“I can’t believe that you actually know how to ice-skate.”
“I can’t believe that you don’t,” Harley says, tugging the laces on his skates - his own skates he brought up from home, not the shitty rental skates.
“It just-” Peter sighs, yanking far too aggressively at a knot in the laces. “You’re from Tennessee, the middle of nowhere. Where would you even go skating?”
“Uh, the lake?” Harley says, bending down to take the knots out of Peter’s skates himself. Their sides brush up against each other for a moment, and both boys still ever so slightly, reminded that this isn’t just any old hangout.
This is technically their first date.
Harley licks his lips, already dry from the cold air outside, and finds the tricky loop that had tied everything together. He keeps talking, fingers moving unconsciously. “It does snow down in Rose Hill, you know. Gets cold enough that the lake south of town freezes over every year. Ma usually sent Abbie to drag me back when it got dark enough that I couldn’t tell the ice from the sky-”
His fingers stop moving, and Harley realizes that he’s laced Peter’s skates up for him. Peter is looking at him with an amused smile, and there’s a fondness in his eyes that Harley has only ever seen a week previous when they had finally gotten their feelings figured out between them and Harley had asked him out on a date. This date.
Harley stands up, a little shakily, though it’s not because of the blades on his feet. Peter stands up too and wobbles too and fro. He laughs as he falls against the wall, sticking to the side for support. “Alright, I get it,” Peter says. “You’re gonna kick my butt in skating today.”
“It’s not a competition, darlin’,” Harley says. “Now, let’s get out on the ice so I can show you my cool moves.”
Peter snorts, following behind Harley. “Cool moves,” he mocks. “Yeah, alright, let’s go.” His fingers stretch out a bit, maybe unconsciously, maybe not. Harley glances at them, nervousness a consistent thrum throughout his body, lifting and elevating his heartbeat. Is he supposed to take Peter’s hand? Do people do that on the first date? What is even allowed on the first date?
Harley shakes aside the anxiety and makes his own rules. His fingers dart out alongside Peter’s as they approach the entrance to the ice. They brush together, and then Harley grabs ahold and holds tight.
A rush of air expels from Peter, and it sounds like relief. “Okay, good. I was worried-” His tongue darts out, wetting his lips, and Harley follows it with his eyes without really meaning to. “I mean, I thought maybe you changed your mind, that this wasn’t going to be-”
“‘Course I meant it.” Harley squeezes Peter’s hand once, then again. “C’mon. Let’s get out there.”
They take their first few steps out on the ice, and Peter immediately falls. He nearly drags Harley down with him, but Harley has the sense to loosen his grip and hang onto the wall as Peter nearly faceplants into the hard ice.
“Ow,” Peter groans, pulling himself up and grabbing onto the bar for support. “Ow.”
Harley shakes with barely contained laughter. “You’re not bleeding, are you?”
“Nah.” Peter pulls himself up, leaning heavily against the bar. “Maybe I’ll just- just use this for a while.” He pats the metal bar with one hand, an amused smile on his face.
Harley laughs then, and circles around to skate up next to Peter, who was wobbling dreadfully. “How can you do - you know, the things you do - and manage to be this awful at balancing.”
“What can I say,” Peter says dryly, pushing off on one skate, hand still gliding along the metal bar. “It’s a gift.” He tries to bring the other foot forward, but it scrapes along the ice, and he stumbles. Harley zips forward, placing a hand on his shoulder to steady him.
“Woah there, pardner,” Harley says in an overly exaggerated accent. “Let’s just take it slow until you get used to the ice.”
It does take an entire lap around the rink, but by the time they reach the entrance they had started at, Peter is able to skate relatively well so long as he holds onto the bar.
“Okay,” he says once he’s got a decent rhythm going. “You gonna show me some moves now?”
Harley looks around. There weren’t too many people out, but he still feels self-conscious and a little weird showing off in open public where anyone can see. Honestly, he’s used to the quiet serenity and solitude of the lake, where there was no one except the sun and the stars who would see him go over the moves again and again until he got them perfect. “Okay,” he chuckles. “I might be a little rusty, so don’t laugh if I fuck up, alright?”
Peter’s mouth twitches. “Fine, fine. I won’t laugh - much.”
Harley grimaces, but nods. They skate to a side where there aren’t very many people, and Peter gradually comes to a stop. He smiles brightly at Harley, taking his hands off the bar and waving them in the air for a minute before immediately putting them back on.
Harley huffs out a laugh. “Okay, here I go, I guess.” He pushes off, skating in a relatively wide arc backward before pushing to the side with his left skate and brushing his right leg into the air, squeezing his core tight as he spins around and around a few times. He slowly comes out of that spin, not pausing to look at Peter before pushing into a few half-pumps, then bringing his feet together to spin on both feet.
He exhales as he came out of that one, slowing his skates a little unsteadily as the blood pounds in his head. He looks at Peter now and finds a delighted smile on his face. Harley smiles back, holds up one finger, and pushes back, skating backward a few paces before pushing off his left side and swinging his right leg up, much like before. However, this time Harley’s leg crosses in front of him after a few turns before slowly lowering to the ground, and his arms draw inward as he gains momentum until he’s spinning so fast that Peter is barely a blur in the corner of his vision.
Harley continues spinning until momentum gives out on him and he slows to a complete stop. Flashing another smile at Peter, he skates forward until he’s facing opposite the brown-haired boy. “What’d’you think?” he pants, suddenly aware of how dizzy he is.
Peter’s mouth is open wide, shock and awe and indescribable emotion on his face. “Harley, that was- that- wow.”
And if Harley had thought he was dizzy before, that was nothing compared to the absolute weightlessness he feels now as Peter surges forward, pushing their lips together in a way that is messy and new and Harley gasps against his lips as he presses back, holding tight to the collar of Peter’s shirt to keep them both upright.
But Peter had taken his hands off the metal bar to curl in Harley’s hair, and though that feeling was something Harley knows he’ll remember for a long time, he knows he’s also going to remember the pain of Peter’s knee slamming into his stomach as Peter’s skates slip and he falls backward, pulling Harley with him onto the ice.
Harley groans as Peter retracts his knee, stumbling over apologies and muttering to himself, and though it takes a few minutes, eventually Harley starts to laugh.
“What?” Peter says, mid-ramble. “Did you get a concussion from falling or something? Do we need to get off the ice? Do-”
“Next time we’re out here, I’ll teach you about your toepick so you can stand still and kiss me without falling over.” The warmth of Peter’s body heat is soaking into Harley and if they weren’t in the middle of a public ice rink Harley thinks he might stay there forever.
Peter blushes a deep, dark red. “Next time?” he squeaks. “You really- you haven’t changed your mind?”
Harley huffs in fond exasperation. “Fine, then. You can choose where we go for our next date, but we’re coming back here for the third one so we can get you skatin’ properly.”
“The third-” Peter’s question is silenced by Harley’s kiss, warm and sweet against the cold ice beneath them.