shower blended with the heat that was coming from having Geno wrapped around him like a blanket. His arms were wrapped around Sidney's chest, stroking up and down his arms as he held him close. Sidney could feel Geno's cock pressed against his back, and his own was throbbing with want. He leant his head back into Geno's shoulder as the other man licked a line down from his jaw to his shoulder. He sucked a mark into his skin, brushing his lips against the red bruise when he pulled back. Sidney exposed his neck, offering more of himself to Geno, his moans filling the shower stall. 

"Turn around," Geno breathed against Sidney's ear causing a shiver down his spine. He spun around in Geno's arms, dragging him into a fierce kiss that warmed him from the inside out. Sidney chased after Geno's lips when he pulled away demanding for more attention. He pouted for a second before his eyes widened as he watched Geno fall to his knees in front of him. His breath ghosted on the head of his cock, and Sidney felt his breath catch in his throat at the erotic sight in front of him. Geno's hands came up bracketing his hips, as he licked a line from head to base. Sidney threw his head back, moaning under the spray at the touch; he felt like the world could be exploding around him and he wouldn't be able to tell.  

"Geno," Sidney cried out, jolting in surprise when he felt a warmth surround his cock as Geno took him in his mouth. He felt like he was on a hair-trigger and it had only just started but the feel of Geno sucking his cock like it was the world’s best lollipop, left Sidney weak at the knees. The water fell in his eyes as he moaned up at the ceiling, his hands tangling in Geno's hair as he resisted the urge to thrust his hips forwards into the wet heat surrounding him. Geno swallowed him down to the base, holding him there in his throat as he blinked up at Sidney through long lashes. 

Sidney moaned loudly, an apology on his lips when he accidently pumped his hips forwards, causing Geno to gag around him. He pulled back from Sidney's cock, letting it fall from his mouth, a thin trail of spit connecting the head to Geno's lips. Geno took Sidney's cock in his hand working it as he mouthed kisses along Sidney's hipbone. Sidney quivered under the touch, clutching his fingers in Geno's hair. Sidney inhaled sharply, tugging harshly on the hair caught between his fingers when Geno's swallowed his cock down in one smooth move. 

Geno was working Sidney's cock like he worked the puck, dragging Sidney closer and closer to the edge of release. He was shaking with desire, barely noticing when one of Geno's hands fell away from his hip. Sidney gasped for breath, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight in front of him. Geno's eyes were glassed over with his own pleasure, the hand that had dropped from Sidney's hip was now tugging at his own cock. Geno looked wrecked and looked like how Sidney felt. "Geno. Geno I'm so close." 

Sidney tugged at Geno's hair warningly. He could feel his stomach tightening and the waves of pleasure were growing higher and higher. He could feel his release coming, as he tugged once more on Geno's hair trying to get him to pull away before it was too late. his only knowledge of blow jobs was from porn, and Sidney knew that wasn't reality. He had watched people in porn swallow cum, he'd watched people jerk someone off to finish and he'd watched people cum on the other person's face. He didn't know what Geno preferred, but Sidney did know that he was only seconds away. Geno ignored the warning pulls on his hair, pushing himself forwards so that his lips were wrapped around the base of the cock. 

Sidney choked on his breath, his vision turning white as his orgasm wrecked his body. His entire body shook, as he released into Geno's mouth.  He could feel Geno's throat swallowing around him as he drank down his release. Geno moaned around the cock in his mouth as he came fisting his cock. He released splattered against Sidney's legs before being washed down the drain. Geno let the cock slip from his mouth, suckling on the head one final time earning a whine at the sensitive touch.  

His entire body felt like it had been replaced with jelly as Sidney felt himself be led down to the floor. Geno's hands held him steady as he shifted his long legs form underneath him. Geno held Sidney up as he adjusted himself to sit cross legged on the shower floor, before easing Sidney down to sit in his lap. Sidney sat in the small space that Geno had created between his thighs, his legs bracketing Geno's hips as he buried his head underneath Geno's chin. The water fell on them, removing any lingering traces of their sexual activities, washing everything down the drain. 


 

Sidney fell asleep with Geno pressed against his back. They had taken their time getting out of the shower, lazily drying off before falling into the bed wearing nothing but underwear. They woke up late in the morning, the sun peaking in through the blinds leaving bright lines that streaking across the bed. He had warm arms holding him closer and their combined body heat through the night had left the duvet feeling toasty and Sidney wanted to snuggle further into it. 

The snow had settled fast from the night before, and as Sidney had suspected the city had been blanketed in white. Clear up had already started, and Sidney watched from the hotel room window as snow was ploughed off the road, and the snow on the pavement got trod down until it began to lose the bright white shine, turning into dirty mush. The snow was continuing to fall intermittently, threatening to undo all the work that had been done. Sidney didn't know how long he stood watching the streets several storeys below, but he jumped in surprise when he felt Geno step up behind him. Warm arms wrapped around him, and Sidney leaned back into the touch, smiling when Geno's hands instantly fell to his stomach. 

"You still want to do something today," Geno mumbled sleepily into the curve of Sidney's neck, the feel of his breath making Sidney shiver. 

"Yes, we agreed on the zoo." Sidney spun around in Geno's arms so that he could smile up at the Russian. The snow was nothing in comparison to how beautiful Sidney looked with the winter sun shining behind him and the fabled pregnancy glow. 

"Let go to the zoo then." Geno confirmed, ducking down to kiss the other man. 


 

The zoo had been decorated for Halloween, with orange and black streamers covering the entrances and a collection of ghost decorations hidden around the park, the goal to find everyone. Pumpkins were everywhere, some plain and some carved with battery lights illuminating them. Sidney giggled, huddled in his big coat as he watched Geno clicking away on his phone, taking photo after photo of everything as they walked. Geno had been amused when he saw the zoo's Siberian tiger, bringing up an old photo to took with one to show Sidney. Sidney had rolled his eyes at the Russians stupidity in the photo, but he couldn't resist how happy Geno had looked. Kids were running around them, dressed in costumes and screaming enthusiastically at all the different animals. Geno put his phone into his pocket, placing a hand on Sidney's side as he whispered into the man’s ear, "Be us in few years."

"We've had plenty of experience with the rookies," Sidney teased earning a chuckle from the Russian man as he once again began snapping pictures, this time entranced by the snow leopards. The rookies could be considered childlike at times, over-eager and prone to running ahead instead of sticking with the main group. Sidney leaned into Geno side as he took countless pictures of the snow leopards playing with their food and stalking through the frozen grass.  

"Hey, is that one of the ghosts?" Sidney point towards a small clearing in the bushes next to the snow leopard enclosure. The worker at the gate had told them that there were twenty hidden around, but so far this was the first that Sidney had seen. They were hardly small; the ghosts were solid plastic measuring nearly four foot tall.  Sidney dragged Geno over to the small clearing, the one they found looked like it was holding a bag of trick-or-treat candy. 

"Let’s take a picture," Geno's endearing smile was the only persuasion that Sidney needed to nod along to his idea. He crouched down next to the plastic ghost, smiling as Geno grabbed a random stranger and asked them to take a picture with his phone. Geno came skipping back over to the statue, crouching down on the other side of the ghost; the two of them leaned closer, trapping the statue between them as the smiled up at the camera. 

The woman with Geno's phone held it out to them as they stood up tall once more, her soft voice nearly getting lost amongst the sound of her child screaming enthusiastically at the leopard, "There you go, I took a few."  

Geno thanked her, wrapping his arm around Sidney as they scrolled through the four photos that the woman had taken. Sidney leaned into the older man’s side as he took in the photo on the screen. The green from the bushes around them bordered the photo, offering a flash of brightness amongst the predominantly white photo. The snow made it difficult to tell where the ground stopped, and the ghost started. Both he and Geno crouched on either side of the statue, with matching smiles that filled their faces, their cheeks pink from the cold. Sidney's coat had slipped open slightly when he had crouched down, and his hand was resting on his stomach. The swell of the bump wasn't visible beneath the thickness of the Geno's hoodie, but the placement of his hand wasn't subtle. 

"Okay to post?" Geno asked as he nuzzled the side of Sidney's head. Sidney used two fingers to zoom in on the photo on the phone, a close up of their genuinely ecstatic smiles filling the screen. He remembered Geno's idea back when they had talked to Jen about how to deal with the media. Sidney had originally grimaced at the idea, but now he understood where Geno was coming from. He had suggested that instead of doing any official interviews or photoshoots, they would occasionally post on social media. Geno's love affair with Instagram was one that Sidney didn't understand, but he had agreed with the plan nonetheless. It would give people the gossip they wanted, but it also allowed them to have control over the situation. 

"Okay to post," Sidney confirmed with a shaky whisper. He watched Geno faff about with cropping the photo on the app, adjusting the image so that it looked even brighter on the screen.  Sidney buried his smile into the sleeve of Geno's coat as he went to write a caption, the keyboard that popped up in the Cyrillic alphabet instead of the English one. It made him realise that every single time Geno message him, he had to change his keyboard settings just so he could write a message that Sidney would be able to understand. He continued to watch as Geno tapped away at the odd symbols that mean nothing to Sidney, and he watched as the picture was shared and was suddenly out there for the world to see.

Sidney point to the one Russian word that captioned the photo, 'Семьи', "What does this say?"

"Family," Geno whispered as he pocketed his phone, he guided Sidney towards him with a hand on the small of his back and a hand on his cheek. They kissed in the snow, their breath fogging in the area between them when they broke apart. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Sidney was woken in the morning to Geno laying kisses along his jaw, and a hand covering his belly. Geno was drawing small circles into his skin, and Sidney smiled up at the ceiling wishing he could see the patterns that were being etched across his skin. He would love to know what designs were being drawn in gentle touches on his stomach. "You going to score for us tonight?" Sidney teased as he guided Geno's face away from his jawline. Geno nudged their noses together, brushing his lips along Sidney's cheek before Sidney tugged him towards his lips. 

"I'm going to win for you tonight." Geno whispered into the space between them before he closed the small gap, pressing their lips together. He leaned over Sidney, pressing him into the mattress with his own body weight. Sidney sighed contently, opening his mouth when he felt Geno licking at his bottom lip, asking for entrance. He found himself jolting at the unexpected sensation when Geno rolled his hips down into his, the feel of their erections brushing together through the thin material of their underwear made Sidney groan in pleasure. Sidney pushed his hips against the man above him, rocking his body up with the movement as he tried to chase the initial spike of pleasure that had rushed through him. 

Their breathes were coming out ragged as they gasped between kisses. Sidney alternated between kissing the Russian and ducking his head to scrape his teeth along Geno's stubbled chin. "Never want this to stop," Sidney gasped as one particular thrust left him jolting as his stomach clenched. 

"Never will, not letting you go." Geno whispered, dragging Sidney's lips back to his with a hand on his chin. Sidney moaned; he was so close. He wanted to work a hand between their bodies so that he could wrap his hand around both of his cocks. Sidney pushed his hand towards Geno's hip, groaning against the man’s lips when Geno caught his wrist, tugging it up and holding it above their heads. "No, I want you to cum like this."

Sidney arched his back as Geno rolled his hips, punctuating his words with his movements. The covers were rucked up around their hips and were shifting down to the bottom of the bed with every thrust they made against each other. The bed was moving with them, the head of the mattress tapping against the wall with every thrust. Sidney threw his head back against his pillow; everything Geno was giving him was too much and too little at the same time. He felt like he was seconds away from cumming, but he didn't feel like it was enough for him to release. 

"Geno, Geno. Geno." Sidney chanted the Russian's name, his hair sticking to his forehead with sweat as they continued humping against each other. Geno pressed open-mouthed kisses down Sidney's jaw and neck, before sucking a small mark onto his shoulder.  Sidney's eyes opened wide at the feeling, his moans filling the room as he thrust his hips up chasing the high as he came. Geno thrust a few more times before freezing above him, shaking as he found his own release. His arms shook with the strain as he held himself up above Sidney, not wanting to drop his full body weight down. 

"Sid," Geno moaned, pushing a hand through Sidney's sweaty hair as he stared into the other mans glazed eyes. "My beautiful Sid."


 

Sidney walked down to the team breakfast holding Geno's hand, the last thing he expected was to receive a round of applause from everyone as they set their plates down at the table. Sidney blushed as he looked down at his pancakes, busying himself with pouring genuine maple syrup over his food. He didn't know why the team were cheering for them, and the round of applause was only getting louder gaining attention from the few people who were in the hotel dining room with them. They hadn't seen the team since they had arrived at the hotel the day before last; Sidney and Geno had not returned from the zoo until late in the afternoon, choosing to spend their evening watching bad scary films and ordering food from the room-service menu. 

"Coach? Can I request not to have the room next to those two in the next hotel?" Sheersy grinned as he shouted to the large table next to the team, where the team staff were sat. Some of the staff had joined in with the team's applause, Gonch and Sully included, telling Sidney that everyone had already been talking before Sidney and Geno had joined them.

"Sheery, we'll buy you some ear plugs." Sully snorted, as he chuckled at the team’s antics. Sidney felt his cheeks burning in realisation, his fork clattering down to his plate as he hid his face in his hands. He could feel Geno's hand squeezing his thigh, and when Sidney glimpsed between his fingers, he could see the glare that the man was shooting at the winger. Sidney smiled behind his hands, he knew that glare and the glare was a lie. Geno was playing along with the team, sending his mock-glare across the dining table at Sheersy; the small crinkle at the corner of his eyes was the only indicator that Geno was trying not to smile at the younger man. 

Kessel patted Sidney on the back on his way up to get a second plate, the jeers around the table turning more and more jokey as the seconds slipped by. The blush was still crimson on Sidney's cheeks, but the fake glare had dropped from Geno's face, the large smile forming in its place as he met their friends jeers with remarks of his own. It was normal to tease each other when the sound of noisy sex filtered through thin hotel walls, but it was the first time Sidney had been on the other side of the banter.  They were all so familiar with each other, spending most of the years in each other’s pockets, that they probably knew more than necessary about everyone's sex life. 

Sidney finally let his hands fall from his burning face, leaning into Geno's side as he stabbed his fork into his syrupy pancakes, distracting himself as he tore a small bite off. His fork dropped onto his plate when Tanger threw a pastry at him, Sidney grabbing it before it hit him in the face. Sidney tried to mirror Geno's playful glare, but he was unable to hold the look for long, his smile peaking at the edges when Tanger wriggled his eyebrows suggestively at his friend. "You're such a dork," Sidney laughed as he took a bite from the pastry before throwing it back, the crumbs spraying across the table. 


 

The team got the win they so desperately needed after a week of hell on the road. Sidney had raised his arms in victory when Geno snapped the puck in the net in the middle of the third period. The Edmonton crowd were far from impressed, but the small crowd of Penguin fans cheered loudly for their team as the buzzer rung at the end of the game. Sidney beamed with pride as the team clapped Geno on the shoulder as they all walked into the visitors’ locker room with an enthusiasm that they hadn't noticed had been missing over the last few days.  

The first thing that Geno did was tug his helmet off, throwing it at one of the equipment managers with a cheesy grin, before wrapping his arms around Sidney. With his skates on, Geno easily towered over him, as he lifted Sidney off his feet. Sidney clutched at Geno's shoulder pads, laughing even as Geno kissed him happily. The team jeered around them; someone was clapping their hands, and Ryan Reeves shouted the loudest, "Put the captain down!"

Geno lowered Sidney to the floor, his hands staying on his waist for a moment longer as they grinned around the room at the smiles on their friends faces. Sully watched them all with soft eyes as he allowed them to have their relaxed moment before the doors opened. Sidney took the friendly banter from his team before he worked the room offering his well-done's. He was clapping Murray on the shoulder in congratulations when the door was opened, and the usual wave of reporters came rushing in with their cameras and microphones at the ready. The reporters knew who they wanted, and most of them separated between Kessel and Geno. Sidney found Tanger had moved to stand by him as he watched the reporters go through the normal round of questions before one was brave enough to ask the personal questions. 

"Can we ask about the photo you put on Instagram yesterday?" 

Sidney tried to hold back the snort that threatened to escape when Geno flashed his game winning smile at the reporter and replied simply, "No."


 

They headed to a different city straight after the game, and Geno dozed for most of the short trip. They had the game against Calgary the next day, and the team had arranged to fly between the two neighbouring cities instead of driving. Sidney spent the hour-long flight stroking his fingers through Geno's hair whilst the Russian slept, his head pillowed on Sidney's lap. The entire team was quiet, not even the thrill from their win could keep them awake; they all needed as much rest as they could get for the back-to-back games.  The team had five games in the space of a week, and the team had racked up nearly three thousand miles on the road; Sidney was exhausted, and he hadn't even been the one on the ice. He could see the small circles under Geno's eyes even in the dimmed lights, and Sidney felt like he desperately needed to look after the older man. It wasn't just Sidney that was feeling the stress from the last couple of days and despite his attempts to hide it, he knew Geno was feeling the stress too. 

The plane landed in Calgary just after one in the morning, and the team disembarked into the chilling air wrapped in their coats and yawning as they shuffled onto the bus. Geno leant against his shoulder, the heavy weight causing him pins and needles in his fingers by the time the bus pulled up at the front of the hotel. Sidney lead him to their new room with a gentle touch and a soft smile. They fell into their new bed fully clothed, only managing to remove their coats and shoes before sleep caught them in her grip, pulling them both into the world of dreams. 

 

The team was unable to follow their record with a win for the second day in the row, and Sidney could feel the downtrodden atmosphere in the room. They had been so close, but it was in overtime where Calgary manged to snipe one past Tristan Jarry. Murray sat on the bench looking out on the game as the team fought tooth and nail against their opponents. Sidney clapped every single one of his teammates on the shoulder as they sat and watched the Flames fans rise in the stands. The cheers from the fans followed the Penguins into the locker room, and Sidney dropped down into the empty stall next to Geno's. He watched patiently as Geno pulled off his helmet, and tugged his elbow pads out from beneath his jersey. The removed gear was placed by his side on the bench, as he wrapped an arm around Sidney. They still had a small time before the doors were opened, so Sidney leant his head into Geno's shoulder as they looked around the defeated room. 

Losing was simply part of the game, and Sidney bit back the thought that crossed his mind. He wanted to encourage his team, reminding them that they had lost thirty-two of their games the previous year and still won the Stanley cup; but he also knew that it was not the time for that particular thought. The team were currently at eight wins to seven loss ratio, but they were a sixth of the way through their season, and they had plenty of time to make up for their current losses. Sidney believed in his team, and he knew that once his teammates had their moment of moping, they would believe in themselves as well. 

"One minute warning," Sully shouted from the corner of the room, his eyes mainly trained on where Sidney and Geno were sat but also pointedly glancing at Justin Schultz who had already stripped from his gear and was strolling around the room wearing nothing but a small frown. Shultzy wave his hand at his coach but grabbed his towel from his stall disappearing into the showers with it thrown over his shoulder. Sidney tried to not giggle as he caught Olli staring blatantly at the man’s perky behind. He wanted to protect the younger player, Sidney could see so much of himself in the younger man and he didn't know to approach that. He didn't want the man to get hurt, but he felt like he couldn't warn Olli to be careful, when he had finally gotten everything he had wanted with Geno. 

Geno chose that moment to poke the middle of Sidney's forehead, the single touch straightening the frown lines in his forehead. "You thinking too loud," Geno smirked, tugging Sidney closer to his side. The team were getting used to the change of relationship structure, no longer feeling the need to stare at them when they started acting coupley together. Sidney felt his thoughts turn lighter from Geno's touch alone, and not even coaches final warning call made him feel any different. 

 

The doors opened and Geno's arm was still wrapped around Sidney. The media looked like they wanted to swarm them, but Sidney smiled up at Geno as he slowly detangled himself from the Russians grip. Sully had walked in front of them, blocking the media from rushing straight towards them. It was a tactile move, providing them with just enough time to shift away before the first reporter could even get a photo. Sidney didn't deviate too far from Geno's side and when the reporters crossed the room towards them, Sidney was stood up, leaning against the side of the stall. The cameras panned onto them, aiming to capture the image of hockey's power couple. Sully offered a warning to the press, before they could even open their mouths to begin firing questions, "Remember I reserve the right to have you escorted from the room at any time."

The reporters took the words to heart, mostly sticking to the hockey questions, collecting soundbites about the game. Most of the questions were aimed at Geno, but some were still aimed towards Sidney. He answered them with the poise and grace that he had used in nearly all his interviews, smiling politely at the reporter behind the question. Sidney resisted the urge to reach over and playfully smack Geno's shoulder; all he could see out of the corner of his eye was the man trying not to snicker. It wasn't even like there was anything funny in the question being answered, it was just about the penalty kill. Sidney turned to shoot a blinding smile at Geno when he had finished answering the reporter’s question, uncaring that the cameras captured the moment between them where they only had eyes for the other. 

"So, are you planning on having more children?" One of the reporters piped up, brave under the scowl that got sent his way from half the room. Sidney could see Sully's immediate scowl at the words, the coach working his way over to the small crowd, ready to escort the man from the room. 

Sidney raised a hand towards Sully, silently pausing the coach, before turning to face the reporter. The genuine smile he had shared with Geno had been replaced with a media smile that didn't reach his eyes, "Let me have this one first." 

Geno stretched his hand towards Sidney, but he left it hanging in the air stopping just shy of the touch. Sidney turned to look at the hand, nodding his head at Geno confirming that he was okay to be touched in that moment regardless of the cameras and strangers around them. There was nothing intimate about the touch, merely a hand resting on his arm, but it was a comfort that allowed Sidney a moment of distraction. Sully had just reached the side of the reporter who had asked the question and had his hand hovering over the man’s shoulder ready to escort him from the room when Sidney shook his head slightly at the coach. The reporters time was coming to an end in the room, it would end up creating more of a scene and more of a story if they had to remove someone in the final minutes.

"Last question?" Sidney posed to the crowd, his jaw clenching beneath his smile as the herd of reporters began calling out as one, each trying to be louder than the other. Sidney could barely distinguish where one question ended and where another one ended. He pointed at one of the familiar faces in the crowd; he didn't know the guy by name, but Sidney remembered that he was fairly straight with his questions and never deviated away from the topic of the game. His choice didn't disappoint.

"What do the Penguins need to do going forward into the next game?"

"Good question, but we are still early into the season. We've got a great bunch of guys on the ice, and hopefully we can have more nights like last night." Sidney smiled, a sliver of his genuine smile peeping through when he saw the collective eye-rolls of his teammates behind the reporters. He gave the media answer, but he didn't know what else they expected him to say to those questions. He could break down where the team went wrong on the ice, and he could make suggestions on how they could improve on it, but Sidney wasn't the coach and it wasn't his place to give the media that information. 

 

Sully didn't let anyone stay after that, escorting the reporters from the room with the same strictness that he sometimes forced onto the team. Sidney knew that none of the reporters had a chance in swaying the coach for requests for further questions or a longer interview; their coaches mind was made up and that would be final. The door closed to the locker room behind the last of the press, leaving the team in their comfortable privacy. Geno tugged Sidney back down onto the bench beside him; Sidney fell down giggling as he went. He ended up half sprawled across Geno's lap, and his honking laugh filled the room as Geno's hands automatically reached for Sidney's waist to stop him for falling. The placement of Geno's hand tickled at a sensitive spot, and had Sidney twisting in the other man’s lap at the touch. 

"It's like watching your parents being all lovey dovey," Sheersy joked as he pretended to be sick. A sweaty glove flew across the room, hitting the wall behind his head. Sheersy looked at the glove as it fell onto the bench beside him, before launching it back to its owner, cackling when it Colesy in the face. 

"We don't comment when your tongues halfway down your girlfriends throat," Horny cackled as he shuffled from the room towards the gym. The team needed to get warmed down soon, to limit the strain on their muscles. Sidney detangled himself from Geno's arms, swiping his thumb over the pouting lip that his movement caused. 

"Don't worry Sheersy. Sid's hit the horny stage. They going to be rabbits." Gonch piped up from the corner of the locker room, looking up only briefly from the iPad that he had been reviewing game footage on. 

Sidney groaned, throwing his head back to the ceiling as his teammates jumped on the conversation, all of them eager to press Gonch on what he meant, or quizzing Sidney if it was true. Sidney flashed his eyes at Gonch, rolling them when he saw the way the older man was quivering from restrained laughter. The guys who had children were cackling in understanding, whilst those who were still young or hadn't yet experienced a pregnant partner were all looking between the trio with curiosity; their eyes were bright with the huge potential for chirping that had just been presented to them on a decorated plate. 

 Geno was beaming proudly beside him, chuckling along with his teammates even when the comments turned to him, "Geno be prepared for the three in the morning craving. God help you."  Tanger smirked, tapping Geno in the shoulder as he too left to join the guys in the gym. Sidney huffed a laugh as he watched the smile only seem to grow wider on the Russian's face, as if the thought of early morning craving runs was going to be the best thing in the world for him. 

Sidney's immense love for Geno was cemented when the Russian beamed up at him, "Not need help, will get Sid whatever he wants whenever he wants."


 

They finished their road trip with another loss statistic, with the Canucks defeating them 4-2. The defeat carried them onto the plane that night after the game, a cloud hanging over them as the wheels left the runway. Surprisingly it wasn't Geno whom was a victim of the cloud of thoughts and self-pity, but Sidney. He couldn't help but feel like his selfishness was affecting the team; Sidney knew that it was a ridiculous thought to have, he had faith in his team, and he knew that they could succeed without him. But he couldn't help but wonder if the team would have had a different success rate if the team had been at full strength. Geno caressed the back of his hand as the plane gained height, leaving the city lights of Vancouver behind.  Sidney stared out the window at the departing city, his thoughts were a million miles, but he twisted his hand around so that his fingers could interlock with Geno's.  

"Are they right?" Sidney asked quietly. His voice broke at the end of his comment. The teams latest string of losses had the media question if the Penguins were still the same team who had won the Stanley Cup for the last two years in a row. Sidney knew he shouldn't read the stupid words that the media said, but he couldn't ignore the comments where Coach Sully's leadership was being brought into question, now could he ignore the comments being made about his absent captaincy. There were far too many articles suggesting that someone should have been named as interim captain for the season. 

"Sid you will always be captain, whether you are on ice or off it. Do you remember concussion." Geno soothed; his voice just as low as Sidney's had been. Most of the guys around them had dimmed their lights and had already curled into their seats chasing as much sleep as they could.  The flight would take over five hours, and with the time difference, they wouldn't land until eight in the morning. Sleep was best grabbed when it could, but there was no way Sidney would be able to fall asleep with the thoughts currently running marathons through his head.

Sidney's immediate reaction was to grimace at the mention of the concussion that robbed him over a year of his life. Everyone who had been on the team during that year had seen the effects it had on Sidney. His balance had been stolen, and nearly every movement he'd made had left him paralyzed with nausea and made him so light-headed that he had passed out more times that he liked to remember. What he didn't want to remember, was some of the people he had trusted not understand how severe his symptoms really were. "I remember you demanding everyone to tape a C on their chest that practise."

"And I will make them do it again," Geno promised, a smile flashing across his face as he remembered that practise session too.  He sounded so serious in his words; Sidney couldn't help the small giggle. He knew that Geno would do the same thing again just to make Sidney feel better. Sidney offered a small smile up at the man before resting his cheek on Geno's shoulder. The soft fabric of his hoodie felt nice against his skin, as he nuzzled into Geno's warmth; the team had been allowed to ditch their game-day suits in preparation for the long flight, and everyone was slouched in hoodies and sweats. 

"Thank you," Sidney mumbled. The shoulder he was leaning against shifted beneath his head, as Geno detangled their joined hands so that he could wrap his arm around Sidney. Sidney found himself leaning half-against Geno's shoulder and his chest from the move as Geno reclined their seats slightly. The blankets that had been waiting on every seat were unrolled and draped over them; Sidney curled his fingers, catching the blanket and the front of Geno's hoodie in his grip as sleep fought against the thoughts in his head. 


 

When the plane landed back in Pittsburgh, Sidney didn't know what was going to happen. He had just spent over a week in Geno's company, quickly adjusting to having someone by his side constantly. Sidney didn't know how he was going to feel going back to being on his own in his big empty house, and he didn't want to think about how cold his bed would be without the big Russian pulling him into a tight embrace before they fell asleep.  Sidney had tasted domesticity and he was addicted. Geno knew how he liked his coffee, and when he woke up first would make one ready for Sidney. He liked how Geno would bully his way into the bathroom when Sidney was brushing his teeth, a large hand on his hip gently pushing him to the side when they both fought over the sink.  He would miss trying to get dressed whilst Geno leant against the wall, watching him like it was his own personal show. 

Sidney folded the blanket that had been on his lap during the flight whilst the other guys were already pushing their way to the plane doors. Geno had driven them both to the airport, and Sidney looked out the tiny window, glad to see that the snow that had hit them in Canada had yet to hit Pittsburgh with any force. There was a smidge of sludgy snow piled up a few inches high at curbs and on grass, but the runways and roads looked clear from what Sidney had seen as they had flown in. Geno was rising to his feet next to him, tugging both his and Sidney's carry-on bags over his shoulder as he stood. Sidney rubbed any remaining sleep from his eyes as he moved to follow. 

The rest of the team were huddled at the bottom of the steps, waiting for their suitcases to be removed from the cargo hold. Whilst they waited, they stood saying their goodbyes for the day despite knowing that they would see each other again tomorrow for practise. Sidney readily accepted the hug from Tanger as he stepped onto the tarmac. He barely pulled out of the embrace before he was dragged into someone else's arms; Sidney found himself looking up at Colesy before he was dragged into a hug by Hags. He was passed around the team, everyone grabbing him in a tight embrace or giving him a bro-hug with a slap on the shoulder. Sidney was finally pulled from the queue of hugs with a hand on his hip and Geno pressed against his back. Sidney shivered as Geno ducked his head, whispering into his ear, “You ready to go home?"

Sidney nodded in response, leaning back into Genos touch. "My place or yours? Cause if it’s yours, I need to grab some stuff first," Geno rumbled, spinning Sidney in his arms so that they were face to face. The wind was blowing around them, and Sidney could feel his chill on his cheeks as he smiled up at the man. At Geno's feet were both of their cases, with their suit-bags draped carefully over the top. Sidney was so grateful that without saying a word, he and Geno were on the same wavelength. Sidney hadn't wanted to go home to an empty house, and now he had Geno wanting to stay with him outside of the road trips. 

"Mine?" Sidney checked, grinning to himself as Geno began to lead him towards the car. His hand slipped to the small of Sidney's back as they walked. The area where the team had parked their cars for the last week was nearly half-empty, and the car had a light covering of snow on the hood, and the windows were frosted over. Geno popped the locks, pushing him into the passenger seat with a kiss to the forehead and a hand stroking through his hair. Sidney turned up the heating, before relaxing into the seat as he watched through the frosted glass as Geno walked around the car, throwing their suitcases into the boot of the Range Rover before moving around the windows scraping the ice away. 

 

The car was toasty warm by the time Geno finished defrosting the windows, and the pair were soon cruising down the highway on the way back to their neighbourhood. It was Sunday morning and the roads reflected that, barely any traffic slowed them down on their way back to Sewickley. Geno smiled across at him when they saw the familiar sign for Starbucks approaching as they drove, silently pulling off the highway to hit the drive thru. He smirked knowingly at Sidney, as he drove to the window, "One black tea no milk, extra sugar. One latte with extra shot of espresso." 

Sidney buried his smile in his hand as he caught Geno's smirk. The server at the window was looking at them with literal stars in her eyes, her hands clenched into fists by her face as her eyes darted between Sidney and Geno.  "You're Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby," she exclaimed loudly before covering her mouth with her hands.  The young woman looked like she was close to tears as she stared through the car window at them, and even from the passenger seat Sidney could see that her hands were shaking. 

"Hi," Sidney greeted, waving at her from the car. His small wave caused the girl to let out a small scream in excitement. 

The barista shook her head in disbelief as she continued to blink in shock at the two men in the car. "Oh my god, am I dreaming? This can't be happening; I must be still asleep!"

Geno grinned lazily at the woman, "Not dreaming we real."

"Holy shit. Okay let me get you guys your drinks," the woman jumped into action, grabbing two large cups as she bustled around the small workstation next to the window. She grabbed a sharpie from the side, scribbling their orders on the cup before tapping on the till screen. 

Geno passed the money across for the coffee, pausing to look between the woman and the sharpie as he asked, "Hey can you pass me a spare cup and that sharpie?"

"The sharpie? Oh yes of course." The server looked confused for only a moment before realising what Geno was offering; she eagerly pushed a blank cup and the sharpie through the drive-thru window at them. The happy tears that were forming in her eyes were starting to mess with Sidney's emotions. The changes in his hormones from the pregnancy meant that he was started to tear up from the smallest thing; when he and Geno had watched TV the other night a commercial had left him weeping for five minutes. 

"What's your name?" Sidney asked the girl. He supported his weight with a hand on Geno's thigh as he leaned over the man to look out the driver window. Geno's hand stroked the lower of Sidney's back absentmindedly; neither of them noticing the way the girl’s eyes widen as she watched the two men.

"Daisy," the server exclaimed, before remembering herself and repeating much more calmly, "My name is Daisy."

Geno nodded, taking the offered cup and sharpie from Daisy. He scribbled her name on the cup before signing it with a flourish before passing the cup to Sidney. Sidney smiled at the message that Geno had written, 'Lovely to meet you Daisy, Evgeni Malkin 71,' before writing his own on the opposite side of the cup. Their signatures wrapped around the iconic mermaid on the takeaway cup as Sidney finished his signature with a small smiley face. 

"Here you go," Sidney smiled, pushing himself slightly closer to the window so that he could pass the cup back through. He only noticed when he sat back down in his seat how close his hand had been to Geno's crotch when he supported himself when he leaned over. He blushed as his eyes flashed to Geno's crotch, thankful that Daisy hadn't seemed to have noticed. The girl was clutching the takeaway cup that they had given her like it was the holy grail. The look of absolute joy on her face made Sidney smile as tears tickled at his eyes.  

"Thank you so much! Here you go guys and congratulations," Daisy smiled as she carefully handed them the two cups over. Sidney eagerly grabbed his coffee from Geno's hand, clasping the cup in between his hands in a similar way to how Daisy had held her signed one.

"Thank you, nice to meet you Daisy." Geno offered the girl a blinding smile as he happily sipped at his tea before waving at her as he pushed the car into drive. Sidney chuckled to himself as he saw the girl pick up the cup they had signed for her, clutching it against her chest as they drove away. He wouldn't be surprised if they had just made her day.  

Chapter Text

Sidney sat on the edge of Geno's bed watching as the man dug through his closet, he was searching through his clothes throwing them into a large suitcase that was lying open in between them.  The small suitcase that Geno had took with him on the road trip was still sat in the boot of Sidney's car outside; Sidney saw no need to bring it inside when they would only need to fetch it again in a few days’ time. They had agreed it would be easier to do a big wash of their clothes once they returned to Sidney's home, and it was beautifully domestic. 

The suitcase on the floor was already filled with more socks and underwear than Geno would need for just a week, and Sidney hoped it meant that the man was planning to stay with him for longer. A dozen t-shirts and has already been rolled up and packed, and more kept joining. Sidney sighed happily as he watched Geno move around the room, gathering more clothes and collecting things from his bedside table. Geno's laptop, books and the glasses that Sidney rarely saw worn were being placed on top of the already bulging suitcase, when Sidney broke the comfortable silence between them, "My parents messaged me last night."

"Oh?" Geno posed as he pulled an empty toiletries bag from the back of his closet.

Sidney smiled at the man as he reappeared from the closet; Geno stopped to grin at him before he continued walking towards the bathroom. Sidney rolled his eyes affectionately as he shouted after him, "They're flying down tomorrow morning."

He could hear bottles clanking together at they were thrown haphazardly into the bag, and Sidney felt his stomach flutter when Geno walked back out of the bathroom. The smile on Geno's face was genuine as he carefully put the toilet bag in the suitcase, before crouching down on the floor next to Sidney. He cupped Sidney's stomach in his hands, pressing a kiss against the slight curve. 

"Get to show your Дедушка and Бабушка, how big your growing." Geno whispered against Sidney's bump before turning his grin upwards towards Sidney's face. 

"You're okay staying with me whilst they visit?" Sidney checked, reaching down to stroke his thumb across Geno's cheek. The slight growth of facial hair was rough against his touch, and Sidney knew his wasn't much better. The overnight flight meant that a shower was much needed and much desired. 

"Of course, just need to promise not to make too much noise," Geno teased, chuckling when Sidney playfully pushed him away with the hand on his cheek. Sidney's giggle joined Geno's when the Russian fell back to the floor, playing at being wounded. He floundered on the floor for a second before sitting up and grabbing Sidney by the hips, with one small tug he pulled Sidney down from the bed. Sidney's knees bracketed Geno's hips, and his hands came up to rest on his shoulders. 

"I didn't make that much noise," Sidney pouted, before leaning closer to brush an open-mouthed kiss against Geno's stubbled jaw. Geno smiled as he turned his head towards Sidney's, his lips brushing against Sidney's cheek. 

"Yes you did," Geno teased. Sidney shivered at the ticklish feeling of Geno's breath against his cheek. 


 

Sidney drove them the short distance back to his house, racing to get his travel suitcase from the boot of the car before Geno could try to juggle all their bags on his own. He shot Geno a knowing smirk as the Russian grumbled to himself as he dragged his large suitcase and his travel suitcase along behind him. The first thing Sidney saw when he walked through his front door was the small note stuck to the side-table in the hall. 

We've stocked the fridge and spoke with your parents. Dinner tomorrow 7pm. Bring Geno. 

Sidney laughed as he put down the note knowing immediately who was behind the invite. As he led the way up the stairs, Sidney smiled over his shoulder happy to see that Geno was following him only a few steps behind, "Mario and Natalie have invited us for dinner tomorrow."

It was normal for Sidney to have dinner at the Lemieux household at least once a week depending on if he was in town, but for Geno and the other guys on the team it wasn't a common occurrence. Mario would occasionally invite everyone over for a barbeque when the weather called for it, and there was an open invite at Thanksgiving if a player didn't have family to spend it with. Geno eating at Mario's was a rarity; outside of coming over for the barbeques, it had been years since he had a sit-down dinner at home with the Lemieux's. Sidney remembered the first time he saw Geno, stood in the hallway of that house, and the stilted conversations over the dinner that followed, with Gonch acting as a translator for the entire room. 

"Okay. Do we need to bring anything?" Geno asked, following Sidney as the lugged the suitcases towards his bedroom. Sidney groaned at the small pile of folded washing that sat at the bottom of his bed, a further note of how amazing Natalie was. When she had dropped off his food, she must have seen the pile of washing that Sidney had been avoiding before he set off on the road trip. 

"No Natalie will have everything sorted." Sidney replied, as he dropped his suitcase down at the foot of his bed, smiling warmly when he saw Geno copy the movement with his own bags. 

"Not nice not to bring something Sid," Geno teased. Sidney watched as Geno sat down on the bed, his hands stroking out over the smooth fabric of the duvet case.

"We don't need to bring anything I promise." Sidney laughed as Geno reached out and tugged him forwards. Sidney moved to stand in the space between Geno's thighs, wrapping his arms around the Russians neck as he peppered Geno's cheek with kisses. Geno wrapped his arms around Sidney's waist keeping him locked in place as the kisses Sidney offered continued trailing a line down Geno's jaw. 


 

Sidney found it remarkably easy to find space for Geno's things amongst his own. His bedroom looked like the way he always envisioned it, with his books piled high on one side table, and Geno's laptop and glasses on the other. Geno had teased him mercilessly when he saw the tatty bear that was stuffed between the pillows on the middle of the bed, but his teasing fell silent when Sidney snatched the bear from the Russians grip, and kissed the words from his mouth.  Geno's bright clothes stood out in the wardrobe next to Sidney's more diluted colour palette, and Sidney was pleased to see 71 penguins apparel next to his own 87 ones. 

They showered and napped before curling up on the couch in the den wrapped underneath a fluffy blanket that Sidney's parents had brought him for Christmas the previous year. They spent the afternoon with the television playing in the background, but Sidney's attention was mainly focused on the history book in his lap. Geno's arm remained around Sidney's shoulder as he watched episode after episode of one of his tv shows. They were both so invested in their activities, they didn't notice the sun had set outside until Sidney's stomach rumbling alerted them to the time. Geno looked down at Sidney's noisy stomach before glancing at his phone. His eyebrows shot up when he saw the time, "Need to feed you. What do you fancy?"

"I don't mind. Do you want to order in?" Sidney asked, setting the bookmark into his book. His eyes followed Geno as the man moved his arm from his shoulders and rose to his feet with a big stretch. The stretch rucked the fabric up, exposing the dark hair that trailed down from Geno's belly button down to the waistband of his baggy shorts. Sidney's eyes traced the line of dark hair, settling on the bulge in the shorts before snapping his eyes back to Geno's face. Geno's lack of underwear was obvious, and Sidney fought hard not to blush at the sight it created.

"Chinese?" Geno suggested, dropping his arms back to side when he finished stretching. He casually raised an eyebrow at the crimson blush on Sidney's cheeks.

"Sounds good." Sidney coughed subtly pulling the blanket a little tighter around him. He felt warm under Geno's stare, but Geno didn't question him, simply nodding his head as he pulled up a takeaway app on his phone. He passed the phone over to Sidney, watching with a content smile as Sidney scrolled down the list of food, occasionally tapping on what caught his attention.  He passed the phone back over to Geno when he selected his order, grinning wide when Geno scoffed at his order. Sidney wanted Chilli chicken and chilli chips, and he wasn't ashamed to admit that was the only thing he'd chosen. Sidney watched as Geno took his turn, scrolling up and down the long list of food that was on order. 

"All done, be here in bout forty minutes." Geno stated triumphantly as he tapped one last time on his phone. Sidney smiled brightly at the prospect of food, tugging Geno back on the sofa with a smile. Geno laughed as he fell back down into his seat, pulling Sidney into his chest, the blanket catching between them as they laid down on the sofa. 

 

Sidney laid out on top of Geno, the pair of them exchanging soft kisses as they waited for the food to arrive. Time meant nothing to them, simply lost in the slow exploration. Sidney was hard, and he could feel Geno pressing against his hip, but there was no immediacy to their desires. It was a natural reaction that neither of them were trying to fight, but that didn't stop Sidney from shivering as a jolt of arousal shot down his spine when Geno chewed on the bottom of his lip. The sound of the doorbell broke them apart, and left Sidney panting for breath as he stared Geno in the eye. 

"Need to let me get that," Geno whispered as the doorbell rang out for a second time. Sidney whined as he pushed himself up, allowing Geno to move out from beneath him. He watched as Geno tugged on a jumper as he awkwardly walked to the door; he pulled the hem of the jumper down as low as it could go as he tried to make his tenting erection less obvious. Sidney splayed himself back out on the couch as he listened to the front door opening, and the stilted conversation between Geno and the delivery driver.  The sound of the door closing made Sidney lift his head back up from the couch, watching as Geno walked back in armed with a paper bag full of food. 

"Got something for you." Geno smiled as he put the food bag onto the coffee table in front of them, before darting towards the kitchen to grab plates and cutlery. Sidney waited until Geno had left the room before sneaking a peek inside the white bag. He barely got a chance to start digging the assortment of containers out before Geno reappeared in the room. "Can't leave you for a minute," Geno teased as he sat back down in his seat; he tugged the jumper off before reaching forwards to pull out the food. 

"So, what have you got me?" Sidney asked once he grabbed the chilli chicken and chips that Geno passed over to him. There was one box that sat on the coffee table unspoken for, and Geno was smirking at him as if he had been waiting for Sidney to ask about it. Geno stretched for the box, passing it carefully over to Sidney as he waited for him to open it. Sidney popped the lid of the plastic tub and frowned in confusion at the contents. "What is it?"

Inside of the container was a small round pastry that looked like it was half muffin, half pie. The top of the pastry was a beautiful gold and was crispy with a little engraved Chinese symbol. "It's called a mooncake."

"Okay?" Sidney frowned. He appreciated the kindness, but he didn't know what a mooncake was, and the smell of the 'cake' was strange to him. It neither looked nor smelled like any cake he had ever seen before. 

Geno reached across, pressing a hand against Sidney's belly. He explained as he stroked his hand across the baby bump, "App said it was size of baby this week."  

When Sidney turned to look at Geno, he was sure that his love hearts were in his eyes like in cartoons. He glanced back down at the mooncake, suddenly amazed at the small size. The sweet was probably 10cm long and Sidney measured the mooncake with two fingers before moving his hands to his stomach, measuring the size of the baby inside of him. "I can't believe the baby is that big, it seems insane." Sidney exhaled with a smile. 

"The baby can hear sounds now too," Geno smiled wide when Sidney surged forwards and kissed him. Their food laid forgotten on their laps for a second before they broke away for breath. 

"Thank you," Sidney smiled as he broke the mooncake in half, offering one side to Geno before taking the first bite of his side. He grimaced at the taste, laughing when Geno had the same reaction.  "That tastes horrid," he laughed as he put the cake back into the box, his actions mimicked by Geno who nodded in agreement. 

"But it was good to see how big baby is?" Geno checked as he stabbed a piece of chicken with his fork. 

"I loved it, thank you." Sidney whispered as he stroked a hand over his stomach. 


 

Sidney woke up to the feeling of the sun on his face, and the sound of chatter coming from downstairs. He lifted his head from the pillow blinking at the brightness of the room before fumbling along his nightstand for his phone.  The time that lit up his screen had Sidney frowning as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. It was far later than he would have expected, and Sidney had hoped to be awake already so that he could make sure his house was ready for his parents’ arrival. He shoved the duvet down to the foot of the bed, jolting upright when he heard the sound of his father’s voice echoing up from downstairs. His father’s voice wasn't angry, but the sound of it still sent chills down Sidney's spine. 

He raced from the room, thankful that he had fallen asleep dressed in his comfortable clothes from the evening before. After they had eaten, Sidney had curled into Geno's side, his eyes flickering closed as the sound of the television soothed him to sleep. Geno must have carried him up to bed as Sidney couldn't remember walking upstairs. Sidney jolted down the stairs this time though, jumping off the bottom step and sliding across the wooden floor in his hall. There were his mother and fathers old matching suitcases by the front door, the same pair that Sidney had brought them years ago just before he moved down to Pittsburgh. They had once been solid black, but after years and years of travelling back and forth, they were now scratched, dented and generally beat up.  Just looking at them, Sidney knew what he should get them for Christmas. 

He skidded into the kitchen, stopping in the doorway with panic in his blood. He didn't know why he felt panicked, when the scene that greeted gave him no reason to be anxious. Geno was stood at the cooker, a plate of cooked bacon already sitting next to him on the counter, and Sidney could spy a bottle of pancake mix that he didn't even realise he had. His parents were sat at the kitchen island, mugs of coffee in front of them as they chattered and laughed at whatever Geno had been saying before Sidney had entered the room. Sidney had definitely slept in, it was close to eleven, and from the sight of the food that had already been cooked Geno had been awake for a while. 

"Oh Sidney, look how your growing." His mother cooed at him in greeting, rising from her feet to rush over to Sidney. She engulfed him in a tight hug before she leaned back looking at him up and down. She smiled down at his clothed stomach, her hands falling to it without hesitation. She smoothed the fabric of his t-shirt back, pushing the excess to the side so that it hugged his growing belly. "I can't believe it, I mean I know you sent us the scan, but it's actually real." 

When Trina Crosby looked up, Sidney saw the tears in his mother’s eyes. They weren't sad tears; they shone with absolute joy, and the it made Sidney choke up as he looked at them. He tugged his mother back into a hug, burying his face into her hair as he fought the urge to cry along with her. He didn't notice when his father moved to stand with them until he felt a hand on his shoulder, the touch making him look up. Troy was watching them with tears in his own eyes before he wrapped his son and his wife into his arms.  

"I was so scared for you, after everything. But I am so happy that you have this buddy." Troy choked out, and Sidney was stunned to see his father crying. This was the third time in his life that he had ever seen his father cry; the first was when he was a little kid just after Taylor was born, the second was when Sidney had been just fourteen and had been cornered by one angry parent at the end of the game. The man didn't get to follow through with any of the threats that he had been sprouting with other angry parents in the crowd; Sidney's coach had found them before the man could do anything further than give Sidney a black eye. Troy had burst into tears when he saw Sidney walk out to him with his coach at his side, and his soaking wet kit bag a trail of puddles in his path. Sidney hadn't taken any hit that game that would have caused the immediate bruising that had already started swelling his cheek, and the coach hadn't need even need to explain what had occurred because Troy already knew. Sidney was glad that he third time he'd seen his father cry was for a much happier reason. He looked up with teary eyes to see Geno smiling brightly at the family reunion, not paying any attention to the pancake on the stove.

 

 

Breakfast was pleasant, even if the pancakes ended up being slightly burnt. The four of them joked and chatted and Sidney found himself beaming with happiness at how natural it felt. His parents had known Geno for years and had always liked him; but know just like Troy had said on the phone call after the world found out, Geno was part of the family. Geno shined throughout the conversation, making Sidney happier still with how easy the conversation moved. His parents were thrilled to be grandparents, and his mother was already overloading Sidney with stories and tales from her own pregnancy. Sidney vaguely remembered when she had been pregnant with Taylor, but he was a child then and he hadn't really understood or paid attention to the things that happened around him. He was a little kid that had been focusing on his hockey, only understanding that in a few months’ time he would be a brother; now he was a thirty-year-old man, still focused on hockey but with his own baby on the way. 

Sidney watched over the cup of tea that his mother had forced in front of him, after she had stolen the cup of coffee that he had initially poured for himself from his hand. The happiness of the morning was the only thing that had stopped him snatching the coffee back from her, but Sidney already knew that his mother was going to be an unrelenting force against his dependency on caffeine. The shit-eating smile that had filled Geno's face when Trina initially took the coffee from him had Sidney deciding that the Russian was going to be a key part in getting his coffee for the day. 

Geno disappeared from the kitchen with Troy, and Sidney tried to bite back the concern that filled him. He knew Geno could hold his own in any argument, just like he knew his father had found happiness in the situation. Sidney craned his ears, hoping that he would catch part of a conversation, but he heard nothing but footsteps on the stairs as the pair took his parents suitcases up to their usual guest room. Sidney was glad his parents guest room was on the other side of the house to his bedroom; he didn't want to face the awkward questions that might occur. 

"He just wants to talk with him," Trina soothed, reaching out to hold the hand that wasn't draped around the cooling cup of tea. Sidney had only taken a single sip of the drink; whilst he hadn't pulled a face at the taste, it was not coffee, and it wasn't made the way that Geno made his. He preferred his coffee, but he could stomach tea more when Geno made it properly, with the loose leaf in the cupboard that only he used. 

"What are they talking about though?" Sidney questioned, as he glanced over his shoulder at the doorway leading back into the hall. The hallway was still empty, and there was still no angry snarking or shouting echoing through the house. 

"Troy just wants to make sure of his intentions." Trina smiled at her son, a tinkling giggle escaping her at the face Sidney pulled in response to her words. Sidney couldn't help but think of how the word intentions sounded when used in that context; it made him feel like he was a step away from being pushed into a shot-gun wedding, and he sincerely hoped that it wasn't his father’s intentions to do that. His relationship with Geno was still new, and the last thing they needed was pressure to push that relationship to move quicker than it needed to. "Not like that," Trina laughed as she read her sons thoughts from the expression on his face. 

"Then like what?" Sidney continued, taking a sip of his cold tea from lack of anything else to do. The tea wasn't getting any better as it cooled, only growing bitter. 

"He just wants to make sure he is invested in this baby, not just for now but forever." Sidney nodded at his mother’s words, letting a hand drop to his stomach. He was still dressed in his comforts and he needed to get dressed eventually; if it was any normal day, he would have happily crossed the road and gone over to the Lemieux's household in a pair of scruffy shorts and a washed-out t-shirt. Tonight however, he knew he should dress more appropriately; whilst it wasn't a formal dinner, it was going to be less casual than the usual meals he shared with Nathalie and Mario. 

"He's invested mum, trust me." Sidney smiled at the dark brown colour of his tea, 

"I know he is; you can see that in the way he looks at you." Trina agreed, taking a sip from her tea, she smiled into her cup as she looked over the rim at her son. The smile on Sidney's face when he thought about or talked about Geno, was identical to the one that filled Geno's face when he looked at Sidney. 


 

The dinner at Mario's was more relaxed than Sidney had expected it to be. Any animosity that had brewed between Mario and Troy from the phone call they had shared when the news first broke, had faded away and the pair talked like old friends.  Nathalie and Trina had captured Sidney before the dinner, both enjoying reliving their pregnancies as they sipped from wine glasses. Mario and his father had bottles of beer in their hands as they talked about the game with Geno. Geno had opted out of drinking, joining Sidney in grabbing a can of Coke from the fridge. Sidney had squeezed Geno's hand in passing when Geno had passed him his drink, offering a blinding smile as he popped the tab. 

The dinner had been divine, with so many of Sidney's favourite foods filling the table, as well as a few dishes which Sidney knew to be Russian. His love for Nathalie magnified as she pushed a large plate of pelmeni towards them, and Sidney reached over to squeeze Geno's hand, their fingers entwining on the tabletop in front of everyone. Sidney felt himself blush under his parents accepting gaze, and the loving looks of Mario and Nathalie.

 

Sidney returned to his home content, hugging his parent’s good night in the hallway before heading to his room with Geno following behind him. There was no awkwardness between them, and whatever Troy had said to Geno earlier in the day had not caused any lingering thoughts. Geno was as happy as he ever was, and Sidney knew him well enough to know that the Russian was not hiding any thoughts or emotions. 

Sidney slowly stripped out of the jeans and t-shirt that he had worn to dinner, rubbing soothingly at the red lines on his hips where his jeans had dug in from tightness. When he had dressed that afternoon, he had struggled to do the front of his trousers up, straining at the fabric just so that he could hook the button.  Whilst he hadn't been in discomfort, Sidney knew that it would only be a matter of time before no amount of straining and stretching will make the trousers close. With the button closed, and the zipper done up, his stomach seemed to stick out even more so over the waistband, an obvious curve to his usually solid figure. Geno moved to stand behind him, his hands resting over the top of the red lines. He asked slowly, "You okay?" 

Sidney smiled as he leaned back into Geno, his head dropping back onto his shoulder. "I'm good," Sidney promised as he tugged Geno's arms around his waist. He snuggled into the embrace, stealing the body heat that radiated off the other man. 

"What you going to do tomorrow then?" Geno whispered into his ear, squeezing Sidney tight against him before letting his hands fall away from his body. Sidney pouted as his personal radiator took a small step backwards, but his pout disappeared when he turned to see Geno shucking his t-shirt over his head. The chain that Geno wore around his neck twisted as his shirt was tugged off, and Sidney couldn't resist the urge to reach out. He carefully adjusted the gold chain, gently easing it back into place so that the delicate charms hung on it rested against his smooth chest. 

"Don't know, might go to the zoo with my parents," Sidney joked, giggling at the whine that escaped from Geno's throat. The zoo was one of Geno's favourite places in Pittsburgh, and the entire team knew that. If Geno ever needed time to think, one of the best places to look for him would be at the zoo. 

"Maybe I skip practise, join you?" Geno pouted, only half meaning his words. 

"I'm kidding don't worry. We're probably going to go to the Conservatory or something?" Sidney grinned mischievously, his laughter ringing around the room when Geno looked at him with his mouth wide and a fake expression of shock on his face. Hands shot out, grabbing Sidney's sides, fingers trailing up and down his ribs tickling him. The tickles caused shouts of surprise, and an ever-growing laughter to fill the room as Sidney tried to wiggle out from Geno's grasp. 

"Sid so mean, teasing me," Geno giggled, halting his tickles as he pushed himself up against Sidney. His hands sat on Sidney's hips as he stepped him slowly backwards to the bed, until the back of Sidney's knees touched the mattress. Sidney wrapped a hand around the back of Geno's neck, pulling him down so their lips touched as he pulled the man forwards, the pair of them moving to lie on the bed. It was the first time they had kissed today, and Sidney instantly melted into the touch as Geno's hands slid down his body until they rested on the top of his thighs. Sidney opened his legs, allowing Geno to fit against his hips as they slowly moved against each other. 

Sidney sighed into the kiss, shivering at the feeling as Geno ran his tongue along the roof of his mouth. He didn't want to stop, he wanted to have Geno settled between his thighs with nothing between them.  But he didn't want to re-explore Geno's body fully whilst his parents were under the same roof. He wanted to enjoy the moment, without worrying about what noises they were making.  Geno broke their kiss, mouthing wetly at Sidney's jawline, his fingertips slipping up the leg of Sidney's underwear.

"Geno." Sidney whispered, his breath ghosting across Geno's ear. His hands skimmed down so that they were resting against Geno's chest, his forefingers brushing against the gold chain. 

"Want me to stop?" Geno asked, his hands slipping from Sidney's thighs so that he could push himself up, creating a few inches of space between their bare chests. Sidney nodded his head, biting his lip as he looked into Geno's warm eyes. 

"My parents are just down the hall." Sidney began to explain, before Geno ducked down, silencing him with a delicate kiss. 

"And you don't think you can be quiet," Geno teased as he pulled back from Sidney's lips. 

"Shut up," Sidney's honking laughter filled the space between them as he tapped Geno in the shoulder with the back of his hand. Geno rolled off him, leaving both of them blinking up at the ceiling as they giggled together.  


 

Sidney and his parents had spent the day walking around the Phipps Conservatory the day before whilst Geno spent his hours at the rink going through the array of game preps, treatment and practise sessions. The team had something to prove after the four losses they had under their belt in their previous five games, and Sidney knew from Geno's grumbling that Coach was working everyone hard to prepare them for the game.  Sidney had grinned that evening as he had listened to the Russian whining about his aches and pains the night before, whilst sipping at the contraband coffee that Geno had brought in with him on his return home. Sidney had clutched the takeout cup of coffee in his hands as he showed Geno the photos that he had taken during his day at the Conservatory. His parents had gone out to dinner at one of their favourite restaurants downtown, leaving Sidney and Geno to enjoy the privacy of their evening. 

Sidney appreciated how amazing his parents were being and found himself enjoying their visit a lot more than he usually did. He hated how that thought sounded, but when his parents usually visited him during the season it was a maze of navigating them around his routines, and the trickiness of avoiding any contact with his mother and his sister on gamedays. With him not playing the season, his parents visit was a lot calmer and a lot less stressful for Sidney. For the first time in years, he was able to see his mother the morning of a game, and they had eaten breakfast together without Sidney fearing what kind of injury he would end up with in the game that night. 

Geno had to leave straight after breakfast for the morning practise, saying goodbye to Sidney with a kiss on the top of his head. Sidney worked hard to ignore the quirk of an eyebrow that his mother offered him as she watched their interaction. She smiled sweetly at her son as she watched Sidney stare after Geno as he left the room. The sound of the front door closing was barely audible from the kitchen, but Sidney focused on the quiet sound. Geno had practise and would return to take his nap. Sidney and his parents would drive with Geno to the rink in the evening, and they would spend time in the bowels of the arena before heading up to the players box so that they could watch the game with Mario and Nathalie. 

Sidney would not be heading straight down to the locker room after the game, planning to escort them to the players’ lounge where they would wait for Geno to be finished with media and his cool-down. If his parents weren't in town, Sidney would have gone straight to the locker room after the final whistle, but he didn't want to show his parents the truth of what it was like with the media right now. 

 

Sidney ended up spending his morning curled up in his sunroom; the cold winter sun shone through the mass of windows, encasing him in light as he read the book that was perched on his lap. It was one of his favourite rooms in the house, with huge windows and fully stacked bookshelves lining two walls. Sidney wished he could say that he had read all the books that lined those shelves, but he had barely read half. Most of his books were at his home in Halifax; he found he had more time to enjoy the simple pleasure during the off season. He was enjoying the amount of time that he suddenly had available to him, but Sidney also knew that he would soon grow bored of having so much downtime. Being on the ice was his life, and there was no way he would be able to survive the entire pregnancy just skating slow laps around the rink.  

He had managed to work his way through half of his book before his attention was torn away from the pages by a hand running through his hair. Sidney leaned his head back over the arm of the brown suede sofa, a smile instantly filling his face when he looked up into Geno's eyes. Geno bent down, kissing him slowly, before mumbling against his lips, "Going to go sleep, come to bed."

Sidney didn't need telling twice, sliding his bookmark between the pages, before abandoning the book on the cushions as he followed Geno from the room. He didn't know what his parents were doing with their day, but he trusted that they could entertain themselves whilst he caught some sleep before that night’s game. Geno led him up the stairs, a hand stretched out behind him holding onto Sidney's; neither of them letting go until they walked into the bedroom. Their bedroom, Sidney thought to himself with a smile as he watched Geno undress lazily before crawling into their unmade bedding. Sidney fell onto the bed next to him, smiling as Geno's large hands immediately fell onto him, pulling him into their usual sleeping position. Geno was the ultimate big spoon, wrapping himself around Sidney's back like a blanket, his arms holding him tightly to his chest. Sidney loved the position and had found himself falling asleep faster than he ever had in years. He blamed it on having the warmth of another body surround him better than a duvet ever could. 


 

Sidney sat in the passenger side of his car, with Geno driving and his parents in the backseat. The city skyline rose up around them as they drove to the arena, the car filled with a comfortable silence as they watched the building fly past them. They arrived at the parking garage, and Geno let Sidney lead the way the long way around the rink so that they wouldn't walk past the visitors’ locker room. Geno hadn't even teased Sidney for sticking with his game-day ritual even when he wasn't playing, simply following along next to him with a hand on the small of Sidney's back.

The team cheered when Sidney and his parents entered the room, leaving Sidney blushing and his parents chuckling under the attention. Tanger instantly stepping forwards wrapping Trina Crosby in a warm hug, before shaking hands with Troy; his actions sparking the line of hockey players who rose to their feet and copied his actions. Sidney couldn't help but smile as he leaned into Geno's side, watching happily as his parents were greeted like family by the entire team. Geno automatically slung an arm around Sidney's shoulder; they waited until the entire team had participated in the little meet and great, before Sidney reluctantly pulled back from the hold. The team had to start with their warmup and game prep, and Sidney had planned to meet up with Mario and Nathalie upstairs before the doors opened for the fans. 

"Going to score for you," Geno whispered low enough for only Sidney to hear as he ducked his head and kissed him shortly. Sidney pressed another kiss against Geno's lips, and a final kiss on the tip of Geno's chin as his hand stroked across his stomach. His shirts were starting to feel uncomfortably tight and the buttons were starting to pull. Sidney knew that he was going to have to start buying bigger clothes soon, but he was reluctant to head out to the store. It wasn't like he was going to be heading to the normal stores, he would need to head to the specific paternity stores. 

"I know you will. I have a good feeling about tonight," Sidney smiled, stepping out of Geno's grasp with a small giggle. His parents were stood watching them, waiting for Sidney. He waved goodbye at his team, trusting Geno to carry out the big motivational pre-game speech, before leading his parents through the halls. They were getting closer to doors opening time, and Sidney didn't want to be waiting in the concourse when the fans came in. If he thought getting swarmed by media was bad, he didn't want to know what it would be like getting swarmed by hockey fans.

 

Sidney led his parents from the locker room, accepting the kiss his mother placed on his cheek when they reached the main concourse area. He watched as his mother and father walked away towards the various concession stands that were opening in preparation for the crowds; the staff on the stands knew that players families were allowed access before doors open and would happily serve them whilst setting up. His parents knew the way to the players box as well, so Sidney had no worries about leaving them to their wanderings as he went ahead. Mario and Nathalie were already in the box by the time Sidney walked through the door, and he found himself immediately swaddled into a warm embrace. Sidney giggled as Nathalie released him; she cooed at the size of his stomach as if they hadn't had dinner together only a few nights before. Mario patted him on the shoulder before pulling him forwards into a hug of his own. 

The fans were just started to trickle into arena, taking their seats before warm-up even began when Troy and Trina stepped into the players box. Sidney frowned when he saw the familiar logo emblazoned on a plastic bag that his mother offered out towards him. He carefully took the bag, opening it wide enough so he could peek inside. Sidney felt his heart melt instantly at the sight of what was inside the bag, pulling the bag open further so he could pull the item out. It was the cutest and the smallest baby-grow that Sidney had ever seen, black in colour with tiny little Pittsburgh penguin logos covering it. Sidney clutched the tiny clothing to his chest, tears prickling at his eyes as he opened and closed his mouth at his parents. 

"Thank you, this is amazing." Sidney finally found his words, keeping the baby clothing held to his chest with one hand as he hugged his parents one-armed. His father squeezed him tightly when Sidney hugged him, and Sidney smiled as he glanced over his father’s shoulder, catching Mario nodding approvingly behind Troy's back.