Like Real People Do - Chapter 4 - xiaq - Check Please! (Webcomic) [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
Jeff Troy doesn’t usually feel particularly old. Twenty-four is still young for a hockey player, and he’s only had one significant injury so far in his career. He knows guys in their thirties who take muscle relaxers like candy and have to do a series of convoluted stretches in order to hobble out of bed in the mornings; who visit the PT floor every day after practice and complain about their joints when it rains. Jeff can still stay up until 3 am, drink too much Vodka with the Russians, and recover in time for 11am practice.
He’s not old, okay?
But he’s also been with the Las Vegas Aces for less than a year and already a good portion of the Aces, even those older than him, have started calling him “Mom.” Because apparently monitoring his budget, caring about personal hygiene, and checking the goddamn weather before he leaves the house makes him geriatric.
There’s also Kent Parson.
Jeff doesn’t have any kids. He only just got married and that was terrifying enough, he doesn’t plan to procreate any time in the near future. But since the day nineteen-year-old NHL Captain Kent Parson called him on the phone to welcome him to the Aces, more soft-spoken and awkward than he ever expected, Jeff has had a deep and abiding affection for the kid. The kind that makes him want to fight people twice his size who so much as look at Kenny funny. The kind that has resulted in Kent falling asleep on him everywhere from the team bus to airline seats to his own couch where his wife stifles laughter over his internal struggle over whether or not it would be weird to pet Kenny’s hair. Which, it’s nice hair, ok? And the poor kid has a half-dozen cowlicks that make him look like a startled sunflower most of the time. It’s adorable.
Jeff had a very brief sexuality crisis shortly after these feelings started to manifest before he realized he didn’t want to have sex with Kenny, he just wanted to protect him. Which does not, in fact, make any sense. Regardless, Jeff loves Kent in a way that he anticipates he’ll love his own children someday and the fact that Kent is only four years younger than him and his Captain doesn’t really negate that.
So no, Jeff doesn’t usually feel old, but when he’s sitting at the monstrosity of an island in Kent’s ridiculous ultra-modern penthouse apartment, drinking beer he brought with him and refuses to share—there are laws for a reason, Kenny, no—while Kent quietly freaks out about whether or not he’s texted a cute boy too many times, Jeff feels suddenly ancient.