Rating: PG-13, some swearing
Characters: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton
Dedication: The Vegas girls. :D
Disclaimer: It's all lies!
Author's Notes: This is set just after Joe Thornton was traded to the Sharks in November 2005. I started writing this in 2007 but only picked it up again recently and it's finally done! The idea came from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but I went a different direction with it.
Quick, before I run out of gas!
Heart in a Box, 6
Patty was playing the best hockey of his career and he was doing it without a heart.
Joe was garnering most of the attention for the team's reversal of fortune from journalists, broadcasters, reporters and fans, of course. The one journalist who noted Patty's nine points in three games dusted off his playoff vocabulary and wrote about an "upper body injury"; the others preferred to say and know nothing.
He was like a machine plowing through shifts and checks and penalty kills and rushes, maintained by food, water and sleep. He rarely made mistakes, but he never showed fire, and the bruises bloomed and faded on his body as the games went by, unnoticed by him.
The congealing wound on his chest itched occasionally.
Patty was changing out of his gear after practice one morning when he heard Milan Michalek and Marcel Goc whispering in the other corner of locker room, unaware of his presence.
"I don't know how he does it. How is he...?" Marcel frowned, untying his skates.
"Maybe you should try it too and find out." Milan chuckled nervously.
And then Scott Thornton was in their faces, grabbing them by their collars and telling them to never talk about that again, and that if he ever heard them doing it, he would make sure that they would never speak again. They knew from the look in his eyes that he meant it, and that they had crossed an unspoken boundary because curiosity had overpowered restraint.
Joe went up to his cousin and tried to defuse the situation, explaining that Milan and Marcel were young and didn't know any better, that they had learned their lesson and wouldn't do it again. Scott nodded, still glaring, but he released them and the team released the collective breath they'd been holding.
Patty watched everything impassively. His world had gradually been losing color and he could barely see the teal on the jerseys; he thought that soon the desaturation would claim that too. His teammates seemed like actors in a movie, playing out a scene in one continuous take; nothing at all like full, complete human beings with feelings and hopes and dreams.
He was losing so much day by day, senses dying because they lacked their source of nourishment. But it was better, he thought, to suffer a multitude of small losses, than to suffer the greatest loss of all.