& Chapter 3: Cartwright
Their success at practice hadn't been a fluke, they really played together like they were born for it. It wasn't just that it took a player a certain speed to be able to handle Carry's during a busy game, or even that Avali was an instinctive strategist but also a good improviser. Carry had played with men suited to his own abilities before, and he had clicked with people before... He had even played with alphas, and he knew the way scent translated into being able to track each other on the ice more easily, which helped a lot when it came to passes, sure, but it didn't give you a precise location. It didn’t explain how Carry just knew. Or could he even call it that? Was it still knowing if he didn’t even have to think?
Avali smelled nice enough, he supposed, but being attracted to an alpha he played with had never done anything except fuck up his life. No way was doing that again and— It still didn’t explain anything.
He couldn’t explain it
If it had a name, Carry hadn't got far enough into his sports science to know it. But he didn't just have a general idea about where Avali was, he felt almost like he could predict where Avali would be. Telepathy was bollocks, obviously, even bonded partners only had empathy but... Carry knew they would win the moment Avali had won the face off and slid the puck over to him without even looking. He made a point of skating around the Desert Snakes' winger before returning it just as Avali reached a perfect angle to shoot from. Avali caught it and turned, slotting it into the goal like it was nothing, like he hadn't even seen the Desert defence. The crown roared and Carry felt like his heart would explode in his chest. He loved playing home ice.
The next goal came equally easy, only Avali couldn't shoot so he sent it back to Thomas, who pretended to aim for goal and slid it smoothly to Carry instead. Carry didn't even remember aiming, it was like his arms had planned and executed the play without consulting his brain. He loved that feeling, being just a body, perfectly trained for a task he could replicate with precision again and again.
He took the time to skate to Thomas and give him a solid pat on the back in thanks. As he skated past Avali, the thought crossed his mind to touch him as well, but then the game was on again.
They had destroyed the Deserts. They weren't a great team to start with, but, all loyalty aside, neither were the Flames. They weren't mean to dominate so thoroughly when playing another team in the league. Even once their line went to sit out the next shift, the Flames were... well, on fire. By the time the game was over Carry was sure he was only standing because he was too stiff to bend his limbs. Well, that and the celebratory group hug made it even more hazardous to let gravity win the eternal fight.
He leaned into his new team, enjoying their warmth, and even, perversely, the sweaty mass of bodies. It was ridiculous, but he'd missed it.