One May Hide Another
One May Hide Another is a story written by Okō. It ran in Issue 66 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/356999.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/one-may-hide-another/.
Nikolai Mikhailovich Kudryavtsev is drafted to the NHL in 2004 and signed to the New York Rangers.
Along the way he makes friends, falls in love, tries to fall out of love, and meets an opera singer. The last is probably the most important, in the long term.
This story is 100% fictional, but like all fiction, it draws on aspects of the real world. The hockey teams mentioned (both Russian and American) all exist, but I have attempted to create all characters from scratch, because that was more fun. It meant I got to build my very own fictional hockey team without consulting the limitations of trade regulations and draft orders and nonsense like that. In one respect I have grabbed shamelessly from reality because truth is better than fiction: there is a hockey player who really did leave Russia through Finland in what seems very much like a real-world-Cold-War escape. His name is Evgeni Malkin, and he still plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. This story does not reflect on him in any way, obviously, but I just couldn't resist stealing his mad dash.
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 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. This will be explored in the future, but is not explored in depth because drunk hockey players don't really do feelings very well, especially when only one of them is a native English speaker. Forgive them?
Many thanks to Himawari, who went above and beyond in betaing, language-related and cultural research (especially Russian swearing and the conversational patterns of small Russian-speaking children) and convincing the author that this story had legs. Also counting to make sure the story had the right number of legs when sex happened, because seriously, limb-counting is a thing.