My piece for the super excellent Rare Pairs zine, organised and compiled by our favourite @jlzimmermann.

A rambly history for them below the cut

 – Jack and Bitty break up. It’s a sweet and lovely relationship but it’s hard, and keeping their relationship secret is hard and Jack’s not ready to come out. They drift apart because they both have new friends and different lives and… they’re both sad about it but also they get over it. People do.

 – Jack moves to a Canadian club, maybe the Habs, and Ransom ends up in the same city, working in a super great science job that he loves. (He decided against the PhD because he heard too many horror stories. And he didn’t really need it.)

 – They catch up a lot, just chilling at each other’s houses whenever Jack is in town. Watching documentaries. Talking about everything. Playing Mario Kart. And Jack doesn’t really have much time for friends outside of hockey but he always seems to end up spending his free time with Ransom, who makes him laugh more than he thought possible. Jack relaxes around Ransom and Ransom feels more like his own person around Jack.

 – Jack’s anxiety comes and goes. That’s just how it is. Ransom has sensory processing issues. Sometimes they’re worse than other times. They each get it. They listen to each other and learn how best to help each other through. And… they get it. Jack passes on advice from his therapist if he thinks it might help. Ransom passes on advice from the internet if he thinks it applies.

 – Parse and Jack decide to come out at the same time, once they’ve both settled in the league. That’s what they decide, but then Parse jumps the gun and comes out first and Jack comes out in his statement of support. Everyone is happy and we live in a fantasyland where the media isn’t the worst.

 – Ransom figures out he has a crush on Jack first, one time when Jack is away for a long stretch. No, not then. When Jack comes back. And Ransom makes a joke about how he missed Jack and his handsome face and his hockey butt. And he has to stop himself from saying everything else he missed about Jack and he just thinks ‘Oh.’

 – Jack realises later, when Ransom is throwing around Christmas plans and telling hilarious stories about his family. And Jack wants to go to Ransom’s Christmas. Wants to bring Ransom to his Christmas. Wants to spend all the time with Ransom that he possibly can. Wants to hold his hand. Wants to pull him close. He wonders how it took him this long to realise.

– They kiss for the first time on Jack’s couch. There’s pretty afternoon sunlight. Ransom’s seen Jack in love before and he’s been starting to suspect it’s happening again. He’s not going to miss out because he was too scared to ask.

 – Everything is happy and delightful and they get a dog.