Sid holds out his jersey in offer and Ovi narrows his eyes at him thoughtfully for a moment. Around them, the crew is eyeing them curiously as they go about their business.
Sidney grinds his heel against the floor to keep from shifting restlessly. It seems like time is frozen it goes by so slowly; he feels his arm shaking, is just about to let it drop along with his jersey when Ovi reaches out and plucks it out of his hand.
“You sign it too? Will be worth lots.” He winks at Sid, that gap-toothed grin of his firmly in place.
Sidney remembers that grin from games played – after a hit against the boards or just before a face off. He’s always thought it cocky and arrogant, and it is, but Ovi looks fond too, as if Sid amuses him, as if he’s someone Ovi feels affectionate about.
Which is weird, because Sid and Ovi are not friends, nor are they rivals for all the media tries to make them so.
In fact, they don’t really see much of each other outside of games.
Now though, Ovi pulls off his own jersey, snags a pen from a passing intern, and scrawls out his signature on top of the white lettering on the back. His grin widens.
“Here,” he says. “Put on. Have to take picture and send to Zhenya. He’ll be very jealous.”
Sidney blinks at him. He does not know who this Zhenya person is or why he’ll be jealous, but it seems rude to decline, so Sid puts on the jersey, wrinkling his nose a little at how big it is, and lets Ovi move him into different poses as he snaps pictures with his phone.
At some point, Sid’s jersey ends up on Ovi, and their respective PR representatives look ready to burst from glee as they hunt down the real photographer and make them pose together in their borrowed jerseys.
“PR gold,” one of them says, the other nodding enthusiastically in the background.
Sidney eyes them warily.
It takes nearly another hour before they’re done and Sid and his people are on a bus back to the airport. He’s exhausted, slanted over in his seat with his head resting against the window when his phone buzzes in his pocket.
He frowns, is barely awake as he checks his phone for a new message. It’s from Ovi; Sid doesn’t even know how Ovi got his number.
Photoshoot take long time, but had fun today. I send pics to Zhenya. He’s such big fan! Will be so jealous!
Sid can practically hear Ovi’s mad cackle over the last bit, and he wonders again who this Zhenya person is and why Ovi keeps talking about him as if Sid knows him too.
(It will take him a few years before he understands, and when he does, it’s because he stumbles over a couple of old printed pictures in a drawer in Geno’s house. It’s Sid, looking young and baby faced. He’s wearing an Ovechkin jersey of all things, and next to him is the man himself, grinning wide and smug at the camera.
“Sid? You find the scissors?” Geno asks as he walks into the room. He stops up short when Sidney looks up at him with wide eyes, holding out the picture in his hand wordlessly.
“Oh,” Geno says.
“Where- where did you get these? I barely even remember it.”
Geno blushes and rubs at the back of his neck sheepishly. “Sanja give. He send to me when I’m still in Russia. Wanted to make me jealous.”
Something prickles at the back of Sid’s mind. “You are Zhenya? Ovi’s friend? But why would you be jealous?” he asks when Geno nods.
And well, that turns out to be another conversation entirely.)