In These Small Hours (A Bitty MiniFic)
It doesn’t really hit Bitty until he’s sitting in his room at the Haus, staring at the boxes already half-full with his belongings.
His ears are ringing in the silence that surrounds him now, so different from the constant congratulations and yelling from the team. He’s still got his suit on, bowtie still crisp, hair still set. Around him, distantly, he hears the various noises that are normal in the Haus- boards creaking, water running, Netflix coming from Holster’s laptop upstairs.
There is a part of Bitty that is trying to burn all of this deeply into his mind so he can never forget any of it. He bends over to untie his dress shoes and he starts to take stock of the night.
First, he had voted for Chowder for Captain.
Second, the team did not agree with him.
Third, they had voted for him. Bitty.
Fourth, they all had voted for him.
Just the thought of it now, hours after the banquet, stirred up a flurry of emotions within him.
He was surprised, and delighted, and confused, and so, so happy.
But at the same time, he was so, so scared.
There was once, and exactly once, that Bitty had imagined himself the Captain of the team. It had been in a quiet moment shared with Jack- a September night spent on the balcony of his apartment with coffee. They were familiar but still so new to eachother then, prone to spontaneous conversation that revealed themselves to the other.
“Being Captain last year, I think that was the best thing that could have happened to me.” Jack had said, his thumb stroking over Bitty’s fingers. “I was Captain junior year, yeah, but…last year taught me so much.”
Bitty was quiet, always so taken away by the careful gravity Jack put behind his words sometimes.
“Being Captain of that team, of you guys, it was more than just calling plays and leading workouts. You guys let me grow and learn. You let me realize how much I love all that hockey is. Not just the ice time, or the goals, or anything like that.”
Jack’s quietly spoken speech sunk into Bitty, and later when the were curled around eachother in bed, Bitty thought about it on the cusp of falling asleep.
Imagine me, he thought, imagine me as Captian. Imagine people looking to me like they did to Jack. Imagine finally feeling at place and included.
Now, with his suit half off and his phone giving him notifications for endless congratulations pouring in from several sources, Bitty tried to grasp the idea that his late night half-formed fantasy wasn’t so silly at all.
Bitty pulled on the falconers shirt that was slung across the back of his desk chair and then settled into bed.
He held his phone on his chest, thumb hovering over the team group chat. There were so many messages that Bitty can vaguely remembering skimming in-between all of the in-person celebrations.
He scanned over them again, feeling his chest swell with each positive message.
It struck him, then. Everything all at once- the captaincy, the boys, the respect, and something more that poured into him and settled a worry he had held close to his chest for too long.
Bitty loved hockey.
Now he knew that hockey loved him, too.