The Very Thought of You

by Alex

The mere idea of you
The longing year for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go
Till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eye in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you
My love
The mere idea of you
The longing year for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go
Till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eye in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you
My love
~Elvis Costello, "The Very Thought of You"

* * *

Jamie had his back to the play, digging for the puck behind the net. I watched from the blueline, ready to jump in if needed. Someone let out a holler and Jamie raised his head to see who it was that was calling for the puck.

Just as I skated in, to help him out, Kasparaitis came in from behind and hit Jamie squarely in the back, sending his head into the glass. Jamie cried out and dropped to his knees, blood staining the white ice beneath him.

I grabbed Kasparaitis by the shoulders and spun him around. "Hey, you fuckhead, wanna try that to me?"

"Ha, the stupid faggot comes to his lover's rescue," taunted the Lithuanian, grinning at me, just begging for me to hit him. "How cute."

"You fucking prick," I growled, dropping my gloves, " wanna go?"

"Ooh, sounds like I hit a nerve," he sneered at me, still smiling at me.

I sighed. I slammed a bare fist into his nose, almost startling myself at the cracking of cartilage. Kasparaitis lost his balance, stumbling back. Falling onto Jamie, who was laying prone on the ice, holding his hand against his bloody nose.

When Jamie cried out, I knew I'd done something stupid. His body slumped to the ice, but he wasn't unconscious. His eyes were wide open, completely terrified. This was bad, very bad.

What had I done?

I shoved Kasparaitis off of Jamie's body and knelt beside him, placing my hand on his back.

"Jamie, please, speak to me. Are you okay?" I bent my head, looking into his large, brown eyes. He reminded me of a frightened child that had just had a nightmare. But this was worse than a nightmare.

This was real.

"Derian," he gasped, "something's not right."

"What?" I asked. "What do you mean `something's not right'?"

"When that dickhead fell on me… Something happened…" Jamie was still in his original position, having not moved since Kasparaitis hit his head into the glass.

"Jamie," I said, "this isn't funny."

"I'm not TRYING to be funny. I can't feel my arms, Der."

The trainer pushed me aside and knelt in my place. "Jamie, what happened?"

"Kasparaitis fell on his head," I said, getting to my feet.

The trainer looked at me but didn't say a word. Instead, he looked back at Jamie. "Shit… Can you move your hands? Your arms? Anything at all?"

"N-no… My fingers are all tingly… It's running up and down my right arm," he said, breathlessly, flexing the fingers of his right hand. Jamie stared at his hand, his lips trembling.

I skated off to the side as the Pittsburgh medical staff came out onto the ice, holding a neck brace.

"Where are you taking him?" I asked, shooting my defensive partner, Richard Matvichuk, a nervous glance.

"I want him to have an MRI on his neck. I don't think it's terribly serious, but I just want to be sure," the trainer said.

"I can't feel my fingers," Jamie whimpered from the ice.

The Pittsburgh trainer got on his knees and fitted Jamie's neck with the brace, and the medical staff slipped a board under his body, lifting him onto a gurney and strapping him down.

"Well, I'll go too," I said.

Richard looked at me. "Derian, you can't do that. Hitch will never let you."

"Fuck Hitch." I watched as they strapped him down onto the gurney, his eyes still radiating fear. There was no way in hell I would let him go through this alone…if there was something seriously wrong, I wanted to be there with him.

"Derian…" Matty sighed, shaking his head.

"Just shut up. Make yourself useful and tell him I won't be back. If he's got a problem with it, tell him he can answer to me."

I reached out, grabbing Jamie's hand in mine and squeezing it. Richard and I both looked back at the bench. Hitch was leaning over the boards, looking, predictably, furious with me.

I followed the processional toward the exit, where the ambulance was waiting, squeezing tightly onto Jamie's hand.

"Hatcher, get your ass back here!" screamed Hitch.

I didn't look back.

* * *

"A stinger?"

"That's what the doctor said," I grinned, leaning in to brush some of Jamie's dark hair out of his face. "The worst case scenario was a broken vertebra in your neck, but you lucked out this time."

Jamie couldn't keep the smile off of his face. "I did, didn't I Der?"

"Yeah… I'm sorry, by the way."

"For what?"

"For doing that to you," I apologized, my hand lingering on his forehead.

Jamie knotted his brow in confusion, marring his perfect features.

"Stop that," I scolded. "I don't like when you do that, Jamie."

"Derian, you didn't do anything to me. Kasparaitis did."

"But I pushed him onto you," I protested, running my fingers over his soft, downy cheek. "If it weren't for me, you wouldn't have had this 'stinger' in the first place."

Jamie shook his head slowly. "Derian, don't blame yourself. And this, this was nothing. It's nothing to get worked up over."

I sighed, removing my hand from his warm cheek. "But I caused this, Jamie."

He glared at me. "Shut up, Derian. You didn't 'cause' ANYTHING, got that? I'll be fine. I'll be back in the lineup for the next game. Everything will be fine."

"It's nice to see that you're so optimistic," I quipped.

"Just shut up, Der." Jamie reached out and grabbed my hand in his. "I'm glad you're here with me… Did you catch hell from Hitch?"

I nodded. "He wanted to sit me down for tomorrow's game, but Gainey wouldn't allow it."

Jamie nodded, his lips curling into a nearly imperceptible smile. "Kiss me, Der."

I looked around, scanning the halls for doctors or nurses. "Are you sure that's a good idea, Jame?"

"I don't care, Derian." Jamie tugged on my hand, the urgency in his voice startling me. "Let them see."

"Jamie…"

"Will you just shut up and do it?" he asked.

Sighing, I leaned in and pressed my lips against Jamie's. He smelled like freshly washed hair and fruity bubblegum. Jamie reached out, twining his fingers in my hair, as I ran my tongue along his bottom lip.

"You taste good," I murmured.

"Don't I always?" Jamie winked at me, and I laughed. Things were back to normal.

I laughed as well, resting my cheek against his neck. "I was so worried, Jamie. Don't ever pull this on me again… I'll die a young man."

Jamie held my hand in his, studying my fingertips. "Mm hm. I love you, Derian."

"I love you too," I said, softly, kissing him again.

Jamie nestled himself in my arms and closed his eyes.


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