Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Set somewhere in the middle of S3. Written in response to the claim that Buffy and Angel would have nothing to talk about. Just a short scene full of dialogue, to make up for all those 'normal' moments we didn't get in canon.
Feedback: My favorite thing!
Conditions on the ice were perfect, Buffy was rapidly regaining her atrophied skills, and Angel had just appeared at the gate at the other end of the rink. She crossed the space in a matter of seconds, sliding to a stop in front of where he sat pulling on a pair of skates. “Found some good ones?”
Angel nodded, his fingers occupied with tightening the laces on his skates. “Found some rental quality ones, anyway. They’ll do for now.”
“For now? Are you going to get your own?”
He grinned. “If we make a habit out of this, I think I’ll have to. Feels weird being in another man’s footwear. Alright, here I come.”
Buffy pushed herself back to give him room to stand. “We should totally make a habit out of this. Habits are good. Habits are something about highly effective people, I read that on a book cover.”
“Well, now I don’t have to ask if you’ve read any good book covers lately.” Angel was moving out onto the ice almost as soon as he was on his feet, gliding slowly away from the rail and twisting so that he was still facing Buffy.
“It was a bestseller,” she informed him. Rather than follow right away, she kept to her spot and watched him skate on, waiting for a wobble or a misstep.
None came. His movements were basic but graceful, the silver blades of his skates flashing as they whisked him through a precise half-circle. “Aren’t you coming?” he asked as he completed the turn and faced her again.
She frowned and crossed her arms. “You’re good at this.”
“I’m...sorry?” he laughed.
“You said you hadn’t done it before! I had my heart set on seeing you all awkward and novice-y so I could hold you up and tell you what to do.”
“You can still tell me what to do.”
Cheered instantly, Buffy went forward to join him, catching his hand in hers. “Be careful about greenlighting me like that,” she warned him. “I can think of plenty of things to tell you to do.”
He squeezed her hand affectionately, making her wish she had gone without her gloves. She would just have to remember to drop them someplace where she wouldn’t forget about them. “Oh!” she said suddenly. “This means we can do throw jumps! I always wanted to try all the pair skating moves and I never had a partner for it. Okay, totally over the grudge about you being a natural.”
“Throw jumps?” There was an uneasy pause in which Buffy remembered the typical male aversion to figure skating, and then he said,
“Just give me a few minutes to get used to being on ice, okay?”
“You’re the best, times a million. Take your time.”
“And you’ll have to tell me what to do.”
“Even better. So what gives?” she asked, picking up her previous strand of conversation. “Secret practice with Rollerblades? Vampiric affinity for cold things?”
Before answering, he let go of her hand and quickly crossed in front of her, taking up her other hand before she had even slowed down. “Just making use of balance. The physical part isn’t a problem. And I watched a hockey game once, in New York.”
“Okay, I believed that up until the you going to a sports event.”
“I did. You can sneak into anywhere if you—-anyway, after that I always wanted to try it myself.”
Buffy smiled, imagining Angel’s haphazard transition to the modern world. “Must have been a great game.”
He shrugged. “Not really. A few of the players on my team made some bad calls, and I kept thinking about how I would have done it differently.”
They had gradually been picking up speed, and finally they released each other’s hands to go faster yet. Buffy couldn’t tell if they were racing each other or not. She passed him and smirked at him over her shoulder, and then he grinned as he overtook her once more, but it felt more like the competition only existed for the sake of urging them both into the height of their abilities. They were rushing together toward an unseen destination, and if one of them could win the race, they both would.
“So let me get this straight,” Buffy gasped out as they wheeled around the end of the rink once more. “The first hockey game of your life, and you already had a team?”
Angel’s voice, like her own, was stifled by exertion despite his lack of breath. “There’s no point to it if you don’t choose a side.”
“Maybe that means there’s no point to it.”
“I don’t think so.” He slowed enough to hold eye contact for a few seconds. “It wasn’t a great game, but seeing it back then helped me. In a real battle, we don’t get to choose, we just have to figure out who’s right and side with them. When nobody is right or wrong, we can be with who we want.”
They were both coasting down to a leisurely glide. Buffy took off her gloves and tossed them near the gate as she passed it. She hadn’t quite caught up to Angel again before she said, “Still doesn’t make much sense to me. If the battle isn’t real, why would you care which side you’re on?”
“Because.” He held out his hand and she reached for it once more. “It means you’re part of something. It means you have people around you. And it doesn’t matter who’s best at the game, because you’re just there to have fun.”
Still flushed from racing, Buffy replied with more thought to the warmth in her belly than to her own words. “Is this the kind of advice you ever give yourself? Hang out with people and have fun? Because if so, I think you should listen.”
“I know what team I’m on.” Angel smiled. “I’m ready for the throw jumps when you are.”