Since bitty is (I think?) the first openly gay player in the NHL in the fics, what about other players hitting on him when they play the schooners, or even better, during the all star game when jack is right there?
The game so far has been nothing memorable, just another pre-season exhibition against Edmonton that neither team really want to give their all because why risk anything before the season even starts?
“Bittle,” Burig, a second line Oilers winger, flags Eric down at the end of the second period, with a look of grim determination that gives Eric the sense he’s about to be sucker-punched.
“You, uh,” Burig hesitates, gnawing on his mouthguard and twisting his stick in his hands while he comes up with whatever he wants to say. He huffs and looks around for any teammates that might be watching the exchange, finding the rest of his line distracted, he leans in close. “You doing anything after the game?”
Eric blinks. “What?”
“Just,” Burig shrugs, face flushing pink, “wanted to see if you’d like to grab a drink or something.”
“Oh. Oh!” Someone from the bench yells his name and Eric is faced with a dilemma he knows he can’t resolve in the next 15 seconds. “Wait for me after the game, we can talk.”
Burig nods tightly, beet red, and skates back to his own bench.
Just another thing for Eric to think about while coach yells at him for missing an unnecessary pep talk.
Burig is waiting for Eric when he leaves the locker room, hair still damp and his suit slightly rumpled like he’d thrown it on in a rush, which makes Eric feel worse for some reason.
“Hey,” he perks up when he sees Eric, sliding his phone into his gear bag. “You wanted to talk?” He sounds so earnest it hurts and Eric motions to a meeting room just off the hallway.
“It’ll be a bit more private in here.”
Eric doesn’t waste time when the doors close, Burig isn’t the first player to approach him and he certainly won’t be the last.
“You’re very sweet, but I have a boyfriend.”
“Fuckin’ knew it,” Burig curses, shouldering his duffel bag. “No way someone as hot as you is single. Worth a shot, right?”
“Were you looking for a hook-up or?”
“No, not like that, I just kinda,” he hesitates like he’s afraid of saying too much.
“Safe space,” Eric waves his arms to indicate the empty room. “Be honest.”
“I’m tired of Grindr and puckbunnies and bar hookups, you know? I want something real.”
Eric immediately runs through a list in his mind of the few single players he’s met in similarly awkward situations. “You play in Vancouver next week, right?”
Burig’s eyes go wide and Eric holds up a warning finger. “Hold your horses. I may have a friend in a similar situation, but it’ll be on his terms if he wants to reach out. Give me your number, and I’ll pass it along if he wants to meet. Okay? No promises.”
“You want to tell me why we’re watching Vancouver slaughter Edmonton when we could be doing literally anything else?” Jack bemoans from the couch, poking and prodding at Eric to distract him.
“I’m invested, alright? You plant seeds, you watch ‘em grow.”
The clock runs out on the second period and Eric keeps his eyes trained on Vancouver’s goalie, Crivier, who waves Burig over in a moment of calm. The two talk, barely visible over the shoulder of a commentator, but moments later Burig skates away with a very prominent smile on face.
“And boom goes the dynamite,” Eric whispers, grabbing the remote to switch over to the new season of House of Cards.
“You playing matchmaker again, Bits?” Jack laughs, pressing himself against Eric’s side and nuzzling at his neck.
“You know how much competition you’d have if I didn’t set up all the guys that hit on me with each other?” Eric breathes, sliding his fingers through Jack’s hair. “I could have a harem.”
Jack groans and squeezes Eric tightly. “I’ll fight everyone,” he murmurs, “even the guys I like.”