opusculasedfera: Flower (Marc-Andre Fleury) outside in a Pens jersey and sunglasses with the Stanley Cup. (Flower)
[personal profile] opusculasedfera
This is because I kept talking to people about Sid and Nealer both being completely terrible at domesticity in different ways and how that makes me want to ship them. So I shouted at [livejournal.com profile] vampirespider about it. Then it got sad, and fuck it, I'm not writing that, so here are too many words of planning. There is happiness and babies at the end, if that matters to you, but, uh, not with each other. /o\

This started as a conversation about Nealer being appalling at domesticity and spiralled. Unedited email convo. Long, but no explicit sex.

Me: James would be gloriously terrible at showing a rookie the ropes. It's not that he's so desperately incompetent, but he's clearly way more interested in minimising the work he has to do than making sure things fit his specifications. Will somebody else arrange for or prepare his meals? Then he doesn't care what they are! Can he hire a cleaner? Then he doesn't really have specific instructions except to tidy up a bit! Someone else will drive him? Bonus! I think Beau would see the appeal of this approach in a way that, say, Sidney Have-I-Shown-You-My-Strict-Ritual? Crosby would not at ALL.

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: I'm sure Sidney's great with, like, the sporting side of things, the whole team spirit aspect, but he seems like he'd be so full on with all the details about preparation and rituals and generally over-organising things. For James, yeah, it's not that he doesn't think it's important or that he doesn't want to help - it's just, he cares on the ice and once he's off, whatever's easiest goes, which as you say, seems close to Beau's attitude to life (his twitter is one of my favourite things. BLESS.)

Me: Which does sometimes make me think Sid/James would be fun because James would definitely be willing to bob along in Sid's wake and eat whatever strictly scheduled thing Sid decided was necessary so long as he didn't have to make it himself. Also I think they would mutually appreciate the practicality of stealing Mario and Pauly's food respectively, so that would be amusing.

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: Pair James with all the players? Hee, I can see the appeal, but I suspect that Sid would get annoyed with James' tendency to cut corners/inability to understand why all of Sid's crazy rituals are important to him. Although them bonding over both kind of failing to live on their own sounds delightful; poor Mario and Pauly.

Me: Pair everyone with everyone! But yes, I want all the James fic especially. I ship him with Jeff Skinner sometimes because they train together and also some media were interrogating Stamkos once about whether or not those two were friends and it was amazingly hockey-incestuous, but I have difficulties writing it as anything other than pure porn. Also I get distracted because there are so very many things I want.

I see your point about Sid getting annoyed that James won't keep to the rituals, even if he is accommodating about Sid'd need to do whatever it is, though that in itself would be an amusing fic (or part of a fic: if people are going to constantly write fics where couples break up so that their OTP can get together, at least Sid/James would be a break up over actual personality conflicts.)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: Yeah - even if they'd probably drive each other crazy in the long term, I still think Sid/James would be interesting to see play out, in part because they seem so different, in some ways which are complementary, but also in a lot that aren't - and there's also something interesting in the idea of the post-break up, still playing together phase.

Me: It's amusing how James kind of superficially fits Sid's type (all his best friends are dark haired men who kid around a lot, after all), but they'd have to do a lot of work to actually have a relationship. They'd be interesting exes too because Sid would be so determined to have things go well and not mess with the team in any way, but I think he'd be put off by how easily James appeared to be dealing with the whole thing. James might well be flopping on Pauly's couch constantly to moan that it was the end of the world and he didn't know what had gone wrong, but I think he'd return to visible friendship (i.e. touching people, chatting to them, being totally fine going to dinner with them and someone else, etc.) really fast, which some people would find off-putting.

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: I hadn't thought about Sid's friend-type, oh honey - even your friendships obey routines. Absolutely on the break-up - I think that they're both, albeit in very different ways, way too professional and dedicated to the team to let it fuck them up, but they'd both be secretly terrible about it, James 'cause he'd mope until Paul/Geno would have to resort to booze and chirping-based sympathy, and then probably slapping him upside the head when that didn't help. Sid would secretly sulk because James doesn't appear affected by it and probably believe that he has somehow lost the break-up if James starts flirting again before him. (This all strikes me as both terrible/heartbreaking and hilarious).

Me: They'd be so terrible about it, except on the ice where they would hug freely whenever it was hockey-logical to do so and confuse the shit out of the few people who knew the backstory. Sid would definitely think of break ups as something you could lose, even if you did the breaking up. (In my head, Sid would absolutely do all of the breaking up every time. James might feel that things were wrong, but he'd be much more likely to avoid or become unpleasant than make a clean break, unless things got to full-on yelling, in which case it could go either way.) At which point, Sid would probably start dating someone semi-seriously because he is NOT LOSING. James would find this baffling, because he definitely got laid asap to prove he didn't care, but is still in the sulking at Paulie stage of breaking up. Not sure who Sid would date though. (This is basically too sad to exist unless they both end up happy, but plotting out their terrible failure of a relationship is delightful!)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: James is definitely an ostrich when it comes to relationships, and I think particularly in a team situation where you can't just not see them ever again (which I firmly believe is James' ideal break up situation. He'd be fine to be friends after a while, but the initial break up would just be salt-the-earth). Which would also lead to Sid and James basically not actually talking about their feelings at all after the break up/ essentially pretending that they never went out whenever they're together (obviously, they whine to respective friends, because it still sucks and hurts and they have to see each other all the time.) And it totally gets worse after Sid starts dating; he doesn't flaunt it, because while he cares about winning, he's not cruel, but James still can't miss it. And fuck, it's not fair that Sid's fine when he still hurts. Because he doesn't talk to James, he doesn't realise Sid misses him too. You're right, though, this would need a happy ending, because even the not!fic version of it is making me kind of sad.

Me: Ha, yes. James would ignore the hell out of his ex and never ever admit to it. So he and Sid would end up mostly ignoring each other whenever possible and otherwise talking to each other exclusively about hockey. Which is not completely unlike their behaviour while they were in a relationship, so other people don't really notice unless they're being whined at later, but Sid and James do actually remember that they once were able to talk about non-hockey subjects and are a bit weird about it. The problem with this fic is that we've established so firmly how bad they would be for each other, that it's hard to end it with them getting back together. Then you have to decide whether you want to deal with them ending up happy in general or happy with someone else, especially as Sid is rebound dating really firmly, so you have to either deal with making it not-really-a-rebound (or it's dickish to his new partner) or then dealing with THAT break-up and Sid's subsequent moving on. Sid and James need to be friends again by the end at any rate, which is difficult with people who are Not Talking about anything ever having happened, and especially not that it might have hurt some feelings...

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: This would also be a fic that'd have to run long, because yeah - they can't end up back together, but they do need to end up in a place where they're friends again. I suppose, actually, you could end with that, rather than pairing both of them up - Sid goes through his rebound, James fucks around, both of them hurt and are generally terrible about the whole process, but it gets to a point where they do remember that they once talked about things that weren't hockey, and enjoyed each other's company outside the rink, even if they're still not good together. Because as friends, they kind of work, and while they're never going to be each other's closest friends, they're still fond of each other; James still makes Sid laugh stupid amounts, and Sid still impresses James with the randomness of his knowledge, his ability to get everything to relate back to either war or hockey, and without the constant pressure on them to be good for each other, they actually enjoy each other more. IDEK how this would happen without talking, though, maybe someone locks them in a closet together for the good of the team.

Me: Maybe part of their determination to be normal results in a conversation that isn't about feelings, but is about something other than WE ARE COWORKERS BEING POLITE >:| ? Problem is, Sid has too many routines and too accommodating a friend group for him to end up stuck next to James on a flight or something. In the trainers' room maybe? Nothing too serious, but they've been instructed to sit there and if you move your foot out of that ice bath, the wrath of god will be as nothing compared to my fury, if you get me? But no one else is there, and they're still half in gear so there is nothing whatsoever to do except chat, and neither of them will admit to being not in the mood for chat because that would mean Losing the Breakup. They try to talk hockey, but that was just an embarrassing loss, and also they're kind of injured, so it for once seems less awkward to talk about something else. It's a bit stilted, but then Sid gets onto one of his topics that James used to tease him about, and it's so automatic that neither of them notice they're actually for-real laughing until the trainer comes back in. It's not perfect, but they're a little easier with each other. Possibly also at some point they get comfortable enough that James can actually ask/tease about Sid's new boyfriend and be reminded when Sid, well, doesn't precisely gush, but is emphatically pleased and smiley, that it's not just that he wasn't settled/domestic enough for Sid, it's that he really isn't as interested and wouldn't have been happy with that. (In my head, they worked for a while because they both sort of fail at domesticity, plus they have other interests in common, plus James will go along with things, but Sid's bad at it because he doesn't want to do it alone, whereas James really would be happier either living in someone else's house forever, or living his minimalist dgaf lifestyle for a long time. Among other issues.)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: Oh, I love the idea of it being in the trainers' room - and of course their competitiveness at Breaking Up would be what got them to talk. And the thing is, even though it's new, Sid's new guy - he gets that, he finds Sid's failing at domesticity fun, but also gets that Sid's trying, cares that he's trying and James - James wanted to for the longest time, but never really managed it. It's not that he doesn't get that it's important to Sid, but...he forgets, because it's not important to him, because he didn't care enough. But now, listening to Sid talk about his new guy, it feels less like James failed; instead he can see that they failed each other, or maybe got too caught up in how much they like each other, how well the physical things worked, that they ignored how they didn't work for too long. Now, though, now, when they've not-talked, but are talking, and can look each other, go to dinner together off the ice without immediately freezing up, James gets it. And it doesn't make the slight ache of missing Sid any less present, but it makes him feel less mopey, less competitive. (that got...sad. Hmm. I think you're absolutely right about how they appear to fail in similar ways, but their reasons are different; Sid's absolutely the type of person who doesn't care too much about himself, but wants a family and domesticity and a team to make an effort for, whereas James doesn't think about dating like that at all; he is the way he is, and he doesn't really imagine changing his habits, at least not for another decade or so. Which is why the break-up would be the worst, because it's not even a really obvious compatibility, it's the kind of thing that would only become slowly apparent, and at that point, they're both too emotionally involved for it be remotely easy.)

Me: And Sid can remember that James wasn't just being annoying by totally bailing on his attempts to talk about the future, but was actually kind of sad and uncomfortable about it , and maybe making those assumptions wasn't the best idea in the world? And that is really is nicer to plan with someone who's just as interested, especially as now that he's more comfortable with James again, he turns out not to have lost that friendship either. He can have James' joking support for continuing to live with Mario for the moment, and their hockey conversations, and James' bad jokes, AND someone else who appreciates his strong interest in eventual children. He didn't want too much, he just didn't understand that you can't have everything with everybody. (It would take them ages to work it out because when Sid starts making noises about buying yet another house, James does chime in and have minor real estate opinions, and he never asks questions about why Sid is edging more toward domesticity again, or considers that Sid might interpret chiming in to mean that he's on board with this plan, because why on earth would Sid think he was interested in this stuff? But it's nice to hang out and if Sid wants to look at real estate listings while they're lying on the couch together semi-watching tv, well, James is flexible. So by the time they're fighting about it, James is really attached to Sid being around, and Sid's spent a lot of time thinking about a possible future, and it's not at all easy for them to untangle themselves.)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: Oh man, this whole thing breaks my heart - poor boys, just close enough to work for a while, but still not close enough to really work. Ignore everything I said about sadness before. I just want them to be happyyyyyyy. (Sid's the one who realises first, but it's in the postseason and so he can't think about, can't think about it, and plus it'll be easier once they're done; he can run away back home and James will be distracted by camp, it's best for both of them. Except break-ups don't work to Sid's timeline, and so when he comes back for the season, it's still awkward, enough so that he wishes there were a way of extending the off season, which is - weird.)

Me: I think they only end up happy with other people, nooooo. :(( (It's hard because the playoffs make things good again. Sid's not as distracted by the future when he can only think ahead to the end of the season, and James isn't as squirrelly when he isn't avoiding the subject. They have fantastic sex when they win some games, and they're there for each other, comforting, when they finally fall out. They get spectacularly drunk at the team party, and James is fun to be drunk with. He laughs at Sid losing his coordination, but he laughs at everything, happily slumping into Sid's side at the bar, handsy enough that Sid might tell him to stop if he was less drunk, but he's definitely drunk, so he's just enjoying it. They have great sex, and then it's really fucking hard for Sid to say that they're done. Things were going so well. James is honestly trying, talking about going out to Nova Scotia in the summer, and trying to convince Sid to come up to his cottage for a bit, it's just that it's not trying at the right things, the things that Sid wants in the end, and Sid knows he really, really has to end this.)

That, er, also got sad. But they are eventually happy. They have a good season. They stay friends, hanging out, and able to joke about how bad they were for each other, eventually. Sid manages to get the relationship he wants, and a family, and James is still not spectacularly interested in children, but he's a great weird uncle who is easy to convince that you need ice cream right away. He probably drifts into a relationship at some point, which sounds less meaningful than it is, but James has never been good at planning, just at being pushy enough to entangle himself with someone else and eventually realise that he doesn't want to get out. (I mean, he'd have a ton of ridiculous feelings beforehand, it's not all about convenience, but he wouldn't process them immediately and work out that he was in love in a declarative sort of way until long after everyone else knew about it.)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: Oh, fuck, poor Sid. I mean, poor James too, but Sid! And for the longest time, James just doesn't get it; he calls, texts, tries to figure out what went wrong, because it was good. The sex was amazing, and he really meant it about Nova Scotia this time. And it's not like James hasn't noticed that they want different things, or hadn't picked up on Sid being more tense around him occasionally - he's laidback, but he's not bad at people - but he'd thought those were things they'd work out over time, or maybe just wouldn't matter as long as the sex was good and he could make Sid laugh like that. And at first, he doesn't even take in what Sid's saying, because he misses him too much. It's only once Sid stops picking up and the long weeks of the off season stretch into months that James really, really starts to think about it.

(Yes! James is definitely the kind of person who never really decides that he wants a long term relationship, but equally isn't freaked out by it, so when he sort of realises that hey! he's been fucking the same guy for a couple of years now, and yeah, they pretty much live together, even if they still have separate houses, his entire reaction is 'cool' and then to keep on. He doesn't change his behaviour, doesn't really think about it any more, it's just a slight feeling of being more settled than he was before, and it works. (ALSO weird uncle James, I want that. I want all of that. James would be the best uncle, because whenever Sid or Geno or whoever's the parent of the kids he's hanging out with tries to reason with him, he totally agrees with them: yes! it would be sensible not to have too much ice cream. Of course! they shouldn't spend hours playing video games. No, he totally gets what they're saying. But then he ignores them, and the kids love him too much for anyone to actually get pissed off at James. Though he's rarely the go-to for weekend babysitting, and that suits James fine. Kids are great, as long as he can pass them back to their parents once the sugar crash sets in.))

Me: And James is bad at the long term, but he's honestly really good at the short term. He's never bailed on stuff like summer plans; both he and Sid know that if James said he'd come to Nova Scotia, he really, truly would. So Sid really does have to admit that he's breaking up with James over stuff like distant future kids, which James finds ridiculous because he's never said no, not ever, he just isn't thinking about that NOW. So it takes him a long time to deal with it, and he mostly tries to do that by sleeping with other people pointedly, and it's just a shitshow all over the place.

James likes it when things are easy. He doesn't want to plan a million years in the future: he's much more comfortable in situations where he'll say something casually and have that sudden realisation that he's expecting his partner to be there in a decade, than with Sid who worried if that would be true or not. (Yeah, James doesn't do overnights, but he's totally fine with watching kids in emergencies, and he's definitely a favourite at parties because he's happy to more or less supervise the kids running around, and the kids love him because he's definitely the person to ask if they want an adult to turn on the videogames or give them another piece of cake without asking if their parents are fine with that.)

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: And the thing is, he knows Sid well enough to recognise that Sid's jealous when someone mentions James picking up off-handedly, which makes him even more confused - clearly Sid still likes him, clearly Sid still cares, so what the fuck? Which then results in him picking up more and Sid ignoring him more obviously, and it is terrible for both of them, because they're torn between not wanting to hurt the other person and wanting them to suffer like they are.

Absolutely - James takes a lot on faith, and is pretty happy to turn up where ever life takes him. Sid needs there to be plans, and tends to treat his life a little bit like a hockey match, a lot of focus on teamwork and strategies, except whereas Sid adjusts easily on the ice, not so much in real life. James' new guy doesn't really give a fuck about plans either; they end up moving in together because someone offers James a lot of money for his house, and James has never liked it anyway. (It's not even that James is easy for kids - he doesn't find them as cute as Sid, Geno and some of the other guys do - it's just that he genuinely thinks hanging out with them in fun. He's less good with babies, but between 5 and 18, he's got that. Even if they occasionally pull on his hair which is STILL NOT COOL.)

Me: There is so much stupid competition for Not Losing the Breakup, and they just keep on hurting each other for far too long until they actually manage to talk. James doesn't need much, so he's pretty happy to roll along and figure it'll come to him (unless it's hockey), but Sid has a plan for his life, and he is going to make it happen. James moves in because his boyfriend points out that he's there all the time and hates having a house, and James goes yeah, you're totally right, and settles down. He's actually not terrible at being settled down on a day to day basis. He'll deal with household emergencies (by paying someone to fix shit, but that's way better than letting it go), he never argues about the bills, he'll casually arrange his summer plans so that they definitely get to see each other. He's just not good at planning this stuff years in advance. (James isn't sentimental about kids, but he's good with the non-toddlers because he's totally that guy who just laughs when they fall over (and aren't hurt), which makes them laugh and get over it too, plus he's happy to let them play videogames or whatever if it keeps them non-destructive. (Also he can never remember how old anyone is, so if you look not-14, you can totally have a beer.))

[livejournal.com profile] vampirespider: It's fundamentally that Sid's always known what he wanted, has always had a plan. James never has; he doesn't have any idea where he'll be in a year, let alone five, nor where he wants to be (apart from somewhere he can play hockey). It just takes a while to recognise that that's kind of an important distinction, one which can't be papered over by James' willingness to just go with whatever Sid wants, or Sid's attempts to fit James more into the mould of what he wants. (Ahahaha, yeah, James is totally the type of guardian who gets most of the kids their first beer by accident. Most of their parents let it slide because James is also decent at keeping an eye on them, so that if they're veering towards tipsy, he steps in. It's probably a safer exposure to beer than a lot of kids get.)

Me: Exactly. Sid could manage to accommodate a partner who had a different plan, not a totally different one, but he could adapt to a partner who wanted to spend half the summer in their own hometown, or who wanted to make sure their kids grew up speaking their other language, or who had a different timeline for children because they wanted them now/after retirement/after [other milestone], or who was more or less closeted than him, whatever. He just can't adapt to someone who is made uncomfortable by this level of planning, who doesn't want to talk about kids until they're ready to have them, because he doesn't get how you can know you're ready unless you talk first, at length. (Plus James' friends are mostly Canadian so unlikely to care that the 16 year old is having a drink. Especially when weird uncle James offering it makes it just cool enough that they'll have one, but also makes it into a thing that their parents' friends approve of, which is boring, if you're 16, and decreases the chance of public drunkenness.)


Date: 2013-10-07 06:04 pm (UTC)
bestliar: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bestliar
that was super awesome, and a little bit devastating, but in a good way!

Date: 2013-10-07 06:10 pm (UTC)
joatamon: (HallEberle)
From: [personal profile] joatamon
I'd never even considered Sid/Neal, but you've totally convinced me about how they could work (and not work) *g*


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