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we’re alike you and i

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Kent Parson is eighteen years old, an entire continent away from everything important to him ("I think you should leave, Kenny") and moving into a big, lonely house that belonged to the guy who got traded for him. Naturally, he adopts a cat.

 

Well, he intended to adopt a cat. He winds up adopting two cats. The first is a calico kitten he names Daisy, and the second is a Russian Blue he names Violet. The shelter told him Violet was maybe three or four, and had been very protective of Daisy since the younger cat was brought to the shelter barely able to open her eyes. How the hell was Kent supposed to tear them apart?

 

He doesn’t really think about the fact that hockey – his job, he was drafted first, Jack should be here – requires a lot of travel until he’s in a panic because he doesn’t want to uproot the cats every time he has to leave and he still doesn’t know his team well enough to ask someone’s wife or whoever to pet sit for him. Then, duh, he posts the job offer online and by the end of the week is meeting with a girl his age named Tia who is actually… really fucking cool? They get lunch at a little restaurant Mac recommended, and end up talking for several hours. So Tia hangs out at his house while he’s on roadies, and they text and call and shit all the time under the guise of getting updates on the cats but by the end of Kent’s first season with the Aces Tia is the closest friend he has and is also basically living in one of the guest rooms. Tia doesn’t talk about her personal life much, Kent has no idea how or why this girl his age is living in Vegas by herself when she should probably be at college or back in Texas where she (one time) mentioned her family lives, but sometimes she makes a comment about the odd jobs she works or the shitty apartment she lives in with four other people or how she can’t go out tonight because she’s trying to save money and Kent decides fuck it, if I have to be here I can at least enjoy it and invites Tia to move in, rent free as long as she does her own dishes and doesn’t, like, ruin the house with a wild house party straight out of a cliché teen movie.

 

Tia tells her roommates that she’ll pay her share of next month’s rent so they have time to find someone else, but she’s officially moved in with Kent three days later and it’s basically the best decision either of them has ever made.

 

Then Tia accidentally becomes as much a staple of the Las Vegas Aces as Kent is. She’s at every home game (and even some away games) because she only needs one day job now and she shows up on almost every social media of almost every one of Kent’s teammates at least once, because they’re fucking attached at the hip. Fans and press ask if they’re dating and both of them laugh it off until ESPN literally does a goddamn segment about them. Tia’s immediate response is to post a selfie on twitter with a pride shirt and the caption “@ESPN_NHL im flattered but im also very gay xo” and she puts a stop to that line of questioning very quickly. Every single Aces player with a social media presence puts a stop to the sequential wave of homophobia very quickly.

 

Eventually everyone kind of just forgets that she’s not actually on the team? She shows up at practices and hangs out with the WAGs and has a standing invitation to any team get-together. She does silly videos for PR where the guys try to teach her hockey or where she tries to get through an entire practice wearing Kent’s gear. Fans obsess over her as much as they do some of the players. Hell, she’s been asked to sign jerseys before.

 

(“Dude, how am I more famous than you?” she has asked Kent several times.

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Kent never fails to respond. “Just because you have more Instagram followers does not mean you’re more famous than me.”

 

“Whatever you say, hockey boy.”)

 

She goes as Kent’s plus one to events of varying importance and meets many a hockey player from many a team. Rookie Alexei Mashkov is an honest-to-God angel and Tia would marry him on the spot if she were even the slightest bit straight.

 

Kent’s out to her, of course he is. He told her before she ever moved in, when she showed up at the house and found him mid-breakdown and they stayed up til two in the morning, cuddled together on Kent’s bed with the cats while he vented the way he couldn’t really do with anyone else.

 

(“What did I do wrong, T? I tried to help him, I swear. He told me he was okay he told me he - he told me he didn’t want to talk to me anymore why doesn’t he want to talk to me anymore?”

 

“I’m sorry, babes. You did what you could.”

 

“What if I didn’t, though?”)

 

Tia’s there when Kent wins the Stanley Cup in 2012. She holds his hand the entire way to Samwell, Massachusetts, even though she thinks Kent isn’t ready for this. She enjoys herself at the party (may or may not make out with a few volleyball girls) and helps this kid named Shitty pull Jack and Kent apart when their meeting inevitably devolves into a fight. She tells the Samwell Men’s Hockey team – including Jack – that it was nice to meet them, drives Kent back to the hotel they’re staying at, and doesn’t bring up the whole ordeal unless Kent does first.

 

Tia’s there again two years later when Kent goes back to Samwell. She gets bounced around between Jack’s teammates, loses beer pong by a spectacular margin to the team manager (whom she may or may not get the number of), and chats briefly with the actually-her-height blond kid who wasn’t there two years ago before Kent and Jack head upstairs to talk. After that, she gravitates toward Shitty who definitely also noticed their exit and waits to do damage control.

 

The next day, she and Bitty follow each other on twitter and begin a trend of acknowledging each others' existence via favoriting tweets and simultaneously ignoring each other's existence by never interacting outside of tweet-favoriting.

 

("Get off your phone, loser, we'll miss our flight."

 

"I thought they'd wait up since everything revolves around you, Mr Stanley Cup Winner."

 

"Fuck off."

 

"You love me.")