GENO IN GLASSES!!!!!!!!!!! PROFESSOR MALKIN!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT TO DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
there isn’t a lot to do, when you’re concussed. sid doesn’t like music that much, or at least not the kind that goes well with headaches and bouts of dizziness. he barely gets to watch any tv, listen to radio, anything – and he is so. fucking. bored.
“here,” nathalie says finally, shoving a book at him, still in the plastic bag from the bookstore. “you need something to do that isn’t getting in the way of my cooking. now please, sidney, get out of my kitchen.”
cowed, sid takes the book and goes into the living room to start reading.
“sidney,” mario says seven hours later, peering at him in the darkness, “it’s one in the morning. you should probably sleep.”
“not yet,” sid replies, turning another page of dr. malkin’s account of post-revolution russia. “i’m almost done.”
mario sighs at him, but its the kind of sigh that hides a smile.
it turns out that dr. malkin is relatively famous in academic circles, enough so that he has an invitation to come speak at carnegie mellon on his newest research a week or two after sid finally, finally is on the mend, and, well. sid really liked the book.
he wears a plain, boring baseball cap and black jacket, popping up the collar a little so hopefully none of the other guests in the audience – most of them old people or college students, it seems like – will recognize him.
there’s a short speech from one of the history professors and sid unashamedly tunes most of it out until everyone’s clapping, and then –
sid doesn’t know what he expected dr. malkin to look like. he guesses he was thinking someone old and short, possibly with a potbelly, definitely with glasses and a tweed jacket.
this dr. malkin is wearing glasses and a tweed jacket, but he’s definitely not old or short. instead he’s young, maybe a year or two older than sid, and incredibly tall and gangly, and almost unfortunately hot.
“hi,” he says, voice a little thick with his accent, “thank you so much for having me,” and fuck, sid is so fucked.
he sits through dr. malkin’s entire talk, scribbling notes on his program in pen and shifting a little uncomfortably every time he smiles. by the time dr. malkin’s finished his talk – this one about soviet military strategy in world war ii – sid’s up clapping with everybody else.
he hangs around the entrance to the lecture hall where dr. malkin’s signing books and chatting with people, waiting until most of the crowd has dissipated to come up to the table. “hi,” he says, full of some sort of weird nervousness that he hasn’t felt since juniors, probably.
“hello,” dr. malkin says, smiling at him absently – and then he stops, smiling even wider. “you sidney crosby?”
“i,” sid says, blinking. “i, um. yes?”
“wow,” dr. malkin says, and then he’s holding out a hand for sid to shake. “this is – amazing to meet you. i love your hockey.”
“oh, um, thank you,” sid replies, the good manners drilled into him since childhood kicking in. “i, uh, i love your book.”
“really?” dr. malkin asks, beaming at him. “i sign for you.”
“thanks,” sid says, handing it over and trying not to feel too embarrassed when dr. malkin sees how dog-eared and marked up it is. “i, um – it really helped me out, a lot, being able to read it. it’s amazing, seriously.”
“glad sidney crosby like,” dr. malkin says, signing the dedication page and handing it back to sid. “i watch games sometimes, but never think great hockey player like you read my book.”
“well, it’s great,” sid repeats, feeling more than a little bit embarrassed, but dr. malkin keeps smiling at him, and it’s hard not to smile back. “i, um – how long are you in town, here?”
“week,” dr. malkin says. “very excited to see pittsburgh. great city.”
“i – do you want tickets? to a game?” sid asks, before he can stop himself. “i’m not cleared to play yet, but – you like hockey, so i can, um –”
“would love,” dr. malkin says, and fuck, if sid thought his smile was cute before, it’s even better now, huge and crinkled and warm.