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Breakfast of Champions

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Zhenya didn’t really believe it at all until early May, on the plane home from Washington after dropping game six. Maybe even then he didn’t believe it, but he could feel it somewhere deep down inside: they could win, and Zhenya would run himself down to the bone trying.

“One more game, eh?” Sid said, when Zhenya convinced Flower to switch seats with him for the duration of the flight and slid in next to Sid, who was drooling a little on his pillow before he woke up as Zhenya sat down. Zhenya could see the small tips of his fangs peeking through where his lopsided smile revealed his gums, and he clenched his hands together and looked away. He would only make himself nervous if he thought about it—how much he wanted it.

Maybe soon. If they won.

“You think we win?” Zhenya asked, and pulled Sid’s blanket over his own body. Sid was constantly cold and had been bringing his own personal throw blanket on road trips for years. It was truly top-notch—soft and worn-in, with a subtle waffle weave and an ever-present smell of Sid’s aftershave, because he liked to tuck it up over his face.

“We’ve got a pretty good chance,” Sid said after a minute, and then he leaned himself against Zhenya’s shoulder, his beard tickling Zhenya through the thin fabric of his shirt. “I can feel it, I think.”

Zhenya hoped so. It had been a long time. He was ready.


Sid’s feeling came to pass. They beat the Capitals in seven and went home to their own beds riding high on it. Zhenya remembered how they had won in 2009—practically a lifetime ago—and it felt eerily familiar to look at Sasha’s grim face across the handshake line and know that they were moving on. One step closer to the ultimate prize.

And one step closer to Zhenya’s ultimate prize, too.

Sid had been holding out on him, the bastard. He didn’t want to jeopardize Zhenya’s game, which Zhenya knew was sensible, probably, but he also hated. He had been sleeping with Sid for practically the entire season, now. Surely he deserved some reward for putting up with the way Sid chewed his stupid blood caplets with his mouth open and snored in his sleep, even though Zhenya knew that Sid just slept because he was old and lazy and not because he needed it to function or live.

“Impatient,” Sid had whispered to him one chilly night in early February, snugged up together in a single recliner in Zhenya’s media room, watching Interview with a Vampire for the tenth time, because Zhenya loved to watch Tom Cruise swan around the room and imagine himself wearing such dramatic billowy sleeves. Zhenya bit at Sid’s neck with his blunt, human teeth and left a purpling mark as Sid groaned.

“You wear like that?” Zhenya asked him, gesturing to the TV. Sid still wouldn’t tell him how old he really was, but Zhenya knew it had been a couple of centuries at least.

“Absolutely I did not.” Sid curled in closer to him and readjusted their blankets, his thick legs wrapping around Zhenya like an octopus until it felt like they were one single body. On screen, Brad Pitt was leaning into someone’s neck in slow motion, and Sid kissed Zhenya’s temple and his cheek and the corner of his mouth. “I’ll bite you when we win the Cup, okay? Only a few more months.” His lips felt cool and wet on Zhenya’s neck when he kissed just below Zhenya’s jaw.

“Don’t jinx!” Zhenya choked, afraid to look away from the screen. Wasn’t Sid always going on about his endless list of superstitions? He was awful. Zhenya would have to pick up the pace; he didn’t need their eventual loss hanging over his head.

“I’m not jinxing us,” Sid said. “Things are looking up.” He nipped lightly at Zhenya’s neck, but his fangs were fully retracted and the rest of his teeth felt just the same as teeth always did. Zhenya’s whole body was squirming with anticipation regardless and he looked up at the television’s glow reflected on the ceiling and said a silent prayer to whoever was listening—he didn’t think he could wait any longer than June.


“You can go out to the beach, you know,” Sid told him, flipping through the book he was reading, some French novel with a hard cover and worn yellow pages. Zhenya had no idea what it was about or how old it was. Sid had picked up a lot of languages over the years but he rarely spoke them. His French in the locker room was mediocre at best. “You don’t have to keep me company all day.”

They were in Tampa at some gulf-coast provincial park, camped on the beach for some rest and relaxation between games. Somewhere beyond the park shelter, Horny and Kuni had started up a beach volleyball game. Zhenya liked to think he was pretty good at beach volleyball and probably would have beaten them singlehandedly, but he didn’t want to show them up.

For a while, Tanger sat under the pavilion with them, chewing on a bowl of pineapple slices and talking on the phone. Sid kept snickering at something he was saying in French that Zhenya couldn’t hear.

“He’s talking to his wife,” Sid whispered, tilting his face up toward Zhenya with a sly smile. “He calls her mon tournesol, my sunflower.” He plunked his head down in Zhenya’s lap and Zhenya sunk a hand into the fluffy whorls of his hair.

“Shh—“ Zhenya said. Sid was still snickering to himself like the little boy Zhenya knew he was inside. “Don’t say mean. I call you name.” He hadn’t ever called Sid anything to his face, but he would have to think of one. Bunny, maybe—or little mouse. Something terribly soft.

“You want me to do your back again?” Sid asked after Tanger finished his call and wandered off and left them alone, looking up at Zhenya again from his seat on the cement.

“No,” Zhenya said. He had made up his mind. There would be plenty of time for the beach this summer, after all, a whole long few months of hot Miami water and blistering Mediterranean sun. He had Sid now, for as long as they kept playing hockey, maybe all the way into June. “I don’t need.”

Zhenya read through an email from his agent for a while, long enough for Sid to finish a few chapters and dog-ear his book and put it away. He climbed to his feet and sat down next to Zhenya on the bench. “What’s that?” Sid asked, nosily reading over Zhenya’s shoulder. Zhenya turned his phone off and pocketed it. “Pretty good view, eh?” Sid continued. He leaned back on his elbows on the picnic table, spreading his legs out in front of him and peering out at the sun-dappled sand, the deep blue water sinking into the horizon. “We’re pretty hidden over here.”

There weren’t many people in the park this early—just before noon on a weekday when most regular people were still at work. Zhenya craned his head around to see that they were surrounded fairly well by palms, jutting out in clusters around their pavilion and filled with thick green leaves. The only signs of life he could see or hear were a few teammates, small specks moving back and forth through the spaces in the fronds.

“Yeah.” Zhenya felt himself buzzing a little about it. “How long you think they come back?” He was curious what Sid might do.

“We probably have a few minutes,” Sid said. He lifted a hand and brushed it through the back of Zhenya’s hair absently, tugging at the overgrown waves there and down across the back of his neck. He kept looking at Zhenya’s loose shirt collar, and Zhenya desperately wished it were June already—the Cup in hand, Sid’s teeth sunk deep in his skin. He wanted to believe they could do it, but maybe—

“Sid—“ he croaked.

“I keep thinking about what it’ll be like,” Sid said, chasing the path of his fingernails with his nose. He sniffed a line up Zhenya’s neck like a dog, breathing in deep, noisy lungfuls of his skin. Zhenya wondered what he smelled like—sunscreen, probably.

The tease was more than Zhenya could handle. “Maybe you just do,” he said, trying his luck. “No one knows you make promise.”

“I’ve thought about it,” Sid admitted, smiling against Zhenya’s neck. Zhenya could feel the brush of his eyelashes and he blinked, every sense heightened, his whole body on edge. He wanted Sid to just do it already. Hadn’t he been made to wait enough? Surely he was going to perish before he ever got the chance to be fed from at all. “Right after games when you’re all sweaty and pink all over, I want to—I always think. Sometimes I walk past you in the shower and think about pressing you into the wall and just—fuck.”

It felt a little like vindication to think that Sid was just as tormented by his stupid superstitious rules as Zhenya had been. But vindication wasn’t what he wanted, in the end.

“So stupid, Sid,” Zhenya said, and moaned as Sid set his mouth right over Zhenya’s pulse point, laving his wet tongue there and sucking hungrily at it like they were two dumb teenagers in the back of his parents’ car. It felt so stupid good that Zhenya had to readjust himself in his swim trunks when a group of the guys wandered back up from the shore, carrying a volleyball and laughing through their awful beards.

Good, but not enough.


If anything, Sid’s teasing only got worse from there. He pulled Zhenya into the vacant sauna during pre-game one afternoon and tugged the waistband of his compression shorts down and ghosted his teeth across the line of Zhenya’s hip until his erection felt hard and urgent under Sid’s chin. Zhenya imagined his blood dripping out sluggishly into Sid’s swollen mouth and over his neck, staining the collar of his undershirt, and had to close his eyes to forget about it.

Sid kept asking Zhenya to fuck him from behind, which meant that Zhenya would inevitably slip down from the exertion after a while and suck at Sid’s skin to keep himself from coming. By the time they were on the plane to San Jose for game three, Sid had at least four hickeys blooming in various stages all over the thick muscles of his lats and another one high under his jaw, close enough to his beard that he didn’t have to cover it before the game.

Zhenya watched him jawing with Bones while he taped his sticks, whipping the tape around the blade with ease, not watching his work at all. Each stick came out exactly perfect, the product of years and years of practice, longer than Zhenya had even been alive.

“Lookin’ a little ashen there, cap—“ Bones yelled. He tossed the empty end of a roll of tape at Sid’s shins and missed. “Maybe fill up an extra bottle or two for the bench tonight.”

Zhenya didn’t like to think about the bottles at all. He watched Sid drink plenty—mostly at home, where he filled up a single Team Canada mug over and over with some synthetic O-negative that Dr. Vyas supplied him with through their partnership with UPMC. But when he drank on the bench it was messy, and the mixture was bright red and runny, mixed with some electrolyte supplement Andy concocted for him that Zhenya thought was probably a placebo. But Sid got it all over his mouth all the time, dripping over his chin strap, getting caught in his mouthguard. Sometimes he looked over at Zhenya during a commercial break and his smile was undeniably bloody and it made Zhenya burn.

He wanted that to be his blood, and soon it would be—probably, hopefully—if Zhenya could psych himself up and stop letting Burns strip him of the puck five times every game.

They wouldn’t win if Zhenya wasn’t absolutely on top of his game, and if they didn’t win then Sid wouldn’t—well, maybe he would, but Zhenya didn’t want to wait around to see.

“You’re gonna get one tonight for sure, bud,” Sid said, bumping his helmet against Zhenya’s as they went out to the ice, the same way he’d been doing it for a decade now.

Zhenya did not, in fact, get one that night, and they lost, even—brutally in OT. But he did get one the next night, and he let Sid smile his huge bloody smile at him afterward and wrapped him up tight until he could faintly smell the coppery scent of it. He let it stick with him for the rest of the game and they won. They were going back to Pittsburgh.


Winning the Cup felt crazy the second time. He had thought that it might feel like it had in Detroit, with his sore teeth and his bruised-up knee, but instead it felt wholly new.

Zhenya had woken up that morning in the hotel to find that Sid had already been awake for a while. He was sitting at the foot of the bed with his travel mug in hand, one leg folded up under his body, leafing through something on his tablet that Zhenya realized after a minute were play diagrams. He had his reading glasses on and Zhenya climbed drowsily toward him through the mess of the sheets and pulled them from his face and pushed him back down, taking his cup in hand.

“Not allowed,” he said over Sid’s muffled protests. “We win tonight. No more.”

“You sure about that?” Sid asked. Zhenya wasn’t sure why he had chosen this day to become unsure—not when he had been so confident all year, keeping Zhenya afloat with his determined optimism about it, even when Zhenya was injured for a month and wanted to let himself sink into the earth’s molten core.

“I’m sure,” he said, trying to allow himself to have faith, really, fully. They had done it once, and they would again. Zhenya would make it so. “We win tonight.” He put Sid’s mug on the carpet and crawled fully over him and kissed each of his cheeks just above his terrible attempt at a beard. “We win, and then after you take me here and bite me, okay. I’m think about so much; I’m ready.” The cool curve of Sid’s neck over his t-shirt was so tempting, the thick ropes of muscle there. Zhenya settled himself there and rubbed his mustache over Sid’s skin and bit down. “You bite me like this. Right here. Take all you want.”

He could feel Sid’s body twitching under his, his dick getting hard under the firm pressure of Zhenya’s thigh. “Geno,” he groaned, taking Zhenya’s arms into his firm grip and pushing him off. “If you keep that up I’m gonna—“

“Do it.” Zhenya wasn’t afraid now. Sid pretended like he could resist, but Zhenya knew he wouldn’t keep it up for long. No matter how long ago, Sid had been a man, once.

“Let’s go win the Stanley Cup, asshole,” Sid said, and laughed as he climbed out of bed with his dick shamelessly hard in his pants and downed the rest of his mug of blood, smirking as it spilled from his lips. Zhenya kept listening to Sid’s amused chuckle as he stumbled blearily into the bathroom and shut the door.

And they did. Zhenya couldn’t find Sid on the ice afterward, stuck in the swarm of friends and family. Someone was shouting his name from the bench door and when he turned it was Alyosha and Tolya, bundled up in his old gear and grinning at him. He momentarily forgot his mission and ushered them onto the ice.

“So crazy, Zhenka! You mad man!” Tolya shouted at him, patting him vigorously over his sweat-stained jersey. “Another Cup!” It felt bigger than the first, somehow, more meaningful now that he had someone to share it with—now that he had Sid.

By the time he was done being interviewed and getting his pictures taken with his friends and his teammates and various combinations of other guys’ relatives and friends, his ankles were sore in his skates and most of the team had gone off to the locker room to drink. Zhenya arrived with his friends in tow and immediately had a beer shoved into his hand. He passed the beer off to Olli and grabbed a half-empty bottle of champagne, which was much more his style.

“You animal,” Phil said, patting him on the back as he hung around in his stall and stripped off his gear and replaced it with one of the custom shirts the team had lying around. His gear got too itchy if he left it on too long. “I’ll let you be my center again next year, eh bud?”

“You best, Phil,” Zhenya told him, wrapping long arms around Phil’s shoulders and lifting him up until he squealed.

“Oh yeah? Good,” Phil said, laughing his hearty laugh and Zhenya could feel the vibration of it through the noisy chaos. Then he winked. “Don’t tell the captain you told me that.”

Sid was somewhere across the room, soaked in sweat and cheap beer, all of his gear still on, his wet hair smashed under a hat. Probably he would go to bed in his gear if Zhenya wasn’t there to tell him otherwise. He carried the Cup around like it was an inflatable replica, laughing and smiling the way he always did, dumping cheap booze into the bowl and letting everyone have a taste.

He caught Zhenya’s eye as he lifted the Cup toward Lovejoy’s waiting mouth and grinned. His fangs were fully visible, sharp and gleaming, which sometimes happened—Zhenya had noticed—after really good games. Zhenya felt himself get cold all over, standing there like an idiot in the middle of the melee, goosebumps dotting his arms. He wanted very much to turn time forward to whenever Sid was ready to finish socializing and come back to Zhenya’s bed. Zhenya loved his team, he really did, but—

“Come here, Eugene,” Duper screamed. Zhenya grabbed his champagne and took a swig and ambled over toward them, pushing carelessly through the fray while people patted him on the back with wet hands. “Give this man a drink, boys!”

Sid’s eyes on him were practically molten and Zhenya couldn’t look away as he crouched down and opened his mouth and let Sid slosh beer down the Cup’s silver bowl and onto his waiting tongue. He couldn’t even taste it; he was so antsy. When he stood up, Sid quickly handed the Cup off to Tanger beside him, letting go of it for perhaps the first time that night. He came forward and took Zhenya into his arms.

“We did it,” he whispered into the soaked neck of Zhenya’s shirt, where he stank of alcohol and sweat. Sid gripped him hard, holding tight to the cap of Zhenya’s shoulder, and Zhenya could feel him smiling

“Come back to hotel,” Zhenya said. He had gotten the Cup and now he was ready for what came next. “Make Phil give people drink, it’s fine, no one miss you.”

“Oh yeah? You think?” Sid laughed against his neck, a happy, bubbling sound. There were so many people shouting all around them, music blaring, Dumo’s off-key singing somewhere too close to Zhenya’s ear. But Zhenya didn’t care about any of it. The sharp tips of Sid’s fangs dragged lines against Zhenya’s pulse and Zhenya wondered for a moment if Sid might just give in and do it: bite him right here, right now, fuck who might care about seeing it. Sid had always been a little shameless.

But he didn’t. He nipped at Zhenya’s skin like a bunch of tiny pin pricks until Zhenya was high on it. He scratched his fingers through the sloppy mess of Zhenya’s hair. He pulled back and held Zhenya’s face between his ice-cold hands and said, “Wait up for me?”

Zhenya wanted to wait approximately never, but he couldn’t say no.

Eventually someone came to drag Sid away, and Zhenya saw Jen through the crowd talking with him, the Cup firmly back in his grip like it had never left. Zhenya went to collect his friends and felt only a little bad about abandoning them.

“Do you think we’ll get a sip from the Cup?” Tolya asked, holding Zhenya’s bottle of champagne out and shaking it.

“You looked pretty happy to get on your knees for Crosby over there, Zhenka. Tell me, does American beer taste any better out of Lord Stanley?” Andryusha said, laughing, and elbowed Zhenya in the chest good naturedly.

Zhenya flushed and looked aside. He had only sort of alluded to what was going on between him and Sid when his friends had arrived in Pittsburgh. It was complicated, but they seemed no less fond of him than they had been, still making the same stupid jokes. Zhenya was firmly an adult now and didn’t need their approval, but it was nice to have it.

Once they made their leave, Zhenya changed back into his street clothes and sat on his duffel bag outside the locker room for a while, waiting for Sid to return from wherever Jen had ushered him off to. He finished the entire bottle of champagne and rejected a few offers to take the party elsewhere. Let the young guys take on the town; Zhenya had a firm date with an orgasm and a king-sized hotel bed.

“He’s stuck in some radio interview, I think,” Tanger said when he passed Zhenya in the hall. He had Alex in his arms, fully passed out and drooling on Tanger’s shoulder. Zhenya sympathized.

“They don’t sleep?” Zhenya asked. He climbed to his feet and tossed the empty bottle into the janitor’s trash bin parked nearby. “Glad it’s not me. Someone try interview me tonight I say no, too busy. No English.”

“You know how it is,” Tanger said, laughing. He hoisted Alex up a little. “Sid is a hot commodity. Everybody wants a piece.”

Zhenya knew the feeling. He selfishly hoped that Sid flubbed all of his interviews tonight thinking about how much he wanted to feed and came back to the hotel fired up about it. Everything on Zhenya’s body ached now; he was glad that he wouldn’t have to do much except lie back and let Sid go at him for a while.

He texted Sid: i see u at hotel ok. falling asleep in hallway (((( and shoved himself in with Tanger and Alex and Catherine in a cab. Sid replied while they were pulling out of the parking lot: hey g, i’m leaving in five i promise!! but by the time Zhenya got to the hotel and keyed himself into their room, he hadn’t gotten another reply.

The lights outside were bright, sparkling streetlamps and the tantalizing glow of downtown. Zhenya unlatched the balcony door a little to let in the warm, West Coast air. He could hear some of the guys a few balconies over, yelling and singing, the crumple of beer cans being tossed around—the familiar sounds of victory. It was interesting, growing older around a league that stayed the same. Some things never changed, but Zhenya would.

Absently, he wondered what things would be like once another decade had passed. Maybe Sid would’ve moved on by then—would he care about Zhenya when he’d gone bald and didn’t skate quite so easy? Zhenya hoped so; he had dreams about it sometimes, Sid eternally young, just shy of thirty forever, silver hairs only just sprinkled around his temples as Zhenya grew old and grey.

Twenty minutes passed and Sid still didn’t come back to the room. Zhenya plugged in his phone and washed the sweat and grime from his face and brushed his teeth half-heartedly and crawled into bed in his underwear. Perhaps all he needed was a little midnight power nap; Sid could wake him up when he returned.


No one woke him until the morning. The room was barely tinged with grey light, the curtain pulled tight across the balcony window, even though he was sure he’d left it open. He could see hints of sun peeking out across the floor.

In bed next to him, Sid was naked and clammy and coiled around a nest of sheets. His hair was greasy and curled wildly around his ears. Whatever time he’d come back last night, Zhenya hadn’t heard him come in.

He got out of bed to piss through his morning wood and when he returned, Sid was sitting up with the sheets pooled around his waist, looking huge and like everything Zhenya wanted. He had a bruise on his chest and he smiled at Zhenya with all of his teeth. The Cup sat near the bed, in pride of place in the corner of the room. “Morning.”

“You so late last night,” Zhenya said, and climbed back onto the bed and knee-walked his way over to sit in Sid’s hefty lap. “Make me wait, I fall asleep.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Sid said. He put his hand on Zhenya’s side and Zhenya flinched away from the cold. “Fucking interviews.”

“No more interview, okay,” Zhenya told him. He leaned in for a kiss; Sid tasted like awful stale yeast and copper, like someone had convinced him to drink some of their shitty beer after all, which he rarely indulged in. “All mine.”

“You think we have time?” Sid asked, he scratched his nails up and down the Zhenya’s sides until Zhenya shivered. “Breakfast starts in fifteen.”

“We late, it’s fine,” Zhenya said. He had been waiting for practically an entire geologic age; there was no way he was waiting anymore. “C’mon. You want or not?”

“Of course,” Sid said, and Zhenya let Sid roll him over onto his back like a bug, delighting in the firm press of Sid over him, his heavy body, his knees digging awkwardly into Zhenya’s thighs. “You think I don’t?”

“You don’t come back, let me go to sleep,” Zhenya said, playing with Sid a little even though he could see the shape of his desires reflected in the deep black of Sid’s eyes. “Maybe you change mind. I’m not tasty.”

Egged on, Sid pressed harder on him and growled and buried his face in Zhenya’s warm neck. “You’re plenty tasty,” he whispered. Zhenya could feel the slick rasp of his tongue running up the line of his neck to his jaw. “My favorite meal.”

He kept kissing there, and got his hands all over Zhenya’s chest and then down, sneaking one of them into Zhenya’s briefs to grip his half-hard cock. “Some people have told me it’s hard to come when you’re being fed on,” Sid told him between kisses. He leaned up a little to bite Zhenya’s lower lip and Zhenya could feel the scrape of his teeth.

“I uh—“ Zhenya really didn’t think it would be an issue. “I think it’s okay. No problems.” He was a little surprised at how fast his heart was beating now, the rapid thump of anticipation. All of the blood in his body felt like it was circulating at warp speed, sloshing around between his head and his cock as Sid jacked him with his dry fist, just the way Zhenya liked it.

“God—“ Sid groaned. He pressed his nose against the thin skin under Zhenya’s chin until Zhenya tilted his head back, exposing the long line of his neck to the hotel air, completely at Sid’s mercy. Sid could do whatever he wanted. Zhenya wanted him to; even if he was a little afraid.

Would he like it? He hoped so.

“You smell so fucking good, Geno, fuck—“ Sid continued. He pressed the thick shape of his nose all over Zhenya’s face and neck and the sore spaces in between his collarbones like a dog would. He licked messily over the skin. Zhenya loved how base and animalistic he was getting, shamelessly smelling Zhenya’s sweat, the blood rising to the surface of his skin.

“Do it,” Zhenya said, impatient. He wanted to—he needed—he could feel himself leaking in his briefs where he was rutting against Sid’s leg; Sid was still soft, nestled up next to him, his junk all over the place. All Zhenya could imagine was Sid’s dick filling slowly with Zhenya’s blood as he drank, something of Zhenya’s filling up every crevice inside of him.

“Right here?” Sid asked. He licked right over the spot he had pricked the night before, where Zhenya had small pink dots lingering, no larger than the point of a pin. Zhenya gripped Sid’s shoulders to hold him in place. “You want it here?”

Zhenya closed his eyes and took a breath. He nodded until he felt his chin brushing Sid’s forehead. He felt Sid’s mouth open and his fangs press down, softly at first and then harder in one quick motion.

When he broke skin, Zhenya could swear that he momentarily blacked out. There was no going back now, he would never be that guy again, who had never been fed from and was desperately, horridly curious about it, staring at Sid’s stupid teeth grinning at him across the change room, wondering if Sid might like a taste.

The longer Sid drank from him, the heavier his body felt; Zhenya felt weak and floaty, like he was lying on very comfortable grass. The playoffs had wrung every ounce of energy from his body and now Sid would take the rest and leave Zhenya just a blissed-out, empty shell.

Blood or spit or maybe both dripped down his neck and he kept trying to look down to see if they were making a mess but all he could see was the rhythmic bob of Sid’s head as he drank. Sid kept making these low, throaty sounds not unlike the way he did when he downed an entire bottle of blood after a workout. It was awful. Zhenya could hear his blood sloshing around in Sid’s mouth. Every single sound was going straight to his dick.

“Fuck, Sid—“ he said, pressing Sid’s head into his neck harder and harder. He tried to grind his hips up, could feel Sid’s cock hard and hot against him now, but he felt boneless, a long shapeless mass of human goo.

What was probably only a few minutes at most felt like an hour, an entire day. Zhenya didn’t even notice the moment when Sid dislodged, he just felt a warm pool of blood in his collarbone and Sid’s hand behind his neck, Sid’s tongue eagerly swiping across his skin to close the wound.

“Hey,” Sid said, running his hand over Zhenya’s cool cheek. His hand was warm, a rare indulgence, thrumming with Zhenya’s lost blood. “You okay?”

Thoughts and words felt lost on their way to Zhenya’s mouth. “I’m great,” he slurred in Russian, and then, when Sid started laughing a little and he realized it, said again, “Great, fine.”

“I lost you for a minute there, bud,” Sid said. He ducked his head again to kiss wet at Zhenya’s neck like he couldn’t resist; even the press of it felt sore.

“It feels like whole day, maybe,” Zhenya mused. “It’s weird.” He shifted around a little as his body tried to come back online. He could still feel a bit of his erection, only gone slightly soft next to Sid’s, and he kept his hips moving until he drew Sid’s attention between them.

“Looks like you were right,” Sid said, and he smirked with still-bloody teeth and wormed his hand down to take the both of them in his grip, their warm cocks sliding together. This was Zhenya’s favorite lazy way to get off, lying together in bed, sore from a night of hard work. Sid’s hands weren’t really big enough to wrap all the way around, but he always gave his best effort, and Zhenya couldn’t complain about the need to be close.

“Too dry,” Zhenya complained after a minute of it, impatient. Sid brought a hand up to his mouth and laved his tongue over it, his saliva still a little pink. Zhenya flushed at the thought, his blood easing the way, slipping around with his precome as they rutted together.

He kissed Sid’s swollen mouth and he still tasted of it, acrid and metallic. “Can’t believe we win,” Zhenya said, licking along the ridges of Sid’s dull molars, sucking on his tongue. “Second Cup—it’s so long.”

Sid pressed both of their dicks against Zhenya’s stomach and sloppily gripped them, letting Zhenya rut up slowly against his palm until he felt centimeters from the edge. “Which you like better?” Zhenya asked, “first or second?” Zhenya knew which one he liked better.

“Hmm, I can’t choose,” Sid teased. He nipped at Zhenya’s nose and jerked them faster and faster, rutting his own hips down into Zhenya’s until he hung his head forward and groaned. His orgasm was dry as usual, but Zhenya’s was messy and wet and warm against his sore stomach. It smeared all over the both of them as Sid squirmed and went boneless on top of him, knocking the breath out of him in one sharp gasp.

It took them more than a while to actually get out of bed. Zhenya needed Sid’s help, mostly because he felt lazy about it and loved to make Sid tend to him because he knew Sid wouldn’t say no. “You’re such an old man,” Sid said, hoisting him up to his feet and dragging him into the bathroom and turning on the shower. “Not getting any younger.”

“You like,” Zhenya grinned. He hooked his chin over the cap of Sid’s shoulder in front of the sink and looked at them both in the mirror. His neck looked gruesome, a huge mouth-shaped hickey and a firework of black and blue. He leaned in to bite at Sid’s collarbone. “Old man.”

Zhenya showered for a good long while, letting the scalding water warm him and wash away the season’s aches and pains. When he emerged, Sid was still butt naked in front of the sink, shaving the remnants of his beard away. Zhenya hoped not to see it again anytime soon, at least another nine months.


In the elevator on the way down to breakfast, Sid leaned into Zhenya’s side and said, “you know I was kidding, right? About not knowing which Cup is my favorite?”

“Huh?” Zhenya asked. He was still mostly staring into space.

“It’s this one, you know—“ Sid turned his nose to sniff at Zhenya’s shirt sleeve, which was weird, and then tugged on the brim of Zhenya’s hat, which was slightly less so. “I got the Cup, but—I also got you.”

All of the blood left in Zhenya’s body rushed right to his cheeks. He ducked his head to hide his smile. Sid was really sweet when he wanted to be. Too sweet, actually. Zhenya was going to get cavities.

At breakfast, Zhenya let Sid walk in ahead of him, carrying the Cup in his arms and grinning wide and infectious. The whole room went wild and noisy, shouting and clapping.

“Right on time boys,” Sid said, even though they were at least forty-five minutes late, closing in on a hour. He plunked the Cup right in the center of one of the tables and sat down, spreading himself out like a king. “Looks like quite the spread, eh? Breakfast of champions.”

“You gonna eat with us for once, Croz?” Knuckles shouted from the buffet table, busy grabbing heaping second helpings of eggs. Zhenya could smell pancakes; his stomach growled.

“Nah, boys.” Sid pushed out the chair next to him and patted the seat cushion until Zhenya sat obediently. Sid draped an arm over his shoulders and smiled wide enough to eat shit. He’d had his breakfast already and everybody knew it. “I’m pretty full up.”

Zhenya’s whole body burned. He forced himself to lean back into Sid’s arm. From across the table, Flower was grinning at him. Duper chugged his orange juice and raised an eyebrow in Zhenya’s direction and Zhenya knew what they were looking at. He wasn’t hiding it.

“Late night, Eugene?” Duper asked. “Looks like you had a run-in with something, my friend. Getting clumsy in your old age.”

“You clumsy,” Zhenya said. He reached into the basket everyone had been passing around and pulled out a muffin—cinnamon streusel—and ate a few bites of it before pelting the remaining third at Duper’s snickering face. Let everyone make fun of him until training camp. Who cared. He had gotten what he wanted, hadn’t he?

All around the table, they were laughing. Sid was doubled over next to him, looking absolutely the opposite of dangerous, giggling into his fist. Duper was grumbling and picking streusel out of his beard and once he was done he balled the wrapper up and tossed it in Zhenya’s direction with his eyes closed. It missed by a kilometer, straight into the next state.

Once Zhenya had eaten at least three pancakes and a hefty serving of jam and bacon and felt mildly human again, Sid scooted his chair closer and scratched at the unmarred side of his neck. He’d had his arm draped over Zhenya’s chair for at least thirty minutes, proprietary and smug about it. “It does look pretty rough, eh,” Sid said, quiet enough that only he could hear, clearly pleased with his efforts. “Looks like the other guy won that fight.”

Zhenya disagreed. He had definitely won.

It was worth the wait.