The Good Son
There were a lot of things Sidney Crosby knew were true. She knew she was an amazing hockey player. She knew her team respects and relies on her. She knew that she was awkward and geeky and spent way too much time talking about hockey. She knew it was weird that she took so long to move out of Mario’s guesthouse. She knew that Geno will always have her back. She knew her laugh was weird and her ass was too big. She knew that she wanted to kiss and kiss, to have someone tell her she was beautiful.
Most importantly, she knew that she was not a man.
Unfortunately no one else does except her therapist and Taylor.
She told her dad once, when she was five, and they were driving home from a hockey practice. She said that she was a girl, not a boy when they were arguing about how she needed to use her size to hit the other boys. He had pulled over immediately, twisted around in the seat to stare at her, his expression furious.
“Never say that again!”
So she never did until she was out with a year-long concussion and she had a breakdown. Geno herded her to a therapist who listened when Sidney chokes out that she wasn't a man. She never had been.
And she told Taylor when Taylor came to stay with her because her therapist thought it would be a good idea to tell someone and she wasn't telling Geno or any of the guys on the team. And definitely not Mario. Taylor just hugged her and told her that it was okay. And god, her sister was just a kid and she wastoo damn smart.
But after that things get a little better. Her therapist was kind of awesome and gave her things to do at home to make her feel better. Taylor called and they talk about girl stuff and hockey.
There was a lot of talking before her therapist agreed to calling her transgender but when she did, Sidney cried and cried, like this giant weight had been lifted off her shoulders because it was true. What she had felt her whole life was real.
But nothing could happen while she was still playing hockey. No hormones, no talking about surgeries or implants. No changing the outside to match the inside.
And Sidney needed to play hockey.
She loved it like she loved breathing and bright red lipstick. She loved it like she loved being herself with Taylor and doing stupid girl things like painting her toenails and watching romantic movies.
So all Sidney could do was wait, smile at the camera, and pretend she was a man.
The Boy With the Broken Halo (Fall 1999)
Puberty was a special kind of hell for Sidney. His body, which he wasn’t that fond of before that, was doing new, awful things all of the time. He was getting bulkier, his voice started to crack and drop. Worst of all, he started to have wet dreams.
He had sex ed. He knew that all of this was completely normal for a 12 year old boy. Before now his penis was just an annoyance. He kept it clean and didn’t pay it much attention. Now it was demanding attention and getting bigger. It was so alien to Sidney, like it wasn’t really his even though it was attached to him.
He got hard at the worst times, like in class or trying to put on his jock before practice. The other boys on the team were laughing about jerking off and talking about breasts and Sidney just kept his mouth shut. The only reason he noticed Nadine’s breasts was because he was jealous of them.
At least sex ed had taught him a little more about himself. All his confusion and annoyance at his body pointed to something called Gender Identity Disorder. Ben had laughed and said those people were trannies which their teacher got mad at. Apparently that was a negative term for a transsexual and it made Sidney feel weird.
Sidney didn’t say anything in class, but he read his textbook over and over again. The definition of Gender Identity Disorder felt so real.
Gender identity disorder (GID) or transgenderism is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own assigned sex. People with GID desire to live as members of the opposite sex and often dress and use mannerisms associated with the other gender. For instance, a person identified as a boy may feel and act like a girl. This is distinct from homosexuality in that homosexuals nearly always identify with their apparent sex or gender.
Identity issues may manifest in a variety of different ways. For example, some people with normal genitals and secondary sex characteristics of one gender privately identify more with the other gender. Some may cross-dress, and some may actually seek sex-change surgery.
He didn’t act like a girl. That was the only thing that was off. He would play with dolls when Taylor wanted to and have tea parties. But he only did those things with Taylor because she was his sister.
His dad always acted weird when he had played with the girls across the street when he was younger. He told him that boys didn’t play house and Sidney protested that it was what Jenny and Caroline wanted to do and he was just going along with them.
So Sidney concentrated on hockey instead. That made his dad happy and it didn’t matter who he was on the ice. It made him happy too.
To a point.
Eventually he had to get off the ice and go back to the real world where his friends were talking about jerking off and he would get hard too often and his body that wasn’t developing breasts even though he wanted it to. And he was starting to think of himself as a girl in his head all the time.
Sidney was miserable, angry, and wished he could tell the truth. His mom had even taken him to a doctor to talk about why he was so upset. But the doctor had told him that since he was under 18, he was obligated to tell Sidney’s parents if it was something harmful to Sidney’s well-being. So he didn’t say anything important. Just that school was hard and hockey was taking a lot of time.
Sidney ripped the page about Gender Identity Disorder out of his textbook at the end of the year and kept it in his wallet as he got older. By the time Sidney had a therapist confirm that yes, Sidney did have Gender Identity Disorder, it had been there for almost twelve years.
With a Little Help (Winter 2003)
Sidney both loved and hated living with Jack. She loved it because she wasn’t at home, she was playing hockey all the time, and Jack was fun to be around. She also hated it because Jack was loud, messy, and very much a guy. And she was not.
In fact, she had to spend a lot of time resolutely not looking at Jack when he walked around half-dressed because he was kind of ridiculously hot and she was a teenager. She never walked around half-dressed because her body was so wrong but that didn’t stop her stupid dick from perking up when Jack did it.
Like now for example because Jack was sprawled across his bed in a pair of boxers and nothing else. She sat hunched over, her blankets pulled around her waist as she tried to concentrate on reading her biology textbook.
“You never told me how your date went last week,” Jack said after a few minutes. He pushed aside his own schoolbooks and rolled over onto his stomach to look at her. “Lauren’s totally into you, man.”
“It was fine,” Sidney said even though it was really not fine. It was awful and uncomfortable and Lauren had been really surprised when she had slid her hands into Sidney’s pants and found her soft. Lauren wasn’t so into her now, but she promised not to say anything. Of course she thought Sidney was gay, but Sidney wasn’t going to correct her. Lauren thinking she was gay was a lot easier than the alternative. “I’m not sure we really click, you know?”
Jack looked at her speculatively and Sidney started to flush under the attention. “What?”
“Is it because you’re gay?”
Sidney felt her heart start to pound in her chest. Lauren thinking she was gay was one thing. Jack was her best friend. “I’m not gay.”
“It’s okay, Sid. I really don’t care. Guys are hot,” Jack shrugged a little. “I mean, I’ve noticed how you look at me sometimes.”
“I don’t look at you,” Sidney protested, squeezing her eyes shut. She wanted to run. God she wanted to run but her stupid dick would betray her.
Jack moved and sat next to her on the bed. She shifted further away immediately, her eyes still squeezed tight.
“It’s okay.” Jack repeated. “Have you ever told anyone you were gay?”
“I’m not though,” Sidney protested because she really wasn’t. She was straight because she liked guys and not girls. “I just don’t like girls.”
Jack huffed out a laugh. “Sidney, that’s called being gay.”
Sidney’s shoulders slumped and she pulled her knees to her chest, crushing her dick in the process. She didn’t really care. Her chest was hot and she felt like crying because Jack didn’t get it. He never would.
Jack touched her shoulder briefly. “Relax. I got your back. No one is going to say anything about you being gay. I’ll punch their lights out if they do. Got it?”
“Just leave me alone, Jack.” She lifted her head to look at him. He looked oddly concerned and more than a little horrified at how emotional she was. “Please.”
Jack leaned in and pressed his lips against Sidney’s, soft and warm. She gasped a little and couldn’t help but kiss back. It felt amazing and scary and totally different than kissing the girls she’d gone out with. It was like something slotted into place in her mind and chest and she pulled back to look at him, eyes wide.
“Still think you’re straight?” asked Jack, smiling a little.
Sidney wanted to scream at him that yes, she still was. But it was so much easier to shake her head no, to pretend that she was gay. She was pretty much an expert at pretending anyway. What was one more thing?
Especially if Jack would kiss her again.
Went Too Far (Spring 2005)
Sidney stared at herself in the mirror, steeling her nerves to go back into the hotel room. She had to do this. She had to have sex to figure out if she was missing something. Jack insisted that sex was fun and that she was going to get drafted soon. She didn’t want to go to the NHL a virgin and she had been kind of dating Mike for a few months now. Jack was pretty persuasive.
There was a knock at the bathroom door. “You okay in there?”
Sidney opened the door and smiled at Mike. “Yeah, sorry. Just brushing my teeth.”
“C’mere,” Mike said, grabbing her hands and pulling her forward. “This is going to be great. Just trust me.”
“I regret telling you I was a virgin,” Sidney sighed even as she leaned up to kiss Mike.
Sidney liked kissing. If she had her way that was all they would do. But Mike had gotten a little more insistent recently, sliding his hands down the back of her pants, the two of them rutting together. She didn’t come but he did and it was easy enough to pass off that she hadn’t come since they were still clothed.
Mike was rubbing his hands over her ass again which okay, she did like that. They moved towards the bed, still kissing. Mike was hard when he pressed her to the bed and part of her was thrilled to know that she had done that.
The rest of her was terrified that she was getting hard and responding to what Mike was doing and fuck he was touching her dick now. She held herself steady, kissing him and running her hands over his back.
Then they were naked and he was looking at her hungrily, his dick hard. Mike ran a hand down her side, leaning over to press a kiss to her collarbone, nipping lightly. He started to stroke her dick and Sidney felt like she’d been thrown in a tub of ice water. Friction was friction and she stayed hard as he stroked her, but she was silent.
There was the snap of the lid of lube and then fingers. She barely registered Mike pressing in even as she gripped him tightly, mouthing at his neck. His dick felt nice inside of her, she liked the stretch and burn, but it wasn’t good enough to erase everything else.
Mike was panting against her lips, his face screwed up. “I’m close.”
Sidney was far from close, but she was pretty sure that she wasn’t going to come. “S’ok. Go for it.”
Mike shifted position and lifted her leg a little higher. He started to fuck her harder and he hit something, making Sidney squirm and cry out, the first noise he’d managed to wrench out of her. He kept going, hitting the same spot and it was a punch to the stomach when she came right before he collapsed on top of her, panting heavily.
“Sid,” Mike murmured, kissing her softly. He shifted, carefully pulling out of her. “That was really great.”
“Yeah,” Sidney said, pasting a smile on her face. She leaned in and kissed him again. “I’m going to go shower. I feel gross.”
Mike rolled his eyes and flopped onto his back. “Wow you’re great with afterglow.”
“You knew what I was like when you started dating me,” Sidney shot back at him before going into the bathroom.
Once the door was shut and the shower was turned on, she slid to the ground and started to cry. Her body was never going to respond the way she wanted it to. It was just going to keep betraying her, over and over again.
Things We Said Today (September 2006)
Sergei sat down next to Geno in the booth, handing him another beer. Flower and Tanger were arguing with each other in French and Sidney was half-listening to them while watching Max try to pick up, an amused expression on his face. Geno took the beer with a smile and a thanks. Now that he was here, really here in Pittsburgh, the team had decided everyone needed to go out and get drunk together. Being Russian, Geno approved.
“So everyone decided I get to be the one to tell you about Sidney,” Sergei said after a moment. “Since it’ll be easier in Russian.”
Geno furrowed his brow and looked at Sidney. “What about him?”
“He’s … different. We think he is gay, but even Flower and Army can’t say for sure. No one has seen him pick up a guy but we’ve never seen him with a girl either. He’s extremely private, won’t talk about anything like that with you. He’s got a lot of weird superstitions too. The jock is the worst. He’s been wearing the same one for years.” Sergei made a face. “It’s disgusting. Everyone tries not to look at it. And he paints his toenails.”
Geno took a long drink of his beer and then shrugged. “Okay. If he’s gay, that’s his business. And all hockey players are superstitious, Seryozha.”
“Not like Sid,” Sergei sighed a little. “Just go easy on him.”
Geno frowned at him. “Were you worried that I would have a problem with him being gay?”
“No, but we all try to protect Sid a little. He’s got a lot on his shoulders being crowned the next Gretzky. Sid’s amazing but he’s young and that’s a lot to put on him.” Sergei took a long drink of his beer. “And you have to admit, Russia isn’t the most open of places about things like this.”
Geno shook his head. “I like both so I have no problem if he is. But it is his business. You should not be gossiping about it. Any of you.”
“You know, I can hear you saying my name,” Sidney said, interrupting them. “At least try and come up with a Russian nickname if you’re going to talk about me.”
Geno looked at Sergei questioningly and Sergei translated quickly, sighing. Geno punched Sergei in the shoulder lightly. “Told you.”
“He just told me that we shouldn’t be gossiping about you,” Sergei said, rubbing his shoulder. “I was telling him about all your weird superstitions.”
“Which ones?” asked Sidney curiously. Both Flower and Tanger had shut up at this point, watching the three of them. Flower kept shooting angry looks at Sergei which Geno could not even begin to interpret.
“So far just the jock and your toenails being painted.”
Sidney shrugged and looked at Geno. “I’m weird. Everyone thinks I am.”
Sergei murmured in Russian to Geno and Geno reached across the table, grabbing Sidney’s hand and squeezing. Flower’s eyes widened as Sidney did not pull away immediately.
Sidney smiled tightly at that and squeezed Geno’s hand before carefully pulling away. “You have no idea how weird I am.”
Sidney got up and headed for the door, leaving everyone behind. Flower scrambled out of the booth after him.
Geno looked at Sergei and Tanger in confusion. “What say?”
“It’s just Sid,” Tanger said with a sigh. “Flower will handle it.”
Geno turned to look at the door where Flower had Sidney up against the wall, talking to him. Sidney waved a hand and said something in return before Flower backed up and let him go. Sidney looked grateful before he slipped out of the door.
“He’ll be back,” Flower said, sliding back in the booth. “He said he needed to get some air.”
“That means he’s going home,” Max said, leaning over the back of the booth, apparently having failed with the woman he’d been hitting on. “Who pissed him off?”
“Geno said that being weird is good.”
Max looked confused. “We’ve always told Sid that.”
“It’s Sid,” Tanger pointed out. “Maybe he likes Geno.”
Geno looked at Sergei, lost. The only words he was catching were Sid, Geno, and weird. “They’re just saying that Sid is moody and he’s probably going to go home. And that he might like you.”
“Oh,” Geno said, thinking about that. He clapped Sergei on the knee. “I’ll be back.”
Geno headed to the front door, pushing his way outside. It was still hot outside, the air muggy and sticky. Sidney was waiting for a cab, shifting on his feet.
“Sid?” Geno stepped up next to him.
Sidney looked over at him. “Hi.”
“Home?” Geno fervently wished he knew more English, something to make this conversation easier. He pointed at Sidney and then at a car.
“Yes. Tired.” Sidney pillowed his head against his hands briefly.
Geno nodded and gestured a little. “Walk?”
Sidney sighed a little, but nodded. “No cabs anyway. I’m going to have to call for one.”
Geno smiled widely even though he had no clue what Sidney had said and held out his hand to Sidney. “Come.”
Sidney frowned, but took Geno’s hand and Geno squeezed firmly before letting it go. “I talk?”
“I won’t understand,” Sidney said ruefully. He made a gesture with his hand, giving Geno the go ahead.
“I have a girlfriend in Russia who I couldn’t tell I was leaving. I couldn’t tell my parents, my brother. Nobody. I couldn’t say anything until I landed and was able to call my agent. And I was scared. I still am scared of what will happen,”
Geno threw his arm over Sidney’s shoulder. “But I came to play with you. To play for the Penguins because I dreamed of playing in the NHL. You are scared though too. I don’t know what you are scared of, but you are. So we can be scared together.”
Sidney looked at him curiously. “I have no idea what you said.”
Geno nodded, no clue what Sidney had said but he looked confused. He hipchecked Sidney lightly, gesturing between them and holding up two fingers. “Weird two.”
Sidney started to laugh, looking at Geno, his eyes squished up and his smile wide. Geno felt so happy to see Sidney laugh. It looked good on him.
“Okay, let’s be weird together then.”
“Good.” Geno nodded firmly since Sidney seemed to be happy. “Drink.”
Sidney let Geno lead him back to the bar and back to the table, much to the surprise of everyone. Geno gestured at Sidney and said in Russian, “He’s buying the next round.”
Sergei laughed. “Did you agree to buy the next round, Sid?”
“Is that what Geno said?”
“Sure was,” Sergei held up his empty beer. “I could use another.”
“Then I guess I’m buying the next round. Good thing the bartender here likes me,” Sidney said before clapping his hand on Geno’s shoulder. “Good talk. Thanks, Geno.”
Geno nodded and sat down next to Sergei as Sidney headed to the bar where Army was talking to the bartender. Max had his mouth open, staring at Geno.
“Max looks stupid like that,” Geno said to Sergei.
“Max always looks stupid,” Sergei acknowledged. “What did you say to him?”
Geno shrugged. “That we could be weird together. He agrees.”
Sergei translated that back to Max, Tanger and Flower. Max just shook his head. “Yeah, I think he definitely likes you.”
Till Victory (Vancouver Olympics February 2010)
Sidney really didn’t know much about Jonathan Toews other than the times they played each other. It wasn’t as often as teams in her division, but she knew Toews was good, fast, and played very hard. This was the first Olympics for the both of them and they had the expectations of a whole country on their shoulders. It was Vancouver. The Canadians had to win.
Now she knew that Jonny did 150 pushups every morning wearing only boxer briefs in the middle of their shared living area and had a tendency to walk around in a towel for a long time after a shower. Also he was kind of hot and Sidney was not prepared to deal with any aspect of her libido during the Olympics no matter how many condoms they gave out in the Olympic Village.
(When she had visited Geno in the Russian dorms, Ovechkin was blowing up the condoms to hang in their shared room. Geno naturally looked aggrieved and kept asking Gonch if he could sleep on the couch in his and Kovalchuk’s room.
So far he’d been entirely unsuccessful and Sidney had to leave him there with Ovi singing songs in Russian and doing anything he could to annoy Geno.)
On the third night, Jonny had approached her, looking kind of embarrassed. Which of course made Sidney assume that Jonny was going to point out something she had done or he had noticed that didn’t add up. She really hoped it wasn’t about the polish on her toes because that was not going to get changed. It had taken three tries to do the maple leaf on her big toes.
“Hey,” Jonny said, rubbing the back of his neck. “You think I could maybe have the room tonight?”
Sidney blinked at him. “For what?”
“So I can have company.”
“Why do I have to leave for you to have company?” asked Sidney. “You have your own bedroom.
“I plan to have sex and I’d really rather you not be here,” Jonny made a face. “It would be weird.”
“We have a game in the morning,” Sidney protested. “How can you have sex the night before?”
“It’s kind of a routine that I have. I’ll be fine for the game.”
There was a knock on the door and Sidney moved to open it just to escape from the conversation. Patrick Kane was there wearing his USA jacket and carrying a laptop and DVD.
“Hey Sid,” Kane said, stepping into the room. “I brought that movie you wanted to watch, Jonny.”
Jonny squeezed the bridge of his nose and shook his head. “I told you to wait until I called you.”
Sidney shut the door and stared at them in horror. “You’re sexiling me for Kaner? He’s the enemy!”
“You told him I was coming over for sex?” asked Kane, slapping Jonny upside the head. “We said movie. That’s what we came up with so he would leave and go visit Flower or someone.”
“I don’t like lying,” Jonny protested. “Yes Sid, I’m asking you to leave so I can have sex with Kaner because we have sex before every game we play and it’s a routine and we kind of have to do it.”
“Besides, I bet Geno can get Ovechkin out of their room so the two of you can have an Olympics hook-up too.”
Sidney stared at Kane. “I don’t have sex with Geno. He has a girlfriend.”
“Really?” Jonny looked surprised. “I could swear you guys have been together for ages.”
“I think I would know if I was dating Geno,” Sidney said stiffly. She looked between them. “I’m coming back in two hours.”
“Thank you,” Kane said happily. “I’ll make sure Jonny clears out one of these nights so you can have the room to yourself. And Geno.”
Sidney wanted to punch him in his stupid cocky face. Instead she grabbed her jacket and phone, slamming the door behind her. Stupid hot tears burned behind her eyes and she pulled on her jacket, shoving her toque on her head. She was not going to let Patrick Kane make her lose it
It was cold outside in the Olympic Village, but then again it was Vancouver and she’d been in Vancouver in the winter many times. It was early enough that people were all around. Night events were going on and Sidney shoved her hands in her pockets and kept her head down as she wandered.
She ducked into a coffee shop that had been set up and grabbed a hot chocolate. “Sidney?”
Sidney looked over and saw Hossa sitting there with a cup of tea and a magazine. He gestured to her to join him and after a moment she did. She liked Hossa and missed him on the team. He hadn’t even been there for a full season, but he was a steady, calming influence.
“Game night,” Hossa said after a moment. “You’re rooming with Jonny?”
Sidney nodded slowly, but she kind of understood. Hossa was a Blackhawk now. He probably knew what Jonny got up with before games with Kane.
“I’d say come visit Slovakia but Zdeno would not like that,” Hossa said easily. “They are young. They probably don’t realize that asking you to leave is just as much a disruption of your routine as it is helping them with their routine.”
“They think I’m sleeping with Geno,” Sidney blurted out, having no idea why she was telling Hossa that. “I’m not. I don’t do that.”
Hossa looked at her consideringly. “To be honest, I thought you were dating him as well. Geno sure acts like he’s dating you.
“He has a girlfriend,” Sidney sighed, looking down at her hot chocolate. “He and Oksana have been together for years now.
"Are you gay?" asked Hossa curiously.
“Does it matter?” asked Sidney stiffly, crossing her arms over her chest. “Because I like you, Hoss, but I don’t know you well enough to talk about it.”
“Fair enough,” Hossa shrugged. “I was just curious. There’s a lecture that Flower, Tanger, Max and Gonch give the new players about you and that’s part of it.”
Sidney nodded. “I know about the lecture. I told them they don’t need to do it, but apparently they still do.”
“They care and they’re trying to protect you as best they can.” Hossa finished his tea, setting the mug down. “I must be going. Try not to get too mad at Kaner and Tazer. Kick Tazer out at some point just to make a point.”
Sidney smiled at that and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll do that. Thanks, Hoss.”
“Bye Sidney,” Hossa said, squeezing her shoulder reassuringly before heading out. Sidney watched him go, reaching for the magazine he was reading. She made a face when she saw her own face staring back at her. That was not what she needed right now.
She needed Geno if she wanted to be honest with herself. Or Flower. Someone on her team that would not look at her oddly because she was kicked out of her room. Someone who wouldn’t think it was silly that her routine was screwed up and now she was sitting around at 10pm drinking hot chocolate instead of stretching and going over plays for the morning.
But Geno had routines and Flower had routines and she didn’t need to screw up their routines because Jonny and Patrick screwed up her routine for their stupid routine so instead she finished her hot chocolate and waited out the two hours.
They won their games until they lost against the United States. Sidney watched as Jonny shook Kane’s hand, his expression stoic in defeat. Kane looked almost sorry to have beaten them.
That night Kane didn’t come around. It ended up being her and Jonny in the living room, drinking beer and watched tape. He was still pissed off judging by the tense shoulders and fingers tapping against his thigh.
Sidney sighed and leaned forward to grab another beer for the both of them. When she sat back, Jonny was staring at her with an odd expression on his face.
“What?” asked Sidney self-consciously.
“Is the nail polish a superstition?” asked Jonny.
Sidney looked down at her feet, the red and white polish starting to wear off. She would need to redo them before the quarterfinals started. “Kind of.”
“Does it work?”
Sidney shrugged. “To be honest, I always wear it unless I have sandals on. I don’t need that bit of weirdness to get out.”
“So you don’t know if it’s the polish or not when you win?” Jonny tilted his head a little, still looking at her.
“A girlfriend did it when I was at Shattuck and we won,” Sidney said with a shrug. “So I kept wearing it and I kept winning. So even when we lose, I have it on because I think it’s going to help me win next time.”
It was kind of the truth. It wasn’t really a superstition like her other rituals but it was important. It was that one little truth about herself that she was showing. When it wasn’t on, she felt off.
“Can you paint mine?” asked Jonny. “We need all the luck we can get."
Sidney coughed, the sip of beer she’d been drinking going down the wrong way. “Sure. I need to redo mine anyway.”
“Team Canada colors.” Jonny nodded firmly. “Do I need to do anything to my feet before you paint them?”
“Probably not. Let me see them,” Sidney said, setting her beer down.
Jonny pulled off his socks and turned to face Sidney, pulling his feet up on the couch for her to look at them. He had huge feet and long toes. He could do with having his toenails cut, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
“They’re fine. Go wash your feet though. I’m not touching your feet after you had wool socks on.”
“My feet get cold,” Jonny protested but got up to go into the bathroom anyway.
Sidney went into her room and dug out the well-hidden bottles of polish. Some people hid sex toys and condoms. Sidney hid nail polish and lip gloss.
Jonny was already sitting on the couch when Sidney came back out. “All clean. How do you want me?”
“I’ve never painted anyone else’s toes,” Sidney admitted, sitting on the couch again. “I guess put your foot in my lap.”
Jonny and Sidney both shifted so Jonny’s foot was in Sidney’s lap. She started with the red, going slowly and trying not to make a mistake.
“I’m sorry that I’m throwing you off your routine,” Jonny said after a minute. “Hoss told me I’m being a jerk.”
Sidney shrugged a little. “My routine is thrown off just by being here.”
“Do you need time with Geno?”
Sidney sighed and looked up at Jonny. “Geno is my friend. I am really not dating him. His girlfriend is here right now.”
“I believe you. I just thought he might be able to settle you down. You’re really kind of on edge all the time now.”
Sidney pursed her lips, staring at Jonny’s toes. “I’m not playing well.”
“You are. You’re just not getting points,” Jonny said matter-of-factly. “It’s okay because when teams are paying attention to you, it leaves the rest of us open.”
Sidney reached for the white polish, doing the opposite nails now. “Whatever helps Canada win is worth it. I can keep on being the target.
“I don’t want to lose to Kaner again,” Jonny said quietly, sadly. “It doesn’t feel good.
“Losing never feels good.”
“Have you ever played against Geno before?” asked Jonny
“World Juniors but that was before he was Geno. He was just Malkin. It’s hard playing against your friends especially your old teammates,” Sidney said to him, reaching up to squeeze Jonny’s knee. “You’ll get used to it.”
“I’d rather not,” Jonny admitted. “Not when it’s Kaner.”
“So you and Kaner...” Sidney trailed off a little, waving her hand.
“Me and Kaner?
“How long have you been dating him?” asked Sidney. “And how does it affect being his captain?”
“We’re not dating each other. We date other people and have sex with each other before games,” Jonny said easily. “It really is just a game ritual.”
Sidney looked at him oddly. “And the people you date are okay with that?"
“It’s just sex. If we date someone who doesn’t get it, we don’t date them long. Most girls are fine with it when we explain what it is.”
Sidney shook her head. “And I thought I was weird.”
Jonny laughed. “No one is weird like you are, Sid.”
Sidney gave a self-deprecating laugh. “You have no idea, Toews.”
Sidney fussed with her left skate, frowning down at it. They had ice time before the Womens hockey final tonight. It wasn’t anything formal, just making sure they were all loose for tomorrow night’s Mens final.
“Skate being bad?” asked Geno calmly.
Sidney looked up in surprise to see Geno leaning calmly against the railing, dressed in his Team Russia tracksuit. He had been sulking after Russia was eliminated and she hadn’t even seen him since then so Geno being at the rink was a surprise. A very welcome surprise.
“The edge doesn’t feel right,” Sidney replied, smiling at him happily. “I didn’t expect to see you.”
“If Russia not win, maybe okay Canada win,” Geno said, reaching out with his fist. She brought hers up as well, bumping their knuckles together lightly. “Okay for Sid to win.”
“Thanks,” Sidney said, shifting over so he could sit. Geno bumped his shoulder against hers lightly.
“Let me see skate,” Geno said, patting his leg. Sidney carefully swung her foot onto Geno’s thigh. He bent over and peered intently at her skate, turning her ankle to get a better look at the edge. “Look okay. Tighten back a little maybe.”
His fingers tapped the back of the skate, just above the blade. Sidney watched him, his long fingers sliding over the toe cup and then across the side to cup the back of her ankle. “You going to win.”
Sidney swallowed a little thickly, feeling overwhelmingly turned on watching Geno practically fondle her skate. He was watching her seriously, his gaze heavy. “I will.”
“Good,” Geno said, squeezing the back of her ankle. He moved her leg back to the ground, leanging forward to rest his forearms against the railing. “We watch Womens final tonight?
“You mind sitting with the rest of Team Canada?” asked Sidney.
Geno chuckled and shook his head. “No. Seryozha and Sanja with me. Think Team Canada deal with Ovi?”
“We deal with him during the season,” Sidney said with a shrug. “We can deal with him tonight.”
“Good. I come find before game. Go skate. Edge fine.”
Sidney got up and stepped back onto the ice, stick in hand. “Thanks, Geno.”
Geno smiled back at her, his eyes crinkling up. “Go get gold, Sid.”
It was all a blur in the end. Overtime and then shooting the puck at Miller, only knowing it got in when the buzzer went off. Teammates were everywhere and the Canada Center was deafening. The last gold medal of the 2010 Olympics was theirs.
Jonny slammed her into the boards, Iggy piling on top of him. Sidney laughed and screamed in happiness. The next thing she remember was skating with the Canadian flag, the entire stadium still screaming
And then there were medals hung around their necks and Jonny was hugging her and she was kind of turned on because this was possibly the best thing ever and she had to squirm away from him in case he noticed.
Back in the locker room, she hugged everyone, stripped out of her hockey gear like the rest of them, doused in champagne and wearing gold medals and Team Canada gear. This was even better than winning the Cup. Because it was for Canada.
“God,” Jonny said hours later, his expression soppy and obviously drunk. “This is the best night ever.”
Sidney laughed, just as drunk as him and flopped onto a couch, surrounded by equally drunk teammates from both their team and the Women’s gold medal team. “It was totally the nail polish.”
Jonny laughed and squirmed onto the couch next to her, draping his large body over hers. “I could kiss you for the polish and that fucking goal, Sid.”
Sidney pushed at him half-heartedly, barely caring that he was all over her. She heard Seabs let out a wolf-whistle and Duncs tell them to get a room. She flipped them off and pushed at Jonny’s head.
“He deserves a fucking blowjob for that goal,” Nash said from behind the couch. “Anyone want to blow Sid for that amazing goal? Ladies? Gentlemen?”
Sidney’s stomach clenched at the thought of someone blowing her. She’d had precisely one blowjob and it was horrifying and she’d cried. She started to shake her head, staring at Jonny in fear.
“No, no, no,” Sidney murmured and Jonny caught her gaze. He gave her a quick nod.
“I got this one.” Jonny got up and grabbed Sidney’s hand, pulling her to her feet. The wolf-whistles were piercing as Jonny winked at everyone, getting Sidney out of the room quickly.
The next thing she knew they were in their room and Jonny had locked the door. He didn’t move towards her, a bottle of vodka in his hand.
“Hey,” Jonny said after a moment. “I’m not going to blow you.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said, sitting down on the couch heavily. “I can’t.”
“I figured that out pretty quick. You turned white as a sheet at Nash’s suggestion.” Jonny took a swig of the vodka, holding it out to her.
Sidney took it with trembling fingers. She took a long drink, the burn making her wince but she kept swallowing. She wanted to pass out, forget this part of the evening, and wake up in the morning with a hangover and a gold medal.
“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Jonny, trepidation in his voice.
“Not especially,” Sidney said, handing the bottle back to him. “I say we finish that and go back to the party and pretend that you blew me. I’ll tell everyone you were amazing.”
Jonny let out a sigh of relief. “Deal. And hey, no one can make you do anything, okay. I get there’s a thing,” he waved his hand a little. “with you and sex. So if you know, someone did something in the past. That’s not cool.”
Sidney looked at him, her expression blank. “Yeah, I know how to say no. Let’s go back to not talking about it and get completely blackout drunk.”
“That’s a totally excellent plan,” Jonny said, grinning as he handed over the bottle again. “We won gold medals today.”
“Fucking right we did,” Sidney said, taking a long drink. She was going to have to tell Geno how well she was doing with the vodka. He’d be proud. “You’ll get laid over this, right?”
“Not by Kaner, but oh yeah. I can work this,” Jonny said easily. “Everyone on this team is going to get massively laid because of their gold medals. Well, except you but that’s by choice.”
“Exactly. No sex for me.”
“What a shame. You’ve got an ass to die for.”
Sidney flushed and coughed on the vodka before handing it to Jonny. “I’ve been told that before. My ex was fond of it.”
“Ah so you do have sex stories. I knew that you had hidden depths.”
“No sex stories. I’m not into sharing,” Sidney said, standing up. She swayed a little. Okay maybe she wasn't handling the vodka as well as she thought. “Fuck I need to eat something.”
Jonny looked at the clock. “I think we’ve been here long enough. Let me just rub at my mouth a bit.”
Sidney watched as Jonny scrubbed at his mouth, trying to make his lips red. She shook her head. “Oh come here already.”
Jonny looked at her quizzically, his eyes widening as Sidney pulled him into a kiss. They made out for a minute or two before Sidney pulled back. “Okay that looks better.”
Jonny licked at his lips, staring at her. “Yeah, give me a minute. You’re good at that.”
“I like kissing,” Sidney said easily. “I just don’t like anything after that.”
Jonny shook his head and handed the last of the vodka over. “You’re going to make someone very lucky someday.”
“Whatever,” Sidney brushed off because yeah, that wasn’t happening. She didn’t want to dwell on that right now and instead looked down at her awesome gold medal. “We totally won gold medals.”
Jonny laughed and slung an arm over her shoulders. “Yeah we did.”
Five months later, Sidney watched Jonny win the Stanley Cup. She didn’t expect a phone call a few days later from Jonny. She was already back in Cole Harbour, hanging out with Sam and just kind of hiding from the season.
“Hey,” Jonny said, sounding a little drunk.
“Still drunk?” asked Sidney. “Am I your drunk dial now, Toews?”
“Nah. I would sober dial you too. Plus I’m only sort of drunk. Post-Cup drunk which means you never really sober up.”
“I remember,” Sidney said with a soft sigh. It had been great winning the Cup. “I don’t think I really sobered up for the next two weeks.”
“Then I have a little while longer,” Jonny laughed. He quieted for a long time before saying, almost hesitantly. “We’re friends, right?”
Sidney furrowed her brow. “I guess so. Yes. We’re friends.”
“I might kind of be in love with Kaner,” Jonny said in a rush.
“Oh.” Sidney stared at the wall thinking about that. “Good?”
“I think it might be.”
“So … what do you want me to say?” asked Sidney awkwardly.
“Go for it?” Jonny sounded about as awkward as she did which made Sidney feel a little better. “Kiss him?”
“Go for it,” Sidney said easily. “Kiss him and tell him that you like him. You don’t just want to have buddy sex before games anymore and you want to have boyfriend sex instead. And tell him to cut the mullet.”
Jonny burst out laughing at that. “Yeah. We’ve already talked about the mullet.”
“How’d I do?” asked Sidney curiously.
“Not bad. I like that you ad-libbed it at the end. You’re really kind of awful at advice aren’t you?”
“I’m kind of emotionally stunted,” Sidney admitted. “But I think it’s a good idea to tell Kane how you feel. Maybe call him Patrick when you do it.”
Jonny laughed again. “Thanks, Sid. Can I give you a piece of advice?”
“Sure,” Sidney said easily. “Give me some drunken advice.”
“I think you’re lying to yourself about Geno. I don’t know your past or anything, but you can’t close yourself off forever. Geno’s a good guy from what I can tell and so you know, he’s not entirely straight. I have it on good word that he’s not picky about the people he likes.”
“Oh,” Sidney murmured. She knew that actually, but she wasn’t going to tell Jonny. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
Jonny sighed. “You won’t, but that’s okay. I’ll call and let you know how it goes with Kaner. See you in the fall.”
“We’re taking that Cup back,” Sidney said easily. “Don’t get too used to it.”
Jonny laughed again, “Bye Sid.”
Sidney listened to the dial tone for a moment before hanging up. Jonny wasn’t wrong. She’d been lying to herself about Geno since the first time she met him. Geno was pretty much everything she wanted in a guy. She had slammed the door closed on her feelings pretty early in their friendship because she would never be what Geno wanted.
She would never be the man he saw in front of him. She would just be the scared woman desperately hoping that no one guessed her secret.
“Fucking Jonny,” Sidney said to no one. This was not what she wanted to think about.
Sam was snoring on the loveseat and Sidney got up, poking her in the side. “C’mon Sam. Let’s go for a run."
Sam rolled onto her back, stretching her legs up high in the air and giving Sidney a look of dismay.
“It’s either that or I go drink myself into a stupor and listen to sad music,” Sidney said. “Do you want to be responsible for my drunken habits?
Sam whuffled and rolled back over, curling into a ball. Sidney sighed. Drinking it was.
Taylor Crosby (February 2011)
Sidney’s head hurt and she felt sick and her tongue was thick in her mouth and it wasn't the concussion. It wasn't the concussion at all. It was the index card in her hand, already damp with sweat and Taylor staring at her, looking so worried. Taylor was only there a few days, begging time to stay with Sidney to keep an eye on her.
“I … I’m,” Sidney croaked out, her sister moving closer, a hand hovering like she wanted to touch and Sidney reached out, grabbing it too tightly and Taylor clung back just as tightly. “Tay…”
“Sid,” Taylor murmured. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s okay.”
And Sidney hated Pamela so much for saying Sidney needed to tell someone, needed someone else to know that she was transgender so she can talk about it outside of therapy. Why the hell was she telling Taylor who was too damn young to have to deal with Sidney’s messed up head and body and she shook her head and tried to pull her hand away, but Taylor wouldn't let her.
There was blood rushing in her ears and she was not going to be able to get it out. She couldn’t talk and Taylor was looking so damn scared. So she did the only thing she could think of and shoved the sweaty index card at Taylor and made her take it. The index card that held the speech Sidney and Pamela had written together, to help Sidney say it. The index card that held the truth of who she really was.
Taylor still didn’t let Sidney pull away as she read the card. She finished, looked at Sidney and then read again. And a third time and Sidney was going to pass out. She really was.
Taylor set the card down and moved closer, wrapping her arms around Sidney tightly and squeezed. “I told you it was okay, loser.”
And Sidney collapsed, like invisible strings were cut and she started to cry, sobbing messily on Taylor’s shoulder as her sister rocked her and said soothing things that Sidney couldn't understand at all. She cried for herself, for Taylor, for the damn concussion and everything that just wasn’t okay any longer.
When Sidney finally pulled back, still making embarrassing little sobbing noises, Taylor looked wrecked, her eyes red and her face blotchy with tears as well. It made her feel horrible and her head was pounding from the concussion and she could feel the lights piercing her skull and she moaned, covering her eyes.
Taylor moved quickly, but carefully. She shut out lights and settled Sidney back against the pillows on the bed with an ice pack against her neck. She didn’t touch Sidney when she rested her head on the pillow next to her and Sidney wanted to tell her it was okay, but everything was narrowed into pain and dizziness.
“It’s okay,” Taylor said again, her voice a whisper that felt like screaming to Sidney. “I love you. I’m always going to love you no matter what.”
And Sidney wanted to cry again. She was going to throw up if she cried again and she briefly thought guiltily of how she threw up on Geno a few days ago when she started to cry on the drive back from Pamela’s office.
“Breathe slowly,” Taylor instructed, her voice still soft, soothing. “Shh… it’s okay. Everything is okay. I'll even teach you how to wear blush without looking like a clown.”
Sidney started to calm, breathing, focusing on Taylor’s constant reassurances that it was okay. Everything was okay. She started to drift off, finally getting the respite of sleep from the pain.
The last thing she heard was Taylor murmuring that she always wanted a sister.
Constant as the Northern Star (February 2011)
Geno knew he should knock, but half the time Sidney was off hiding somewhere anyway. There was a reason Geno had a key and he was not ashamed to use it. He worried about Sidney all the time, alone and still hurting from his concussion. Someone stopped by every day, just to check in. Mostly Mario or Nathalie but Geno tried to whenever he was in town.
Today he had food with him, two big bags of groceries and two containers of borscht from the Russian restaurant across town that both he and Sidney liked. The cooking wasn’t quite as good as his mother’s, but Geno wasn’t going to tell them that.
“Hey Sid,” Geno called as he came in, shutting the door behind him. “I bring dinner and groceries.”
There was music playing in the den and Geno heard scrambling then a frightening crash and Sidney cursing. He dropped the bags and ran across the living room, his heart pounding in his chest. If Sidney got hurt again...
The crash was Sidney falling and Geno found him on the floor, next to his coffee table, hiding his face in his hands. There was red on his fingers and Geno grabbed at them quickly, trying to see where Sidney was hurt.
“Stop!” Sidney wrenched his hands back, covering his face again. “I’m fine. Just … go away for a moment.”
“Sid, you bleeding,” Geno grabbed at his hands again, his nose wrinkling at the smell. He paused. “Is … is nail polish?”
“Yes,” Sidney said, still trying to hide his face as he moved away from Geno. “Just hand me a paper towel.”
Geno frowned, but reached for a roll of paper towels sitting next to an upended bottle of red polish which he righted. He ripped off a few and then started to wipe at Sidney’s fingers for him. “You have polish remover?”
“Upstairs,” Sidney muttered. “I can do it myself.”
“You hit head?” asked Geno. He didn’t stop scrubbing at Sidney’s fingers and he felt Sidney’s hand relax a little.
“No. Just injured my dignity.”
Geno looked up at him, his eyes widening. He reached up a finger to touch Sidney’s bright red lips, Sidney pulling away before he could. “You wearing lipstick?”
“Geno, just go.” Sidney slumped, pulling his knees up and burying his face against them. “I can’t do this.”
“What you have to do?” asked Geno, sitting back. “I go get polish remover. Paint toes for you. Fingers too if you want.”
Sidney lifted his head to look at Geno. His eyes were rimmed with liner and Geno swore he was wearing mascara and maybe even some blush.
“Look pretty, Sid.”
“You’re not … you don’t think it’s weird?” asked Sidney softly.
“I friends with Ovi. Nothing you do is weird compared to him,” Geno promised. “Where you keep polish remover?”
“I’ll get it,” Sidney said, standing up. “You’ll do my fingernails? I can only do one hand nice.”
“No do flowers like you do on your toes,” Geno said, gesturing at Sidney’s toes. “Not that good.”
Sidney was bright red now, his toes curling into the carpet. “I don’t do this all the time,” he gestured at his face. “I saw Nathalie this morning so I didn’t think anyone else was coming over.”
“Sid,” Geno said patiently. “Is fine. Not first time I’ve seen boy in makeup. Or painted hockey player’s nails.”
“Ovi on both. He not a pretty woman.”
“Neither am I,” Sidney mumbled before hurrying from the room.
Geno frowned as he watched him go, pondering that comment before getting up to rescue the groceries. He quickly put them away, setting the borscht on the counter for later. He filled a small bowl with warm water and grabbed a washcloth before heading back into the den.
Sidney was back, fiddling with the bottle of polish remover and a few bottles of nail polish. “No red then?”
Sidney looked over at him, his face bare now. Geno was a little disappointed to see that. Something seemed to have dimmed in Sidney’s eyes.
“No. There’s a few I wanted to try out. If you don’t mind.”
“Nope,” Geno said, sitting next to him and taking Sidney’s hand. “Put other hand in bowl while I clean fingers.”
Sidney listened to him, draping his other hand in the bowl as Geno scrubbed the polish over his fingers. “Don’t tell anyone. Please.”
Geno squeezed his hand. “Nothing to tell.”
Sidney shut his eyes tightly and Geno completely ignored the fact Sidney was taking hitching breaths. Mood swings were part of concussions and this wasn’t the first time Sidney had cried around him.
Geno gently moved Sidney’s now clean hand to the bowl and started on the next one. He hummed softly along to the music until Sidney was done crying.
Sidney pushed one of the polishes towards him without answering. Geno shook the bottle up before opening the lid and carefully applying polish to Sidney’s thumb nail. He kept humming as Sidney started to cry again.
Geno wasn’t stupid. A language barrier didn’t keep him from understanding there was more going on here. But he also wasn’t going to push Sidney. If Sidney wanted to tell him, he would. For now, Geno would paint his nails and feed him borscht.
Say My Name (April 2011)
Sidney woke up with a start, her head pillowed on Geno’s lap. He was snoring softly himself, his head thrown back and his leg still propped up on the coffee table. She stared at the bulky brace on his knee for a long time before she sat up and just looked at Geno.
He looked ridiculous to be honest. His mouth was open and his hair was all messy. He was even drooling a little. And Sidney really wanted to kiss him.
The way she felt about Geno had been changing for awhile. There had been an initial rush of attraction when he first arrived, but she hadn’t been sure if she was actually attracted to him or to his hockey skills. It died down for a long time - okay, she suppressed it and every other sexual feeling - but since she had been talking to Pamela, she was starting to allow herself to feel sexual again.
It still wasn’t the right kind of sexual and she had learned from the few disastrous attempts at having sex with women and men that she just couldn’t make it work in this body. But she still dreamed about Geno touching her, kissing her breasts, eating her out.
Sidney brushed back a bit of his hair, her eyes catching on the gold nail polish that Geno had meticulously applied earlier. She was getting closer to saying something to him, to maybe let a few more things slide into the open.
Geno didn’t say anything the time he found her in yoga pants and a pink Pens hoodie. He didn’t say anything other than that he liked the color of lipstick she was wearing when he came over and she was wearing makeup. He was the same Geno he had always been. He still teased her and cracked bad jokes and watched cooking shows on her couch and kept her up to date on the Russian soap operas that they watched together.
And Geno touched her. He would throw an arm behind her on the couch, he would pet her hair if she had a headache and laid down on his lap. He talked to her quietly in Russian and would fall asleep with her like they had today, one of his hands curved around her jaw when she woke.
Geno made her feel safe, cared for, maybe even loved despite everything. And most importantly, not alone for the first time in years.
Sidney sighed and leaned up, pressing a quick kiss to Geno’s forehead before whispering, “I wish I could tell you the truth about me.”
She got up and headed into the kitchen because it was almost time for Geno’s next dose of pain medication. She never noticed that Geno’s eyes had opened and he was watching her with a contemplative expression.
When she came back, Geno was stretching his arms above his head, giving her a sleepy smile. “Good nap?”
Sidney nodded and handed him a bottle of Gatorade and a pain pill. “For someone so bony, you’re pretty comfortable to sleep on.”
“Maybe I sleep on you next time. You much curvier,” Geno said, pinching her thigh gently. “Use your ass as a pillow.”
Sidney laughed and pushed him. “We could just try taking naps in bed and not falling asleep on the couch.”
Geno smiled widely at that. “You that kind of girl? Nap with man you not dating?”
Sidney swallowed thickly, her stomach knotting. She pushed her chin out and shrugged, feeling brave and scared at the same time, “Maybe I am.”
Geno cupped her cheek, looking at her seriously but not surprised. “You can say to me if you want. When you ready.”
“Okay,” Sidney said shakily. She sat back on her heels, staring at Geno. Her head was starting to hurt. And she wanted a hug. And Geno may have just acknowledged that he knew she wasn’t a man. Or at least suspected something like that. And he wasn’t surprised by it.
“Need anything?” asked Geno gently.
And it was stupid and he was probably asking if she wanted a drink, but the first thing she could think of was her name. “Sidney. Can you call me Sidney from now on? Not Sid?”
Geno pulled her forward into a hug and she went easily. “Always, Sidney.”
The Walls Are Coming Down (August 2011)
Sidney swept lip gloss over her lips with her finger, leaning in so she could see better. Taylor had shown her a few things. She was still mostly inept at putting on makeup to make her seem more feminine, but she was okay at highlighting the apples of her cheeks and lining her eyes.
And she liked the lip gloss she bought when Taylor was here. It was just a bare hint of red instead of the usual red lipstick she liked to wear. She had been wearing it when Geno got back from Russia yesterday, his expression tired and the surgical scars on his knee still red and obvious against his skin.
Geno had smiled though, bright and happy when he saw her, setting his bags down in the foyer of his house. Jeffrey was barking like mad, circling Geno until Geno sat down to pull him close and hug him.
“Dog first,” Geno had apologized. “He get anxious and pee if we not careful.”
“I know,” Sidney said dryly. “He pees a lot.”
“He getting old." Geno sighed, pressing a kiss to Jeffrey’s wrinkled head. He clambered off the floor and walked over to her, still smiling.
“Missed you.” Geno trailed a hand down her arm gently, before tangling their fingers together. “Can I hug?”
“Of course. Even if you are covered in slobber and dog fur now,” Sidney said with a laugh, wrapping her arms around him. Geno hugged her tightly, lifting her off the ground briefly. “I missed you too.”
“Pretty,” Geno said, touching her jaw with his thumb. “Missed seeing pretty Sidney.”
Sidney flushed now just thinking about it. She stepped back and looked at herself in the mirror. There wasn’t much she could do with her hair. It was too long and curling around her ears and along her neck. She ran her fingers through it before leaving and going back downstairs.
“Do you need any help?” asked Sidney when she went into the kitchen. Geno was cooking something, stirring a pot on the stove.
“I good.” Geno put down the spoon and motioned for Sidney to come over to the table. There were three books sitting there. “I do some reading when home. Don’t need to say. Just want to make sure I’m reading right books.”
Sidney sat down and pulled the books over, her heart pounding. They were all in Russian, but Geno had painstakingly written out the titles in English for her and taped them on the books.
The first book was about asexuality and she shook her head, setting it aside. The second book was about sexual dysfunction which was kind of right but mostly not. The last book though was about gender identity disorder.
Sidney swallowed thickly, running a hand over the cover. There were little yellow tags sticking out from the pages and she had a feeling Geno had read this one more than once. She bit her lip and handed it over to him.
“This one. Pamela officially diagnosed me in June. I am transgender.”
Geno reached for her hand and she clutched at it tightly. “Who else know?”
“Taylor. And now you.” Sidney exhaled slowly, feeling almost giddy. “I can’t believe you know.”
Geno pulled her forward into a hug, holding her as fine tremors shook her body. Adrenaline was running through her and she was shaking and giddy and so happy that Geno knew. She was going to tell him soon anyway, just wasn’t sure how to do it. But he already knew and he’d been reading about it. Like so many other things, Geno made it easy on her.
“I start to suspect but not sure which. Read all three, decide first two not likely. Find more to read after that. Have lots of books.” Geno pulled back to look at her. “Still Sidney to me. Just more.”
Sidney kept smiling, just staring at him as the adrenaline slowly began to fade away. “You read books about me.”
Geno furrowed his brow. “Of course. You hurting inside. Need to know about you to help.”
Sidney threw her arms around his neck and kissed him like she had been thinking about for months. Geno’s hands went to her waist, holding her carefully. He kissed her back, his tongue sweeping into her mouth and she let out a little sigh of happiness.
Geno licked his lips, smiling. “Lip gloss taste good.”
“It’s vanilla flavored,” Sidney laughed. “I’ve wanted to do that for months.”
“Years for me,” Geno confessed, squeezing her hip. “Thank you.”
“I want to do it again,” said Sidney boldly.
“My pretty Sidney.” Geno leaned in and kissed her again, softer this time. “You tell me how to help, I help. No being alone.”
“I will,” Sidney promised, leaning her head on Geno’s shoulder. He shifted in the chair so he could move a little closer, tucking her against his side. “Years?”
“Years,” Geno confirmed. “First time I saw, wanted to kiss.”
"Me too. I stopped though. I don't like feeling sexual much. It's confusing," Sidney bit her lip. "I can't really do much. Physically."
"Too much today to think about. We eat soup, watch movie. Call Pamela tomorrow and make appointment for me." Geno pressed a kiss to her hair. "I stir soup."
Sidney watched him walk back over to the stove. She pulled the book back over, flipping through the pages. All of Geno’s notes were in Russian so she didn’t understand them either. He had very carefully highlighted sections as well.
“I read about transitioning,” Geno said cautiously. “Surgery and hormone.”
“Not while I’m playing hockey,” murmured Sidney, still flipping through the pages. “But maybe someday.”
“After today we move to your home. Easier there for you. Jeffery and Dixi will like fine,” Geno said firmly. “My home empty.”
“Mine is too,” Sidney reminded him. “I liked staying here with Jeffrey and Dixi the last week.”
“You have locked room in your home. I not ask about but now maybe know it someplace safe?”
Sidney pressed her lips together. “I’m not going to show you.”
“Not asking for that. Is yours. Just think it easier if we there so you have.”
Sidney looked at him, his back to her as he stirred the soup. “Geno, you don’t have to come live with me if you don’t want. I’m okay alone in my house. Mario is right down the street.”
“I want to. Miss being around you all the time like spring.”
Geno’s shoulders were tense and Sidney realized that she was shaking again. Suddenly the enormity of what she had just said, what Geno had offered her slammed down and she dropped the book on the table with a loud crash.
Geno knew. She had said that she was transgender to him. And he had kissed her and offered to move in with her and just … Jesus Christ he knew.
“Sidney,” Geno said worriedly, quickly turning off the stove and heading over. He pulled her chair out and basically shoved her head between her knees. “Calm. Breathe slow.”
Sidney gasped in air, not even realizing that she had been hyperventilating. There was spots dancing in front of her eyes and she really, really thought she was just going to pass out right there.
“You okay,” Geno kept saying soothingly, rubbing her back at the same time. Long, slow sweeps of his hand that she could concentrate on. The spots started to recede and her breathing deepened. “Good girl. Breathe slow.”
And he called her a girl. Sidney’s breathing hitched at that, the easy way it came out of Geno’s mouth. Taylor caught herself on pronouns a lot when she talked to Sidney. Only with Pamela had it come easy but she was a therapist. It was her job to remember that Sidney was a woman.
“Maybe we call Pamela today?” Geno suggested when Sidney finally sat up, her face flushed.
Geno got up and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, twisting the lid off before coming back to the table to sit with her. “Drink slow.”
Sidney listened to him, taking small sips of the water. She felt exhausted and worn out, but Geno was right. She probably needed to call Pamela and tell her what happened. She fumbled in her pocket for the phone, pulling it out.
“I call.” Geno took the phone gently and flipped it open, scrolling through her contacts to find Pamela’s number. He made slow circles on the back of her neck with his thumb, staying close but not crowding her.
“Hello,” Geno said as clearly as possible. “This Dr. Morris office? Want to know if she available now for talk.”
Sidney heard the nurse’s tinny voice say she was with a patient at the moment and did he want to make an appointment. Geno sighed. “Is kind of emergency, but no interrupt session. No risk of harm. Ask to call Sidney when she have break?”
Geno repeated what he said when the nurse asked, slowing down and trying very hard to pronounce everything clearly. Sidney had forgotten how hard it was for Geno on the phone with people who didn’t know him and didn’t hear him talk all the time.
Geno gave her number to the nurse, “Thank you. We come in if needed but call please.”
The nurse promised to have her call and Geno hung up, looking a little frustrated. “Hate phones.”
Sidney smiled weakly, taking another sip of her water. A headache was starting to form behind her eyes. “I’m tired.”
“We rest until Pamela call. I hold phone. You nap.”
Sidney nodded in agreement. Geno covered the soup and walked her upstairs to his room, settling her beneath the covers. He grabbed a book from his bag and climbed in next to her, sitting against the headboard with the phone next to him.
“What are you reading?” asked Sidney sleepily.
“Is about sexual orientation in male to female transgender person. Is interesting research study,” Geno shifted as Sidney moved her head to rest on his thigh. He ran his fingers through her hair soothingly. “It about a lot more than that too. I can buy in English if you want.”
“Hmm...” Sidney hummed a little, her eyes drifting shut. “Maybe.”
Geno kept touching her softly, his rhythm never changing and it lulled her to a desperately needed nap, a brief escape from what had happened this afternoon.
Sidney woke to the sound of Geno talking on the phone, the low rumble soothing and threatening to push her back into sleep. He was talking on her phone though which meant it was probably Pamela.
“Okay at first. Shaking, laughing. Then calm for bit. Then panic attack.”
Sidney couldn’t hear Pamela, but Geno was nodding, listening intently. “Wait. Slow please. Say again.”
Pamela knew that Geno didn’t speak English natively. She had been telling Pamela about him for months at this point and she knew she said that Geno didn’t understand easily all the time. Pamela must be mad.
“No, I not try to push. I not ask her to tell. Just guide to right books to read."
Geno fell silent again, looking down at his lap. Sidney opened her eyes and looked up at him. His expression gave her the distinct impression that he was being scolded.
“She awake. Yes. I very sorry,” Geno said quietly. He pulled away from the phone, covering it with his hand. “Pamela want to talk. Okay now?”
Sidney nodded, sitting up and stretching her arms over her head. Geno didn’t look, his eyes still on his lap.
“I go out of room. She want private talk.” Geno handed her the phone and hurried out of the room, shutting the door behind him like he was trying to escape.
“What did you say to him?” asked Sidney accusingly.
“Hello Sidney,” Pamela’s voice was calm, like always. “I’m glad you’re awake.”
“Hello Pamela,” Sidney replied, annoyance creeping into her voice. “So what did you say to upset him?”
“I merely told him that he shouldn’t have pushed you into telling him until you were ready. He said he’s been reading a lot of books about gender identity disorder to try and prepare himself. One of the things he should have remembered is that it’s not about him. It’s about you.”
“I told him I was a woman,” Sidney said softly. “Pamela, he knows.”
“And you are comfortable with that?”
“Yes. I’ve told you for months how he’s been helping. I was so scared to say anything and he made it easier for me. Just like always.”
“And showing you the books didn’t upset you?”
“I was nervous at first, but I knew he wouldn’t have read them if he had a problem. I trust him. You know that.”
“I do,” Pamela said gently. “And the panic attack?”
“It kind of hit me that he knew and he was still standing there, stirring soup and talking about transitioning and moving into my house with his animals because my room is there. It was a lot, but not a bad a lot. Just. A lot.”
Pamela was quiet for a moment. “What about your sexual feelings for him?”
“I kissed him,” Sidney said, smiling at the memory. “When he told me that he read the books to find out how to help me. He did that on his own.”
“Do you think you’re okay for tonight?” asked Pamela. “I can stay late if you think you need to come in but if you’re okay I’d like to have you and Geno come in tomorrow.”
“I am okay,” Sidney said after a long pause. “We’re probably just going to eat the soup we didn’t have for lunch and watch a movie. He’s got training camp starting in a few days so he’s got to get used to being back on our time.”
“Come in tomorrow at eleven. I’ll clear my schedule and we can talk over lunch. And Sidney, if you need anything tonight, call my cell phone,” Pamela said seriously. “And tell Geno that I’m sorry I was upset with him and I’ll explain myself better tomorrow. He didn’t offer up anything about the kissing and moving in with you when we talked.”
Sidney let out a laugh at that. “I’m not surprised. He probably figured you would get mad at him even though I was the one who kissed him.”
“You just told him the biggest secret you have,” Pamela said, her voice taking on a slightly teasing tone. “How was I supposed to know you were going to kiss him in response?”
Sidney kept giggling, flopping onto the pillow. “Maybe because I’ve talked about kissing him for months.”
“Believe me, I haven’t forgotten. Go enjoy your evening and relax. Neither of you should push yourselves into talking more unless you really want to. Soup and a movie sound like a good plan.”
“Yes,” Sidney agreed. “See you tomorrow at eleven.”
Sidney sat in the bed for a minute, looking at the phone in her hands. Talking to Pamela usually helped and this time was no different. Telling Pamela how she felt helped her to settle down. It was just another thing to thank Geno for in the end. If Geno hadn’t taken her to a therapist who listened when she told him what was going on and transferred her to Pamela, things would be completely different.
She definitely wouldn’t be sitting in Geno’s bed right now while Geno waited outside. “Geno? You can come back in now.”
Geno came back in, looking sheepish. “I not listen. Just waited outside.”
Sidney held out her hand to Geno. He came back over and took it, sitting on the bed next to her and looking at her hand. “I need to paint nails.”
Sidney looked as well. The polish she had on was chipped and worn. A few nails had barely any on. “I haven’t done them in a while.”
“I not trying to hurt,” Geno said softly. “When I ask. Pamela mad I showed you books.”
“I know she was,” Sidney said, reaching up to rest her hand on the back of Geno’s neck. “I was planning on telling you. I came close a couple of times before you went back to Russia. I just couldn’t figure out how to say it. When I told Taylor, I wrote a speech. And ended up handing it to her because I couldn’t say anything.”
“What she do?”
“She read it a few times, hugged me, called me a loser and told me she loved me." Sidney laughed a little. “Then she offered to show me how to put on blush so I didn’t look like a clown. Later though, she told me she was scared and thought I was about to cry when I handed her the card with the speech. That scared her more than what was written on the card. She thought I was going to tell her I was dying. That the reason my concussion symptoms weren’t going away was because something bad was going on and she was going to lose me forever.”
Geno put an arm around her waist and Sidney pretended not to be wiping away tears. “So me telling her that I’m really a woman was amazingly easy since I apparently made my sister think I was dying.
“I didn’t want to make you think I was dying too,” Sidney said, leaning against him. “Sometimes it might feel like I’m dying, being like this, but I’m not.”
Geno’s arm tightened around her at that. “We do this together now. You, me, Taylor. Not alone anymore.”
If You Can See Me (October 2011)
Sidney smoothed her hands down the material of the dress, watching the way it fell against her frame in the mirror. It was pretty exhilarating to be all made up, wearing a beautiful dress and heels. The girl she’d hired to do her makeup and hair did a great job and all Sidney could hope was that she wouldn’t mess it up.
She reached up and adjusted the headband in her hair and took another hard look at herself in the mirror. She was obviously still a man. Her shoulders were too broad, her jaw too square, her wrists and hands too large. She would never pass but it was Halloween. If there was ever a night to go out dressed as herself, it was tonight.
And it felt wonderful. Sidney smiled at herself in the mirror, enjoying what she was seeing. She was going to enjoy her night and look amazing at the same time.
Geno came out of the bathroom, dressed as a gangster. He stopped in his tracks, staring at her with his mouth open. Sidney shifted on her feet, biting her lip.
“Is it okay?”
“Oh Sidney,” Geno said softly. “Look beautiful. Happy.”
Sidney gave a little twirl so the beaded fringe on her dress spun out, showing off her legs. “I can’t believe I’m going out like this.”
Geno stepped over to her, resting his hands on her hips. “Face look so different.”
“Kelly said she was contouring and highlighting to make my features look more feminine,” Sidney said, shrugging a little. “Taylor can do it too but I’m hopeless at it.”
“Should learn. Maybe next time Taylor visit, she teach. Is okay I kiss?” asked Geno, his fingers flexing against her hips, holding himself back until Sidney nodded. “Please.”
Geno kissed her softly, Sidney’s arms around his neck. She smiled into the kiss, feeling relaxed and settled in her skin for once. Geno ran a hand down her thigh and then up under the dress, his fingers playing along the top of her stockings, touching the straps of the garter belt. She shivered and lifted her leg, hooking it around the back of Geno’s knees.
“Okay?” asked Geno, holding his hand still. Sidney nodded, resting her head on Geno’s shoulder as he slid further up, palming her ass. “So beautiful.”
“I really like the stockings,” Sidney admitted, her fingers trailing over Geno’s neck lightly. “And the heels. They make my legs look nice.”
“Have great legs,” Geno agreed before letting her drop her leg. “Great ass too.”
Sidney laughed and stepped back, adjusting her dress. There was a pleasant hum of arousal from Geno’s touches coupled with the exhilaration of looking like herself for once. She couldn’t stop smiling.
“Come,” Geno said, grabbing the fur stole and holding it out for her. “Time to show my pretty girl night out.”
“A night out at Flower’s,” Sidney said with a laugh. “With our team.”
“Is good party. We laugh at everyone. Talbo even coming back from Philly to have fun.”
“That’s because we’re the best team he’s ever going to have,” Sidney proclaimed. “The Flyers have nothing on us.”
Vero opened the front door, dressed as a belly dancer before Geno could turn the handle. She jumped in surprise, laughing before she pushed Geno’s arm. “Help me with the cooler.”
Geno shrugged and grabbed the cooler from her. “Where it go?”
“Just outside,” Vero pointed out where to put it before turning and noticing Sidney. She looked at her with wide eyes. “Holy shit. Sid?”
“Hi Vero,” Sidney said with a little wave and a smile.
“Wow. You look amazing,” Vero said with a sigh before turning and punching Geno in the arm. “Did you mean Sid when you told Marc-Andre you were bringing your girlfriend?”
“Tonight Sidney my girlfriend,” Geno said easily.
“Oh thank god,” Vero said, motioning them inside. “Seriously, I thought Pascal and Kris were going to kill you and hide the body for hurting Sid.”
Geno put the cooler where she pointed and went back to Sidney, taking her arm. “Not scared of Duper and Tanger.”
“It’s okay,” Vero shouted as she walked back into the family room where everyone was. “Geno doesn’t need to die. Sid’s his girlfriend tonight.”
“That’s a relief,” Flower said, walking over to them. He looked Sidney up and down, whistling lowly before looking at Geno. “Flapper and mobster?”
“Sid,” Max shouted, throwing his arms around her, catching Sidney in the chin with one of his horns. “I missed you.”
Sidney patted his back, giving Geno a helpless look. “I missed you too. Go hug Geno.”
“Geno!” Max turned and grabbed him, hugging him as well. After kissing Geno sloppily on the cheek, Max took off again, grabbing Duper around the waist and telling him to play with his udders.
“Talbo already drunk?” Geno asked Flower.
“Oh yeah,” Flower said with a nod. “And he’s got great stories about the Flyers. Get a few more in him and he’ll probably tell you Giroux’s dick size.”
“I never want to know that,” Sidney said, making a face. “Ugh. That ginger moron.”
“Yes, yes. You hate Giroux,” Geno said, patting her shoulder. “I need drink.”
“Help yourself,” Flower said, gesturing. “There’s booze everywhere.”
Geno held out his hand and Sidney took it, trying not to grab too tightly. There were a lot of people and a lot of them were looking at her and whispering. She wasn’t the only one of them dressed as a woman. Jordy was dressed as a hooker which was actually his standard Halloween costume though it looked like he had bought a new wig. Which was a good thing since Cookie had thrown up in his old one last year.
Geno dug a bottle of beer out for Sidney, handing it over to her. “Now vodka.”
Sidney juggled her clutch and stole, trying to figure out how to hold everything. Geno took the stole from her easily, tucking it in his arm before heading over to the bar.
“What can I get you?” asked Kunitz.
“Nothing you make,” Geno said, looking at the array of violently colored alcohol Kunitz had in front of him. “Just vodka.”
“Why are you working the bar?” asked Sidney.
Kunitz did a double-take. “Damn Sid. You make a pretty hot woman.”
Sidney laughed at that, feeling warmth bloom in her chest. Geno was smiling as well. “Prettiest girlfriend I have.”
“Going all in tonight then,” Kunitz said, shaking his head and handing Geno a bottle of Russian vodka. “I guess the quiet ones are the kinkiest. Next thing we’re going to find out is that you and Geno are into whips and chains.”
“Why?” asked Geno, leering at him. “You want me whip you?”
“Depends. Are you going to be nice or go all crazy Russian on me?”
Geno eyed him up, pouring vodka in a glass. He took a long drink before setting it down. “For you, I be nice.”
“Hot damn, I’m in!” Kunitz laughed, leaning over to tweak Geno’s ear. “Please tell me Sid’s got some hot leather boots and a corset. That’ll make my night.”
“This Sidney all mine,” Geno smirked, putting an arm around Sidney’s waist. “You just be sad about what you don’t have.”
“Besides, you are definitely not my type,” Sidney said easily, taking a drink of her beer. “I don’t date losers.”
“You wound me,” Kunitz clutched a hand to his chest. “Begone vile woman!”
Sidney laughed as she and Geno headed over to where a bunch of the guys and wives and girlfriends were sitting on the couches and pillows Flower had on the ground. Geno sat on the ground, leaving her a spot on the couch next to Brooksie’s girlfriend Erin.
“You look gorgeous, Sid,” Erin said, scooting over a little. Sidney settled next to her, crossing her legs and settling one hand in Geno’s hair. “Who did your makeup?”
“I hired someone,” Sidney said easily. She gestured at her face. “If I tried to do this, I would look awful.”
Erin touched Sidney’s chin lightly, waiting in case Sidney pulled away before she turned her face, looking at her from different angles. “They did a great job making you look less masculine. And that’s a great color lipstick on you.”
“I love it,” Carole-Lyne said, making Duper move so she could sit next to Erin and talk to Sidney. “What color is it?”
Sidney reached for her clutch, fumbling it open, her hands shaking a little. She grabbed the lipstick and handed it over to Carole-Lyne. Geno rubbed his thumb against her ankle, a small point of contact to help her focus while he talked to a few of the guys.
“I love MAC,” Erin said, leaning back against the couch. “So how come you decided to do this instead of something easier?”
“Geno wanted to be a mobster and I didn’t. We thought it would be funny if I dressed as a woman.” Sidney shrugged, her heart beating quickly. She licked her lips nervously. “I figured I wasn’t going to go the Jordy route and look like an idiot so -” she gestured at herself. “I did this instead.”
“Did you shave your legs?” asked Carole-Lyne.
“Ugh yes,” Sidney made a face. She really hated doing that. “I had to or else the stockings looked all weird.”
“Wait until it starts to grow in.” Erin laughed along with Carole-Lyne.
Sidney just grinned and took a drink of her beer, pressing her hand against Geno’s neck lightly. Girl talk was always fun.
“So much booze,” Max said leaning against the railing on Flower’s deck. Geno patted his back soothingly before handing Max a bottle of water. He wasn’t quite sure how he ended up on Max duty, but Vero had handed him a bottle of water and pushed him outside, threatening him if Max ruined her roses.
The last Geno saw of Sidney was in the rec room, singing karaoke and dancing with some of the wives and girlfriends. None of the guys really raised an eye at Sidney hanging out with them all night. Sidney always liked to spend time with them during parties. Geno obviously knew why now, but no one else did and they still didn’t care.
“You lose ability to drink now you in Flyer land?” asked Geno.
“Hell no. Kunitz is mixing up some vile drinks. Have you ever drank with Bryz?” asked Max, sitting down on the deck, his back against the railing. Geno sat down next to him, reaching for his glass of vodka.
“A few times. Bryz not right even for Russian,” Geno agreed. “Put Ovi to shame.”
“He’s fucking crazy,” Max said, looking over at Geno. “So you and Sid?”
“Me and Sidney,” Geno confirmed, looking back at him. He missed Max being around. It was nice to have a few minutes alone with him even if it did involve vomit.
“No one else is going to say this or maybe they don't see it because they're here,” Max said after a moment. “But he’s changed a lot. He seems more comfortable in his skin, like he can really relax when he’s off the ice.”
“I hope I help. Love Sidney.”
Geno’s eyes widened briefly when he realized what he said and he took a long gulp of his vodka. Sidney obviously knew but Geno hadn’t said anything about being in love with Sidney to anyone else but Seryozha.
Max kept looking at him thoughtfully. “Yeah, I kind of thought it was something like that. You and Sid have always been hung up on each other.”
“Hate you,” Geno mumbled into his glass. “Say nothing.”
“Never,” Max promised, holding up a fist to Geno. “Fistbump, man.”
Geno rolled his eyes and bumped Max’s fist. “Such a douche.”
“So the sex has to be good, right? I mean, Sid’s got all this repressed passion and shit,” Max leaned against Geno’s shoulder heavily. “Please tell me your sex life is fucking amazing.”
Geno pressed his lips together. They didn’t have a sex life and Geno knew that was going to be the case going into this but he was not going to share that with anyone. “Not something I talk about. Is perfect for us. That what matters.”
“Good,” Max said, his eyes closing. “You’re a good guy, Geno. Thanks for taking care of Sid.”
“Don’t know why I stuck taking care of you,” Geno groused good-naturedly. “Inside if you going to pass out.”
“Pfft. Not going to pass out,” Max said, but let Geno haul him to his feet. “I’m crashing here.”
Geno slung an arm around Max’s waist, guiding him back inside. He found Flower pretty quickly, playing cards with Cookie and Adams. “Where Max sleeping?”
Flower made a face. “He done puking in Vero’s roses?”
“Yeah. Time to pass out.” Geno shook his head. “Drank Kuni’s drinks. Bad plan.”
“Third guest room on the right,” Flower said, pointing upstairs. “Hopefully Jordy and Heather are done.”
Geno groaned. “Not again.”
“Every party,” Flower said, discarding two cards. “Put a trashcan by his head.”
“I know,” Geno said, dragging Max towards the stairs.
“I really hope Jordy and Heather didn’t fuck on my clothes,” Max said fervently, finally helping Geno out a little when they started up the steps. “I hate when that happens.”
“We all hate that,” Geno agreed before pushing open the door to the room Max was staying in. While it smelled a bit like sex, Jordy and Heather were not there anymore. Geno was fine with that. He had seen entirely too much of Jordy and Heather screwing over the last few years. “I open windows.”
Max flopped on the bed as Geno opened the window. “I not going to undress you.”
Max gave him the finger before he started to pull off the hat and horns from his cow costume. “I can sleep in this. I’m only wearing boxers underneath.”
“My work done. Don’t die. Here trashcan.”
“Your love for me is endless!” Max shouted after him as Geno shut the door, leaving him to it.
Sidney was standing there, a smile on her flushed face. She had lost the headband and heels at some point and her makeup was a little worse for the wear.
“Hey,” Sidney said, scuffing her stockinged foot against the carpet. “I heard you were on Max duty.”
“Is done,” Geno waved his hand, moving closer to her. He brushed back a few of her curls. “Look beautiful all messed and sweaty.”
Sidney laughed turning her face away. “You must really like me when I get off the ice then.”
“I do,” Geno agreed. “Always want to kiss. Want to kiss now.”
“You can,” Sidney said before she leaned up to kiss him, making the first move. Geno slid a hand to her neck, the other on the small of her back. She moaned into the kiss, pressing Geno back against the wall. He let her, tasting the wax of her lipstick and the beer she had been drinking.
Geno groaned as Sidney nipped at his lip, one of her hands cupping him through his pants. He tossed his head back. “Good.”
“You’re so good to me,” Sidney murmured, pressing a kiss to his neck. “Never pushing me, never asking for anything I can’t give. I want this.”
Geno was starting to see stars behind his eyes, Sidney’s hand pressing against him so perfectly, working his zipper down. He needed to stop her though. She had been drinking and he knew from his sessions with Pamela that he had to be careful about letting Sidney push too far. Sidney had told him not to let her go too far without stepping back and talking about it first. He knew what sex was like for her after a long discussion between himself, Sidney, and Pamela. He wasn’t going to do that to her no matter how good her hand felt on his dick.
Then Sidney froze against him, her whole body tensing.
Geno reached down and gently gripped her wrist, moving Sidney’s hand away. “Want but not here.”
Sidney stepped back, licking her lips and looking turned on and horrified at the same time. Geno’s eyes swept down her body briefly and he realized why. She was hard. Her dress wasn’t able to hide that.
“Come,” Geno said immediately, taking her hand. He pushed open one of the other doors. No one was inside so he turned on the light and shut the door. “Bathroom.”
Sidney was white, shaking, but she let Geno lead her into the en-suite bathroom. He sat her on the toilet, stepping back to sit on the edge of the bathtub. He sent a silent thanks to Flower’s ridiculous need to have guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
“Breathe slow,” Geno instructed her, not touching any longer. “It go away. Think gross things.”
Sidney made a face, leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees. Geno watched her, his erection gone at this point. It had waned almost as soon as he realized what was happening and seen Sidney’s distress at her own erection.
“I forgot,” Sidney said after a few minutes, her voice broken. “I felt so normal and I just … forgot.”
“Forgot what?” asked Geno, stretching his legs out to touch her ankle lightly.
Sidney gave him a sad smile. “That I’m not really a woman."
Live It, Love It Part One (November 2011)
Geno was sitting on the couch in Sidney’s den, his legs on the coffee table as he watched The Food Network. They had a game in the evening, but right now he just needed to decompress a bit before he went to take a nap. Sidney wasn’t playing yet. She was almost cleared to get back on the ice and she had been practicing with the team for a few weeks now. She just needed to pass the concussion test and then she could play again.
“Hey,” Sidney said, interrupting the show and Geno’s thoughts. She swung a leg over Geno’s lap and sat down, her knees straddling his hips. “I want to talk to you about something.”
“Kiss first.” Geno moved his hands to her hips, tilting his head up for a kiss. She leaned down, kissing him lightly before nipping at his lower lip and pulling back. “Okay. Can talk now.”
“I want to talk about what happened at Flower’s party,” Sidney said calmly. “Not the freaking out part because you know why that happened. The rest of it.”
Geno furrowed his brow. “You touching me?”
“Yes that. I want to do that. I know I was drunk when I said it, but I do want to have sex with you.” Sidney ran a hand through Geno’s hair, playing with the curls at the back of his neck. “It’s just going to take a little work.”
“Is no rush,” Geno said honestly. “I like what we do now.”
“So do I. I like it a lot,” Sidney said before leaning down to kiss Geno again. Geno slid his fingers under the back of her shirt, stroking the skin there lightly. She shivered and kissed him harder. Finally she pulled back, laughing softly. “We’re talking right now.”
“You kiss me,” Geno said, laughing as well. “I just go with it.”
“We do need to talk about it first,” Sidney said, her voice taking on a serious tone. “Because there are things I know that I don’t like. I have enough experience with sex to know what isn’t going to work for me.”
“But not enough to know what does,” Geno said gently. She nodded at that. “We find what you like then.”
“You’ll stop if I say so?”
“Always,” Geno promised. He pulled Sidney down into another kiss, softer this time. She smiled against his lips, settling further onto his lap and feeling the swell of his cock against her leg. “Love you.”
Sidney hummed happily. “Love you too.” She turned to look at the clock. “You need to take a nap.”
Geno rested his head on the back of the couch, his eyes closed. “Going to need to visit bathroom first.”
Sidney laughed and moved off of his lap. She kissed him again, a bit messy this time, resting her hand on his side. “You could um, do it here. I can kiss you while you do it.”
“Fuck,” Geno groaned at that, squeezing himself through his shorts a little roughly. “Can’t say things like that.”
“Why not?” asked Sidney, pressing a kiss to his jaw. “I’m serious.”
“I know,” Geno said to her. “Want you so much. Just don’t want you upset if you get hard.”
“It’s going to happen. I expect it to happen. It startled me at Flower’s party. If I’m prepared it doesn’t freak me out much.” Sidney flushed a little. “I do jerk off. Not often, but I have to every once in awhile or else um. you know.” She waved her hand a little. “I get off at night while I’m sleeping. And I hate washing sheets.”
“You sure?” asked Geno cautiously.
“Yes,” Sidney laughed, pushing at him gently. “Take off your shirt.”
“I thought just kiss,” Geno said, even as he stripped off his shirt, tossing it aside. “Not complaining.”
“I like looking at you,” Sidney said softly. She ran a hand over Geno’s collarbone and down his sternum to rest on his stomach. “I think about you a lot. Daydream about you kissing me.”
Geno pushed his shorts down enough to free his cock. “Trying to talk dirty?”
Sidney wrinkled her nose. “I’m pretty sure I’m awful at it.”
“You think about me,” Geno said happily, moving his hand slowly for now. Sidney watched, her head on his shoulder and her hand still on his stomach. “Just kiss?”
“No,” Sidney admitted, turning her head to kiss his neck. “Other things that you can’t do right now. Take off your shorts.”
Geno moved his hand long enough to fumble his shorts down and kick them off. Okay, he felt a little ridiculous naked except for his socks while Sidney was fully dressed and an Iron Chef rerun was playing, but he was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Sidney moved to straddle his legs again, careful to stay kneeling this time. She leaned forward and kissed him messily. Geno responded, kissing her back as he started to jerk off again. He slid a hand up the back of her shirt, resting on warm skin.
It didn’t take long for Geno to come, breathing against Sidney’s mouth and clutching her close. She pressed calming kisses against his temple as he moaned lowly, his eyes fluttering open to see her smiling.
“Good?” asked Sidney, leaning over to grab Geno’s shirt. She carefully wiped his hand and stomach off, before gently cleaning his cock. Geno just watched, feeling wiped out and happy. He leaned forward to press an open-mouthed kiss against her jaw.
Sidney pulled back and slid off his lap, sitting next to him on the couch. Geno touched her arm lightly, careful of the space she had put between them. “You okay?”
Sidney nodded even though her smile had faded and she was obviously uncomfortably hard in her sweats. Geno noticed, but didn’t offer anything. That hadn’t been on the table and he wasn’t going to push it.
“Your orgasm face is kind of ridiculous,” Sidney said after a moment.
“Is orgasm. Not worried about my face,” Geno countered, grinning at her.
“It was hot. Ridiculous, but hot.” Sidney shook her head before leaning in to kiss him again, all lips and no tongue. He touched the back of her neck lightly, resting his thumb against the join of her shoulder. She was tense, but not more than usual. That was a good sign.
“You need to nap now,” Sidney said, getting to her feet in one fluid motion. “I’m going to tell Pamela about this.”
Geno nodded, getting up as well even though his legs were still kind of weak. He grabbed his shorts and T-shirt. “Me too.”
Sidney laughed at that, stretching her arms above her head to stretch her back. “Pamela is going to laugh having to hear about me kissing you while you jerk off twice. And then she’s going to make us both talk about how it made us feel.”
Geno snorted. “Felt great for me.”
Sidney touched the side of his face lightly. “For me too. So go nap with a clear conscience. Getting you off was fun and I plan on doing it again soon. Maybe I’ll touch you next time.”
Sidney smirked at him, licking her lips before heading out of the room. Geno sighed and looked down at his cock which was valiantly trying to respond to her teasing. He pointed at himself, scowling.
“You shut up.”
Picture of a Girl (December 2011)
“I swear,” Taylor said with a sigh, looking at the shelves in Sidney’s room. “You have more nail polish then anyone I know. And you don’t even get to wear it out of the house.
Sidney flushed at that. “I wear them on my toes.”
Taylor looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “How did you get the guys to go along with their presumably male captain always having his toe nails painted?”
“I told them a girlfriend at Shattuck painted them for me once as a joke and I won a game with it on. So they think it’s one of my things. Not you know -” Sidney made a face and an aborted gesture at herself. “That I’m a woman.”
Taylor reached over and squeezed Sidney’s wrist briefly, wishing her sister didn’t have to pretend. “So are we going full makeup today or just casual?”
“Full,” Sidney said immediately, then flushed again. “If you don’t mind.”
“Have I ever minded?” Taylor smiled at her. “Go shave really well. I’ll get everything ready in here.”
“Oh, and Sidney,” Taylor said as she made her way to Sidney’s vanity. “One of these days you’re really going to have to learn how to apply makeup yourself.”
“Might as well teach me,” Geno said from the doorway. “She hopeless at makeup.”
Sidney groaned and pushed Geno lightly. “I can put on mascara and lipstick just fine and that’s usually what I wear around the house anyway.”
“Yes but you want to wear more,” Geno said, brushing a thumb over the curve of Sidney’s jaw. He kissed her lightly. “I can help. Taylor teach me.”
“Then let her go shave,” Taylor said easily. She gave Geno a tight smile. Sidney swore that Geno was really happy, had no problem with the fact that Sidney was not really a man. She didn’t ask about sex because ew. Sidney was still her sister who had a dick. But Taylor worried. A lot. “I’ll show Geno around the room.”
Sidney brushed past Geno, leaving Taylor in the room alone with him. She bit her lip, looking at Geno for a long moment. He just smiled back at her.
“Okay so obviously Sidney is kind of crazy about how things are in here which you probably already know.”
Taylor gestured at the room that housed all of Sidney’s girl stuff. It was basically another bedroom without a bed. Instead there was makeup, a vanity, nail polish, and a closet full of clothes and shoes Sidney never wore but wished she did. Taylor had been the one who made her put in a couch so she could relax in here if she wanted. Sidney’s therapist had approved.
“This is her safe space. So if you want to argue or do anything, don’t do it here.”
“Know that. Pamela tell me about safe spaces and how to treat Sidney as woman.”
Taylor felt a hot rush of anger. “She is a woman.”
“Taylor,” Geno said calmly, moving closer. “I know. I here every day. I not going to forget who Sidney really is because of how she looks.”
“You haven’t told anyone, right?” Taylor asked, moving towards the vanity again and getting out brushes.
“You think I would do that to her?” Geno sounded hurt and Taylor turned to look at him.
“That’s just it. I don’t know,” Taylor said, her voice quiet and sad. “I don’t know you well enough to believe you won’t hurt her. Sidney’s different. She’s special.”
“She always been special,” Geno shot back. “Even back when I thought she was a man. I know he was different, not like the rest of us. I not care. He was my best friend then. Still is as a she. Sidney beautiful to me and someday outside will match inside and Sidney will be happy for real. And I still be here. Still love her.”
Taylor saw Sidney’s standing in the doorway. She met her eyes and saw that Sidney believed what Geno was saying. Taylor shifted her gaze back to Geno.
“Okay. Then let’s get started. Someone in this house should know how to put on makeup.” Taylor smiled at Sidney as she walked into the room. “Think he can learn how to do a manicure?”
Geno waved a hand. “Nails easy. I paint Sanja’s nails many times.”
“He’s done mine too,” Sidney said softly, scuffing her foot against the rug. “He’s not just pretending, Tay. At least not about me being a woman. Out there, we both pretend I’m a man and having him pretend with me makes it easier.”
Taylor wrapped her arms around Sidney, glad when she hugged back tightly. “Okay Sidney. I believe you."
Dancing With the Big Boys (3/18/2012)
At first Sidney didn’t notice the poster. She was too busy with warming up, skating around the Wells Fargo Center and getting used to the ice. It had been a long time since she’d skated on this ice - on any ice besides Consol - so she had been spending most of the warm up time getting used to the ice at each arena again.
It was one of the Flyers rookies, laughing and pointing that made Sidney notice the poster. It was the tall, gangly kid that pissed off Geno - Couturier - and he turned to look at Sidney briefly before laughing with another one of them. A Schenn. She couldn’t remember which one played for the Flyers. So she looked at the poster.
‘Welcome Back To Philly Cindy’ complete with pink blush and red lipstick on the picture. She thought there was blue eyeshadow but whoever drew it on, put it on her eyebrows. It wasn’t really anything new to be honest. Sidney had been called Cindy for years. There was a list of names she wrote down at some point, but she wasn’t sure where she left it. Cindy wasn’t even that original
The makeup hurt though. In a weird, twisting kind of way. Obviously it wasn’t anything anyone out there knew about, how it made her feel better when she could hide some of her masculinity behind makeup. She rubbed her glove against her face before pushing away from the boards and skating again
Geno caught up with her, matching her stride for stride. “Stupid poster.”
“It’s nothing new,” Sidney said as they both slowed to a stop near one of the goals. “Those aren’t even good colors for me.”
Geno cracked a smile which she matched even if hers was a little shaky. “Blue eyeshadow always bad.
Sidney laughed, pushing at Geno lightly. She felt better though, nodding her thanks to Geno before skating away again.
In fact, once the game started, she was pretty much able to push it out of her mind. It’s not like the fan kept the poster up since it blocked the view of the game. And it was an ugly game. There was a lot of fighting and chirping between both teams. Three games back, she wasn’t stupid enough to get involved in the fight even if she wanted to punch Hartnell in his face.
They held the lead going into the third on a goal by Adams in the first and a beauty by Geno in the second. And the Flyers held her back, not letting her do much of anything. It was frustrating as hell, especially when Timmonen scored on the power play at the beginning of the third and Hartnell tied it not long after.
Sidney skated up to take the face off against the Giroux, who smiled at her, his stupid gap tooth showing. So far she was 6-5 on face offs against him, but that didn’t keep him from chirping her constantly
“So Cindy,” Giroux said as he leaned down. “How’s it feel to be playing second fiddle to Malkin? You’re not the queen anymore.”
Sidney gritted her teeth, her eyes on the ref’s hand and the puck. “How’s it feel to be Briere’s boy toy? Sucked any cock lately?”
The ref dropped the puck and Giroux lunged for it, sweeping it away and back to Read. Sidney growled and took after him, slamming Giroux into the boards hard. She took off after the puck a moment later, stealing it away and heading down the ice before passing it off to Jordy who took the shot and missed. Fucking Bryz.
She skated off the ice and sat down on the bench, breathing heavily. Jordy slapped her back firmly. “Good steal, Sid.”
Sidney nodded and took a drink of water, watching Geno and his line on the ice. Giroux was still on the ice and he blew her a kiss as he skated past.
Tanger whistled lowly. “He’s just trying to piss you off isn’t he?”
“The hate is mutual,” Sidney muttered. “We got to buckle down and win this shit.”
They didn’t win. Fucking Hartnell scored with 0.9 seconds left on the clock before they would have gone to a shootout. Sidney could taste that shootout. Everyone in the league knew that Bryz was shit at shootouts. She slammed her stick against the box before heading back to the locker rooms.
Everyone was quiet, absorbing the loss and the snap of their eleven game winning streak. It was only a day shy of a month since the last time they lost. And of course it was to the fucking Flyers
Sidney gave a post-game speech almost by rote, her voice quiet in the already quiet room. Afterwards she talked to the press and scowled and tried not to curse Claude Giroux’s parentage and his stupid ginger curls.
“We saw the Cindy poster,” one of the press guys said, shoving the microphone in her face. “Typical Philly welcome.”
“Is that a question?” asked Sidney, glaring at him. “It sure didn’t sound like one.”
“This is the first time you’ve played here since December 2010. How did it feel to be back on the ice in front of the Philadelphia fans?”
“Look, every game between our teams is going to be tough. They hear it at Consol, we hear it when we play here. It’s nothing new.” Sidney said, standing up. “And about the poster, I’d like to think I’m smart enough not to wear blue eyeshadow. My sister would kill me.
Sidney smiled at them tightly and walked away, grabbing a towel. She finished stripping off her Underarmor in the shower before stepping under the water. She showered quickly, getting the sweat off of her enough so that she didn’t stink up her suit. She would shower for real back in the hotel where no one would see.
Putting on the suit was easy. Piece by piece she used it as armor to block herself from the rest of the world. As soon as her tie was done and her gear was stowed in her bag, she went over to sit next to Geno who was slipping on his shoes.
“Come to my room tonight?” asked Sidney softly, trying not to sound needy. Geno liked space after losses, especially bad ones, and this was going to hurt for awhile.
Geno sighed and looked at her. “Not in same bed.”
Sidney nodded because that was fine. She wasn’t really up for him being too close. She just didn’t want to be alone. He grabbed his bag and she grabbed hers, heading out of the locker room. They walked down the hall in silence, both of them lost in their own thoughts of the game.
“Sidney,” a voice called out and Sidney turned to look. Danny Briere was hurrying down the hallway, knotting his tie at the same time. “Wait a moment. Please.
Sidney sighed heavily, stopping to wait for him. Geno stopped as well, his expression stormy. Danny smiled at them quickly, before holding out a hand to Sidney.
“Good game,” he said and she took his hand, shaking it briefly. “Look, I want to apologize for Claude. He’s a little shit at the best of times and he likes to work you up.”
Sidney stared at him. “You’re apologizing for Giroux?”
“He says things that are out of line, even out on the ice. And that kiss was uncalled for,” Danny said firmly. “I’m glad you’re back. Having you on the ice is good for hockey, even if I don’t like playing you.”
Geno snorted. “Nice apology.”
“Max says you’re a good guy and you’ve had it rough the last year,” Danny said, glaring at Geno which was kind of funny since Geno had a good five inches at least on Danny. “And the four of us might have more in common than Claude knows. Not that I’m going to tell him.”
Sidney looked at Geno briefly before looking back at Danny. “So he really does suck your cock?”
Danny made a face at that. “Is that what you chirp at him?”
“Sometimes,” Sidney shrugged. “I thought you had better taste.
Danny sighed, exasperated. “You can’t make anything easy, can you?”
Geno laughed at that, grinning. “Nope.”
Sidney shoved him for that, shaking her head. “Thanks for the apology. Good luck with Giroux. I still think you should have better taste than him.”
“He makes me laugh,” Danny said with a shrug of his own. “Haven’t you ever been stupid in love before?”
Sidney swallowed thickly and looked at Geno, giving Danny all the answer he needed. She nodded because yeah, she knew what that was like. Geno pressed a hand to the small of her back. “We go now. Bus leave for hotel.
“See you in a few weeks,” Danny said before heading in the other direction again.
“That was weird,” Sidney said after a moment. “Did he just come out to us?”
“Think so. Max tell him we together,” Geno sighed as they stepped outside. “I talk to Max later.”
“I doubt Briere is going to say anything. Just tell Max to not tell anyone else,” Sidney looked at him. “I’m stupid in love with you.”
Geno smiled and nodded. “Me too. Never let you go now I have you.”
“Good,” Sidney bumped him with her hip. “Let’s go. I need to shower for real and get into something comfortable.”
“Sweats and t-shirt?” Geno asked hopefully. “Not red thing?”
“I thought you liked those pajamas?” Sidney frowned a little. He always seemed to like when she wore the red silk shorts with the camisole top.
“Like too much,” Geno said firmly. “Not at home so can’t do anything about it.”
“Wow, the rest of us so don’t want to hear this conversation,” Flower said as he bumped past them, elbowing Geno in the side. “Get on the bus, losers.”
Sidney flushed, not realizing that the other guys were all around them. “Sorry.”
“Whatever,” Duper said with a wave. “We’re all glad you’re getting laid, but we really don’t want to know about it.”
“I kind of want to know about Sid’s sexy pajamas,” Kuni chirped, grinning.
Sidney slunk in her seat, her cheeks burning in embarrassment. Geno laughed and reached over to smack Kuni on the ass. “You not get to see. I tell you at Halloween, I tell you again now. Be sad about what you can’t have.”
Flower sat next to her and knocked his shoulder with hers. “We’re just teasing.”
“I know,” Sidney said quietly. “Still not used to being teased about my sex life.”
“We’re all glad you finally have one. Even if it is with Geno.”
“Settle down everyone,” Bylsma called from the front. “Don’t make me come back there.
“Sorry Dad!” Jordy called out as everyone else laughed. “I swear it was Marc’s fault!”
Sidney was just glad the attention was off her. She could kiss Jordy for that - except no. It was Jordy. Flower knocked her in the shoulder again and grinned at her. She smiled back, leaning against him briefly.
“I’m glad you’re happy, Sid,” Flower said quietly. “Really glad.”
Sidney looked at Flower, smiling at him in return. “Thanks. Me too.”
Million Days in May (May 2012)
Sidney knew that Mario was watching her from the couch as she paced around the living room. Geno was there as well, talking quietly to Mario. The possible lockout was going to be hard, too hard on her with Geno gone. He was leaving for Worlds in the morning and then back to Magnitogorsk.
Rationally Sidney knew that she needed to tell someone else. She had talked to Pamela about telling Mario for months now. Taylor and Geno both supported her decision and she knew that Mario would still be her friend. She needed someone to keep her from going crazy inside her head and Mario had always been good at that.
“Are you sure you don’t want something to drink?” Sidney blurted out. She gestured at the kitchen. “I can get you something.
“Sidney,” Mario said patiently. “Come sit down and talk to me.”
Geno held out a hand to Sidney and she took it, gripping it tightly, too tightly as she sat down on the couch. Her leg bounced and she couldn’t help herself. She started to laugh
“This is so ridiculous,” Sidney said between gasps of laughter.
Geno frowned a little and Mario just looked confused. “Sid, what’s going on?”
“Call her Sidney,” Geno said quietly, emphasising the different pronoun. Sidney abruptly stopped laughing, her eyes wide. “She no like being called Sid.”
“Oh,” Mario sat back heavily. He stared at Sidney for a long time before he said anything else. “You and Geno are dating. I thought you were gay.”
“Not really.” Sidney gestured at herself. “This isn’t me.”
“Outside not match inside,” Geno said helpfully, hoping that helped Mario understand
Mario looked shell-shocked and Sidney was starting to feel sick. "Please say something.
"I don't know what to say.” Mario said honestly. “This isn't something I ever thought about. With anyone."
“I have books. And pamphlet,” Geno said getting up from the couch to grab the bag he had prepared. “I read a lot when I start to think about Sidney being this way. She not tell me until later, but I prepared.”
Mario took the bag, pulling out the pamphlet from PFLAG first. “And you’re telling me because Geno’s leaving tomorrow?”
“Yes,” Sidney said quietly, curling her shoulders in to try and hide. “Taylor knows as well, but we thought it would be best if someone here knew. In case I need someone.”
“I will always help you but right now I don’t understand,” Mario said seriously. “I need to digest this. Do some reading.
Sidney abruptly got up and headed out of the room, Jeffrey climbing to his feet and following her. Geno and Mario heard the back door open and shut.
“Please take care of her?” Geno asked softly. “I can’t be here. If she alone too long, she get caught in her head. Thinks she is bad, wrong. She not.
Mario looked at the pamphlet in his hand. “How did you know?”
Geno sighed. “Lot of little things when she was out with concussion. Head messed up, couldn’t control emotions. Started let things slip she normally keep locked up. And,” Geno gave Mario a serious look. “I love her. I know something different so I read, do research. Thought asexual for long time but realized transgender instead. She still have sexual attraction to people.”
Mario shifted uncomfortably. “I really don’t want to know about your sex life.
“Not going to tell you. Three people know - me, Sidney, and our therapist. That all who need to know.”
“He always said he was weird,” Mario looked towards the back door. “What do I call him?”
Geno reached over and squeezed Mario’s shoulder. “Sidney. Is woman’s name too. She like her name so no need to change.”
Mario nodded and set the pamphlet back down. “Should I go talk to him?”
“If you want. She out back with Jeffrey being scared. We talk about what happen and thought it might end up being me telling. Only time my words easier.
Mario stood up and Geno did as well, facing Mario. “Thank you for helping him.”
“Mario, she my girlfriend. Only ever been my girlfriend, never boyfriend. Love her too much to not accept.”
“This is very uncomfortable for me,” said Mario honestly, looking back to the back door again. “I should go talk to Sidney but I don’t know what to say.”
Geno patted Mario’s shoulder. “Just be honest. Tell her you uncomfortable. Don’t understand. If you go without talk, she understand. Make her sad, hurt a little, but she understand."
Mario gave Geno a look before turning and heading to the back door. Sidney was leaning on the porch railing, watching as Jeffrey sniffed the bushes along the fence.
Sidney turned to look at Mario, her expression guarded. She didn’t want him to know how upset she was. She could still mask it around people other than Geno. What she didn’t expect was Mario to step forward and hug her tightly, cupping a hand to the back of her head.
“Oh,” Sidney exhaled and leaned into the hug, wrapping her arms tightly around him in return. Mario didn’t hug often, not outside of his family or hockey games, so she took it for what it was - acceptance.
“I will always be here,” Mario said quietly. “There’s nothing you can do that will stop you from being a part of our family but you need to know I am extremely uncomfortable right now and really don’t understand this at all.”
Mario stepped back but still held onto Sidney’s biceps. “Okay?”
Sidney nodded quickly. “We can talk about this if you want. I’ll answer questions. And I’m still playing hockey. That’s not going to change. I’m not changing.”
“I don’t care about hockey right now. I care that you’re okay. Let me read the books Geno gave me and figure out what I need to ask. Am I allowed to talk to Nathalie?”
Sidney bit her lip but nodded. “No one else though. I don’t want this to be common knowledge.”
“I’m glad Geno’s here for you,” Mario said, noticing how Geno wasn’t quite hovering in the kitchen, but still keeping an eye on them. “I should get going. I need to think.”
“Thank you for not freaking out,” Sidney said softly. “I know this is new for you, but this is how I’ve been my whole life. I promise.”
“Oh Sid,” Mario said, touching her face gently if hesitantly. “Thank you for trusting me.”
“Always have,” Sidney said before stepping away. “I’ll see you soon.”
Sidney leaned back against the porch railing to watch Jeffrey. She didn’t jump when she felt a warm hand on the small of her back.
“Didn’t go so bad.”
“No,” Sidney looked over at him. “He said that I’ll always be a part of his family and he’s going to read the stuff you gave him. We’ll talk about it later.”
“Then why look so sad?” asked Geno, tilting Sidney’s chin up to press a kiss to her forehead. “Wrinkles here.
“I’m going to spend my whole life explaining who I am now,” Sidney murmured, leaning into him. “Especially if I start to transition.
“When you start. We agree on when, not if.”
Sidney pressed her lips to Geno’s shoulder gently. “I’m back to if for now.”
“Okay,” Geno agreed easily. He rubbed Sidney’s back, slipping his hands beneath her shirt. “Love you no matter what you choose.”
Sidney leaned up and kissed him, pressing fully against Geno’s body as he pulled her closer. She let herself get lost in the feel of Geno’s mouth against hers, the kiss turning deep and messy just how they both liked it as she ran her fingers through his hair.
Geno pulled back, breathing heavily. He pressed a thumb to her lower lip. “So beautiful.”
Sidney wrinkled her nose at that and mock-bit his thumb in response. She liked it when he called her beautiful but it was still odd to hear and know that he meant it. Sometimes she thought Geno could see everything, could see past the outside Sidney and see the real her.
“We could go upstairs?” Geno suggested carefully since she was being playful.
Sex was still tough even with Geno. He never pushed, only went as far as she wanted him to and never, ever touched her dick. He would touch everywhere else, make her shiver with pleasure as much as she could, and it would be good in the end. But it still took a lot of mental work to keep herself in the moment and sometimes, most of the time, she didn’t want to.
And he was okay with that.
“Not yet,” Sidney replied, turning in his arms to lean on the railing again. She pulled him close, relished the feeling of Geno warm along her back. “Jeffrey isn’t finished.”
Geno chuckled warmly in her ear. “Jeffrey never finished unless it dinner time.”
“Maybe I’m enjoying the sun,” Sidney said, tipping her head back to look at him. “Enjoy the sun with me, Zhenya.”
Geno kissed the tip of Sidney’s nose, settling closer with his elbows on the railing. “Sun is nice today.”
I See Who You Are (June 2012)
Sidney stepped onto the ice, taking a deep breath of the chilled air. She loved the smell of a hockey rink. She began to skate slowly around the edges of the rink, just getting herself moving. She sped up, grinning happily as the air whipped against her face. She slowed down, grabbing the stick and puck she’d left on the wall.
Nothing was set up on the ice to really do any puck handling drills. Once a few of the others guys who had stuck around Pittsburgh during the summer showed up, she would set a few things up. Right now though, it was just her and the ice.
When she finally slowed down, she set her stick back on the wall and grabbed the bottle of water there.
“You should be wearing a helmet,” said Mario from one of the seats. “Even when no one is around.”
Sidney turned to look at him. She hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. While he hadn’t put any distance between them since she had told him the truth, he wasn’t overly enthusiastic when he saw her. It could also be the larger role she was taking with the players association, but she didn't think so.
“Yeah I probably should,” Sidney shrugged and leaned against the wall, looking at him. “Everything okay?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” asked Mario
“I am still able to take care of myself. Geno worries too much.”
“He worries because he loves you.”
Sidney sighed and pushed away from the wall, skating in lazy circles. “I know.”
“I read the books Geno gave me,” Mario got up and walked down to the rink and onto the ice. “I’d like to talk to you at some point about it.
Sidney lifted her head, pursing her lips together. “Okay. When?”
“Tonight? Come over for dinner. Nathalie misses you,” Mario said. He hesitated. “She’d like to talk to you too.
“She’s not - she doesn’t hate me, right?” asked Sidney softly. Honestly she was a little scared knowing that Nathalie knew and she hadn’t told her. She didn’t know how Nathalie would react anymore then she had Mario. And Nathalie was almost a mom to her
“Never,” Mario said firmly. He grasped Sidney’s shoulder. “She loves you and so do I.”
“Should I bring anything to dinner?” asked Sidney, reaching up to touch Mario’s hand with her glove.
“Do you have any of Geno’s pelmeni left?”
Sidney laughed. “I never should have let him bring those over. I might be able to spare a few. He made a lot over the winter.”
“7 o’clock, Sidney,” Mario said as he walked back off the ice. “I think I hear Flower.”
Mario was right and Flower clattered onto the ice a few moments later, wearing his goalie gear and dragging a bag of orange cones. Sidney waved at Mario as he headed back to his office, leaving them alone.
“I thought you were going to set this shit up,” Flower said, sliding the bag over to Sidney. “Get moving, Captain!”
Sidney flipped him off before leaning over to grab the cones. “Just for that, I’m going to spend the whole time scoring on you.”
“You wish,” Flower said before he went over to the goal crease and began to set up the goal.
Sidney watched him for a moment before she began to set up the cones. Practice was important. They all needed to be in shape for the season, lockout or not. Right now though, she wanted to go home and call Pamela and somehow prepare to talk to Mario about being trans without Geno around to help.
Stephanie answered the door, grinning at Sidney before grabbing her in a hug. “Hey loser. When is your sister coming to visit?”
Sidney rolled her eyes, hugging her back. “You never care about me anymore. It’s always Taylor, Taylor, Taylor.”
“I missed you too,” Stephanie said, punching her in the arm. “C’mon. Everyone is waiting for you.”
Sidney swallowed thickly, feeling like she was somehow going to her death even though it was just dinner at the Lemieux’s. She did this every Sunday during most of the season. Except now both Mario and Nathalie knew that she was a woman.
“Sidney,” Nathalie said happily, taking the dish of pelmeni from her and hugging her tightly. “It’s so good to see you, darling.”
“Mom, you’re embarrassing him,” Austin said, pulling up the aluminum foil. “Is this the stuff Geno makes?”
“It is,” Sidney said, hugging Nathalie back happily. She rubbed a hand between Sidney’s shoulder blades soothingly and Sidney relaxed.
“You look good,” Nathalie cupped her chin lightly, staring into Sidney’s eyes before nodding and letting go. “We were worried how you were going to be with Geno leaving so quickly to go to Worlds.”
Sidney made a face. “I can live without him.”
“Yeah, but you’re nicer when he’s around,” Austin chirped up. Nathalie smacked him upside the head and pointed to the living room. “Ow! I’m going, I’m going.”
Nathalie shook her head fondly. “They get more and more mouthy all the time.”
“They are teenagers,” Sidney took the aluminum foil off the dish. “I cooked them already so they really just need to be warmed up.”
“Are you really doing okay?” asked Nathalie gently.
Sidney nodded. “I am for now. I promise I will say something if I need help.”
Nathalie squeezed her arm. “We’ll talk about it tonight and figure out what you need from us. Mario and I are here to support you.”
Sidney flushed at that, ducking her head as she smiled. “Thank you.”
“Now go set the table,” Nathalie said firmly, taking the dish of pelmeni and putting it in the oven. “Dinner is almost ready.”
Sidney grabbed the silverware and went into the dining room. Setting the table had always been her job since she moved in and the routine of it settled her even more than Nathalie’s words of support. She still had no idea what Mario was going to want to talk about. She really hoped that neither of them asked about sex.
“Geno killed it at Worlds,” Stephanie said from the doorway. “Do you think he’ll sleep with that trophy like you did the Cup?”
“Geno had his chance to sleep with the Cup,” Sidney pointed out. “He thought we were weird for wanting to do it.”
“I would sleep with the Cup,” Stephanie sighed. “You know, if I ever got a chance to play for it.”
Sidney felt guilty at that. She was able to play in the NHL because she was biologically male even if she wasn’t actually male. Stephanie would never get to because she was biologically female. Hockey was only thing that made her happy she was born male.
Stephanie waved a hand. “Don’t get all guilty on me. It’s the way of the NHL. Taylor and I are going to light it up in the womens leagues. We’re totally going to play for Olympic gold.”
“And I’ll be there to cheer you on,” Sidney promised.
“I know, loser,” Stephanie said, holding out her fist. Sidney bumped it lightly. “You miss Geno?”
Sidney smiled a little sadly. “Oh yeah. Phone calls aren’t the same.”
“Skype?” Stephanie suggested. “I know you can use it. You do it with Taylor often enough.”
Sidney flushed. “Geno sets it up for me.”
“I’m not so great with technology that’s not a PSP or gaming system,” Sidney said with a shrug. “I’m going to figure it out though. He’s too busy to do much more than call a couple of times a week.”
“Dad even knows how to use Skype and he’s a total idiot.”
“Gee thanks, Steph,” Mario said from the doorway. “Hi Sidney.”
“Hey,” Sidney said as she finished putting the silverware down on the table.
“Stephanie, go help your mother with dinner,” Mario said. “It’s time to bring the food out.”
“I can help too,” Sidney offered but Mario waved his hand. “You set the table. The kids get the food. Austin is getting you a beer.”
“I’m good,” Sidney said quickly.
“Just to relax a little,” Mario said gently. “You don’t need to be wound so tightly. It’s just us.”
“It’s weird for me to be around people who know,” Sidney said, fiddling with one of the forks. “The only person it’s ever been easy with is Geno.”
“What?” asked Austin, appearing out of nowhere handing Sidney a beer. “Being gay? Because isn’t it supposed to be easy with the guy you’re dating?”
Sidney’s stomach clenched, taking the beer. Mario looked a little frustrated, but gave Sidney a quick smile. “Not many people know. So it’s still a little weird.”
“You’re weird,” Austin said with a shrug.
“Thanks,” Sidney said, ruffling Austin’s hair as he protested. Everyone else swept into the room, Nathalie and Stephanie with the food, Alexa and Lauren with drinks and baskets of bread
Dinner, as always, was a noisy affair. Stephanie and Lauren had only been back home for a short time. Austin had been home a little longer, but Sidney hadn’t made it over for a Sunday dinner in awhile. There was a lot to catch up on and Sidney listened attentively to what each of them wanted to tell her.
Afterwards, she played video games with Austin and Alexa for a little while until Mario and Nathalie sent them up to bed. Which meant it was time to face the music.
They went on the back deck, far enough away from the kids area of the house for them to not eavesdrop. It wasn’t like the adults didn’t get together to talk without them after dinner most of the time anyway. Lauren was starting to make noises about how she was old enough to join them, but so far Mario and Nathalie had shot her down.
Nathalie was sipping a glass of wine, curled up on one of the lounge chairs. Sidney sat across from her, sitting cross-legged on another chair, another beer in her hand. Mario sat on the beanbag chair that Austin usually claimed, his legs up on the low table.
“So …” Sidney looked at them both. “What do you want to ask?”
“We both read the books,” Mario started off. “And did some research on our own. I talked to a few people -” he quickly held up his hand before Sidney could protest. “Never using names so don’t worry about that. I’m fairly confident that we both understand what being transgender means and what goes along with that.”
Nathalie nodded in confirmation, taking over. “What we don’t know is how to apply that to you and what you’re going through. We don’t know your particular situation.”
“Oh.” Sidney chewed on her lip. “Well, I told my father I was a girl when I was five. He didn’t take it well so I didn’t say anything again. I didn’t know what I was until I was about 12 and had health class. I knew what I was after that, but didn’t know what to do. So I played hockey.”
Sidney looked up at Nathalie. “I just pretended a lot. I let people think I was gay or not interested in dating people. It was easier to go with the married to hockey joke then try to explain why I just … couldn’t.”
“Couldn’t what?” asked Nathalie gently.
“Date and everything that goes along with it,” Sidney waved her hand. “I don’t really want to talk about that part.”
“I told Geno I wasn’t interested in knowing about your sex life,” Mario said immediately. “And that stands true. I promise we are never going to ask about that.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said fervently. “I can barely talk about that with Geno and Pamela.”
“If you ever need to talk about it for some reason, I’ll listen,” Nathalie said. “Mario is out of the question for that, but everything else he should be fine with. Maybe not intimate details of transitioning.”
Sidney nodded. “I guess it’s important to know who else knows. Geno obviously. I mean, he’s been great about all of this. Taylor was the first person I told after Pamela. Now you two.”
“You haven’t talked to your parents?” asked Nathalie. “You guys are so close.”
“Not really,” Sidney admitted. “I can’t tell them. Not yet. They only sort of acknowledge Geno as my boyfriend. My dad thinks I’m asking to have my career ruined by dating him. If I tell them about - me.” She took a drink of her beer before finishing. “- I don’t think they’ll talk to me afterwards.”
Neither Mario or Nathalie chimed in with false platitudes. They knew Troy and Trina and while they were good people, they were so focused on Sidney’s career and appearances that it would probably make them sever ties privately.
“Well, we’ll still be here,” Nathalie said after a moment, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“I suppose I want to know what you feel like,” Mario said, changing the subject. “I mean, when did you know?”
“I always have known as long as I can remember. My skin feels wrong. My whole body is just wrong,” Sidney said quietly. “I look in the mirror and what I see isn’t me. I see a man and that man isn’t how I am in my head. They don’t match up. It’s scary and uncomfortable and I spent a lot of time trying to reconcile the two into one and I gave that up when I was sixteen. So I just live with both. The person the world sees and - me.”
“Geno lets me be me all the time, so it’s both easier and harder now. I can be myself around him, wear what I want, not watch what I say.” Sidney looked at her bare fingernails. “Taylor taught him how to do makeup so he can help me look more female. Even wearing different clothing and makeup helps me feel more settled. But when we leave the house, I have to be male. And having that freedom at home makes going back to being Sidney Crosby hard.”
Sidney looked at them. “That’s what he’s worried about. The disconnect I get when I have to appear male again. He’s usually here to keep me grounded because it’s hard, really hard to hide all the time when I don’t have to anymore. When he pretends with me it’s like a game we play. If we don’t mess up, we win. But now I’m alone and I keep almost messing up and he’s not here to stop me from forgetting to take off my lipstick or put on a different shirt. I have a note on the front door just in case.”
“Oh Sidney,” Nathalie breathed out softly. She got up and wrapped her arms around Sidney tightly. Sidney hugged back, feeling tears prick at her eyes. She’s never said that much to anyone before in one sitting not even Pamela. “I love you, darling.”
A moment later, the lounge Sidney was sitting on dipped and Mario put his arms around the both of them. “We both love you,” Mario said quietly.
Sidney did start crying at that, silent tears against Nathalie’s shoulder. It was acceptance, pure acceptance for who she was. They weren’t questioning if she knew for sure, they were just taking it at face value and hugging her.
“Do you need us to remind you?” asked Nathalie, pulling back to look at her. She wiped the tears from Sidney’s cheeks. “Do you want to move back in while Geno’s out of the country?”
“No, but thank you,” Sidney said softly. Mario stayed where he was, dropping his arms, but a warm presence against her side. “I like my home and I’m going to go back to Cole Harbor for awhile. I might … maybe send me a text in the mornings? Like, don’t forget to take off your makeup before leaving the house. At least while I’m still in Pittsburgh. Taylor can handle that at home.”
“We can do that,” Nathalie said, looking at Mario for confirmation. He nodded as well. “One of us will text in the morning.”
“You don’t really have to do anything else,” Sidney promised. “Just I might call. And need to talk. Geno’s hard to get in touch with and Taylor can’t always talk.”
“Of course. Do you want us to call you something different?” asked Nathalie.
Sidney shook her head. “Just Sidney. It’s gender neutral so it will work later too.”
“Are you ...” Mario coughed a little, getting up to sit back on the beanbag chair. “Planning to transition?”
“I go back and forth,” Sidney admitted. “Most likely yes. I want to feel like me all the time.”
“We’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Nathalie promised, brushing back a bit of Sidney’s hair. “You’re family, Sidney. You can count on us.”
Sidney looked at the both of them. Mario and Nathalie were so familiar to her at this point, not quite parents but parental enough that their approval and acceptance helped a lot. She could see that Mario was still uncomfortable, but he was trying really hard to be supportive. And Nathalie was just being Nathalie - loving and kind and ready to roll with the punches.
Add in Geno and Taylor and it was a really good support system, one she hadn’t expected to have a year ago. Now it was here and it was hers for the taking. And she was going to take it.
Don’t Carry It All (February 2013)
Geno sat down across from Pamela, twisting the bottle of water he had between his hands. He set it on the table and then picked it back up again, his leg bouncing.
“Geno, are you okay?”
Geno huffed out a laugh. “I always okay. No one worry about me, just Sidney.”
“What happened since last week?” asked Pamela.
“Sidney and I fight last night. I go back to my house overnight, take Jeffrey. I get call from Taylor, tell me Sidney crying, upset. What I do?” Geno shook his head. “All I do was remind her to take off lipstick. She start yelling at me. Tell me I not her keeper. I control her too much. She be better off if she never tell me. If I not love her.”
Geno’s voice cracked and he looked at Pamela. “Taylor tell me I have to be better. Mario say it bad for game if Sidney get too upset. I ask, who listen to me when I upset? When Sidney hurt me?”
“I take it Sergei wasn’t available after this fight?” Pamela asked. She pushed the tissue box towards Geno.
Geno shook his head. “He have game. Ksenia busy with girls. I go home, talk to Jeffrey. He no help. Then I get yelled at again and no one listen when I say it not my fault.”
“You’re allowed to be upset with Sidney,” Pamela reminded him. “You’re allowed to feel angry and hurt that the support people are offering Sidney isn’t being offered to you as well.”
“It not easy,” Geno said quietly. “Those who know think it easy for me. Just accept, love, take everything Sidney give, not want more. I just want someone to say ‘Geno, how are you? How you doing living with Sidney and not being able to touch her most of time? Not being allowed to sleep in your own bed? They not know so they don’t ask.”
“I’m asking. How are you, Geno?”
“Lonely,” Geno answered honestly. “I not share bed with Sidney since I get back from Russia. Occasionally nap before game, but not at night. I want so bad, Pam. Not even sex. Just close.”
“When was the last time the two of you had sex?” asked Pamela curiously.
“Before I leave for Worlds. Not since I get back after lockout. It like she forgot how to be with me. Got used to just being alone again, not willing to let me back in.”
“What has Sidney offered since you returned?”
Geno shrugged. “Sometimes she hug, kiss me. Most of the time she just put her hand on my wrist and that all. I touch her more on ice than at home.”
“Have you asked her about it?”
Pamela sighed. “Geno, we’ve talked about this over and over again. You have to tell Sidney how you are feeling. She’s not going to know that you’re upset if you don’t tell her.”
“I tell her I upset. I ask to sleep in bed and she say no. What I supposed to do? Force her?”
“No. You’re supposed to tell her that you have needs too and sometimes, even though it’s hard for her, she’s got to give a little back. I know you’re not going to push her for sex. I don’t want you to do that. You need to push her to give you some emotional support when you need it.”
Geno fell quiet, twisting the cap off the water bottle and taking a drink. “Sometimes I wish she a man. Less confusing. She so in-between.”
“I would be more worried if you didn’t,” Pamela admitted. “We’ve been meeting for over a year now and this is the first time you’ve ever said that. There is nothing easy about being in a relationship with a transgender person, especially one who won’t transition yet despite the obvious need to be female.”
“She say she not know who she is without hockey but she so much more than hockey,” Geno sighed. “It the identity she comfortable with. Sidney Crosby play hockey. Sidney Crosby must keep up appearances of being normal. Who care about normal?”
“She does and she needs you to as well.
Geno made a frustrated noise. “I want my girlfriend to want me! Isn’t that normal?”
“Yes,” Pamela said with a nod. “It is normal. It’s just not easy.”
Geno deflated, slumping back on the couch. He played with the water bottle again, not looking at Pamela.
“Should I ask Sidney if she is willing to do a group session?” asked Pamela. “It’s been a long time since the three of us got together.”
“Yes,” Geno said, his voice sounding defeated. “I need help.”
Pamela moved to sit next to him on the couch. She reached for his hand, squeezing firmly. “You are doing a great job, Geno. Your acceptance of Sidney and who she is has been nothing short of amazing. The two of you have been separated for almost nine months because of hockey. No amount of phone calls or Skyping can take the place of being together. It hasn’t been easy on either of you.”
“You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t need to do everything so carefully in order not to upset Sidney. You know, both from being with her and from reading so much, that there are going to be times where no matter what you do, it’s going to be wrong. She’s going to have days where it doesn’t matter how much you love her and how much she loves you. She’s going to hate herself, hate you, hate me, probably hate everything except hockey. All we can do is wait it out.”
“You think it easier on her if she transition now?” asked Geno seriously.
“It’s not my decision. Only Sidney can make that decision and she’s determined to wait until she’s finished playing hockey. Transitioning won’t be without its own set of problems, one of which will be the world watching while she does it.”
Geno rubbed a hand over his face. “I’m tired, Pam. I want go home and sleep in our bed with her. Maybe Jeffrey snoring nearby and Dixi sleeping on pillow. So bad to want that?”
“Not at all,” Pamela said gently. She squeezed Geno’s hand once more. “Why don’t you go home and relax? I’ll call Sidney and ask to schedule a session with all three of us. When is your next game?”
“Tomorrow night,” Geno said tiredly. “Today only day off until Monday.”
“We’ll figure something out,” Pamela promised. She flipped through her planner. “Is Monday a travel day?”
Geno pulled his phone out. “Yes but only to New Jersey.”
“So it’s a home game Sunday?” asked Pamela.
“No. In Washington. Friday no good. Coming back from New York,” Geno sighed. “Practice after that. Home game Saturday.”
“This schedule is going to kill you guys,” Pamela said, shaking her head. “We’ll fit it in. We can do it Friday night if we need to.”
“Good thing we pay so well,” Geno said with a laugh. “Work crazy hours because of me and Sidney.”
Pamela smiled at him. “Not just because of you. I would do this for any of my patients.” She shut her planner. “I’ll call Sidney and we’ll figure out a time for the three of us to get together.”
Geno stood up, picking up his water and digging his keys out of his pocket. “Thanks again.”
Pamela shook his hand before he headed out, shutting the door behind him. She sat down in her chair, tapping her pen against the arm for a few moments. She shook her head and wrote a few notes in Geno’s file before putting it away. She had work to do.
Geno unlocked the front door, waiting for Jeffrey to start barking. He didn’t hear anything which meant Jeffrey was either upstairs or outside. He had dropped him back off that morning before practice when he’d picked up Sidney.
Geno went into the kitchen, rummaging around in the fridge for a snack. He was tired, mentally and physically. Practice had been draining and then the session with Pamela took everything else out of him.
“There’s a few sandwiches in there if you’re hungry,” Sidney said from the doorway. “I made extra.”
Geno pulled back and looked, smiling at her. “Thanks. No time to stop before seeing Pamela.”
“She called and wants the three of us to get together.” Sidney’s arms were crossed over her chest and Geno sighed at the defensive posture.
“I know. I ask.”
“Are you leaving me?” asked Sidney quickly.
Geno furrowed his brow. “No. Why you ask that?”
“You left last night. Took Jeffrey and went home.”
“We fight, Sidney. You tell me I control you, not want me around. So I leave,” Geno set the sandwich on the counter. “I answer phone call all night, get two hour sleep, come home with Jeffrey and go to practice. Mario get mad at me and then I go speak to Pamela. I tired.”
“I told Taylor and Mario not to call you,” Sidney said with a sigh. She dropped her arms. “I was upset. I shouldn’t have called them."
“You call who you need to call.”
“Did you call Sergei?” Sidney walked into the room, hovering by the table.
“No. He have game last night. I talk to Pamela today.” Geno looked at her, his expression sad. “I want to sleep with you in same bed. I need you.”
“I don’t want to have sex,” Sidney said, bringing her arms up again.
“I not ask for sex. I never ask for sex. Listen. Please.” Geno stepped towards her, putting his hands on her biceps. “I need you. Need close. You used to like me touching and holding you even before you my girlfriend. I miss you so much and I just want you …” He trailed off before finishing softly. “I want you to want me near.”
“Oh.” Sidney made a frustrated sound. “Is that why you keep asking to sleep in my room?”
“I thought our room,” Geno said sadly. “Was before. I been sleeping in recliner in den since come back from Russia.”
“There are guest rooms,” Sidney said lamely. “Taylor’s room.”
Geno dropped his hands and went back to the counter. He cut the sandwich in half, his shoulders drooping. “Okay. I sleep there.”
“I want to give you more,” Sidney said after a minute of tense silence. “What can I do?”
“If our bed not option I can accept that.” Geno took a small bite of sandwich. “Maybe touch me more. Sit close on couch. I lonely.”
“I’m always here,” Sidney looked confused. “You’re almost never alone.”
“You know how easy to be lonely when surrounded by people.” Geno pushed the sandwich away. He wasn’t really hungry anymore. “I go nap.”
“Where?” asked Sidney. “I’ll make sure Jeffrey leaves you alone.”
“In den. My blanket and pillow there.” Geno walked over and pressed a kiss to her temple. “Love you, Sidney. Don’t forget.”
Sidney grabbed his wrist, squeezing tight. “I love you too. Please don’t forget that.”
Geno covered her hand with his own, squeezing in return. “Keep reminding me.” She let go and nodded, not looking at him.
Geno left, heading back to the den he’d been living in. He shook out his blanket and fixed his pillow before settling down on the big recliner. The den was closer to their room than any of the guest rooms or Taylor’s room. If she needed him, he was close by. Right now it was apparently the closest he was going to get to being in her bed.
At least the recliner was comfortable.
Sea Change (February 2013)
Sidney knew things were bad. She knew it was mostly her fault too. The group session with Pamela had been a wash. Yes, she understood that Geno was having a hard time right now and needed her to give him some support in return. Everything that Pamela said made sense. A person can only give so much without getting anything in return.
Having Geno too close made her feel like she was going to choke, her chest tight. She explained that to Pamela, to Geno. After that Geno stopped pushing, stopped trying to hug her, stopped trying to do anything really. Geno still took care of her, still made sure that she was eating right and going to her sessions with Pamela. He would do her makeup and then retreat back to the den.
They lived in the same house, but barely spoke to each other. Geno stayed in the recliner and Sidney slept in the bedroom. Jeffrey had taken Geno’s side and spent most of his time trailing after him.
The only thing that was going right was hockey. She was having an amazing season, the team was winning, and despite the crazy schedule, they were relatively healthy.
And then Geno got a concussion and Sidney had a panic attack that scared the crap out of everyone in the locker room and forced Mario to take her to Pamela’s house at 10:30 at night to talk her down. Once Mario uttered the word concussion, Pamela sat them both down in her home office and started to work on calming Sidney down.
By the time they left, Mario knew what was going on and promised that he would pay closer attention to Geno as well. Sidney was half-asleep and had a prescription for Xanax for when her anxiety got that bad.
When Mario dropped her off after getting the Xanax, she found Geno sleeping in the bedroom and Flower sitting in the armchair where they usually threw their clothes. Sidney came to a halt, staring at Flower in surprise.
“He said he wasn’t supposed to sleep in here, Sidney. Pretty insistent about it really.” Flower said quietly, getting to his feet. “I want to talk about this later. Something is not right here and if this is what is throwing Geno off, then we need to talk about it.”
“Flower,” Sidney said tiredly. “This is none of your business.”
“Two of my best friends are obviously unhappy. Geno has been walking around like a ghost the last few weeks and you’ve been so on edge lately that you had a panic attack when you found out he had a concussion,” Flower shot back at her, his voice an angry whisper. “Are you going to be able to watch over him tonight or should I stay?”
“I know how to take care of someone with a concussion. And he can sleep in the bed,” Sidney sighed, sitting down to take off her shoes. She couldn’t even bring herself to care that there was makeup on the dresser and a nightie thrown in the laundry basket. “You don’t have to stay.”
“Are you still dating him?” asked Flower softly. "Should you be?"
Sidney nodded, her hands shaking as she tried to pull off her socks. Flower sighed and dropped to his knees, taking Sidney’s socks off for her. He ran his thumb over her toenail, looking at the glittery purple polish.
“I’m going to stay tonight,” Flower got to his feet again. “Are you okay undressing yourself?”
Sidney nodded again. Undressing at home was different than the locker room and she didn’t want Flower to watch.
“Look, Sid,” Flower said after a moment. “I don’t care about what you wear to bed tonight or what is going on with the makeup or anything. I care about you. I care about Geno. You can talk to me.”
“I’ll set an alarm. When was the last time you woke him up?” asked Sidney, not bothering to reply to him.
“About an hour ago. He’s really groggy and confused. He’s got a horrible headache and having some serious light sensitivity.”
Sidney got to her feet and set the alarm on her phone for two hours. “Thank you. Taylor’s room is set up with clean sheets if you’d like to sleep there.”
“I’ll sleep in the den. It’s closer to this room.”
Sidney looked at him, her eyes wide. “What?”
“The den is closer than any of the guest rooms or Taylor’s room,” Flower said patiently. “I’ll be able to hear better if either of you need anything.”
“Oh,” Sidney said, feeling stupid. Geno never said why he was sleeping in there, not even when they had their session with Pamela. She should have realized that the den was closest to the bedroom.
“Whatever it is, it isn’t something that can’t be worked on. You have a lot of friends who are here to help both of you.” Flower gave Sidney a tight smile before leaving the room.
Sidney got undressed, dropping her clothes in the laundry basket before pulling on a clean pair of boxer shorts and one of Geno’s Metallurg shirts. She may hate the team and what they represented in her life - the lockout and taking Geno for so long - but she loved the shirts because they were Geno’s.
Geno was sleeping on his back, a wrinkle of pain between his eyes even now. Sidney climbed into bed next to him, moving close to face him. She reached out a hand to press against the wrinkle, swiping her thumb over it gently. Concussions scared the shit out of her after her own.
Being next to Geno wasn’t frightening right now, her breath wasn’t caught in her chest. Maybe it was the Xanax she took earlier, maybe it was the fear dissipating now that she knew Geno was somewhat okay. She didn’t really care as she left a hand on Geno’s chest, feeling his heartbeat and his steady breathing.
The phone alarm beeped loudly and Sidney quickly turned it off. Geno’s eyes were squeezed tightly shut so he must have heard it and woken up.
“Hey,” Sidney said gently, rubbing her thumb against Geno’s collarbone. “Lights are out. It’s okay to open them.”
Geno kept his eyes shut but turned his head towards her voice. “Sid?”
“It’s me.” Sidney took Geno’s hand in her own, bringing it up to kiss his knuckles. “It’s concussion check time.”
Geno said something in Russian, his voice slurred and tired. Sidney shook his hand gently. “English, Zhenya.”
“Hard,” Geno mumbled. “Evgeni Vladimirovich Malkin. July 31st, 1986. In Pittsburgh with Sidney. Go back to sleep now?”
“Just open your eyes for a moment so I can check your pupils,” Sidney said gently.
Geno opened his eyes, moaning softly. “Spin.”
“Quick. I promise,” Sidney said as Geno opened them fully. She took a look at his pupils, quickly shining the light of the phone to see them contract. “Go ahead and close them.”
“Pet hair,” Geno murmured, his voice pained. “Helps.”
Sidney sat up a little and Geno shifted so his head was on her lap. He exhaled softly, wrapping an arm around her thigh. She began to stroke Geno’s hair lightly, remembering him doing this for her just a year before.
“I love you,” Sidney said, leaning down to press a kiss against his hair. “Go back to sleep.”
“Don’t leave me.”
“I’m right here,” Sidney promised. She continued to stroke his hair as Geno settled back into sleep.
The next time she woke up, Flower was in the bedroom pulling the blackout shades shut. Geno was still curled on her lap, his arm tight around her leg. Sidney stretched her arms up, her back and neck stiff from sleeping sitting up.
“Time to check him again?” asked Flower.
Sidney nodded and started to smooth her fingers through Geno’s hair. “Geno? Time to wake up again.”
Geno made a noise, turning his face into Sidney’s lap. “No.”
“You have to, Zhenya. Flower and I need to check you over and I want to get you into the shower,” said Sidney softly. “Okay?”
Geno turned a little, one eye opened slightly to look up at Sidney. “Evgeni Vladimirovich Malkin. July 31st, 1986. In Pittsburgh with Sidney.”
Sidney chuckled softly. “Let go of my leg so I can check your pupils. Flower’s got some water for you to drink.”
Geno sighed and shifted on the bed so that he was resting on the pillows again. His eyes were closed again, the wrinkle of pain between his eyebrows again. His jaw was clenched and he was breathing heavily.
Sidney pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Open your eyes for me. Flower’s got the blackout curtains closed. My eyes have adjusted so I’ll be able to see them without turning on the lights.”
“Touching me a lot,” Geno mumbled before opening his eyes. He groaned and focused on Sidney’s face. “Are you okay?”
Sidney smiled at him softly. “I am. I had a panic attack last night when they told me you had a concussion which is why Flower brought you home. I am really sorry that I couldn’t handle it.”
Geno touched her jaw lightly. “Can handle it now?”
Sidney nodded, turning her face into his hand and pressing a kiss to his palm. “I’ve got you. Your pupils are reacting well.”
Geno closed his eyes again, exhaling softly. “Flower still here? Room clear?”
“Yes and no,” Sidney said calmly. “It’s okay. He knows something is up. I’ll talk to him once you’re settled and straighten everything out.”
“We going to be okay?” Geno asked, reaching out for Sidney again blindly. Sidney grabbed his hand with her own, holding it tightly.
“We’ll be okay. Right now you need to get into the shower. You think you can do that?” asked Sidney.
“No. Sleep more.”
Sidney looked over at Flower who shrugged. “Just change the sheets when he does get in the shower. It’s not a serious concussion so let him sleep some more.”
“Okay,” Sidney said easily, knowing how hard it was to move the next day. Hopefully it wouldn’t be for nearly as many days for Geno as it had been for her. “Go back to sleep. I have to get up though and get moving.”
“Come back,” Geno said, already drifting back to sleep.
Sidney watched him for a moment before climbing out of bed. Flower crossed his arms over his chest and waited. “Breakfast?”
“Are you cooking?” asked Flower.
Sidney nodded and motioned for him to head out. She shut the door behind her and padded down the steps to the kitchen. Flower sat down and watched as she moved around, getting the coffee started.
“Eggs are fine,” Flower said with a yawn. “How long have the two of you been so messed up?”
“Since he came back from Russia, but I was having problems before that,” Sidney said as she cracked the eggs into the pan. “The distance was too much for me. I kind of shut down on him emotionally.”
“He’s been back for almost two months.”
“I know,” Sidney looked at him seriously. “I’m going to tell you something and you cannot tell anyone, even Vero. I might let you tell her at some point, but not right now. I’m not prepared for her to know. I’m not really prepared for you to know.”
Flower furrowed his brow, looking concerned. “Jesus, are you dying or something?”
Sidney laughed at that, hollow and a little broken. “You’re the second person who has asked me that when I bring this up. Maybe I should change my approach or just let Geno tell people. Sergei took it well when Geno did it.”
Flower got up to stand next to Sidney as she scrambled the eggs. “What is it? I’ll keep my mouth shut. Whatever you need, Sid.”
Sidney took a deep breath and stared at the eggs intently. “I’m transgender.”
Flower blinked and looked her up and down. “Male to female? I mean, I’ve seen your dick. That’s a damn good job if that’s fake.”
Sidney gaped at him, her hand not moving any longer. “Yes?”
“Let me finish the eggs,” Flower said, taking the spatula from her and nudging her over. “Sidney, I’ve always known there was something more than you just being gay going on. We’ve tried for years to figure it out - me, Tanger, and Max. Until you started dating Geno, we all honestly thought you just didn’t care about sex.”
“I know you still give that talk to the new guys,” Sidney said quietly. “Was it so they wouldn’t push me at women?”
Flower nodded. “You never showed any interest either way. The easiest thing to do was to say you were gay because the chances of another hockey player trying to push you at guys was slim. Had we known Geno was totally into the cock as well, we would have tried to fix you guys up ages ago.”
“It wouldn’t have worked. I couldn’t. Not with someone who didn’t know.” Sidney couldn’t stop staring at him, at the easy way Flower just accepted this. “So you don’t care?”
“I care a lot,” Flower said, pulling the pan off the stove. “Are we just eating out of the pan?”
Sidney flushed and grabbed a couple of plates. “Sorry.”
“I meant what I said last night. I care about you. I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, transgender, into hockey, whatever as long as it’s not illegal. I’m your friend, I am always going to be your friend. Now I just know that any issues you have are a little more complicated,” Flower dished the eggs out. “And we’ll work on them.”
Sidney waited until he put the pan down and threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. Flower startled, but brought his arms up, hugging her back.
“Hey,” Flower said gently, rubbing her back. “It’s good. We’re good.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said as she pulled back. She tried to discreetly wipe at her eyes as she went to grab mugs for the coffee.
“So now comes the hard part. Tell me why the man who is concussed was worried that you were touching him and whether you were okay.”
“I haven’t been able to touch him,” Sidney mumbled, pouring the coffee. She grabbed the sugar and half and half, setting them on the table. “Or sleep in bed with him. I start to panic and have trouble breathing.”
“Is that why the den looks like a bedroom right now?” asked Flower, fixing his coffee.
“Until you said something last night, I never realized he was sleeping there because it was the closest to our room. I just thought he was being stubborn and doing it to prove a point and make me feel bad. He wouldn’t tell me when we talked about it with our therapist.”
“Sidney, the man would move the stars if it made you smile. He’s so far gone for you.”
Sidney smiled a little at that, sitting down across from Flower with her mug of black coffee. “It might not seem like it, but I am too. I’m just … bad at this.”
“Emotions? Yeah, we already knew that,” Flower said, shoveling eggs into his mouth.
“I’m bad at letting go,” Sidney explained. “I’ve spent my whole life keeping so much of myself hidden that this freedom to be me is frightening. Last year, when Geno was here and we spent pretty much every waking minute together it was fine. I had moments where I couldn’t handle things but we could work it out together.
“It was the lockout. He was so far away and all I could do was call or text him. We would Skype when we could, but he was playing hockey and it … hurt to talk about it with him. He was lighting it up over there, Flower, and I had to ask him not to talk about it.”
“You asked him not to talk about hockey?” Flower looked amazed. “Geno loves to talk about hockey. Hell, the few times I actually talked to him during the lockout that was all we talked about.”
Sidney looked ashamed. “I know. It was completely selfish of me. Most of this relationship is me being selfish and Geno taking it all in stride.”
“You can’t do that. It’s got to be an even strength match-up. You can’t spend all your time on the power play with him on the penalty kill.”
Sidney stared at him before bursting out laughing, huge cackling laughs that made Flower start laughing as well. Jeffrey lumbered into the room from where he was sleeping to find out what was going on and wisely stole the rest of Sidney’s eggs while she was collapsing in a fit of giggles.
“I can’t believe you said that!” Sidney laughed, swatting at Jeffrey’s butt as he wandered off again, satisfied with himself. “That was awful.”
“But I’m right,” Flower said, pointing his fork at her. “So stop being a dick, man up - sorry, woman up - and begin treating Geno right if he’s your forever man.”
Sidney was still giggling a little, finding it hard to stop now that she was started. She nodded though. “I will. I should have asked you for advice ages ago.”
“That’s right,” Flower grinned. “I know everything. It’s part of being the greatest goalie ever.”
“I love you, but you’re taking that one up with Marty next year in Sochi. I am not getting in the middle of that goalie fight.”
Flower waved his hand. “I can take Marty. Plus he might retire. Someday.”
“Marty will be in his crease as long as he damn well pleases,” Sidney said with a grin. “And then when he retires, he might take his crease with him.”
Flower laughed. “They’ll cut that section from the Pru so he can hang it on his wall. You know he’s taking his posts.”
“Like you wouldn’t.”
“My girls have been good to me,” Flower said easily. “If you treat them right, they treat you right.”
Sidney sat back, drinking her coffee with a small smile on her face. “I think I kind of needed to have that panic attack. I don’t know if I’m still feeling the side effects of the Xanax, but I feel amazingly clear-headed and calm about everything.”
“Don’t push Geno too hard even though you’re all ready to talk about things,” Flower cautioned her. “You know how hard it is the first few days after a concussion. Let his brain heal before you start hitting him with huge emotional revelations.”
“If there’s one thing I know, it’s concussion care,” Sidney said dryly, looking at the clock. “Are you going to optional skate?”
Flower shook his head. “I’m going go home and sleep in my bed for a little while. Are you going?”
Sidney chewed on her lip thoughtfully. She didn’t like missing optional skate. She was the captain and it was her job to keep people motivated and working towards the goal of the Stanley Cup. The right thing to do for hockey was to go. The right thing to do for Geno was to stay home and she needed to start doing the right thing for Geno.
“Not this time,” Sidney said with a shake of her head. “I’ll call Dan and let him know. Everyone knew Geno was hurt last night and I had a panic attack. I doubt I’ll be expected to show up.”
Flower smiled and got to his feet. “Good answer. I’ll see you tomorrow, Sidney. Enjoy your day off and make sure Geno rests.”
Sidney got up as well, pulling Flower into another hug. “Thank you. If you need to talk to someone, Mario knows about me. Or you can wait until Geno is better and talk to him.”
Flower made a scoffing noise. “Or I can talk to you.”
“Or you can talk to me,” Sidney acknowledged. She picked up her coffee and followed Flower to the front door. “Thank you for everything, Flower.”
Flower smiled at her warmly. “You don’t need to thank me for being a decent person. However, I won’t turn down gifts of chocolate for dragging Geno’s heavy ass home.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sidney promised. She shut the door behind Flower and headed into the den where Geno had been sleeping. Jeffrey was sprawled on the couch, lifting his head to look at her when she walked in.
Sidney sat down next to him and scratched him behind the ears, looking at the den. There were books piled on the coffee table, some of which Sidney recognized as being from Geno’s collection of transgender literature. Others she didn’t recognize and the titles were all in Russian. The recliner was still stretched out from Flower sleeping there, the blanket folded with the pillows on top.
Sidney stared at it for a few minutes, thinking about how much Geno was giving up to be with her. He could have a normal relationship with a real boyfriend or girlfriend. He could have kids of his own and not have to worry about some unknown future where his boyfriend would turn into his girlfriend.
And there was Russia. Somewhere in the back of both of their minds was the unacknowledged fear of what would happen if it came out that Geno was dating a man at all, nevermind that the man was actually a woman. Geno was a popular figure in Russia - most eligible bachelor even. Russia was not a tolerant country.
Geno made his own choices though and she wasn’t going to try and undermine his decisions. She was selfish enough to not want to push Geno away even if it would be better in the long run. She loved him too much.
Sidney gave Jeffrey one last pat before gathering up Geno’s blankets and pillows to take them back into their bedroom. Geno was snoring softly, rolled onto his side with the blanket mostly on the ground. Sidney smiled fondly and readjusted the blankets so he was covered again. After a quick call to Dan to reassure him that she and Geno were both okay, but she was going to miss practice this morning, Sidney climbed into bed again. A day off was a day off and she desperately needed to sleep more.
Geno woke slowly, his head pounding and his body aching. His mouth was dry and he felt like his head was swollen three times its size. He still didn’t remember the hit that took him out which meant that he wasn’t going to be cleared quickly. He didn’t really remember much from last night except Sidney’s hands in his hair and being comforted by her.
He opened his eyes just a little. It was still dark in the bedroom, the black out curtains pulled tightly shut. Sidney was sleeping on her side next to him, one hand resting on his thigh. His vision was starting to swim and he was too tired and hurt too much to try and figure out why she was so close so he shut his eyes again.
Geno reached for her hand, tugging on it to get her to wake up. He could hear her stirring and her fingers closed around his.
“Geno,” Sidney said quietly, her voice muzzy with sleep.
“Pill,” Geno muttered, hiding his face in his pillow. It smelled vaguely like Sidney which was reassuring and something he had missed so much. “Thirsty.”
The bed moved and he felt Sidney’s weight lift off. “Keep your eyes shut.” Geno listened to her, hearing the light for the bathroom flick on and the sound of water running. The light went off and he could hear her shaking a pill bottle before settling on the edge of the bed again.
“I have some water and a pain pill,” Sidney whispered. “Tell me your pain level.”
Geno thought about that, thought about the pain in his knee and bad hits. “Five.”
“Seven then,” Sidney said easily, helping him turn. “We all lie on those pain scales.”
Sidney folded the pill into his hand and put the glass of water on the other. Without sitting up, he drank the glass, the pill being washed down easily. He handed the glass to her. “More.”
Sidney complied, leaving the light off this time as she refilled it. “Do you want to try some juice? Get your blood sugar up a bit?”
“Okay,” Geno said as he drank the water greedily. He groped around for the bedside table, knocking a book off in the process, but set the glass down without looking or dropping that on the ground.
“Hey, hey,” Sidney said as she came back in, her voice firm. “No dogs in the bedroom right now. Go back to the den, Jeffrey.”
Geno could hear Jeffrey’s heavy breathing and a low whine of disapproval. “Wants to check me. Okay. No jump. He smart.”
A moment later Geno felt Jeffrey’s hot breath and his wet nose pressed against his cheek before he sniffed his way around his head and chest. He finished up by licking the side of Geno’s face and flopping beside the bed with a quiet huff, obviously set to wait Geno’s injury out.
Sidney sat down again, running her hand down Geno’s side gently. “Apparently he is satisfied that you’re not dying.”
Geno took the bottle of juice she put in his hand, sipping it slowly this time. It tasted wonderful, the orange flavor exploding on his tongue. He let out a low moan of contentment and sighed as he put the lid back on.
“I’m sorry,” Sidney murmured, leaning down to press a careful kiss against his lips. “About everything lately. I’ve been an awful girlfriend.”
“Yes,” Geno agreed, not able to filter himself. “Hurt me bad. Don’t know what I do.”
“It’s nothing you did,” Sidney promised, her voice sincere. Geno opened his eyes just a little to look at her and she was looking down at him, her expression sad. “We’ll talk when you’re feeling better but please understand that none of this is your fault. It’s on me and I’m going to be better.”
“Still want me?” asked Geno, bringing a hand up to cup her jaw. “Still be my girlfriend?”
“So much it scares me,” Sidney admitted. “As long as you’ll have me, I’m staying.”
“Forever,” Geno promised, shutting his eyes again. He was too tired for this and the pain pill was starting to take effect, his body feeling heavy and drugged.
Sidney got back in bed as well, gently moving Geno so his head was pillowed on her shoulder, her cheek resting against his hair. She moved her fingers through his hair gently, soothingly. He hummed softly, tangling his legs with hers and keeping her close.
“I love you,” Sidney murmured. “Go to sleep.”
Geno smiled against her shoulder and did what he was told.
It was taking entirely too long to get cleared to get back on the ice again in Geno’s opinion. Sidney was happy they were being so cautious, but Geno just wanted to get moving again. When Sidney was away, he might have skated on the rink in the basement once or twice but since she was away, no one knew.
They also hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk about everything that was going on between them which was just as frustrating if not more so than being kept off the ice. Sidney kept reassuring him that she was going to change and that none of it was his fault.
And in her defense, she had been better. Much more demonstrative and open with him. They were sharing the bed again and she was making decisions that benefited both of them instead of just her. So it was a start.
Geno had seen Pamela once since he got the concussion and Pamela said that Sidney wanted another group session so that the three of them could outline a plan for her to take a little more control of her physical appearance to help her out emotionally. Geno had agreed since Sidney had told him as much before heading out on the road trip.
Sidney was going to be back late Saturday night and was off again until Tuesday. They were planning on meeting with Pamela Monday afternoon and just doing nothing on Sunday since it was a true day off. Geno couldn’t wait.
It was almost three in the morning when Sidney finally got into bed, smelling like the stale air of a plane and Bengay. Geno turned to face her, wincing when he saw the bruising on her shoulder. He reached out to touch gently, frowning.
“Just a lot of bruising,” Sidney promised. “Hip, shoulder, and back mostly. I have to go in at some point tomorrow to have the trainers check me out again.”
“Bad hit. Should have been penalty.”
“Doesn’t matter now,” Sidney yawned, shifting so she was on her unbruised side. She tugged at Geno’s arm until he settled behind her, spooning her with an arm around her waist. Geno felt her relax against him and he pressed a kiss to the back of her neck. “Mmm...love you."
When they woke, the sun was spilling through the curtains and Geno watched as Sidney stretched her arms above her head, the hem of her shirt riding up to expose her stomach. Geno couldn’t help himself, his hand reaching out automatically to rest against her side, feeling the warmth of her skin.
“Is okay?” asked Geno quietly as Sidney lowered her arms, watching him.
Sidney nodded before reaching down and pulling her shirt off completely. She looked awkward, not sure where to put her arms when Geno knew she’d rather be crossing them over her chest to hide her lack of breasts.
Geno touched gently, running careful fingers over the myriad of bruises on her side and arm. “Test range of motion,” he said before lifting her arm, his other hand on her shoulder. “Pain?”
Sidney shook her head. “Just sore and a little achy. I think it’ll be okay if I stretch it out more.”
Geno leaned in to press a soft kiss against her shoulder, projecting his movements and intentions as obviously as possible in case she wanted to move away. She didn’t, instead brought up a hand to run her fingers through Geno’s hair.
“How is your head?” asked Sidney. “Any other symptoms?”
“Headaches. Not lot. Mostly at end of day when tired. Everything else fine. Going to be allowed to skate tomorrow.”
“Do you think you’re ready?” Sidney sounded worried and Geno looked up at her fondly.
“Being very careful,” Geno promised. “Not going to be cleared until pass concussion test. Promise.”
Sidney still looked worried, but nodded. “Okay. I guess we have to trust the team doctors.”
“They good. Neck easy to miss,” Geno said gently. He pressed a kiss to Sidney’s jaw gently. “Love you.”
“I’d like to have sex,” Sidney said quietly. “Not right now. Tonight though.”
Geno pulled back to look at her seriously. “Not have to. Don’t do if it because you think I want.”
“I want,” Sidney said just as seriously. “I miss touching you. I really screwed this up the last few months by being so afraid. The longer we were apart the less I trusted my memory and the more I second-guessed our relationship. And I never said anything to you.”
“Wish you had. Needed to know to talk about us.” Geno rested his hand on her side. “Memory faulty. Trust heart from now on.”
Sidney grabbed Geno’s hand, pulling it up to rest on her heart. “I trust you with my heart.”
“Sappy,” Geno said fondly, leaning up to kiss her. “Already have mine.”
“I don’t think I want be separated from you that long again,” Sidney said softly, pressing their foreheads together. “I want to come to Russia this summer.”
“Yes. We train in Russia,” Geno agreed immediately. “Make Kader come. Gonch train with us and Mama and Papa be so happy to see you and welcome to family.”
“Maybe we could go to Cole Harbour too,” Sidney suggested. “Spend some of the summer with Taylor.”
“Bring Taylor to Russia if she want,” Geno said easily. “But we go to Cole Harbour too. See your parents.”
Sidney made a face at that. “They’re still not on board with me dating you. When I call I always get a lecture about how I don’t want to be outed as the first gay athlete yada yada. They don’t understand that I’m not gay. Obviously.”
“To outside we gay,” Geno said to her gently. “Can’t get mad at people thinking that. Important people know truth.”
“I wish I could change now,” Sidney admitted, shifting so she was resting her head against Geno’s chest. “And keep playing hockey.”
“Don’t think that possible. Hormone therapy probably not sanctioned. Didn’t think to argue that in new agreement with NHL.”
Sidney laughed a little. “I can only imagine how that would have gone. Yes, I’d like to make hormone therapy for transgendered hockey players legal and allow them to keep playing while they transition.”
“I vote yes,” Geno walked his fingers down her spine to the top of her pajama shorts and then back up again. “You can change mind at any point.”
“My contract goes until 2025,” Sidney reminded him. “That’s twelve more years of this body.”
“Contracts not important. Players retire, get hurt, stop playing. Contracts end early. Pittsburgh retain rights but that not matter.”
Sidney lifted her head to look at him. “You’ve thought about this before.”
“Yes,” Geno admitted honestly. “I worry that you need to transition sooner. Body cause you so much hurt being this way.”
Sidney frowned. “I have a plan. It just means no more playoff beards after this season.”
Geno touched her jaw. “First step?”
Sidney nodded. “It won’t really be something commented on. I can’t really grow a real beard and shaving is a daily reminder. We’ll be able to use less makeup as well since we won’t be covering any hair.”
Geno smiled at her softly. “Good first step. Hopefully will help you feel better.”
“Pamela agrees with me. That’s one of the things we’re going to talk about tomorrow as well as going to Russia.”
“No more not talking. Goes both ways. I stop talking too and blame you for it. We both mess up.”
“You tried. I hid everything from you when you were in Russia,” Sidney said quietly. “I couldn’t tell you how much I hated who I was. How hard it was to be idle again while the lockout dragged on. I couldn’t talk to Mario so I talked to Nathalie, but it wasn’t enough. Taylor was busy with school. I purposely scheduled things on days I was supposed to have appointments with Pamela.”
“What?” Geno frowned. “Why do that?”
“Because she made me angry,” Sidney admitted. “She kept telling me that I needed to talk to you, talk to anyone really. I needed to reconnect with who I was, not who I was pretending to be. I stopped putting on make-up at home while you were gone. I couldn’t wear it around Nathalie either. I’m not ready for them to see me.”
“Oh Solnyshka,” Geno said softly, pulling her down to rest against his shoulder. He stroked her bare back gently. “You know who you are now?”
“Not always but I’m working on it. I need your help and I need Pamela’s help. Most of all, I need you to be understanding,” Sidney said, slotting her leg between Geno’s. “Because I am going to be awful sometimes. I am going to be mean and cranky and short with you.
“I try,” Geno promised. “And I tell you when I upset too.”
Sidney lifted her head. “Okay. Kiss on it?”
Geno chuckled and kissed her softly, even though the angle was weird and awkward. “Done deal now.”
There was a whine at the door and Sidney laughed, dropping her head back down. “So much for a relaxing morning in bed. I’ll put him out.”
Geno wrapped his arms around her, not letting Sidney move. “One more minute.”
“Okay,” Sidney said, relaxing against him easily. “But you’re cleaning up any pee.”
Jonathan Toews (August 2013)
Jonny was always going to be someone Sidney held in high regard. It wasn't that Sidney thought he was perfect because he really wasn't. He was a stubborn asshole who spent too much time bitching about Kaner whenever they talk. He played recklessly too often and got too emotional during games.
Which okay, Sidney knew that was kind of her MO as well, but she didn't take tons of stupid penalties during the fucking playoffs - any series with the Flyers didn’t count - or get so obviously worked up that her teammates have to talk her off the ledge during the middle of a game.
She told him he was an idiot after he won the Stanley Cup of course because she wasn't an asshole who was going to call a friend out for being an idiot on the ice while she was still licking her own damn wounds. She texted him once, told him that they better destroy Boston. Thankfully they did and Sidney felt slightly vindicated when she saw Chara crying.
But he was always going to be someone she trusted because of how he treated her in Vancouver. How he had never said a word to anyone about what really went down in their room, not even after she started dating Geno. And he heard about Geno just as much as she heard about Kaner - though she did a lot less bitching.
They were having lunch in Los Angeles in the apartment she rented when she wss training there and talking about the Olympics when she did it. It wasn't planned and it kind of slipped out, much like when she told Max. At least she wasn't high on painkillers and missing half her teeth this time.
Jonny has his fork halfway to his mouth and he was just staring at her, his pasta slipping back down onto the plate in a heap. Sidney rewound what she said in her head and realized that she just told him a story about Geno learning how to do electrolysis so they can continue it while they’re in Russia. Apparently she was a little too excited about finally taking a step towards becoming female if she told the story to Jonny.
“Oh fuck,” Sidney said, staring back at him. Jonny set his fork down and took a careful sip of his water, his eyes on the slightly reddened skin she knew was on her jaw and upper lip.
“You ... uh,” Jonny gestured a little at her face. “Why?”
Sidney dropped her forehead into her hand, staring down at the table before she mentally said fuck it and looked at Jonny, meeting his gaze.
“I’m transgender,” Sidney said calmly.
Jonny wrinkled his forehead, but didn’t say anything. He took another drink of his water slowly, calmly, perfectly controlled.
“That … makes sense actually.” Jonny tilted his head a little, looking at her. “That’s why you didn’t want a blowjob. Or sex at all.”
“But you have sex now. Geno knows, right?”
Sidney laughed at that, staring at him incredulously. “I just told you that Geno is learning how to do electrolysis so he can help me get rid of my facial hair. So yes, he knows.”
Jonny looked affronted at that. “Hey! This is kind of a surprising thing. It’s not like I hear this every day.”
“I can start telling you every day if you want,” Sidney said, feeling remarkably calm. It was Jonny. He wasn't going to say a damn thing and she believed that.
Jonny shok his head and picked his fork back up. “Nah. Once is enough. Not something I’m going to forget anytime soon.”
“We’re cool?” asked Sidney.
Jonny smirked at her. “We’re cool. You’re not the first transgender person I’ve known.”
“Really?” Sidney asked, looking interested. “Because I don’t know anyone else.”
“I guess it would be hard to talk to other people in your situation,” Jonny said thoughtfully. “I’ll see if I can get Mike’s number from Kaner. He’s one of Kaner’s high school buddies.”
Sidney made a face at that. What she hass heard of Kaner’s high school buddies was routinely not flattering. Jonny started to laugh, knowing what she was thinking.
“Nah, Mike’s not like the rest of them. He’s not a bro. He was Kaner’s tutor since he traveled so much,” Jonny said with a wave of his fork. “His name was Megan then and Kaner hit on him. A lot.”
Sidney snorted. “It’s Kaner.”
“Mike put him in his place and they ended up staying friends. He moved out to Chicago a few years ago and they got back in touch. Kaner hit on him a lot then too.”
“And everything is good for Mike?”
Jonny frowned at her. “Not really no. He lost his family and most of his friends when he started to live as a man. I think Kaner is the only one he still talks to from high school. Sid, you know this isn’t going to be easy, right?”
Sidney nodded, playing with her pasta now. “I know I’ve been lucky. Everyone who I’ve told has been supportive.”
“And hey, this is me. Being supportive,” Jonny said with a flush to his cheeks. “I never want to hear details if you chop it off though.”
Sidney laughed at that. “Yeah no. Not going to be talking about that with anyone except Geno and my doctors.”
“I totally support you getting a nice rack though,” Jonny grinned over at her.
And he really did because Sidney got a box from Jonny three weeks after she was back from Russia and inside was a selection of breast forms for her to wear.
Geno peeked into the box, looking at them thoughtfully. “Lots to try.”
“Yeah,” Sidney said with a happy smile. “Jonny’s awesome.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (Fall 2013)
Geno was unsure of what to do when Datsyuk cornered him outside of the Pens locker room. They were friendly, or at least they had been before Datsyuk had spoken against gay rights and basically agreed with the Russian government’s actions. Olympic training camp had been a little strained between the two of them, but Sergei, Ilya, and Sanja had done their best to keep things light.
Datsyuk lifted his chin and looked at Geno. “We’re going out for a drink. You are driving. I will need to be taken back to my hotel afterwards.”
Geno frowned a little but nodded. “Let me tell Sidney. He is expecting me home.”
Datsyuk’s jaw tightened slightly but he nodded as well. Geno left him standing there, ducking back into the locker room. There were still a few reporters lingering about, but they weren’t talking to Sidney. She was half-dressed already, her shirt and tie on, but not her pants.
Geno sat down next to her stall, still frowning. She turned to look at him as she ran her fingers through her damp hair. “What’s wrong?”
“Datsyuk wants to go for drink. I say yes. Not going to stay out long. Not sure what he want to talk about.”
Sidney frowned as well, ducking her head a little to fiddle with her cuffs. “Okay. Just don’t let him be a dick to you about everything.”
“Everything a lot,” Geno gave her a small smile. “Maybe just want to talk Olympics.”
“Maybe.” Sidney reached out a briefly squeezed his shoulder, just as aware as Geno was of the reporters in the room. “I’ll take care of Jeffrey.”
Geno sighed and nodded, trying not to think about Jeffrey and his aching joints and arthritis medicine. “I text.”
“Go,” Sidney said with a nod, grabbing her pants. “Get it over with.”
Geno got up, feeling disheartened that time spent with Datsyuk was now something he had to get through instead of enjoying it like he used to. He couldn’t even call him Pavel in his head anymore.
Datsyuk was waiting outside the locker room, leaning against the wall. He straightened up, giving Geno a nod. They walked next to each other in silence, Datsyuk’s hands shoved in his pockets. Geno put his gear in the back of Sidney’s car before heading over to his own, Datsyuk following closely.
“Where do you want to go?” asked Geno as he started up the car. He turned down the music immediately, catching Datsyuk’s wince.
“Let’s go have some Russian food, Zhenya.”
Geno clenched his jaw. “Not sure you should be calling me that any longer.”
Datsyuk sighed a little. “Fine, Evgeni Vladimirovich.”
That didn’t feel right either but Geno didn’t comment. They were both quiet as Geno drove them to his favorite Russian restaurant.
Lola smiled at Geno when he walked in, going over to pat his cheeks gently. “Where is Sidney?”
“He is home. I will bring something back for him,” Geno said, giving her a gentle hug. “This is my friend, Pavel Valerievich.” He turned to Datsyuk. “This is Lola Ivanova.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Lola Ivanova,” Datsyuk said, shaking her hand.
“As you, Pavel Valerievich.” Lola gestured for them to follow her through the crowded room. “I have a spot in the back that will be quiet.”
Geno settled across from Datsyuk at the small table in a quiet corner. Lola patted his cheek again before heading off, leaving them alone.
“Order whatever is good,” Datsyuk said, crossing his hands on the table. “We must talk, Evgeni Vladimirovich.”
“That does not sound right,” Geno said reluctantly. “I am not ready to allow Zhenya but perhaps Evgeni.”
“Thank you,” Datsyuk reached out and squeezed Geno’s hand firmly. “I would like to offer an explanation for my words.”
“Your words were clear enough,” Geno frowned, but stopped talking when the waiter came over. He rattled off a quick order of food and vodka before the waiter left. “You do not need to offer me an explanation for your views. They are your own and you are entitled to them.”
“I have hurt you in the process. I have been told on more than one occasion that I cannot judge all homosexuals the same. You are still a good person despite your affliction.”
Geno winced at that. “Perhaps you should stop now.”
“This is not coming out right,” Datsyuk sighed and took a long drink of the vodka that had been set in front of them. “I consider you a friend and I am sorry that my words hurt you. Both you and Sidney are good people and deserve happiness. I might not understand it or condone it, but I accept it.”
Geno drank the glass of vodka, setting it down on the table. He looked at Datsyuk thoughtfully. “So you still believe that I am a sinner, but you will accept that I am in a relationship with Sidney because you hurt me?”
“Yes,” Datsyuk said with a nod. “I won’t ask you about your relationship and I would prefer not to know anything beyond what I already know.”
“You want to pretend it doesn’t exist then.”
“I am aware it exists and I am not trying to deny that. I just don’t want to know anything else.”
Geno sighed and gave a tight smile to the waiter as he brought over their plates of food. He took Geno’s glass when he was done, re-filling it and returning it quickly.
“As long as you are willing to listen to the fact I love him just this once,” Geno said after a moment. “I will not discuss Sidney in your presence again. I will not be held responsible for other people talking about it though.”
“Agreed.” Datsyuk picked up a blini, dotting it with sour cream before putting it in his mouth. He looked at Geno as he chewed and swallowed. “Very well. Tell me.”
Geno took a bite of the Oscar salad before starting. “You believe that homosexuals are evil and wrong. I understand your belief. However, Sidney and I are together because we love each other. I cannot believe that there is anything wrong with the love we share because it feels right. I plan to stay with Sidney for the rest of my life.”
“I am happy you have found love,” Datsyuk said honestly. Or at least Geno hoped it was honestly. “I will pray for your happiness.”
Geno nodded at that even though he really didn’t need Datsyuk to pray for his happiness. It was easy enough to accept if it helped Datsyuk reconcile what he knew with his beliefs.
“Now,” Datsyuk said. “Let us talk about other things. We have Russian hockey to play soon and we must be ready.”
Geno clung to the change in conversation and nodded eagerly. They could talk about the Olympics for the rest of the evening for all he cared. Anything other than listening to Datsyuk try to reason out how he felt about Geno now that he knew he was with Sidney. Geno didn’t even want to consider Datsyuk’s reaction if he knew that Sidney was actually a woman.
Hockey was much easier on his digestion anyway.
It wasn’t that late when he got home, just after midnight. The lights were out and while Geno was glad that Sidney wasn’t waiting up, he really could have used the company. He knew Jeffrey was upstairs with Sidney and he wasn’t going to be running down to say hi to Geno this late at night.
Geno fixed himself a cup of tea and sat at the island in the kitchen, the room dark except for the light above the stove he’d turned on while the water boiled. The night had been fine once they decided not to talk about his sexuality and the crisis it was causing in Datsyuk’s heart. Geno rolled his eyes at himself for that. He was starting to think like Sanja.
Still, he was almost happy that it was causing Datsyuk some pain. It had hurt him deeply when he’d read the comments from Datsyuk, trying to hide it from Sidney before she left to go back to Canada and to Olympic training camp. He had read her words as well, glad that she was able to say how she felt even while he said the minimum and kept his head down.
“Hey,” Sidney said softly, walking into the room and wrapping her arms around his waist from behind. Geno covered her hand with one of his own, leaning against her. “How was it?”
“We come to agreement. Is best. He and I not talk about it, but I not stop anyone from talking around him.”
Sidney sighed a little at that, pressing a kiss to Geno’s shoulder before slipping away to fix herself a cup of tea as well. “I suppose he won’t be coming by anymore when he’s in town.”
“No,” Geno agreed, sipping his tea. “He good friend. Always help out younger players adjust, take care of us. I will miss that.”
“You don’t have to stop being his friend.”
“I do,” Geno said simply, looking at Sidney’s back as she fixed her tea. “We play hockey together. That is enough.”
Sidney pressed her lips together as she slid into the seat next to Geno. She tangled her fingers with his, squeezing tightly as they both drank their tea, silent and brooding, knowing that Datsyuk won’t be the last person they’ll lose.
#TDoR (November 20, 2013)
Geno was playing around on Instagram, clicking random tags and looking at pictures when he came across the transgender symbol and the words ‘I remember’. He frowned and clicked the tag #tdor. There were over 1300 posts and he scrolled through them slowly, closing his eyes when he was finished.
He had forgotten. He hadn’t remembered what 11/20 was. Sidney had been prickly all morning, snapping at people at practice and pushing away from Geno every chance she got. He had chalked it up to the game that evening versus the Caps.
But it wasn’t that. Or at least it wasn’t all that.
Geno got up from the couch and searched Sidney out. She was in her room, stretched out on the couch and reading something on her phone.
Sidney looked over at him, her face bare of makeup and looking so male it made Geno’s heart hurt for her. “Forgot what?”
“Transgender day of remembrance,” Geno said stumbling over the word remembrance. “I sorry I forgot.”
Sidney sighed and sat up, crossing her legs, her feet tucked under her thighs. “I don’t want to think about it right now. I have to concentrate on the game.”
“Is why you are upset?”
Sidney scowled at him. “Not now. Just … I can’t think about it if I want to be able to play. I have to focus on the game and then I’ll think about it.”
Geno chewed on his lower lip, looking at the way her hands trembled and her jaw was set. He nodded and moved to sit next to her.
Sidney pressed her lips together, looking down at her hands. “Please.”
“Okay,” Geno promised, reaching for one of her hands and squeezing firmly. She allowed it for a moment before pulling away and resettling her hands in her lap.
“We beat Ovi tonight. No celebrating with team. We come home,” Geno said calmly. “We light candles.”
Sidney nodded and picked up her phone again. “Go away.”
“Nap in one hour,” Geno reminded her as he got up. “I come get you.”
Geno looked at her for a long moment, at the sad expression and the slump of her shoulders. Her bare face was unusual for a game day, her toenails scrubbed clean of polish. She was sitting in a room surrounded by makeup and nail polish and she looked so lost. She looked like Sid, uncomfortable and alone in her skin.
He hated seeing her like this, wished there was a way to fix it, but for now, he could only do what she asked and go away.
Geno finished getting his gear on and was pulling his game sweater over his head when Sidney sat down next to him, a marker in her hand. She grabbed his hand, pulling it close, drawing a tiny transgender symbol on the inside of his wrist. Without a word, she turned her wrist up to show him a matching symbol.
Geno pressed his thumb to Sidney’s wrist, giving her a sad smile. She gestured a little with her head at Flower who was looking down at his own wrist.
“I did his as well.”
Geno pressed a kiss to her temple, pulling Sidney close. “Love you.”
“Love you too,” Sidney said before getting up. It was time for her speech and Geno watched her change into Sid the Captain, urging everyone in the room on and getting them ready.
They would win tonight. Geno knew, could see it before it happened, could see the fight it would be. Sid and Ovi, marquee players at the top of their games again, fighting for first place in the division.
And on the inside of her wrist, Sidney would carry a little mark, remembering the only way she could for now.
Live It, Love It Part 2 (February 2014, Sochi Olympics)
Geno ran his hand through his hair, wondering who the hell was knocking on his door this late. It wasn’t past curfew, but Team Russia had an early skate time tomorrow. Even Ovi had headed to his room already. Ilyusha was asleep in their shared dorm, snoring from his bedroom. Geno had been almost asleep himself.
“Sidney?” Geno blinked in surprise. “What you doing here?”
“Missed you,” Sidney said easily, pressing a hand to his chest and pushing him back into the room. She stripped off her coat and hat, tossing them on the couch. “This is totally a bootycall.”
“What?” asked Geno stupidly.
“Which one is your room?” asked Sidney, grabbing his hand.
Geno pointed and let Sidney drag him into his bedroom, shutting the door behind them and blocking out Ilya’s snores. “Jonny let you out?”
“Jonny’s busy with Kaner,” Sidney said easily, pulling her shirt off over her head. Geno watched the way the muscles of her back flexed, his eyes drifting to an angry bruise on her side.
“Wait,” Geno said, finally getting with the program. “You here for sex?”
Sidney turned to look at him, her face suddenly unsure. “Yes. Unless you don’t want to.”
Geno was not an idiot. Sex was something that was usually planned out and talked about to death before it happened. If Sidney was feeling spontaneous and pressing the issue, Geno was not going to say no.
“Yes,” Geno said quickly, stripping off his own shirt and pushing down his sweats. “Not have to tell me twice.”
“Actually I did,” Sidney said with a laugh, mostly naked except for her underwear. Which were red and lacy and fuck, she must have worn those on purpose. He loved her in panties. She wound her arms around Geno’s neck, kissing him deeply. He got with the program quickly, sliding his hands to her ass and squeezing.
Sidney gasped against his mouth. “I wish, but not while we’re playing hockey every day.”
“What you want?” asked Geno, his hips grinding in small circles already. She was hard as well, pressing back against him.
“Go down on me. I’ll blow you afterwards,” Sidney promised. She scratched her blunt nails against his scalp. “Please.”
Geno grabbed her behind her thighs, picking her up and tossing her on the bed. Sidney laughed, flushed and happy. Geno got on the bed, pushing her legs apart and pressing kisses on her smooth inner thighs. He nipped lightly at her hip before carefully tugging her panties down and pulling them off.
“Pillow,” Geno said his voice low and rough. She handed it to him and he shoved it under her hips, getting her at a better angle.
Geno loved her ass. He made no bones about it and he loved going down on her. It was one of her favorite things and once they had figured that out, their sex life had picked up considerably. She had confessed that it was close enough to her fantasy of him eating her out that she could easily get lost in the sensations and forget that it was her ass, not her pussy.
Sidney was ridiculously responsive tonight as he parted her cheeks, pressing his mouth to her pucker, his tongue flicking out teasingly. She grabbed his hair, tugging lightly and letting her legs fall open as far as she could. Geno loved the noises she made, low groans and high pitched gasps.
Geno pressed his tongue in, sharp jabs alternating with long, slow licks. He gripped her thighs with his hands, holding her open and keeping her pinned to the bed. She was wet with saliva, messy and dripping just the way she liked it.
Geno groaned against Sidney’s skin, circling his hips against the bed. Sidney gripped his head, pressing him against her ass roughly even as she grabbed one of his hands with her own and brought it up to her dick.
Geno almost stopped at that, his rhythm stuttering in surprise. Normally she refused to let him touch her. She could get off without that when he was rimming her. In three years, he could count on one hand the number of times he’d touched her dick during sex.
“Want you to,” Sidney gasped, leaning up a bit to look at him. “Please Geno.”
Geno pulled back briefly, his hand on her dick. He pressed a kiss to her inner thigh before nodding. “Okay.”
“Good,” Sidney said, flopping back on the bed. She carded her fingers through his hair, pressing him back down.
Geno took the hint and started to rim her again, going faster, switching up his technique to keep her moaning constantly. He barely moved his hand on her, instead pressing his thumb under the head, making small circles there. He might not touch her dick often, but he knew what she liked.
“Geno,” Sidney whined, her hips circling against his mouth. Geno doubled his efforts at that, pushing her over quickly as she came with a shout, spilling over his hand and clenched around his tongue.
Geno stroked her through it slowly before pulling his hand back. He settled back on his knees, watching as she panted, her face red and sweaty, her eyes glazed over.
“Watch me,” Geno said firmly, making her focus on him before he brought his hand up to him mouth and licked her come off his hand. Her dick twitched at that and she groaned again.
“Fuck Geno,” Sidney said, grabbing him by the shoulders and pulling him down to kiss him, open-mouthed and messy. Geno was always so glad that she wasn’t weird about him going ass to mouth because he really hated having to stop and go brush his teeth.
Sidney flipped him, grinning down at Geno with a filthy smirk. “I believe I promised you a blowjob.”
“If you insist,” Geno said magnanimously. Sidney smacked his side lightly and he started to laugh. She did as well, leaning in to kiss him again. His laughter turned into a groan as she gripped his cock, stroking steadily before moving down to take him into her mouth.
Geno, as much as he loved Sidney’s ass, really loved Sidney’s mouth. She was amazingly creative with her tongue and took to sucking cock like a pro once she realized how much control she had in that position.
Tonight though there was no need for creativity or even much skill. He was already so turned on from going down on her that all it took was her sucking him deep and bobbing her head.
Geno gripped her shoulder tightly as he shouted her name, coming hard and fast. She pulled back, making a face. Geno panted, but grabbed a tissue, handing it over to her so she could spit. Sidney liked giving blowjobs, but hated to swallow. Geno was fine with that and did his best to warn her.
Sidney collapsed against him, resting her head on his shoulder and slipping one of her legs between his. He turned into her a little, pulling her close and pressing a kiss to her hair.
“That was great,” Sidney murmured, her voice rough. “Did you like it?”
Geno laughed, a low rumbling chuckle. “Loved it. What brought it on?”
Sidney pressed a kiss against his chest. “Kaner was over and he and Jonny are not quiet. I was just sitting there listening and decided to screw it and come have sex with you instead of listening to them and feeling sorry for myself that the Russian dorms are so far from the Canadian ones when the American dorms are right next door.”
“So you sneak out to come have sex with me,” Geno said with a happy grin. “You the best.”
Sidney laughed, reaching for the blanket with her foot to pull it over them. “I also miss sleeping with you. I’ve been half-tempted to ask Jonny to share a bed but that would be weird. Jonny and I are already weird enough together.”
Geno shook his head. “Jonny much weirder than you. He sleep with Kaner by choice.”
“Set an alarm,” Sidney said, settling against him again. “I want to sleep here for a few hours.”
“Okay,” Geno said easily, grabbing his phone and setting the alarm.
There was a knock on the door and Ilya stuck his head in, looking angry and still half-asleep. “I hate you both. Next time go to Sidney’s room. You both are so loud.”
“Sorry Ilyusha,” Geno said without any real apology in his voice. Sidney just laughed and pulled the covers over her head. “Go back to sleep.”
Ilya pointed a finger at him. “I will get you back for this. And Ovi will help.”
“Yes yes. Hit light for me?”
Ilya sighed and turned out the light before slamming the door shut. Sidney poked her head back out, grinning at him happily.
“Next time we can totally scar Jonny for life.”
Geno laughed, so happy to hear that she wanted to do this again while they were in Sochi. He’d been expecting two weeks of barely seeing her and having to keep his hands to himself when they were together. This was much better.
I Hear Them On the Stairs (February 2014, Sochi Olympics)
Geno grinned widely, scrubbing his wet hair with a towel as he watched Sanja and Sasha laughing at each as they all celebrated the victory against Slovakia. While they couldn’t go out and really party to celebrate making it to the next round, there would certainly be room parties and everyone knew that Sanja would make it happen.
Bilyaletdinov walked into the room, ignoring the rest of the players as he headed towards Geno. “Malkin, you need to come with me.”
Geno frowned at him. “Now?”
“Unfortunately yes,” Bilyaletdinov said with a frown as well. “This is not my choice.”
Geno looked back towards where Bilyaletdinov had come from and saw two men in suits and a Russian official. “How much trouble am I in?”
“It could be a lot. They better not take you out during the games,” Bilyaletdinov muttered. “Hurry.”
“Shit,” Geno said quietly as he got dressed, his hands trembling a little as he did his tie. He saw Sergei watching and Geno gave him a little shake of his head before pointing at his gear. Sergei nodded and Geno just grabbed his Olympic ID and wallet before following Bilyaletdinov out of the room.
“This way,” the official said, his expression blank. The other two men fell in behind Geno and Bilyaletdinov didn’t follow. Geno turned to him and Bilyaletdinov gave him a grim look. He was so fucked.
One of the men opened a door, revealing a small room with a table and two chairs and no windows. Geno stepped inside, his hands balled into fists.
“Evgeni, please sit.” The official gestured at the second chair in the room. “My name is Kuimov.”
Geno nodded a little, sitting across from him. The other two men flanked the door and Geno could see holsters under their jackets now. He was really, really fucked.
“We need to have a conversation about Sidney Crosby,” Kuimov said, folding his hands on the table. “Russia is aware of your relationship with Mr. Crosby. So far we have tolerated it because you have done good things for your country and we assumed you would know to concentrate completely on hockey during the Olympic Games. We were quite disappointed to learn of Mr. Crosby’s visit to your rooms the other night.”
“Athletes are allowed to visit other athletes.”
“You are not stupid, Evgeni, so please do not act that way. As I said, we tolerated it when the two of you were in Moscow during your summer visit. I would assume you plan to do it again this summer. I would strongly suggest that you not see Mr. Crosby again during these games if you would like to continue to come back to Russia during the summer with him.”
Geno swallowed nervously. “And if I do not agree?”
“You have a very lovely family. Your parents and brother are good Russians. It would be a shame for them to suffer because of your deviant behavior,” Kuimov gave him a knowing smile. “You are aware that you are not the type of person Russia wants to have around. We could easily take you into custody right now.”
“I am aware of the laws and the actions Russia has taken against its gay citizens and those who support gay rights.” Geno tried to stay calm, his heart pounding at the idea of his parents and brother being threatened, of his own freedom being threatened.
“We feel the same way about transgender people as well.” Kuimov reached into his pocket, pulling out a photo and sliding it across to Geno. “Perhaps you should take a look.”
Geno took it with trembling fingers. It was Sidney from this past summer, the two of them sitting in Geno’s living room. She was obviously wearing womens clothing and makeup in the picture. A pair of flats were by the couch as Geno painted Sidney’s toes. His blood ran cold.
“You’re spying on me?”
“You’re a very important person to the Russian government. Your status as an international athlete, a very successful one I might add, is something we need to keep an eye on. And obviously now we need to keep an eye on Miss Crosby.”
“Are you going to hurt her?” asked Geno, hating the way Kuimov said Miss Crosby. He forced himself not to visibly react to the taunt. “Are you going to tell?”
Kuimov took the picture back, sliding it into his pocket. “We have no reason to at this time. I am quite sure you will not be seeing Mr. Crosby again during the games unless it is on the ice. We cannot stop you when you leave our country and return to the United States. Provided you play well for Russia, we will not stop you coming back this summer with Mr. Crosby either. In fact, we want you to return to Russia during the summer as you always have.”
Geno nodded sharply. “I agree. I will not see Sidney unless we are on the ice. I will play hard for Russia.”
“Good,” Kuimov stood up, gesturing for Geno to do the same. “We will allow you to call him to inform him of the fact you need to concentrate on hockey and will see him when you return to Pittsburgh.”
“Thank you for your consideration,” Geno said, waiting until the door opened.
“Evgeni,” Kuimov said right before Geno walked out. “If you do not comply, you may not be returning to Pittsburgh. We have every legal right to arrest you the moment you leave the Olympic Village. At that point you are a Russian citizen again and the neutrality of the Olympic Village is gone.”
“Yes sir,” Geno acknowledged, stepping out into the hallway. He felt disoriented and sick. He put one foot in front of the other and headed back to the locker room. Bilyaletdinov was waiting, his expression sad.
“I am sorry, Evgeni,” he said quietly. “What was their decision?”
“I will play hard for Russia,” Geno said just as quietly. “And hope they don’t arrest me once I am out of the Olympic Village.”
Bilyaletdinov put a hand on Geno’s shoulder, squeezing firmly. “Gonchar and Kovlchuk are waiting for you. I suggest you spend your time with them.” He leaned in, his voice dropping. “Tell Crosby to be just as careful.”
Geno nodded and let Bilyaletdinov direct him towards the exit where Sergei and Ilya were waiting. He found them, Sergei carrying his gear. He took his coat first and pulled it on with shaking hands.
“How bad?” asked Sergei lowly.
“I suppose I should be glad that I am so well-known,” Geno replied. “It would be hard for Russia’s captain to disappear.”
Geno heard Ilya’s sharp inhale at that and knew both Sergei and Ilya were staring at him. He kept putting on his winter gear, wrapping his face in a scarf. “We must get back. I am sure Sanja has something planned for the evening.”
“We ignore this then?” asked Ilya hotly.
“Yes,” Sergei answered for him. “This did not happen. Zhenya is going to play hard for Russia and then get out of the country as soon as possible.”
No one said anything else as they opened the door, bracing themselves for the cold. Geno thought about running, asking for asylum from Canada or one of the other nations. He shut his eyes tightly at that, his heart clenching. He might as well arrest his parents and Denis himself.
“Keep walking,” Sergei said firmly. “No thoughts, Zhenya. Just hockey.”
“Yes,” Ilya echoed. “Just hockey.”
Geno nodded. That’s all he needed to focus on for now. One foot in front of the other and hockey. There were only ten more days left in what Geno knew was his last Olympic games.
Kris Letang (April 2014)
Once Flower, Max, and Sergei knew, Sidney decided it was only fair to tell Tanger the truth as well. The four of them spent so long keeping her from being bothered in clubs or by teammates, she owed him the truth.
Geno was out back grilling and Tanger was critiquing every move Geno made with the burgers. Geno just rolled his eyes and he took the beer Sidney handed him without a word. Tanger took his as well and grinned widely.
“C’mon G. Everyone knows Russians can’t grill.”
“Like you can,” Geno huffed. Sidney snorted at that, thinking of how often Tanger had tried to grill and instead served pizza.
“Eh, it’s not really a French-Canadian thing.” Tanger shrugged and looked over at Sidney. “So go on and tell me whatever you have to tell me.”
Sidney looked at him, a little surprised. “What do you mean?”
“We don’t exactly hang out much these days so I figured there was something you guys had to tell me when you invited me over out of the blue.”
“Oh,” Sidney rubbed the back of her neck, looking over at Geno. He gave her a smile of support. “I kind of had a speech planned actually.”
Geno groaned. “No. Speech was bad. Don’t use speech.”
“You wrote a speech?”
“It’s easier when there is a speech,” Sidney protested. “Or else I just say something stupid and people think I’m dying!”
Tanger coughed at that, sputtering around the sip of beer. “You’re not dying right?”
“No, not dying.” Sidney sighed and looked up at the sky with a huff. “I’m transgender.”
Tanger stepped back immediately, setting the beer down with a look of disgust and horror on his face. “Why are you telling me this?”
“I … thought I should,” Sidney said haltingly, unsure. “You helped take care of me when I was younger. Kept people away. I wanted to tell you the truth.”
“That’s really fucking selfish of you,” Tanger spat back, running a hand through his hair. “No one needs to know that.”
“Kris,” Geno said warningly, his voice low.
“Hey, no. It’s fine. I know something I never wanted to know about anyone ever and it’s one of my best friends.” Tanger shok his head. “Let’s just pretend you never told me this and I will never say anything.”
“People know,” Sidney said, her hands clenched in fists. “Flower. Max. They know too.”
Tanger held up his hands. “Great. Good for them. I’m still going to pretend I never heard this.”
“Okay,” Sidney said weakly.
“I’m going to go. I’ll see you at practice.”
“You’ll still listen to me on the ice, right?” asked Sidney, straightening her shoulders and fixing him with her best captain stare.
Tanger tilted his chin up, staring back at her. “You still wear the C, I still want another Cup, and we’re all here for a long time together.”
“We can keep up a working relationship then,” Sidney said firmly. “Just don’t tell anyone what I told you.”
Tanger snorted. “Yeah, no chance of that. Who would believe me anyway?”
The back door slammed behind him, leaving Sidney and Geno standing on the patio in shock. Geno moved to take the burgers off the grill before they burned, setting them on a plate.
“That was … unexpected.” Sidney looked at Geno with a furrowed brow. “I didn’t think I had read the signs so badly.”
“Is shock maybe?” Geno suggested. “Might change his mind.”
“I don’t know what to think right now.”
Geno pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Is okay. Tanger feel how he feel. Other people feel how they feel. We still a team, still going to play hard as a team.”
“I hope so. I can’t have my best D-man undermining me or not backing me up on the ice.”
“Tanger not do that.”
“I hope so,” Sidney said softly, feeling a little embarrassed. There was a sharp hurt in her chest from Tanger’s reaction and she didn’t want to think about it. He was the first person who hadn’t been at least supportive to her face. She knew that Mario still wasn’t comfortable with it, but he tried and he loved her and he never shied away from treating her as a woman. She knew that what she was telling people wasn’t easy to understand, not when she looked the way she does.
“Hey,” Geno said, turning her in his arms. “Love you.”
“I love you too,” Sidney echoed, trying not to think of the look on Tanger’s face. Unfortunately she knew she was never going to forget it.
Claude Giroux - And Danny Briere and all three of Danny Briere’s kids (July 2014)
Sidney ended up being friends with Claude in a really roundabout way because she mostly hated him, thought he’s a complete douche, and nowhere near as good as people thought he was. But they were on the Olympic team together and she was the captain so she has to make nice and she does. They talk a few times, stiltedly on the phone. When the team got together, they are polite. It worked.
It was Max who finally pushed, calling Sidney and asking if she can talk to Claude. Which hello, she has been doing that and it has been totally successful until Max told her it was not about hockey really. It was about Danny and how Danny not being there was starting to affect his play and his captaincy.
And Sidney felt kind of awful because she knew how much it sucked to be separated from someone you love.
So she called and they talked to each other about being in love with someone who wasn’t always in the same zipcode (or country) and she only called Claude a douche once and he only called her a bag of dicks twice, but he thanked her softly at the end of the call.
By the time the Olympics do roll around they aren't friends, but they were friendly. Claude joined in on the pedicure party that Jonny threw, stoically explaining how it worked last time and it wasn't a bad idea to try it again. Turned out Jonny has been doing it during the playoffs since the last Olympics.
Claude bragged about his (Danny’s) kids way too much, claiming they were all amazing at hockey and here, just watch this video. Sidney watched a few to shut him up. Caelen and Carson were good, better than most kids their age, but Cameron was actually amazing. Sidney made Claude show her a few more videos of the kid playing and she instantly knew he could be good, really good. NHL first round good.
And that was how she ended up inviting Claude, Danny, and all three of Danny’s kids to spend a few weeks in Pittsburgh with her and Geno and their trainers. She couldn’t skate - which she was still really pissed off about; her leg was healed! - but she could tell them what to do.
Right now she wanted to kill everyone who has ever told her that talking with Claude Giroux was a good idea. In fact she wanted to go back and kill Claude’s parents just so Claude would never exist because he wass standing in the fucking kitchen holding a nightie and asking which one of them wass the kinky one with a stupid fucking smirk on his stupid fucking face.
“Did you go in my bedroom?” Sidney squeaked out, grabbing at the nightie that Claude held above his head like he wasn't a couple of inches shorter and weighed less than her.
“Yeah and I totally get the nail polish thing, but that’s a lot of makeup in there, man.”
And Sidney paled because he didn’t go in her bedroom, he went in her room. “You fucking asshole! Do you just go around opening random doors in people’s houses?”
Sidney pushed him hard, sending Claude sprawling backwards against the refrigerator. “What the actual fuck, Sid?”
“I can’t believe you would break someone’s trust like that! You’re a guest and you’re opening random doors and going into my room and I fucking hate you so much!”
Sidney brought her arm back to punch him, but Geno grabbed it, stopping her from punching Claude in the face. “Let me go!”
“No,” Geno said, his face stormy. He glared at Claude, moving in and crowding him back against the refrigerator. “What the hell you doing?”
“I thought it was Taylor’s stuff,” Claude said, staring up at Geno like he had never seen him before. “It was a joke.”
“My life is not a fucking joke!” Sidney screamed at him.
Danny grabbed at her, pulling her away and trying to pull Geno away from Claude at the same time. It wasn't working and Sidney struggled against Danny who was a strong little fucker.
“What the hell is going on?” Danny shouted over all of them.
“Your boyfriend is a fucking asshole!”
“He go in her room!” Geno grabbed Sidney away from Danny. “Nobody go in her room without permission.”
“Here’s the fucking nightie back. Jesus,” Claude said, throwing the nightie in Sidney’s direction. Danny was the one who caught it and he stared at Claude like he was insane.
“Her?” asked Danny.
“I’m a fucking woman okay!” Sidney shouted at him, grabbing the nightie away. “And no one goes in my room!”
Claude was silent, staring at her in shock. Danny was no better and through the red haze of anger, she registered the boys standing in the kitchen doorway. Sidney slumped to the ground, clutching the nightie - and it wasn't even one she really likeed - in her hands.
“Well shit,” Claude said, sitting down heavily as well. “Sid, I’m sorry.”
Sidney looked at him disbelievingly and huffed out an angry laugh. “You’re such an asshole. Why would you do that?”
“Because I’m an asshole who thought it would be funny to tease you about your sex life,” Claude admitted. “I didn’t know. I thought it was Taylor’s room and I found the nightie in a laundry basket in your bedroom.”
“You are such an idiot. Sidney is not Scotty or Schenner. You can't treat him the same. ” Danny said quietly.
Geno was still seething with anger, his hands balled into fists. The boys hadn’t moved from the doorway and Sidney looked at all of them in turn. No one seemed horrified, just shocked.
“You say anything, tell anyone, I kill you,” Geno said, his voice low. “I not joking either. I do anything to keep her safe.”
“We wouldn’t,” Danny said, moving towards the boys and making them come in the room. “None of us would. We all know how to keep secrets.”
Claude reached out and squeezed Sidney’s knee firmly. She stared at his hand for a moment, covering it with her own and squeezing briefly before pushing him away.
“Don’t touch,” Geno spat out immediately, sitting on the floor and blocking Sidney from Claude. Sidney leaned forward and pressed her face against Geno’s shoulder, scooting closer to him.
“I’m a woman,” Sidney said quietly, the kitchen silent except for her. “We can give you information and you can leave if you want, but don’t tell anyone.”
“We’re not leaving,” Caelen said before Claude or Danny could talk. “Claude’s a dick, but the rest of us are normal people.”
“Caelen, do not call Claude a dick.”
“He kind of is, Dad,” Caelen said, sitting on the floor as well. Carson and Cameron sat down too. Danny followed because he was the only one standing and that was just silly. “Information would be good.”
Sidney felt Geno’s muscles flex as he shifted on the ground. She pressed a kiss to his shoulder. “Geno, can you go get the pamphlets?”
It was silly but Geno loved those damn pamphlets from PFLAG, loved to give them to people and explain to them that there was nothing wrong with Sidney. He kept a stack of them in his desk just in case.
No one said anything while he was gone, Claude moving closer to Danny who put an arm around him even though Sidney could tell Danny was still pissed at him. She was still pissed at him.
Geno came back in and distributed the pamphlets with a scowl, sitting down half in front of Sidney again. “Read.”
“I need a drink,” Sidney said after a moment, nudging Geno lightly. “You?”
“I think we all need a drink,” Claude said, looking up briefly. “The boys too.”
Danny opened his mouth to protest, but gave in, shrugging. “Go ahead. Just beer though.”
Sidney grabbed six bottles of beer, her hands a little shaky as she popped off the caps. She distributed them around, watching as Cameron took the beer with wide eyes. He was only fourteen, she remembered.
“Only one,” Danny said to the boys firmly. “So make it last.”
“Den more comfortable,” Geno said after a moment. “Better than kitchen floor.”
Everyone clambered to their feet, Geno leading the way. Claude hung back, reaching for Sidney’s arm to stop her.
“I am sorry. It was a dick move on my part.”
“It was,” she said, pulling her arm away. “I haven’t forgiven you. I never planned on telling you.”
“I got that.” Claude rubbed the back of his neck. “It won’t be weird, not with us.”
Sidney narrowed her eyes, trying to decide if she could believe him or not. At this point, she didn't have much of a choice really. It was out there.
“Good. Just don’t tell anyone.”
Claude nodded before a grin spread across his face. “Does this mean I should start calling you a bag of cunts?”
Sidney groaned and pushed him away from her. “I really, really hate you.”
Put a Ring On It Part 1 (July 2016)
Taylor was going to kill whomever was calling her this late. She squinted at the clock in her bedroom. It was two fucking am which meant the only person who would be calling was Geno. Sometimes Taylor hated Geno. Like right now. And all the other times he’s called her at ass o’clock in the morning over the last five years since he started dating Sidney.
“I hate you and I’m going to change my phone number and never tell you what it is,” Taylor mumbled into the phone. “Seriously, Geno. It’s 2 am.”
“Need help,” Geno said, talking fast and low. “Want to propose but don’t know what ring and need permission from you and not sure how to ask.”
Taylor rolled onto her back and opened her eyes, trying to process everything Geno had said. He had been back in Russia long enough speaking only Russian that his English was even harder to understand.
“Back up for me. You want to propose?” asked Taylor. Ryan snuffled into the pillow next to her and she patted his shoulder until he settled back down.
“Yes,” Geno hissed into the phone. “Need to marry before transition.”
Taylor sighed and got out of bed, slipping on a pair of slippers and grabbing a hoodie. “Geno, do you want to marry Sidney only because of that?”
“No! Sidney not transition for a while. Want to marry now because I love her,” Geno said before politely saying something to someone else in Russian. “Please help.”
“Isn’t this something that can wait until the morning when I’m awake and have had coffee?” asked Taylor, flopping on the couch.
“I at jewelry store now. Very fancy. Feel like going to throw up because I not know what to get her,” Geno huffed. “Don’t want to make sad.”
“Are you looking for a public or private ring now?”
“Private,” Geno confirmed. “Not going to propose with wrong ring.”
“Get something tasteful, not a huge honking diamond that she’s going to hate. Do Russians do tasteful jewelry?”
“You awful sister-in-law.”
“Lies and falsehoods,” Taylor said easily. “Buy her something that looks antique. Or buy her some antique ring that’s going to cost more than your first house did.”
“My first house cost a lot,” Geno said cautiously.
“I wasn’t being serious! Look, I’ll stay on the phone with you. Walk around the store, take some pictures of rings you like and send them to me.”
Taylor closed her eyes, trying not to drift off to sleep again as Geno wandered through some unknown ‘very fancy’ Russian jewelry store. There was a lot of Russian in her ear and while she understood very little of it, she kind of understood why Sidney found it soothing to listen to Geno speak his native tongue.
“Okay I send,” Geno said after awhile. “Still awake?”
“Kind of,” Taylor yawned and pulled up the pictures on her phone. “Alright the first one is a huge no. It’s like some gigantic diamond surrounded by lots of other tiny diamonds in a horrible pattern. It’s an engagement ring, not a Cup ring.”
“Not look at second picture then.”
“I said tasteful,” Taylor sighed, pulling up the third picture. She flipped through the next couple. “None of these really scream Sidney.”
“I know,” Geno sounded desperate. “I can’t find right one.”
“You don’t have to buy right now,” Taylor reminded him. “You have time.”
“This eighth store I go to this week.”
“Take your mom. I’m sure she’d love to help you pick out a ring.”
Geno was quiet for a moment. “Mama okay with Sid. Not okay with Sidney.”
“Oh,” Taylor said softly. “Maybe Ksenia?”
“She and Seryozha on vacation. Sasha no help in matters like this. Never calling Ilyusha again for help on gift for Sidney. Oksana think I silly for panicking over ring and keep hanging up. Only Sanja and Masha around and they not know.”
“Ovi can never know,” Taylor said fervently. “I do not want to deal with an Ovechkin related breakdown.”
“What I do, Taylor?” asked Geno. “Sidney coming in four days.”
“You’re going to propose when she comes over?” asked Taylor, sitting up straight. “Like, now now?”
“Yes. Why I need help with ring!”
“Okay. Here’s what we’re going to do. I am going to go back to sleep. You are going to sit down and google fucking wedding rings and find something you like. Send me links. I will tell you what I like and what I think Sidney will like and then you find some unsuspecting salesperson and beat them into submission until they provide you with a ring.”
“And that work?”
“You’re Evgeni fucking Malkin and you are in Moscow. Did you or did not win Worlds for Russia again last month? Of course it’s going to work!”
“Maybe not worst sister-in-law,” Geno said grudgingly. “You give permission?”
“Permission for what?” asked Taylor.
“Permission to marry Sidney. I can’t ask parents to marry Sidney since they not know. I ask permission to marry Sid already and they give. Only you can give permission for me to marry Sidney.”
“Geno,” Taylor breathed out. “Of course you have my permission to marry her. How could I ever say no?”
“Maybe not think marriage best thing for her. Not while she still not woman.”
“You don’t plan on going anywhere when she does transition, right?” asked Taylor seriously.
“Never,” Geno said just as seriously. “I been waiting too. Want my Sidney forever.”
“Then my answer is yes. Now let me go back to sleep and I’ll call you in a few hours.”
“Love you,” Geno said. “Sorry I wake. Again.”
“Yeah well at least this time I was just sleeping.”
Geno made a noise of displeasure. “That boy there now?”
“Yes, Ryan is here now. He has a name.”
“I know, I know. I suppose it okay.” Geno huffed. “Go sleep. No sex. Think about ring.”
“You think about rings,” Taylor said as she shuffled back into the bedroom. “Goodbye, Geno.”
Taylor hung up the phone, yawning wide enough for her jaw to crack. Ryan opened one eye as she climbed back into bed. “Geno again?”
“I keep hoping he’ll learn about time zones,” Taylor yawned again and curled around Ryan. “Go back to sleep.”
“M’kay. Tell me in the morning,” Ryan said as he drifted off back to sleep. Taylor wasn’t that far behind.
And she didn’t dream about engagement rings. Not a one. Nope.
Sometimes she really hated Geno.
Put a Ring On It Part Two (August 2016)
When Geno had told his mom that he'd proposed to Sidney, she had shouted happily into the phone, babbling about her baby getting married. After ten minutes of her talking to him and then to Sidney in half-English and half-Russian, she had calmed down enough to ask if he was marrying Sidney as a boy or girl. Geno had frowned a little before answering that Sidney was still a woman but for appearance sake, it would be a gay marriage.
Natalia hummed into the phone, said something about wives and then hung up. Geno looked at the phone in surprise. Sidney did as well, chewing on her lip. Neither of them had a clue what that meant.
The next morning they found out when Geno opened the door and found his father loaded down with luggage and grocery bags. His father gave him a longsuffering look as his mother pushed her way into the house.
Sidney looked like a deer in headlights, dressed in a sundress and wearing makeup. Geno's parents might know but she had always been careful not to appear female around them.
Natalia grabbed Sidney's hand, looking at the ring before hugging Sidney tightly and kissing her cheeks. She spoke rapidly in Russian, way too fast for Sidney to follow along.
Geno took the bags of groceries from his father. "She say ring is beautiful and if daughter-in-law you must learn Russian cooking." Geno smiled brightly. "Mama, you're okay with this?"
"Zhenya, if you are getting married to Sidney your father and I will learn to accept it. But he must learn how to take care of you properly."
Sidney was hugging Geno's father, her eyes still wide. Vladimir took her face in his hands and smiled at her warmly. "Welcome to family."
"First lesson," Natalia called out as she headed to the kitchen. "Borscht! Come Sidney."
Vladimir headed to the guest bedroom with the luggage, leaving Sidney and Geno alone. "What just happened?"
"Mama and Papa decide it okay if you a woman since we marry now. Mama says you must learn how to cook and take care of me properly."
“I take care of you just fine.” Sidney slapped his arm. "Should I change and take off my makeup?"
"Change. Borscht messy and that new dress. Leave makeup."
Geno carried the grocery bags into the kitchen. Natalia was already getting out pots and knives.
"Where should I put the bags?"
"On the table," Natalia set the butcher knife on the counter. "Does Sidney dress like that often?"
"When we're at home. Please be okay with it. She is comfortable here and this is our home. I’m not going to ask her to stop.”
“Zhenya,” Natalia said firmly. “Did I ask you to make him change? I was asking a question.”
Geno slumped a little, looking guilty. “Sorry. I’m just so used to having to defend Sidney dressing like a woman. You never want to talk about her.”
“It is not right but it is what it is. I love you and refuse to lose you because I won’t accept Sidney the way he is. Your father feels the same way.”
Geno exhaled slowly. “Thank you. It means so much to have your support. We haven’t said anything to her parents so having you in our corner helps.”
Natalia patted his arm gently. “He doesn’t look much like a woman.”
“No,” Geno agreed sadly. “Her body is very masculine from years of hockey. Once she stops playing and starts taking hormones, it might help a little. There’s only so much that can be done since she is going to transition later in life.”
Natalia frowned. “Breasts will help.”
Geno smiled before pulling his mother into his arms. “Thank you, Mama.”
Sidney came back into the room wearing one of Geno’s old Metallurg shirts and a peasant skirt. “Your father is watching television and says that you should join him. There’s a game of football on.”
Geno nodded and let go of his mother. He kissed Sidney lightly before leaving her alone with Natalia. Sidney fidgeted for a moment before setting her jaw and nodding briefly.
“Talk slow,” Sidney said in Russian, stumbling over her pronunciation. “Understand more. Speak less.”
Natalia patted her cheek with a smile. “And you learn Russian. Good girl. You will make a good wife to my Zhenya.”
Sidney smiled back. “Want to be wife. Love him.”
Natalia took her hand. “Your Russian is awful. Zhenya is obviously a bad teacher. Vladimir will teach you from now on.”
Sidney furrowed her brow, parsing Natalia’s words before nodding. “He try. English easier now. Teach Russian hard.”
“Beets,” Natalia said in English, pointing them out to Sidney. “Chop first. Borscht Zhenya’s favorite. Must learn best.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said seriously. “Geno scared you not love because me.” She gestured at herself. “Is hard for him. Me being like this. Needs you.”
Natalia turned to Sidney, taking her face in her hands. She spoke slowly in Russian, hoping Sidney knew enough to understand.
“We will always support Evgeni and therefore, will always support you. Our love is not conditional.”
Sidney closed her eyes and pressed her lips together. She exhaled slowly before opening her eyes again, blinking back tears. “Thank you so much.”
Natalia pulled her into another hug, squeezing tightly. She pulled back and handed Sidney a knife. “Time to chop beets.”
“Yes ma’am,” Sidney said, wiping her eyes and picking up a beet. “Teach me how to cook for Zhenya.”
The Rhythm of the War Drums (Winter 2017)
Geno set down a beer in front of Troy and handed a glass of wine to Trina. Sidney was fidgeting a little and when Geno sat back down, he pressed a hand to Sidney’s thigh. So far dinner had gone well. Troy and Trina were at least acting like they were all part of the same family instead of trying to ignore his presence.
Of course they had no idea if that would continue once Sidney told them that she was transgender. They had decided they had to tell Sidney’s parents after they were married. Sidney had put it off for so long that it was starting to feel a little ridiculous.
Geno wished his parents were there as well, but they were spending the evening at Taylor’s while Troy and Trina were at Sidney’s. Not that they could help much since Troy and Trina spoke no Russian and their English was spotty at best.
“So,” Sidney said abruptly, playing with her napkin. “Geno and I need to talk to you about something.”
“Well, that’s promising,” Troy said blandly. “The last time you said that you told us you were dating him.”
“Which we’ve accepted,” Trina pointed out. “Geno is a lovely man and so far it hasn’t seemed to hurt either of your careers.”
Sidney took a deep breath, looking over at Geno for support. Geno smiled at her warmly, squeezing her hand firmly.
“Mom. Dad. I'm … okay, please understand that what I’m about to say isn’t coming out of nowhere for me.” She bit her lip, her hand trembling. “I’m transgender.”
Trina furrowed her brow. “Excuse me?”
“I’m transgender. I’m a woman,” Sidney said, her voice shaking. “Just not physically.”
“Oh you have to be kidding me,” Troy spat out. “Being gay wasn’t enough? You’re a woman?”
“I told you that I was a girl when I five,” Sidney shot back at him. “You told me not to ever say that again. I spent years thinking I was some kind of freak because I didn’t feel like a boy.”
Trina looked at Troy. “When did he tell you that?”
“We were talking about hockey. It was after a practice, I think. Like I really thought he was telling me the truth. I didn’t think it was anything important. Just something a kid says.”
Geno cleared his throat. “Not time to argue. We explain if you listen.”
Trina pointed at him. “You stay out of this. As far as I’m concerned this is all your fault. Him being gay and now this.”
Geno clenched his hands into fists, forcing himself to stay quiet. He knew he couldn’t fight back, not right now. One of them needed to remain calm and during one of their many sessions with Pamela making a plan for this event, it was decided Geno needed to keep his cool.
Sidney had no qualms though, reaching up and smacking her mother’s hand down. “Don’t you blame him for anything. I wouldn’t be half as well-adjusted as I am now without him.”
“Don’t you touch your mother like that,” Troy said sharply.
Sidney slumped back in her chair, her head down and her hand over her mouth. Geno leaned over and pressed a kiss to her temple.
“I can’t believe you would say something like that,” Trina finally said. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous this sounds?”
“Yes,” Sidney said quietly. “I do. It doesn’t make it any less true.”
Troy shook his head. “You’re a hockey player. You’re obviously a man. I mean look at you.”
“I am well aware of how I look. I see myself in the mirror every single day.” Sidney pressed her lips together into a thin line. “I am not going to look like this forever.”
Troy visibly recoiled. “You’re going to make yourself look like a freak? Those people don’t even look like women.”
“I am one of those people, Dad. And I’ll have you know I can look very pretty,” Sidney said, looking at her father defiantly. “I’m not a freak. I stopped thinking like that when I got an official diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria in 2011. So I have had a lot of time to come to terms with who I am.”
“2011?” Trina’s voice wobbled. “You’ve known since 2011 and only told us now?”
“Yes,” Sidney said, her voice trembling as well. “Because I was pretty sure this would be your reaction and I wasn’t able to handle this reaction then. I have the tools to handle it now even though it stills hurts like hell to hear you say these things.”
“We prepare for this conversation for long time,” Geno said quietly. He reached up to wipe away a tear that was tracking down Sidney’s cheek. “We prepare for worst, hope for best.”
“You married him knowing this?” Trina stared at Sidney, tears tracking down her face as well.
“I marry Sidney twice. Once as man. Once as woman.” Geno handed Trina a napkin. “Second wedding she in gown. Look beautiful.” He turned his gaze to Troy, his voice hardening. “Not a freak.”
“Does your sister know?”
“She was the first person I told. She has stood by me this whole time. And she stood by me when I married Geno both times.”
“People are going to find out,” Troy snapped out. “This is going to destroy everything you worked for all these years. All you’re going to be is that hockey player who thinks he’s a woman.”
“I’ve got to go,” Trina said, standing up and shaking her head. “I can’t sit here and listen to this nonsense any longer. When you come to your senses, call us. Until then, I don’t want to hear from you.”
Troy got up as well, putting his arm around Trina’s shoulders. “I don’t know what your end game is here, but this is insane and we won’t be a part of it.”
“I hope you change mind,” Geno said, pulling Sidney into his arms and letting her cry on his shoulder. “Sidney still your child.”
Troy just shook his head, guiding Trina out of the room. The front door slammed loudly, making Bear bark in surprise. Geno pressed a kiss to the top of Sidney’s head, rubbing her back as she sobbed.
After a while, Sidney lifted her head, her face tearstained and her eyes red and puffy. “Let Taylor know. I’m going to go call Pam.”
Geno nodded, brushing Sidney’s hair away from her face. “Love you so much. So brave.”
Sidney exhaled shakily. “We knew this was going to happen.”
“Not make it easier to hear.” Geno kissed her cheek gently. “Take Bear with you for call. I be up after I talk to Taylor.”
Sidney nodded and got up, her hands trembling. She was barely holding back more tears, her eyes glistening wet. Geno watched her go, whistling for Bear who followed eagerly. Once he heard the door shut to their bedroom, he let himself cry briefly for what Sidney had just lost.
Geno pressed Taylor’s name on his phone. She answered quickly, “Well?”
“Go bad. They not believe Sidney. Tell her not want to hear from her unless she change mind.”
“Those assholes,” Taylor spat out. “I can’t believe they would tell her that. I’m coming over.”
“She calling Pam. But come over. Ryan too.”
“We’re all coming over. Natalia and Vladimir are just as worried as we are.” Taylor swore under her breath. “Are you okay?”
“No,” Geno said honestly. “I not. I need hug.”
“We’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” Taylor promised. “And both of you are going to get lots of hugs.”
“Fifteen minutes,” Taylor said firmly before hanging up.
Geno drained the beer that was sitting in front of him untouched. It was warm and disgusting, but he didn’t care. Part of him wanted to get completely shit-faced but the rest of him knew he had to keep it together.
Sidney was sitting on the bed, a hand scratching Bear’s side mindlessly and sobbing into the phone when he came upstairs. Geno slipped behind her, pulling Sidney into his arms. She turned easily, burying her face in his chest.
“Geno,” Pamela said, her voice full of sorrow. “Sidney didn’t get very far in telling me what happened.”
“Nothing good happen. They say awful things, call her freak.” Geno felt Sidney start to cry harder. “Not want to hear from us until she change mind.”
“Okay so it’s what we planned for,” Geno could hear movement on her end. “I want you to give Sidney one of the anti-anxiety meds. No drinking tonight. Where are your parents?”
“Taylor bringing them home now. She and Ryan coming over.”
“Good. Ask Taylor to call me tomorrow or before she talks to her parents, whichever comes first. I don’t want her to do something impulsive that she’s going to regret. I know we’ve all talked about this to death, but now that the worst case scenario has happened, I want to make sure she’s still on board.”
Bear whined softly, pressing his face against Sidney’s. She let out a choked sob, turning her face to let him lick. Geno watched as the dog tried hard to comfort Sidney.
“Geno?” Pamela said, her voice rising. Geno started a little, guessing she had said it more than once.
“Sorry. Bear trying to make Sidney feel better.”
“I want both of you to sleep tonight. Sidney can take one pill when she’s ready to lie down. You can take two.”
“Yes, I know,” Geno said, the plan running through his head. “No drinking. No one make calls outside of Mario and Nathalie.”
“Do what you need to do to keep Sidney calm as much as possible.” Pamela said gently. “And when everything is a little calmer, you call so we can talk about how you are.”
“Will call soon. Promise.”
“Bye Geno. I’m sorry that it went this way,” Pamela said. “Sidney, honey. Let Geno take care of you and I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Okay,” Sidney sniffled, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. “Bye Pam.”
Geno pressed the end button on the phone and Sidney sat back on her heels, looking as miserable as she possibly could. Geno cupped her face in his hand, frowning. “I so mad at them right now.”
“I’m sure I will be soon. Right now I’m just hurt,” Sidney said, wiping at her eyes again. “Taylor’s coming over?”
Geno nodded. “Let’s take pill and wash face. Help a little.”
Sidney let out a shaky breath, but nodded. Bear licked her hand, his tail hitting the bed. “Thanks, Bear.”
Geno got up, getting Sidney’s anxiety medicine and shaking a pill out for her. He moved the sleeping pills to the bedside table, listening as the water ran in the bathroom. He rubbed his own face, sighing heavily before petting Bear.
Sidney came back out of the bathroom, wearing lipgloss now. Geno gave her a gentle smile before handing over the pill. “Like that color on you.”
Sidney took the pill, dry swallowing it out of habit. “I needed something.”
“Want to change clothes?” asked Geno.
Sidney looked down at her jeans and polo, shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter right now.”
Geno pulled her into a hug, rubbing her back gently as Sidney clung to him. Bear let out a woof when the front door slammed, scrambling off the bed and down the steps. Taylor was immediately on the steps, her feet loud and heavy, an opposite cadence to Bear’s.
“Taylor here,” Geno said with a bit of a smile. Sidney chuckled a little and pulled back.
“She’s not very subtle.”
“I’m coming in,” Taylor said before opening the door. She had an angry look on her face and swiftly pulled Geno into a hug before moving to Sidney and doing the same. “I swear I want to throw the plan out the window and go scream at them.”
“Don’t,” Sidney said, hugging her back just as fiercely. “We have a plan for a reason.”
“I know.” Taylor pulled back to look at Sidney seriously. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Neither am I,” Sidney promised. She pulled Taylor back into a hug, pressing a kiss to her hair. “Did you bring Natalia and Vladimir back with you?”
“They’re downstairs cleaning your kitchen up already.”
Geno sighed at that. He pressed a kiss to Taylor’s hair as well before leaving, closing the door most of the way behind him. Sidney pulled Taylor over to the bed, sitting down heavily.
Taylor sat next to her, reaching up to run her fingers through Sidney’s hair. “It sucks to realize your parents are complete jerks.”
“I know I should say something about how they were surprised and it’s a shock but I can’t. I knew how they reacted when I told them about Geno so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I really wanted it to go better than that.”
“I know, honey,” Taylor said gently. “And they might get better about it. I’ll follow the plan and talk to them about it and see if I can get them to at least listen. If they don’t want to listen, they don’t want to listen.”
Sidney pulled her knees up to her chest, resting her chin on them. “There is literally nothing that feels like this. I hope you never have to feel this.”
Taylor curled up against her, resting her head on Sidney’s shoulder. “I wish you weren’t feeling it.”
“They’re not the first and they won’t be the last,” Sidney said quietly. “But they’re the most important.”
“They’re our parents,” Taylor murmured. “They’re supposed to love us no matter what.”
“Apparently changing your gender is the what for them.” Sidney turned her face to press a kiss against Taylor’s forehead. “Thank you for being you.”
“You’re my best friend.” Taylor said simply. “I’ve looked up to you my whole life. I still look up to you now. What they don’t realize is how brave you are, how strong you have to be to do this. No one would choose to be transgender.”
“I just want to be me,” said Sidney softly. “I think I want to go to sleep.”
“Okay.” Taylor rubbed Sidney’s back. “Should I get Geno?”
Sidney shook her head. “I’m allowed to take one of my sleeping pills. Just let him know that I’m staying up here.”
Taylor hugged her tightly. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Sidney sighed. She gave Taylor a wobbly smile. “Stay here tonight. Please?”
“You couldn’t make us leave,” Taylor promised. She got up after one more hug, leaving Sidney sitting on the bed alone with her thoughts.
An Occasional Dream (Winter 2018, Pyeongchang)
Geno was an expert at smiling for the cameras and pretending things were fine. He could even put an arm around his mother-in-law when people asked for pictures of the Crosby family. It had been decided - through email because Trina wouldn’t even call Sidney - that they would put on a happy family façade for the Olympics since it was Taylor’s first and possibly Sidney’s last though she hadn’t taken 2022 off the table yet.
Ryan was the angriest of all of them. He wasn’t even technically part of the family yet but he thought it was ridiculous that they were all pretending to be close. Denmark wasn’t playing in the Olympics so he and Geno were there as Taylor and Sidney’s guests along with their parents.
Geno hated the badge he had. It said Athlete’s Family - Team Canada. Every time he looked down and saw the Maple Leaf instead of the Russian crest, his stomach hurt. Sanja had contacted him when he knew that Geno was going to be in Pyeongchang for sure, asking if he wanted to visit and see everyone.
It had only taken him a moment’s thought to say no. He couldn’t bring himself to see the team he had played with two years before at Worlds. They had won gold. They were favored to win gold in Pyeongchang before he had been stripped of his Russian citizenship when he’d married Sidney.
The Olympics brought home that fact that he was technically without a country. He was a permanent resident of Canada, but that didn’t mean he could compete for Canada internationally yet. He didn’t want to even if Russia had agreed to allow him to participate. He would always be Russian even if Russia didn’t want him.
Sidney was captain again this time with Jonny as alternate. They were the elder statesmen on the team and Geno listened patiently as Sidney complained about Giroux (even though they were friends) and how MacKinnon wouldn’t listen to her when it came to curfew for the team.
Every moment of it hurt. He should be talking to her in the Olympic Village, not over the phone, complaining as well about the Russian team, possibly as their captain. Instead Sanja was captain and Geno was in a hotel room with a frustrated Dane who wouldn’t admit to being worried about Taylor.
Pyeongchang was beautiful and Ryan made Geno walk around the city and appreciate the culture. He tried for Ryan's sake. Finally, sitting in a restaurant and watching Geno pick at his food, Ryan gave up.
"Ow," Geno said, surprised when Ryan kicked him hard in the shin. "What that for?"
"For being an ass. I'm sick of it and I'm the one who has to spend the next two weeks with your sorry ass." Ryan scowled at him. "Geno, Sidney gave you an out. She said you didn't have to come."
"He," Geno hissed at Ryan, scowling back at him. "And of course I come. He my husband. Taylor my sister. This important for family."
"You're not acting like it. I know you're not acting like this when you talk to Sidney or Taylor. I know you're only showing this to me. But he's going to notice soon enough. He knows you entirely too well to not notice how depressed you are."
Geno sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Is hard to be here. I should be playing."
"Don't you think I want to be playing too?" asked Ryan. "I get it's not the same thing at all. My country doesn't even get invited to the Olympics. Your country doesn't want you which is their own stupid fault."
"My country made a decision back in 2013 and we knew the risks when we marry. I hope Russia be better, that I do enough for my country for them not to punish me like they threatened. I am no better than any other gay person in Russia to them," Geno poked at a piece of chicken. "For once I hoped my name help."
Ryan leaned over and clapped his hand on Geno's shoulder. "You need to keep it together. You need to be here and be supportive."
Geno nodded. "Yes. Might need to kick me a few more times over next two weeks."
"I'll do that if you promise to kick me if I start to get too worried about Taylor," Ryan said holding out his hand. Geno shook it firmly.
"Taylor tough. Has to be. She Sidney's little sister. Team respect her after Worlds last year. She can do this."
"I know. And I am so fucking proud of her for getting here."
"How you deal with Worlds?" asked Geno.
"I'm usually playing at the same time," Ryan admitted. "I'm distracted."
Geno actually took a bite of his chicken, chewing thoughtfully. "I can distract."
"I love you, G, but you're not my type," Ryan teased. "Besides I'm afraid of your wife."
"Husband," Geno reminded him with a shake of his head. "You bad at this."
"I've trained myself to think the other way. It's hard to go back," Ryan complained. "I don't know how you and Taylor do it so easily."
"Lots of practice. It not easy so we make it a game. Or just call Sidney all the time. No pronouns needed."
Ryan nodded. "Okay. I'll work on that too."
"We talk strategy for hockey. How Canada win," Geno suggested. "We know players. We come up with game plans. Ignore in-laws that way and keep from going crazy."
"You going to be able to talk about Russia?"
"I know them best. Maybe can help Sidney win," Geno shrugged. "Better than you dragging me to museums."
"You need more culture in your life. Less clubs and bars, more plays and museums."
"Europeans," Geno said with a sad shake of his head. "You all the same."
It didn't really get much better. Geno spent his time rotating between the mens and womens games with Ryan, taking notes and passing them onto Sidney and Taylor. They managed to have dinner once with the two of them when they both had early games, Sidney in the morning and Taylor in the afternoon. It was stilted and uncomfortable with Troy and Trina and they mostly ended up talking about what Taylor was facing in the competition.
Still it was good to just be close to Sidney. He relaxed for what felt like the first time since he had gotten to Pyeongchang and said goodbye to Sidney at the Olympic Village. They spoke softly in Russian as best they could. Sidney was doing a lot better especially now that his parents lived with them, but there were still a lot of moments of frustration. It was still good to talk to her in private even with the rest of the family there.
It was obvious that Troy and Trina didn't like it but they didn't say anything. Keeping the peace meant they couldn't argue with anything that Sidney and Taylor did, including conversing in another language. Taylor's Danish was a lot worse than Sidney's Russian so there was mostly a lot of laughing while she and Ryan spoke.
"He is on his phone all the time," Sidney complained. "I don't know why he didn't just bring Danny and the kids with him."
"They're not out. It would look odd for Danny to be here. Give him a break and let him call his boyfriend."
Sidney sighed heavily. "He's such a pain. I don’t know how you and Danny talked us into being friends in the first place.”
“So hard,” Geno snorted. “Get you talking about Cameron, hockey, and Bettman.”
Sidney elbowed him lightly. “Don’t say that name. He might hear you and come out of retirement to ruin hockey again.”
“He’s not the boogyman,” Geno laughed. Sidney looked puzzled, the word obviously not translating for her so Geno said it again in English.
Sidney let out a peal of laughter at that, shaking her head before leaning in to kiss him softly. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Geno said easily, running his fingers through her hair. She was letting it grow out more than usual, hadn’t cut it since before Christmas and had been thinking seriously about not cutting it again. It was down past her ears now, curling haphazardly. Geno loved it.
“Ew,” Taylor said from across the table, making gagging noises. “Gross.”
“Seriously, who invited her to the Olympics?” asked Sidney. “Nobody wants their little sister around ruining things.”
“I’ll have you know I earned my invitation fair and square,” Taylor grinned. Geno took a quick glance over at Troy and Trina and they looked almost fond at the familiar sibling bickering. “Unlike some people who just rely on their name to get invited on the Olympic team.”
“I have been thinking about changing it to Malkin,” Sidney said easily. “Sidney Malkina has a ring to it.”
Geno looked at her happily, his heart swelling at the thought. “Really?”
“Yeah. Not right now. Probably after I transition.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that in public,” Trina hissed out. “Someone might hear you.”
Sidney looked over at her, defiant. “I can say what I want. It is my life.”
“Solnyshka,” Geno said gently, turning Sidney’s face to his own. “Not now. We all promise keep peace.”
Sidney exhaled slowly, shutting her eyes for a count of ten before opening them again. She nodded and looked over at her mother. Trina gave her a curt nod as well before looking down at her plate of food.
“Well this is fun,” Taylor said after a few minutes of awkward silence. “Like a root canal.”
“Taylor,” Troy said tiredly. “Let’s just focus on the Olympics for now. We can talk more about all of this when everyone is back in Cole Harbour this summer.”
“We have to be getting back soon anyway,” Sidney said calmly. “I’m never going to get the other players to follow the curfew if I break it.”
“I pay,” Geno said, getting to his feet and walking away from the table. He found the waiter and handled paying the bill. By the time he got back, Troy and Trina had left.
“Really time to go back?” asked Geno as he helped Sidney with her coat.
“No,” Sidney said with a sigh. “I just couldn’t take it any longer.”
“None of us could,” Taylor said angrily, once they were outside. “I want a drink.”
“What time is practice tomorrow?” asked Ryan.
Taylor sighed. “8:30. I can have one drink.”
“You guys coming?”
Sidney looked over at Geno before shaking her head. “No. I think we’re going to head back to the hotel room you guys have.”
Taylor made a face. “Do not talk about having sex around me. As far as I know the two of you sleep in separate beds and only kiss.”
“With ass like this, you think I only kiss?” Geno smirked, resting a hand on Sidney’s ass, pulling her close. “Or only kiss ass?”
“Ugh,” Ryan made a face that time. “Really, G? I did not need that visual.”
Sidney hid her face with her hand, laughing. “On that note, we’re leaving. See you at the rink tomorrow, Taylor.”
Taylor gave Sidney a hug before hugging Geno as well. “It was good to see you. Thanks for keeping Ryan sane.”
“Goes both ways,” Geno said, hugging her tightly. He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “So proud of you.”
Taylor flushed and punched him in the arm. “I’ll see you at the gold medal game when I win. You better come on the ice and hug me.”
“You best. Of course I come hug.”
Sidney hugged Ryan tightly, no longer awkward in showing affection with him. He pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Good luck, søde.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said softly. She stepped back to hug Taylor, holding onto her sister tightly. “You are doing great. Make sure to watch your glove side against Slovakia. They saw that Germany had some luck there and will go after that.”
Taylor nodded. “Let Giroux on the power play more often. He makes players focus on him which will leave you and Toews an opening.”
Sidney smiled at her happily, giving her one last squeeze. “Knock ‘em dead.”
“You too,” Taylor said with a grin. She gave a wave before taking Ryan’s hand and heading towards one of the bars nearby.
Sidney turned to Geno with a smile. “Which way is the hotel?”
Geno gestured, shoving his hands into his pockets. Korea was not Russia, but it still wasn’t common to see gay couples walking in the streets together. They were smart enough not to call attention to themselves. The kiss in the restaurant hadn’t been that smart, but they were tucked off into the corner at the time.
Sidney bumped him lightly with her shoulder as they walked. “I talked to Ovi yesterday. He wanted me to tell you that the team is planning to put your name on their sweaters for the final game. He made patches that have Malkin in English and Russian.”
“They risking a lot,” Geno said with a shake of his head. “Not smart idea.”
“They make their own choices, just like you did. Let them honor you and let the world know that they’re protesting your treatment the only way they can.”
“Hockey world know what happen. Gay world know what happen. Not need to be brought up again.”
Sidney scoffed. “You know they’re doing a segment on it that’s going to air in one of the games. Both the US and Canada are going to air it. Who knows who else will.”
“I still not like that idea either even though I say yes,” Geno said firmly. “Hated the interviews. Hate cameras finding us in crowd at games. Hate pretending your parents family.”
Sidney sighed. “I hate it too. They’re my parents but they’re not family anymore.”
“We have lots of family,” Geno said firmly. “Our family best.”
Sidney smiled at him a little sadly. “Yeah, it is.”
In the end Taylor won gold and Sidney settled for bronze. Taylor’s game against Finland was after hers since she was in the gold medal game and Sidney proudly wore the bronze medal even though she really wished it was gold.
Most of the mens hockey team were there, cheering on the womens team in a mass of red and white. Geno and Ryan were sitting with them, cheering Taylor on just as loudly as the rest of the Canadians.
It was a close game, no scoring and tense the whole time. Neither goalie let a shot through during regulation and for the second Olympics, a gold medal hockey game came down to sudden death overtime. Geno squeezed Sidney’s hand tightly, neither of them sitting down for the entire period, Ryan clinging to Geno’s shoulder.
Taylor continued to be perfect, blocking everything that came her way. She controlled the puck for her team and covered up any mistakes on defense. Geno held his breath as he watched the players jockeying for the puck in Finland’s crease.
It was a greasy play, sliding right under the goalie’s pads off of Mélodie’s stick and the horn sounded, echoing loudly in the arena before it was covered by screams and shouts from the crowd. Geno grabbed Sidney and kissed her soundly before turning to kiss Ryan as well, all three of them joining in the jumping and shouting as Team Canada piled on top of each other on the ice.
“She won!” Ryan kept screaming, grabbing at Geno’s shoulder before turning to kiss Claude Giroux happily.
“Keep kissing Geno,” Giroux shouted, pushing him back at Geno instead. “You’re not my type, Storgaard.”
Geno wrapped his arms around Ryan in a tight hug before handing him over to Sidney to hug as well. Sidney grabbed Ryan’s hand and dragged him through the crowd, Geno just behind them. She pushed her way down to the ice where other family members were waiting.
It was a melee when they got out there, Sidney making a beeline for Taylor and hugging her tightly. Her goalie pads were still on and she was red-faced and sweaty, her eyes wide with excitement and shock.
Geno got his turn before letting Ryan get his time. He slung his arm over Sidney’s shoulder, hugging whatever player came past them. Troy and Trina hugged everyone when they found Taylor, even Geno and Sidney.
And then they were all ushered off the ice for the medal ceremony and before he knew it, Geno was standing outside the arena with Ryan, Sidney, Troy and Trina, the sounds of screams and the Canadian anthem ringing in his ears. Crowds of people were around them, happy and disappointed at the same time.
“I’m so happy,” Trina said with a happy sigh. “She did it.”
“Think of how great a story it would have been if Sid had won gold too,” Troy said, pulling Trina close.
Geno frowned. “Bronze medal is big achievement. Competition was very tough this year.”
“He won gold the last two times,” Troy pointed out. “He wasn’t that good this year. His backcheck was weak and he was bad on the power play.”
“Enough,” Ryan said loudly. “Just be happy both your kids medaled in the Olympics instead of picking apart the way Sidney played to win her medal.”
Trina shushed Troy, nodding. “They both played wonderfully and we are proud of both of them.”
Sidney looked at her parents, frowning as well. “I’m really glad Taylor isn’t here to listen to this. You’ve already managed to ruin my medal. Try not to ruin hers.”
Sidney took Geno’s hand, looking over at Ryan. “We’re leaving. You are more than welcome to come with us. Taylor’s not going to be available for awhile. It’s party night.”
"Sidney," Trina said with a heavy sigh. "We're trying."
Sidney turned to look at her, her eyes flashing with anger and her voice tight and low. "Obviously you aren't. I thought you could at least focus on hockey and appreciate that I am still the best in the world at that, but apparently there's nothing that can keep you from thinking of me as a mistake. You don't want to talk to me? Well I don't want to talk to you. Don't expect to hear from us anytime soon."
Geno look at Sidney's parents for a moment before he turned to follow her, Ryan close on his heels. "Sidney?"
"I just want to go get my stuff packed and go to the hotel, okay." Sidney sighed heavily. "I should have said that months ago."
Geno put his arm around her, pulling her close as they walked through the crowd. Ryan stuck close, his hand low on Sidney's back.
Ryan and Geno were quiet as Sidney packed her stuff, throwing things in her suitcase instead of folding them carefully. Geno gathered her gear, making sure that was packed properly. Her bronze medal sat on top of the dresser, forgotten for the moment.
Jonny burst in, still smiling happily from Canada's win. "You guys going to the parties tonight? We should be able to get Geno and Ryan in without a problem."
Sidney shook her head, not saying anything. Jonny looked at all of them, frowning. "What happened?"
"Fight with her parents," Ryan said after a moment. "Sidney, you're not a mistake."
"Seriously?" Jonny frowned deeper. "They said that to you? That's such a fucking lie. You're amazing just the way you are."
"Can we just drop it?" asked Sidney, her eyes suspiciously bright. Geno moved over to her, stilling her hands. She gave him an angry look, but let him pull her close.
"C'mon," Jonny said after a moment. "Let's go find Taylor."
Ryan got up, going over to press a kiss to Sidney's forehead. "I'll hang out here tonight and see you in the morning."
Sidney nodded against Geno's shoulder and Geno met Ryan's gaze over her head. "Call. Don't drink too much."
Jonny put an arm around Ryan's shoulders. "I'll keep an eye on both of them."
Ryan scowled. "I am an adult, Toews."
"And I'm older and have been through these parties twice. You need me to keep an eye on you."
Geno watched them walk away, still arguing as Toews shut the door behind them. Sidney sagged against him, let out a heavy sigh.
"We go to the hotel now," Geno said softly, pressing a kiss to her temple."Then we go home and be home with team."
"I don't think I can do this again," Sidney said into his neck. "I just want to go home and not be Sidney Crosby."
“Always my Solynshka,” Geno said gently. “Even when you being Sidney Crosby.”
Sidney pulled back to look at him, her eyes red and tears on her cheeks. “When do I get to just be Sidney?”
“You say now, I say now. Is your choice. Always your choice. Can be Sidney tomorrow if you want. Call Mario and say you done. Have hormones by end of the week.”
Sidney let out a choked laugh. “I wish it was that easy.”
Geno shrugged a little. “Could be.”
“You really believe that,” Sidney said, looking at the serious expression on his face.
“I do anything for you,” Geno said quietly. “You want to quit hockey and transition now. I say yes and do whatever you need. No questions asked.”
“I don’t think I’m ready,” Sidney admitted. Geno brushed his fingers over the tears on her face, wiping them away. “But I’m closer.”
Geno kissed her softly, his large hands cupping her jaw. “We go to hotel. Rest. Not think about anything tonight except sleep and being together. I miss you.”
“Let’s get out of here,” Sidney said, stepping back. “I want to forget about the Olympics.”
Geno looked at her sadly, but Sidney just shook her head. She shoved her medal in her gear bag, slinging it over her shoulder.
“If I forgot anything, Jonny will let me know.”
“Okay,” Geno said easily, sliding his hand into hers and pulling her suitcases along next to him. There was time to talk about all of this later when she wasn’t still hurting from her parents. Just admitting she was closer to wanting to transition was a big deal on its own.
Ray Shero and Pat Brisson (May 2020)
It was a hard decision and one she has put off probably a year too long. She has been depressed, angry, and far too quick to lash out verbally with the intent to hurt. Even now she still felt a little sick with the decision, three months into secret hormone treatments only she, Geno, Pamela, and her prescribing physician knew about.
It was time though. Being bounced from the playoffs in the first round wasn’t great, but they took it to seven games and Detroit played just as hard as they did. It could have gone either way. Plus she was in the running for the Hart again. If this was her last season - and it was - it wasn't a bad one to go out on.
Geno offered to come with her, but she wanted to do this alone. Well, with Mario there since he was the boss. She couldn't retire to Ray and Pat without Mario being there to represent the ownership - the ownership she wanted to join no less. She also knew that this was going to be Ray’s last year and she wanted to tell him. He had been in Pittsburgh as long as she had and Ray had always taken care of her and Geno.
And well, Pat was going to have his hands full when she finally came out so it was only fair she told him now.
They were in Mario’s office, sitting around the table and drinking coffee. She was fidgeting a little, tapping her fingers against the table as they discussed the upcoming draft.
“Sidney,” Mario said gently, reaching over to stop her hand. “What’s up?”
Sidney sighed a little and looked over at Mario. “That thing we talked about a few months ago. I’m doing that now.”
Mario furrowed his brow, thinking back before opening his mouth in a silent ‘oh’ of surprise. “I didn’t realize it would be now. I thought next year maybe.”
“I can’t wait,” Sidney said softly. “I can’t hide any longer.”
Mario wrapped his hand around hers, squeezing tightly. “Okay.”
“Is this something we all need to talk about?” asked Pat calmly.
Sidney took a deep breath and looked at him and Ray. “I’m retiring.”
Ray set his coffee down carefully, looking at Sidney, his expression sad. “But why, Sid? You’re playing great, the team needs their captain. Is it your contract? We can re-negotiate if you want.”
“It’s not the contract. In fact, I’m prepared to offer to pay the last five years of my contract. I’m not going to play for anyone else. I’m not planning to play hockey professionally again.”
Pat frowned at that. “You have to tell us where this is coming from.”
“I’m transgender,” Sidney said calmly, her hands folded on the table. “And I’ve reached the point where I need to start transitioning to female more than I need to play hockey.”
Ray sat back in shock, his mouth open. Pat shook his head for a moment before he held up his hand. “Transgender? As in you’re actually a woman.”
Sidney felt hot, embarrassed as Ray stared and Pat seemed unable to understand what she said. Mario was next to her, his hand on her shoulder in support.
“Okay,” Ray finally said, sitting forward again. He looked over at Mario. “I take it you already knew?”
“Since 2012,” Mario said calmly. “Sidney’s been out as transgender to a limited number of people since 2011. I did not know she was planning to retire now.”
“I told him I was thinking about it a few months ago, but never indicated when. Just that I probably wasn’t going to be able to make it through until my contract was finished.”
“This has never been addressed in hockey as far as I know,” Pat said thoughtfully. “I don’t know if there’s a way you can keep playing. Obviously certain medications are allowed. Would hormones be considered to be performance-enhancing?”
“I don’t know. I suppose if it was testosterone that would be performance-enhancing,” Ray poked at the pad, typing quickly. “I don’t think estrogen would be. That’s what Sid would be on, right? I’m not sure how this works.”
Sidney looked at Mario, her eyes wide. She didn't know how to tell them that it didn’t matter. She couldn’t, wouldn't, do this anymore. It wasn't that she didn’t want hockey. She just didn't want to transition while playing hockey. She heard enough chirping over the years to know exactly how awful it would be.
“I don’t think Sidney wants to look in that direction,” Mario said carefully, keeping his eyes on her. “She’s been the first for a lot of things already in our League. She’s going to be the first player to change gender. I don’t think she wants to be the first player on the ice changing her gender.”
“What Mario said,” Sidney said weakly, waving a hand. “I can’t.”
Ray stopped and put the pad down, nodding. “I suppose it’s just my desire to keep you here with the team.”
“I’ll still be around. Geno’s not going anywhere. In fact, I think he’d be a pretty good captain.”
“We can discuss that later,” Ray promised. “For now, let’s work together to figure out how to do this.”
“Do you want to release a statement?” asked Pat, pulling out his pad as well.
“Not really. I’d like the news to break after the NHL awards if possible. I don’t want to be asked about it until I’m ready. And nothing about being transgender.”
Pat nodded, looking at Sidney thoughtfully. “Give Geno a call, tell him everything is fine, and we’re all going out for a drink. He can meet us there.”
“Yeah I think we’re done draft talk for today,” Ray agreed, draining his coffee. “Let’s go have a drink and discuss life after hockey since Sid and I are both retiring now.”
Sidney was kind of floored, still sitting there as the other three get up. Pat clapped his hand over Sidney’s shoulder warmly.
“You could have told us years ago. You’re a good kid, Sidney. Nothing is going to change that."
Independence Day (December 2020)
From SI.com, December 8th 2020
Sidney Crosby Comes Out as Transgender
The name Sidney Crosby is as familiar to hockey fans as Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux. From the age of 18 to 32, Crosby played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and was hailed as the greatest player of his generation.
Crosby, along with his husband Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, were the first NHL players to marry another man in 2017. Together, he and Malkin have raised the profile of gay athletes and worked hard to change the culture of sports in regards to gay players even while Malkin himself has been refused entry back into Russia and stripped of his Russian citizenship because of his marriage. He is still in the process of gaining full Canadian citizenship.
At the end of the 2020 season, Crosby unexpectedly retired early, paying Pittsburgh for the final five years of his contract and disappeared to Canada with Malkin.
Crosby has not been to a single Penguins game and has not been seen in Pittsburgh at all. Malkin, when asked, said that Sidney was home in Cole Harbour and that was all he was going to discuss. Rumours of a break up occurred.
Last Thursday at the Penguins home game against the Winnipeg Jets, an unknown woman was sitting with Mario Lemieux in the owner’s box and left with Malkin. No one in the Penguins organization would comment when asked and Malkin’s agent refused to talk to the media.
This woman was Sidney Crosby.
Crosby doesn’t look entirely female yet. Her hair has grown past her shoulders and she wears it down most of the time. Her features have softened slightly from hormone treatments and she has surgery scheduled in January for breast enhancement. Neither Crosby or Malkin will answer questions about gender surgery, believing that is no one else’s business but their own.
Crosby, Malkin, Lemieux, and Crosby’s sister Taylor and her husband Ryan Storgaard of the Toronto Maple Leafs invited SI.com to Crosby and Malkin’s Pittsburgh home to give an interview regarding Crosby’s change in gender.
It was Malkin, ironically, who ended up doing a lot of the talking. In careful English, he explained that Sidney has been female her entire life but only started transitioning in May. She had every intention of fulfilling her contract through the 2025 season but was unable to wait any longer. Mentally the daily struggle to maintain her image as Sidney Crosby was taking too much of a toll and after a long discussion with Lemieux, who has known of Crosby’s true gender since 2012, decided to take early retirement.
“I still love hockey,” Sidney said, her hand wrapped around Malkin’s. “I know I can never play professionally again, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing hockey. I just couldn’t hide who I am any longer.”
“There was a period of time right after the Sochi Olympics where Sidney considered retiring,” Taylor added. “She had broken her leg in March and she couldn’t skate for months. Her last serious injury, when she was out with the long-term concussion and neck injury, was when she told myself and Geno that she was a woman. This injury made her question her dedication to hockey.”
“She change her mind. Wanted one more Olympics,” Malkin said with a sad smile. “One more Cup.”
“I got both. Geno only got one.”
The undercurrent of what Malkin lost by marrying Crosby was palpable in the room. There were pats to his shoulder from Lemieux and Storgaard and a hug from Taylor. Crosby just kept her hand tightly wrapped around Malkin’s, bringing it to her lips to kiss his knuckles.
The moment was broken up when Crosby and Malkin’s dog, a Newfoundland named Bear, came bounding into the room, having broken down the gate that was keeping him in the kitchen. Crosby sighed heavily and got up to take Bear outside. Crosby leaving during conversations about her gender was apparently normal and everyone took it in stride.
“She left right after she told me too,” Lemieux said with a laugh. “Geno ended up doing most of the explaining.”
“She fall asleep after she tell me. Sidney find it hard to talk about. Is easier for me to be the one doing the explanations.”
Malkin went on to explain that Crosby had told him of her true gender before they began dating and that he suspected it months earlier. He spent time over the summer of 2011 reading books about Gender Dysphoria and trying to get himself ready to help Sidney whether they ending up dating or not.
While they gave the appearance of being a gay couple for years and championed gay causes, Malkin has never considered her anything other than his girlfriend and eventually wife. Crosby had felt like her body was wrong her entire life and Malkin accepted that, only referring to Crosby as male in public. In private, she wore makeup and womens clothing. It was a routine of theirs to paint her fingernails when they would come home from games.
“Sidney has more nail polish than anyone I know,” Taylor said with a laugh. “She always wore it on her toes unless she was wearing sandals in public. And she was so bad at applying makeup at first. I taught Geno and he did her makeup for the longest time.”
Geno shrugged, completely unashamed. “It made her happy. She does it herself now. I still paint nails though.”
Malkin cautioned that while Crosby enjoyed wearing makeup and womens clothing, it wasn’t enough. It never changed how she felt on the inside. It just made her more comfortable in her own skin. The decision to transition was made back in 2013 and along with Crosby and Malkin’s long-term therapist Pamela Morris, who was not present, their chosen family has worked towards that goal while supporting LGBTQ causes as much as possible.
“This not change our support for gay athletes and gay causes,” Malkin explained. “Just now we can focus more on transgender causes instead of lumping all together.”
When Crosby came back, she had a photo album in her hand. It was revealed to be a wedding album, but not one that the public has ever seen. Images of Malkin and Crosby’s wedding are widespread and the picture of both Malkin and Crosby laughing in tuxedos and holding each other hands in front of the minister is a classic.
This photo album was of their true wedding. Only a small group of people were there and Storgaard’s father, a minister back in Denmark, had performed the ceremony. The guests were familiar faces - Malkin’s family, Taylor and Ryan, the Lemieux family, the Fleurys and Gonchars, Jonathan Toews, Maxime Talbot, and oddly enough Danny Briere and rival Claude Giroux who have since come out as a couple. Notably absent are Crosby’s parents.
Crosby was wearing a wedding gown, dressed like a fairytale bride, and Malkin was beaming at her in every photo. This was before any hormones or surgery, Crosby explained. Everything was an illusion to create an appearance of femininity.
“When she’s ready, we take another picture,” Malkin said. “Gather up everyone and take photo of Sidney in her gown. No illusion this time.”
I asked if Crosby’s parents would be in any of those photos. Taylor, instead of Sidney, answered with a negative.
“Mom and Dad have a hard time accepting Sidney. At the time of the wedding, they didn’t know that Sidney was female so they weren’t invited.”
“I told them about three months after Geno and I got married,” Crosby said quietly. “It didn’t go well and we didn’t speak until the 2018 Olympics when Taylor won gold. We had to present a united front and we’re all good at keeping up appearances. I hate that her gold medal is tarnished by what our family was going through.”
“It’s not tarnished,” Taylor said firmly, apparently not for the first time. “I had everyone there cheering me on and I won gold. Nothing can tarnish that, Sidney.”
Crosby didn’t look convinced but also didn’t push the matter. The subject was carefully guided away from Crosby’s parents by Lemieux who explained that Crosby would continue to work with the Penguins for the upcoming draft. She was going to join the Lemieux ownership group and according to Taylor, she will be an aunt in April.
“Geno has another season left on his contract and he’s probably not going to look for a new one,” Crosby explained. “After that, we don’t know what we’re going to do. Relax maybe?”
Malkin laughed at that and shook his head. “You not know how to relax.”
“I can learn!” Crosby was indignant at that, pushing Malkin lightly.
That led to a debate on whether Crosby would ever learn to relax that went on for some time with Crosby pointing out that she had hobbies and Mario was just as bad as she was. It was a light-hearted moment in what was a serious conversation.
We eventually got back to the topic of acceptance which Crosby knew was going to be a problem.
“It’s not because I’m a sports figure. I expect backlash because of that. I expect people to bring up all of the names I’ve been called over the years and laugh about how they were right. The reason I know that acceptance is going to be a problem is because transgender people are still viewed as being wrong and unnatural. The stigma associated with being transgender is real. I’ve spent years listening to it while keeping my mouth shut. I’m done doing that now.
“There is nothing wrong with me. I have as much right as anyone else to be myself and express who I am. I have a wonderful husband and family. I love hockey and video games and history. I still can’t make solyanka taste right but Geno eats it anyway. I go to the grocery store, walk the dog, do everything that anyone else does. The only difference is that I identify with a different gender than my chromosomes say I am.
“I am a woman,” Crosby said firmly. “And that is not going to change.”
Sidney hid her face in her hand, peeking between her fingers as Geno read the article to her. She could see the pictures that they had taken as well as the two from their weddings. There were so few pictures of her as a woman that it was still a novelty to see her with her hand on Bear’s collar, leaning over and laughing with Geno.
“It’s a good article,” Geno said calmly, pulling her hand away from her face. “No judgement, just fact using our words.”
“I know,” Sidney said, wrinkling her nose. “Just don’t read the comments.”
“Already get three texts from Sanja asking why he wasn’t invited to the real wedding and now he had better be invited to the next one.” Geno put down the pad reader and stretched out next to Sidney on the bed. “I don’t think he mad that we didn’t tell him. I’m sure he’ll call either way.”
“I turned off my phone,” Sidney admitted. “Anyone who needs me knows to call you.”
Geno cupped her cheek, smiling down at her. “You okay?”
Sidney nodded, giving him a smile in return. “It’s finally out there. I’m done hiding.”
“Now everyone know my Sidney,” Geno leaned over to kiss her gently. “My beautiful girl.”
The Me Myself (January 2021)
Sidney shifted uncomfortably, sitting on her hands to keep from playing with the tight bra around her chest. It was irritating and she just wanted to take it off and see what her breasts looked like. She checked the clock again - five minutes later than the last time.
Natalia clucked softly at her. “Zhenya will be home soon.”
“I know,” Sidney sighed softly. She shifted again, moving her hands and picking at her nail polish. “I just want to see them. I want to see him see them.”
“I know, dochen’ka. Don’t pick your polish,” Natalia reached over to grab Sidney’s hands. “You can look any time you want.”
Sidney shook her head. “Zhenya needs to be here.”
Natalia let go of her hands, patting her arm lightly. “And he will be soon. Are you in any pain?”
“Nothing I can’t handle,” Sidney said before getting to her feet to pace. “I wish I could do something more than sit and wait.”
“We could try learning to knit again.”
Sidney looked at Natalia, making a face. “That didn’t go well last time.”
“True,” Natalia agreed. The thing that Sidney called a blanket had been hidden from sight very quickly. Taylor’s baby was better off without it. “We could practice your Russian more.”
“We are doing that now,” Sidney made a face, letting out a quiet gasp of pain as the stitches in her mouth and over her eyes pulled. She sat back down heavily. “Ow.”
“Sidney, dochen’ka.” Natalia admonished her gently. “You need to relax. Zhenya will be home very soon and you will be able to look. I promise you, they are very nice if a little bruised.”
Sidney sighed again and nodded. She should probably feel weirder about the fact that Natalia and Taylor had already seen her breasts, but at this point her body was practically an open book to them. She had kept her eyes closed during her check-up, promising Geno that they would look at them together for the first time.
However when they had decided that, the five day road trip that started the day of the surgery didn’t seem like a big deal. Now that she had actually had the surgery on her breasts and face, she just wanted Geno here so he could look at her. Her face was a bruised mess and she knew her breasts were going to look odd before they settled, but she wanted him to see.
“Enough,” Natalia finally said, standing up. “You can’t hit hockey pucks, but you can still skate carefully. Let’s go.”
Sidney got up as well. Natalia was right. She was allowed to skate carefully as long as she promised not to tire herself out. Hitting pucks was out of the question. Holding a stick was a bad idea in general because she knew how hard it was to hold back when she had a stick in her hand. The last thing she needed to do was pull any stitches.
“Vovochka,” Natalia walked into the den, not caring that both he and Bear were fast asleep. He startled awake, looking at her blearily. “You and Sidney are going to go skate. Don’t let her do anything strenuous.”
Vladimir nodded and got up, still half-asleep. “No sticks, no pucks, no speeding.”
“Good,” Natalia nodded before clapping her hands. “Bear. Time to go outside.”
Bear lifted his head from where he was sleeping and gave her a look that clearly said he was not ready. Natalia put her hands on her hips and stared him down.
“We’ll leave them to that,” Vladimir said, leading Sidney towards the basement. “She’ll out stubborn him.”
Sidney chuckled. “Eventually Bear will stop fighting her and just listen when she tells him what to do.”
“As we all eventually do,” Vladimir said with a grin. “Now, getting too nervous waiting for Zhenya?”
“I’m fidgeting too much for Mama,” Sidney said with a shrug. “I want him to be home now.”
“Next time only have surgery if he’s on a homestand,” Vladimir said firmly. “Now sit so I can put on your skates.”
“I can do it myself,” Sidney protested, but shut up at Vladimir’s glare. He was probably right and she shouldn’t lean down to get her skates on. Natalia must have drilled it into his head what she was and wasn’t allowed to do. “Thank you, Papa.”
“It is okay to ask for help. That is what we’re here for,” Vladimir finished tying her skates tightly. “Especially now. Tight enough?”
Sidney stamped her feet against the ground, nodding. “Thank you.”
Vladimir stood up. “Now just skate. Nothing fancy, no speeding. We don’t want you to fall and mess up all the work you’ve had done.”
Sidney got up, stepping out onto the ice. She felt her shoulders relax and she took a deep breath, the smell of ice settling her. She skated slowly. Her center of gravity was off and the more she skated, the more she felt the deep exhaustion in her muscles.
“Don’t push too hard,” Vladimir said, watching her closely. “You’re leaning too far forward. Stand up straighter.”
Sidney listened, straightening her back as she made her next lap around the ice. It helped a little; she didn’t feel like she was quite so off balance any longer. She slowed to a stop in front of Vladimir, rolling her shoulders carefully.
“I’m going to have to practice more often,” Sidney said, brushing her hair back from her face. “Between the weight loss and the breasts, everything is off.”
“We have time to work on it,” Vladimir said, patting her arm. “Finished?”
“I think so,” Sidney admitted, stepping off the ice. She looked at the surface of it for a long moment before sitting back down to let Vladimir take off her skates. She was exhausted now, the energy thrumming through her body spent. Maybe Natalia was right. Who was she kidding. Natalia was always right.
“Nap now.” Vladimir set her skates aside and took her arm, helping her up gently. Sidney let him, leaning against him as they walked back up the steps. Natalia was in the kitchen and she smiled happily at the sight of Sidney listing tiredly against Vladimir.
“Go lie down.” Natalia gestured with one hand. “Take a nap and Zhenya will be home soon. And take a pain pill.”
“Yes, Mama,” Sidney said muzzily, heading for the steps to go to the bedroom. She had pills up there so she swallowed one like she was told and almost immediately passed out when her head touched the pillow.
Sidney woke slowly, her head a little fuzzy from the pain medication. She shifted on the bed, snuggling into the pillows and blankets more. There was a soft chuckle and she opened her eyes, seeing Geno sitting on the bed next to her.
“Mmm... you’re home,” Sidney said happily, shifting over to sleepily throw an arm over his waist. She let out a small yelp of pain as she moved too quickly and hit her chest with her arm.
“Sidney,” Geno moved quickly, settling her back down against the pillows. He gently ran his knuckles along the side of her face, careful against the swollen bruised skin. “Careful.”
Sidney pushed herself to a sitting position, leaning forward to hug him. “I missed you.”
“Missed you too,” Geno said, tilting her head up to kiss her softly. “Mama said you skate today.”
“Everything is off,” Sidney admitted, leaning against him. “My center of gravity is different.”
“Little more top heavy,” Geno grinned. He ran a hand down her arm. “You look yet?”
“Not without you. Mama and Taylor saw them when we went to my appointment the other day. They both said they are nice, but bruised and swollen. Which is normal.”
“Want to look?” asked Geno. He was smiling at her so happily that Sidney leaned up to kiss him again before answering.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” Sidney answered, climbing out of bed. “I’m going to need your help.”
“We do together,” Geno said, leading her into the bathroom. He flipped on the light, moving to stand next to Sidney.
“Curvy,” Geno said his voice barely above a whisper. Sidney nodded and began to unbutton the shirt she was wearing. Her fingers were trembling and Geno took over, carefully pushing the shirt off her shoulders.
She was wearing a compression bra so there was nothing sexy about it, but Geno ran gentle fingers over the straps and kissed her again. He moved so he was standing behind Sidney, his fingers on the zipper between her breasts.
Sidney nodded and watched as Geno pulled the zipper down and unsnapped the straps. He pulled it off and set it on the sink, sliding an arm around Sidney’s waist to look.
Sidney stared in awe. They were swollen and high on her chest, stitches still visible and her areolas were bruised purple. But they were hers. She touched them gently, ran her fingers over the full curves. She grabbed Geno’s free hand and guided it over her skin, shivering a little.
“They beautiful,” Geno whispered. He moved both hands up to cup her breasts, sliding his thumbs over the nipples. She didn’t feel anything there, but she’d been cautioned that it would take some time for the sensation to come back.
“I have breasts,” Sidney murmured, her eyes filling with tears. “I have wanted these my whole life.”
Geno pressed a kiss to her shoulder, smiling as he looked at their reflections. “Look so beautiful, Sidney.”
“This is really happening,” Sidney wiped at her eyes, staring at herself. She had a curve to her waist that hadn’t been there before, her breasts balancing out her hips. She didn’t look like a broad plank any longer, her body slowly taking on the appearance she wanted. “Thank you.”
Geno furrowed his brow. “Why thank me?”
“I wouldn’t be doing this without you,” Sidney said, turning to look at him. “You have supported me in everything and I don’t think I could be here if you weren’t by my side.”
Geno swallowed thickly, his voice rough. “You’re welcome.”
“Zhenya! Have you looked yet? They’re very nice!”
Geno made a face before he started to laugh, shaking his head. Sidney started to laugh as well, leaning against him as she giggled helplessly. Their family was kind of absurd.
“Yes, Mama! They are beautiful and Sidney is very happy!”
Sidney looked at herself in the mirror, happy at the sight of herself for the first time in a very long time. Geno slipped his arms around her waist again and the two of them stood there, staring at the woman in the mirror.
Your Mother Should Know (April 2021)
Taylor woke slowly, her body aching and sore in ways she didn’t expect even when she talked to other women who had babies. There was really no way to anticipate what this felt like. She could hear soft voices, Ryan’s and Geno. She knew those accents anywhere.
She moved carefully, pulling herself up to a sitting position. The sun was coming in through the bedroom windows and Geno was holding Nina in his arms, Ryan watching. She was really glad she decided to have the baby at home because there was nothing nicer than being in her own bed even if she still felt sweaty and gross.
“Hey,” Taylor said, clearing her throat. She reached for the bottle of water sitting on the bedside table, groaning at the stretch of already abused muscles.
“I got it,” Ryan said, quickly grabbing the water for her. He sat down on the bed next to her, smiling happily. He brushed her hair back. “Hey, baby.”
“Hey,” Taylor said, smiling as well. He brushed a kiss against her lips. “Where’s Sidney?”
“Talking to your mom,” Ryan said, looking guilty. “She came back after Sidney and Geno got here even though I told her they were coming.”
“Has Sidney even gotten to see her niece yet?” asked Taylor, hating that she had to deal with this family shit the day her daughter was born.
“Your mother wants her to change outfit,” Geno said, coming over to the bed as well. “She not going to, but have to argue.” He kissed her forehead. “Did so good. Beautiful Nina.”
“Ryan helped,” Taylor said, accepting Nina from Geno happily.
“You do all work.” Geno stroked a finger over Nina’s cheek lightly. Nina turned her head towards Geno’s finger. “She hungry. Keep turning and making eat motions.”
“She only ate a little before we fell asleep,” Taylor said, shifting Nina to one arm and pulling down the side of her tank top. “Free show, Geno.”
Geno made a face. “You my sister. No fun. Besides for food now.”
Taylor laughed and leaned against Ryan as Nina latched on and began to suck hungrily. All three of them watched in rapt attention, not noticing when Sidney stepped into the room. Taylor didn’t notice until Sidney sat down on Geno’s knee, leaning over to look at Nina.
“Hey Sidney,” Taylor said softly, smiling at her sister. “Meet your niece.”
Sidney stared at Nina, her mouth slightly open in awe. Geno wrapped an arm around Sidney’s waist, pressing his cheek to her shoulder. Taylor knew they wanted kids of their own, but weren’t going to try until after Sidney transitioned completely. Until then, Nina was going to be the most spoiled little girl just like Denis’s boys were the most spoiled little boys.
“She’s so small,” Sidney said in a whisper. “And has so much hair.”
Nina pulled away, pressing her tiny face against a covered hand and yawning. Taylor pulled her top back up and shifted Nina, patting her on the back until she let out a tiny burp. Sidney made an undignified squeaking sound and turned bright red.
“It cute,” Geno agreed, kissing her shoulder with a quiet laugh. Ryan was staring at Nina with a soppy look as well, completely gone over his little girl.
“Nina,” Taylor said, shifting her and pressing a kiss to her soft, wrinkly forehead. “Meet your Aunt Sidney.”
Ryan handed Nina to Sidney, helping her settle Nina in her arms. “Aunt Sidney’s going to be the one who teaches you how to shoot a puck into a washer and paint flowers on your toes.”
Everyone laughed at that, Sidney not even protesting. Taylor moved, carefully swinging her legs over the side of the bed. “Okay, time to brave the bathroom again.”
“I got you,” Ryan said, standing up and helping Taylor to her feet. He looped an arm around her waist and together they shuffled to the bathroom. “You want me to stay with you?”
Taylor made a face. The bathroom trip right after Nina had been born was one she really didn’t want to think about nor did she want to subject Ryan to again. “It can’t be as bad as the last one.”
“I’ll stay by the door,” Ryan offered, kissing her lightly. “You’re amazing.”
“So are you,” Taylor murmured, one hand on the doorframe, the other on Ryan’s waist. “Thank you.”
“I should be thanking you,” Ryan laughed, tugging lightly on her braid. “Go pee. We’ve got time to relax. I don’t think Sidney’s letting go of Nina anytime soon.”
“I might steal her,” Sidney called out. “Geno will help.”
“No, no. We wait to steal until she sleep through night.”
Taylor rolled her eyes and made her way into the bathroom. The less said about that the better. She did feel better after washing her face again and rebraiding her hair. A shower would be fantastic, but she had to wait until she was a little steadier on her feet. Her midwife had been firm on that.
When she came out, Sidney and Geno still had Nina on one side of the room. Ryan was by the bathroom and her mom was by the door, watching. Taylor shut her eyes briefly. She was tired of being the one caught in the middle.
Taylor looked at Sidney, unsure of what her mom was so upset about her wearing. She was wearing a knee length skirt and a v-neck shirt that clung to her new curves, her hair pulled back in a low ponytail. Sidney looked like she always did these days since she started hormone therapy and living full-time as a woman. Not male but not entirely female yet either. It most likely wasn’t what Sidney was wearing, more that it was the first time their mom had seen Sidney with breasts. Whatever it was, her mom was just going to have to deal because Taylor was not up for playing peacemaker.
“How are you feeling, sweetie?” asked Trina, coming over to help her.
“Sore and tired,” Taylor said, leaning on her mother. “I thought you were going home to sleep.”
“I couldn’t stay away,” Trina admitted, helping Taylor over to the bed. “Your dad and Ryan’s parents are fast asleep at home, but I just couldn’t sleep.”
“Ryan, Sidney, and Geno are here,” Taylor said, settling back on the bed. “We’re fine. You really need sleep.”
Trina looked over at Sidney and Geno, her eyes flickering over Sidney’s form again. “You’re here with all men. You need a woman around.”
Sidney’s shoulders tightened visibly and Geno bit down on his bottom lip to keep from saying anything. Taylor sighed and leaned back against the pillows. “Mom, Sidney’s here. I have a woman with me.”
“A real woman,” Trina stressed, focusing on straightening the sheets. “Not Sidney.”
“Trina,” Ryan said, putting a hand on his mother-in-law’s arm. “Please don’t do this now. Taylor and I are not going to choose between you and Sidney, but we’re not going to let you talk about Sidney that way. I will ask you to leave.”
Trina’s jaw tightened, but she put a hand on Ryan’s patting lightly. “How about I go make us some food?”
“That would be great.” Ryan said, pressing a kiss to her temple. “Thank you.”
Trina kissed Taylor’s forehead before going over to kiss Nina lightly. She stroked the baby’s cheek, not once looking at Sidney who was still cradling the baby in her arms. She briefly patted Sidney’s arm and nodded at Geno before leaving the room.
Sidney exhaled heavily and moved to sit back down on the bed. She handed Nina back over to Taylor. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t apologize,” Ryan said firmly, pressing a hand against the back of Sidney’s neck. “It’s Trina’s problem, not yours.”
“I know. I just wish it wasn’t happening today,” Sidney sighed. “The focus should be on you guys and Nina.”
“We focus on them,” Geno said calmly. “I go get presents.”
“You brought presents?” asked Taylor, looking at them incredulously. “What else could you have bought her?”
“Geno likes buying baby clothes,” Sidney admitted. Geno smiled unapologetically before heading back downstairs to grab the gifts. “We bought stuff for you and Ryan as well.”
“Sidney,” Taylor groaned, but smiled at the same time. “You guys are hopeless.”
“If I can’t spoil my brand new niece and her awesome parents, who can I spoil?” Sidney laughed, tweaking the end of Taylor’s braid.
“Denis’s kids maybe?”
“We do that plenty when they come visit. Plus Nina is the only girl in the bunch,” Sidney waved her hand. “Have you seen the tiny little dresses they make for girls?”
“Yes, Geno likes to buy baby clothes,” Ryan drawled, looking at Sidney with a raised eyebrow.
“I like to help,” Sidney laughed. “We bought totally practical onesies and only some Team Canada and Pens gear.”
“And Team Russia and Metallurg?”
Sidney looked at Ryan with a shrug. “Have to cover all the bases even if Geno can’t play for them anymore. She’s got an international family of hockey players. I know your parents already loaded you up with Team Denmark and Leafs gear. We all have to be represented here.”
“And you better believe your mama is going to be ready for the Olympics next year,” Taylor promised Nina. “Even if your Aunt and Uncle are too old to play.”
Sidney gasped at that in mock-anger. “I’ll have you know that if I wanted to play in the Olympics next year I could. And so could Geno. He is a Canadian citizen now.”
Taylor smiled at her happily. “You’re already retired.”
Sidney smiled back at her. “And well on my way to becoming Aunt Sidney for real.”
My Beautiful World (May 2021)
When Geno came back from running Bear around the block, Sidney was still sitting at the kitchen table with papers spread around and a pencil holding her hair up in a bun. Geno sighed a little, getting a bottle of water for himself. Bear was already demolishing his water bowl.
“Any luck on first round?”
Sidney turned to look at him, frowning a little. “How pissed do you think Claude would be if I drafted Cameron?”
“Depends. Are you just drafting him to keep him from going to Flyers?”
“Do you think Claude really wants to play with his step-son?” asked Sidney. “I get that Claude is a Flyer for life and wants his family nearby, but he’s known Cameron since he was eight. Wouldn’t that be weird?”
Geno shrugged. “Cameron is entering the draft late because of ACL injury. He won’t be first round pick. You be reaching."
“He’s still good.” Sidney shuffled the papers back into a pile before getting to her feet, stretching her arms high above her head. Geno’s gaze followed the tan skin revealed, grinning the whole time. Sidney caught him staring and started to laugh. “You’ve been watching me do that for ten years now. It still can’t be that exciting.”
“Everything about you exciting,” Geno proclaimed, wrapping her in his arms and kissing her.
Sidney pushed back against him, hissing a little. “Ow.”
“Sorry,” Geno said immediately, reaching a hand up to gently touch her breast. “Still sore?”
“Yeah,” Sidney frowned. “It’s the hormones.”
Geno rubbed gently at the sides of her breasts. She was completely unbothered about Geno touching them pretty much anytime and sometimes actually searched him out to touch them when they were sore.
"They lovely breasts," Geno said. He leaned in, his hands still on Sidney’s breasts, to kiss her softly. “Quite fond of them.”
Sidney laughed and kissed him back. “Me too. Should I call Claude or Danny?”
Geno shook his head, kissing Sidney’s nose before pulling back. “Danny. Claude too emotional.”
Sidney looked at the clock. “It’s kind of late to call. Claude is most likely napping which means Danny probably is too. And that means you should be napping.”
“Nap with me?” asked Geno hopefully.
“Sure,” Sidney said, reaching up and pulling the pencil from her hair, causing it to fall down over her shoulders. Geno reached up, finger brushing the waves to untangle them.
Geno looked at her for a long time, taking in the changes to her face, the new sharpness to her cheekbones and the arch of her eyebrows. He knew there were tiny scars under her lip from barely noticable cheek implants, giving her just a bit more roundness to counteract the strong shape of her jaw. The facial surgery she had was subtle for now, just refining her features.
She was still Sidney, especially now wearing little makeup and her hair falling messy around her face. Her eyes were different, a lightness there that had been hidden by the weariness of hiding for so long. Her lips were the same, no need for surgical improvement there, and Geno was happy about that. He trailed a fingertip along her jaw, before rubbing gently behind her ear.
Her body was different, not just the breasts, but she had lost weight and stopped focusing on building muscle mass. The two of them did yoga in the morning and she ran five miles every day with Bear. Geno’s hands settled on her hips. They were the same as was her ass. Still wide and curvy and full. If anything the hormones had made her hips curvier.
“Hey,” Sidney said softly, staring back at him with equal intensity. “Everything okay?”
Geno swallowed thickly, feeling oddly choked up. “Yes. Just thinking about how far you've come.”
Sidney smiled, leaning up to kiss him. "Not quite the scared guy you interrupted putting on nail polish.”
“So glad I interrupted,” Geno said, grinning. He took Sidney’s hand in his own. “Come. Time to nap.”
Bear was up and on his feet, pushing past them to bound up the stairs to the bedroom. Sidney sighed and shook her head. “He’s going to be in the bed before us now.”
“Your fault. You let him in bed when he a puppy. Jeffrey never try to get in bed with us,” Geno said proudly.
“That is such a lie! Jeffrey always slept in bed with me,” Sidney laughed. “Whenever it was just the two of us, he’d be in bed in a flash. He never did it when you were home.”
“I tell Jeffrey to keep an eye on you.” Geno looked at Bear who was happily flopped on Sidney’s pillow, taking up the whole side of the bed. “We have to cuddle.”
“We need a bigger bed,” Sidney said as she slipped off her pants, climbing into bed in just her panties and a t-shirt. She leaned over to give Bear a hug, scratching his belly as Geno got in bed behind her. Bear’s tail thumped against the mattress and he turned his head to give Sidney’s a wet kiss on the face. “Ugh. Salmon breath.”
Geno laughed and curled up, his knees behind Sidney’s and his arm across her waist. Sidney sighed happily and snuggled back into Geno’s embrace. Napping in the middle of the day was so ingrained in both of them after years and years of games and practices. Even though Sidney wasn’t playing, she would nap when Geno was napping as often as she could.
It was Bear jumping out of the bed and barking that woke them up. Sidney groaned and looked at the clock. Geno pushed himself up on his elbows, looking groggy. “Сколько времени?”
“Not time to get up,” Sidney said. “I’ll go check.”
Geno mumbled something and buried his face in the pillow. Sidney pulled her pants back on and headed downstairs, scratching her fingers through her hair as she went. Bear was at the front door, his tail wagging furiously.
Sidney looked through the peephole. Reporters had gotten rather bold on occasion and snuck into their Sewickley neighborhood and rang the doorbell to try and catch Sidney off-guard. And Bear, like Jeffrey and Sam before him, was not exactly a good watchdog. It was Alexa, who Sidney didn’t even know was home right now.
Sidney unlocked the door, opening. “Hey Alexa.”
“Kathy broke up with me,” Alexa blurted out before bursting into tears and wrapping her arms around Sidney and hiding her face against Sidney’s shoulder.
Sidney patted her back awkwardly, trying to adjust Alexa so she wasn’t pressing so hard against her right breast. Emotional outbursts were not her strong suit. Taylor said that she was emotionally stunted and Geno was really better at handling tears.
“Hey come inside,” Sidney said gently, guiding Alexa into the house without letting her go. She kicked the door shut and walked them towards the living room. Once they were sitting down, Alexa pulled back to look at Sidney, her face streaked with tears. “What happened?”
“She said that she was sick of us being apart all the time and that I prioritize getting back to Pittsburgh over coming to see her in Seattle.”
“She does realize that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are in the same state, right?” asked Sidney. “And not a five hour flight?”
Alexa looked at Sidney in disgust. “My girlfriend is not an idiot. Where’s Geno? You’re awful at this.”
“He’s sleeping,” Sidney said with a frown. “It’s game day. And I’m not awful at this. Don’t believe Taylor.”
“Stephanie and Lauren both said you’re awful at feelings too,” Alexa sniffled. “Can’t you just tell me that she’s an idiot and she’s giving up something awesome?”
“She’s a complete idiot for breaking up with you. Doesn’t she know how awesome you are?” Sidney repeated, handing Alexa some tissues.
Alexa sighed. “Just get the vodka.”
“That I can do,” Sidney said easily, getting up and heading into the kitchen. She pulled out one of the bottles of vodka in the freezer and grabbed a shot glass before heading back out to Alexa. “I think everyone comes to me and Geno for advice because we have the good vodka.”
“We come to Geno because he’s good at this because he’s been handling you for years. We come to you for the vodka,” Alexa said, pouring herself a shot.
“I’ve gotten better since I’ve been on hormones,” Sidney protested.
“You’ve been on hormones for less than a year,” Alexa pointed out. “He’s been handling you since he came to this country.”
Sidney pursed her lips but nodded. “Fair enough. Need anything other than vodka?”
“Chinese food, Annie Hall, and ice cream.” Alexa poured herself another shot. “Were you going to the game tonight?”
Sidney nodded. “You need me here?”
Alexa thought about it for a moment before shaking her head. “I’ll call Mom. She can come here and drink with me.”
Sidney grabbed the phone and pulled up the local Chinese place they always order from before handing it to Alexa. “Pick whatever you want. Put a comment in that it’s for Sidney and Geno and tell them you want ice cream as well. They’ll pick it up for you on the way.”
“How often do you order from them?”
“A couple of times a month during the season for the last fourteen years,” Sidney said easily. “They take good care of us. Once they even picked up dog food on the way over.”
Alexa shook her head. “Only you.”
Geno shuffled into the living room, still half-asleep to sit next to Sidney. He rested his head on her shoulder, looking blearily at the vodka.
“Kathy broke up with Alexa,” Sidney said, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “English.”
Geno shifted and leaned forward to look across Sidney to Alexa. “She not good enough for you anyway. You can do much better. Find pretty girl in Philadelphia to date who won’t complain about you visiting family.”
Geno reached for the remote for the television, turning it on and going directly to the movies. “I forget. You Notebook and Thai or Annie Hall and Chinese? I know Stephanie Evil Dead and wings.”
“Annie Hall and Chinese food. Lauren is The Notebook and Thai.” Alexa looked at Sidney, an eyebrow raised. “See?”
Sidney gaped at Geno. “How do you remember all this?”
Geno shrugged. “Is easy. You Die Hard and chocolate cake. I know most of team as well.”
“Oh,” Sidney frowned. “So I guess you’re Steelers games and shchi that your Mom made.”
Geno smiled at her, patting Sidney’s leg. “See. You pay attention.”
“If you find a pretty girl to date in Philadelphia, I’m going to make Claude threaten her,” Sidney said as Annie Hall started to play. “He would do that.”
“You’d have to call him to do that.” Alexa waved her hand. “Be quiet. The movie is starting.”
Geno put an arm around Sidney’s shoulders, settling her back against the couch. “Yeah. Movie starting.”
Sidney rolled her eyes and elbowed Geno in the stomach. “I have to go get ready for the game. You sit with Alexa and watch the movie. I take longer anyway.”
Geno kissed her absently before scooting over to sit next to Alexa. She curled into Geno’s side, sipping at her vodka now. Sidney watched them with a smile before heading upstairs to go get dressed.
About a Boy (2021-2022 Pittsburgh Penguins Season)
When Cameron was six, his parents started to get divorced. Started is the best word because it took a long and messy time to finally break them apart completely and really, Cameron kind of hated it. They all did, but Caelen did his best to keep Carson and Cameron from being too upset.
There was always hockey luckily. Practices and knee hockey and shinny in the driveway. Dad would play hockey no matter how upset he was. Mom never protested and would stand in the goal with a glove and a goalie stick all afternoon if it meant they were having fun.
By the time Claude moved in, it was obvious to anyone looking that Cameron was really kind of crazy talented. Caelen and Carson were both good, much better than average for their age groups, but Cameron was the one who had the most raw talent.
Claude was the one who suggested that Cameron start playing in the Flyers system even though he was technically too young for the youth league. But he tried out and he made it despite his age and small size. Everything was really good for awhile, even when Claude moved out to keep up appearances and Coots moved in.
Then Dad signed in Montreal and Claude’s smile dimmed and suddenly they were living almost the entire time at their mom’s except for the occasional weekend when Dad was home. It felt like having three divorced parents even though they only had two and Dad and Claude were still together.
When the NHL shut down for the Olympics, Dad flew back from Montreal and spent the entire time home with them. They watched every game, then called Claude constantly, and somehow Cameron ended up talking to Crosby on the phone. Crosby grilled him on passing techniques before passing the phone back to Claude who just laughed and called Crosby a loser. Which was a lot nicer than what he usually called him.
Dad was able to stay long enough to welcome Claude home, admire the gold medal, and have one evening as a family. Cameron held the gold medal in his hands and imagined winning it himself one day. He could hear Crosby’s voice in the back of his head telling him that being the best meant working harder than everyone else.
That day Cameron vowed to himself he would be the best.
After the 2014 Olympics, there was some sort of truce between Claude and Sidney everywhere but on the ice. They were friends and even practiced together during the off-season that year, mostly at Sidney’s ridiculous house in Pittsburgh, but occasionally up in Montreal.
There were hockey players in and out of Sidney and Geno’s house in Pittsburgh. At fourteen, Cameron had been on the synthetic ice rink in Sidney’s basement with people like Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane, Jarome Iginla, Geno, Claude and of course, his Dad. Sidney’s sister Taylor was in goal and the Lemieux kids were there most of the time as well.
Sidney was rehabbing a broken leg so he wasn’t allowed to skate, but that didn’t stop him bullying everyone. No one was immune to Sidney yelling at them, even Mario when he joined them one day.
(Which okay, Cameron knew a lot of hockey players but stepping onto the ice with Mario Lemieux was kind of insane).
There had been one night where Sidney and Claude fought, lots of yelling and Sidney saying that he didn’t have any reason to trust Claude. Cameron had been in the den with his brothers playing video games with Geno. At the first hint of yelling, Geno was up and moving, ordering them to stay put.
That was the same night they all found out that Sidney Crosby was transgender. Claude, being the idiot he always was, had walked into a room that turned out to be Sidney’s room where she kept makeup and womens’ clothes. It was also the same night he learned that Geno was really, really scary when he was protecting Sidney.
The next morning Sidney was wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a pink Malkin T-shirt which Claude gave her shit about because she was wearing her boyfriend’s number until Sidney pointed out that Claude was wearing a pair of too-short Buffalo Sabres pajama pants.
Cameron got used to summers with Sidney, Geno, Claude, and his Dad in Pittsburgh. Carson and Caelen got bored of it after the first year and were old enough that Dad let them stay in Haddonfield themselves for the three weeks.
Both Sidney and Jonathon Toews sponsored him to get into Shattuck-St. Mary’s when he was sixteen. Caelen got drafted by the Flyers and Claude was over the moon. Dad retired and moved back to Haddonfield where Carson was the only one home because Caelen was in Adirondack with the Phantoms and he was in Minnesota. A year later the Flyers drafted Carson as well. It looked like the whole family would end up on the Flyers by the time Cameron got drafted.
Then Cameron tore his ACL. Like completely tore it, shredded the ligament and managed to shatter part of the joint at the same time. It was an injury that could have very well kept him out of hockey for the rest of his life. It kept him out of the draft when he was 18 and again when he was 19. When he was 20, he was playing for the QMJHL and while he wasn't as good as he used to be, he was starting to get his feet under him and put it all together again.
It was a shock to everyone in the family when Sidney drafted him in the first round that year. She had mentioned it to Dad briefly that she was looking at Cameron in the first round, but nothing really came from it. Sidney walked up to the podium, looking more like a woman every time he saw her, and announced his name with the 25th draft pick.
And just like that Cameron found himself playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Claude, Caelen, and Carson were all in the Flyers organization at some level and Dad was coaching the Flyers Junior Team.
But Cameron was a Penguin. He was Geno's rookie which meant he was living with Sidney and Geno (and Geno’s parents most of the time).
It meant that Geno was the one who showed him around the locker room at Consol, explained how things went during practices, and what it meant to be a Pens rookie and a first round draft pick.
It also meant that there was a horribly mortifying conversation where Geno told him about the porn chest by the steam room and how you were allowed to take what you wanted, but to return it in the same condition. Even more embarrassing was when Geno opened it and began to rifle through it to see what was in there.
“Sidney’s stuff still here. I take that home,” Geno had laughed, before pulling out a couple of magazines and tucking them under his arm. “Everything you want in here. No one judge.”
Cameron hid his face with his hand and tried not to die in embarrassment thinking about Sidney looking at porn. He had to live with her.
Brent, the other rookie who had made the team outright, got the porn chest talk from Miller which was a lot less embarrassing since Miller was a total bro and mostly talked about how there was something awesome about old school magazine porn and kids needed to respect their porn past. Brent also told him that Miller had a wicked collection of 70’s porn on VHS.
Cameron didn’t tell Brent what it was like living with the Pens captain and the part owner of the team who was formerly both the Pens captain and a man. He didn’t talk about the mornings he stumbled out of bed to find Geno dancing with Sidney in the kitchen to no music or when he found Sidney taking care of the bruises Geno got. He didn’t talk about the nights where Sidney was crying for no reason because her hormone dosage was increased or how Geno would reorganize Sidney’s nail polish when he was trying to keep himself from shouting at her.
Cameron kind of loved living with them. It was a lot like living with his Dad and Claude, the easy back and forth, the teasing, the quiet expressions of love. It made him nostalgic for home and the family that was on the other side of the state.
Sidney was stubborn and weird and really bad at emotional support but knew when to sit next to him on the couch and analyze plays instead of calling attention to how Cameron was kind of crying about having to play against Claude and Caelen. Geno was more free with hugs and pulled him close on the couch like Claude would. It was comforting and reassuring.
Geno’s parents weren’t always there. They had a wing in Sidney and Geno’s house in Pittsburgh as well as the house up in Cole Harbour. They came and went, but were there the first two months of the season. They acted like Cameron was one of their children as well, scolding him in Russian for not taking care of himself when he stayed out too late and forcing food on him.
Okay that was mostly Natalia. Vladimir just rolled his eyes at her fussing and told Cameron he needed to work on his slapshot.
The games were hard, brutal even. The pace in the NHL was entirely different than in Major Juniors. Cameron had no idea how anyone managed to party after a game. All he wanted to do was crash. When they were home, no one gave him shit about it, but on the road, even Geno got on his case to go out.
He let Geno drag him out to bars and clubs. He let Brent try to get him to pick up girls. He let Geno tell him it was okay if he liked boys. Mostly he really was just too tired to pick up at all. (And he liked girls - most of the time). He complained on the phone to Claude about it and Claude had just laughed at him.
His Dad was much more understanding even though he was totally embarrassed at the conversation. He told him that Cameron didn’t need to feel pressured to do anything he didn’t want to do and to talk to Geno if people got too pushy about it.
When they were in Montreal in December to play the Canadiens, Sidney and the Malkins flew up as well. Geno disappeared during the day to unknown doctors appointments with them, not even practicing with the team before the game. They stayed a day longer than everyone else and Geno caught up with them in Edmonton.
“Is good,” Geno had said to Cameron, squeezing his shoulder. “Just tired.”
Cameron had learned pretty quickly that Geno’s English was slow to come back if he was too tired or had spent a lot of time only speaking Russian. Sidney tried to speak English a lot of the time, but when Geno’s parents were around it was easier to speak Russian. Cameron understood; they spoke French at home.
“Sidney’s okay, right?” Cameron had asked.
Geno had smiled softly. “Good doctors appointments. More surgery soon. Have to see many doctors before.”
Back when they had first found out that Sidney was transgender, Geno had given them some stuff to read and Cameron knew that he wasn’t supposed to ask about any surgery or anything like that. He remembered the interview that Sidney had given and how she was adamant that no one needed to know about what form her change of gender took.
So he didn’t ask and Geno didn’t tell.
It turned out to be more facial surgery and a tracheal shave so Cameron knew pretty quickly what had been done. Sidney’s voice was weird for awhile after that, scratchy. She seemed to be having trouble modulating her voice and it was coming out more masculine. She was really frustrated about it and spent a lot of time not talking.
It was like the whole house breathed a sigh of relief when her voice went back to normal and she restarted vocal training. Geno certainly relaxed which made Cameron relax which meant they both played a lot better.
There was an anniversary in March which Cameron didn’t try to celebrate with them, but Sidney told him later that it was the second anniversary of her starting hormone treatment. When he did the math in his head he figured out that it meant she had started during her last season and not at the end of the season like she told everyone.
The team was good. It was basically them and Flyers going neck and neck into the playoffs. Edmonton was better than everyone else in the NHL, but the Pens and Flyers were holding their own.
Sidney came to the away games in Philadelphia during the playoffs. She sat up in a luxury box with Cameron’s dad and sometimes Geno’s parents. They all had dinner after the game, but after that Sidney and Geno would go back to the hotel and Cameron would get to go home. Since Carson was up from Adirondack for the playoffs, he stayed as well. Caelen wouldn’t always stay the night but sometimes he would and they all would pile into the den, Dad and Claude on the couches and be a family.
The Pens didn’t make it out of that playoff series and for the first time since 1975 the Flyers raised the Stanley Cup, beating Edmonton in five games. Cameron watched from the seats, happy for his family. Claude skated around the rink, the Cup held above his head before he turned and handed it off to Caelen, step-father to step-son. When the families started pouring onto the ice, Cameron went out with his Dad and got to see his Dad raise the Cup and kiss it for the first time in his career.
It wasn’t Cameron’s Cup so he didn’t touch it. He was only a rookie after all.
Cameron would lift the Cup when he won it for Pittsburgh anyway.
My World Will Change For Me (December 2022)
Geno woke up early, the hospital room still dark and quiet. Sidney wasn’t in bed next to him and he looked over at the window. She was looking outside at a snowy Montreal, the curtain pushed back as the sun started to tint the sky with shades of orange.
He pulled himself to his feet, shuffling over and wrapping an arm around her waist. He brushed her long hair to the side and pressed a kiss to her neck. “Okay?”
“Nervous,” Sidney admitted. She covered his hand with one of her own and leaned back into him. “I kept waking up.”
“Should have woke me. Would have stayed up with you.”
“One of us should sleep and I’m going to be the one given anesthesia soon.”
“You ready?” asked Geno, feeling the way she tensed as she spoke. “Can still change mind.”
“I’m nervous, but I’m not going to change my mind.” She turned in Geno’s arms to face him, the curtains closing to hide the slowly rising sun. “I was more nervous the day I gave the interview about being female then I am now.”
Geno cupped her cheek, smiling softly. “Did great that day. Will do great today.”
Sidney let out a shuddery exhale before leaning into him, her head on his shoulder. Geno pulled her close, humming softly. He felt her relax, the tension leaving her body and he began to sway slowly. She followed him, reminiscent of the mornings they would dance in the kitchen.
There was a knock at the door and it opened, the harsh light from the hallway spilling in. The morning nurse gave Geno a smile before shutting the door.
“How are we this morning, Ms. Crosby?” She asked warmly. “I’m Marie and I will be getting you ready for your procedure today.”
Sidney pulled away and gave Geno a brave smile. “I’m hungry.”
Marie chuckled softly. “I know, but nothing until later. I must take your vitals and then you must shower.”
Sidney nodded, grabbing Geno’s hand tightly before going back over to the bed. She held out her arm to the nurse and sat down. Marie worked quickly and when she was done, she squeezed Sidney’s hand firmly.
“Everything will be fine. Dr. Roy is the best.”
“I know,” Sidney said softly. “All of my surgeries have been done either by him or by Dr. Jonquiel."
“We very happy with them.” Geno added in. “How long she have for shower?”
“Thirty minutes,” Marie said, tapping some notes onto Sidney’s chart. “Wash with the soap provided and put on the hospital gown in the bathroom, please.”
Sidney pressed her lips together tightly, squeezing Geno’s hand even harder. “Can … am I allowed to wear makeup?”
Marie’s expression softened and she smiled at her. “Of course. Whatever you need to feel more comfortable. I would suggest using lip balm or a lip gloss instead of a lipstick. We don’t want to smear it accidentally.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said fervently.
Geno brought her hand up to kiss her knuckles gently, seeing Marie’s gaze follow briefly, her eyes softening even more. She reached out to touch Sidney’s shoulder gently.
“You will do fine, Ms. Crosby,” Marie smiled warmly. “So much depends on your support system and you seem to have a good one.”
Sidney looked over at Geno, smiling. “I do.”
Marie looked at the clock briefly. “Half an hour and I’ll be back.”
Sidney nodded, waiting until the door was shut to slump backwards onto the bed. “Okay now I’m terrified.”
Geno laughed a little and lay next to her, propped up on his elbow. “Could tell. You not correct name like usual.”
“It does still say Crosby on my chart,” Sidney sighed, rolling to face him as well. “We should take the picture before I shower.”
Geno nodded, leaning in to kiss her softly, his tongue dipping in briefly as she pushed into the kiss. “By door?”
“Yeah,” Sidney said, getting out of bed. She ran her hands through her hair a few times, getting some of the more impressive tangles under control before she stripped out of her pajamas and underwear, leaving them on the bed.
Geno got out the phone and turned the lights on. Sidney stood at the door, arms at her sides, completely naked. There were a series of photos already, hidden in a folder on her computer. The first was right before she started hormone treatments and they went in order up until now, the changes in her body from hormones and surgery catalogued for her own comfort.
Geno looked at her for a long time as she fussed, shifting her weight. He loved seeing her naked. Sidney finally rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. “Stop staring and take the picture. I promise you’ll see it again.”
“Not your penis,” Geno couldn’t help but laugh and Sidney started to as well.
“Okay well not that,” Sidney acknowledged, smiling now.
Geno took a few photos, happy that she looked relaxed now. “Now turn around.”
Sidney put her hands back on her hips, scowling. “There’s no reason for me to turn around.”
“Maybe I just want to look at your ass,” Geno said, grinning. He put the camera down and walked over to her, leaning in to kiss her scowl. “Okay if I say goodbye?”
Sidney laughed but gestured with her hand at her crotch. Geno squatted down to look at her dick. He patted it lightly. “Nice to know you. Had some good times, but best you go now. Make Sidney happier.”
Sidney looked down at him smiling softly. “You’re ridiculous.”
Geno got back to his feet, shrugging easily. “Is why you love me.”
“Part of it,” Sidney admitted, leaning in to kiss him again. “Be out in a few minutes.”
“Go shower,” Geno said, smacking her ass lightly. She gave him the finger, shutting the bathroom door behind her. Geno let out a sigh and his shoulders slumped. He was nervous as hell and would be for the next however many hours it was until she woke up again.
It scared him every single time she had surgery. The risks were low for all of the other surgeries, but this one, while routinely performed by her doctors, carried a lot more risk. They had gone over the procedure multiple times with Dr. Roy over the last few years. They both knew the risks, but Sidney felt incomplete without the bottom surgery. The timing was right. Geno was finally retired and they didn’t have any pressing duties back in Pittsburgh for another few months.
Geno sat on the bed and fiddled with his phone before sending Taylor a message that it was almost go time. She replied back almost immediately, telling him that it would be okay and she could still make it up there to keep him company while he waited. It wasn’t that long a flight from Boston.
Geno smiled at the phone, knowing she would drop everything and fly up to sit with him in the waiting room all day if he asked. His parents would have as well. But Sidney had asked that it just be him until they went back home. This surgery was too intimate for her to handle anyone else.
He texted her back to tell her no, but he would call, before setting his phone down. He looked over at the makeup that was on the dresser and began to organize it by color. There wasn’t really enough to take much time, but he couldn’t just sit there.
Sidney came out of the bathroom with a hospital gown on, drying her hair. “Nervous?”
Geno turned to look at her sheepishly. “Yes.”
“I’ll be okay,” Sidney promised him, taking both of Geno’s hands in her own. “You’ll see me in a few hours in the recovery room.”
Geno nodded, squeezing firmly. “Still worry.”
Sidney smiled a little sadly. “I’m sorry I make you worry.”
“No,” Geno shook his head. “No apologizing. Would rather worry then see you miserable.”
“That’s another reason I love you,” Sidney said quietly. “Will you do my makeup and hair?”
Geno smiled, brushing her wet hair back from her face. “Always.”
Geno hummed softly as he did Sidney’s makeup, keeping it light. He brushed blush over her cheekbones and bridge of her nose, leaning in to kiss her softly. There was a knock on the door and Marie came back in with a wheelchair.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Marie said, closing the door. “But it is time to move to the operating suite.”
Geno nodded. “Let me finish. Only take a moment.”
Marie waited patiently as he finished Sidney’s makeup, handing her a tinted lip balm to put on. Geno made quick work of her hair, brushing it straight before braiding it with quick, practiced fingers.
Geno rested his hand against the side of her neck. “You ready.”
“Thank you,” Sidney said before taking off her wedding ring and handing it to Geno for safe-keeping. “I want that back when I wake up.”
“First thing,” Geno promised. He turned to look at Marie. “I come too?”
“You can walk with us,” Marie said. “But you can’t come in. That is where the waiting room is so if you want to bring anything with you, I can get you set up there.”
Geno grabbed a few things and shoved them in his bag, slinging it over his shoulder as Sidney got into the wheelchair. He took her hand as they left the room, Marie pushing her down the hall.
Dr. Roy was waiting for them outside of the operating suite, smiling warmly. “Sidney, Evgeni. It’s lovely to see the both of you.”
Geno shook his hand firmly before Dr. Roy leaned down to press a kiss to Sidney’s cheek. Sidney pressed a kiss back, still clutching Geno’s hand with a death grip.
“Are we all ready for today?” asked Dr. Roy, sitting down on one of the chairs and gesturing for Geno to do the same. “Any last questions?”
Sidney shook her head. “We’re pretty well prepared.”
“I will take wonderful care of you,” Dr. Roy promised before looking over at Geno. “And I will return her to you soon enough. There are no other patients or families around as requested. My staff is here to assist you in anything you need while Sidney is in surgery.”
Geno nodded mutely. He stared at Sidney for a long moment before transferring her hand to Dr. Roy’s. He pressed his lips together tightly, squeezing his hands against the chair.
“C’mere,” Sidney said softly, reaching out with her free hand to pull him close. “I love you and I will see you in a few hours. Now kiss me.”
Geno nodded again, leaning in to kiss her, closing his eyes and trying not to cry. She pulled back, her eyes bright with unshed tears.
“Love you, Solnyshka,” Geno murmured in Russian.
Sidney turned to look at him as she was pushed away, Dr. Roy still holding her hand. Geno collapsed back into the chair, pressing his hands over his face as he cried silently.
The surgery went longer than it was supposed to go and Geno was very close to panicking by the time Dr. Roy came back out, looking tired, his eyes pinched. Geno stood up immediately.
“Sit,” Dr. Roy gestured, moving to sit next to him. “We’re all finished. It took a little longer because of some complications. Sidney is fine now. She lost a lot of blood, but we got the bleeding under control and her volume is back up to normal.”
Geno swallowed thickly. “How bad?”
Dr. Roy sighed. “Had we not gotten the bleeding under control when we did, it would have been life-threatening.”
“Oh,” Geno paled, sitting back heavily in the chair.
Dr. Roy grabbed Geno’s hand, squeezing tightly. “She is fine. She will be a little weaker because of the blood loss, but her recovery should go smoothly. The procedure itself ended with a very good result.”
“I see her? Please.”
Dr. Roy nodded, patting Geno’s shoulder. “She is not awake yet, but you can come sit with her. It will be best if she sees your face when she wakes. I think she’s fonder of yours than mine.”
Geno managed a shaky smile at that, grabbing his bag to follow Dr. Roy down the hall to the recovery room.
“She’s very pale,” Dr. Roy cautioned. “And she’s still hooked to an IV and has the nasal canula in. These are all normal after surgery.”
Geno nodded wordlessly, just wanted to see Sidney desperately. Dr. Roy handed him a gown to put on and Geno struggled to get into it, his hands shaking and the flimsy material getting caught around his jeans.
“Evgeni, I need you to calm down,” Dr. Roy said calmly, straightening the gown. “I know you are worried and scared for her. Even if she is not awake, she will know that you are worked up.”
Geno exhaled slowly, nodding. He pressed his eyes shut for a moment, breathing deeply to try and calm himself down. Dr. Roy had given him this speech before, every time he went into the recovery room to see Sidney. He would be happy when the surgeries were finally completed.
Geno opened his eyes and gave him the same shaky smile as before. “I am ready.”
“The results should make Sidney happy. We’ll have to check the depth in a few days, but I believe it to be close to 16 centimeters, possibly a little more.”
“Should be good,” Geno said absently, seeing Sidney’s bed. He moved past Dr. Roy to go over to her. She was still sleeping, her skin chalk-white. Geno sat in the chair next to her bed, taking her hand in his own and pressing a kiss to her cold knuckles. “She cold.”
Dr. Roy handed him another blanket and Geno settled it over Sidney’s body carefully. He touched her face, sliding his thumb over the wrinkle between her brows. Her eyes were twitching under her eyelids and he knew it wouldn’t be long before she woke now.
Geno spoke softly, nonsense really, telling her about his day. It wasn’t an exciting day, mostly him wandering around the clinic when he couldn’t sit still any longer and going to the cafe across the street for lunch and tea. He was just getting to the part where a little dog decided he was her new best friend when Sidney let out a soft moan.
Geno brought his hand up to her face, stroking his thumb along her cheekbone gently. “Solnyshka, you awake?”
Sidney licked her lips, turning her head towards him, but her eyes were still closed. Geno leaned over and kissed her lightly.
“Just rest,” he murmured. “Everything go well. Surgery all over. I’ll be here when you wake.”
Sidney seemed to settle at that, her face relaxing. Geno went back to telling her about his day, the nurse coming over to check Sidney’s IV and stats without interrupting. He paused to watch for a moment, looking at the numbers.
“Blood pressure is low,” Geno remarked.
“It is,” the nurse agreed. “It will come back up soon enough.”
“What is your name?” asked Geno.
“Amie. And you’re Mr. Malkin,” she said, holding out a hand. Geno shook it briefly.
“Call me Geno. She is Sidney,” Geno said, smiling down at Sidney.
“Do you need anything?” asked Amie.
“No. I’ve been here before,” said Geno. “This one of many surgeries.”
Amie patted his shoulder lightly. “It can be a long process to become yourself. She is luckier than most.”
Geno tilted his head slightly. “How?”
“Well, she has money for one,” Amie said softly. “And she has your support. I am not unfamiliar with who she is outside the clinic. Trust me when I say she is luckier than others.”
“We try to help. Give money, support. She want to do more.”
Amie gave him a smile again. “If anyone can make a difference, she will.”
Sidney moaned softly again, her fingers tightening around Geno’s hand. Geno’s attention immediately snapped back to her, his free hand brushing over her forehead.
“Sidney,” Geno murmured. “Open eyes for me.”
Sidney’s eyelids fluttered and opened briefly before squeezing shut again. She licked her lips, sighing heavily. “Thirsty.”
“I will be right back with ice chips,” Amie said before heading off.
Geno brushed his fingers over her forehead gently, soothingly. “Hi, beautiful.”
Sidney grimaced and opened her eyes slightly to look up at him. She couldn’t focus and her gaze was glassy. She shifted on the bed, moving her free hand down her body, patting heavily.
Geno grabbed her hand carefully before she could hit herself in the groin. “Careful. Not want to hurt yourself.”
“Gone?” asked Sidney, her voice creaky. Amie pressed a cup of ice chips in Geno’s hand.
“Gone,” Geno confirmed, slipping an ice chip into Sidney’s mouth. He ran another over her lips, moistening them for her.
She relaxed into the bed and seemed to settle at that, sucking on the ice chip with her eyes half-shut again. Geno pressed a kiss to the corner of her mouth, settling back in to wait for them to be moved back into her room.
Sidney shifted on the bed uncomfortably, the tape holding the catheter to her inner thigh pulling again. She sighed and stretched her legs back out. Geno looked up from the book he was reading, his eyebrows raised in a silent question.
“I hate sitting still,” Sidney said, a slight whine in her voice. “I want to get up and walk again.”
Geno looked at the clock. “Dr. Roy be here in a few minutes.”
Sidney flopped backwards, looking up at the ceiling. “This is worse than waiting to see my breasts.”
Geno chuckled and closed his book, setting it aside to climb in bed next to her. She immediately moved to rest her head against Geno’s shoulder. “Going to look weird at first.”
“I know,” Sidney murmured. “I just want to touch it, to see that I really have a vagina and not a penis.”
Geno pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Soon. You wait this long. Can wait few more minutes.”
Sidney made a whining noise and pressed her face into Geno’s neck. Geno ran a hand through her hair, scratching comfortingly at her scalp. Her hair was messy and tangled, greasy despite dry shampoo. She couldn’t shower until they took the packing and catheter out.
Sidney’s phone buzzed and she reached for it, looking at the picture Taylor had sent her of Nina waving and holding her stuffed bunny. Sidney smiled softly and tilted the picture to show Geno.
“Miss her,” Geno said with a sigh. “Need to get to Boston.”
“Or they need to come home for a bit,” Sidney replied, texting Taylor back a shot of her and Geno. “Hopefully they can get back for Thanksgiving.”
“Hockey season busy for both of them,” Geno reminded her. “We old now. No hockey to schedule day around.”
“It’s weird,” Sidney confessed. “Until this season at least you were still playing.”
“We still very busy,” Geno reminded her.
There was a soft knock on the door and Dr. Roy poked his head in. “Good morning.” He came in, wearing a lab coat with Amie following him. “How are we today?”
“Restless,” Sidney said immediately. “I want to get up and move.”
“I can help with that,” Dr. Roy said easily. “Your latest bloodwork is looking good. I’m comfortable removing the surface sutures and catheter.”
“So I can see?” asked Sidney softly.
“That’s the plan.” Dr. Roy pulled on a pair of gloves while Amie pulled the stirrups up on the bed. Sidney looked at them a little oddly before blushing. “You can either put on a gown or just remove the pajama bottoms. It is up to you.”
“Bottoms,” Sidney said, shifting a little on the bed as Geno helped her take them off. Amie immediately draped a sheet over her lap and helped her get her feet in the stirrups.
“Geno,” Dr. Roy said as he sat at the bottom of Sidney’s bed. “After I remove the sutures, I want you to come down here so I can explain to both of you how to care for Sidney’s vagina.”
Geno nodded, taking Sidney's hand in his own. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and let her squeeze tightly as Dr. Roy removed the catheter. She exhaled slowly, wrinkling her nose.
"I hate that, Sidney murmured, hiding her face against her free arm.
"I am just going to use a slightly numbing agent to remove the stitches."
"Just do it," Sidney said, her voice tight. "Pain is not an issue here."
Geno pressed a thumb to the furrow in her brow. "Look at me. So close to being done."
"Look first," Sidney said softly. She winced as Dr. Roy removed the stitches, her breathing shallow and her fingers tightening around Geno’s, the knuckles white. “I don’t want to look until you do.”
“Deep breath,” Dr. Roy said calmly, resting a hand on Sidney’s knee. “I’m going to remove the packing.”
Sidney squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep, shuddering breath. She did her best not to squirm away from the feeling, but it was hard. She gasped when the feeling stopped and Dr. Roy touched her knee again.
“Breathe slowly,” Dr. Roy said to her, stripping off his gloves and standing up to move out of the way as Amie cleaned up. He rested a hand on Sidney’s wrist, smiling warmly at her. “You did great. Amie is just going to clean you up a little and then we can have a look. Are you feeling any pain?”
Sidney opened her eyes and looked over at Geno, unclenching her now stiff fingers. “There’s an ache. Not really pain though. Feels like an overused muscle.”
Dr. Roy nodded. “There’s a lot of residual bruising and swelling from the surgery itself. That’s going to ache. As long as you’re not feeling sharp pains or burning, I am not worried.”
Amie finished, giving Dr. Roy a nod. He sat back down on the stool. “You want Geno to look first, correct?”
Sidney nodded, still holding onto Geno’s hand as he moved. Geno pressed a kiss to her knuckles as he looked between her legs.
“Oh,” Geno said quietly. Amie grabbed his free hand with hers and slid a glove on. “I can touch?”
Sidney squeezed her eyes shut again as Dr. Roy explained to Geno what he was looking at. Sidney could feel the light brushes of Geno’s fingers against her skin, but the area he was touching didn’t have much sensation.
“Solnyshka,” Geno said, squeezing her hand firmly. Sidney blinked her eyes open, looking at Geno’s worried expression. “Still with me?”
Sidney nodded. “Is it okay?”
Geno smiled warmly at her and Sidney felt something uncoil in her chest. “Yes. Ready to see?”
Sidney swallowed thickly, nodding a little. “Just come back up here with me.”
Amie slid gloves onto Sidney’s hands, helping her move them under the sheet. Sidney touched before she looked in the mirror, her fingers tracing folds.
“Here,” Dr. Roy took one of her hands, guiding it to her vaginal opening. Sidney looked in the mirror finally, looking at her hands and Dr. Roy’s before really looking at her new body.
For all the anticipation that had built up, Sidney felt an almost sickening feeling of surprise. Logically she knew that she was going to have a vagina after the surgery, that when she looked at herself, she wasn’t going to have a penis any longer. But seeing it was a shock.
She pulled her hands away quickly and shut her eyes, turning her face away from Geno. He didn’t do anything except take the gloves off her hands and pull the left back towards him, pressing a kiss to her knuckles.
“It can be a normal reaction,” Dr. Roy said quietly, speaking to Geno. “It’s a major change.”
“Yes,” Geno nodded. “Pam talk with us. I take care.”
“Should I go ahead and explain to you what needs to be done?” asked Dr. Roy. “I can wait until Sidney wants to listen. Amie can perform the necessary dilations today.”
“No. I learn. I do,” Geno said firmly. “No more medical staff unless needed.”
“After today you’ll move to the recovery house,” Dr. Roy said to him, his voice calm. “And we will only do a daily check-up if that is what Sidney wants.”
“Good,” Geno pressed another kiss to Sidney’s knuckles. “Show.”
Sidney didn’t listen as Dr. Roy started to explain, instead humming to herself in her head and resolutely not thinking about what was going on beneath the sheet. Geno never let go of her hand, never let her forget that he was right there with her every step of the way, just like he had been the whole time.
Gung Ho (Summer 2023)
Geno was warm and comfortable, stretched out on the lounge chair with the sun beating down on his bare skin. He was mostly dozing, half-paying attention to Bear swimming in the pool and the sound of birds tweeting in the trees. Sidney was somewhere. She’d mentioned going inside and getting a drink, but that had been awhile ago and Geno was pretty sure she’d probably ended up napping.
He dozed off again, his eyes sliding shut behind his sunglasses. He woke with a start though when Sidney climbed on top of him, her knees resting against his hips. Geno blinked and pushed his sunglasses up to look at her.
“Hi,” Sidney grinned, shifting on his lap so her ass was pressed against his crotch. “I’m bored.
Geno laughed and rested his hands on her hips. “Not bored. Horny.”
“Okay yes,” Sidney laughed and leaned down to kiss him, slowly and thoroughly. Geno moaned into the kiss and slid his hands under her skirt and up her thighs.
Geno pulled back to look at her, his eyebrow raised. “No underwear?”
“I may have planned this,” Sidney said unashamed. She pulled her tank top off, her breasts bare and Geno brought his hands up, cupping them and rubbing her nipples with his thumbs. She shivered and leaned over to kiss him again.
Sidney moved against him, warm against his hardening cock. She was already making small, gasping noises into his mouth as he continued to play with her breasts. With a groan, she pulled back, smirking down at him, as she lifted up to tug down his shorts.
Geno lifted his hips, working with Sidney to kick his shorts off. She leaned over, grabbing a condom that he hadn’t noticed was sitting on the other chair. Geno slipped a finger in her, enjoying her surprised gasp and the clench of her pussy.
“Cheater,” Geno said with a slight pout. She was already wet which meant she really had planned this, spending some time opening herself up while she was inside. He added another, moving them carefully. “I wanted to do.”
“You’ll get to play,” Sidney promised, kissing him as she rolled the condom on his cock. “I want to ride you.”
“Careful,” Geno said as he slipped his fingers out, holding his cock steady for her. “Not all the way.”
“I know,” Sidney managed as she slowly lowered herself down, her hands trembling where they pressed against his chest. Geno held her hips over her skirt, gritting his teeth as he forced himself to stay still and not thrust up into her. She was tight and hot, her body opening for him slowly. When she was as far as they both were comfortable with, she dropped her head to Geno’s shoulder. “Getting easier.”
“Have to keep practice up.”
Sidney chuckled a little, pressing a kiss to his shoulder, circling her hips a little. “I’m sure you’re happy to help with that.”
“Must do my part,” Geno said sagely, stroking his hand down her back. “Okay?”
“Just need a moment.”
“No rush.” Geno pressed soft kisses to her temple, his fingers making paths over her warm skin. The sun was still high in the sky and Bear was barking at some birds and Geno was happy.
Sidney straightened up, looking down at him with a soft smile. He grinned back up at her, enjoying the view. When she started to rock against him, he slipped a hand under her skirt and pressed his thumb to her clit, making circles in time with her hips.
It was slow and languid, Sidney moving above him and Geno just rocking into the motions, not thrusting because it was hard for him to judge depth and fucking Sidney was something that had to be careful.
It was wonderful though, every single time.
As far as Geno was concerned, it was never going to get old watching Sidney relax into sex a way she never had when she was still physically male. Orgasms weren’t a given, but Sidney never seemed to care. The sheer pleasure she got from having the right parts kept her content as her body relearned how to have an orgasm.
Geno, on the other hand, had no problem having an orgasm when he was inside Sidney. He hadn’t had sex with a woman in close to fifteen years so he honestly couldn’t remember if it felt any different than it did now. And Sidney felt amazing, tight and hot around his cock.
His fingers slipped against her clit, making her bite her lip and gasp. Sidney looked down at him with heavily lidded eyes, her lips red and bitten. He reached up with his free hand and tugged gently, pulling her down to kiss again.
It took no time after that, Sidney biting down on his lip and tightening around his cock, for him to come, clutching at her shoulder and fighting not to buck up into the sensation. She panted against his mouth, still moving her hips almost unconsciously.
“Good?” Sidney managed to ask, dropping one of her hands between her legs and pressing Geno’s against her clit.
“Good,” Geno said in return, following her guidance and rubbing firmly. “Get off. Want to go down on you.”
Sidney whined against Geno’s mouth before pushing herself up and off of him. He made quick work of the condom and turned Sidney onto her back, leaning over her to kiss again, putting his hand back against her pussy.
“Please,” Sidney said against his mouth, her fingernails digging into his shoulders before she gave a firm push.
Geno chuckled and pushed her skirt up, settling between her parted legs. He leaned over, breathing in her scent deeply before pressing his mouth to her labia. She tasted like lube and rubber from the condom at first, but as he kept licking the taste changed to her own.
Sidney was already squirming, her thighs trembling and one hand in Geno’s hair, holding him in place. He knew if he looked up, her other hand would be playing with her nipples.
Geno pulled back slightly, “Want fingers?”
“What?” asked Sidney, lifting her head to look down at him. “Why did you stop?”
Geno rolled his eyes and held up one hand. “Fingers?”
“Yes,” Sidney hissed, pushing him down again. “Keep going.”
Geno chuckled against her, his tongue already pressing inside of her again. He slid two fingers in as well and she bucked up against him, moaning loudly. They were good at this part. Between the recovery period and getting Sidney used to her new body, they spent a lot of time touching and playing.
Sidney’s hand tightened in his hair and she pressed her hips up, whimpering and gasping out his name. Her body tensed and she stopped breathing, her whole body focused on chasing an orgasm. Geno fastened his lips over her clit and sucked hard, pressing his fingers in deep.
Sidney cried out his name and her body went limp against him, her fingers lax in his hair. He licked a few more times, soothingly before pulling his fingers out and pressing a kiss to her thigh. Sidney shifted on the chair, making room for him to lie down as well, curling against him.
Geno sucked his fingers into his mouth to clean them off and Sidney moaned a little. He chuckled and pulled her close, settling his sunglasses back on to block the sun.
“Sunscreen on?” asked Geno after a moment, feeling drowsy again.
“Mmhmm,” Sidney mumbled, turning a little more so her breasts were hidden from the sun. She fumbled her skirt back down to cover her ass. “Sleep now.”
Geno was in full agreement. They could dissect her orgasm later, talk about what worked and the sensations, the strength of it. Right now the sun was in the sky, Geno could hear Bear snoring where he had flopped in the shade, tired from his swim, and Sidney was already breathing rhythmically against his shoulder.
Geno was happy.
(He wasn’t so happy an hour later when they were woken up by Taylor shouting about her eyes and how they needed to think of the children, including her own whose eyes she was covering with her hand.)
Dmitry Evgenievich Malkin (Fall 2024)
Sidney was exhausted, bone-deep tired, and wishing for more than an hour of sleep at a time. Dima has colic and neither she or Geno were getting much sleep because of it. They walked for hours, keeping Dima upright or if they managed to lie down, pressed against their chests so he didn’t end up sleeping flat. Every bit of formula he kept down felt like a victory as he slowly (too slowly) gained weight. Natalia and Vladimir happily walked with Dima as well, giving Sidney and Geno a little time to sleep.
Geno has him so she can shower. It was a luxury and she tried her best not to fall asleep with the water beating down against her skin. It was all about multitasking so she has a dilator in as well and she was kind of snoring against the wall of the shower.
Dima cried though and she woke up, startling herself when a blast of hot water hit her square in the face. She finished up her shower, checking the clock on the wall. She hadn’t dilated long enough, but it has been enough time since the surgery that she could cut it a little short.
Sidney ran a brush through her hair, her fingers moving quickly to braid it and then wrap it into a low bun. It was easier to have it up these days. It took too long for it to dry. She knew when she took it down it would still be wet, but she didn’t really care.
Geno was crooning soft words in Russian, propped up by pillows and Dima curled on his bare chest when she came back into the bedroom. Geno looked at her, smiling and continued on, his hand covering the entire curve of Dima’s spine.
“You’re the luckiest little boy because your Mama is extra special. She had to fight so hard to be a Mama and not a Papa like me. Mama was born a little boy just like you,” Geno pressed a soft kiss to Dima’s fuzzy hair. “And like your cousins Rodik and Peyta. But your Mama wasn’t like that inside.”
Sidney sat down on the bed, towel still wrapped around her tightly. “Zhenya…”
“Shh, Solynska. I’m telling Dima a story. You can listen if you want, but no interrupting.”
Sidney sighed a little before getting up to get a bra and shirt on. She grabbed another dilator and settled on the bed next to Geno, sliding it back inside while Geno continued his story.
“I was 20 when I met your Mama and she looked like a boy then. So beautiful, so strong and tough. I think I loved her immediately but nothing happened for so long because I didn’t know she wasn’t a boy. I called her Sid like everyone else and she was the best in the NHL. We were so good on the ice. We won the Stanley Cup and she won a gold medal at the Olympics. Then we both got hurt and your Mama wasn’t able to keep herself locked up inside any longer.
“I started to understand something was going on with your Mama that she was afraid to tell me. I would find her wearing lipstick and she would curl against me to hide from the pain in her head. I loved her even more then, but I knew that I had to figure out why she was hurting so much. Boys don’t usually wear makeup or paint their nails. But Mama did when she was at her house and around me. Only around me.
“Your Mama has something called Gender Dysphoria and for a long time people thought that meant something was wrong in her head. But there was nothing wrong in her head and I read everything I could so I could help your Mama even if she never loved me back. But I was so lucky, Dima, because she did. And she still does. Now your Mama looks like she always wanted to and I get to tell everyone she is my wife and your Mama.”
Sidney felt tears slipping down her face and Geno was watching her as he spoke to Dima who was quiet and sucking on his fist, his tiny face turned to her as well
“Don’t cry,” Geno murmured to her, reaching out with his free hand to brush away her tears. “So Dima, when you see video of your Mama skating, she’s not going to look like she does now. She’s going to look like a boy and she’s going to sound like a boy. And she is going to be amazing to watch.”
“So’s your Papa,” Sidney managed, her voice rough with emotion.
“Yes, Papa is amazing too,” Geno agreed, smiling warmly. “But Dima, you must know that even if she doesn’t look like your Mama when you see her skate, she was always your Mama inside. Every minute of every day she knew she wasn’t a boy and she was brave and strong and changed her body to match her inside while the world watched.”
“And that is why you are the luckiest little boy with an extra special Mama. Not all Mamas have to fight so hard, but your Mama did.”
Sidney couldn’t help herself and she moved to kiss Geno above Dima’s head, still crying a little. She put her hand over Geno’s where it rested on Dima’s back and this was it. This was her family, her husband, her little boy.
And she knew, whatever Geno said to Dima otherwise, she was the lucky one.