Ok, before ppl start coming at me with the 'this is improbable' or 'that would never happen' comments... I know lol. Trust me, I know.
I wanted to re-work this into a reasonable transition, but with the flow of the story I have planned, it works much better this way so... just keep the fanFIC reading hats on and go with it lol
<3 you guys! And thanks for the feedback =)
Everything Changes - Staind
“Why is the sink so fucking full?” Brooks yelled as he walked past the kitchen to drop his hockey bag off at the front door.
They didn’t have their first real practice for another four hours, at 2pm, but Brooks was excited to get onto the ice.
He felt like he hadn’t been playing in forever. Although they had had camp and some scrimmages through the summer, now that it was September, he could taste the regular season.
Mike appeared a minute later in nothing but his boxers, hair askew. He was rubbing his eyes with the heels of his palms, walking in a crooked line down the hallway. “Umm… I’ll do them now…” He grumbled, sounding slightly annoyed.
“Do them? Why don’t you just put them in the new washer?” Brooks laughed, folding his arms over his chest as Mike headed into the kitchen.
“I ummm… can’t open the dishwasher.” He mumbled as he began to fill the empty half of the sink with warm water.
“You can’t what?” Brooks asked, not sure if he actually heard Mike right. He headed into the kitchen and came to a stop beside him, leaning his side against the counter.
“Can’t what?” Mike replied, his voice higher than normal as he tried to dodge the question.
Brooks shrugged, his face breaking into a grin. “Did you say you couldn’t open the dishwasher?”
“Fuck you.” Was all Mike could reply before he plunged his hands into the warm water.
Brooks snorted and squatted down in front of the stainless steel appliance. His hands ran along the top, searching for some kind of button or latch. When he couldn’t find one - after the fifth slide across - he grabbed onto the top and began to pull. “I told you it was impossible to open.” Mike said finally, as he finished scrubbing off the last dish and put it into the rack to dry.
“This makes no sense… you have to be able to open it! Why would they sell you a dishwasher that doesn’t open?”
“It has to open…” Mike squatted down next to Brooks, feeling the same ledge Brooks had just been feeling.
They stayed like that until Brooks got fed up and walked away, leaving Mike to shrug and stand up, retreating back into the bathroom to put on some pants; dishes be damned.
When Mike appeared a while later, showered and changed, Brooks was sitting on the couch; his eyes glazed over. “I think we should just call ourselves undomesticated and move on.” He suggested, trying to lighten the dark mood that was hanging over his room-mate.
Normally Brooks would have fought with the washer until he was able to force it open with sheer willpower; today was different though.
He needed to get into his normal routine. They were going to be getting back together on the ice to start of the season and he needed to be focused, no distractions.
“We’ll figure it out later. Do you have everything you need to head to the rink?”
“Ummm… no. We don’t have to be there for a while so, I was gonna go back to sleep for an hour then play some Wii.” Mike said trying to sound like his plan had already been made and wasn’t about to change.
“Well, let’s go early. We can grab some food and head into the rink early to hit the gym.”
Mike let out a pitiful groan before flopping down onto couch with a sigh. “I don’t want to.” He moaned, rolling onto his back and throwing his arm over his face. “It’s too early, and too hot out and it’s not even the season yet!”
“Ok chubby cheeks… you can just meet me there.” Brooks grinned evilly before turning around and heading towards his room. If there was anything that was going to get Mike up and moving, it was a weight comment.
The season wasn’t even in swing yet and he’d already received some comments about that from the coaching staff, players, and Don Cherry.
Brooks had changed into a pair of dress pants, and was just buttoning up his collared shirt, when he heard Mike shuffle down the hallway. “Do you really think I’m fat?”
“No Mike, you’re not fat.” Brooks chuckled as he turned around to face his sulking friend. “Now get your shit ready.”
They were laughing as they headed down the stairs together, both of them grinning widely as they excused themselves past a man, and a woman in business attire. “Mr. Laich?” The man asked as he spun around on the stairs, after catching sight of Brooks’ last name on his hockey bag.
“Ah, yah…” Brooks said slowly, trying to avoid any awkward fan meetings. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate his fans, it was just that he didn’t like the idea of one of them hanging around his residents. What if his address ended up on some forum?
“Mr. Brooks and…?”
“Mr. Green.” Mike grinned, enjoying the sound of the title as it rolled off his tongue.
“Are you two together?” He asked, his tone clearly full of innuendo.
Brooks shook his head, trying to explain that they’re room-mates and nothing more, but Mike spoke up first, unaware of any kind of hidden insinuation. He slung his arm around Brooks' shoulders and grinned widely. “We sure are, going on two years now!”
“He doesn’t mean-” Brooks tried to explain, but the woman spoke up first.
“Then maybe you should both have a little chat with us.” She said, her voice stiff as she continued up the stairs, stopping right outside their door.
It was then that Brooks noticed she was holding a baby carrier.
Something about the idea made him uncomfortable, and he tried to find an exit. “I really don’t think that this is the time, we have to be somewhere…”
“No we don’t! We don’t have practice for three hours!” Mike shouted, happy that it looked like they wouldn’t be heading to the gym. Brooks groaned as Mike moved past him back up the stairs, and all he could do was shake his head and follow after him.
Mike pulled open the door, dropping his hockey bag in the hallway and allowing the strangers into their home.
The pair stood uncomfortably by the door as Mike dropped down onto the couch and Brooks moved past them.
“So… what’s this all about?” Brooks asked, finally realizing that these people were not fans at all; more like lawyers, by the looks of it.
“Well Mr. Laich, there’s been a situation and we need your immediate cooperation.” The man explained.
Brooks shook his head, stealing a look at Mike - who was currently zoned out, staring out the window - before asking for the names of the two people in his home.
“I’m Allan Rogerson and this is Stephanie Lawrence. We’re with Child Custody and Protective Services.” He explained, nodding towards the small baby carrier that was now on the floor at Anna’s feet.
When Brooks didn’t say anything, they continued. “We brought your daughter with us Mr. Laich, you’re her legal guardian now.”
Brooks shook his head, looking back and forth between the lawyers, waiting for someone to shout ’just kidding’ or ’fooled ya’! But it never came, finally he spoke up. “No.” Was all he could manage to say, followed by a string of insanities. “No, no… that’s not possible. You’re- I don’t have a… I don’t have a girlfriend, or an ex-girlfriend or a child or… you have the wrong person.”
“Brooks Laich, of Washington, DC.” Allan Rogerson said simply, reaching into his pocket to pull out a piece of paper.
He handed it to Brooks who took it and unfolded it; a birth certificate.
Name: Cosmo Starlight Laich
Date of Birth: February 22nd, 2009
Mother: Anna-Beth Michaels
Father: Brooks Laich
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
“This is a mistake. I’m sorry but you have the wrong Brooks Laich. There’s probably a lot of them… so you should go like… look for… more…” He said quietly, still totally floored by even being accused of having a child.
“No Mr. Laich, we’re sure.” Allan reached into his pocket again, this time pulling out a picture.
The girl was one that Brooks didn’t recognize, of course, he also couldn’t see her face. She had her arms wrapped around him and he was holding on to her, laughing as he struggled to stand up.
“How does this-?”
“That’s her. That’s Anna-Beth, the mother of your child.” Stephanie said, finally speaking up. Brooks could tell that she was angry, but he didn’t care.
“This proves nothing… that’s not… this isn’t proof. This is me drunk at a bar!” He shouted, causing Mike to jump beside him. “In case you didn’t notice, I happen to be a famous, rich, hockey player… I don’t even mean that in a conceited way! There’s a lot of women that would lie about something like this to get money. This girl…” He said, pointing frantically at the picture, “this girl, is no one. I don’t know her!”
As if being drawn out of some deep-seeded concentration, Mike reached out, pulling the picture from his numb fingers. Brooks let it go, not bother to follow it with his eyes, until Mike made a comment. “Hey! I remember this night!”
“How could you remember that night Mike, you don’t know what night it was…”
“Yah I do… first off, you never get drunk… and secondly, that’s the sketchy bar Ovechkin dragged us to.” Mike paused and gave the picture a bashful smile before leaning forward and handing it off to the lady. “She’s the only girl you ever brought home since we moved in together, I remember because she tried to sneak out in the morning but I was already up.”
“Mr. Laich…” Allan began before Brooks could say anything else. “I know that this is a lot to take in, but this little girl needs a home, and you are her father.”
“I want a test then.” He said quickly, quietly, as he tried to look anywhere but at the small girl Stephanie was now un-strapping from the carrier. “I need a paternity test.”
They both nodded, but Mike was the only one to speak. “She’s so little.” His voice was full of excitement and wonder as he held out his arms awkwardly. Stephanie looked at him and then down at the girl before handing her over to Mike who cradled her gently in his arms.
“Why is this? I mean, shouldn’t you just be asking for money? Where’s her mother?” Brooks said, suddenly angry at Mike’s inappropriate interest in the child.
“She’s dead.” Stephanie said, her voice agitated as she watched Mike struggle to contain the sleeping child in a comfortable position.
“How?” Mike asked as he finally situated himself properly. Brooks glanced over at him, his brow furrowing. He felt himself heating up at the question. It had been on the tip of his tongue and he felt an unusual amount of anger towards Mike.
“Car accident. She was driving in a down pour and lost control of her vehicle. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car. She died on impact.”
“I-” Brooks started to say, but he stopped, putting his elbows up on his knees and dropping his face into his hands. He didn’t know what to say, what to think, or what to feel.
He wanted to tell them to leave, to get out. He didn’t believe that this was possible and he didn’t want to think about it any more.
Yes, ok. Vaguely, somewhere in his mind he remembered something about a girl sleeping with him, that one time that he was drunk… but what were the chances…?
His mom had always said to use protection, that all it took was one time…
He tried to remember the girl… her face, her scent, the sound of her voice or the feel of her skin, but he couldn’t.
All he could recall was the darkness of her room and a pair of startling green eyes.
The eyes. Suddenly everything came back to him in a flash and he could remember her face; her pale, smooth skin and those deep, intelligent, green eyes.
The same eyes that were looking at him now as the child awoke in Mike’s arms.
She looked at him and he couldn’t help but see her for who she was. Of course he knew who she was, how could he not?
The more he looked at her, the more he saw. She had tiny little lips and a small, perfectly formed nose that sat between her large, round eyes.
She was the perfect little girl, feminine and petite, but he could still see himself; in the light curly pieces of hair that sat on her head, and the shape of her jaw. She was part him, in the form of a tiny, perfect person.
She reached a perfect hand in his direction and he reached back on instinct, scooping her into his arms and gazing down at her. Her smile widened as her fist closed around his pointer finger, causing his breath to catch in his throat, as he held his daughter for the first time.
He wasn’t aware that the man and woman had left, or that they said they’d be back in a few days.
All he could fathom was the wetness in his eyes when he looked up to meet Mike’s gaze.
He could see it all in an instant. Her first steps, her first day of school, the first time she played hockey, the first time she drove…
It didn’t make sense, it was too much to take in. When he woke up this morning he was focused on hockey and trying to work the dishwasher, and now he had this; this perfect little life in his arms.
He thought that if he was lucky, one day he’d win a Stanley cup, maybe have a break-out year, but none of that seemed impressive anymore… not with her smiling face looking up at him.
“I-” He tried to say, but he couldn’t think of the words. He shook his head and tore his eyes away from her to look up at Mike once more. “I’m a daddy.”