tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

Sixteenwins Payoff: Inverted Tropes!

So, I put together two brackets for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and - I didn't think the Kings would win, okay? (I take comfort in the fact that no one thought the Kings would win. As the playoffs went on, I spent a lot of time collecting especially querulous articles talking about the Kings. Professional hockey commentators seemed a touch cranky. I can only conclude that the Kings fucked up their brackets, too.)

So, in the particular pool I was in, you have to pony up not money, but fannish stuff. I offered words. I have many, and other people generally want fewer of them, but in this case quettaser inexplicably wanted more of them. Her request:

You don't have to combine this into one massive post, if you don't want. Two separate posts would be more than fine. Tell me about all the hockey players who secretly find a baby on their doorstep or are suddenly in charge of their niece/nephew for the day or have a threesome with a lady and whoops she's pregnant (LOOKING AT YOU RICHIE AND CARTS). Basically, tell me about all of the ridiculous kidfic scenarios that should happen that haven't happened yet. Or things completely unrelated to babies like best AUs not yet written for hockey fandom or a pairing you think isn't being written enough. Basically, just ramble at me about stories you think should exist already.

Now, extremely conveniently, just before she posted this request, I spent some time whining to [ profile] frostfire about the particular manifestation my Bitter Old Fandom Queen disease was taking. Namely, I want all the tropes. But I want them backwards. So in part one of my payoff, I'm going to write about how, now that hockey fandom has done - okay, most of the tropes, although there is always room for more, or for that matter for the same ones again - it is time to shake the tropes, turn them inside out, and see what's in their pockets. (Not recommended with Jeff Carter or Mike Richards, since what's in their pockets this summer is: an assortment of, uh, entirely legal substances, condoms, lube, phone numbers scrawled on beer-stained napkins, an SD card containing the video of the threesome they had with the Cup, a half-eaten PowerBar from the sweep against the Blues, a badly-photoshopped picture of Paul Holmgren rimming himself, and a small laminated card that Kings management gave to all the players that says "Hi! I am a Stanley Cup winner. If I am found too drunk to walk or talk, please call my team and someone will be sent to collect me. REWARD.")

So, here are some inside-out tropes that I really, really yearn to see in hockey fandom. (And, uh, sorry, quettaser; I am a Penguins fan, which I think means we are sworn enemies for life and if we ever meet in person you are required to consume 3/8ths of my liver. But in both this and the kidfic post, I made a sincere attempt to include some Flyers content. And we can at least meet peaceably in the drunken, homoerotic presence of the Flyers West.) I have included concepts, summaries, and also story snippets.

Thanks to [ profile] paxpinnae for being the Flyers fan beta, and to thehoyden and Best Beloved for general pre-reading.

Also in fairness I should note that I have 30k more words written on the full version of one of these. I. Look. It's been a long postseason, okay?

Kaner and Tazer wake up divorced.

Summary: Kaner's had some bad mornings in his life, but this is probably the worst one yet. He's lying on the floor of a hotel fully dressed, with a pounding headache. Next to him is a certificate of divorce from one Jonathan Toews.

Story snippet:

Patrick pulls out his phone with slightly shaky hands and calls Johnny before he really figures out what to say. "Did we ever get married?" is definitely a bad way to start the conversation, but, "Hey, did you know we're divorced?" is probably even worse.

Fortunately, Johnny takes the decision out of his hands. "Thank fuck," he says when he answers. "Where are you?"

"Not sure," Patrick says. "Somewhere with really scratchy carpet." He hopes it's somewhere with a toilet, too, because now that he's waking up, he really needs to piss.

Johnny sighs. Patrick's got a lot of practice with those sighs, so he knows this one means Kaner, why do I even put up with you? Although apparently Johnny doesn't have to put up with him any longer. Patrick - is not thinking about that. "I'm getting you lojacked," he says.

Patrick hauls himself up off the floor and looks around. "Hotel room," he diagnoses. "Cheap hotel room." He flips through the stuff on the nightstand until he finds an address. "Apparently I'm in a Super 8 in Morden. Where the fuck is Morden?"

Johnny sighs again. This one means Kaner, you are a burden only I am strong enough to carry. "Morden is two fucking hours from here, that's where Morden is." There's some thumping noises. "I'll come get you, hold on."

Patrick feels like maybe it's a little toolish to let a dude drive two hours to come get you if he doesn't know the two of you are divorced. On the other hand, he still doesn't want to launch right into that, so he tries for, "Uh, so, what happened last night?"

"You were fucking drunk," Johnny says. "You got pissed off and you got in a cab. That's all I know." He pauses. "Oh, except for the part where you shouted that you were leaving me because I was a shitty husband. In front of everyone in Tim Horton's. So we'll probably be getting a phone call from management a little later, and you'd better be here for that, because saying, 'uh, no, Patrick and I aren't dating, he was just drunk' is going to be bad enough, but saying, 'uh, no, Patrick and I aren't dating and also I have no idea where he is' would be fucking terrible." And Johnny hangs up the phone.

Patrick is left holding a dead phone, sort of blinking, because. Huh. He thought they were dating. He thought they were going out to celebrate their three-month anniversary, actually.

His mother might be right about his communication skills needing some work.

Sidney Crosby gets hit on the head and gets extra memories.

Summary: He thought concussions were bad. This is worse. This is so much worse.

Story snippet:

Sid blinks open his eyes and sees the face of Jerry the trainer hovering over him. He's cold, he's in his gear, he's - fuck, he's playing the Rangers and he's on the ice and he took a hit. He blacked out.

He's got another concussion. God fucking damn it.

"Sid?" Jerry says, and he looks really, really worried. He's bent over Sid, talking directly into his ear, and Consol is quiet enough that it's almost like there aren't twenty thousand people watching the possible end of Sid's career. "Sid, do you know where you are?"

"Consol Energy Center," Sid says. "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."

"Right." Jerry sounds relieved. Sid knows from experience that it's a really bad sign when the trainers are relieved that you can remember where you are. "What's your father's name?" And that's a new one, but that's no surprise; Jerry started switching these up during the second concussion, when Sid got tired of answering the same goddamn questions all the time and pointed out he could probably answer them dead he'd heard them so often.

"Boris," Sid says automatically. He's mostly occupied with wondering why his head doesn't hurt more. In his experience, and he's got way more than he needs, a concussion starts with a screaming fucking headache.

Jerry blinks. "Sid," he says carefully, spacing out his words unnecessarily, "are you listening to me? How old are you?"

"Thirty-three," Sid answers. And that doesn't feel exactly right. But it doesn't feel wrong, either.

"You know what, we're going to take you to the hospital," Jerry says.

"No, come on! I feel fine," Sid says, and he might be whining a little, but the game has barely started. He doesn't want to miss it. "Aren't you going to finish the exam?"

"Uh, no," Jerry says, and he's gesturing at someone.

And then there's a stretcher next to him on the ice. "I can get up," Sid says. Jerry's still holding his shoulders down, but he can totally get up. He doesn't want to get stretchered off the fucking ice like a baby.

"No, you can't," Jerry says. "Sid, you need to move as little as possible, okay? I need you to let us do this. This is important." And Jerry sounds honestly worried, so Sid does his best to comply, through the whole ordeal of the back brace and the neck brace and the careful lifting onto the stretcher and the wheeling out.

Sid can't figure out why Jerry's acting like this. They've all been down this road before, after all, and this concussion seems a lot less awful than the last two. Or at least that's what he thinks until he's a sentence into his medical history and the nurse holds up a hand. "Do you speak any English?" she says, spacing out her words carefully.

"Da," Sid says. But, no, that's not right. What is he doing? He doesn't speak - how can he be speaking Russian? "Yes," he repeats. When he isn't thinking about it, the Russian and the English both feel natural. Now that he is, they both feel wrong.

"Do you need me to get a translator?" she asks, still way over-pronouncing every word.

"No," Sid says. "No, I'm fine." And he is. He just has to take a moment to think about English before he opens his mouth.

Also, he keeps worrying about where his wife and kids are.

This - might be a problem.

Jeff Carter's a hooker. Mike Richards is a hockey player. And Mike never pays Jeff for sex.

Summary: Mike's not stupid enough to fall for a hooker.

Story snippet:

Jeff looks up as Mike comes back with the coffee and grins. "Thanks, man, how much do I owe you?"

"I got this," Mike says, because he's trying to send off the right signals, here. It's been a while - uh, a long while - since he actually tried to talk to someone before he fucked them. He doesn't remember how this part goes. But he's got to get laid in LA eventually, even if it means figuring out how to flirt. He sits down carefully in the teeny chair - he will never fucking understand why Manhattan Beach businesses have such tiny, rickety chairs; he knows people in LA still have asses - and tries to figure out what to say next.

Jeff smiles at him some more and takes a sip of his coffee. "Thanks. I assume a latte won't break you."

"Not even with three different flavors in it," Mike agrees. "Seriously, how do you drink that shit?"

Jeff says, "Well, my mom always said I had no taste."

"Yeah, your hair kind of gives that away," Mike says, which, whoops, is probably a mistake, unless this dude goes for assholes.

But maybe he does, because he comes back instantly with, "Your mom never has any complaints." Mike just can't help it, he likes this guy. He even likes and knows shit about hockey, which makes him unique among the people Mike has met off-ice in LA.

Which makes it much worse when, after two solid hours of talking, Mike says, "I gotta go. But, look, can I get your number?"

And Jeff says, "Yeah, sure, I'd love to do this again." But then, after he takes Mike's phone and programs his number in, he looks Mike in the eye - there's no smile there now - and says, "Just so you know, I get paid to have sex with men. That's my job. I'd never take money from you - I already like you too much - but I know it's an issue. So. There's my number, call me maybe." And Jeff gives him just the slightest wry smile, gets up, and leaves.

It's like a hit to the head, the way that changes everything. Suddenly the expensive highlights in Jeff's hair aren't a really stupid style choice - they're, they're marketing. That toned body Mike was admiring under the bad board shorts and worse t-shirt is just so much meat, for sale to the highest bidder. The joke Jeff made about Mike paying for his latte is, in retrospect, revolting. The fact that talking to Jeff was the most fun Mike's had since he got traded - that's pretty much the worst of all.

Mike wasted two fucking hours with this guy, two hours he'll never get back. Sure, he had some fun, but - he slams down the rest of his coffee and takes off towards his place; it takes a run and a shower to work off the anger.

Mike knows he should delete Jeff's number, and he almost does. Almost. And he's really sure he's not going to call. Which doesn't explain why he dials Jeff's number five days later.

Gay chicken in the Flyers' locker room! And no one ends up having sex because of it.

Summary: There are some things Danny won't watch. There are some things Claude can't do.

Story snippet:

Claude's not really sure how he got into this position, but he's a flexible guy. No way he's going to let Hartsy get one up on him.

"I love you, man," Hartsy says, absolutely sincerely. "I love you like I love cock."

"Less talking, more kissing," Brayden calls out. "Pussies."

Claude kind of leans in a little. Hartsy has obviously never played this game before, though, because he just swoops in and lays one on Claude, full on the lips. Shit. There's supposed to be a buildup. Claude didn't even have a chance to get braced.

"If I kissed him and he didn't kiss me back, I win, right?" Hartsy asks of the room at large.

"Go again," Brayden says. "Best of three."

This time, Claude's more ready. He gets his arms up on Hartsy's shoulders and pretty much kisses back. Hartsy ups the ante by licking at Claude's lips, which is just incredibly disgusting, and then Claude makes the mistake of thinking about where that tongue has probably been and jerks back, hard.

"Loser," Brayden says.

"What the fuck?" Claude doesn't have to turn around to recognize Danny's voice; he heard it over breakfast every morning for a year.

"Gay chicken," Brayden explains. "They probably didn't have this when you were young. You know. Like back when you played with Rocket Richard."

"Gay chicken," Danny repeats, sounding like something tastes even worse than Hartsy's tongue.

"It's like chicken, but gay. So, like," and Brayden's half laughing, just explaining it, "two dudes come in like they're going for a kiss. And whoever jerks away first is, you know, the chicken."

Danny says, in clipped, angry English, "That sounds like a game I will not stay to watch." As he storms away, he's muttering under his breath in French, and, okay, shit, Danny's really angry.

"Danny, wait," Claude says, and hurries out after him.

Claude climbs in Danny's car before he manages to pull out of the lot, and Danny seethes basically the entire way home. Claude knows him well enough to know not to say anything, to let him start the conversation.

He doesn't do it right away, but then, Danny doesn't like to argue while he's driving. Claude follows him into his house, kicks off his shoes, and sits down, braced.

"When you made that PSA," Danny finally says, very precisely, "were you joking?"

"No," Claude says. "Of course not." Danny knows exactly why he did the You Can Play thing. Danny also knows he takes it seriously.

"Then why would you do that in the locker room?"

Actually, that's a good point. It's not like calling someone a cocksucker or whatever; Claude's been trying to be better about that, even though some people - and he's naming no names but it rhymes with Widney Brosby - definitely deserve it. But it is kind of. It's kind of the same.

"I'm sorry, Danny," Claude says, and he means it.

He's apologized to Danny a lot. Danny knows how to hear it. It also takes him about an hour to go from hearing an apology to actually accepting it, so Claude just nods as Danny gestures to the door. Danny's going for a run, which isn't the best idea right after practice, but it will let him calm down.

Claude checks the schedule Sylvie makes every week and grabs the keys to Danny's car. Sylvie's taking the other boys to the dentist after school, so he's going to have to pick up Carson. Danny's in no shape, and it's his fault, after all.

He drives to Carson's school and tries not to think about the same old shit. But he does, he always does.

This could totally be his life. If he were different.

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