Status: Couldn't help it


are you okay?

Annie didn’t even flinch as the doctor looked over her hand, turning it and touching the quickly forming bruises. Jeff just watched her as she looked at the wall, her eyes still a thousand miles away. “Annie.” She looked up at him and he sighed softly. “I know it’s soon but, maybe you should think about getting a lawyer.”

“For punching that prick?” She asked. Jeff shook his head.

“You can charge Sidney with manslaughter, he can do time or have to pay a grievance fine or something.” She just turned away, looking at the wall again and all the brightly colored pamphlets.

“It won’t bring Rylie back.” She murmured.

“If you don’t, the NHL probably will.” He said softly, still watching her. “I mean, Rylie-”

“Why did it have to be this morning?” She whispered, interrupting him.

“What about this morning?” Annie shook her head, pressing her lips together.

“His stupid throat guard. It broke at your guy’s practice yesterday and I was going to get him a new one this morning, but the store was closed.” She looked back at Jeff. “It’s not the store’s fault for being closed, and it’s not Rylie’s fault for not wanting to wear a broken throat guard that could have hurt him. It’s not Jonathan’s fault for pulling his groin and not being able to play tonight either.”

“So you think-” The doctor, a silver haired woman, looked up at Jeff, shaking her head. He knew Annie was in shock, but as he kept replaying the hit over and over, he realized Annie was right. Sidney hadn’t tried to stop. He knew Rylie hadn’t been wearing a throat guard, but he went feet first into the goal anyway.

“Suing the store won’t bring Rylie back, suing the company that made his throat guard won’t either.” Annie said simply. “So why would I sue Crosby?”

“Because he shouldn’t have gone for that goal Annie. It was reckless and he knew what could happen.” Jeff said, wanting to go attack Sidney with his own skates.

“I’m his heir, and I say were not suing.” She said firmly.

“Dammit Annie I miss him too! He was like family to me, you both are. We all love you two, and somebody has to take the blame for this.” Jeff snapped. “And I’ll be damned if Crosby doesn’t go to prison for putting scoring a goal over someone’s life!”

“Jeff, that’s enough.” Both he and Annie turned to see Jonathan in the doorway, giving the young blonde a warning glance. “I’ll talk to her, alright?” Jeff looked at Annie again before kissing the top of her head softly and walking out without another word. Jonathan looked at the doctor, giving her a small nod to ask for some privacy. He walked over, sitting beside Annie and wrapping one of his arms around her shoulder.

“It’s not fair Jon.” She whimpered, curling into him. “Sidney didn’t even-”

“Annie, it should have been me.” She looked up at him with wide eyes as Jon just chewed his lower lip. “I never wear a throat guard, and if I hadn’t gotten hurt, I would be out there instead of Rylie. I made him think it was alright to play one game without a guard.” He looked at her and just like Sidney had before, he saw only her brother beside him. “If you want to hate someone, hate me.”

“I can’t hate you Jon.” She said simply. “And if it had been you then Jacklyn and Madison would be worse off than I am.”

“Annie, don’t try to downplay this.” Jon said, gripping her tightly. “We all know how much Rylie loved you, how close you two were. It’s a horrible, horrible thing and you have every right to be angry.” He then pulled back, squeezing her shoulders softly. “But don’t be mad at Sidney.”

“He knew he shouldn’t have gone for that goal Jon.” She whimpered, shaking her head. “He didn’t stop, all he wanted was to win and he didn’t care if he killed Rylie. He’s not even upset and he already lawyered up!”

“He threw up before he came over.” Jon said softly, “And he was sobbing, he just didn’t want anyone to see him.”

“Then how did you see him?”

“I was in the locker room when everything happened. I stepped outside and saw Sidney and he was a complete wreck. He threw up and was just saying your brother’s name over and over. It was all Geno could do to get him to wash his face off before Sidney demanded to come here.” He reached out, tucking her hair behind her ear. “So don’t be so quick to pin this on Sid, he was devastated.”

After that Annie was quiet, so he simply patted her shoulder. But as he went to leave her heard her voice. “Why did he go for the goal Jon?” She whispered. He turned back to see tears running down her cheeks. He couldn’t believe the poor girl still had any more to give after the last few hours. He sighed softly, looking at her.

“I don’t know.”

| | |

“Why did you go for that goal Sidney?!” Allen near screamed as he smacked the table. His left cheek was still puffy from Annie’s fist as he clutched an icepack to it. He and Sid had moved into the same room Annie had broken down in, and Allen was trying desperately to get a statement from the young captain. But Sidney was still thinking about Annie, how he couldn’t answer her one simple question.

He remembered after Rylie’s eyes went glassy, how he’d looked up into the stands and saw her. The tears streaming down her face as that one, agonized scream echoed through the entire arena. He knew her look, her pleading stare for him to save her brother would never leave him, no matter how old he lived to be. Every time he closed his eyes that look was all he saw, the scream was all he heard.

“CROSBY!” He looked up to see Allen red in the face as he glared at him. “Do you want to go to prison?”

“Maybe I should.” Sidney muttered. “I shouldn’t have gone for that goal.” Allen let out a short breath, sitting down and looking at the young man before him.

“You couldn’t have known what would happen.” He tried, but Sidney shook his head.

“I knew he wasn’t wearing a throat guard and I still went in feet first.” He said. “I murdered that boy.” Allen reached over, setting a hand on Sidney’s shoulder.

“Look, you’re on the ice with a minute left in a tied game. Your adrenaline was pumping like crazy, you weren’t thinking straight.”

“That’s a cop out and you know it.” Sidney snapped.

“Not if it’s true Sidney.” He growled back. “And if you want a reason to not go to prison, just think about Rylie’s family. Think about that sister of his.”

“Annie.” Sidney murmured.

“Right, Annie.” He said simply. “I’ve seen things like this before, and sometimes the person who did the damage is the only one who can help with the healing.” He stood, looking at Sid. “From what I’ve overheard from the team, she doesn’t want to press charges.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Because just because she doesn’t want to sue you doesn’t mean the league or the team won’t.” Allen sighed. “This is going to be an uphill battle. Everybody loved Rylie, and the rest of his teammates are crazy about Annie. The only way I can see the charges getting thrown out at all is if she publically forgives you and you two become friends or get married or something.”

“So you’re telling me to marry the sister of the man I just killed to get out of being sued?” Sidney snapped.

“Well when you say it like that…” Allen stammered. Sidney just shook his head.

“Unbelievable.” He muttered.

“Look, you don’t have to marry the girl, just help her. Be seen spending time with her and helping her through this.”

“What if I want to do that anyway?”

“That would be perfect, because something like this could get you kicked out of the league if you lose.” Sidney felt like the world was put on mute after “kicked out of the league.” Hockey was his life, he couldn’t lose that. Not because of a freak accident. He looked up at Allen, pressing his lips together.

“What do I do?”

“Well, it’s hard to befriend someone you’re not talking to.” Allen said simply. Sidney shot up, but the short man put a hand on his chest.


“You might want to change first.”

| | |

Annie simply sat outside her brother’s room, her hand wrapped and bandaged as she looked at the wall. Jeff had volunteered to stay the night with her, but she’d politely declined. They weren’t going to move Rylie’s body to the funeral home until tomorrow, and she insisted that she had to stay with him.

“Annie?” She looked up upon hearing her name and froze when she saw Sidney. He’d changed, standing in a pair of sweats, a tee shirt and beanie as opposed to his blood stained uniform. She felt her jaw clench and turned away from him.

“Get out.” He sighed, ignoring her and taking the seat by her side. He looked at the floor, unsure of what to say until he caught sight of her bandages.

“How’s your hand?”

“What do you care?”

“Well, you knocked a full grown ma to the ground, I want to make sure you’re alright.”

“Trust me, that’s not what’s bothering me.” She muttered. He sighed, slowly reaching out and taking her bandaged hand in his. She turned to him with wide eyes as he ran his thumb gently over the top of it.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s broken, and you’d probably have a pair of black eyes if it was.” He looked up into her eyes, the same ones he’d watched go dark just a few hours earlier. “Nope, no black eyes.” She just looked at him for a long time before she slowly pulled her hand away from his.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because, sometimes the person who hurt you is the only one that can help you.”

“I don’t need your help.” She snarled. “Don’t think just because I’m not suing you that I don’t hate you Sidney Crosby. “ He sighed, looking back into her eyes again.

“I wasn’t saying you needed my help.” He murmured. “I’m saying that I need yours.” She stopped, turning and just watching him as he looked pleadingly into her eyes. “Please Annie, help me.” She sighed, looking at the door that her brother’s body was behind. She pressed her lips together tightly, knowing she had to be crazy.

♠ ♠ ♠
See? It got a little happier!
Do you think Sid is just helping to stay in the NHL?
Or does he really want to make sure Annie is okay?