by tammy
Bernie ASG challenge
Doan/Upchuck, Roenick/Upchuck?, Doan/Upchuck/Roenick?
Summary: Shane Doan eats mushrooms and thinks about, like, stuff.
AN: Saturday night the boys partied at the baseball park. Walt is Upchuck's nicname.



Minnesota is one of those places that snows, but is never gray. Perhaps it is just timing on Shane’s part, but he’d like to think that it is always cold, crisp and clear. He’s been to New York on several occasions, and the gray hit him after only a few days: the sky was gray, the buildings were gray, the ground was gray, and the people were gray. He supposes the novelty has worn off their faces; it isn’t Phoenix. The people don’t take to the streets with their cameras, and children don’t flock to cars and run their fingers along the hoods to pick up traces of snow.

Minnesota is mostly dark now, but speckled with dots of lights. It’s not LA; Shane’s been there, too. The flecks of light don’t drown out the ones overhead. He could maybe make out some constellations if he wanted to.

But he isn’t looking outside. He’s watching Keith and shoving stuffed mushrooms in his mouth. They are not very good.

Keith makes the Dome smaller with his wild gesticulations and smile. The Dome is warmer and more like home, and Shane is ever aware that the smaller the place becomes the more he is outed. He can almost feel the walls pushing him forward and out into the open. And he’d prefer just to watch.

He mingled earlier, but he is more content in smaller places with less people where there is no need for him to be on constantly and where it doesn’t feel like his skin is being stretched and pulled and little crumbs are being tucked inside. He is exaggerating, no doubt, but his skin feels tight underneath the collar of his shirt, and he itches slightly.

It’s mostly bread crumbs, and the salt remains in his mouth after he swallows. He clasps his wife’s hand and watches Keith talking to JR. He snatches another mushroom off a plate and Keith laughs. His wife yawns and he nuzzles her cheek with his own, letting her know she isn’t the only one tired.

They say their goodbyes and leave, and he and his wife wait outside for the valet to bring around the rental car. He opens the car door for her, and shuts it behind her, and he can still taste the mushrooms on his tongue.

A hand stops him from walking around to the other side of the car. “I asked to play with you tomorrow,” Keith says.

“I know, Walt,” he says, even though he didn’t.

The doors open and more hockey players and their wives and friends pour out into the crisp and clean Minnesota night. Shane starts up his car and drives back to the hotel.

He shifts in bed, later, and thinks about Keith’s face and the curve of JR’s back, and Keith’s hand on his arm. It’s oddly familiar, but the sequence of events is wrong--first Keith’s hand on him, and whispers and something he hadn’t expected to hear. Later JR’s back--its muscles contracting--and Keith’s face, and a strangled cry of “Walt.”

He can still hear himself speaking over his wife’s breathing and soft sighs: “I’ll just watch.”

Can still see Keith’s face. Disappointment etched in every groove and crease around his eyes. It reminds him of, and he thinks about, the mushrooms.