The Secret Between His Teeth

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The Secret Between His Teeth is a story written by Okō and illustrated by beili. It ran in Issue 71 at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/the-secret-between-his-teeth/


Summary:[edit]

Nikolai Mikhailovich Kudryavtsev has played for the New York Rangers for five years when he's asked to take on more of a leadership role. Balancing more media attention with a secret gay relationship with a teammate is a challenge, to say the least. It becomes even more difficult when Nikolai finds out he and his boyfriend haven't been nearly as discreet as they thought, and some of the team already knows about them.

Connections:[edit]

Follows on the heels of One May Hide Another, A Voice Once Swallowed, and Higher Than Hay Bales but may be read alone.

Author's Notes:[edit]

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, draft order, salary caps and real world nonsense like that.

This story deals with internalized and externalized 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. In one scene, a teammate uses strong and painfully bigoted language against the protagonist.

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 and Hockey Is For Everyone.

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 with his partner. This may be addressed in more depth in future stories from his POV, or it may not: it has little bearing on this particular hockey boys story.