Kent had been running a solid forty-five minutes late to practice thanks to a car accident and resulting traffic jam between his house and the rink, which was oddly silent when he walked in. Yeah, all the guys were there, but no one was saying anything. There wasn’t even the sound of hockey, of pucks and sticks and skates. Everyone was just standing there and staring at him.
“Okay, what the fuck?” Kent asked, voice echoing in the quiet. At that, everyone jumped back into practice, just further confusing the hell out of Kent.
Whatever, he was late and needed to get geared up to practice, which he did quickly, getting himself on the ice in what he was pretty sure was record time.
Practice was one of the oddest things Kent had ever experienced. On the surface, to an outsider looking in (not that there were any observers; practice was closed), it was normal, but on the ice and to anyone who knew the Aces, something was off. Something was very off. It wasn’t like his team ever really respected him (except during games, but that was a different story), but this was a different level of fuckery. Even the rookies were acting weird, and the rookies hadn’t yet learned that everyone on the team treated the hockey legend, member of the NHL Top 100, with chirps and just general hell.
Kent ignored it as best as he could, throwing himself into practicing, pushing himself to his limits. He probably shouldn’t have done that, but it was whatever. He was used to working through pain and other physical limitations. He’d been doing it his entire life. Some old injuries were screaming at him, but he could handle it.
Practice was just wrapping up when things got even weirder. Kent was about to get off the ice, anxious to get out of his pads and take some painkillers, but the coach stopped him. Then there was a sound of one of the doors onto the ice, which in and of itself wasn’t the oddest thing, given that there were plenty of people who worked with the team, but everyone’s reaction to it was odd. Everyone, even the coaches, turned, looking between whoever was coming onto the ice and Kent.
Kent turned, determined to figure out what the fuck was going on. Once he did, he froze. Coming onto the ice was Alexei, wearing a nice pair of jeans and, of all things, the Parson jersey Kent had gotten him when they had been together six months. He also had one hand behind his back and an almost nervous expression on his face.
“What are you doing here?” Kent asked, confused. He knew that the Falcs had just started their bye week, but the Aces had a hectic schedule with five games during the week, so Alexei had taken Snowy up on his offer to go to Florida for a few days.
Alexei looked nervous. “I’m having something to say,” he said slowly. “Coaches, Aces team, they know.”
Kent was starting to panic a bit. Alexei wouldn’t break up with him in front of his entire team, right? And he wouldn’t do it wearing Kent’s jersey.
Kent glanced back at the team, skating slowly towards them. Swoops intercepted him, though, pushing him towards Alexei, who, oh god, was getting down on one knee and pulling a box from behind his back.
“I’m in love with you, Kent Parson,” Alexei said, and Kent handed Swoops his helmet and gloves so he could wipe his eyes. He was going to get chirped so badly later on for crying, but that was fine.
“I’m wanting to spend the rest of my life with you. Marry me?”
Kent was nodding furiously, full on crying now. “Of course I will.”
He skated over and pulled on Alexei’s hand, trying to get him to stand up. It wasn’t going well, but Alexei stood anyway, sliding the ring he held onto Kent’s finger and pulling Kent close. With Kent wearing skates and Alexei in regular shoes, their height was a bit closer than usual, so Kent only had to lean up a few inches to press his lips to Alexei’s.
The Aces burst into applause and chirping cheers and Kent flipped them off without turning around.
“You’re literally perfect,” he whispered against Alexei’s lips and felt rather than saw the grin he got in response. “I’m so excited to be marrying you.”