schneefink: (Fleury)
[personal profile] schneefink
Yesterday I thought about how much fun it can be to mash together two fandoms who have absolutely nothing to do with each other. "But sometimes," I thought, "it's really hard, like, just as a random example of things I've been watching recently, Nirvana in Fire and hockey."
An hour later I had the basic premise of a story I'm not going to write.

Obviously you can't translate everything. No Poison of the Bitter Flame, no 70,000 dead soldiers. But.

Xiao Xuan is the Commissioner of the league. Everyone knows he's not as neutral as he should be, but he's also so powerful, with so many connections and so much money, that nobody dares oppose him. His two oldest surviving sons used to play and are now the managers of two teams that have been on top of the standings for years.
The commissioner's oldest son was supposed to be his heir. Jingyu's mother died very early and it was never proven it was from after-effects of concussions. Jingyu got concussed the year before he wanted to retire as a player, and the commissioner, suspicious that Jingyu only did it to raise attention for the unsatisfying way the league handles concussions, told his team that Jingyu was faking and not to accommodate him. The commissioner arranged things so that after visiting him, Jingyu had to drive back to the hotel on his own, but Jingyu got into a car accident and died.
Jingyan was only a rookie on Jingyu's team when that happened. He didn't speak to his father for years. By now he's the captain, and it's expected that after he retires soon he'll become assistant general manager and then GM like his brothers did. The team isn't doing very well though because their owners aren't investing much money (everyone knows the commissioner could influence that) and so they don't have the best facilities or personnel.

The Lin family was a hockey dynasty. Lin Xie was one of the best players of his time, won multiple MVP trophies etc, and Lin Shu seemed to follow in his footsteps when he won rookie of the year. However their team was managed by Xia Jiang. Xia Jiang deliberately withheld doctor's assessments and let his players play with concussions and other injuries in order to win now. Lin Xie never knew he was suffering from blood clots, and he died during a Stanley Cup Final game, shortly after Lin Shu broke his leg/ankle in multiple places during that same game. Unsurprisingly, their team lost.

Jingyan and xiao-Shu played on a line together for many years in Juniors. When Lin Shu lost his father Jingyan tried to reach out to him, but Lin Shu retreated to Lin Chen's private clinic and refused to see anyone. A few weeks later he sent out a press release that he was retiring from hockey.
Jingyan tries to contact him regularly for years, without success. He never gives up though.

There's a rumor going around that the commissioner told his sons that he'd favor whoever won the Cup this year to succeed him. It was generally believed to only apply to Jinghuan and Jingxuan, since obviously Jingyan's team doesn't stand a chance. However, Jingyan's team starts winning more games than anyone expected. Their head coach Zhanying (or is he GM?) tells Jingyan that he keeps receiving messages with brilliant coaching strategies and insights into the opposing teams' weaknesses, signed "Mei Changsu." Jinghuan's and Jingxuan's teams aren't doing as well as people thought they would, and there are rumors of rivalries and interpersonal drama in the locker rooms.

While Jingyan's team is firmly in playoff contention, Mu Nihuang's team is also playing well. She's captain of the women's team in Jingyan's team's city, and the women's league has the same commissioner. "Mei Changsu" warns her of a plot of another team to deliberately injure her and she can avoid it. She's stubborn though and finds out that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu, who finally decided he's ready to get involved with hockey again even though he'll never be able to play again. (Lin Chen found out that not only did he break his leg/ankle, he was also suffering from undiagnosed concussions and their after-effects.) Lin Shu's plan is to use Nihuang's team's Cup win to honor Yan Che, Liyang and others who had to retire early because of what everyone knew were but nobody dared to call concussions, and Jingyan's team's Cup win to honor Jingyu, Lin Yueyao, Lin Xie etc. who all died because of the terrible way the league deals with injuries, to force the commissioner to change the rules. Shortly after the trade deadline he manages to expose that Xie Yu, Xia Jiang's assistant, bribed doctors.

Nihuang's team wins in a dramatic final against the team led by Qin Banruo, whose goal it was to be "caught" doping after her win to cast suspicion on the entire league, but now that she lost it wouldn't make nearly the same impact. Xia Dong scores two goals in the deciding game 6.

Things get even more dramatic during the men's playoffs. Jingxuan has a public meltdown on camera and loses his job. Jinghuan tries to bribe officials, but he manages to bribe the wrong officials that Mei Changsu put in place, is caught and has to step down.
The Final is between Jingyan's team and Lin Shu's former team, still led by Xia Jiang. During game 7, when their team is down by three goals, Zhanying gets new tips during the first intermission and realizes Mei Changsu has to be in the arena. During the second period thanks to a tip by Xia Jiang the media finds Lin Shu in the crowd and there's a huge buzz. Next to Lin Shu sits the person who contacted Zhanying with new strategies during the SCF games even though the area was supposed to be inaccessible to non-staff (Fei Liu managed though.) Zhanying mentions it to Jingyan and Jingyan makes the connection. He signals Lin Shu in a way only the two of them understand to meet him in the locker room.
Fei Liu manages to find a secret meeting place for Jingyan and Lin Shu during second intermission. Lin Shu says there's no time for them to talk about everything that happened and proceeds to tell Jingyan everything he noticed about the other team's players' tendencies this game. Lin Shu promises that they'll be able to talk after the Cup win. Jingyan scores a hat trick in the third period to lead his team to victory.

On the ice he dedicates the victory to Jingyu, Lin Yueyao, Lin Xie, and all the others who died from concussions and their after-effects. (In his heart he dedicates the victory to xiao-Shu.) The media pressure on the commissioner is so big that he is forced to agree to change the rules. Jingyan and Lin Shu finally have time to talk. Happy ending.

A few years later Lin Shu dies as a result of his hockey injuries, because it wouldn't be Nirvana in Fire without a huge dose of sadness.

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