14 June 2012 @ 07:51 pm


The rest of the day passes in a blur of horror. Getting yelled at by Johnny's mother is never exactly fun, but they have it coming, so they have to suck it up and take it, putting her on speakerphone so she can yell at Johnny in French and Patrick in English at basically the same time. Then Patrick's dad calls, and that right there is another fucking awkward and terrible conversation.

Then Rogowin from PR calls. He sounds like Johnny and Patrick have killed his soul. "Guys," he says, pained. "I thought we agreed to keep this discreet."

Patrick points out, very reasonably, that there's no discretion possible when you have a new baby who is loud all the time, and Johnny follows that up by saying pretty much the same thing, but nicer.

"We've got to manage this," Rogowin says. "Can we say that he's Johnny's? And you're just - helping out, Patrick?"

That pisses Patrick off so much he basically can't even talk, just imagine punching Rogowin's horrible face, so Johnny steps in and says, "And when they ask me where the mother is?"

Rogowin pauses. "We have to say something," he says.

"Well, it's got to be something better than that," Johnny responds, and he sounds angry, too, which makes Patrick feel slightly better.

"Can you come in for another meeting?" Rogowin hesitates, and then adds, "And, look, no offense, but maybe we'd get more done if you didn't bring the, uh. The kid." He sounds like he wants nothing more from life than to be far away from Stanley, and Patrick's offended some more.

"Where do you think we can leave him?" Patrick says. The Sharps would probably take him, actually, but fuck Rogowin. It's one thing to dog on Patrick, okay, and another thing entirely to dog on his kid.

Rogowin sighs heavily. "Okay," he says. "We'll get on this here and get back to you."

Patrick actually remembers to hang up the phone and make sure it's off before he says, "Dickshit motherfucker asshole." He's really proud of how mature he's getting.

The next call is Andrée again. Patrick cringes, but Johnny's in the bathroom, so he has no choice but to pick it up. It's not like he needs Johnny's parents more mad at him. "We're coming out," she tells him.

"You and Bryan?"

"Yes. And also Donna," Andrée says grimly. Because just Johnny's parents weren't enough, apparently; Patrick's mom has to come pile on.

When Johnny comes out, Patrick shares the news, and Johnny is honestly, obviously speechless. After a minute of hopeless staring, he goes into the kitchen and comes back out with two beers. He hands one over to Patrick, still silent.

"We have to clean up," Patrick says, looking around. Johnny's cleaning service is still coming twice a week, but they're not making a dent in the sudden influx of crap that came with Stanley. Half the stuff the Sharps left them is still in a pile in the living room. The rest of it is strewn all over the place. There are dirty clothes and washcloths everywhere, and two diapers are sitting by the door waiting to go into the trash. The swing has formula on it, and so does the bouncy seat, and so does the couch. The sink is full of mugs and spoons and forks, because they only ever find time to wash the bottles. And the trash is full of take-out containers.

Johnny drinks half his beer in one swallow, then says, "What do we tell them?"

"Uh, I pretty much already told my mom everything," Patrick says. "And then I told my dad everything. And then they asked questions, so I had to tell them again. We basically don't have any secrets left." He'd feel bad, but if Johnny had a secret he wanted Patrick to keep, he should have mentioned that before.

Johnny drinks the rest of his beer. "My mother asked if we were together," he says.

"I bet that one was easy to answer," Patrick snaps. He's not still mad at Johnny about the playoffs thing. Not really. Okay, maybe a little.

"It. Wasn't," Johnny says. He sounds pained. "Seriously, Patrick. What do we tell them?"

Patrick doesn't want to do this at all. He and Johnny can't really fight right now. It takes both of them and all their energy to handle Stanley. "Tell them the truth. I can deal," he says, and then goes to shower.

In the shower, he mostly thinks about - well. The time with Johnny. It had been good, and the fact that Johnny was a total fuck who couldn't, like, accept that or whatever - that didn't change the part where it was good. Patrick remembers Johnny's mouth on his dick, and his dick is really well-trained when it comes to Johnny, because he's basically instantly hard.

He's sort of relieved, actually. He's jerked off in the shower a total of twice since Stanley. He was starting to wonder if his dick was broken. But apparently not. Also, thinking about fucking Johnny's mouth still really does it for him. Patrick soaps up his hand and goes to work.

~

Andrée and Bryan come by late the next morning, and they want to see Stanley. That's pretty much all they want at first. Patrick hands him over, and Andrée coos, and Bryan coos, and they all eat the lunch that Johnny's parents brought with them. As soon as that's done, they basically fall into like a rabbit hole of reminiscing about what a terrible baby Johnny was. It's fascinating, especially since it embarrasses the shit out of Johnny.

"He cried all the time," Andrée says, bouncing Stanley like an expert. "He woke up every hour and a half on the dot. I spent his first year swearing I would never have another." She laughs like it's just a really funny memory, instead of a fucking life sentence she has just handed Patrick.

Bryan nods. "Yeah. Even when he was brand-new, he'd look at us like he was so disappointed in everything we'd ever done." He laughs. "We called him Tiny Judge Jonathan."

Johnny stares at them both like he's willing them to shut up. Patrick grins at them. "So, like, basically Stanley's a clone of Johnny?"

Andrée says, "Oh, no, he's much cuter."

"That's my side coming out," Patrick says, nodding.

Andrée and Bryan exchange glances. Bryan clears his throat. Johnny says, "Uh, so, um, uh - do you want to see some pictures?"

Bryan spends the next few minutes looking through the pictures on Johnny's phone, even though Stanley is right there and hasn't changed too much in the week he's been alive. Sometimes Johnny's family is as weird as he is.

While Johnny and Bryan are busy, Andrée corners Patrick. "How have you been holding up, Patrick?"

"I need more sleep," Patrick says fervently. He's used to being tired, but even the playoffs aren't like this; Stanley never sleeps for more than two hours at a time, usually more like one, and he and Johnny are getting four or five interrupted hours of sleep a day, max. They're turning into zombies.

"If you like, we'll take Stanley for a walk for a few hours, let you boys get a nap," Andrée offers. Part of Patrick actually rebels at that, like he somehow thinks Andrée and Bryan won't be able to take care of Stanley, but most of him is shrieking fuck yes. He manages to stammer that out, minus the fuck, and Andrée smiles.

Andrée asks about a stroller, which they don't have. She shrugs and says she'll figure out the wrap. And then they take Stanley and his rainbow diaper bag out of the apartment.

Johnny and Patrick stare at each other for a moment - it's weird, because neither one of them is holding Stanley, and also there's no crying, so the place feels empty - and then they both run for Johnny's bed.

Five minutes later, Patrick's asleep, and he thinks Johnny actually beat him to it.

~

When Patrick wakes up, there are voices in the living room, and one of them is his mom. Patrick rolls over and rubs his eyes. He's not sure how long he slept, but he feels almost human, so it had to be a while.

"We should have called them first thing," Johnny says.

Patrick rolls over onto his other side. Johnny's lying there, staring at the ceiling, probably reviewing the events of the last week because he's a freak. "Yeah, maybe," Patrick says, "but we were busy trying to keep Stanley alive, so I'm going to cut us some slack."

"Yeah," Johnny says, dissatisfied. "I just wish I'd had some prep time for this."

"Are you seriously beating yourself up because we're not doing better with our surprise baby?" Johnny doesn't say anything, so obviously the answer is yes. "I really hope Stanley inherited my disposition," Patrick says, and gets out of bed. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Johnny twitch. Patrick decides to let him be all, like, vampire-level emo by himself.

He heads out into the living room, and it's. Whoa. It's like house elves or something hit the place while they slept. Everything is tidied up, and all the baby crap is either put away or neatly organized and cleaned. The dirty clothes are gone. The room no longer smells like old formula. Andrée is sitting in the recliner with Stanley asleep on her shoulder. And Patrick can smell actual food cooking in the kitchen.

"Oh god, I love you all," he says.

"You should have thought of this before," Andrée says unsympathetically, sounding eerily like Johnny. Patrick's seriously going to have to give Stanley, like, special fun lessons or something when he's older. Find a way he can fight the Toews in him.

Then Patrick's mom comes out of the kitchen. She walks over and kisses Patrick on the cheek, then grabs his head and says, "Patrick Timothy Kane, if you ever, ever do something like this again." She doesn't finish the threat. She doesn't have to.

"No one would have expected this!" Patrick says defensively.

"You're absolutely right. No one, not even those of us who have known you for your entire life, would have expected you to have a child and not call your parents."

"Sorry," Patrick says, because what else can he say?

"You're not forgiven," his mom says. "You'll have to work harder than that."

Patrick sighs. He is definitely the only person in Stanley's gene pool who has any sense of, like, being human at all. He's got so much work to do.

~

Johnny comes out a few minutes later, and there's some kissing and hugging and quiet but intense lecturing and judgment, and then it's time for dinner. Their parents made real food, chicken with some kind of sauce and a grain salad and a green salad and broccoli, and Bryan holds Stanley so the rest of them can eat at the same time. He seems sort of entranced by Stanley, actually. Patrick's a little worried about that. What if Stanley has mind control powers? No one will be safe.

Although actually, probably the only reason Patrick and Johnny haven't died at their parents' hands is that Stanley is really cute, and also such a holy terror that they don't want to be stuck with him. Patrick mentally high fives Stanley. If he's got mind control, he just needs to keep up the good work.

The meal goes great until about halfway through, when Andrée says the word "nanny."

Patrick looks at Johnny, who blinks at his mom. "Uh, we haven't really..." he says, and trails off.

Patrick's mom looks worried. "You need to get on that," she says. "It'll take a while to find someone, and you're going to want to get to know her very well before you leave Stanley with her overnight."

Patrick drops his fork and just stares at her, because - overnight? Fuck no, he is not leaving Stanley with someone overnight. Anyone but Johnny or Patrick would break after four hours with Stanley, max.

"Which you're going to have to do. I assume you're not retiring from hockey to take care of your son," she tells Patrick, and, wow.

Patrick spends the rest of the meal not really paying attention to the conversation. He just eats and thinks, because - he was treating Stanley like the playoffs, getting through one day at a time, focusing on getting the most important shit done, and putting off everything else, including sleep, for after.

But his mom is right. There's not going to be an after Stanley. The season is going to start, and they're still going to have him. The playoffs are going to come, and they're still going to have him. The next offseason will come, and Stanley will still be here. No one is going to show up to take him away. They're all the parents he has, and they're his parents forever. For longer than Patrick will play hockey, for longer than Patrick will be able to skate, Stanley's going to be his son.

Patrick's not sure, but he thinks he might be freaking out.

~

After Andrée and Bryan and Patrick's mom go back to the hotel - and, shit, Patrick guesses he might as well start thinking of them as the grandparents, holy fuck - Johnny and Patrick go through the routine of dealing with Stanley in the evening, when he's usually cranky as fuck, this time rendered even crankier by the sudden absence of doting grandparents.

Patrick can't sit still, and for once he's not able to calm Stanley, either. He's just. He's twitchy.

After about half an hour, Johnny says, "Fine. Go out."

"What?"

"You want to go out, so go out." He sighs, super irritated, and says, "You look like you do when the playoffs are over, like you just can't fucking wait to get wasted. So if you're going to do it, do it tonight."

Patrick opens his mouth to argue, but the thing is, Johnny's right. He needs to get drunk. He needs to get so drunk his brain stops working, and he needs to do it right now.

"I'll be back," Patrick says, and this time he remembers to grab his wallet and keys on the way out.

Patrick's good at getting drunk. Basically, his skills consist of 1) hockey and 2) drinking. So he knows the routine like he knows the ice. He gets a cab to a bar, hands his credit card over to the bartender, and gets down to business.

"This is too serious for beer," he says. "Get me something strong."

The bartender says, "Any preferences beyond strong?"

"Not at all," Patrick tells her, and gets exactly what he deserves for that: a giant pink foofy drink with fruit and an umbrella in it. It's got a kick that says serious alcohol is lurking under all that sweetness, though, so Patrick knocks it back and asks for another one. "Except not pink this time," he says.

She gives him one that's purple and has two umbrellas in it. And a little monkey.

An hour later, Patrick has five umbrellas on the bar in front of him, and he can't really feel his feet. He gets up to take a piss and almost falls over, saved only by his spectacular reflexes. And, okay, also the dude standing next to him. "Whoa," Patrick says.

When he comes back from the bathroom, the bartender cuts him off. "Hey," Patrick says, offended. "I'm still talking and everything. I can get way drunker than this."

"Not here, you can't," she says. "If there's going to be another editorial about you in the Tribune, it's not going to show you passed out on my bar."

"You are no fun," Patrick tells her. "You are, like, the queen of not being fun. I know a dude you should totally hook up with. He's hot and shit, too. He has an awesome ass. It's the greatest work of art you'll ever lay eyes on in your life." He pauses. "Except I don't actually want you to hook up with him."

The bartender says, "If I wanted to hear about your tragic unrequited love, I'd work Thursdays. I'm calling you a cab."

Patrick gets the cabbie to take him to another bar, and he opens another tab. He has another couple - okay, a few - drinks there, and then that bartender cuts him off, too, and calls him another cab.

"People always putting me in cabs, man," Patrick complains to the driver.

"Yeah, I wonder why," the driver tells him. "I want your credit card in front, and if you puke in my cab, I'm adding a three hundred dollar cleaning fee to your tab."

"Why is no one in this city any fun anymore?" Patrick says, handing over his card.

The driver looks at it. "Maybe you need to win another Cup, Mr. Kane," he says. "Okay, I need an address."

"Just take me someplace with booze," Patrick says.

"How 'bout I take you home?"

Patrick squints at him. "You're not that hot," he tells him. "And anyway, I've got a kid."

"Riiiiight. Address, or do I see if I can page someone from the Blackhawks front office?"

Patrick doesn't really remember anything past that.

He wakes up in the morning with a pounding headache and a stomach protesting his basic existence. He staggers to the kitchen, grabs a bottle of water, and chugs it. Halfway through, he panics: Stanley! Where's Stanley?

And then he realizes he's at his place. Where it's quiet, and clean, and he can sleep as long as he wants to. He drinks another bottle of water and decides to go back to bed.

For some fucked-up reason, he can't sleep, though, so he takes a shower. A glorious, long, uninterrupted shower. He makes himself jerk off even though he's totally not in the mood, just because he's at his own house.

He gets out, drinks another bottle of water, and takes like five aspirin, then decides he's definitely going back to bed. He still can't sleep, though.

Or sit still.

And what if Johnny's strangled Stanley by now? Say what you want, but it's tempting even when there's two of them. And, shit, he left Johnny alone with Stanley all night long. Johnny's going to kill him, and he's going to deserve it.

Ten minutes later, he's in a cab heading back to Johnny's place.

~

He still feels like absolute shit, but on the trip in the cab he gets more and more antsy, and the five minutes it normally would take at this time of day seem like eighteen years. He knows Johnny would always take good care of Stanley, but he can't stop worrying anyway. He feels panicked and guilty and sick, on top of the usual hangover sick.

He pays the driver way too much money and runs to Johnny's place, opening the door as fast and as quietly as he can.

He walks into the living room and sees Stanley, and the relief is immediate and overwhelming. Yeah, Stanley's wailing like a banshee, but he's obviously fine.

But the terror is also immediate and overwhelming, because his mother is holding Stanley. And she looks pissed.

She gets up and walks out of the condo, still carrying Stanley, and gestures for Patrick to follow. They walk down to the street, and as usual, being outside in the disgusting Chicago weather makes Stanley calm down.

"Patrick," his mother says, after they've walked a block. "We need to talk."

"Um," Patrick says brilliantly.

"Jonathan called me this morning and asked me to come over to sit with Stanley, because you were out all night and Stanley didn't sleep. He didn't tell me where you went, but he didn't need to. Patrick, you have a week-old son. What were you thinking?" And that's not, uh, whatever the word is for pretend asking. Patrick can tell she really wants to know.

They walk for a while longer, and Patrick tries to put his thoughts in order. It's harder than it should be. Maybe he should stop drinking.

He stops, rewinds that thought, and cringes, because - yeah, he's going to have to stop drinking. Not, like, never letting a drop touch his lips or whatever, but. "I can't party anymore," Patrick says out loud, realizing. "Holy - holy crap, I'm 23 and I'm going to have to be boring forever."

"Is Sharpy boring?" she asks. "Look, it just takes more planning when you have children. You don't leave your - your partner at home alone with a colicky infant while you party. And you make arrangements with your parents to come babysit in advance."

Patrick blinks at her. "You should be, like, the happiest person in the world that I'm thinking about never partying again. Why are you helping me?"

She sighs. "Patrick, when you have a child," and then she stops and starts again. "I know you," she says. "When you decide to see something through, you do. You always do. It's one of the things I admire most about you." She pauses. "I just haven't seen any sign yet that you've decided to see this through."

Patrick is suddenly, immediately pissed off. "What the - what the hell are you talking about?" he snaps, and he'd be yelling at his mother if she wasn't, you know, pretty scary. "If I'd been planning on fucking off and leaving Stanley, I would have done it already. But he's puked on me and he's screamed at me and I haven't slept and I'm still here."

"Where were you last night?"

"I just needed one night away," he says. "That's not some f - freaking crime. And Johnny told me I could go."

"I think Jonathan thought a night off might keep you from leaving more permanently. He's not sure what he can expect from you. He's worried."

"He knows what he can expect from me, because I've been doing it." Patrick can't stop himself from adding, "And he's the one with a - a commitment problem. Not me."

She stops walking, to the irritation of passersby, and frowns at him. "Oh, really?"

"Yeah, really. He's all, it was such a mistake to -" and then Patrick remembers he's talking to his mother and pretty much wants to swallow his own tongue.

"So you had sex and he said it was a mistake," she summarizes. "Did you talk to him about it?"

"...Yes," Patrick says.

His mother says nothing.

"He talked, okay? He did all the talking necessary."

She says, "I'm going to keep walking with Stanley for a while. He's falling asleep, so maybe I'll go to Starbucks and get some coffee. You are going back to the apartment to talk to Johnny. And you will use real words, like an actual adult, instead of going to Madison because Johnny said something stupid."

Patrick opens his mouth to argue, but she shoots him a look. Patrick seriously needs to get some people in his life who can't look at him that way.

In the meantime, though, he's fucking stuck. He nods morosely and slouches back towards Johnny's place.

~

Johnny's awake when Patrick gets there, staring into a cup of coffee. He's got a Red Bull open in front of him, too. Patrick grabs a can of Red Bull for himself and drinks down half of it.

"Hey," he says. "Thought you'd still be sleeping."

"I woke up because it was too quiet in here," Johnny says morosely. "I think Stanley's done something to my brain."

Patrick can seriously relate. "So, like," he begins, and then sort of doesn't know where to go from there. Finally he settles on, "Sorry I left you alone with the monster."

Johnny shrugged. "I could see you needed to go," he says, and the words sound understanding, but Patrick is an expert in Toewsian Non-Speech, and he knows Johnny is actually judging the fuck out of him.

"Look, you did tell me to go, so getting pissed off about it is seriously low," Patrick says.

"Do you really think," Johnny starts, and oh yeah, now he's really angry. Patrick knows all the signs. Johnny takes a deep breath and starts again. "The problem is not that you wanted a night off. Although I'm fucking taking a night off sometime soon, too."

"Deal," Patrick says, holding up his hands.

"The problem," Johnny says, and then he just grinds to a stop.

"Should I do fill-in-the-blanks?" Patrick snaps. "The problem is you're just not good enough, Kaner. The problem is you aren't me, Kaner. The problem is that you're human, Kaner."

"The problem is that you're not fucking eighteen anymore!" Johnny yells.

Patrick blinks, derailed. "So, like. I'm not eighteen. And that's a - bad thing?" He seriously has no idea what Johnny is talking about.

Johnny stares at the table and sighs. He suddenly looks - defeated. Like they just got swept in the first series of the playoffs, that bad. "You act like you're eighteen. You act like a rookie who just got his own place and his own money for the first time."

"Oh, fuck you," Patrick snarls. "Which blog did you get that from?" Seriously, Johnny of all people should know him better than that.

"Those pictures of you passed out in Madison were just a Kaner doppelganger?"

"When you were out, I stepped up. I did your fucking job even though I suck at it. When I got moved, I stepped up. I did whatever I was fucking told. Hell, all this week, I have stepped up. Don't even try to tell me I haven't, you motherfucker."

"You have," Johnny says, and Patrick still wants to punch him in the face, because if he knows that, what's the fucking problem? "You're fucking clutch, okay? When the pressure's on, I can count on you. But life isn't - Stanley isn't - fuck." Johnny stares furiously at the table, like he's trying to do math in his head. "When the pressure's off, you're gone." He says it flatly, like he's delivering a verdict. "Stanley doesn't need just clutch. He needs you all the time."

Patrick kind of wants to punch the wall and kind of wants to puke, so he ends up doing neither. He just stands there in Johnny's kitchen and tries to make himself think before he says anything. He finally starts with, "Fuck you." Johnny makes a short, sharp noise, like he is just exasperated beyond bearing, so Patrick repeats it. "No, seriously, fuck you. Fuck you for thinking I would ever, ever leave Stanley. He's pretty terrible, but he's mine, you asshole."

Johnny doesn't respond to that, and after a minute Patrick has to look at him, even though he knows that if Johnny's, like, rolling his eyes all disbelievingly or whatever he'll have to punch him in the face, and then probably his mother will have him arrested for domestic violence. But Johnny is looking at him like - like he's surprised. Like Patrick just scored in overtime to win them the Cup.

"You really thought I'd run," Patrick says. He should feel angry, but mostly he just feels bewildered. "How do you not know me better than that?" Johnny's played with him for five years. He should know that Patrick stays in until the game is over, and if you want him to leave, you have to fucking throw him out.

Johnny shrugs. "I've been watching you pretty closely," he says, and Patrick opens his mouth to call him an asshole again, but Johnny's already adding, "but I guess maybe I was - biased."

"Biased," Patrick repeats.

Johnny nods. "You know, you can edit a lowlights reel. You can make any player look bad, if that's what you really want to do. Or if you think you have to."

Patrick gets it, suddenly and completely and totally. Johnny just passed to him, absolutely blind, but he knows the entire play now. "That's why you said it was a mistake, you fucker," he says, because the whole thing is just unreeling in his mind, now. "You think I'm unreliable. You think I'm juvenile. You fucking convinced yourself that I'm a worthless asshole."

"I -" Johnny says.

Patrick holds up a hand, because he fucking has the floor right now. "No, seriously, you are such a dick," he says. "I don't know why I'm so into you." He walks over to Johnny, who sets himself like he's preparing to be punched, and it's not like Johnny doesn't need to be punched sometimes. Patrick's usually totally on board with that. But right now there's something he needs to do even more.

He hauls Johnny out of his chair, pushes him against the kitchen table, and kisses him.

~

Johnny kisses him back immediately, as intense in this as in every other thing he ever does, but it doesn't feel like enough. Patrick bites Johnny's lower lip, sucks his tongue, does everything he can think of, but he just wants - he wants more. He goes full-on vampire and bites Johnny's neck, and the leftover frustration from the fight maybe drives him to bite a little harder than he otherwise would.

Johnny gasps, and when Patrick pulls away, he's licking at his lip where Patrick bit it, his eyes a little dazed. Patrick smiles and capitalizes on that, pulling up Johnny's shirt and dragging his fingernails up Johnny's sides at the same time.

"Patrick -" Johnny says, and his voice already sounds kind of rough, which is really fucking satisfying. "We can't -"

"Fuck that, we're going to," Patrick says, because Johnny's bullshit has kept them from fucking for long enough.

"No, I want, it's just - Stanley," Johnny says. "And, and your mom."

It's against all the rules of everything to bring up someone's kid and mom while you're having sex with him, but Patrick takes Johnny's point. "She's staying gone long enough for us to be done fighting," he says. "So we should have time as long as we get to it and you stop being a wuss."

Johnny nods. Apparently that’s all it took to get him totally on board, because he's the one starting the kissing now, pressing up against Patrick with his whole body, stroking his hands along Patrick's back like he can't stop touching long enough to do anything. Patrick pushes his leg in between Johnny's, hoping to get something going there, but Johnny's too fucking tall for that to do any good, so he just goes for it, sliding his hands under the waistband of Johnny's sweatpants, feeling up his frankly phenomenal ass. Patrick rakes his nails across Johnny's ass a few times, just to hear him gasp, and then makes enough space between them to get his hand on Johnny's cock.

As soon as he does, Johnny pulls away and says, "No - Patrick - I want -" and then Johnny is pushing Patrick back, back, back, until he's up against the kitchen wall. As soon as he is, Johnny drops to his knees and starts undoing Patrick's fly.

Patrick's been hard since he bit Johnny, but this makes him impossibly harder, achingly hard, because this is Johnny, and he's on his knees. For Patrick. In the fucking kitchen. When Johnny finally gets his dick free, Patrick feels like he should thank him, but all he can get out is moans, because Johnny is fucking going for it.

It's not like he's good at this. Objectively, he's really not. But he's so fucking Johnny, even on his knees, giving everything he's got to this, sloppy and enthusiastic and so fucking sincere Patrick can hardly stand it. It takes everything Patrick has not to thrust, not to fuck Johnny's mouth, and so there's nothing left for holding back, and he comes, way, way too fast, pushing himself against the wall so he doesn't fall down.

When Patrick can focus his eyes again, Johnny looks dazed and desperate, and he's - fuck, he's got his hand in his pants, and he's jerking off without ever even getting off his knees.

"Fuck no," Patrick says. He drops down next to Johnny and pushes his hand away. Johnny makes a tiny, cut-off noise of protest. "I've got this," Patrick assures him, and he does. He gets Johnny on his back on the kitchen floor and gets his sweats off, and, just, wow. The last time they did this, it was in the dark and Patrick was too fucked up from the playoffs to give Johnny the attention he deserved, but it's morning in Chicago, and Patrick isn't going to make that mistake twice.

He lets himself explore for just a few minutes, because there's no part of Johnny he doesn't want to touch. Johnny starts making noise when Patrick licks his nipple. Patrick bites, and Johnny gasps; his hands come up to hold Patrick's head in place, so he bites a little harder, and Johnny's hips jerk up. Patrick switches sides and does it all over again, because he wants to know what other sounds he can get Johnny to make.

"Fuck -" Johnny says. "Come on, come on, just fucking do something," and Patrick's not immune to that, not at all. He gets his hand on Johnny's cock, and, fuck, just yes. Johnny moans like he's trying not to, but Patrick can tell he's been leaking for a while, and he wants to get more of that. So much more. He strokes Johnny light and fast, winding him up until Johnny is fucking his hand, until he can't hold back the noises anymore. Patrick doesn't want this to end, so he keeps Johnny on the edge, holds him there, loosening his hand when he can tell Johnny's close, loving how it makes Johnny swear at him. Johnny's fingers are digging into Patrick's shoulders hard enough to leave bruises, and his moans are starting to sound more like sobs, but Patrick's waiting for something, waiting for something specific.

"Patrick, please," Johnny chokes out, his voice ragged, and that's it. That's what Patrick needed to hear. He tightens his hand and jerks Johnny a few times, and that's it, and Johnny's coming all over himself.

It takes a minute or two for Johnny to catch his breath, and then he opens his eyes and blinks at Patrick. "You fucker, you were totally holding back on me the last time we did this," Johnny says.

"If you're already forming critical sentences, obviously I need to try harder next time," Patrick says.

Johnny groans, but he's smiling.

~

Over the next week, it's pretty much all Stanley, all the time. Johnny gets them both back on a regular workout schedule. Patrick writes a truly ridiculous check to a nanny-finding firm, but he lets Johnny write the questions they'll ask for the interviews.

Patrick's mom and Andrée go shopping and come back with a weird bed attachment that Stanley can sleep in, and after two ridiculously awful nights they manage to persuade him to fall asleep on Patrick in the bed, lying down, so Patrick can creep away after twenty or thirty minutes. It's amazing. There's like two whole hours every day when Stanley is asleep in the bedroom that Patrick and Johnny can spend together. Patrick has never loved anything more than he loves the co-sleeper. He's ready to marry it, but he'd probably have to fight Johnny for the honor.

The day after the grandparents go home again, Rogowin calls, sounding truly desperate, but this time Patrick knows what to say. "Adam," he says, and he tries to sound sympathetic, he really does, although probably he's not exactly managing, "I hear you. But the situation is that Johnny and I have a kid. And that isn't going to change. So there's not really much we can fucking do here except own it."

Rogowin says, "Guys, the media's going to eat you alive."

Johnny says, "So we'll do it after the convention. That way, the convention isn't all about us, but we still have plenty of time to do pressers before training camp, so we'll be able to focus on hockey by the time the season starts."

Rogowin clearly hates the whole concept, but Stanley nicely truncates his arguments by waking up from his nap in his usual hideous mood and shrieking until they take him out for another walk.

The day Stanley is three weeks old, Patrick says, "You know, I think we're starting to get the hang of this." Of course, Johnny later threatens to kill him for saying that, because over the next two days Stanley manages to pee on basically every surface in their place and wakes up every forty-five minutes apparently just to be a dick. But still. Patrick had a few hours where he actually felt like he had a handle on this whole parenthood thing. He has every reason to believe he'll get back there in another year or two.

They interview a nanny, and another nanny, and another nanny, and finally hire Amy. Johnny likes her because she speaks French and has a degree in child development. Patrick likes her because she tries really, really hard not to laugh at his depiction of Stanley in full scream, and doesn't quite succeed.

Rogowin schedules their big "Yes, we are actually two hockey players who have a baby, suck my dick" press release for the end of July, and Johnny starts going through all the millions of voicemails and texts that have built up since the Deadspin article, in preparation for the millions more that will come after the press release.

"This is stupid," Patrick tells Johnny, maybe eighty times. "I just deleted all mine. Anyone who really has something important to say will call again."

"I might miss something," Johnny tells him, and buckles down even more.

That night, Patrick's lying next to Stanley in bed, waiting for the big moment when he's limp enough to be shifted into the co-sleeper. Johnny's next to him, sorting through his messages, and suddenly he makes a noise, sitting bolt upright. Patrick punches him in the thigh, because silence and stillness is key, it is critical to this whole process, and Johnny fucking knows it.

Twenty minutes later, Patrick makes the shift, and they tiptoe out. As soon as the bedroom door is closed behind them, Johnny shoves his phone basically into Patrick's face.

It's displaying a series of texts from - fuck, from Sidney Crosby.

"Why am I reading the words of the world's dullest human?" Patrick says, sighing dramatically.

"Just read that," Johnny snaps. He looks kind of crazy-eyed, so Patrick does.

The first one came in the day after the Deadspin article hit, and it says:

Did you wish for anything the year you won the Cup?

The next one is from two days later:

Seriously, did you? Fucking answer me, this is important.

And the next one is from a week after that:

Jonathan, if you get this, call me. We need to talk.

"He calls you Jonathan?" Patrick says, horrified.

"Did you read any of the rest of the texts?"

"Yeah. So Crosby's weird about the Cup. In other breaking news, Don Cherry's a dick."

Johnny shakes his head and calls Crosby, even though it's got to be past his bedtime. He sets it to speakerphone immediately.

"Yeah, what?" Yeah, they woke Crosby up.

"Always a charmer," Patrick mutters.

"Jonathan?" Crosby says, and now he sounds more awake.

"Just got your message," Johnny says apologetically. "I had a lot of them."

"Yeah, but mine actually mattered," Crosby snaps.

"Did you forget how to dial a phone?" Patrick asks.

There's a pause, and Patrick really hopes Crosby is thinking about strangling Patrick. Eventually, Crosby says, "So did you?"

"Wish on the Cup?" Johnny hesitates. "Yeah. Yeah, I did."

Patrick whips his head around to stare at Johnny, betrayed, because Johnny never told him that.

"And?" Crosby says.

"I wished for a legacy, okay? I was worried that was as good as I'd ever get, and I just wanted to know - I wished for a legacy."

"Fucking fuck," Crosby says. "What did you wish for, Kane?"

Patrick just blinks at the phone for a second, unwillingly impressed at Crosby's ability to find whatever version of your name you're least interested in being called. Then he says, "Um," because the truth is pretty humiliating, and he's not about to admit to it to Sidney fucking Crosby.

"I remember you promising to name your firstborn after the Cup," Johnny says. "Did you wish for a kid or something?"

"Oh come on," Patrick says. "My wish was not that stupid." And, oops. He'd been planning on not actually admitting he made a wish.

"What did you wish for?" Johnny asks, and then, when Patrick makes a not-in-front-of-Crosby face, he sighs like a total asshole and says, "Just tell us, we both already know you make stupid choices."

And that kind of pisses Patrick off, so he snaps, "I wished for us to - to play together. Forever," Patrick says. That's not exactly what he wished for, actually, but it's close enough.

"Right. So you were probably about to be separated, like maybe traded, so the Cup had to act." Crosby sounds like everything has been revealed, which, Patrick's glad for him, but this still makes no sense.

"I. What?" Johnny says blankly. Patrick gets that.

"You can't wish on the Cup," Crosby says impatiently. "Not the year after you win it. It can do - stuff. Like, make stuff happen. With magic, I guess." He's talking about magic and he sounds exactly like he does in his pressers. It's unreal.

"How would you know?" Patrick asks him.

"How do you think I fucking know? I made a wish, okay? And then Mario told me why you don't do that. The Cup listens to hockey players. And it can do stuff. And sometimes it does."

"Great," Johnny says. "So I wished for a legacy, and Patrick wished for us to play together, and - and that got us Stanley?"

"He'll probably be really good at hockey," Crosby offers, like that's the important thing here.

"Jesus fuck," Patrick says. "I. Seriously?" He can't even process this. How the fuck do you get a baby from wishing on the Stanley Cup? Wait. Wait. There's a more important question to ask here. "So, if we'd wished to win it again -" he starts.

Crosby actually interrupts. "Mario tried that. He ended up having to retire and winning it as an owner. It - interprets. I mean. It's not exactly clear-cut. You don't get exactly what you pictured." He sounds pained.

"You know what, not even going to ask what you wished for, it's probably seriously boring," Patrick says.

"Have fun with your magical Cup baby," Crosby says, and hangs up.

Johnny and Patrick turn in unison and stare back at the bedroom door. Where their magical Cup baby is sleeping.

"Magical Cup baby," Patrick repeats. "We have a magical Cup baby. What the fuck?"

Johnny doesn't say anything. When Patrick turns to look at him, he's looking thoughtful, studying Patrick.

"I bet I know what you really wished for," Johnny says.

"Fuck you, that is what I wished for," Patrick tells him. And it is. Close enough, anyway.

"I'll get it out of you eventually, you know," Johnny says, supremely and irritatingly confident.

"No, you fucking won't."

Johnny smiles a little. "Time," he says smugly, "is on my side. Sooner or later you'll weaken, and I'll be right there, ready to exploit it." He nods sagely.

After that, Patrick has no choice but to push Johnny down and kiss him until he can't make sentences anymore.

Epilogue

"On behalf of Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins proudly select, from Shattuck-St. Mary's, Stanley Kane-Toews."

The stadium roars in response. Stanley stands up, wraps his arms around Patrick, and says, "Thanks, Dad. Couldn't have done it without you." Patrick hugs him back, of course, since this is the first time in like four years he's been willing to hug either of his fathers in public, and, fuck. Stanley's so much fucking taller than Patrick. It always throws him. It's like a part of him expects Stanley to still be the tiny baby asleep on his chest. Or, more realistically, screaming in his arms. But now Stanley is as tall as Johnny, and he's got Johnny's work ethic but Patrick's eyes and hands. Most of the time, Patrick can't believe he and Johnny combined to make someone this amazing. (The rest of the time he wants to punch a wall. He never has any trouble believing Stanley came from him and Johnny then.)

"Love you, monster," Patrick says, and legit feels his eyes tearing up, which fucking sucks. It isn't like the cameras are going to be anywhere else right now.

Stanley turns to Johnny next, for another hug, and Patrick can't hear what he says over the crowd.

Finally, Stanley turns to hug Evie, lifting her up off the ground while she squeaks indignantly. Patrick lets it happen; Evie's 10 now, and she deserves to be treated with more dignity where other people can see, but this. Well. She'll remember this day forever, just like she'll probably remember her own eventual draft day. Evie whoops loud enough for everyone in the place to hear and throws her arms in the air like she's won something, and Stanley puts her down, laughing a little.

Moments like that make Patrick wish they'd managed to win the Cup a third time. But then he remembers incidents like the Great Indoor-Outdoor Three Phase Skating Championships and is blasphemously grateful they only have two.

Johnny takes Stanley's jacket and Stanley walks confidently up to the stage. As soon as he's gone far enough that the cameras are probably off them, Johnny whispers, "Knew he'd go first."

"Me too, asshole," Patrick hisses back. "I just told you it was bad luck to say that."

Johnny shrugs. "Worked out okay."

"Yeah, no thanks to your stupid face," Patrick says.

"Oh my god, shut up," Evie says. "He's up there now!"

Stanley is. He's shaking Lemieux's hand. He moves on to Crosby next. Crosby shakes his hand and says something to him, then claps him on the shoulder, and at that moment, he looks into the audience and finds Patrick and Johnny.

Crosby doesn't say anything, but he doesn't have to. The fucker is smiling at them, and Patrick can see him thinking, got him.

"We got him first," Patrick mutters under his breath. And then he says it, has to say it, just loud enough for Johnny to hear. "Thanks, Lord Stanley."
 
 
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