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A Surprise Visit

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There was a knock on the connecting door, and Freddie stiffened at once. Florence's room. She'd come to get her things and leave with Sergievsky. What more could she possibly have to say to him? 

He was already undressed for bed and a good deal drunk. He shrugged into his white button up, leaving his binder on the questionably clean hotel floor, and opened the door without bothering to button it. Nothing Florence hadn't seen before. 

Only, unthinkably, it wasn't Florence. 

"Trumper, Miss Vassy wants her--" 

It was Sergievsky. He'd stopped talking abruptly in mid-sentence, staring at Freddie's unbound chest. Freddie slammed the door in his opponent's face, breathing like he'd run a marathon. Great. Now Sergievsky knew. That was just what he needed. He'd be Freddie Trumper, former world champion, former woman. Wonderful. The press would love it. He flung the door open again and stepped quickly through it, reaching out for Sergievsky's shirtfront and grabbing it in his fist. 

"Listen up, you sonuvabitch, you may be the new world champion, but if you tell a fucking soul about this, I'll break your jaw. Okay?" 

Sergievsky hadn't moved, didn't resist the pull on his shirt. "What?" he managed at last. "You're a woman." He seemed to be in shock. 

Freddie made a little snarling sound against his will and shook his opponent slightly. "I'm a man." 

"No, you aren't. Did you do this so no one would question your competence? My god, Florence said the two of you were..."

"We were. I'm a man, you fucking idiot," he spat. "Florence doesn't care." He could hear his heart beating in his ears. He was going to break the commie bastard's nose if he said it again.

"You're--"

Freddie swung a fist and Sergievsky narrowly avoided the blow by wrenching out of his grasp. 

"What's wrong with you?!" he yelped, gesturing at all of Freddie. "Calm down! Are you insane?"

Freddie lurched forward and grabbed his shirt again. "You beat me at chess. You stole the only woman I've ever loved. And now you're going to tell the press I'm a goddamn transsexual? I'd rather kill you." 

"I'm not going to tell anyone anything. Let go of me."

"Right. Sure. I'm pretty sure I don't trust you nearly as far as I could throw you." 

"Transsexual?" 

"Yeah, I'm a man with a vagina. What, don't you have those in Russia? Haven't you ever slept with one? I'd think, with your track record-- But they probably kill off people like me in Soviet Russia anyway." 

"I've never-- What are you talking about?"

"I'm a man. That's all you need to know."

"I don't understand."

"You don't have to understand!"

Sergievsky was staring below eye level. Freddie became aware that his shirt had opened and his chest was exposed. He let go of the Russian's shirt to close his own. 

"Stop," he snarled, gesturing violently to catch his opponent's gaze and draw it back up. 

"I don't--"

"I thought you were Florence. I opened the door. I shut the door again when you weren't her. You didn't see anything weird. Okay? I swear to god, when this hits the media I will find you. I will chase you all the way to the other side of the Iron Curtain and I will--"

"I'm not going back to Russia. Florence and I are going to England."

"What?"

"I defected." 

"You-- What?!" 

"I'm no longer a citizen of Russia." 

"What the fuck?" 

"Florence needs her passport. You have it in the safe in your room. Go and get it." 

"What?"

"You aren't that drunk, Trumper. Get the passport." 

"Florence-- You're...? Okay." 

Sergievsky watched him move back into his room and across it to the closet in silence. He had entered two of the digits of the safe key when the Russian spoke again. "What's your real name? Frederica? Winifred? Something else entirely?" 

"It's Freddie!" He would have thrown the safe at Sergievsky, but it was bolted down. "Frederick." He punched in the last number and flung the passport at his opponent's head. "My name is Frederick Trumper." 

"That doesn't make sense! You're--"

"Don't say it."

Sergievsky, to his credit, shut his mouth. He opened it again a moment later to try again. "So you want to be a man?"

"I am a man! What don't you get about this concept? It's not that hard! I'm a man!"

"I-- Alright. You're a man. Fine. I don't care what you are. Thank you for the passport. I hope I never see you again." He turned on his heel, picked up Florence's suitcase, and was gone. 

The story never hit the press.