panfix (panfix) wrote,

Hockey Fic: The One About the Appendix (Andrew Ladd/Ryan Kesler, Extra Curriculars Verse, Adult)

The One About the Appendix

Author: beatperfume
Pairing: Andrew Ladd/Ryan Kesler
Rating: Adult
Word Count: ~11,000
Summary: During his first NHL season, Andrew Ladd had an emergency appendectomy. This is a story about that.

Notes: This follows Nothing Worth Knowing in the Extra Curriculars Verse.

Warnings: Lack of medical knowledge, lack of people beating each other up, lack of plot, and Alexandre Burrows.

Thank you to shoemaster and doctor_denmark for being my audience, and to angelsaves for being my wonderful beta.

At AO3

"I have finals," is the first thing Jane says when Andrew picks up his cell phone, "And I can't come down there to be by your bedside."

"What?" Andrew says. "Why would you come here? You don't need to come here." Maybe it's that the anesthesia hasn't completely worn off yet, but this conversation isn't making any sense.

"Then would you fucking call your boyfriend and tell him that? He's driving me up the wall. He tried to buy me plane tickets."

Andrew covers his eyes with his free hand and sighs. "I'm sorry," he tells Jane.

"Don't apologize to me," she says. "Maybe if you'd, oh, I don't know, called him since you had emergency surgery, he wouldn't be bothering me."

From the chair next to his bed, his mom is giving him a questioning look. Andrew waves his hand at her.

"My mom's talked to him every morning and every night."

"Yeah, like that's gonna be enough to satisfy him."

Her tone implies that Andrew should know better, and the thing is that he really really does. Which is one of the reasons he hasn't called Ryan yet. Ryan's such a fucking worrier. Andrew doesn't need him motherhenning from 3000 miles away. That's what he has his actual mother here for.

Plus, he had a wacky reaction to the anesthesia and he spent all night spewing mushy crap about Ryan at anyone who would listen, which luckily was mostly just his mother and the night nurse. Andrew's really really glad Ryan has games and couldn't be here. His mother just decided he was sober enough to handle his phone when Jane called.

"I'll call him," Andrew promises.

"You better," Jane says. "I have studying to do and a thesis to write. I don't have time for this shit." Then her voice softens. "But I'm glad you're okay. You scared us."

"I know, I'm sorry."

"Try not to let it happen again," Jane says, and hangs up without saying goodbye.

His mom is still looking at him, so Andrew has to explain. "Jane says to call Ryan."

"He's very worried about you, honey," his mom says, mildly.

Andrew rolls his eyes. "I know."

He looks at his phone. He has 34 text messages from Ryan alone, and 20 from Seabs. Great.

His head is still too fuzzy to figure out the time difference and whether or not Ryan will be at practice, so he just sends him and Seabs a text that says, "I'm okay. Have my phone back now."

His phone is ringing in under 30 seconds. It's Ryan. Of course.

"Fuck you, you fucking douchebag asshole," Ryan says. "Never do that again."

"I can't. Like, physically can't," Andrew points out. "I don't have an appendix anymore."

"Fuck you," Ryan says again, and maybe it's the shitty connection, or Andrew's fuzzy head, but Ryan sounds awful. He's probably been working out too much. That's what he does when he's stressed. "We play Minnesota in two days, but I could-"

"No," Andrew says. "Ryan, no. That's ridiculous."

Ryan sighs. "I know, but-"

Andrew looks up and his mom is watching him intently. He narrows his eyes at her. "Hold on," he tells Ryan. Then, to his mom, "Could you give us a minute?"

"Nothing you say to him could surprise me after last night," she says.

"Mom! That's not the point!"

Thankfully she gets up and leaves. Christ, what did Andrew even say last night?

"They'll probably release me this afternoon. I'll be fine."

"I know," Ryan says quietly. "But I want to see you."

Hearing him say it makes Andrew's stomach clench uncomfortably in a completely non-appendix related way. Most of the time he's too busy to miss Ryan, and besides, they're used to being apart. But sometimes phone calls really don't cut it.

"It'd be a waste anyway," Andrew says past the lump in his throat. Fucking anesthesia. "I mean, I'm not even allowed to have sex for like, weeks."

"Oh, well in that case, you're completely useless to me," Ryan says. He's trying for light, and not quite making it.

"I know," Andrew says. "You just want me for my body. That's okay. It's a pretty great body."

"God," Ryan says, "you're such an egomaniac."

He talks to Ryan until a nurse comes in to give him his medication. Ryan sounds less like he's going to spontaneously combust, and only offers to get on a plane to Raleigh twice more, so Andrew counts it as a success.

They do release him that afternoon, and after a quick stop at the RBC his mom drives him back to his apartment.

"I don't know how you live like this, Andrew," she says as she settles him into his bed. Andrew's trying not grimace with how much it hurt to walk around for such a small amount of time.

"I've only lived here for two months," he says. "And I'm not actually here that often," He knows the apartment is a little ... spare. But he really doesn't have the time or energy to spend on decorating. Or grocery shopping.

"You can't mend correctly here," his mom says, picking up some of the t-shirts on his floor and putting them in his laundry bag. "You should come back to Maple Ridge with me."

"Wait, what?"

"You can't skate until after Christmas anyway, and it would be a lot easier on me, since I could look after you and get the house ready for the family at the same time."


"I already spoke with your coach and the team doctors."

"Okay, but-"

"It really would make my life a lot easier."

"Okay," Andrew says. He feels a little like he's been hit by a bus, which is pretty normal for how his mom works.

"Oh good. I already bought the plane tickets. We leave at 2:30 tomorrow. You'll come back to Raleigh after Christmas."

She leaves him with his laptop and the TV remote while she goes to get dinner, since there's nothing in his fridge except some old take-out and Gatorade. He turns the TV to ESPN and picks up his phone.

“BC tmrw,” he texts Ryan.

“I know,” comes the reply a few minutes later.

Andrew rolls his eyes. He's going to regret letting Ryan and his mom talk to each other, he just knows it.

ESPN is boring, so he calls Seabs.

"Babe! You're alive!" Seabs says.

"A little thing like an appendix isn't gonna get me down," Andrew says.

"I knew that. You've called Kes, right?"

"Of course I have. Jesus, did he bother you too?"

"Only a little. I bothered him a little too. You know how he is."

"No kidding. He's blowing it out of proportion."

"Yeah, just like you were totally cool about the concussion he got last year."

"That was an illegal hit!"

"Sure thing, sweetie. So I hear you're going back home."

Andrew considers hanging up. "Is there some kind of phone tree about me that I don't know about?"

"Yes," Seabs says. "I have to call Fraz and Brouwer when I'm done talking to you."

The worst thing is that Andrew can't tell if Seabs is serious or not.

He tries to change the subject and makes Seabs tell him about Syracuse, and pretends to be interested.

His mom comes home with dinner and Seabs says, "No, it's cool, Fraz is bugging me on IM anyway," and hangs up.

Andrew needs better friends.


The next day it’s a shit show trying to get to the airport because Andrew isn't allowed to carry anything and he refuses to let someone push him in a wheel chair.

"Honey, don't be silly," his mom says. "It will be easier this way."

"Mom, no," Andrew says as firmly as he can while leaning on the ticket counter, pressing his forearm to his stomach. "The doctors said I could walk."

His mom rolls her eyes and says, "Fine."

It takes them forever to get to their gate, and Andrew feels like his stomach is going to split open by the time they get there. He refused the Vicodin after his reaction to the anesthesia, so he takes out the aspirin and swallows two dry. His mom just looks at him and shakes her head.

They have first class seats. Thank god.

Andrew looks at his mom suspiciously. "Did you use my credit card for this?"

"What did you say, honey?" she asks without looking up from her book or her orange juice.

Of course she did. Which is fine, because now he makes more money than he knows what to do with, but geez, she could have at least asked.

Whatever. It's a good 6 hours to Vancouver and Andrew plans to sleep the whole time. He puts his seat as far back as it will go, tucks a pillow against his stomach for support, and dozes off.

His mom wakes him up when they're descending into Vancouver and he has to put his seat back up.

"Are you sure you don't want a wheelchair?" she asks as they deplane.

"I'm sure," he says and steels himself for the walk to baggage claim. He's way more likely to be recognized here than Raleigh, and he'll be damned if he's going to be in a wheelchair if that happens.

He's expecting his dad to be waiting for them, so he's surprised when they get to baggage claim and Ryan is there, surrounded by a crowd of kids, and signing autographs. He sees them, says something to the kids, and they all run off.

Ryan jogs over to them.

"Why aren't you in a wheelchair?" he asks.

"I'm allowed to walk," Andrew grits out.

"You look like shit," Ryan says, and puts his shoulder under Andrew's, taking most of his weight.

"I don't need-"

"Shut up," Ryan says, and deposits him in a chair. "Stay there. I'll get your bags."

"Nice to see you, too," Andrew grumbles when Ryan heads to the baggage carousel.

Ryan has Andrew's duffel and his mom's rolling suitcase when he comes back. He watches closely as Andrew gets up slowly, then offers his shoulder again. Andrew wants to tell him to fuck off, except that he hasn't gotten to touch Ryan in what seems like forever, and his shoulder is solid and warm. Also, Ryan would probably insist and then there would be a big scene.

"I can take my suitcase," his mom offers.

"Oh no, I can get it," Ryan says, like carrying two bags and Andrew, practically, is no big deal. "My car isn't far."

By 'not far' Ryan apparently means 'right outside,' which it is, running, and being guarded by a security officer who Andrew is pretty sure should be towing the car, not opening the trunk for Ryan.

His mom settles him in the back seat while Ryan loads the bags and thanks and fist bumps the security officer.

"No problem, Kes," the guy says, and walks off.

"Since when are you charming enough to convince people to do things for you?" Andrew huffs. He doesn't know why it irritates him so much. Maybe because the aspirin wore off hours ago.

"Andrew!" his mom scolds, but Ryan just turns and smiles at him. Andrew refuses to be charmed.

"I just explained the situation," Ryan says. "And signed something for his kid. It's good to be a Canuck."

Ryan flips on the radio as they leave the airport, and his mom rummages in her bag and wordlessly hands him the aspirin and his antibiotics.

Ryan has a case of Gatorade in the seat next to Andrew, so he snags one and starts to open it. He can actually feel Ryan's eyes on him in the rear view mirror. He knows what Ryan's thinking.

"I can open a bottle of Gatorade," Andrew says.

"Okay," Ryan says, but doesn't look away.

"Watch the road!" Andrew snaps.

"Honey, take your pills," his mom says. He does, only barely placated by the fact that it's his favorite flavor of Gatorade.

Ryan hums along with the radio, taking way more looks in the mirror at Andrew than necessary. He's not going to keel over, for fuck's sake. His mom calls his dad and tells him they're on their way. It would almost be nice, if it weren't for the fact that Andrew is supposed to be playing a game in Tampa Bay right now.

Some of the pain in his head and abdomen has receded by the time they get to the house. His dad comes out to meet them, gives Andrew a careful hug and slaps Ryan heartily on the back.

"I'll get the bags," he says to Ryan, "You just take care of Andrew."

"Oh sure, leave me with the hard job," Ryan jokes. Andrew grits his teeth.

"We'll shout when dinner's ready," his mom says, and waves them off.

Ryan takes Andrew's weight on his shoulder again. It's basically like every time Ryan got him home when he was drunk in college, except there probably won't be blowjobs at the end of it this time.

Ryan gets Andrew to his room, sits him down on the bed, then putters around moving things to the nightstand so Andrew can reach them: a box of tissues, the remote for his sound dock, a phone charger left under his desk.

Andrew glares at him.

"Ryan. Come here."

"Do you need something?" Ryan asks, stepping toward Andrew.

"Yes," Andrew says, grabs the front of Ryan's shirt, and pulls him down so Andrew can kiss him. Ryan kisses back for a minute before he pulls away.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

Andrew can't even answer in words, just in a frustrated grunt, and pulls Ryan back to him. Luckily Ryan gets the hint and opens his mouth for Andrew's tongue, and then, after another minute, starts kissing back harder. His hands come up to grasp the side of Andrew's face, curling around to the back of his head and holding him in place as his lips move fiercely over Andrew's.

It feels so fucking good.

Andrew tilts his head back, and then some movement he didn't realize he made makes his stomach protest and makes an involuntary noise. Ryan stops kissing him immediately.

"I'm fine," Andrew says. "Don't stop."

"I'm hurting you," Ryan says, and he doesn't sound good.

"You're not," Andrew tries to assure him. "It was just an awkward position. Here." He lies down on his side and pulls Ryan down to face him. "This will be better." Ryan still looks hesitant. "I haven't seen you in four months, asshole. Will you please just kiss me?"

Ryan scoots closer and nips Andrew's bottom lip. "You scared the shit out of me," he says.

"I'm sorry," Andrew says, even though it's not his fault his appendix decided to explode, or whatever. He's willing to admit, at this moment and never again, that if he got a call saying Ryan was in emergency surgery, he wouldn't react well either.

He kisses the underside of Ryan's jaw and says, "But hey, I'm fine, and I'm here. And you're here."

"True," Ryan says. Then he curls his hand around the back of Andrew's neck and finally gets back to the business of kissing.

They stay like that until his mom calls them down for dinner. Ryan pulls away reluctantly and flops onto his back.

"This is going to be a problem," he sighs. His hard on is tenting his jeans a little, and Andrew wants to blow him so bad he can suddenly taste it.

"I could-"

"Don't finish that sentence," Ryan cuts him off. "Just give me a minute."

Andrew would protest, but his stomach does kinda hurt, and his mom is shouting for them again. Ryan has his eyes squeezed shut and is muttering something to himself that Andrew can't quite make out. He's such a freak. He's not really hard anymore though. Andrew thinks that's a damn shame, out of habit.

Andrew manages to get downstairs on his own, mostly by clutching the banister, but it's victory nonetheless. He picks at his dinner because it's been a long fucking day and he's exhausted. It's almost midnight in Raleigh anyway. Ryan and his parents chat away. Seeing them like this, Andrew thinks, you'd never believe Ryan almost didn't get on the plane the first time he was supposed to come to Vancouver to meet them. He lets the conversation wash over him without paying much attention until he hears his name.

"Huh?" he says, looking up. Everyone is looking at him.

"Maybe you should just go to bed," his mom says. He blinks a few times.

"Maybe that's a good idea," he admits.

Ryan helps him back up the stairs and into bed, then gets him his aspirin and a bottle of water.

"You should stay," Andrew says. Ryan kneels next to the bed, leans over and kisses him quickly.

"Can't," he says. "Morning skate tomorrow."

"Minnesota," Andrew remembers.

"Yup. Next day off though, definitely."

"'Kay," Andrew agrees, and falls asleep before Ryan leaves.


Over the next few days Andrew mostly sleeps and eats and watches TV. He starts to feel a lot better, which is great, except for how he's still not allowed to do anything and he's incredibly bored. He doesn't think he's ever gone this long without playing hockey or working out since he started playing. His mom allows him short walks around the neighborhood, which are completely unsatisfying because it's cold and damp, and anyway, there's nowhere to go.

He texts Seabs and Ryan and Jane a lot. Seabs will respond if he's around, but he's busy in Syracuse. Jane mainly responds with some form of "BUSY! FINALS!" or "that's very nice but why can't you bother ryan?"

After a few days of this Ryan shows up at Andrew's house with his XBox.

"I'm leaving it here until Christmas," Ryan says as he sets it up. "Consider it your present from Jane and Seabs."

"Having a conversation with me once in a while would not lead to her failing out of college," Andrew complains.

"She's having trouble with her thesis." Ryan's voice is muffled from being behind the TV. He pops his head back out. "Leave her alone for a few days and she'll probably start feeling guilty, and then she'll call you." He does have a point.

"What do I need to talk to her for now that I have video games?" Andrew grins. "What games did you bring?"

Ryan holds up NHL 12 before popping it into the machine.

"Sweet. I call the Hurricanes."

Ryan snorts. "You're welcome to them."

"You won't be saying that when I'm kicking your ass."

"In your dreams." Ryan hands him a controller. "Need anything before we start? Water? Aspirin?"

Andrew rolls his eyes. "I can walk to the kitchen all by myself now."

"My willingness to wait on you hand and foot isn't going to last forever, you know."

Andrew considers. "Maybe some Gatorade?"

"Thought so," Ryan smirks, and gets up.

"Wait," Andrew says. When Ryan turns around he tugs at the bottom of Ryan's shirt until he leans down and kisses him. "Now get me my Gatorade."

"So demanding," Ryan says, but he's smiling when he walks into the kitchen.

Andrew can't stop smiling while he changes the uniform options. It sucks that he can't play any actual hockey right now, but he has video games, and he has Ryan, and that's pretty awesome.

When Ryan comes back with his Gatorade, Andrew has to kiss him again as a thank you, and that gets a little out of hand. Andrew's feeling a lot better, but he's still not allowed to have sex, and Ryan knows it.

"Game," Ryan says after a few minutes, and pulls away. Andrew was wrong: everything is awful.

After a few minutes, though, he forgets about making out, because Ryan is a competitive asshole about video games, and Andrew is not about to let him win. They get really into it, chirping each other, knocking each other with their elbows. Ryan wins a game, then Andrew wins a game, so obviously they have to play a third as a tie-breaker.

In the middle of the second period, Andrew scores a goal to take a 2-0 lead. "Ha! Take that Bobby Lu!" he yells, and throws his hands up in the air without thinking. "Oh fuck," he grunts as he pulls something and curls over his stomach.

"Shit," Ryan says. The game music stops. He feels Ryan's hands on his back. "Are you okay? Do I need to call the doctor?"

"I'll be fine," Andrew says through clenched teeth. "Just give me a minute."

"Maybe we should nix hockey games for the rest of the day, huh?"

"Ugh," Andrew says. After a few minutes, it no longer feels like his stomach is going to explode, and he sits up a bit.

"Come 'ere," Ryan says, and maneuvers him so Andrew's head is on his lap. He grabs a pillow from the other side of the couch and puts it against Andrew's stomach for him to hold. Then Ryan just runs his fingers through Andrew’s hair. It's nice, and it's soothing and all, Andrew just wishes he didn't have to be injured for it to happen.

"Only you would aggravate your surgical wound playing video games," Ryan says.

"Shut the fuck up," Andrew says.


That weekend the Canucks have a roadtrip. Just a short swing through Alberta, but Ryan will be gone for three days.

"He'll be back before you know it," his mom tells him during dinner.

"Yeah, I'm devastated," Andrew says, rolling his eyes. "He can't hover for three whole days."

His mom and dad give each other a look and Andrew grits his teeth. He's perfectly capable of existing without his boyfriend, thanks. He does it for 10 months out of the year just fine.

After dinner he plays some Call of Duty. Three days without Ryan means three days to beat his ridiculously high score. After a while, though, he gets bored, so he goes upstairs and emails Jane the picture his mom took earlier in the week. It's of him and Ryan asleep on the couch. Andrew's head is in Ryan's lap, and Ryan's head is tilted back on the couch, and his mouth is open. He looks ridiculous. Jane will appreciate it.

He screws around on the internet a little, but it's pretty boring, and there's no Facebook to occupy himself with since he deleted it last year.

He goes downstairs and turns on a hockey game, but it's Toronto versus Boston and incredibly boring.

He sighs.

"You okay there, kiddo?" his dad asks from the kitchen.

"Fine," Andrew says. "Just bored."

"Mmm-hmm," his dad says. Andrew narrows his eyes, but his dad just continues with, "You could read a book."

"Yeah, right, Dad," Andrew says, and flops back on the couch. The game goes to intermission a few minutes later, and Andrew gets up and goes to check his email again. Jane's replied with, "AWWWWWW. BRB, printing this out and looking at it forever! How are you doing with Ryan gone for the weekend? xoxo"

Andrew snorts and doesn't reply. Instead, he pulls out his phone and calls Seabs.

"Hey babe!" Seabs says when he picks up. It sounds loud where he is.

"Seabsie, I'm bored," Andrew whines. "Where are you?"

"Just a bar with some of the guys," Seabs says. "Poor baby, nothing to do with Ryan gone for the weekend?"

"It has nothing to do with Ryan," Andrew snaps. "I'm perfectly capable of living my life with Ryan not around!" Okay, yes, video games are more fun with two players, and boring hockey games are less boring with someone around to point out all the stupid parts with, but Andrew doesn't need Ryan around.

"Oooookay, sore spot," Seabs says.

"It's not-"

"You know," Seabs interrupts, as the sound of music and people shouting fades and is replaces by wind and traffic. "You and Ryan do more than fine being across the continent from each other most of the year. It's okay to want him around when you're in the same province. And since you can't distract yourself by playing hockey or anything."

"That's not-"

"It's okay to admit you miss him," Seabs says. "No one's going to think any less of you."

We're not you and Duncs, Andrew almost says, but stops himself because there's no need to mention Keith, even if he is bored and irritated.

"He makes things less boring around here," he admits instead. Seabs laughs.

"You two are ridiculous. Now go call him and let me get back to drinking."

Ryan picks up after the first ring and Andrew expects to hear the same bar noises that he heard from Seabs, but instead it's quiet when Ryan says, "Hey."

"Hey," Andrew says. "Where are you?"

"In my hotel room," Ryan says. "Watching Toronto/Boston. God, this shit is boring."

Andrew smiles. "I know, right?"


Apparently Andrew's parents like to sit down and watch Canucks games together. His dad always watched, but his mom never really had interest in hockey that Andrew wasn't playing.

"Oh, I like to watch Ryan play," she says when Andrew brings it up. "Of course, if you're playing, we watch that instead," she says quickly. Andrew narrows his eyes at her. At some point he's going to have to address the fact that she appears to like Ryan more than him.

Right now, though, it's good, because it means he doesn't have to fight for the remote just so he can watch Vancouver play Calgary. It's not that he misses Ryan so much he's resorting to watching him on TV or anything. He and Ryan always watch each other’s games if they can. And how else is he supposed to tell Ryan all the things he's doing wrong?

He keeps up a running commentary with his dad about the game in general, while his mom wanders in and out, checking on dinner, and taking a phone call from his aunt about Christmas Eve.

Ryan's been centering the third line all year, so his ice time isn't that high, but he tends to make the most of it. Andrew can't help the little thrill that goes through him when Ryan checks someone hard into the boards at the 'Nucks blue line. A little zing of pride that makes him want to brag, “that's my boyfriend.” He keeps his mouth shut, but he can't quite keep the smug smile off of his face. Thankfully, his dad doesn't say anything.

The Canucks win by two and Ryan gets an assist. "I was watching and you couldn't even score a goal for me?" Andrew texts him after the game. "Also, your coverage down low on the Iginla chance was for shit."

"I'd like to see you do better, gimpy," Ryan texts back 45 minutes later.

The next night, in Edmonton, Ryan scores a power play goal. After he's finished celebrating, he looks right into a camera and points. Andrew smiles.


Ryan gets back late Sunday night, and goes directly to his apartment to sleep. Andrew's antsy waiting for him to come over Monday afternoon after practice. Not that he misses Ryan or anything, he's just bored. Also, horny, because he's feeling a lot better now, and has done a lot of cuddling with his boyfriend, and he hasn't gotten orgasms out of any of it. Possibly he hasn't gone so long without an orgasm since he hit puberty.

Andrew's just sitting at the kitchen counter, watching his mom bake Christmas cookies, when his cell phone rings. It's Ryan, which means he must be on his way. Thank God. His mom is probably going to make him help soon, and that can only end in disaster.

"Hey," Andrew says

"Hey," Ryan says. "I'm on my way over." Something about his voice sounds weird. "And I have company."

"Company?" Andrew says. Who would Ryan bring over? Seabs, Brouwer, and Fraz are all still out of town, and Ryan doesn't know anyone else Andrew knows in BC. The only people Ryan knows in BC are Andrew's family and his teammates.

"Yeah," Ryan says, trying to sound normal and totally failing. "Bur wanted to come say hi."

Bur? Who the fuck is Bur? Wait. "You mean, like, Alexandre Burrows, your teammate? What the hell, why are you bringing him?"

"Yeah, well, I tried to tell him you're a complete bore, but he wouldn't listen," Ryan says. He sounds like maybe he's gritting his teeth a little bit. Which means that bringing Burrows along probably wasn't his idea, and also, he's probably sitting right next to Ryan. Great.

"Great," Andrew says, and drops his head into his hands.

"We'll be there in like, 20 minutes," Ryan says, and hangs up.

"Ugggggh," Andrew groans.

"Problems?" his mom asks lightly.

Andrew already showered after hitting the bike in the morning, but now he goes upstairs to put on jeans instead of the sweatpants he’s been wearing. He looks around his room, trying to see if there's anything that would shout "Andrew and Ryan are dating!" to someone. Not that he plans on letting Burrows into his room, but you never know, as Burrows’ upcoming presence would suggest.

There's the picture of him and Ryan asleep on the couch that his mom printed out, and there's a picture of them from college. They're both in their Catamounts jerseys and have their arms around each other. It probably wouldn't even look weird to someone who doesn't know them, but Andrew puts both pictures in his desk drawer anyway.

When he goes back downstairs his mom has put together a bunch of snacks: a mix of things their team nutritionists would approve of, and Christmas cookies. Andrew snags one of the cookies. "Sorry about this," he tells her.

"It's not a problem," she says. "It was only a matter of time, I suppose. I just don't want to say anything by accident."

Andrew feels bad all over again. He and Ryan are used to pretending in public, but his mom isn't. "Don't worry about it," he says. "I don't think Burrows is known for his insight." He grins at her, and she smiles back, obviously relieved.

Actually, Andrew has no idea if Burrows is perceptive enough to pick up on something. He's never met him, though he knows that Ryan is friends with him.

A few minutes later, they hear Ryan's car pull up.

Ryan lets himself in through the garage, like he always does. Andrew hates that he has to wonder if that seems weird to Burrows. Sure, he's used to pretending in public, but this isn't public, and he had emergency surgery and he just wants to spend time with his boyfriend without stressing.

"Hey!" Ryan calls out.

"In the kitchen!" Andrew shouts back. Fuck it. If nothing else, he and Ryan are good friends. If Burrows thinks that's weird, he can go screw himself.

Ryan's wearing his fake smile that he thinks fools people. Andrew wonders if Burrows knows Ryan well enough to recognize it. Ryan immediately hugs Andrew's mom and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

"Thanks for having us, Kim," he says. "Even though Bur was totally rude and invited himself over."

Burrows at least looks a little ashamed. "Sorry," he says. "But Kes has been disappearing so often lately. I had to find out if this 'friend' really existed. We all thought Kes didn't believe in them."

Andrew has to laugh at the face Ryan makes, but also because it's true. He's gotten better since college, but that's not saying much.

"I'm Andrew," he says, holding out his hand.

"Alex," Burrows says. "You had your appendix out?" His voice is nasal, and his accent is still thickly French.

"Yup," Andrew says.

"That's too bad. And then you only have Kes for company. That's too bad too."

Andrew shrugs. "I'm used to it."

"You've been friends for a long time?"

"Since freshman year of college," Ryan interjects, sitting down at the counter and grabbing a cookie. "And when I came to Vancouver, Kim and Dave helped me settle in and made sure I knew how to do laundry."

Burrows nods and grabs some of the carrots on the tray. Andrew's mom starts asking him questions like how long he's been in Vancouver and if he played juniors or if he went to college. Burrows answers politely, so at least there's that.

Ryan kicks his foot, and when he turns to look at him, makes a face, half "can you believe this?" and half "sorry." Andrew shrugs and nudges his leg back.

After a few more minutes, he interrupts his mom and says, "How about some video games?"

Ryan and Burrows nod. Andrew says to his mom, "If you need any help-"

"I'll ask Ryan," she says.

"I'm pretty sure there's nothing about helping in the kitchen that I'm not allowed to do anymore."

"Sure, honey," his mom says. "But you're not very good at it, are you?"

Ryan and Burrows snicker behind him, and Andrew sighs. "Fine. I won't help. Happy now?"

"Go play your video games," his mom says, and shoos him out of the kitchen.

"Oh, so this is where your XBox went," Burrows says when they get to the den.

"I told you," Ryan says.

"Yes," Burrows says, and settles himself on the armchair. "But I didn't believe you, because you like your video games more than you like most of your teammates."

"That's because you're all assholes," Ryan says, and throws a controller at Burrows.

"Call of Duty?" Andrew asks, because he doesn't like the way this conversation is going. Hopefully Burrows will be easily distracted by animated guns.

Things get a lot less awkward after that, because they're all focused on the screen. Burrows isn't as competitive as Ryan and Andrew, but he's not shy about trash talking both of them creatively.

After about an hour Burrows gets up to go to the bathroom. As soon as he's out of the room, Ryan drops his head on Andrew's shoulder.

"I'm really sorry," he says softly into Andrew's sleeve. "He wouldn't let me go. He followed me to my car and refused to leave."

Andrew twists his hand in Ryan's hair. "It's okay," he says. "You been getting shit in the locker room?"

Ryan shrugs. "Nothing major."

Which means yes, but Ryan's not going to tell him about it. In that case, it's probably for the best that Burrows insisted on coming with him. The last thing Ryan needs is rumors about him in the locker room.

They hear Burrows' footsteps in the hall, and Ryan straightens up. Andrew misses his weight against his side and tells himself to suck it up. Having Ryan with him is making him soft. After Christmas he'll go back to Raleigh, and Ryan will stay here, and they won't see each other for four and a half months. More, if both teams can manage to make the playoffs. And they'll both fucking deal with it, because that's what they do.

"Ready for more ass kicking?" Andrew asks Burrows as he sits.

"I hope you're ready to take it," Burrows says, and they start again.

Ryan leaves before dinner, dragging Burrows with him. If he'd been alone, he would have stayed for dinner, and probably would have watched a movie with Andrew afterwards. Now Andrew won't see him for another 2 days because the Canucks have a game tomorrow.

“Optional skate Wed. morning,” Ryan texts when he gets back to his apartment. “I'll skip and come work out with you.”

It only makes Andrew feel marginally better.


By the time Ryan shows up midmorning on Wednesday, Andrew is so bored and frustrated, he's ready to scream. He backs Ryan against the hallway wall and kisses him like he wanted to two days ago, but more, because he didn't get to. Ryan's hands are tight on his hips, holding him close, and he kisses back like he was feeling the exact same thing.

When Andrew's hips start moving restlessly against Ryan's, Ryan pulls away. "Not gonna be able to work out if we do this much longer," he says, then kisses Andrew quickly. "Come on."

And Andrew is left holding himself up against the wall with a hard on tenting his shorts.

"Fuck," he says. Then he follows Ryan to the basement.

The "gym" in his parents' basement isn't much, just a stationary bike and a decent weight machine, but it does fine for Andrew when he's home.

Andrew starts on the bike, because he's still not really allowed to lift weights. He and Ryan don't talk. They each put their headphones in and focus on their workouts. It's almost like they're back in college, except without the super nice facilities and 20 other teammates. So not really like college at all, except how he and Ryan are working out together, and watching Ryan's muscles work and sweat start to break out across his chest makes Andrew wants to blow him.

He zones out listening to music and watching Ryan lift until his time is up, then he just drinks water and watches Ryan more. It wasn't so bad when he was feeling weak and pained from surgery still, but now that he hasn't felt a tweak from his abdomen in a while, he can't stop thinking about how Ryan is right there.

After a few minutes Ryan notices him looking, pops an earbud out and says, "What?"

Andrew leans over the bars of the bike and says, "I want to blow you. Right now."

"Wha-?" Ryan says. "You're not-"

"I feel great," Andrew says. "And horny. And I want to blow you."

Ryan shifts on the bench. "Your mom's like, right upstairs."

"She knows we have sex."

"Yeah, but I don't think she wants to hear it."

"So be quiet." Andrew gets off the bike and straddles the weight bench so his knees are knocking against Ryan's. "You're going back to Michigan in a few days and then we won't see each other for months." He leans forward and kisses Ryan slow and dirty. Ryan whimpers and cups the back of Andrew's head.

"Shit," he says when he stops to breathe. "Your room okay? We can at least lock the door."

Andrew slams the door and shoves Ryan against it as soon as they get to his room. They're kissing hard and deep and it's been so fucking long since they got to do this, and Ryan smells like sweat, and Andrew feels a little weak with it. But letting his knees buckle would mean Ryan stopping, so instead, he just leans into Ryan more.

It has the added bonus of bringing their hips into contact, the thin material of their gym shorts doing very little to muffle the sensation of their cocks rubbing together.

Ryan manages to pull away, knocking his head back against the door in the process, but he doesn't seem to notice. "Bed," he says, and pushes Andrew over to the bed. "On your back," he says, and Andrew does as he says immediately.

Ryan unties Andrew's sneakers and throws them over his shoulder, barely missing Andrew's laptop. Andrew doesn't care. His socks follow, then his shorts, and then Andrew only has a t-shirt on, and Ryan straddling him. His hips buck without his permission, and Ryan leans down heavier there, keeping them still.

"Stay still," Ryan says.

"Get your clothes off," Andrew counters.

Ryan leans over and licks Andrew's left nipple. "Patience," he says.

"Fuck you," Andrew grits out. He's so hard he's almost in pain. Jesus, it's been way too long.

"Not today," Ryan says, and licks the other nipple. Andrew is going to kill him.

"Ryan," Andrew says, "I can't-" He can't finish that sentence, because Ryan bites the nipple he's been licking and all that comes out is a groan. Ryan sits up and then finally, finally, his hand is on Andrew’s dick, moving fast and sure in a rhythm guaranteed to get Andrew off as quickly as possible.

"Come on, come on," Ryan's saying softly, and Andrew wants to laugh, because he couldn't hold back, even if he tried.

He comes not long after that, and Ryan leans over to muffle his groans by kissing him, and Andrew's pretty sure he's never felt better than this.

When he starts being able to process thoughts again, Ryan is still kissing him, and his hips are moving restlessly. He's holding himself up, trying not to put too much weight on Andrew, and while it's probably a good idea, Andrew really just wants Ryan's weight pinning him to the bed. Instead, he reaches down and slips his hand inside Ryan's shorts. He makes a choked off noise into Andrew's mouth.

"You should've taken your clothes off earlier," Andrew says. Because there's no way he's stopping now, not even to get Ryan's clothes off.

"Shut up," Ryan says, and Andrew twists his hand in that way he knows Ryan likes, and Ryan gasps and tucks his face into Andrew's neck.

"Make me," Andrew says. Ryan bites Andrew's neck and then soothes it with his tongue, and Andrew tries to calculate how soon they'll be able to do this again.

Ryan goes still when he comes, and his hissed-out "Fuck" vibrates across Andrew's throat.

Andrew pulls his hand out of Ryan's shorts as Ryan tips himself to the side. Normally they would just collapse on top of each other, which is one of the advantages of being almost exactly the same size. But Andrew's okay with it, since it means Ryan's more likely to let this happen again before he leaves.

His hand is covered in jizz, and instead of reaching for the tissues, he just sticks his fingers in his mouth.

"Jesus," Ryan says, his hand sliding across Andrew's waist and pulling him in closer.

"I wanted to blow you," Andrew says, and licks across his palm. Ryan groans and turns his head against Andrew's shoulder.

"Fuck, next time, okay?"

"Mmmhmm," Andrew says. He wipes the rest of his hand off on the sheet and maneuvers so he can get his arms around Ryan, who is finally kicking off his shoes and shorts.

Finally, he thinks, this appendectomy thing is working for me.


The Canucks play the Kings at home two days before Ryan leaves for Michigan, and Ryan gets tickets for Andrew and his parents.

Andrew's been to Rogers Arena before - every chance he could when he was growing up - but he hasn't been there to watch a game since he started playing in the NHL, and he's never seen Ryan play there. His excitement most closely resembles a six-year-old at Christmas, and he tries not to let it show too much.

He stands in front of his closet 20 minutes before they're supposed to leave and tries to figure out what to wear. He feels like a girl going on a date, but it's a little tricky. He didn't even bring a suit back with him. He can't really wear Canucks gear, despite the fact that Ryan left one of his hoodies here the other day. He could wear his 'Canes stuff, with his actual number on it, but he doesn't feel the need to broadcast it. In the end, he goes with a UVM hoodie that’s only a little tight across his shoulders, then bows to his inner teenage girl and puts on his best jeans.

His parents want to have an early dinner in the city, and Andrew doesn't object because he's barely left the house at all since he got home. And by next week he'll be back in Raleigh, so now's the time to appreciate his parents' company. He manages to get his credit card to the server before his parents can think to pay, and it's a nice time, and the food is good.

They get to Rogers before warmups. Their seats are excellent - the kind of seats that Andrew never had when he was younger, and doesn't use now that he's a player. He texts Ryan to let him know they're here, and to tell him not to fuck up, and to watch out for Kopitar.

“Noted,” Ryan texts back.

Three minutes later, he gets a text from Burrows. It's a surprise since as far as he knows, Burrows doesn't have his number.

“Hey dude,” the text says, “come out with the boys after the game. You can walk and shit, right?”

Andrew texts Ryan, “Why is Burrows texting me?” But he doesn't get a reply, and when he looks up, he sees it's because the teams are coming out for warmups.

"Oh, there's Ryan," his mom says, happily. Andrew glances her way. He knows Ryan's brought his parents to games before, there's really no reason for her be this excited. This is actually getting worrisome.

Now's not the time or place for that accusation though, so Andrew watches Ryan skate, and take shots, and stretch.

They only played together for one season, but Andrew paid extremely close attention that entire season, so he knows Ryan's pre-game rituals. He can tell from how Ryan skates and stretches how he's feeling and where he's sore. He can tell that Ryan is excited about the game and that his left hamstring is tight, but not so tight it won't loosen up once he's skated. In the midst of a game, Ryan won't feel anything wrong anyway. Andrew's never met a person so willing to put up with pain just so he can get back to playing, and Andrew's met a lot of hockey players.

He glances over at the Kings to gauge how they're feeling tonight. Quick is in net, taking shots from his teammates. Andrew and Ryan played against him a bunch, back in college. Andrew grins. He scored two on Quick in one period in his sophomore year. That was a good game.

He doesn't know if Ryan will check his phone between warmups and the game, but he texts him all the weak spots he can remember about Quick. Not like the ‘Nucks scouting staff won't have said the same thing, but it never hurts to say it again.

It's a tight game and fun to watch. His parents cheer loudly and unabashedly for the Canucks and Ryan, which makes Andrew smile, because it's the exact way they used to cheer for him growing up. Probably the way they still do cheer for him, but now he can't see it.

During second intermission, a kid recognizes him as he's coming back from the bathroom and asks for his autograph. It doesn't happen to Andrew very often, and it still gives him a thrill. The kid can't be more than 13 and wants to play for Delta when he can, so Andrew chats about juniors and college and tells the kid good luck. He loves Raleigh, but sometimes it's really good to be back in Vancouver.

The Canucks break the tie with two quick goals in the the last 10 minutes of the third period, and the Kings can't get one back, not even with Quick pulled. He and his parents wait for the rush out of the arena to slow, and before they even leave their seats, he gets two quick text messages.

“Come on dude,” from Burrows.

“Wtf? He stole my phone. You don't have to come,” from Ryan.

“Of course I want to come,” he texts back.

“Ugh. Meet me at my car?”

Andrew looks around and the crowd has died down, so he and his parents make his way out their seats and the arena.

"I think I'm gonna go out with Ryan and some of the guys," he says casually as they walk to the the players' lot. His mom frowns and his dad's brows furrow.

"Are you sure that's a good idea, honey?" his mom asks. "You aren't really supposed to be drinking."

"Ryan will be there," Andrew says. "And I haven't had a chance to go out and have fun in forever. I won't get too crazy or anything. And plus, I still haven't seen Ryan's apartment here."

"Well," his dad says, "I'm sure Ryan won't let you do anything stupid." He says this as if Ryan has never done anything stupid in his life. Andrew has the urge to tell them in excruciating detail how Ryan got a black eye doing keg stands in college, but it probably won’t help his cause, so he doesn’t.

When they get to Ryan's car, Burrows and Kevin Bieksa are there too, leaning against the hood and talking to Ryan.

Andrew's mom hugs Ryan and tells him what a good job he did, much to the amusement of Burrows and Bieksa.

"Got a little competition there?" Bieksa asks. Andrew can't say, “She's decided he's her son-in-law already,” so he just settles for making a pained face, and Bieksa laughs. Ryan gives them both the finger where he thinks Andrew's mom can't see.

"Andrew's not supposed to drink on his medications," his mom is saying.

"I know," Ryan says. "I'm driving, so I won't be drinking much either. And then we'll just crash at my place."

"Hello," Andrew says, "I'm right here, and I can take care of myself."

"Of course you can, honey," his mom says. Ryan just gives him a disbelieving look.

"So I hear your stomach exploded or something," Bieksa says.

"That's about right," Andrew shrugs. "Emergency appendectomy."



"Alright, losers, let's go," Ryan says.

Andrew says goodbye to his parents and gets in Ryan's car. Burrows and Bieksa go for the back seat, but Ryan stops them.

"Juice, you puke in my car again and you won't survive the night. Take Bur's car."

"Subtle, Kes," Andrew snorts.

"Bieksa won't notice," Ryan says as he peels out of the lot a little faster than is probably safe. Burrows' car hasn't even turned on when they round a corner and out of view. "I say that to him every time. Besides, if we get there fast enough, we can get in a good five minutes in the back seat."

"Just don't kill us before we get there," Andrew says.

Ryan glances over at him, then back at the road. "You sure you're okay with this?"

"What? Yes. Why wouldn't I be okay with this? It's awesome. It's the first time I've had a chance to go out and have fun since my birthday."

"You can't get as drunk as you did that night on your medication."

"Yeah, thanks, I know that, Mom. And don't talk like you didn't enjoy me being that wasted."

Andrew can't quite tell, because it's dark, but he thinks Ryan is blushing. The phone sex that night was pretty epic.

"That's it," Ryan says, changing the subject. He turns onto a darker side street and parks. Andrew leans over and kisses him before he can say anything.

"Mmm, back seat," Ryan says after a minute.

Andrew goes to climb over the seat and Ryan glares at him. "Oh fine," Andrew says, gets out, and goes around that way. He lets Ryan gets settled, then climbs onto his lap. His head brushes the ceiling but it's not too uncomfortable. Andrew likes Ryan's car. So roomy.

"We could just skip this and go back to my place," Ryan says after a few minutes. His thumbs are rubbing circles into Andrew’s hips, and he really just wants to say yes, but...

"That would be a little suspicious," he says instead. Ryan sighs.

"We better go in now, then."

Andrew climbs reluctantly off Ryan's lap and out of the car. He takes a few deep breaths of cold air, trying to tell his body to hold off for a few hours.

The bar isn't fancy or big, but it's clear that Ryan's familiar with it, and the bartenders recognize him, give him a wave, and point to a table in the back. Burrows and Bieksa are already there with a pitcher and four glasses.

"You get lost, Kes?" Burrows asks.

"Parking," Ryan shrugs, and sits.

Andrew sits next to him, and Bieksa's already pouring him a glass and sliding it across the table. Excellent. He'd been underage in Raleigh until a few days before his surgery. It's awesome to be able to just sit down and have a beer without worrying if someone's gonna bust the bar for serving it to him.

He takes a long drink and catches Ryan giving him a look. He smiles back, because Ryan can't say anything here, in front of Burrows and Bieksa. Not if he doesn't want it to seem weird.

Ryan rolls his eyes at him and takes a long sip of his own beer. Burrows and Bieksa start talking again, taking up the conversation they'd been having before Andrew and Ryan showed up.

An hour later Andrew's finished his beer and moved on to water, to the derision of Burrows and Bieksa. Ryan's only on his second and nursing it. Burrows and Bieksa have finished off another pitcher and a half between them, and Andrew's pretty sure they're going to have to call a taxi for them before they leave.

Burrows has Ryan engaged in a detailed conversation about ... something complicated. Andrew can't quite get the finer points, but it sounds like it has something to do with riling up the Flames for their next game.

Bieksa leans over, his head propped on his hand, like he can't be assed to hold it up himself.

"It's kinda weird though," he says.

Andrew raises his eyebrows. "What is?"

"Kes and..." he waves his other hand, "you."

Andrew goes very still and tries not to show it. "How so?"

"You're like, friends and shit."

Andrew lets out the breath he was holding and smiles. "Yeah, Bieksa. We're friends."

"No, but he like, likes you and stuff. Like, actually likes you."

"Yeah, that's generally the definition of friends," Andrew points out after he's parsed what that sentence actually means.

Bieksa shakes his head. "Not with Kes, man. With Kes it's like ... I dunno. But he like, does things for you. Nice things." Bieksa's eyes narrow. "He doesn't do nice things for me."

Andrew stifles a laugh and kicks Ryan’s ankle under the table. "Sometimes," he says.

"Does he have a thing for your mom? It's okay, you can tell me."

"No, Juice, I wouldn't cheat on your mom that way," Ryan interjects.

"Hey!" Bieksa says, and Burrows laughs.

"Jesus," Ryan says, "I can't take you two anywhere."

"I can't take your face anywhere," Bieksa replies.

"Okay, I think it's time for that cab," Ryan says. He downs the last of his beer and gets up from the tables, gesturing for Andrew to do the same.

"Hey, aren't you gonna pay your share?" Burrows asks.

"You guys wanted to hang with Laddy, you can treat," Ryan says, and walks off. Andrew follows, trying to suppress his laughter at the look on Burrows' face.

Ryan stops at the bar and arranges for the bartender to call his teammates a cab, then slips him a twenty, "just in case those losers forget to tip."

The bartender smiles and pats Ryan on the shoulder.

"People here like you," Andrew says when they get back in the car.

"Yes, I play on the Canucks. Duh."

"Well yeah, that, and you're like, charming and stuff."

Ryan glances at him. "I thought I wasn't charming enough to make people do things for me?"

He doesn't sound mad or anything, but Andrew fights the urge to duck his head and apologize. "Charming when you want to be," he says. "I have no idea when you learned to do that."

"In college," Ryan says. "From Jack." He stares at the road for a solid minute, then ruins it all by laughing.

"I'm sorry, did I say you were charming? That must be the beer," Andrew says, but he's laughing too.

Ryan's apartment is nice, but bland and mostly empty. It's pretty much the Vancouver equivalent of Andrew's apartment in Raleigh. Probably, if he looked in the fridge, he would find nothing but Gatorade and old take-out here, too.

Normally, as rookies, they'd live with another rookie or with an older teammate for the first season, but Ryan and Andrew had decided pretty quickly that they were getting their own places, because the privacy it'll afford them on the one or two nights a year they need it is more valuable than company. Tonight's the first night they'll get to put that to good use.

Ryan backs Andrew gently, but firmly up against the door and kisses him. "Do you want the tour?" he asks.

"Only if the first and last stop is your bedroom."

"That's the only interesting part, anyway," Ryan says, and kisses Andrew again.


Andrew wakes up to Ryan wrapped around him and nothing else. No alarms going off, no having to sneak out so no one will find them, no parents in the next room. It's kind of amazing.

"How long do you have to stay in Michigan this summer?" Andrew asks quietly. Ryan doesn't stop rubbing his thumb across Andrew's bare hip.

"Depends," he says. "I'll come back here to start training, I think. So, end of June, unless..."

Ryan won't say it, but Andrew knows he means unless there's a parade.

"I'm gonna train here too," Andrew says.

"Okay," Ryan says, and Andrew can feel his smile on the back of his neck.


Andrew spends the next day in a horrible mood. He wakes up, alone, in his bed, first of all. And Ryan will go home to Michigan tomorrow, and then Andrew won't see him until the season is over and they're both back in BC.

He slumps at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and wishing that his appendix hadn't decided to burst. He was fine with the way things were until he got a taste of what it would be like to have Ryan around all the time. He also kind of wishes he never spent the night in Ryan's apartment. It was like a tease. A really mean tease.

He snaps at his mom when she suggests he do something with his day, then decides to go work out so that he doesn't make his entire family mad at him the day before Christmas Eve.

He's allowed to lift light weights now, but he overdoes it a bit and has to limp back up to his room without anyone seeing him. He spends a long time in a hot shower, telling himself to suck it up and deal. He decides he'll take a long nap when he's done and just sleep until his aunt and uncle get here and it's time for dinner.

When he walks into his room though, Ryan is on his bed, using his laptop.

Andrew blinks.

"Hey," Ryan says. He types something on the computer. "Jane says hi."

"Tell her I said hi back," Andrew says automatically. "What are you doing here?"

Ryan shrugs. "No practice today, just a team meeting. And your mom said I could leave my car here while I'm in Michigan, so you have to drive me to the airport tomorrow morning."

"Oh," Andrew says. "Okay. Call of Duty?"

"Sure," Ryan says, types something else, presumably saying goodbye to Jane, then closes the laptop.

"Cool," Andrew says. "Let me get dressed."


Ryan only looks mildly pained while having dinner with Andrew's mom and dad and aunt and uncle. Not like he needs to worry, because his uncle, is of course, a huge Canucks fan. He keeps giving Andrew approving looks, like Andrew started dating a Canuck on purpose.

Andrew fidgets through watching an old Christmas movie that he doesn't pay attention to, then claims having to get up early to take Ryan to the airport and drags Ryan upstairs with him.

He locks the door and presses Ryan into the bed. Ryan is making a face.

"What?" Andrew asks.

"Your entire family knows we're up here having sex," Ryan says.

"They'll live," Andrew says. Then he kisses Ryan so he can't talk anymore.

He has a few twinges from working out earlier, but he ignores them because he's wanted to do this for weeks. Months.

He undoes Ryan's fly and shucks his jeans and boxers off quickly. He doesn't even bother taking off Ryan's shirt - just pushes it up to his armpits and licks his nipples.

"Ah!" Ryan gasps, then snaps his mouth shut. Andrew grins into Ryan's skin and hands him another pillow without looking up from what he's doing. Ryan grabs it from his hand and covers his face. Andrew goes back to paying attention to Ryan's body.

He makes his way down Ryan's chest slowly, then skips over his crotch completely and starts on his thighs.

"Oh, fuck you," Ryan says into the pillow.

He works his way down to Ryan's knees, then back up, and then finally starts on Ryan's cock. He takes his time, drawing it out. He brings Ryan to the edge once, then backs off, as Ryan curses him into the pillow. Andrew's jaw is starting to ache and he doesn't care. He puts two fingers in his mouth alongside Ryan's dick and sucks on them too for a while before he moves them back to Ryan's ass. Ryan lifts his hips, wanting it, and finally Andrew stops teasing and pushes them inside. He starts sucking hard, and that's it for Ryan.

"Are you alive?" Andrew asks, lifting the pillow off Ryan's face.

"Holy shit," Ryan says.

"I'll take that as a yes," Andrew says, sprawling on top of Ryan and ignoring his own erection for now. "I've been wanting to do that for a while."

"No kidding," Ryan says. "Just gimme a minute."

"Take your time," Andrew says, not bothering to keep the smug out of his voice. He moves his hips so his dick rubs against the hollow of Ryan's hip. "Not too much time though."

"Have I ever told you that smugness isn't attractive?"

"No, never," Andrew deadpans, and hitches his hips again. Then he does it again, because it feels really really good.

"Having fun?" Ryan asks.

"Mmm, yeah," Andrew says. "Feel free to join in at any time."

"I wouldn't want to spoil it."

"Ryan," Andrew says, except it comes out more like a whine.

"Oh well, when you put it that way," Ryan says, and reaches down, and wraps his hand around Andrew's cock.


When the alarm goes off at a ridiculously early hour of the morning, Andrew's face is smushed against Ryan's shoulder, and and he's drooling.

"Gross, dude." Ryan mumbles.

"Whatever," Andrew says, turns over, and pulls the cover up to his chin.

He's almost managed to fall back to sleep when Ryan says, "Andrew, I have to go to the airport."

"No," Andrew says. "Sleep." It's childish, maybe, but Andrew's pretty sure right then that if he can convince Ryan to go back to sleep, he won't have to leave.

"Andrew," Ryan says, and he sounds really sad. Dammit. Andrew opens his eyes all the way.

"Fine," he says, and sits up.

They get dressed, and brush their teeth, and Ryan throws the last of his things in his duffel.

"Ready," he says.

"Okay," Andrew says. "Let's go."

His mom is in a robe in the kitchen and has two cups of coffee in travel mugs ready for them.

"Have a safe flight, Ryan," she says, and hugs him.

"Thanks for everything, Kim," Ryan says, hugging her back. He doesn't even look awkward about it. Clearly, he's grown as a person.

They take Ryan's car, and Ryan drives. Somewhere behind all the clouds, the sun starts to rise, lightening the gray. This sucks, Andrew thinks, and drinks more coffee. Usually when he has to say goodbye to Ryan it's because the season is starting, and then there's enough excitement and nervousness that it's not as bad. This just sucks. He tries to remind himself that in 2 days he gets to go back to Raleigh and hockey. That does help, a little.

When they get on the highway, Ryan reaches over and rests one hand on Andrew's thigh. Andrew puts his own on top and they stay like that until they get to the airport and Ryan needs both hands to drive.

He pulls into short term parking and finds a space toward the back, with no other cars around. As soon as he turns off the car, Andrew tugs on the collar of his shirt and kisses him

"All Star weekend," Ryan says into Andrew's lips.


"It's in a month," Ryan says. It takes a moment for Andrew's brain to switch gears, but then he gets it. The chances of either of them being an All Star are slim. And that's an entire weekend without team obligations.

"Yeah, okay, where do you wanna meet?"

"We can figure it out later," Ryan says and starts kissing Andrew again.

They kiss until Ryan very well might miss his flight if he doesn't leave right the fuck now. Andrew tightens his hand in Ryan's hair until it must be painful and then lets go.

"Don't get hijacked, or whatever," he says.

"I'll try," Ryan says seriously.

Andrew buckles himself into the driver's seat and starts the car. Ryan leans back into the window.

"Merry Christmas," he says, pecks Andrew on the lips one last time, and walks away.

"Merry Christmas," Andrew says to the steering wheel.

He watches until Ryan disappears around a corner, then sits for another minute, his fingers gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turn white and his hands start to ache. He lets go, takes a deep breath, and puts the car into drive.

Hockey in two days, he reminds himself. And in a month, Ryan.

Andrew flips on the radio, turns out of the airport, and goes home.
Tags: blackhawks, canucks, extra curriculars verse, hockey, hockeyrpf, hurricanes, jets, ladd/kesler
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