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So. Real people fic. It's new for me. Hockey? Not so new. I'm easing into a whole new world of 'oh, Lee, what were you thinking' fics. And so we begin with my favorite Penguins, Sid and Geno. I love how fandom's collectively decided there shall be pining. The pining is great.

Careful Cooking by Java_Genie. Explicit, 19,000+ words, Kid Fic/Restaurant AU. Nobody's a hockey player and Sid's family has been summarily axed (with the exception of Taylor, who he's raising by himself). Sid manages the kitchen in Mario's restaurant and tries not to fall in love with Geno. Loosely based on the German film Mostly Martha, but may be more familiar to you through the American remake, No Reservations.
Sid walks down the narrow hall and as he’s making the turn to enter the kitchen-proper, his eyes are assaulted by the most unfortunate fabric to ever be turned into a chef coat. It’s a bright, almost aqua shade of blue and looks home made, if the loving but lopsided stitches are any indication. The man wearing the eighth grade home ec project is tall, taller than Sid, has a frying pan in one hand and a fistful of herbs in the other and he’s cooking in Sid’s kitchen and Sid has no idea who he is.

“Who are you?” Sid says, glaring at this culinary interloper.

The man turns towards Sid with a wide grin and god, it’s like someone waved a magic wand over Goofy and turned the cartoon into a man. A puzzlingly attractive man. “You Sidney?” He adds the herbs to the pan without looking.

“Yes,” Sid says. “And, again, you are?”

“My name Evgeni,” he says. “Am Sergei’s replacement.”

“What?” Sid says, screeching. “No. No, I had time. I was going to hire someone—“

“You weren’t,” says Gonch, emerging from the side room where they keep the clean dishtowels and plates. “I gave you a day, Sidney. I said. You agreed. You do nothing so I hire Zhyena.”

“Zhy…who?”

“Me,” Evgeni says, waving his hand.
Cyrillic Text by aohatsu. Teen and Up, 10,000+ words, Soulmates AU. I'm not particularly sure where the trend of soulmates/soulbonding originated in this fandom, but I like it. This is one of a loosely connected series (a different pairing for each fic) with the name of everyone's soulmate written on their wrist.
Sidney tries to repeat it after her, but he can’t make his lips form the sounds right, and he goes home annoyed and petulant, with the name Evgeni written out on his palm with an actual pen, so that he can keep practicing. It’s not that he cares, exactly, because he has hockey practice later, and that takes precedence, but he doesn’t want to meet his soulmate one day and then not know how to pronounce his name. His, he thinks, because the specialist also told him, grinning, that it was a boys’ name.

"That’s good,” he says in the car on the way home, when his mom says something about it.

“Why’s that?” his mom asks back, keeping her eyes on the road. Taylor is in the car seat next to Sidney in the back, waving her fists kind of wildly. Sidney pokes her and she giggles before she tries to hit him and he pulls his hands away.

He shrugs and says, “Boys are better at hockey,” though secretly, he hopes Taylor wants to play hockey when she gets old enough to start skating.

His mom makes a noise from the front seat, like a laugh.
Des Plus Brilliants Exploits by twentysomething. Explicit, 33,000+ words, Rule 63!Sid/Geno. The story opens on Sid learning of the IOC's decision that she'll be playing with the women's hockey team at the Vancouver Olympics. It's the first of many differences a change in Sidney's gender would wreak on the world of hockey. Also on Geno, and his inability to keep everyone from noticing the pining. The story is full of convincing dialogue, feels, hothot sex, and Olympic awesomeness.
“Did you leave the television on?” Geno asks.

Alex shakes his head and then shrugs. Geno opens the door carefully, and sure enough the TV is on quietly and—

Sid is passed out on their couch.

She’s still wearing Geno’s sweater, one arm dangling over the edge of the couch, the other tucked under the throw pillow she’s most likely drooling on, ass up in a pair of dark gray track pants.

“… Did you order Canadian for dinner?” Alex finally asks him.

“Shut up, she’s sleeping,” Geno whispers automatically.

“I think it’s going to take more than talking to wake Sleeping Beauty up,” Alex says, laughing.

“Should I move her?” Geno asks himself, ignoring Alex completely. Also, it seems a little masochistic to let himself put her to bed. “Or just wake her up? That can’t be comfortable.”

“If our kitchen worked, I would be making popcorn right now,” Alex tells him.

Sid sighs an unintelligible word in her sleep and clutches the pillow closer. Geno feels like God is testing him.

“If even like this, you love her still, then there is no hope for you, Zhenya. Except to make beautiful hockey babies. Whose nationality I expect you to fight for.” Alex claps him on the shoulder and the noise makes Sid hum, roll over and stretch.
Fastening One Heart to Every Falling Thing by thefourthvine. Explicit, 51,000+ words, secondary Geno/Ovie. Soulbonding/Psychic Link AU. Oh the beautiful world-building. Again with the soulbonding, I know, but the trope's brilliantly turned on its head here. The summary says it best: Geno can't. Sidney won't.
"So you feel like you are separate from your psychic abilities?"

Sidney shifted in his chair, sighed, and tried to figure out how many more minutes this damned interview would last.

Eventually, Kyle let him go. Sidney went on to the medical exam, which was at least familiar. By the time Sidney escaped, his head was pounding, he felt like he might puke, and he was furious. He managed not to say anything to the cab driver, but he was definitely looking forward to yelling at Geno.

He found Geno in the living room, an ice pack on his knee, staring off into space. "That was fucking ridiculous," Sidney snarled at him.

Geno looked up, raised his eyebrows, and looked back down again. "They say Ovechkin better than you?"

Sidney wanted to hurl himself onto the couch, but Geno was holding his leg pretty still, so he sat down more carefully. "They," he said, and tried to find the words to explain why it had sucked so much. "I had to talk to this guy. Kyle. And he kept asking me how I felt about things."

Geno laughed. "His job make you talk feelings? Then he had bad day, too," he said.

Sidney found himself smiling, almost against his will. "Yeah, he was no match for me," he said. Geno leaned over and thumped his shoulder, the way they did during games, and Sidney laughed.
Hanging With the Unloved Kids by ChibiRHM. Mature, 47,000+ words, secondary: Toews/Kane, Eberle/Hall, Carter/Richards. This is the long, pining, angsty fic of my dreams. Lots of communication failure and people giving oblivious Sid relationship advice.
“How is Toews?” Geno asks. It’s an out, and Sid gratefully latches onto it.

“Serious,” he says frankly, and Geno laughs. “No, but good. We went out to dinner. Kaner’s in town too, so he came. It was -” informative? Gay? “- interesting.”

“Always is, with Kaner.”

“Yeah,” Sid smiles. “Yeah, I think he’ll be around a lot. But he grows on you.”

“Work on Toews,” Geno says, and Sid has to bite his cheek to keep from blurting out how true that actually is. “They are best friends, yes? Like us.”

“Yeah,” Sid chokes out after a minute, screwing his eyes shut. He’s been trying really, really hard not to substitute himself and Geno in Tazer and Kaner’s places from last night, not to imagine Geno looking at him like that and touching him like that and kissing him like that, like they’ve been doing it forever. “Sort of. I mean, not quite.”
Highway Unicorn by pentapus and thefourthevine. Explicit, 20,000+ words, Urban Fantasy-Canon Divergence. So the summary alone had me laughing hysterically, but this is delightful. Lovely world-building, excellent use of secondary and original characters, and it was for the Treehouse Reversebang so there's adorable artwork.
"So, gonna tell me about your lady?"

"I don't have a lady," Sidney said, and if his tone was a little irritated, it was because nothing was making sense. Andy was supposed to be talking about strength and cardio, and instead he was rambling on about fairies and Sidney's non-existent girlfriend.

"Okay, then your guy," Andy said, sort of pushing Sidney into his own condo.

"I don't have a guy, either," Sidney said.

"Well, last year when we were out here you didn't notice that a fucking half-giant was hitting on you, and tonight you saw that ibru vampire clear as anything, so someone made you a part of their clan. Get adopted?"

"What? No," Sidney said. "Wait, you see this stuff too?"

Andy grinned at him. "My mom's mom is an Ice Clan wanderer," he said. "The blood's too dilute for me to have any powers, but Gran formally marked us when we were born."

"Jesus fucking Christ. I thought I was going crazy," Sidney said.
King and Lionheart by thehoyden. Explicit, 56,000+ words. Canon Divergence, Marriage of Convenience. I've already recced this elsewhere, but it needs to be on the list. Flawless.
There are several things that occur to Sidney when he wakes up: one, his family didn’t have a chance to come to his wedding, and his mother is going to take a long time to forgive him for that, to say nothing of his father. Two, Zhenya’s arm is a little bit heavy where it’s draped over Sidney’s waist, but it’s not unpleasant.
Three, Flower is going to kill him.

Sidney drags his phone off the nightstand and flips it open, wondering if a text to warn Flower before he brings Zhenya in will help at all. Probably not — and Sidney gets the feeling that “Oh hey, so I married the star of the KHL so he would come play for the team” is not a text message that would in any way stifle more questions. And if he sends it to Flower, then Army’s going to feel hurt that Sid didn’t text him, too, likewise Duper and TK and Nealsy, and basically everyone. They’re all going to be surprised and taken aback — probably it’s best if they are all equally so.
Pond Ice and the In Between by luxover. Teen and Up, 48,000+ words, Coffee Shop/World without NHL AU. A coffee shop AU that manages to be all about hockey in a world where polite society's deemed hockey too dangerous for public acceptance. Features...basically everyone you've ever heard mentioned in Hockey fandom.
“If someone hit—if you have problem with—” He makes a frustrated face, says a few words in Russian, and then continues, “I don’t know how you call it, but—”

“Geno,” Sid interrupts. “It’s—I’m fine. I just, I play hockey. Sometimes. It’s fine.”

The surprise on Geno’s face is—well, Sidney doesn’t like it. He knows what people think about hockey—about the crazy on-ice deaths that have happened, about the fights and the mentality and everything—but he doesn’t understand it, and he never will.

Geno doesn’t say anything, still looking at Sid like he doesn’t know him, or maybe like he knows him too well, and so Sid says, “So. Just the latte for me, I guess.”

“You play hockey?” Geno finally asks, ignoring Sid’s order. “How long?”

“I don’t know. Forever,” Sidney says, because that’s as close to the truth as he’s going to get.

Geno smiles in a whole new way, a way that shows off all his teeth and is so goofy that it looks like he couldn’t hold it back if he tried.
Right on the Limits by thehoyden. Explicit, 20,000+ words, Sentinel AU. I'm a sucker for the spin fandom has put on the Sentinel/Guide dynamic, and this is no exception.
“Sentinel sees better, hears better. Can smell things like — like police dogs find things? But better. Sid is like that.”

Sidney bites his lip for a moment, thinking it over. “So, stronger senses. They train for that?”

Geno looks momentarily stumped. “Not a choice. Born this way,” he says, with a sudden, conspiratorial smile. Lady Gaga has a lot to answer for in regard to Geno’s command of English. “Sid born this way. But sentinel in Russia trains since little.”

“But I haven’t always been like this,” Sidney protests. “Nothing weird happened until this concussion.”

“No training,” Geno says, and it sounds like a hypothesis. “So maybe you learn only to turn volume all down.”

“Maybe.” And then something occurs to him. “You said your mother had allergies,” he says, and Geno actually flinches — what, was he hoping Sidney wouldn’t remember? “Is she — is she like me?”

“Yes,” Geno says eventually. “But different. I call her for help, but she learns when she is kid. Is different.”
The State of Marriage by iBear. Teen and Up, 28,000+ words. A pretty chilling look at possible results of Russia's anti-homosexuality propaganda laws. Heed the warnings on this one.
“Don’t panic,” Sid reminds him. “It’s just another media thing.”

It’s a media thing that’s illegal in Russia, Geno thinks.

“I know you just want to play hockey,” Sid tells him, “but sometimes we have to do other things. We have to be good role models.”

Geno doesn’t actually mind that. He’ll go to hospitals--he’ll teach kids how to skate. Geno likes those things, but they’re things he ultimately does as a hockey player, not as a person.

He’s still thinking about that once they’re inside the entertainment room, the camera crew setting up around them and Sid sitting too close by. Brisson is talking to Burke, which might be why Sid feels comfortable turning to him and saying, “I come from Canada,” Sid tells him. Geno rolls his eyes, because he knows, but Sid shakes his head. “You know what they say about Canada. It’s a great place to be gay. Everyone is so open-minded.”

Sid rolls his eyes to show how much he actually believes that.

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