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What We Are

Richie's Story

by Richie Ryan

Chapter 1 - Richie and Kevin

Kevin was a happy guy. He was 16, had passed his drivers test a month ago and was madly in love. His grades were good, and right now he was doing what he loved the most, skating. Driving his 5'11", 175 lb. frame to the limit, he flew up and down the ice, stick-handling the puck with ease making his moves with confidence. He would take frequent wrist shots into the boards and into the nets, putting all the right moves on his imaginary opponents. Life was good.


Five blocks away, the front storm door to Richie's house slammed against the wall as he burst through it. Leaping over the four steps to the porch, he landed in full stride on the front walk. As he angled his run across the yard, he was reminded of the few inches of snow that still covered the walk from the last snowfall. He made a mental note to shovel it tomorrow afternoon after his Saturday Meet. It was his job to shovel the snow and it just gave his dad another reason to rag on him when it wasn't done. It seemed as if that's all his dad did lately was rag on him, about his chores, his grades, everything. That's why he was now running like a maniac through the snow. His lithe 5'8", 146 lb. swimmers' body moving with the grace of a gazelle, his bag slung over his shoulder, late for practice. Even though it was Friday, he HAD to finish his homework before he left the house. 'Thanks Dad'

He leaped onto, then over the snow-bank to the plowed street, his Nikes slipping slightly on the packed snow as he headed in the direction of school. "Fuck!" he screamed out loud. 'Coach is gonna kill me!' this time to himself.

Richie liked and respected his coach. Bob Davies was both teacher and mentor to all of the boys on the swim team, but as a diver himself from a young age, he took special interest in the teams' divers. There was a big Meet coming up on Saturday, and the City and State prelims were not far off. That's why he had arranged to open the pool late on this particular Friday night, donating his personal time for a special diving practice. Although all six members of the diving team were exceptional athletes, there was only one way to fine tune their dives. Rep after rep after rep they would practice, take a break, then do it all over again. A good diver never got too much practice.

'Shit, coach goes to all this trouble for us and I can't even get there on time,' he thought, his guilt making him pick up his pace a notch.

He crossed Doswell Ave. and headed into Columbia park. This was the route he always traveled to school - through the park, along the top of Dead Man's hill, across the tennis courts and the ice rinks. Richie knew he could run the distance non-stop at this pace; it wasn't the first time he'd been late getting to school. 'Fuck, Fuck, Fuck' he screamed silently in frustration - he hated being late for anything. "Do your homework, shovel the walk, clean your room, clean up the kitchen," his parents voices echoed in his mind. 'Why the hell don't they just get off my fucking back?' he pleaded silently in his head.

The snow he sprinted through now was a little deeper, shaded from the warmth of the sun during the day. His sneakers were soaked through, his feet were getting cold, and his breathing became labored.

His mind was reeling with his thoughts, his running body on auto-pilot. Deep down, Richie knew his problems weren't so much his mom and dad's fault, they were his own personal demons. He was filled with questions he couldn't answer, feelings he didn't understand. After all, at 14 he was a teenager, with all the torments that go with it.

He breathed a sigh of relief through his clenched teeth as he crested the small hill just past the tennis courts. One street, the ice rinks, soccer field, and parking lot were all that remained between him and his destination.


The wind whistled through Kevin's hair as he powered his way down the right side on a break away, midway between the boards and the center face-off circle. It was cold, and the air stung his face as his skate blades bit sharply into the freshly flooded sheet of ice. 'God, this feels good,' he thought to himself. He was glad he had decided to do these personal workouts when hockey season began. It was dark, the warming house long closed for the day. The only light came from a lone streetlight at the intersection of 5th Street and Pascal at the Northwest corner of the rink. Though no way was it good lighting, it provided enough for his purpose. He only needed to deal with a slight glare off the glasslike surface when he skated in this direction. Well, that and the shadows cast out from the end-boards, ending just in front of the crease. The combination made it hard to see the net at this end, but that didn't really matter. The game he played now was in his head, his defenders imaginary.

As he crossed the blue line, he eyed the defense man, then shifted his weight slightly, deeking him with ease. He was now angled slightly toward the boards, heading for the right face-off circle, the 'D' faked out of his jock. Now, only the goal-tender left to beat, upper corner, glove side. Because of the shadows, he would guess more than see where the net was.


Richie's body gained momentum as he ran down the hill toward the hockey rink. When he approached the snow banked around the boards, he leaped to the top and threw his right leg out like a track star clearing a hurdle. In one smooth motion, he brought his left leg around and extended both feet down toward the surface, preparing himself for the landing. 'Whoa, great move, Andrews,' he thought, as his feet hit the ice, slightly spread, his body in perfect balance. His congratulatory thoughts were short lived, however, as he began to slide. 'OK,' he thought, 'Keep your balance, dude, and ride it out.' That's when he heard it. CRACK!


Kevin Hatcher, NHL All Star, Stanley Cup MVP, going for the buzzer-beating goal, eased the puck across the circle, then gave it a nudge with the tip of his stick for position. In one fluid motion he shifted his weight, brought his stick up over his right shoulder, then brought it back with all the power of a highlight film slap shot. CRACK, the sweet sound of perfect stick to puck contact. He never tired of hearing that sound, it was music to his ears.


Even before he could get his head turned toward the sound, Richie's world came crashing down on him in an unbelievable explosion of pain. The pain rapidly spread out from his groin, consuming his entire body, cascading through every muscle and organ he possessed. Even though Richie never heard it, the scream that ripped from his throat was surely loud enough to trip any car alarm within a three-block radius. He dropped to the ice like a wet rag doll, into a fetal position, his hands grasping his crotch, not moving, not breathing. His mind was screaming, the pain unbearable.


"Oh my God!" Kevin said out loud. 'What the�Who the� Is that some kid? Where the hell did he come from,' he said to himself in one connected thought. His stick forgotten, his gloves on their way to the ice, his legs were already pumping toward the net and the lifeless form that lay in front of it.

"Dude, you OK? Jesus, man, I'm sorry. I didn't see you. You OK, man?"

Richie's mind was reeling from the pain. He didn't know where he was. Was he dead? Was he in hell? Oh, God, the pain.

"Can ya hear me, man?"

'A sound. What's that sound? A voice, talking. Talking to me? Who the hell would be talking to me? Why won't they leave me alone? Can't they see I'm dying here?' All he could think about was the pain, and he sure as hell couldn't hold a conversation with anyone right now.

He was dangerously close to losing consciousness, and somehow seemed to sense it. 'OK, Andrews, don't pass out. Gotta move, gotta breathe.' his mind told him. 'Yes, for Gods sake, breathe.' And he breathed in one short painful gasp. 'Again' Another gasp, a little deeper this time, setting off another spasm of pain. 'The voice. Gotta tell the voice to shut up'. Two more painful breaths, and he tried to speak. "Wait, just please wait a sec." he rasped through quivering lips. His tears began to flow freely now, his breath coming in low quiet sobs.

Kevin heard the raspy voice, heard the words, the words that said to wait. 'OK, I'll wait. Yes, I can do that, I can wait,' he said to himself. He didn't speak, but instead, knelt down close to the quietly sobbing form that lay before him, his thoughts tearing through his mind like a freight train.

He knew exactly what had happened, what he had done, he had hit this kid square in the nuts. A wave of nausea swept through him at the thought, and his eyes began to tear up. He was horrified by the scene as it played over again in his mind, making him feel more guilty by the second. 'It's not my fault!' he thought, trying unsuccessfully to combat the guilt 'What was he doing here anyway? Where the hell did he come from?' Questions unanswered.

'OK Hatch', he thought to himself, 'Don't lose it here.' He choked back a sob and focused all of his strength on regaining control of himself. He was going to have to help this kid when he started to come around, and he was going to be ready to do just that. He was also prepared to dial 911 if he didn't start coming around soon. He leaned in close to the boy and whispered softly into his ear. "Don't worry, kid, I'm here. I'll wait for you." He placed his hand on the boys' shoulder, gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze, then waited.

As the worst of the pain began to subside, reality seeped back into Richie's senses. At once he remembered who and where he was, the argument with his dad, his being late for practice, the run through the park, the hockey rink... Of course, the hockey rink. He was lying on the ice and there was someone beside him. Something had hit him in the balls - hit him hard, too, the pain told him that much.

"Feeling better?"

He heard the voice again, not irritating this time, but soft and comforting. He slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus on the source of the voice. Blinking out some of the tears that blurred his vision, he found himself gazing into the most beautiful brown eyes he had ever seen, seeming to float just inches away. The pain momentarily forgotten, he thought maybe he actually had died, but was in heaven, not hell.

"Are ya?" asked the voice.

Now he focused in on the entire face that went with the voice. It was true, he was in heaven. "Yeah, I think so." he answered with little conviction. Rolling over on his back, he stretched his legs out flat on the ice. This move immediately brought the pain back with a vengeance, causing him to cry out in response as he quickly rolled back into the fetal position.

"Whoa, easy, man. Don't move yet, alright?"

"OK, I won't. I promise."

Despite the pain, he smiled to himself. 'Did I just make a joke? I must have because the face is smiling at me now'

"I think I can help you if you'll let me," said the voice.

'Wow, the voice is as beautiful as the face,' thought Richie.

"Yes, please, it hurts like hell," he answered.

Richie thought about the pain again, and for the first time during his ordeal he was scared, really scared. He'd been hit in the nuts before, what teenage boy hasn't, but even though he didn't yet know what hit him, he knew it felt far worse than any hits he'd taken in the past. The horrible thought of becoming a eunuch flashed in his head. The voice once again interrupted his thoughts.

"OK. I'm gonna help you to roll over on your back again, but this time I'll keep your knees bent up, just like they are now. You ready?"

"Yeah, do it, man."

At that, Kevin slid his left hand under the knee of the lower leg and began to lift, holding both knees together with his right hand on the top. This caused the Richie to rotate onto his back again, but this time his knees were pulled up in sort of a horizontal squatting position. Kevin noticed a grimace of pain on the boys face as he made the move, but it soon dissipated after he came to rest on his back.

'So far so good,' he thought.

"How's that, better?" he asked, still holding Richie's knees up and together above his chest.

"Yeah, it is, thanks."

"Good, but we're not quite done yet," he told the boy.

He hoped he was doing this right. He had seen his hockey coach perform this on Kyle once when he had taken a stick to the nads during practice. It seemed to work on him, so what the hell.

"OK now, as soon as you're ready, I want you to relax your legs and I'll very slowly lower your feet to the ice with your heels up against your butt. Understand?"


"Now I'm gonna do this real slow, but it's gonna hurt some. If it gets too bad, just tell me and I'll stop to let you rest, OK?"

"OK, do it," said Richie.

Kevin had already felt the boy's muscles relax some as he held each leg at the knees. 'OK, here goes' he said to himself. He very slowly slid his hands down to the middle of the boy's shins, releasing some of the pressure against his legs. Careful to keep the knees together, he allowed the hips to rotate downward, bringing his feet closer to the ice. All this time his eyes were glued to the boy's face, watching for any telltale signs of increased pain. After what seemed like forever, the legs stopped moving. Only then did he look down to see that his feet were indeed resting on the ice.

"How's that feel?" he asked.

"It hurts, but not as bad as it did before," came the reply.

"Good. Now, dude, I want you do something for me."

"OK, what?"

"Let go of your crotch."

Richie realized for the first time he still had his crotch in a death grip. He slowly relaxed his fingers, his pain monitor on full alert, and let his hands fall to his sides.

"Good, good" said the voice.

Richie was suddenly aware of movement at his side. He opened his eyes and watched as the owner of the voice got to his feet. He couldn't make out any details in the dim light, but he looked to be a teenage boy, perhaps a little older than him, and he was wearing a hockey jersey and ice skates. He stared up as the boy moved to straddle his body, one skate on either side of his hips, looming over him. He thought he detected a slight smile on his face, but it was too dark to be sure. He was speaking again.

"Now I'm going to lift you up slightly at the waist using the waistband of your blue jeans as sort of a sling. This should relieve some of the pressure and ease the pain. OK?"

Well, he hasn't been wrong so far so, "Yeah, sure, go ahead."

Richie watched as the boy bent over him to reach for his waist. Then he stopped and looked at him with those killer eyes, a smile definitely present on his face as he spoke.

"Now this may seem weird... I mean, me digging into your pants and all, but don't freak, OK. It'll help, I promise."

"Dude, you've helped me so much already that you can do anything you want and I won't freak."

'Oh God,' thought Richie, 'I hope that didn't come out sounding like I was hitting on him or something. Was I? NO! Fuck no, I wasn't hitting on him. I'd have to be gay to do that, and I know I'm not gay.'

Kevin carefully pushed the bottom of the boys jacket up a few inches to give him access to his jeans. Then, he turned his hands over, fingers facing up, and gently slipped then under the waistband. Curling his fingers, he gripped the denim material tightly in his fists. Making sure his skate blades were firmly planted on the ice, he slowly began to lift. He continued to lift until he could see the boy's hips had risen to about 3 inches off the ice, then he stopped, holding him there, suspended and motionless.

After a minute or so, Kevin spoke again.

"How's it feel now?"

"Much better, actually. Where did you learn this from? You some sort of genius kid doctor or something?"

Kevin chuckled at this, thinking this kid's got a sense of humor. A good sign that he's recovering.

"No, but I saw my coach do this to a buddy of mine once, so I thought I'd give it a try."

After another 30 seconds or so, Kevin spoke again.

"Alright, now there's one more thing I'm gonna do. I'm gonna drop you."

"DROP ME? What the hell for?"

"No, no, not drop you as in 'drop you to the ice.' I'm never going to let go of you. I'm just going to let you down about an inch or so and jerk up on your pants. It'll help your nuts to drop back down where they belong. Trust me, it works"

Richie tensed up, sure this was going to hurt like a bastard. "OK, man, do it"

Kevin did do it - a quick little bounce. He looked down for a reaction and saw a little grimace was present on the boy's lips.

"That hurt?" he asked.

"Yeah, a little."

"OK then, we'll wait a little bit and try it again."

To fill time while they waited, Kevin thought introductions were in order.

"My name's Kevin Hatcher by the way. My teammates call me Hatch"

"Nice to meet you Doctor Hatcher, my name's Richard Andrews. My friends call me Richi�. I mean Rich"

'Damn, I gotta watch that or I'm never going to shake that name,' he thought.

"Did you say Richie or Rich?"

"Rich. I mean, I've always been called Richie and I hate it so I'm trying to lose it" he said, feeling a little foolish.

"OK then, Rich it is."

All throughout this conversation Kevin was holding Richie up at the waist and his arms were getting tired.

"Time for another drop test, Rich. You ready?"

"Go" was the reply.

Kevin repeated the previous move, again watching for any signs of pain.

"Whoa, man, I think that did it. I mean, it feels sooo much better now."

"Good, then I'm going to ease you down on your back again. Tell me if it hurts."

Having said that, Kevin slowly lowered Richie's body back to the ice.

'Good' he thought since he saw no grimace on his face..

"Now, Rich, I'm going to stretch your legs out flat on the ice. I'll go slow and you tell me if it hurts"

Richie's body tensed with the memory of the pain he felt the last time he tried this, and he mentally prepared himself for it to happen again. Slowly his feet were drawn away from his butt, sliding along the ice until they were fully extended. No pain. Well, some, but not near as much as before. Maybe he would live after all. Then the eunuch picture flashed back into his head, and with it the fear. Tears began to well up in his eyes as he thought he would never again know the pleasures of jacking off, never get laid, he was going to die a virgin. He couldn't help himself, the tears flowed down across his cheeks and onto the ice.

From his position at Richie's feet, Kevin thought he heard a muffled cry. Scooting quickly along side his upper body, he looked into his face and saw that he was crying again.

"What's wrong, Rich? Is the pain back?" he asked as his own eyes began to tear up from concern and empathy.

"No. I mean, yes, but not much," he sobbed.

"Then what's wrong, man?"

"My balls are probably toast. I'll never have any kids or anything." He was sobbing uncontrollably now.

The scene touched Kevin deeply. His heart went out to this kid, and a tear dropped from each of his eyes, landing on Richie's sleeve.

"Rich? Rich. Listen to me, man. You don't know that, do you. No, you don't, so just get that crap out of your head."

He reached out his hand and gently stroked Richie's chest in an effort to comfort him.

"Rich?" He asked again in his most reassuring voice.

"Yeah?" came a muffled reply.

"How many times have you, or any of us for that matter, been hit in the nuts in the morning, and then jacked cum out of our dicks that night? Huh, Rich? Or, if not that night, for sure the next one?"

Kevin's tone was sounding more convincing that he actually felt as his mind replayed the slap shot again. This was for sure a serious injury, but he wasn't about to let Richie know how concerned he was.

"A guy's nuts are pretty resilient," he said, "Trust me. I mean how could a genius kid doctor be wrong? Right?"

Despite the fear and despair he felt right now, Richie couldn't help but smile at his doctor joke coming back at him. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. When his sobbing was once again under control, he looked up at Kevin, just now aware that he was rubbing his chest. He was really beginning to like this kid.

"I'm sorry, Kevin. You must think I'm just a big baby."

"No, dude, not at all."

Richie looked into Kevin's face and saw that he was smiling, and he had tears in his eyes. Those killer eyes had tears in them. Tears for Richie. He couldn't help himself - he had to say it.

"Kevin? Did anybody ever tell you that you have killer eyes?"

'Oh, God, what have I done?' he thought, 'He's going to think I'm gay for sure now.'

"Yeah, my girlfriend, Stephanie, tells me that all the time. It's kind of embarrassing, ya know?"

Stephanie Anderson lived next door to Kevin, so they've known each other for as long as they can remember. They began dating steady 2 years ago, and seemed to be the perfect couple. She was just one month younger that Kevin and a straight 'A' student.

'Whew, dodged another bullet' thought Richie, 'What's wrong with me? Why do I do that kinda shit? Am I gay? No, can't be, won't be. Besides, even if I was gay, he's got a girlfriend. Now where did that come from?'

"Yo, Rich, ya with me, dude?" The voice brought him back from his thoughts.

"Yeah, sure, what?"

"Think you're ready to try standing up now. You gotta be freezing lying there like that."

All of a sudden it dawned on him, he was cold. His whole body was shivering, and his feet felt numb.

"Yeah, right. Give me a hand, will ya?"

"OK, but go slow. Start by just sitting up," Kevin said, as he positioned himself so that his knees now straddled Richie's head. He then reached under his shoulders and began to lift him upright. At the same time, Richie drew his knees up to his chest, an effort necessary to keep the now familiar but almost forgotten pain at bay.

Once Richie was sitting up, and Kevin was sure he wouldn't fall over, he scooted around on his knees until he was in front of him.

"You OK?" he asked.

"Yeah, I am."

That said, Kevin stood and firmly planted his skates, pigeon towed, right at Richie's toes in order to prevent his feet from slipping out from under him when he stood. He then bent slightly and reached out, grabbing a wrist in each hand, Richie doing the same. Then, pulling back in one quick but steady motion, Richie was on his feet.

Immediately the blood seemed to drain from Richie's head and he felt dizzy, the old 'I got up too fast' scenario, and he started to collapse. Realizing this, Kevin quickly let go of his wrists and threw his arms around his body to hold him up. Feeling his knees weakening through his dizziness, Richie did the same thing with his arms around Kevin's body and held on for dear life.

As he regained his composure, Richie couldn't help thinking about how the two of them must look standing there in a close embrace. Surely any passing motorist would have done a double take at the implausible scene. He knew he should let go of Kevin, but he just couldn't. It wasn't a sexual thing at all, he just needed to feel secure right now, and Kevin's strength was fulfilling that need. Kevin must have picked up on this as well because he held Richie just as tight, waiting patiently for him to get his bearings.

After a minute or so, Kevin felt Richie's arms loosen from around his body. Taking his cue, he loosened his own grip a just a little, making sure he was ready to grab him again should he start to topple. Only when Richie had moved his arms completely to his sides, and Kevin was sure that he was stable, did he totally relax.

Then, putting a hand on each shoulder, he stepped back and looked into his eyes. "OK?"

"OK" came the answer.

Taking charge once again, Kevin said, "C'mon, we gotta get you inside where it's warm. Try taking baby steps at first to see if it hurts. I'll help ya so you don't slip on the ice."

The two boys started moving as one, with Kevin providing support by holding onto Richie's arm. They moved slowly at first, but as Richie became more confident that it wouldn't hurt too much, they picked up the pace. Soon they were moving at an almost normal gait toward the boards next to the penalty box where the entrance to the rink was located. When they got to the gate, Kevin had Richie lean against the boards while he gathered his stuff. Picking up his warm-up jacket, he put it over Richie's shoulders and zipped it up for him. Despite the shivers that had overtaken him, Richie could feel his body heat begin to return, and it felt good.

"What're you gonna wear, Kevin?" he asked.

"No prob, dude, I got a sweatshirt under my jersey. I'm fine. Really."

He then paused to look around the hockey rink, obviously searching for something.

"Wait right here a sec, Rich. I gotta get my stick and gloves. Be right back."

With two quick powerful thrusts of his legs, he was off, heading back in the direction of the face-off circle where all of this had begun. Once in the circle he dug in his blades to stop, shaved ice filling the air. He picked up his gloves, put them on, then grabbed his stick and started back. Suddenly, he stopped again to scan the rink, looking for something else.

Richie followed Kevin with his eyes. For some reason he just couldn't keep his eyes off him - the way he moved in a natural fluid motion.

'What's he looking for?' wondered Richie.

As Richie watched, Kevin started moving again, back and forth across the ice in a sort of search pattern, starting from the red-line, then moving towards the end-boards. All of a sudden he stopped in front of the net, bent over to retrieve something, then stood up again. Pumping his legs twice, he was headed back. Ice chips again flew from Kevin's skates as he stopped on a dime, just inches away from Richie.

"How ya doin?" he asked.

"OK, I guess," said Richie. "Kevin? What the hell happened here tonight? I mean, I know I got tagged in the nads, but how... with what."

Kevin felt his guilt threaten to overtake him as he looked down at his feet. After a few seconds, he raised his head and looked at Richie with glazed eyes.

"With this," he said as he held up his puck.

"A HOCKEY PUCK?! You pounded my balls with a FUCKING HOCKEY PUCK?!"

"Yeah. But hey, man, its dark. I couldn't see you. What the hell were you doing on the ice anyway? You were right in front of the net, man. Jesus, I'm sorry, but it was an accident."

All of his words were running together, and he was fighting back tears again.

Thinking about it, Richie realized that Kevin was right. With so much on his mind earlier, he didn't even think that somebody might be on the rink at this time of night. But he was in pain, and angry right now.

"What the hell are you doing out here playing hockey in the dark for, anyway? The warming house was closed hours ago."

"I know, I know," said Kevin. "That's exactly why I was here. I have the rink all to myself so I can work out, doing wind sprints and shit. I do it as often as I can during hockey season. You're the first person that's ever come down here. What the hell were you doing here, anyway?"

"Practice," said Richie as it suddenly dawned on him why he was there.

"Practice? What practice?"

"Diving practice at the school. My coach opened the pool for the divers tonight so we could get ready for our meet tomorrow. I was late and took the short-cut. I guess I was just coming across the rink when you took your shot."

After a brief silence Richie asked, "What time is it, Kevin?"

"I don't know... ten, ten thirty maybe. I guess you missed your practice, huh."

"Yeah, I guess I did."

"Look, Rich, I'm really sorry about this. I would never hit anybody with a puck on purpose."

"I know, I'm sorry I blew up at you. It's just been a really bad day for me and I got a lot on my mind."

With that, he reached his hand out to Kevin and said, "Friends?"

"Friends," said Kevin as he shook the offered hand.

"One positive thing here tonight, though," said Kevin as he started to pull off his skates.

"Yeah? What's that?"

"The puck went in the net," he said with a smile.

"Yeah, along with my balls."

They both laughed at that remark which caused a sharp pain to return to Richie's groin. He would have to make a deal with Kevin. No more jokes.

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