Chapter 9 : The Skating Rink
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I hope you enjoy this chapter (short as it is). Please review if you have the time!
Thanks to emi potter for another correction!
Why I was clearly right when I said that we shouldn't go ice-skating
By Harry Potter
1. I slipped and hurt myself. Hermione was wrong. Quidditch is a lot safer.
2. I can't skate. I learned, but that doesn't really go on this list.
3. It only resulted in disaster. Disaster.
4. The rink has themes. Themes that create an incredibly awkward situation for people who so desperately are trying to prove that they're only friends (we are only friends…I mean, clearly we are, what I meant is that we both want that…I'm fairly certain. I think I may have to burn this paper so that Hermione never sees this)
5. Because skating was so horrid, I had to write this list, and because I wrote this list, I said something absolutely stupid (idiot of me to think such a thing, really), and now I'm going to have to waste paper (and kill a tree) because this really is better suited for kindling…
It's easy to fall in love. The hard part is finding someone to catch you.
“Ready?” Hermione asked, pulling a dark blue parka over her white turtleneck, which was paired with blue jeans and brown snow boots. Black gloves peeked out of one of the parka's pockets. Her hair was pulled up in a ponytail, which was being held together by an incredibly thick hair elastic.
“I just realized,” Harry said, not answering the question.
“I don't have a coat. I never need one over the summer, and in the winter I'm either at school or at the Weasleys, so I just use my cloak.
“You can just borrow one of my dad's,” Hermione reasoned. She opened the hall closed and produced a large, grey coat. “Ready?” she asked once again.
“Not really,” Harry replied, now clothed in his own winter clothes (one of Mrs. Weasley's many “H” sweaters, the jacket, jeans, and hiking boots). He was noticeably nervous, and it took every bit of will Hermione had not to burst out into laughter. The last time Harry had been this worried was during the Triwizard Tournament.
“Oh come on,” Hermione said, patting Harry on the back. “You'll be fine!” She picked up a black bag and opened the door as she called, “We're leaving, Mum!”
“Have fun!” her mother called back, and Harry and Hermione left the house.
“Maybe I should just stay in here and watch you,” Harry said weakly, lacing up his rented, brown skates as Hermione did the same with her own white pair.
“Come off it,” Hermione rolled her eyes. “It's just skating. The worse that can happen is that you fall and hit the ice. That's nothing compared to the fall you took in third year.”
“But I didn't foresee that fall. This is absolutely avoidable.”
“Stop acting as if you're about to go out and fight a death eater. Now get up,” Hermione instructed, grabbing at his hand and pulling it, forcing him to stand, “and act like a man, or Ron will hear about this and you will never hear the end of it.”
Grumbling, Harry reluctantly followed Hermione on to the ice, trying his best not to topple over. The second his skates hit the ice, however, Harry realized that his attempts to balance would be futile, and he fell right over, sliding a few feet to the right of the entrance.
Hermione knew that she shouldn't, but she burst into a fit of laughter.
“Yes, very funny,” Harry said, almost acidly. “Hilarious. Don't know why I'm not laughing.”
“I'm sorry, Harry,” Hermione apologized, although her laughter was yet to subside. “You can balance in the middle of the air on a slight piece of wood, but you can't balance on two pieces of metal when you're hardly an inch off the ground? You have to see the humour in this situation.”
“I didn't see you laughing when you almost fell off the broom last autumn,” Harry shot at her, grabbing at the side of the wall and hoisting himself up.
Hermione's laughter ceased, and a scowl quickly replaced her wide smile. “That and this are completely different,” she said.
“Well, for one, I almost died.” Hermione then mumbled under her breath, “Not that I'm new to that.”
“You did not almost die,” Harry said, having not heard the last part. He was still leaning up against the wall to prevent himself from falling flat on his face. “I caught you, remember?”
“Well then, let me catch you,” Hermione said, offering Harry her hands. Harry stared at them, then up at Hermione, not comprehending.
“Take them,” Hermione said impatiently. “Hold them and I'll teach you how to skate. Let me catch you.”
Tentatively, Harry accepted Hermione's offer. Standing in front of him, Hermione skated backwards, her hips slowly swaying back and forth, pulling Harry along.
“You can skate backwards?” Harry asked, who was finding it hard to believe that anyone could skate, let alone do so with their back to everyone, even though a young girl of thirteen was practicing her axle (or was it double? He couldn't tell) in the centre of the rink.
“Since I was nine,” Hermione answered, glancing over her shoulder to make sure that she wasn't going to crash into someone. “I'm actually not doing it correctly, if memory serves me right. They told me in the beginning to start with swizzles and move off from that, but it hurt my ankles.” She shrugged. “I prefer this method, anyway.”
“So do I,” Harry said under his breath, half mesmerized by her swinging hips.
“Nothing!” he exclaimed, hoping that she would mistake his blush for the cold. He didn't know why he had thought something so ridiculous. Obviously he was tired and his brain was acting oddly. Even though he had gotten eight hours, if not more, of sleep.
Friend, he thought to himself. She's your friend. There we go.
“How much do you know about skating?” Harry asked in order to distract both of them.
“Not much,” Hermione admitted. “I learned crossovers, backward crossovers, and T-stop, but after that…I just fell down. I couldn't get the three-turn, or anything past that, no matter how hard I tried.
“Crossovers?” Harry repeated. “T-stop? Three-turn?”
Hermione half-rolled her eyes. “Here,” she said, letting go of Harry's hand and indicating to him to hold onto the wall. “It's exactly how it sounds. Crossovers.” She pushed off on her right foot and skated a bit, working up speed. Eventually she was leaning to her left, her knees bent, and she glided her right foot over her left a few times. “T-stop,” she called over her shoulder, slowing down and then coming to a complete stop by placing her right foot in front and dragging her left foot behind the other at a right angle until it met the heel of her right. She turned around and returned to Harry.
“I'd demonstrate a three-turn, but seeing as I can't do one…”
“It's fine,” Harry reassured her, and he was rewarded with a slight grin.
“Now, time to learn,” Hermione said authoritatively. “You're use to ice now, right?” Harry nodded his head meekly. “Good. Now I'll still hold your hands, of course, but I won't be dragging you. Push off lightly with your right. Good. Now your left. Perfect! Just alternate. You'll get into a rhythm.”
After a while, Harry did get into a rhythm, and soon Hermione was able to let go of Harry's right hand so that they were skating side-by-side, Hermione's right hand held in his left.
“This is easy!” Harry exclaimed. “I really am a fast learner.”
“You might possibly be more chauvinistic than Peter Pan,” Hermione said, sniffing.
“I was only joking,” Harry said quickly, having not read Peter Pan, but still knowing the implications of what Hermione had just said. “Thank you.” It was one of the sincerest thank you's Hermione had ever heard come out of Harry's lips, and Hermione couldn't help but smile.
“It was my pleasure.” She squeezed his hand.
“I can't believe that happened!” Hermione cried, a mixture of ice and snow crunching underneath her furious stomp. Her face was red with anger, and flakes of snow stuck to her hair and eyelashes. “I just…” She gave a little scream.
Harry remained silent, letting Hermione vent. It had been an incredibly awkward situation. Traumatizing, perhaps, to their friendship. But it couldn't possibly be as bad as Hermione was treating it.
Harry's mind flashed back to what had occurred only half an hour ago. The dark, people closing in on them, no escape… Okay, so maybe it was, he reasoned. But that's only because we tend to overreact to everything, don't we? He had to admit, he was rather proud of his new, relatively sane self. Granted, the voice doing the thinking was Hermione's, but it was in his head. So technically they were his thoughts.
Harry then noticed that Hermione had stopped dead in her tracks, her face now pointed towards the sky.
“Why is the world out to get us?” she demanded, throwing her arms out. Several people were staring at her, and Harry quickly placed a hand on her back and urged her to walk on. More snow and ice (and even a few twigs) became victims of her rage.
“How was skating?” Mrs. Granger greeted Harry and Hermione the second they walked through the threshold.
“Very nice,” Hermione said curtly as she hung both Harry and her coats. She pivoted, rather stiffly, to face her mother. “Would you like us to set the table for dinner?”
“That would be great.” Mrs. Granger smiled endearingly at the two of them.
“What?” Hermione demanded. The fact that she was on edge either went unnoticed by her mother or meant very little to her.
“It's just that you two remind me so much of your father and I when we were— ”
“Finish that sentence and I swear that I'll never come home over a holiday again,” Hermione growled. Mrs. Granger's eyes widened in shock.
“Hermione! Since when do you talk to me like that?” Hands were now placed on hips, lips set in a thin line that would make McGonagall appear as if she were smiling, and eyebrows were slanted at such an angle that little girls everywhere would choose to be in a room with Jafar rather than the Granger foyer. Suddenly Harry wasn't sure which mother scared him more - Ron's or Hermione's.
“I'm sorry,” Hermione sighed, averting her eyes. “I just… I'm sick of it!” She slumped into a nearby chair. “I think I'm getting a migraine or something,” she said, eyes downcast. Harry knew she was lying. But then again, he also knew why she was so bothered. He just happened to handle these situations differently than she - in other words staying completely quiet and trying to pass as invisible. “I shouldn't have talked back to you as I did. I'm sorry.”
Mrs. Granger shook her head. “Well you obviously inherited your father's temper. He gets riled up like that whenever he has a migraine. I'll go get you some water and medicine.”
“No!” Hermione exclaimed, shooting up. Maybe she was paranoid, but she had always been told never to take medications when they weren't needed, and she wasn't going to start now. “I feel better already! Let's go set the table, Harry.” And she rushed out of the hall as Mr. Granger came down stairs.
“What was that all about?” he asked, turning to his wife, who now wore a smirk.
“I think something happened at the ice skating rink that our daughter wants to keep secret.”
“And that's a good thing?” Mr. Granger exclaimed. Sometimes he didn't understand his wife. Or, to be less vague, most of the time he was absolutely clueless when it came to life in general.
“Well, given your opinion on the matter, no,” Mrs. Granger answered. “But for me, as well as those two, I'd say yes, John, it's a very good thing.” Turning away, Mrs. Granger hummed a happy tune as she went to check on dinner, leaving a slightly steaming husband behind.
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