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.
Heart in a Box, 10
In early January, the Sharks played the Bruins in Boston.
The story was all about Joe's return to the city that had drafted him, the city where he had truly grown up. He had expected that and he was prepared for it, but he hadn't been prepared for how he felt when he walked into the building where he had bled and fought and experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows; seeing the dark mark on the curve of the wall he walked by almost set him on a path straight to the home locker room instead of the visitor's one and he felt like everything was smaller and older even though he'd played there just over a month ago.
Joe lasted only five minutes and thirteen seconds into the game.
He was ejected on a hit on Hal Gill that most of the media later agreed should have been a two minute penalty at best and all he could do was shake his head in disbelief as he headed for the showers. The hot water ran down his body, still coursing with adrenaline, and he took a deep breath, thinking about how it shouldn't have been that way, not in that game. He stood there, not really wanting to leave, and his thoughts started to drift.
Seeing his former teammates was a blast and they were what he missed most about Boston. They all treated him the same way they had before, but as the joking and laughter died down he started to notice that they were different as a group. Their interactions and dynamics had changed; maybe it was because he'd left, or maybe it was the addition of the new guys, even without them there. Joe saw that they were still the Bruins, but they weren't the team that he'd left and he didn't have a place with them anymore, and that was okay.
He didn't have to say goodbye.