The boys take to the rink and I regret nothing. For Saaski, Christmas 2004. [Mild KiruGon pre-slash; hinted LeoPika.]
by Mina Lightstar
Gon had always figured that indoor skating rinks would be colder. The rink he was on at the moment was on the cooler side, but there was no need for heavy coats or scarves. In a way, it was a little disappointing, as he'd been hoping for a more authentic experience, something closer to skating outdoors. Then again, at least it wasn't windy or snowing in here.
The cry started Gon, and he almost lost his balance. "K-Killua!" he yelped as a lavender blur sailed right into him. Thankfully, Gon had been sticking close to the edges of the rink, and so the impact knocked them against the barricade rather than onto the ice.
"She pushed me," Killua muttered as he moved off of Gon. "She must have pushed me."
Gon held on to the rink's side to keep himself upright, and with his other hand he rubbed the back of his head. "Maybe she just went by really fast and didn't see you?"
"That'd better be it," his best friend threatened, not looking at all intimidating as he held on for dear life.
"Eh-heh." Gon gradually moved away from the side, holding his arms out a little for balance. "Maybe we should just go even slower?"
"We're already the slowest ones here," Killua pointed out. "Everyone else has skated laps around us a bunch of times already."
Gon shrugged. "It's not a race, is it?" he asked, cocking his head.
"No, no. Come on, let's try this again."
Together, linking arms for mutual support, Gon and Killua started off again, joining the other skaters... at a much slower pace.
Their figure-skating excursion had been Gon's idea. When he'd learned that the four of them -- himself, Killua, Leorio and Kurapika -- would all be in the same city for a time, he'd wanted them to do something special together. When he'd expressed that to Killua, and to the other two by text-messaging, they'd eagerly agreed.
Gon had never been skating before, and he'd always wanted to try it once. It didn't snow on Whale Island, so he'd never had the opportunity. Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio had seemed happy enough with his choice of activities, though, right now, things weren't looking as joyful as the beginning of their reunion had been.
"Careful!" Gon cried as Killua stumbled. They clutched at each other like lifelines and stayed very still until the moment of dreadful unbalance had passed. "You okay?"
"Fine," Killua mumbled, raising his head from Gon's shoulder. Then he gasped, "Look out!"
Fortunately, Killua's warning had been anticipatory. The tall, bumbling shape that had been headed straight for Gon and Killua suddenly veered off to avoid them. Instead of being involved in the collision, Killua and Gon watched as Leorio sailed right into the sides of the rink with a painful-sounding thud, and slowly slid to the ice.
When he'd recovered a little, Leorio turned around so he could sit up properly, back against the barricade, then started brushing bits of ice shavings from his jacket and adjusting the red scarf he'd worn instead of a tie.
"Are you all right, Leorio?" Gon asked worriedly. He was still holding on to Killua for support, though that wasn't doing him much good, seeing as how Killua was still having problems holding himself up.
Leorio's arms rose up and gripped the sides of the rink, first one and then the other. Then Leorio heaved himself up, legs kicking wildly out from under him, skates sliding across the ice. The medical student was muttering under his breath, and Gon was fairly certain that he didn't want to know what Leorio was saying.
"Leorio?" Gon asked.
"I'm fine," the medical student replied through clenched teeth. "Just... haven't done this in a while."
"Did you fall on your tailbone?" Gon prodded tentatively. Leorio's glare was answer enough. "Um, want help?"
"No thanks," Leorio growled, struggling to get his balance. "You two look like you're barely hanging on."
"I've never gone ice-skating before," Gon admitted sheepishly. "It's fun, though. At least, it will be when I get the hang of it."
Killua picked that moment to try moving. The former assassin lost his footing and fell to the ice, taking Gon with him. Gon yelped when his bottom hit the cold surface.
"Killua!" he moaned, pushing at the other boy, whose limbs were entangled with his. "Get off me!" As they struggled, he could hear the other skaters as they went around to avoid the two boys on the ice.
"You're on my foot!" Killua spat.
"No, you're on mine!"
"Hey, now!" Leorio called, clapping his hands to get their attention. "So noisy! You're disturbing the peace."
Gon stopped struggling and patted Killua's fluffy hair awkwardly. "Can you get up?"
"I'll try," Killua muttered, slowly starting to stand. His skates slipped halfway through and he fell again, landing on top of Gon once more. Gon didn't bother trying to hide his pained groan.
"Oi, Killua," Leorio chuckled. "Usually assassins are more sure-footed than that." The medical student had propped himself back up against the side of the rink, and looked like he wouldn't dare move for fear of ending up on the ice yet again.
"Shut up, old man," Killua hissed, thrashing about once again to get off of Gon.
"Didn't mean anything, shrimp," Leorio laughed. "Just commenting on your complete and utter lack of balance."
"At least a fall like this doesn't put our backs out," Killua shot back, still working on getting up.
"Come over here and say that," Leorio provoked, pushing away from the side as he stared at them. "In my day we respected our elders."
"You're not our elder, and right now we hate you."
"I don't--" Gon began, but was overridden by Leorio's voice.
"What? No Pay-TV for you later, then!" Leorio waved his hands for emphasis. "And what's more -- gah!"
"Leorio!" Gon cried, eyes widening as their older friend toppled and fell. Killua was heavy enough, and when Leorio landed on them both, Gon had the wind knocked out of him.
"Get off, you ape!"
"Shut up, I'm trying!"
"Hold still while I--"
"Someone get off me!"
"You three," a familiar voice interrupted, "look terribly undignified."
United on common ground -- that is, lying in a heap on the skating rink -- Gon, Killua, and Leorio glared up at the fourth member of their group. Kurapika looked annoyingly amused and was still standing -- and he looked perfectly balanced on top of that. Gon had lost track of him not long after the skating had begun, since he'd been more worried about his own predicament, but he was fairly certain Kurapika had lapped them twice already. At least.
"How kind of you to finally stop by and see how your friends are doing," Leorio drawled. His sarcasm was weakly delivered from his position, entangled with Killua as he was.
Kurapika smiled at them, though it did look more like pity than anything else. "Would you like some help?"
"No. Go do some triple axels or something."
Gon frowned, thinking Kurapika would take offense, but the Kuruta did nothing but smile again, this one amused. He pushed off and started skating away from them, his "Good luck!" finding its way back to their fallen bodies.
"Kurapika seems to be good at this," Gon remarked admiringly.
"He would be," Leorio muttered. "Looks like a girl, sounds like a girl... of course he can figure-skate."
"You don't mean that," Killua said.
"I could mean it. I'm cranky."
"Sorry, Leorio," Gon offered. "Maybe this was a bad idea."
"Oh, don't be silly," Leorio immediately soothed, sobering. "I just... well, it's been years since I've done this."
"Un." Gon shifted his feet as best he could, and winced. "My feet hurt."
"The skates," Killua supplied. "You're not used to them, that's all. Just wait until you take them off."
Gon made a face, already imagining the discomfort. "Hey, Killua..."
"How come you're having so much trouble?" He felt the former assassin stiffen momentarily, and quickly added, "It's just that you're so good at everything else, I figured you'd be good at this, too."
Killua didn't say anything for a moments, but soon he sighed tiredly. "It's the ice," he explained. "I have skated before, just on natural ice. Sometimes it's bumpy and not as slick. This rink is kept so clean of scratches that it's really slippery. I'm just not used to it, that's all."
"Oh." Gon nodded, and realized how hard the ice was against his head... and that they were still in a heap on it.
Someone skidded to a stop by Gon's head and sighed lightly. "You're still here?"
Gon gave Kurapika a sheepish grin. "Eh-heh. Well, we just haven't really gotten around to moving."
"Are you sure you don't want help?" Kurapika adjusted his red jacket a little. "You'll ache later if you stay on the cold ice like that."
"We're already aching," Leorio pointed out, resuming his attempt to untangle himself.
"Ow!" Killua cried. "Watch where you put your elbow!"
"Um..." Gon's embarrassed grin widened as he tried to picture what he looked like upside-down.
"All right, here." Kurapika moved around and reached down to help Leorio up, but they only got about halfway when Leorio's skates slipped and his feet shot out from underneath him. "Ack!"
It didn't matter how skinny Kurapika was. He was heavy when all of him fell on top of you.
It was only later, much later, after hot baths and changing and dinner, that Gon and Killua found themselves on the couch in their hotel room. The television was on, bathing them in blue light, and Gon held a cup of hot chocolate in his hands.
"Sorry, Killua," he mumbled, huddling further into his blanket.
"Eh?" Killua gave him a sidelong glance, a stick of chocolate in his mouth. It waved around when he moved his lips. "What are you talking about?"
"We're cold and sore," Gon mumbled, wondering if that would do for an explanation. "I think we spent more time lying on the ice than we did skating on it."
Killua laughed. "Gon! I had fun."
"Really?" Gon blinked. "You did?" He certainly hadn't looked like he had, sprawled on the ice or trapped beneath Leorio or holding on to Gon for support.
"Sure did," Killua assured him. "So did Leorio and Kurapika."
"You think so?" Gon beamed. "Leorio looked like he was in a much better mood toward the end, too."
"'Cause he fell on Kurapika," Killua said flippantly, making Gon choke on his drink.
The former assassin grinned. "Oh, like you didn't know."
Gon made a face. "Killua, are you really twelve...?"
"Where are they, anyway?" Killua went on, as though just noticing their room was still missing two of its occupants. "I haven't seen them since Leorio asked Kurapika to dinner. 'Without the kids,'" he mimicked in a poor rendition of Leorio's tone, adjusting a fake tie.
Gon decided not to dwell on it. "Say, Killua... did you mean it when you said you had fun today? I wasn't sure if you'd like it." Gon hadn't been sure he'd like it.
"'Course I did. Why do you keep asking?"
"No reason," Gon mumbled. "Just making sure." He shifted closer and Killua didn't say anything. When he slid even closer, Killua still didn't say anything, simply broke off a part of his chocolate and handed it to Gon.
They watched whatever came on television for a long time.