panfix (panfix) wrote,

Hockey Fic: Nothing Worth Knowing 3/4

Notes & Headers | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Ryan pretty much ignores everything for a few days. He goes to class, he goes to practice, and he doesn't really talk, and he's trying not to think. He skips the GSA meeting and goes back to his room. After the meeting, he gets a text from Jane saying, "where were you? everyone wondering. andrew asked about you."

"Just tired," Ryan sends back. He wants to know what Ladd said, but he can't bring himself to ask.

He realizes Ladd will be back soon if the meeting’s over, and he hurries to grab his coat and head to the dining hall for dinner so he can have a little while longer without dealing with him. But Ladd's trodding up the steps when Ryan opens the door.

"Oh, hey!" Ladd says. "Missed you at GSA."

"Yeah, I had -- other stuff," Ryan lies.

"Yeah." Ladd nods. "You going to dinner?"

"Um, yeah," Ryan says.

"Mind if I come with?"

"Free country," Ryan shrugs, and he keeps walking toward the dining hall. Ladd falls into step with him, but he doesn't say anything for a few minutes. Ryan knows it won't stay like that through dinner, but he can hope.

"Jane's worried about you," Ladd says eventually.

"Jane can tell me things herself," Ryan snaps back.

"So why is Jane worried about you?" Ladd asks as they load up on mashed potatoes.

"I have no idea," Kesler says. "She's just Jane."

"You been avoiding her like you've been avoiding me?"

"No! And I haven't been avoiding you. I've been treating you like normal."

"Do the blowjobs fit into that normal category? Because I'd be okay with that," Ladd says, so casually that the guy cutting the pork chops does a double take.

Ryan grips the edges of his tray so hard his knuckles turn white.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" he asks through a clenched jaw.

"What the hell is wrong with me? What the hell is wrong with you? You drag me into your room and give me the best blowjob of my life, then you --"

The guy cutting the pork chops is not even pretending to pay attention to his job now.

"I am not talking about this here," Ryan says.

"Fine," Ladd says, "let's go."

They wind up in the staff parking lot behind the dining hall, since it's the closest thing to private they're going to get. There's no way he's having this conversation in the house, or anywhere else someone else might hear them. Someone besides the guy with the pork chops and whoever was paying attention in line.


"Fuck you," Ryan says.

"We could have by now, but you keep blowing me off," Ladd says, crossing his arms over his chest. "It's been a hit parade of dick moves."

"Dick moves? Me?" Ryan says, outraged.

"Yes, you," Ladd says. "You left me in a bathroom after I gave you a blowjob. I keep trying to be nice to you, and you ignore it, and then you yell at me, and then you gave me a blowjob, and it was great, and I thought we had a pretty good time, but now you're treating me like I'm contagious."

Put like that, it does sound pretty dickish. Of course Andrew Ladd wouldn't bother to figure out the reasons why Ryan did anything.

"The blowjob was a mistake," Ryan says, crossing his own arms to match Ladd's. "I shouldn't have done it. This isn't going to be a thing."

"The blowjob was awesome," Ladd corrects.

Ryan wants to hit him.

"And why can't it be a thing? The sex would be great, we hang out all the time anyway. It'd be a great thing."

"It can't be a thing because I can't stand you! You fucking make me crazy and I just want to --" Ryan drops his arms and balls his hands into fists.

"Kiss me?" Ladd smiles in what he probably thinks is a charming way. "Blow me? Throw me down and fuck me? Because I'd be okay with that."

"And then when you get sick of that, or it gets too hard, and you decide to go back to being straight?"

"I'm not straight."

Ryan rolls his eyes. "Yes, you are."

"Okay, yes, kind of. But maybe not entirely. I can be flexible."

"What are you -- you can't just decide that!"

"Why not? I mean, I want to kiss you, and I liked blowing you, and I'd like to try all that other stuff, and that's not exactly straight, is it?" Ladd shrugs.

Ryan wants to kill everything.

"Fine, so when it gets too tough, you'll flex yourself right back to dating girls and pretending this is just a phase," Ryan says. "And I'll be right back here."

Ladd just stares at him. "Wow, you actually think I'm that much of a douche?"

Ryan doesn't say anything.

"You -- Fuck, you don't even know me, because you won't give me a fucking chance. You've just decided that I'm this way or that way, and you don't even want to find out if maybe you're wrong. And you are wrong."

Ladd actually looks angry, and Ryan shoves his hands in his pockets. It's windy, and they're getting cold.

Ryan doesn't know what to say, so he doesn't say anything. He wishes this conversation was over. He wishes he could just go to bed. He wishes he never met Andrew fucking Ladd.

Ladd makes a strangled sort of noise, and then Ryan is being pushed back against the wall of the building, hard enough that his shoulders twinge. He struggles, but Ladd's putting all of his weight into holding his shoulders, and he's glaring. Ryan tries avoiding looking at his eyes, but they're too close.

"Just give me a chance, Ryan," Ladd says. Ladd has never called him Ryan, except when they were in Ryan's bed, and it kinda makes his stomach do a weird plunge. Ryan wants to say "Fuck you." He wants to scream it, but all that comes out is,

"I can't."

Ladd sighs and looks down at his feet, but he doesn't let up on Ryan's shoulders at all. When he looks back at Ryan, he looks determined, and Ryan has a bad feeling about this.

"One week. Give me one week to prove to you that I am serious about this, okay? And then if you still don't believe me, we can break up, and I won't bother you about it again, I promise."

Ryan is already shaking his head.

"Please, Ryan."

Ryan stares over Ladd's shoulder, refusing to make eye contact. "One week, and then you'll leave me alone?"

"If you want me to," Ladd says.

Ryan rolls his eyes and accidentally ends up looking back at Ladd, who's grinning. He would be.

"One week."

Ladd smiles even wider, like Ryan just gave him the Hart and the Selke at once, and it makes him uncomfortable. He doesn't even realize right away that Ladd has stepped back, letting Ryan stand on his own.

"Well, come on," Ladd says, holding out his hand.

"What? Where?" Ryan stares at Ladd's hand like it might fall off at any moment.

"We still need to get dinner."

"I'm not holding your hand," Ryan says. "Just because we're going to pretend to date --"

"-- not pretending," Ladd corrects.

"-- doesn't mean I'm coming out to the entire school."

"Okay," Ladd says. "That's fair. I mean, I would, if you wanted me to. You should know that." He drops his hand back to his side, thankfully.

Ryan starts walking back to the door. He actually is kinda hungry now. Ladd falls into step next to him, close enough that their shoulders brush.

"The GSA, though," he says. "I can hold your hand there, right?"

"Yeah, sure," Ryan says. He'll deal with that when they get there. He can't believe he's having this conversation.

It's weird to realize that Ladd can be sort of nice, and really funny, when he's not being a giant jerk. This is apparently the guy that the rest of the team and the GSA love. This is Seabs's best friend.

By the end of dinner, Ryan's more okay with this week he agreed to. So it won't be horribly awful, and he'll probably get laid, and when it's over, Ladd will leave him alone.

There's really no way to lose.


Jane almost chokes on her falafel when Ryan explains it at lunch the next day. "Sorry, you what?"

"Shouldn't you be pleased? You were the one trying to convince me that I like him." Ryan glares at her.

"You do like him, Ryan," she says, when she's taken a sip of water and cleaned up the food from her lap. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have agreed to this. I'm surprised you agreed to it at all, and I'm worried that you're so fucking repressed about him that you're gonna end up making yourself even more miserable."

Ryan glares some more and stabs his shawerma with his fork.

"I admit that he's not as repulsive when he's trying to be nice so he can get laid, but you're wrong. I get laid for a week, and then I get Ladd leaving me alone: simple as that."

Jane opens her mouth to say something, and Kesler interrupts her.

"He's straight, Jane. You said yourself the first time we met: he makes a great pretend boyfriend."

Jane closes her mouth and looks down at her plate.

"Okay," she says. "Clearly I'm not going to change your mind. But promise me one thing, okay?"

"Sure," Ryan says, because he really hates it when Jane looks sad.

"Just, if you're gonna do this, then really do this. Go all in. No holding back. Promise?"

"Promise," Ryan says, and wonders yet again how she talks him into these kind of things. "I gotta get back to campus for practice. See you later?"

"See you at GSA tomorrow?"

Ryan remembers what Ladd said about GSA and considers making up some excuse. But probably neither of them will let him get away with that.

"Sure," he says, and gives her a pat on the head as he leaves.

When he gets to practice, Ladd is waiting for him outside of the rink.

"I am not coming out to the team," Ryan says when he walks up.

"No, I know," Ladd says. "I wouldn't ask you to. But..." He chews on his bottom lip a little and looks unsure. "You should tell them you aren't dating Jane."

"Why?" Ryan asks. "I mean, I never told them I was dating her."

"Yeah, but --" Ladd tries.

"And it would be really weird if I walked in and made some weird announcement about how I'm not dating her."

Ladd sighs. "Fine, but if it comes up, don't let them go on thinking the wrong thing."

"Yeah, fine, okay," Ryan says. It's not like his imaginary sex life comes up that often.

Practice goes well enough. Ladd's fitting in better and better on Ryan's line, and they even get a couple of approving nods from the coach during the drills.

Locker room talk after is the usual: Jared's failing attempts to pick up girls and Jonesy's latest crush. Ryan stays out of it for the most part, just focusing on getting dressed, until Tim asks, "Dude, what's that on your shirt? Jizz?"

"What?" Ryan asks, glancing down. There's a small stain under the 'y' in Hockey. "It's tahini sauce, you dumbass. I got lunch at that Middle Eastern place."

"Middle Eastern?" Tim asks, pulling a face.

"It's not bad," Ryan defends. "Jane likes the falafel."

"Your girlfriend has you whipped if you're eating that crap," Tim says, shaking his head.

"Just because it's not a hamburger or boiled potato doesn't mean it's crap, Timmy. Try branching out a little." He can feel Ladd staring at the back of his neck. "And she's not my girlfriend."

"No strings attached, that's the way to go!" Jared crows.

The conversation moves on before Ryan can correct him. Not that he tries very hard.

Still, he shrugs at Ladd, who gives him a weird sort of grin and shake of the head. He doesn't look pissed or anything, which is good.

Not that Ryan cares, except maybe he does, since Ladd's his temporary boyfriend and all.

Ladd is finished dressing before Ryan is, as usual, but he waits until Ryan's done and walks out with him.

"Did you do the geology worksheet yet?" Ryan shakes his head. "Wanna do it in my room after dinner? Jonesy's got night class."

"Sure." Ryan shrugs. He needs to get it done, and if he's reading it right, he might get orgasms out of it too.

"Awesome." Ladd swings an arm around Kesler's shoulder and pulls him in for a rough hug. Ryan knows it doesn't look any different from what guys normally do with each other. It’s not suspicious at all, but it still makes his heart pound.

Back at the house, Ryan gets his geology stuff from his room, takes a deep breath, and heads down to Ladd's. He's never seen Ladd’s room in the light before, but it doesn’t look much different from any other room in the house.

Ryan drops his notebook on the floor while Ladd closes his door. Ryan hears the lock click and feels a thrill run through his limbs. Stupid biological reactions.

He's about to settle himself on the floor when Ladd pulls him by the arm, shoves him against the door, and kisses him.

"I've been wanting to do that all day," he says after a few minutes.

"Oh," Ryan says. It's dumb, but it's all he can think of to say. He can't say he has been too, because he hasn't. Mostly he's been nervous and jumpy about the whole thing. The promise of orgasms had mostly been an abstract thing to calm himself down.

It's not abstract any more. He pulls Ladd back against him and catches Ladd smiling before their lips meet again. Ryan doesn't quite understand why he looks so happy, but it's kind of infectious. He doesn't even try to think of an STD joke to go with that.

Ladd pulls back when Ryan starts pushing his hips up against his, but he manages to avoid whining about it.

"The geology thing wasn't just a line to get you in here," he says, even as his thumb rubs a spot behind Ryan's ear. "We should probably do that before I blow out all my brain cells. Or before you blow them out." He actually waggles his eyebrows when he says that, and Jane would be so proud: Ryan doesn't even consider punching him.

Despite his words, Ladd leans in and kisses Ryan again. If he doesn't stop rubbing that spot behind Ryan's ear soon, they aren't going to get to geology. Ryan didn't even know that spot was sensitive.

"Geology," he says into Ladd's mouth without pulling away. "The sooner we do it, the sooner I can blow you."

Ladd pulls away and grins. "I like the way you think."

They sprawl on the floor with their books and notebooks. Ladd hooks his foot over Ryan's ankle.

"That's not conducive to getting homework done," Ryan admonishes.

Ladd leans his head close to Ryan's and whispers, "It's incentive." Ryan shivers, and he knows Ladd can feel it, but he doesn't even care.

By the time they're halfway done with the worksheet, Ladd is rubbing his foot up and down Ryan's calf, and Ryan is wondering why he needs to pass geology anyway. What does a professional hockey player need to know about volcanoes? Nothing, that's what.

Ryan finishes the third to last question and looks over at Ladd. His head is bent over his book, and he's biting his lip in concentration. His neck is right there, and Ryan officially cannot think about lava floes anymore. He puts his pen down, leans over, and licks Ladd's neck.

Ladd groans and turns onto his side, tilting his head back to give Ryan better access. Ryan can work with that. He shimmies closer and starts kissing his way up Ladd's neck to his ear.

"We're not done," Ladd says, but his hand has already made its way around Ryan and under his shirt, stroking the small of his back.

"Fuck geology," Ryan mumbles.

"Mmm, I'd rather fuck you," Ladd says, and flips them neatly so he's on top of Ryan.

Even though the idea speeds blood flow to his dick, Ryan snorts. "You've been gay for like three days and already you want to try the advanced stuff?"

There's no real malice behind it, and he keeps moving his hands over Ladd's skin, but he hesitates briefly because maybe he's not supposed to say that shit this week.

"Bisexuals exist, Ryan," Ladd says before tugging on Ryan's earlobe with his teeth. Ryan would respond, but he's busy swallowing the sounds that elicits.

Ladd is heavy and warm on top of him, and Ryan never expected something like that to feel so good. He's hard in his jeans, but he could probably spend all night like this, just making out, and go to bed satisfied.

Ladd moves his hips, and his dick brushes Ryan's and oh, maybe not after all. Ladd's hands are moving under Ryan's shirt, and the carpet is rough against his back. It feels almost good, because everything feels good right now, but it probably won't feel that great tomorrow.

"Bed," Ryan gasps.

“Yeah,” Ladd says against Ryan’s jaw. It takes another minute before he finally moves off of Ryan and drags him to his bed, ditching a few articles of clothing on the way.


He shouldn't be surprised that Ladd's really cuddly afterwards, because he's already experienced post-coital makeouts with the guy, but now he's just sprawled on top of Ryan, tracing patterns on his cooling skin with a finger and watching the goosebumps pop up in their wake.

It's -- it's nice. There's nothing overtly sexual about it, and that kind of weirds Ryan out, but he's being a boyfriend, so he tries not to tense up or be weird about it.

It's actually kind of comfortable, his arms around Ladd's waist, and his thumbs brushing the base of his spine. His orgasm made him sleepy, and Ladd's warmth on top of him might put him over the edge into a doze. Before that happens, though, Ladd sighs into his neck and says, "Jonesy's gonna be back soon," without lifting his head.

Ryan makes some inarticulate sound of unhappiness with the idea of moving.

"Wish you could stay here all night," Ladd says into Ryan's skin. "But unless you wanna come out to the team really dramatically..."

It's a good point, but Ryan is surprised how appealing spending an entire night with Ladd sounds. Without meaning to, he racks his brain for some time and place they could, but can't think of any, unless one of their roommates unexpectedly goes out of town. If they changed road trip roommates by two weeks from now, but ... Ryan puts that thought out of his head. There won't be any need, two weeks from now.

Ladd rolls off of him, and Ryan shivers, suddenly exposed to the cold air. He pushes himself up with one arm, but the other is still trapped under Ladd. Turning to tell him so means detouring to kiss him, and then he gets sidetracked.

Ladd pushes him away gently after a time. "Get dressed before I ravish you again."

"I think that was the other way around," Ryan says as he's searching for his pants.

"We can try both, next time." Ladd hasn't even bothered to put on anything more than his boxers.

"You might wanna open the windows before Jonesy gets back," Ryan tells him. The room smells strongly of jizz and sweat.

Ladd waves his arm lazily. "I'll just tell him I had a marathon jerk off session. He'll give me some grief, but nothing I can't handle."

"See you tomorrow?" It comes out as a question, even though Ryan knows he'll see Ladd tomorrow.

"Definitely," Ladd says. "Come here."

Ryan goes and lets Ladd pull him down for one more kiss before leaving. On his way up the stairs, he hears Jonesy coming in, but feels too blissed out to stress almost over being caught.


When Ryan wakes up and turns on his laptop the next morning, he has an email from Facebook.

Please confirm that you are in It's Complicated with Andrew Ladd.

There's a message with it.

You don't have to, but no one will think anything weird, I promise.

Ryan swallows and goes to take a shower without hitting confirm or deny.

He knows, objectively, that Ladd is right. No one is suspicious of Seabs and his Duncs saying they're married on Facebook. Tim's Facebook lists him as in a relationship with one of his teammates from high school, and Jared and Jonesy list themselves as in a relationship with each other. They do it all the time, and the guys on the team will probably think it's funny.

It still makes Ryan queasy. He finishes his shower and gets dressed, and he checks the rest of his email, and his blogs, and the assignment for his first class of the day, and the whole time his Facebook page is asking him to confirm or deny. He thinks about calling Jane, but he knows what she'd say.

Finally, when he absolutely has to leave or he'll be late to class, he presses confirm, slams his laptop shut, and walks out.

He gets four texts from Jane in the next hour even though he knows she's in Psych.

The first is just a series of exclamation points. The second soon after says 'I'm so proud'.

About half an hour later, he gets "how have I never realized how you jocks embrace the homoerotic subtext of everything you do?" He's not sure if she means the rest of the teams’ marital statuses or if someone said something about his status -- their status -- specifically.

"No seriously, I think I've got the next two years to work on my senior thesis."

He's tapping out a reply to all of them as he walks out of his world lit seminar, only to get yanked to the near wall.

"Hey, what the -- Jane? Isn't your class, like, across campus?"

"I wanted to talk to you," she says.

"So you teleported? Jesus. It's not that big of a deal."

"Um, yeah, it kinda is, when three days ago you were still insisting you hated him."

"I still hate him," Ryan says automatically, but even he can hear that it sounds perfunctory.

"Sure you do." Jane rolls her eyes. "Not to mention, I've been fielding questions from everyone in GSA all morning. You better watch out for Ben. He called dibs on Andrew if he ever decided to experiment."

"I think I can take Ben," Ryan says. Jane raises her eyebrows, and he realizes how that sounded. Fuck. "Besides," he says, "he already did that experimenting with Seabs."

"I know," Jane says. "But you don't even sound jealous when you say it anymore."

"I was never --" Ryan cuts himself off. "There's no reason for me to be jealous. And besides, Seabs has probably proposed to Duncan by now."

Jane looks like she's trying not to laugh at him, and she pats him on the arm. "You have a break now, right? Let's get some coffee."

"Yeah, I mean, I have to do the last few questions on my geology homework."

"It's Rocks for Jocks, I'll see if I can help. Otherwise, just write something down, and I'm sure you'll get credit."

"So what happened last night?" Jane asks once they're settled at a table with some coffee.

"Nothing." Ryan shrugs. "We did homework, we had sex, then his roommate came back from night class, and I went to bed."

"And somewhere in there he convinced you to change your Facebook status?"

"He didn't talk about it. The request was there when I woke up. He just said no one would think anything suspicious, which they won't, I don't think. I haven't seen any of the responses yet."

Jane pulls out her phone, even though she knows he could check it on his, and hands it to him. It's already open to his Facebook page.

It's been liked twelve times, and the comments are mostly the guys from the team commenting with stuff like "Tell Laddy he can't fuck it up until Cam's foot gets fixed."

"Coach'll be so pleased."


So that's a relief. Out of curiosity, he clicks over to Ladd's profile, where a lot of the same theme of comments are coming from the guys, in addition to more from the GSA, and it's been liked by thirty people. He suddenly has a preview of what the meeting is going to be like.

"But Andy, I thought what we had MEANT something to you!!!! ;)" has been left by no less than six people, four guys and two girls.

Halfway through the comments, he finds one from Seabs that says, “I’m glad you’ve finally moved on after I broke your heart last year. I know I’m a tough man to get over, but Kes should keep you on your toes. ;) xoxoxo”

There's also more than one volunteer for a threesome, but it's all over the top enough that no one on the team will think much of the comments from the guys.

"Oh," Ryan says. "So I guess we're good, then."

"You're fine," Jane says. "I wonder how many of the other 'fake' gay marriages on Facebook are genuine."

She's got that 'making notes for subject headings' look on her face again, so Ryan knows he's not supposed to respond.

"Do you think it'll look weird if we take it down in a week?" Ryan asks.

Jane levels a look at him. "Ryan, if you did end it next week, I don't think that would count as uncomplicating it."

Kesler avoids answering by looking back down at Jane's phone and refreshing his Facebook page. Ben has added the comment "Homewrecker!!! :("

"Ben isn't actually gonna come after me, is he?" Kesler asks Jane, pointing out the comment.

Jane takes her phone back. "I'll keep him in line. Ryan --"

"Are you gonna help me with geology or what?"

"Fine." Jane narrows her eyes at him. "But only because I'm proud of you. And because I have an idea of what's coming for you at the meeting."

He's early to the lecture, so he grabs a seat in the usual row and pretends to flip through his textbook.

It's not a surprise when Ladd sits down next to him, but when he tears off a piece of Ryan’s bagel, it's so benign and coupley that Ryan just stares at him for a minute.

"What?" Ladd asks as he chews.

"Nothing," Ryan says.

Ladd grins, like Ryan said something funny. "Oh hey, you actually finished the assignment?"

"Yeah, Jane helped me," Ryan says, pushing it in Ladd's direction.

"How'd you land a smart chick?" Jared asks, leaning over Ladd.

"I didn't 'land' her," Ryan says, rolling his eyes. He pretends not to notice Ladd's little grin. "And crazy things happen when you hang out with people who don't play sports or pick you up at parties."

He throws insults back and forth with Jared while Ladd finishes copying his answers. Jared reaches for it when Ladd slides it back, but Ryan snatches it away.

"Do your own homework, dickwad," he says.

"What, you'll let Laddy copy, but not me?" Jared whines.

"Yes," Ryan says firmly, pretending that Ladd isn't grinning like a loon next to him.

"Oh, so that's how it's gonna be now?" Jared says dramatically.

"Shut up, Jared," Ladd says. "You can't come between our love."

The professor calls for attention then, and they all turn to the front. Ryan is paying way more attention than usual, hoping that he isn't actually blushing. Ladd kicks his ankle gently and flashes him a quick smile when he looks over. It shouldn't make him feel better, but it does.


He's really nervous as they walk into the GSA meeting room. It's stupid, but his palms are kind of sweaty, and his heart is racing a little, and he just -- he doesn't know why, he doesn't know what to expect. Jane said she did, and that actually scares him a little, but she's going to be there. Ladd's by his side, and the second the door shuts behind him, he takes Ryan's hand.

"Holy shit," someone says from across the room.

"Andy, baby, don't tell me it's true!" one of the juniors says.

"Interloper!" Ben shouts.

Ryan just works on not letting it affect him, like the taunts of an opposing team's fans as you walk into the tunnel, but Ladd's ducking his head and grinning as he tugs Ryan to a pair of open chairs.

Ryan sits down first, but before Ladd can sit next to him, Jane drops into the seat and grins at them both. Without missing a beat, Ladd drops onto Ryan's lap.

Someone in the room whistles, and Ryan is suddenly very glad Ladd is there, because he can hide the fact that he's blushing by pressing his face into Ladd's back.

Jane flicks him in the shoulder and smiles at him when he looks over. Ryan smiles back and tries to loosen his grip on Ladd's waist. It's safe here, that's the whole point.

Erin calls the meeting to order, and eventually everyone settles down and shuts up. Ladd rearranges himself in Ryan's lap so they're both comfortable and Ryan can actually see the rest of the room.

"Okay, so our first order of business tonight is next week's --"

"Excuse me, point of order!" Jack calls out. "I think I first order of business should be fair jock distribution throughout the group." He gets a few laughs. "I mean, come on, is it really fair for them to hog each other? Leave some jocks for the rest of us!"

Ryan doesn't even know how to respond to that, but Ladd just puts both of his arms around around Ryan and glares at the room.

"No. My jock."

"I'm my own jock, thank you," Ryan mutters.

"Sure you are," Ladd says, ducking down to kiss him quickly. Ryan can feel himself blushing when the room breaks out into a chorus of "ooooooohs".

"As I was saying," Erin tries again.

"What is this, the seventh grade? I want a real show!" Ben calls out. He's apparently decided that if he can't have Ladd, he'll take up voyeurism.

"That's what your porn collection is for, Benny," Jane says.

"I like you best," Ryan whispers once the room is finally under control of Erin. Ladd pouts and Jane gives him a smug look.

It's kind of nice.

Ryan's gotten used to speaking up in meetings, but he stays quiet tonight, just enjoying the unexpected pleasure of Ladd on his lap, and his hand stroking the back of Ryan's neck every once in a while, usually when he catches one of the other guys looking their way.

For the first time, Ryan understands why someone might want to come out. It would be nice to have this all the time. Well, not all the time, because Ladd is actually kind of fucking heavy, but it's good for now.

The meeting ends, but Ladd doesn't move, he just turns a little so he's almost straddling Ryan.

"I don't think I actually want to give them a show," Ryan says, but he doesn't move away when Ladd leans down and rests his head against Ryan’s.

"But what if I want to make everyone jealous of me? This is the only place I get to to do it."

"Jealous of me, you mean. I still think Ben might kill me in my sleep."

"I wouldn't let him. And no, I mean jealous of me. Do you know how many people asked me if you were single after your first meeting?"

Ryan never used to blush this much, he's pretty sure. "Shut up, they did not."

"They did. Didn't they, Jane?"

Ryan had kind of forgotten she was there.

"Sorry, Ryan, they totally did."

"I hate both of you," Ryan informs them.

"No, you don't," Ladd says, and kisses him so Ryan can't argue.

After the meeting, they're almost back to the house when Ladd asks, "So do you have anything wild and crazy planned for Saturday?"

It feels like a trick question, like maybe he's forgetting something. "No? I mean, I'm sure the guys will be doing something stupid."

Ladd snorts in agreement. Friday night games always make for interesting Saturday nights. "Did you want to do keg stands with Smitty?" Ladd asks.

Ryan shrugs. "I can pass on getting kicked in the face again til next time, I guess. Why?"

"I was thinking we could grab dinner off campus, maybe see what movies are playing." Ladd shrugs.

It's kind of weird that Ladd wants to go on a date, but it doesn't sound like a terrible time, and he's going to have to eat at some point. He'd almost rather stay in and have sex, because a date is -- it's just weird. But he promised.

"Yeah, sure, I mean, whatever sounds good."

"Cool," Ladd says with a wide grin.


The game on Friday goes great. Their line gets two goals, and Coach mentions wanting to give them some power play time. Dinner after is loud and cheerful, and Ladd is handsy, but no one thinks anything of it.

"Meet me in the south lot at six tomorrow?" Ladd asks quietly when they go their separate ways at the house. Ryan nods, and Ladd brushes his fingers against Ryan's waist where none of the guys can see.

At 5 the next day, Ryan realizes this is a terrible idea.

"This is a terrible idea," he tells Jane on the phone.

"Can't figure out what to wear?" Jane asks. Ryan is, in fact, standing in his room in a towel, hair dripping, and he has no idea what to wear.

"We're just going to the movies or something, it doesn't matter what I wear." Ryan really wishes he sounded like he meant that.

"Wear the jeans that make your ass look good," Jane instructs.

"Since when do you notice what my ass looks like?" Ryan asks, but he knows which jeans she means, so he pulls them out.

"I'm a lesbian, not blind. That dark blue button down. It brings out your eyes."

"Isn't that a little dressy?" Ryan asks, but he pulls it out anyway.

"Andrew will appreciate it. And I'd just like to point out the ridiculousness of a dyke giving a gay man fashion advice."

"I'm a hockey player. My idea of fashion is making sure my jersey fits right."


When he gets to the lot, Ladd is leaning against a RAV-4, and Ryan's glad Jane made him dress up a little. Not that Ladd's dressed up, he just looks really good. Ryan's almost tempted to push him back against the car right there.

"Whose car is this?"

"Ben's," Ladd says. "He said we can borrow it."

"Did you have to trade sexual favors?" Ryan asks. It's weird when Ladd opens his door for him, but kind of nice.

"Nah, but I didn't sweep the car for bugs, so I can't guarantee full privacy in the back seat later. But I'm sure he'd keep it for his private collection."

There's nothing they can do in the back seat that they haven't already, but Ryan can't help the little thrill that goes through him at the thought.

Ryan expects Ladd to take them to the strip of Burlington with the multiplex and a bunch of restaurants, but instead he drives them a few towns over and parks in the lot of a bar and grill.

"Is this okay?" Ladd asks when he turns off the car. "I just figured, you know, there probably won't be people from school here..."

"It's fine," Ryan assures him, and to cover up how awkward he feels, he leans across and kisses Ladd. Ladd opens up to him immediately, threading his fingers through Ryan's carefully gelled hair. Ryan really wishes the center console wasn't between them right now.

"Your ass looks amazing in those jeans," Ladd says between kisses. Ryan laughs.

"That's what Jane said."

Ladd pulls back a little and narrows his eyes at Ryan. "Tell Jane to keep her eyes to herself."

"Oh, shut up," Ryan says, and he kisses Ladd again.

They kiss like that, leaning over the console, until Ladd pulls back. "No, wait. I have a plan for the evening, and you're skipping things."

"So?" Ryan asks, leaning in again.

"No," Ladd says, leaning back against the door. "I'm taking you to dinner."

"Well, if you insist," Ryan says, hopefully with more lightness than he feels at the moment.

Ladd grins and opens his door. Ryan quickly gets out before Ladd has the chance to open the door for him.

The place is pretty much one step up from a diner, nothing too fancy, thank god, but Ryan notices the rainbow flag sticker on the door. Ladd really did plan this.

It's dimly lit, and the menu is simple, but Ryan stares at it so he won't have to look at Ladd. Now that they're here, just by themselves, Ryan feels even more uncomfortable. They have to get through a whole meal before they can go to the movie, or better yet, start making out again.

But then Ladd starts talking about their upcoming game against BU, and plays he thinks he and Ryan can pull off against them, and if there's one thing Ryan can always talk about, it's hockey. He's surprised when their burgers are set in front of them.

A few minutes later, Ladd's phone beeps.

"It's Seabs," he says with a smile. "He wants to know how it's going." He starts tapping out a reply.

"Oh," Ryan says, unsure of what to think of Ladd telling Seabs about their date. Maybe asking him for help in thinking of what to do. He's not jealous, but it makes it feel more real and serious, that Ladd asked his best friend for advice. "What are you telling him?"

Ladd grins. "I'm telling him it's going great, and if he knows what's best for him, he won't text me again tonight, because I'll be busy."

Ryan relaxes a little, like, he's glad Ladd thinks the date is going well. Ryan just doesn't have any frame of reference for this, because the only other date he's been on was a group thing in the eighth grade when supposedly he was going with Sarah Larson, but they barely looked at each other the whole time.

Ladd insists on paying when the check comes. "I invited you."

Ryan frowns. "I'm not the girl."

"Believe me, I know," Ladd says with a grin.

He buys the movie tickets, too, but Ryan steals Ladd’s wallet out of his hand so he has a chance at paying for the soda and popcorn.

"That was a dirty trick," Ladd says in his ear as their drinks are filled. Ryan has to pretend he's waiting for a face off to keep from shivering a little.

It's a Saturday night, and they're seeing some movie with lots of explosions, so the theater is pretty crowded. Which means no making out, even though they sit near the back.

When the lights go down, though, Ladd leans against Ryan's shoulder and puts his hand on Ryan's thigh. His hand is warm through Ryan's jeans, and even though he's not doing anything with his hand, Ryan can feel a low burn of want start in his stomach. He's going to be a mess by the end of the movie. He really should move Ladd's hand.

Instead, he covers Ladd's hand with his own. After a few minutes, Ladd curls his fingers around Ryan's.

It's nice not worrying about anyone seeing them in the dark, but Ryan wishes there were fewer people around. Ladd should've chosen some kids’ movie. Maybe -- no, no maybe, because there isn't going to be a next time.

Besides, they'd probably get caught and arrested for lewd behavior, and wouldn't that be a great way to get outed? He can see it on TSN: Vancouver Canucks prospect Ryan Kesler and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Andrew Ladd were arrested in Burlington, Vermont for lewd behavior in a movie theater.

And then getting released the very next day. That would happen.

"Hey, are you okay?" Ladd whispers.

"Huh? Yeah, fine," Ryan says. "This movie is really dumb."

"That's half the point," Ladd grins.

Ryan actually hadn't been paying attention to the movie at all, and now that he tries, he finds he can't follow what little plot it's pretending to have between all the explosions.

Ladd squeezes his hand, and Ryan squeezes back without thinking about it.

After what seems like eternity but is only 97 minutes, according to the movie information out front, the movie is finally over.

Ryan stands up the second the credits start rolling, and he pulls Ladd to his feet, too.

"Whoa, are we in a hurry?" Ladd asks.

"Yes," Ryan hisses. "Car. Now."

Ryan's not bold enough to drag Ladd through the lobby by his hand, but he wishes he was, because Ladd is just meandering along like he has nothing urgent to do, and Ryan clearly remembers saying “now.”

In the parking lot, there's less of a crowd, and Ryan gets Ladd by his wrist. Ladd had the great foresight to park in the back corner of the lot, and when they get to the car, Ryan pushes Ladd against the door -- kinda hard, oops -- and attacks his mouth.

Ladd doesn't seem too upset about it, though.

They kiss like that until Ryan's grinding his hips down against Ladd's, and Ladd pulls his head back to say, "Maybe, uh, maybe we should get in the car."

"Yeah. Yes," Ryan says, but he doesn't move.

"I need to get the keys out, Kes." Ladd laughs.

Ryan runs his hands over the front of Ladd's jeans, searching for them, and Ladd gasps. "Oh fuck, thanks, but uh --" He reaches into his jacket pocket and fumbles with the buttons until the headlights flash.

Ryan doesn't even bother with the front door, just reaches behind Ladd and pops open the back door.

"You know," Ladd says, "I was gonna try and be classy about this..."

"Fuck classy," Ryan growls. He crowds Ladd into the car, and onto the seat, and climbs on top of him. He turns and shuts the door without banging his head on the roof of the car, barely. Then he's back on top of Ladd, kissing him and running his hands over his chest, and fuck, it's good.

Not great, because the backseat is still not really big enough for two hockey player-sized guys, but Ryan doesn't even care -- Ladd is thrusting his hips against Ryan's and saying "Ryan, fuck, want you so bad," between kisses.

Ryan gets Ladd's shirt up to his armpits, figures that's good enough, then moves to his zipper. Ladd is trying to work on the buttons of Ryan's shirt, and is being impeded by his unwillingness to move his mouth from Ryan's.

Ryan seriously considers ripping them all off, but he doesn't have that many nice shirts, and he'd have to explain to his mom how he ruined this one. Finally Ladd gets the last button undone, and he pulls Ryan down to him so their skin is touching.

Ryan's hard-on is starting to be painful inside of his jeans, and he doesn't think his knees will ever be the same from being squished in here, and he doesn't care at all. Ladd's hands move to Ryan's fly and brush his dick, and Ryan can't even be embarrassed at the sound he makes then. He has to stop kissing Ladd and pant into his neck as Ladd works the button open and the zipper down.

"God, Andrew, please," he moans into Ladd's skin. Ladd's hips buck, and his dick brushes Ryan's, and oh.

"Like that?" Ladd asks. Ryan can't even make words anymore, he can only nod.

He fumbles to get Ladd's pants down until finally, finally their dicks are touching, and they're both smearing pre-come on each other's stomachs as they thrust against each other. It's fucking amazing, feeling Ladd's dick sliding against his own, but he wants so much more.

But they're in the back seat of Ben's car -- he'll probably be embarrassed about that later, but right now he doesn't give a shit -- and there's just no room, not to mention lube or condoms, so he has to make do. So he wraps his hand around both of their cocks and has to bite the inside of his lip when Ladd moans, "Oh fuck yes."

"You are so fucking hot," Ryan mumbles against his ear. "I probably shouldn't be telling you this, because you already know, but oh fuck --" he bites out as Ladd grabs his wrist and makes him twist his hand around them both.

"Ryan," Ladd whines, and that's it, Ryan is done, he's coming all over Ladd's stomach and his own stomach, and probably Ben's backseat, too.

He's barely even done when Ladd says "Oh, fuck," and wraps his hand around Ryan’s for just a few strokes, and then he's coming too. Ryan feels it on his dick and his stomach, and if he could get hard again this soon, he would, just from that.

Ryan collapses onto Ladd's chest, tucks his face between Ladd's neck and shoulder, and breathes in the mingled scent of sweat and come and Ladd's cologne. Ladd settles his arms around Ryan's waist, and they just stay there like that. In a few minutes, it's probably gonna be seriously gross, but until then, Ryan can't be assed to move.

Eventually it's too itchy to lay comfortably, so they have to move. They clean up as best they can with napkins from Ben's glove compartment. There is totally jizz on the bottom of Ryan's shirt. Hopefully it will be too dark on the walk back to the house for anyone to notice.

On the way back, Ladd drives with one hand and rests the other on Ryan's thigh. Ryan thinks about telling him to drive with two hands: what, does he wanna get them killed? But he's too blissed out from his orgasm to care, and it feels good and warm, so he doesn't say anything

They make out for a while in the parking lot back at school. It was just supposed to be a quick goodnight kiss that they can't really have anywhere else, but they get distracted.

Finally they pull away, and Ladd smiles softly. Ryan can't remember seeing him smile like that before. It makes him feel kind of weird as he tries to smile back.

"Tonight was good," Ladd says.

"Yeah," Ryan agrees. Because it was, it was really good.

They walk back to the house quietly, and it's almost the perfect way to end the evening. Ryan can't help wishing they were going to bed together.

The party has moved elsewhere when they get to the house, so they don't have to explain where they've been or what, exactly, is on Ryan's shirt.

"See you tomorrow," Ladd says softly at the bottom of the stairs, even though there's no one around to hear him.

"Yeah," Ryan says. He reaches out and brushes the back of Ladd's neck with his hand. It's a pretty stupid gesture, but Ladd smiles like Kesler gave him a winning lottery ticket.


Ryan wakes up the next morning to Tim's snoring, but not even that can dampen the overwhelming feeling of contentment. It's pretty strange -- Ryan's mostly used to an overwhelming feeling of anger -- but he can roll with it.

He brushes his teeth, throws on shorts and a hoodie, and goes downstairs to see if he has any cereal left.

No one actually does much cooking at the house -- they all have pretty big meal plans -- but almost everyone keeps snacks around. Ryan hasn't done any grocery shopping in a while, but he finds a box of Frosted Mini Wheats that's not too stale. He'll head to the dining hall later, when he feels like getting dressed.

He eats them straight from the box and wanders into the den, where anyone who's already up will have gathered.

"Seriously, Laddy, you should meet her. Tits out to here," Jared says. "And she's not obviously crazy or anything."

"Wow, what a stunning recommendation," Ladd says lazily from his chair. "Hey, Kes," he says when he sees Ryan hanging around the doorway.

"Seriously, though," Chris cuts in. "She's hot, and she asked where you were last night."

Ryan can feel the good mood he woke up with slipping away, even as Ladd rolls his eyes. "Thanks, guys, but I can pick up on my own. I don't need an assist on this."

Ryan doubts anyone else notices the lack of pronoun used.

"He just doesn't get it," Jared says.

"Not at all," Chris agrees. "You'll see, Ladder. And then you'll be thanking us."

"I really won't," Ladd says, then turns to Ryan.

"Kes. Share the cereal love." He makes a sleepy motion with his hand. Ryan walks into the room and hands him the cereal box, even though he wants to say, “No cereal until you tell them you're taken.” Ladd's rumpled from sleep and sprawled in the chair almost bonelessly. Ryan is torn between wanting to kiss him and wanting to punch him. So pretty much like normal then, but he'd gotten used to the kissing feeling winning out.

"Keep it," he says, when Ladd tries to hand the box back. "I think I'm just gonna go to the dining hall." He scrams as quickly as possible without looking like he's running away. He changes into jeans and sneakers as fast as he can, and when he gets down the stairs, Ladd is dressed and waiting and smiling, like he's wondering what took Ryan so long.

Kesler tries to push the nagging horrible feeling away as he eats breakfast with Ladd. The guys on the team are morons, pretty uniformly, and they don't know any better. Ladd said no, and he isn't pretending to be interested in another girl or anything. It doesn't matter anyway.

Ladd kicks his feet under the table and asks what's bothering him. Ryan snaps, "I'm not awake yet, dumbass, oh my god, shut up," and Ladd laughs, then goes and refills Ryan's coffee.

Ryan is fine. And everything is going to be fine. He shoves some hash browns in his mouth and tries to believe that.


They have practice that afternoon, and then it's time to do all the homework they've neglected the rest of the weekend. Ladd and Ryan agree to do it separately so it actually gets done.

When they get back from dinner, there are a bunch of girls in the den.

Ryan feels awkward almost immediately. He's never been good at faking interest in these situations, so he usually just defaults to acting like an asshole or bailing entirely. But Ladd lets Jared wave him over to the couch.

"Ladd! Come meet Brittany."

And Ryan should leave, he should just go to his room and anything but stand here and watch this all go down. He knows how it's going to end, there's no need for him to torture himself.

He sits down in one of the chairs that's supposed to be in the kitchen and pretends to watch NHL On the Fly instead of the Animal Planet or whatever the hell is happening on the couch.

But of course he can't help watching. Like a car accident or something, he just can't look away.
Ladd's standing by the couch smiling and saying hi to everyone. Ryan vaguely recognizes the girls because they hang around the hockey players a lot -- Jane lectured him last time he used the phrase “puck bunnies.”

He knows who Brittany is, despite missing the introductions. She has shiny hair and a low cut shirt, and she really does have tits out to there. And she's leaning toward Ladd, flashing her incredibly white teeth. Ryan makes himself look back at the TV when she pulls Ladd down onto the couch next to her.

He manages to concentrate on hockey for a few minutes while they're showing Canucks highlights. When he looks back at the couch, Brittany is leaning against Ladd, her tits pressed up against his arm, and Ladd is laughing.

Ryan gets up so fast he knocks his chair over. He rights it quickly, not looking at anyone, trying to hide his blush. He flees to his room and slams the door behind him.

He puts on his headphones and pulls up on his laptop. He gets through every Probert fight there is before someone knocks on his door. He ignores it, hoping whoever it is will just leave him alone, but after a minute, there's another knock, and Ladd pokes his head in.

"Hey, how loud do you have those things?" he asks, nodding to Ryan's headphones.

"Not very," Ryan says, barely looking up.

"Oh." Ladd sounds confused. "Everything okay? Did something happen?"

"Nothing happened. Nothing unexpected, anyway," Ryan says, still staring at the screen.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Ladd asks, dropping onto the foot of Ryan's bed.

"It isn't supposed to mean anything," Ryan says. "It just is what it is."

"Wait," Ladd says, "are you mad at me?"

"Why would I be mad at you?" Ryan asks tonelessly.

"You are! What the hell, dude?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Ryan says. He pulls up Gordie Howe's page and starts at the beginning.

"Ryan, will you at least look at me?" Ladd puts his hand on Ryan's shoulder, and Ryan jerks away. "Okay, seriously, what is going on?"

"Isn't there like, a party downstairs that you should be a part of?" Ryan very carefully looks at Ladd's shoulder.

"Is that what this is about? Are you mad about Brittany? I didn't want them to set me up, you heard me tell them. And nothing happened down there, and nothing is going to happen, okay?"

Ryan feels some sort of weird calm descend. "Maybe it should, though," he says, and it barely even feels like him talking. "This will be over on Tuesday, and then you might want her around."

Ladd kind of looks like someone hit him with a brick. "But..." he says. "I mean, I thought..."

"You thought what?"

"I thought you liked this, liked us," Ladd nearly yells.

"Keep your voice down," Ryan lectures. "And of course I like it, who doesn't like getting laid regularly? But it's just a fling, Ladd. Half the appeal is the expiration date."

He wonders how he manages to sound so calm and detached.

"What -- what is wrong with you?" Ladd asks, his voice straining.

"With me? Nothing. This whole thing was your idea, in case you forgot."

"Only because you were being insane and I thought..."

"That one week would make me fall madly in love with you?" Ryan asks. "You certainly aren't lacking in confidence, are you?"

"I thought if I could get you to get over yourself for a second, you'd realize that we're good together, and I'm serious about this," Ladd growls.

The familiar thrum of anger at Ladd is almost comforting. "We're not," Ryan says flatly. "And you're not."

"What is it gonna take for you to believe me? You're so busy being a fucking martyr that you're not paying attention!"

Ryan narrows his eyes. "Sorry you didn't get your way this time. That must be tough for you. Maybe Brittany can help you through it. Now I have homework to finish up. You can leave."

"No," Ladd says.

"Excuse me?" Ryan asks.

"I'm not leaving," Ladd says, crossing his arms. Ryan hasn't balled up his fist with the urge to punch him in so long, it's almost comforting. "You agreed to date me til Tuesday."

"I'm breaking up with you early," Ryan snaps.

"Then the deal’s off. I'm not leaving you alone," Ladd says.

"Fuck you motherfucking fuck cock son of a bitch," Ryan swears. "Fine, whatever, Tuesday."

"And you can't be mysteriously unavailable until Tuesday night," Ladd sneers.

"What the fuck do you care?" Ryan finally explodes.

"It clearly doesn't matter to you," Ladd says. He crosses his arms over his chest and glares. "But that's the deal. Unless you stick with your end, I'm not sticking with mine."

"Fucking fine!" Ryan says. "But unless you get out right the fuck now, you're gonna have to tell everyone you walked into a door."

Ladd walks to the door. "I'm leaving. But tomorrow morning --"

"Yes, I get it," Ryan interrupts him. "Leave."

Ladd slams the door behind him.


Ryan stews all night, and as he falls asleep, is reminded of that cliché "never go to bed angry." Like it fucking matters. He just has to get through two more days of this, and it's not like they have a real relationship or anything.

When he gets downstairs the next morning, two minutes before he has to leave for class, Ladd is waiting for him with an Eggo and a travel mug of coffee.

"What are you doing?" Ryan asks, eyeing the waffle suspiciously. He'd taken the coffee without thinking about it, and now nearly regrets it.

"Holding up my end of the deal," Ladd says. "Come on, we're gonna be late for class."

Ryan doesn't know how he just does that, how he can pretend last night didn't even happen. But if there's one thing he's pretty sure of, it's Andrew Ladd's ability to fake things, so it's not as surprising as it could be.

Ladd sits next to him in class and bumps his knee against Ryan's periodically. Ryan has to stop himself from pulling away. He just has to remind himself that he deals with this now, and come Tuesday, Ladd will leave him alone for good.

"I'm having lunch with Jane," Ryan says pointedly when class is over.

"I know," Ladd says. "I'll see you at practice, eh?"

"Yeah okay," Ryan says, and he hurries off to meet Jane at the Student Union.

"Sooo," Jane says when she sits down, "how was the rest of your weekend?"

Ryan drops his head onto the table.

He explains what happened in as few words as possible in between sips of his Gatorade.

"You're a fucking moron," Jane says when he finishes.

"Why, because I don't want to watch a straight guy set up a back up plan for when he gets tired of experimenting?"

"Ryan, he's not --"

"Not what? Straight?" Ryan scoffs. "He spent the first semester actively trying to piss me off in any way he could, and suddenly he's decided I'm worth redefining his sexuality for? He's had five months and plenty of willing guys in the GSA."

"I know, but..."

He flicks the cap from his bottle across the table. "Just because I'm not picking out curtains with Andrew fucking Ladd doesn't mean I'm going to die alone, Jane."

"Where are you gonna find a gay guy that puts up with all your hockey shit?" Jane asks.

"I'll marry a Canadian," Ryan says promptly, and Jane finally laughs.

"You really don't think you could give Andrew the benefit of the doubt? I mean, he's been a good boyfriend for the most part, hasn't he?"

Ryan sighs. "I mean, yeah, sure, this week, he has. But I can't trust that he'll be there when it gets tough. Isn't that important?"

"Of course, but --"

"Jane, I really don't want to talk about this anymore."

"Okay. Do you still need help on that World Lit paper?"


Ryan's supposed to meet a bunch of the guys in the weight room after class, but Ladd's going to be there, so he's already decided to skip and maybe just go hit the bike in the regular student gym. But when he gets out of class, Ladd is there waiting for him.

"Don't you ever have anything better to do?" Ryan asks.

"I want to hang out with you, it sort of goes along with --"

"Fine, whatever," Ryan says, cutting him off before he can say 'dating' or whatever he was going to.

"Besides, we're going to the same place." Ladd shrugs, and Ryan has to pretend he wasn't thinking about bailing.

Ladd carries on a one sided conversation the whole trip across campus, and Ryan mostly tunes him out once he figures out that Ladd doesn't actually expect him to respond. He just needs to get through a few more hours of this shit, and Ladd will finally, finally leave him alone.

He's still glad when they meet up with the other guys, and he can talk to other people, and it's totally acceptable when he just puts on his iPod and hops on the bike. But he swears he can feel Ladd watching him the entire time, like maybe he's getting turned on watch Ryan sweat.

Probably not, though, because that's treading a little to close into actual homosexuality for Ladd.

When Ryan's done on the bike, he goes to pee before starting with the weights. He's kept his headphones in, so he's taken by complete surprise when he's walking back to the weight room and Ladd ambushes him.

Ladd pulls him behind a row of lockers and pushes him up against them and kisses him hard. Ryan opens his mouth and lets him in without even thinking about it, then regrets it.

"We shouldn't --" he manages before Ladd bites his neck.

"No one's coming. No one will see. I checked," Ladd says. He's breathing heavily, and Ryan can't tell if it's from his workout, making out, or both. Ladd smells like sweat. Ryan's sure he does too. It should be gross, but instead Ryan is hard in his shorts, and his hips are starting to buck against Ladd's.

"Every time we're here together, I wanna drag you back here and blow you," Ladd says. Ryan can't even process that because then Ladd is dropping to his knees and pulling Ryan's shorts down.

It takes him an embarrassingly short time to come. Ladd gets up and kisses him after, and when Ryan offers his hand he shakes his head. "I'm good."

Ryan wonders how the hell he's supposed to work out now. Ladd has moved away and grabbed his water bottle -- he apparently jumped Kesler totally prepared. He takes a few sips and hands the bottle to Ryan, who drinks about half of it in one go.

"Come on," Ladd says. "I'll spot you."

Ryan doesn't even know what to say to that, and his brain still feels fogged and stupid from his orgasm, so he just follows Ladd back to the weight room and doesn't even consider letting a weight drop on his head.

The rest of the guys clear out before they do, for night class, for dinner, whatever. Eventually it's just him and Ladd, and they hit the showers together. Ladd doesn't say much, which works fine for Ryan, as they rinse off to the sound of the water echoing off the walls.

He glances over his shoulder, checking again that they're the only ones here, before shoving Ladd back against the tiles.

"Kes, what --" Ladd asks as Ryan wraps a hand around his dick.

"I owe you one," Ryan says, stroking Ladd as fast as he can.

"Oh, fuck," Ladd swears, letting his head fall back against the wall. The handjob is fast and frantic. Ryan loses the rhythm a few times when he keeps checking to make sure no one's walked in.

Ladd does a pretty good job of keeping quiet, which is almost a shame, but Ryan can appreciate the way he bites his lip and breathes heavily out his nose. The moan when he comes bounces off the wall, and it's like every fantasy Ryan's ever had of a locker room shower since he was fourteen come to life.

He rinses off his hand under the spray of water and grabs the shampoo while Ladd catches his breath.

Ryan finishes his shower first and cuts off the water without waiting for Ladd.

Ladd's not too far behind him, though, and he's ready by the time Ryan is, so they walk to dinner together in silence.

A few of the guys are still in the dining hall when they get there. They eat dinner and shoot the shit with the guys, and then Ryan announces his need to work on a paper and bails. Ladd, thankfully, doesn't follow him.

Tags: blackhawks, canucks, hockey, hockeyrpf, ladd/kesler
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