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Title: Fluid Theory (or: From Russia with Lube) (aka This Is What Happens When I Don’t Have a Song)
Rating: Mature
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Pairing: Evgeni Malkin/OFC, Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin
Summary: He’s fled his home country for the NHL; hooking up should be simple.

Language barrier + Geno’s extracurriculars. Yield: Unexpected. (see end notes)

Warnings: Non-explicit het? Clumsily poking around someone else’s language while having a dirty mind? Brief inclusion of real-life relationship (and it is really very brief)? Questionable infidelity?
A/N: Subtitle is entirely Axis2ClusterB’s fault (mostly I am mad I did not get there first ;D). Thanks also for the beta, and being my lifepartner in ficcing codependence. The fails are all mine.
Disclaimer: As ever, if you found this by Googling yourself or someone you know/are related to/are intimate with, the thing to do here is turn around and stop your filthy Googling habits. I own none of these people, nor do I know them, this is all the non-profit fruits of a vivid imagination (and also a dirty mind). Again, no money is being made, please do not sue.



The first time Zhenya hooks up on North American soil, it’s after a win at an away game. Hoots and catcalls follow him out of the bar; he’s been here long enough to recognize “Get it, G!” among them. He also hears “Use protection!” but that’s Gonch, so it doesn’t count.

Her name is Laney, and her dark waves and green eyes remind him not at all of Oksana, and that is exactly what he wants. Oksana is upset with him, for his decision to come here, and she’s halfway across the world, and Zhenya doesn’t know what they are to each other now.

Sid’s been trying to help him get around, showing him Pittsburgh and trying to help with his English over dinner. It’s taken some of the burden off of Gonch and Ksenia, and Sid never chirps him for begging off on nights like these in Pittsburgh in favor of Skyping home. But it’s an away game, and he likes his team, and he doesn’t want to be a shut-in on the road, too.

Also, he’s 20 years old, and he really misses getting off with someone who isn’t himself.

He’s fled his home country for the NHL; hooking up should be simple.

Laney’s tall enough that it’s not awkward to kiss her, and she giggles when he traces her freckles with his nose, sighs when he kisses her neck and breathes in her sweet scent. She feels good against him, and that’s all he’s looking for – some warmth, some fun, the feeling of another person’s skin against his.

When he’d asked her “Boyfriend?” at the bar – he finds it’s best to ask these things now – she’d thrown her head back and laughed before shaking her head emphatically, so he thinks they’re on the same page with this.

Thus, it takes him by surprise when, as he’s retrieving the condom and packet of lubricant he’d tucked into his pants pocket, thinking tonight might be the night, she sighs out “Oh, love,” and also what he thinks is “good thinking,” based on Sid’s work with him after practices.

‘Love’ entering the conversation makes him fumble both packets, startled and wondering where he went wrong. North America is a land where sex is on display everywhere; he hadn’t thought love was protocol for a hook-up following meeting at a bar. It’s not that he doesn’t want that, but the idea of it now – tonight, last week, next month – is just exhausting and too much when he’s still adjusting to so many other things.

It’s not on his menu, and while he allows it’s not something entirely within his control - when it happens or with whom - he doesn’t think that’s the case with Laney. He likes her a lot, had enjoyed dancing with her at the bar and the way she’d tucked up against him so easily and seemed to instinctively pick words he had some grasp of, and he had really been looking forward to going to bed with her, but-

“Okay?” she asks, looking concerned, and - shit.

This was why he’d put off trying to pick up for this long: sometimes sex is a common language, with a minimal requirement of spoken words. Other times, explanation is needed. This is the latter, and his English is really not up to it.

Maybe… maybe it was just an endearment. Maybe that is a default nickname for virtual strangers.

Lyubov’?” he finally asks, feeling helpless and hating it just as much as he always does.

She blinks at him, brow furrowing a little, then picks up the packet of lubricant. “Yes, lube. Good idea.”

It takes him a moment – an embarrassingly long one – to put it together, and of course she hadn’t miraculously stumbled on the Russian word for ‘love’ right when things were getting nicely heated. He wants to laugh at horrible, hysterical, half-formed notions about lube greasing the wheels of love and has to kiss Laney instead, has to touch her between her legs where she’s warm and wet for him to distract the both of them.

Even if it weren’t so maddening, he just doesn’t have the English to explain it.

Still, he makes sure she gets hers a couple of times before he lets her drag him up and guide him inside of her. It’s only polite, given the circumstances.

~*~

He doesn’t stay long, just dozes for a while until his stomach complains at him. She giggles quietly and stretches against him, making a good argument for staying right where he is a little longer, but he has to be on the bus in a few hours, and food and real sleep are necessities. “Need go,” he says, honestly regretful.

“Okay,” she shrugs, smiling a little. “This was fun.”

“Thank you,” he manages, and means it, hopes she can hear that through the layers of his accent.

She smiles again and sits up, making like she’s going to get out of bed. Zhenya frowns at her. “You stay. Sleep.”

“I’ll call you a cab,” she says.

Oh.

He kisses her one last time – he doesn’t know if she knows how relieved he is not to have to stumble through an unfamiliar address in an unfamiliar town at this hour, where everything’s a little further from his grasp between the sex and the hunger and being tired. It’s a small kindness he’s incredibly grateful for.

She reaches up to pat his cheek when he pulls away, and he turns his head to press a kiss to her palm, then pulls on his clothes and lets himself out.

~*~

Hotel keycards are great. Zhenya doesn’t even have to try and rattle off an address or even just a name – he can practically hear Gonch chiding him for not making the effort, but fuck it – he can just pull out the card and the driver nods, and he’s at the hotel before he can doze off again.

There’s an all-night restaurant off the lobby, so he’s able to devour a sandwich before quietly letting himself in the room he’s sharing with Talbo.

Talbo doesn’t stir.

Zhenya just manages to get down to boxers before faceplanting on his own bed.

~*~

There’s plenty of chirping at breakfast.

Talbo seems especially gleeful, down to performing obscene pantomimes with no bearing in reality while Colby throws an arm over Sid’s shoulder – who looks less cheerful than his usual post-win self – and says, “Chin up, Creature, someday you’ll be a real boy, too.”

This line of chirping is familiar enough for Zhenya to follow.

Sid looks deeply unimpressed. “I am a real boy, Army. Just because I don’t take pictures doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”

Colby looks torn between laughing and crying at this idea.

Zhenya thinks about it for a moment – Sid, who lives at Mario’s, whose days are so carefully structured around not just his own superstitions, but strategically planned entrances and exits so as to create the least fuss, how he tries so hard not to draw attention to himself, how awkward he can be when it happens anyway, how hard he tries to do right when it does – and decides it doesn’t really matter.

The only person with rights to Sid’s sex life or lack thereof is Sid, and Zhenya knows him just well enough to think that if anyone could be that discreet about it, it would be Sidney Crosby.

“Colby jealous. Married. Hockey only play.”

Colby squawks, and Sidney smiles brilliantly.

Zhenya’s had worse mornings.

~*~

After that first time, Zhenya doesn’t get confused about ‘lube’ versus ‘lyubov’’ again; he finds another word, and it doesn’t actually come up all that often.

By the time he and Sid come crashing together in the wake of the lockout, it had faded from his mind almost entirely.

(Not Laney, whom he still remembers fondly.)

But then he has Sid spread before him on his back, hips propped up with a pillow, and this is further than they’ve managed to get so far, too hungry for each other to be patient, too little time to spare in the short season.

But they have two whole days off, and Sid wants Zhenya to fuck him, and Zhenya is going to do that.

He is absolutely going to do that, is about to ask for the slick and condom, but he suddenly can’t stop thinking about that first time here, how he’d balked at the idea that love might get tangled up in what was supposed to be just sex.

It’s an idea that is suddenly very appealing; he thinks of the way the words have been lurking at the tip of his tongue since they started this, and his heart thumps hard in his chest.

“Geno, please,” Sid groans.

Zhenya trails his eyes up Sid’s body, finally bare for him to look at, to take in the swell of his cock, the mole at his hip, the flushed and quickening rise and fall of his chest. He has his terrible lower lip caught in his sharp white teeth, eyes fever-bright and glaring, and Zhenya thinks, yes.

Lyubov’,” he says, voice so ragged. He’s helpless again, but now it’s because of Sid, and Zhenya doesn’t mind that. Sid twitches, flushing harder, and that is something Zhenya will revisit another time, but then Sid’s reaching for the drawer of his bedside table and pulling out lube and a condom.

Zhenya will let him know later.

Now, though, his blood rushes in his ears, almost loud enough to drown out the sounds Sid makes as Zhenya stretches him open, writhing down on one finger, then two.

“More,” Sid pants, demanding, undeniable.

“More lyubov’,” Zhenya agrees, squeezing more lube over his fingers before ducking his head to kiss the tip of Sid’s cock, swirl his tongue around it as he presses in a third and curls them, twisting a little to find-

Fuck, Geno, I need - ”

“Little more,” Zhenya soothes – or tries to – nearly vibrating with need himself. Sid kicks at his flank, glowering up at him so hard, Zhenya would be going soft if it were anyone else. Not, he thinks despairingly, anywhere else.

If anything, he’s impossibly harder. “Now, Geno, please, it’s already been forever.”

That’s an argument Zhenya couldn’t win if he wanted to. Since he doesn’t want to, he grabs up the condom and opens the packet to roll it on with shaking fingers, then adds a drizzle of lube, spreading it over his length with his hand before nudging against Sid’s opening. Then he’s pressing in, and in, and in, and Zhenya drinks in the sight as Sid throws his head back, shudders as Sid’s hands scrabble along his shoulders, his ribs like he can’t stand not to touch, moans out low when he’s finally seated and Sid tightens his legs around him like he never wants Zhenya to leave.

Lyubov’” Zhenya rasps once more, and Sid gives him a part-confused, part-irritated look. Probably he thinks Zhenya has some kind of lube fetish. It’s okay.

This time, Zhenya will explain.

But later.

“What? No, move,” Sid whines, tightening around him, and Zhenya can’t do anything but what Sid’s telling him to.

He moves, he moves exactly how Sid tells him to with voice and hands and body, and Zhenya can’t even make words that aren’t Sid or fuck or yebat’ (so Sid and fuck, basically), and that really doesn’t matter, because Sid’s not much better off. Zhenya’s pounding into him too hard to kiss, which would be a shame but for how he gets to see it when Sid comes undone, they way it snaps up his spine and makes his mouth drop open with a harsh cry as he spasms around Zhenya and stripes his own belly with come.

Zhenya can’t last long after that, and he doesn’t. When he’s all wrung out, little aftershocks still twinging through his body, when he has to pull out and get rid of the condom – no, Sid, he doesn’t want to go either – he sits back on his heels and trails his fingers through the streaks of come on Sid’s belly.

Sid hums happily, stretching into the touch.

“Sid,” Zhenya says, and his own voice is so gravelly he barely recognizes it.

“Hmmm?” Sid smiles at him, soft and dopey, tangles his fingers with Zhenya’s on his belly. Zhenya takes a deep breath and looks Sid in the eye.

Ya lyublu tebya.”

It takes Sid a moment. The words aren’t anything he hears in any context except maybe when Zhenya’s parents visit - or now-rare dinners with Gonch and Ksenia – and then it’s not said slowly or with deliberation. Zhenya will spell it out for him if he has to, but for now he just feels vulnerable, waiting for Sid to come to any conclusion at all.

Sid’s eyes go wide, and suddenly he looks very awake. Awake, but not like he’s planning on running away. “Did – did you just – and that thing with the – you love me?”

Zhenya makes sure to hold his eyes when he nods.

He’s about to add that they’ll make a Russian speaker of Sid yet, but Sid lunges up to kiss him, to whisper “Loved you for years, Geno,” against his mouth.

Zhenya can tell him later; kissing Sid now is far more pressing.

-Fin

End Notes: YOU GUYS. So, I have been ruminating a lot of late about the language barrier and how the transition must have sucked pretty damn hard for Geno, contending with that those early years in particular (I used to be just about fluent in French, but French has cognitives and a shared alphabet; languages with a different alphabet blow my freaking mind). Thus, as alluded to up top, I have been clumsily poking around the Russian language while having a dirty mind and did a double-take when the nice Russian translator lady (and gentleman – I tried a few different apps) said what sounded really a lot like lube when what I was looking up was love. SHENANIGANS.

Then I did another double-take when I realized fandom had not addressed this, and decided that needed to be rectified immediately, and here we are.

If I have malappropriated the language for the purposes of this fic, I am heartily sorry and hope you will forgive me and PLEASE LET ME KNOW, OMG.

Also this:

Me: Fun fact: ‘lube’ in English sounds a lot like ‘love’ in Russian. SHENANIGANS.

BFF: Well, the latter does frequently call for the former…

Also available at AO3 here.
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