He has stood up to demons, monsters, the worst history had to throw at him, but never had Nate done something as hard as this before: ice skating. Though he shouldn’t be, he was embarrassed. He never learned how to skate when he was younger, because it was too dangerous for him. His hemophilia made it too much a risk. If he had fallen and bruised himself in the wrong spot, he could have died. His mother decided it was far too risky.
Nate stood on the side as some of the other Legends goofed around on the ice. Of course, Sara was a master at it, much like everything else she did. She was skating circles around Ava, who was struggling at the moving part of skating. Sara laughed gently as she took Ava’s hands and guided her forward.
“What’s your problem, Haircut?” Mick asked gruffly, coming up with a handful of snacks. Mick refused to step foot on the ice, which the others respected.
Nate sighed. “I just don’t know how to skate, and I guess I’m too chicken to ask for help.”
“Guess you are,” grunted Mick.
“No problem,” said Mick.
Across the rink, Zari was leaning against the wall with Charlie. It had been a while since the last time Zari went ice skating. If she was being truthful with herself, she actually couldn’t remember the last time she went. Maybe when she was 8 or 9 years old. She was tired from just the little amount she had done. Charlie saw her relaxing and had decided to join her for a small break.
“Whatchu thinkin’ ‘bout, Z?” Charlie asked poking her in the face to get her attention.
Zari spared her a glare with no ill feeling. “Nothing much.”
“Oh really? Yoo’ve got that funny look on your face, the one yoo git when yoo’re thinkin’ too much. Is it about Nate?”
Zari rolled her eyes. “Not everything I do is about Nate. Wait, why’d you bring him up anyway?”
Charlie pointed over to where he was. “I just thought yoo were worried about him. I haven’t seen him come onto the ice yet, and there’s no way he would be missin’ out on skatin’ with yoo and Ray over there.” Zari looked over to Ray was flailing all over the ice with his signature goofy grin. He looked as if he was having a blast falling over every few minutes.
Zari frowned. That was strange. Nate loved goofing off with Ray. She said bye to Charlie and skated over to where Nate was. He looked embarrassed when she came over, and probably would have made a break for it if Mick didn’t shove him against the wall just as she came over.
“Oh, hey Zari! What are you doing over here?” Nate asked, rubbing the spot on his back.
“I just wanted to see why you weren’t skating yet,” she said. “I think Ray is missing you.”
He felt his cheeks flush before he tried to answer. “Oh, uh, well…you see the thing is…how do I put this…ummmm,” he stammered out painfully.
How unusual for Nate. He’s usually put together, if not even a little cocky sometimes, Zari thought. She crossed her and sighed. “Nate, what is it? Do you not know how to ice skate?”
Nate hung his head in shame. “No. It was too dangerous for me when I was a kid. Plus, my dad told me it was a stupid girly skill, and I didn’t need to know how. I should have mentioned it before, but I got so embarrassed, so I decided not to say anything at all.”
Zari reached over and flicked Nate on the forehead, who yelped and rubbed at the spot. “You dummy. Anyone here could have taught you how to skate. Ava didn’t know how and look at her go!” They both looked over and watched as Ava faceplanted into the wall. “On second thought,” said Zari, “don’t look at her. But my point is, I could’ve taught you the basics. Go grab a pair of skates and I’ll show you how to balance.”
Feeling a little less ashamed, Nate nodded and went to do as she asked. Her and Mick shared a look, and he just shrugged before finding a good place to finish off his food. Maybe even find a good place to nap in the freaking ice box. Zari waited for Nate to returned and hid her smile when he came back with knee pads.
“What? They’re practical!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, and you can turn into steel,” she laughed.
“And crack the ice? Nuh uh, not doing that. I’m pretty sure Mick blew the trip budget on all those snacks, and Sara will kill me if we have to pay more for this,” said Nate as he tied the skates on. Zari just laughed more and helped him onto the ice once he was ready to go.
He felt extremely uncomfortable. The floor beneath his feet was unstable, and it was only because of Zari and Ray (who Zari called over for help) that he managed not to face plant right away. Well, that was until Ray got really happy for him and went to give him a hug, which ended up causing them to fall into a heap on the ice. Nate thought his day would end with him kissing Zari, but it turns out his kiss was going to come from Ray instead.
Zari laughed as she and Sara helped the boys onto their feet. Ray grinned sheepishly at his best friend. “If it helps, you have great lips for kissing.”
Nate smiled. “You know what bro, it does. You do too!”
The group laughed as they left the rink so others could enjoy themselves. Zari took Nate’s hand into hers. “See, it wasn’t so bad,” she said to him.
Nate shook his head. “No, I guess not. I had fun today.”
Zari kissed him on the cheek. “Me too, Nate. Now let’s go home.”