Higher Than Hay Bales

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Higher Than Hay Bales is a story written by Okō. It ran in Issue 68 at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/higher-than-hay-bales/.

Summary:[edit]

Nikolai Mikhailovich Kudryavtsev doesn't have much in the way of family: Nicholas Larsson has rather a lot of it, especially in comparison. A visit to the Larsson family hay farm in Minnesota stirs up unexpected emotions, fraught conversations, and discoveries about family both past and present.

S2b2warning.png Content Warning: Suicide

The author wishes to note that this story contains some sensitive material, including discussions (though NOT depictions) of a main character's classmate's suicide due to homophobic bullying.

Connections:[edit]

Follows on the heels of One May Hide Another, and A Voice Once Swallowedbut may be read alone.

Author's Notes:[edit]

I am definitely not a farmer, so, um, sorry if there are glaring errors. I did watch videos of hay bale stacking on YouTube. You can find anything on YouTube.

Note that this story deals with homophobia in both Russian and American culture, and with the culture of prevalent homophobia that is all too prevalent in professional sports (including, and perhaps especially, NHL hockey). Some language is strong; some internalized narratives are deep-seated and damaging. This is still an S2B2 story, but it's hard to write a gay Russian hockey player who doesn't have emotional baggage, so I just tried to make things work out in the end. If you're interested in efforts to combat homophobia in professional sports, check out You Can Play.

While it does not come up in much detail in this story, one character is on the asexuality spectrum. He would (if he were aware of the terminology, which he really is not) call himself demisexual rather than asexual, and is not "healed" by having sex. Please message me or comment if you're curious.

Many thanks to Himawari, who went above and beyond in betaing, language-related and cultural research (especially Russian swearing) and convincing the author that this story had legs.