I'm such a movie whore. I pretty much spend every single weekend at the theater with my two "boyfriends", as my parents and grandma call them. Such a waste of my poor money. Ironic, though, isn't it? I have my own Ned and Cookie, literally. The comparison to Ned's Declassified is so accurate it's almost frightening.
Anyways, because of the movie thing, I really haven't had much time to update, which is why this is late. Nonetheless…Enjoy!
Plans and Resolutions
A Ned's Declassified Fanfiction
"What the heck was that about?!" Ned shrieked furiously as Moze shrunk away from him, her apologetic smile instantly fading into a wince. Meanwhile, the announcer's voice boomed through the speakers, explaining the details of the upcoming game.
"The rules of Four Corners are simple. Each corner of the rink has a number from one through four posted on the wall…"
"I-I was just lost in thought, I wasn't paying attention!" Moze stuttered defensively, a guilty flush spreading across her cheeks as Ned stared at her in utter disbelief. "I'm sorry, okay?!"
"Once the music starts, you have a short amount of time to skate over to a corner of your choice. Watch out for other skaters – anything goes in this competition, and the clockwise and counterclockwise rules won't apply! Whichever direction you choose to go is up to you, but just don't think that three-way collisions will stop the game!"
"Of all the times to get lost in thought," Ned gritted through clenched teeth, "You choose NOW?!?!" He lost his footing and jerked backwards; Moze tightened her grip on his hand and pulled him closer to steady him.
"W-well, it's not like I did it on purpose!"
"I was practically screaming at you!" The teen looked like he wanted to flail his arms in frustration, but he refrained from doing so; it'd only cost the both of them their balance, not to mention their dignities. If it wasn't already gone by now, that is. "I was literally trying to drag you out of the rink, Moze! How could you not have noticed?!"
"Once the music stops, anyone who is not in a corner is immediately eliminated! For the rest of you, we'll then announce one of the four numbers chosen at random – whoever is in its corresponding corner is eliminated as well and must exit the rink, and all remaining skaters move on to the next round!"
"Look, we can just get eliminated!" Moze insisted, unconsciously shuddering from the icy glare Ned was currently giving her. "You heard what they said, we'll just stay away from the corners and we'll be out –"
"The game ends with the last person standing, and the lucky winner will receive a very generous New Year's gift donated by an anonymous young individual – an all-expense paid ski trip for themselves and two guests up at the Celtic Springs Mountain Lodge in Colorado!"
There was a wave of hushed "oohs" and murmurs; both Ned and Moze went very still, faces suddenly wiped blank. The announcer let out a hearty laugh, which sounded suspiciously evil as it echoed from the speakers.
"I bet a whole lot of you watching from the sidelines are wishing you never left the rink now, huh?"
The rink erupted in excited chatter, and Ned turned to face Moze, an unnaturally fiery look in his deep blue eyes. Her own brown ones went wide with realization, and she quickly shook her head. "Wha – Ned, no! We can't play, we both know that you can't even skate to save your life, there's no way we –"
"And now, skaters, get ready –" The music blasted to life through the speakers, and the rink exploded into chaos as nearly fifty skaters raced this way and that in a flurry of ice flakes. "GO!!!"
"C'mon, let's go!" Ned hissed urgently, watching the mayhem unfold as Moze continued to gawk at him, incredulous. He squeezed her hand reassuringly. "Look, I'll hold on as best as I can, okay? You just skate!"
Several skaters whizzed right past them, going so fast that the wind generated behind them whipped Moze's hair across her face. She barely recovered from the shock before an impatient Ned nudged her forward.
Her competitive instincts finally kicked in at that point, and without another moment's hesitation Moze dashed forward at an unbelievable speed, dragging along a screeching Ned behind her. She weaved them between slower skaters with ease, already coming up towards the middle of the rink; Ned's eyes went wide with dread as an inexperienced skater to his left headed straight for him, out of control.
Moze glanced over her shoulder and quickly jerked Ned forward – he narrowly missed the collision, but the other skater was less lucky; she lost her balance and hit the ice with a small shriek. Eyes as wide as saucers, Ned swung his other arm around and clutched onto Moze's hand with both of his own.
Within moments they had finally reached Corner Three, and Moze had been expecting Ned to hit the wall with his free hand to soften the impact of the stop. The moment she realized that he had no available free hand she frantically skidded to a halt; Ned went flying forward, his side about to make direct contact with the wall, but Moze reacted at the very last moment and jerked him back. He smashed into her at full rebound velocity; they both skidded a few feet backwards, arms wrapped tightly around each other and holding their breath –
The speakers gave off a record-scratching type of noise and the music stopped; Moze let out a sigh of relief and loosened her hold on Ned, whose harsh breaths sounded like a cross between hyperventilating and wheezing.
"Sorry, stragglers, time to make your way towards the exit!"
"That was close. I swear I thought we were gonna fall or…" Moze cringed halfway through her sentence and glanced at the boy who was now practically crushing her hand. "Um, you okay?"
"F-fine…" Ned managed with a shaky nod, eyes unbelievably wide. "Totally fine."
"You all ready for this? The first corner out is…" The announcer paused in suspense, and everyone went quiet in anticipation, albeit a few obnoxious skaters who shouted out the numbers of the corners they weren't in.
"…Number FOUR! All skaters in Corner Four, please exit the rink now!"
There was a collection of groans; a small group of ten skaters or so sulked out of the rink, shooting glares towards the small crowds celebrating in the three other sections.
The announcer laughed again. "Better luck next year, maybe! Round Two, everyone…"
"Ned, you look like you're going to throw up," Moze said quite frankly, shaking his limp arm in concern. "Look, I'll take you to the exit, I'll still have a chance if –"
Ned shook his head furiously. "NO! We have a better chance with both of us on the rink! We'll just split up and take different corners –"
"You can't skate, Ned!"
"Then I'll just…stay here or something!"
"And what happens if your corner gets eliminated?" Moze raised an eyebrow. "You'll hold onto the wall and hobble to the exit?"
Ned let out an aggravated groan and ran a hand through his hair. "We'll just keep on doing what we're doing, then! It's a ski trip in Colorado, Moze; you know you want it as much as I do!"
"Yeah, but –"
"Ready –" The music started up again. "GO!!!"
The dozen or so people in their corner scattered in all directions, and Moze gave one last fleeting look at Ned before tightening her grip on his hand.
"Okay…better hold on…"
She charged forward again, and Ned bent over, attempting to keep his balance as best as he could. "Go for Corner Two!" He shouted through clenched teeth; Moze nodded in understanding and sped along the border to avoid the majority of chaos and collisions occurring in the center of the rink.
Ned cautiously glanced around, his shaggy brown hair whipping across his eyes. This wasn't half-bad when there was no one to crash into him, he realized. And then they were slowing down, and he dropped both hands from Moze's and stopped himself as soon as they reached the wall, a triumphant smile spreading across his face. "Hey, I think I'm getting used to this!"
Suddenly, without warning, something solid hit Ned full in the stomach and his eyes bulged; he ricocheted backwards from the impact and slammed into the wall, dropping to the ice before Moze had even turned her head.
She was kneeling before him in an instant. His eyes were scrunched in pain, arms clutched around his sides, and her alarm mounted tenfold. "Are you okay?! H-how did –"
"What the hell, asshole!"
Startled, Moze turned to the owner of the voice, who was currently pushing himself into a sitting position a few feet away. He looked like your typical football jock in size and muscle, his oversized hoodie and jeans covered in tiny flakes of ice. The boy standing next to him attempted to help him up, somewhat concerned. "Oi, Shane, you okay?"
The jock completely ignored both the offer and comment, and the boy (probably one of his followers, Moze observed silently) backed a safe distance away as he hoisted himself to his feet. He glared down at Ned, eyes flashing angrily.
"Next time, get out of the freakin' way when I say so, runt!"
Moze's expression went from anxious to fury. "Like he knew you were coming! Why didn't you just swerve out of the way or stop instead of crashing into him full force?!"
Shane glanced over, only noticing her now, and raised an eyebrow. "Stay out of this, chick. The idiot had it coming to him, he could've moved out of the way himself."
"He's not that good of a skater! You can't just expect someone to move when you're the one out of control –"
"If he can't skate, why the hell is he even playing the game?" He bore his eyes into hers, and suddenly an understanding smirk found its way onto his lips. "Oh…you want to win the ski trip that badly, huh? Looking for some good alone time in the mountains?"
Moze went scarlet at his obvious implications, her hands clenching into fists in her lap. "T-that's not…you…"
"Leave her out of this."
Moze quickly spun around to gape at Ned, whose expression had turned deathly cold. His breathing was harsh, eyes burning with rage, aimed at the jock standing above him; she'd never seen Ned so angry in her life, and it scared her.
Shane let out a derisive laugh, clearly amused with Ned's threat. "What, is the amateur gonna give me a reason to shut my mouth?"
None of them had been listening to the announcer up until that point; now, the speakers once again blared to life with music, signaling the start of the third round. Apparently, another corner had already been eliminated, and it hadn't been theirs.
Shane motioned at the boy next to him to follow, then gave one last contemptuous look towards Ned before skating away.
"Keep your little girlfriend in check, wimp. But I'll be the one to win that ski trip."
"You son of a –"
Ned gave a reflex that looked like he wanted more than anything to tackle the guy to the ground and beat the living daylights out of him, and Moze hastily latched onto his arm to hold him still.
"Just let him go," She said firmly, standing up. "Following him is exactly what he wants you to do. If he gets eliminated, we'd get eliminated too."
Ned was beyond fuming, but he knew Moze was right – he'd probably get his butt whooped by the guy anyhow, judging from his size. Still, being right definitely didn't help the painful throbbing coursing through his head and gut, which refused to subside as he grabbed onto Moze's outstretched hand and raced to another corner.
Round Three moved into Round Four, and Round Four moved into Round Five; one by one the unlucky people in the eliminated corners dragged themselves to the rink's exit in disappointment. There were only a handful of skaters left at this point, and the announcer's voice boomed through the speakers before the next round could begin.
"Looks like we're down to our last few…how about we make this game a little more interesting? Starting this round, two corners will be eliminated instead of one! Ready, y'all? And…GO!!!"
Ned and Moze were currently situated in Corner One; the few skaters around them scrambled towards the eliminated corner, Corner Three, from the last round, chancing the odds of a two-time elimination.
"Wait." Ned jerked Moze's hand back just as she began to head in the same direction. "That's what everyone thinks, that they won't choose the same corner twice…but that's exactly what they might do." He furrowed his brow in thought. "Odds are that Corner Three's gonna be one of the two chosen. I'm sure of it."
Moze could practically hear the bells and whistles going off in his head as he analyzed the situation, and she couldn't help but grin. 'He refuses to use his brain for anything other than school, but the moment you throw in a free trip, you've got yourself a genius.' She shook the thought away and spoke up. "So where do we go, then?"
Ned ran a hand through his hair and exhaled through his teeth. "I say…" He hesitated for a moment before making up his mind. "I say we stay here."
"Yeah. I have a gut feeling about this."
The music screeched to a halt once again, and the skaters in all four corners looked at the announcer's booth in anticipation.
"And now…the two corners out are…"
Ned held his breath, squeezing Moze's hand as he flashed her a hopeful smile; her heart skipped on impulse, although she was pretty sure it had nothing to do with the suspense.
"…Corners Two and Three! Please exit the rink!"
Ned threw a fist into the air in triumph before wrapping it around Moze, laughing and cheering at the same time. The seven or so skaters from the eliminated corners shot them both dirty looks as they passed, something Ned didn't even bother to notice; Moze's expression, on the other hand, seemed to say "I'm sorry you didn't make it all the way, I wish we all could, and no, I really don't know who this boy hugging me is".
"Sorry, you unlucky skaters, maybe next year…Oh, but it looks like we've only got four competitors left! I think it's about time for the Sudden Death Round!"
The small smile on Moze's face wiped away completely as she caught sight of the other two skaters in the corner to their right. Shane caught her eye and sneered maliciously, while the same boy stood awkwardly at his side, trying to look discrete.
'So much for celebration…'
She cleared her throat and pulled away from Ned, showing him just who it was they were up against, and his jaw dropped in disbelief. Before long the mixture of hatred and disgust had appeared on his face once more.
"You have got to be kidding me."
The two enemies locked eyes in what seemed like a staring death match as the announcer began speaking again.
"The Sudden Death Round is as follows: each skater must choose one corner, and one corner only. No two people are allowed in the same corner, or else both are disqualified. Once each skater is in their respective corner, I'll announce a final number. This number is the safe corner – in other words, all other competitors are eliminated, and the remaining skater is the winner! Do you four understand?"
Moze's face fell. The chances of winning were dead even – it was basically a team battle fighting for the final prize. The outcome of this game was unbelievably crucial; if the other two won the ski trip, it would by far be one of the biggest upset of Ned's life – Moze could tell just by the expression on his face. God knows Shane would rub it right in their faces without any remorse, and she had a feeling her best friend wouldn't be able to live it down.
Regardless, all four slowly nodded their heads.
"Onto the music, then!"
"Stay here," Moze ordered quietly, dropping her hand from Ned's. "I'll take Corner Three."
Ned met her gaze briefly and gave a tense nod, his head still turned in Shane's direction. The other two still seemed to be deciding who would take the remaining corner, so he gently motioned her forward. "Go for it." Moze flashed a reassuring smile before skating away, glancing back for a split second before focusing on the corner diagonally across.
She was nearly halfway there when Ned saw the devious smirk appear on Shane's lips. The jock pushed his companion back towards the wall and charged across the ice, a look of determination etched on his face. He was quick, Ned realized, and his stomach suddenly gave a sickening lurch of horror.
Shane was catching up to Moze, and fast. But he wasn't aiming for her corner…rather, it seemed like he was aiming for her.
Apparently, he would.
"MOZE!!!" Ned screamed. "WATCH OUT!!!"
It was a second too late. Moze chose that moment to look back in confusion, and by then Shane was already there. She barely had time to raise her arms in front of her before his shoulder made contact; she was thrown to the side, hitting the ice with a loud thunk, and lay there motionless.
IceLand instantly erupted into chaos. The music screeched to a halt as the crowd lining the rink went into an uproar, while others ran over to see what was going on; Shane's companion was shouting at him, his expression furious; but Shane ignored them all, staring smugly at Moze from his newly acquired corner, saying words that only she could hear as she slowly lifted her head from the ice:
Then there was a sudden gust of air and a blur shot past her – she caught sight of Ned's faded jeans and gasped as her livid best friend literally tackled the jock head-on, sending them both to the ground. Yelling, swearing, the sound of fists making contact; in mere moments, five rink officials had the three of them surrounded – four of them interfered with the fight, ripping the boys away from each other before some serious damage could be done. One of the two was already sporting a bloody nose, but she couldn't tell who it was –
And then they were gone, and Moze was being lifted to her feet by the remaining official, who asked her if she was alright.
"Y-yeah…just a little sore…" She managed shakily, and the official gave an understanding nod, helping her to the rink's exit. The crowd around the rink was already dispersing; the music had started up again, and skaters were beginning to pour onto the ice again for free skating.
How much time had gone by, Moze wasn't sure, but before she knew it she was sitting at a table by herself, a hand running through her hair and her brain a muddled mess. What exactly had happened? Ned didn't even know how to skate, yet he had made it across the rink (and in record time, too, she added silently) as if it were second nature. She, and obviously Shane, hadn't even seen it coming. She could care less about the jerk; it was Ned she was worried about. Where was he?
And who had won the ski trip, anyway? She hadn't even heard the announcer after she hit the ice; the commotion and the throbbing pain had been too much to handle at the time –
Right on cue, as if the question had been waiting to be answered, someone tapped Moze on the shoulder. She looked up in surprise, recognizing him almost immediately.
"The guy who was hanging out with the asshole?" The boy laughed uneasily, shifting his feet. "Yeah, that's me." He held out his hand, and Moze reluctantly shook it. "My name's Kellen. That jerk who knocked you over is my older brother, Shane."
Moze's eyes widened in shock. Not some follower like she had thought, but his brother? Wow, she –
"Never saw that one coming, did you?" Kellen said with a knowing grin, finishing her exact thoughts for her. She tried to stutter out an apology of some sort, but he quickly held up his hands to stop her. "Oh, no, it's fine, don't worry. I know we look nothing alike, and we definitely don't act alike, either." Moze visibly relaxed, and his smile faded into a concerned frown.
"Anyway, I actually came here to apologize for everything my brother put you through. I couldn't believe he did that to you, it was already bad enough for him to be such an ass to your boyfriend –"
Moze visibly turned a shade of red. "Oh, n-no, Ned's my best friend, he's even like my brother, but we're not together or anything –"
"Really?" Kellen raised an eyebrow. "Huh. Could've fooled me, the way he charged my brother like that." He quickly changed the subject when he noticed Moze getting redder, looking more uncomfortable by the second. "Uh, anyway…I want you to have this."
He dug into his jacket pocket and held out a thick, white envelope, motioning for her to take it. When she hesitated, he placed it on the table in front of her. "It's the airline tickets and money for the ski trip. Take it."
"What?! N-no!" Moze vigorously shook her head, pushing the envelope away from her. "I can't take that, you won it fair and square!"
Kellen shook his head as well, placing the envelope in front of her again. "Actually, that's not true. I don't even know why they named me the winner, I was just the only one still in a corner and not involved in all the chaos." He shrugged lightly. "Besides, if I take the prize, that means Shane would end up getting what he wanted in the first place. He had everything planned out, you know. I think he knew I'd be the last person standing, which is why he did what he did. What he probably didn't know was that I'd completely ruin it for him after all that so-called hard work."
Moze continued to stare at him incredulously, and he gave her a kind smile. "Seriously, take it. You and your friend –" he emphasized jokingly, and Moze gave a slight wince – "deserve it way more than I do. I could've done something to stop all this from happening, but I didn't, so this is my way of making up for it."
She was still beyond stunned at the generous offer, but Moze finally took the envelope and fixed Kellen with a look of sheer gratitude. "Thank you. Really. This…this is awesome."
"No problem." Kellen grinned. "You're a pretty cool girl…Moze, I believe your friend called you?"
"OH! Yeah, Moze." She laughed apologetically. "Sorry about that, I didn't even tell you my name. It's actually Jennifer, but Moseley's my last name, and Ned gave me the nickname ages ago, it's stuck with me ever since –" She broke off abruptly and mentally whacked herself in the head when Kellen gave her an amused stare.
"Um…yeah. That's the history of my name."
"I see." Kellen let out a laugh. "Well, like I said, you're a cool girl, Moze. I'm sure any guy would be lucky to have you." He winked secretively. "Including the best friend."
Moze flushed and attempted to stutter a response, but she was interrupted by a buzzing coming from inside Kellen's jacket – a text message. He skimmed through it and let out a sigh, pocketing it once more. "Well, I've gotta get going. It was really nice meeting you, Moze! Good luck!" And with a final smile and wave, he disappeared as soon as he had come.
Moze blinked, then gazed blankly at the envelope still clutched in her hands.
…What just happened here? Good luck with what?
And where the heck were Ned and Cookie?
The door to the official's office burst open as a disgruntled Ned trudged out, looking disheveled and annoyed. He caught sight of both Moze and Cookie sitting on a bench nearby waiting for him and he walked over, plopping down between them without a word. Moze and Cookie exchanged glances.
"So…" Moze began cautiously, "What's the verdict?"
Ned exhaled loudly through his teeth. "Just a warning. They said it was wrong for me to start the fight, but they also understood that I had 'good reason for my actions'. The asshole got thrown out immediately for insubordination and breaking a load of rules, so it was more his fault than mine, apparently."
"So you won't get kicked out too?"
Ned shrugged. "Guess not."
The trio sat in a tense silence for a while.
"So…uh…" Cookie gave a defeated sigh. "How about we just leave this place already? It's a little early, but I guess we can find some time to kill –"
Both Ned and Moze were already on their feet, expressions clearly showing sheer relief.
"Okay then." Cookie quickly stood up as well, suddenly very fidgety. "Let's hurry up and get out of here." He adjusted the straps of his backpack on his shoulder and headed straight for the door, not waiting to see if the other two had even gotten off the bench. This time it was Moze and Ned that exchanged glances before following suit.
"Uh, Cookie…what's with the backpack?" Ned furrowed his brow in confusion as he and Moze attempted to keep in step with their friend's speed. "You didn't have it when we first came in here, did you?"
Cookie went visibly stiff but continued walking, and Moze turned to Ned to explain. "You know how he sort of just disappeared before the game? I found him sitting on a table behind the announcer's stand typing like crazy on his laptop." She shot Cookie a sidelong glance, eyes narrowing in suspicion. "I don't even know what he was doing, and he won't tell me, either. He shut his laptop as soon as he saw me walking over."
"Oh, it's no big deal," Cookie said lightly, brushing it off like nothing. "You know me, I'm just a nerdy little computer geek."
Ned's face turned skeptic as well. "Yeah, a nerdy little computer geek with some sort of motive." He groaned loudly, running a hand down his face. "You know what, this is turning out to be the worst New Year's ever. You fail, Cookie."
"Hey, I've got till midnight!" Cookie exclaimed defensively, pushing open the door to the exit. The weather was clearing up somewhat, and the warm air felt like heaven; all three shrugged off their jackets in relief.
"Oh!" Moze slapped a hand to her head and pulled out the white envelope from her jacket pocket. "I can't believe I almost forgot…" She handed the envelope to Ned with a smile, and he raised his eyebrows in confusion before breaking open the flap. The tickets and money fell into his hands, and his jaw dropped open in shock.
Cookie simply grinned, a mysterious hint of relief reflecting in his eyes.
"Still think it's the worst New Year's ever?"
"It's time for a change of direction, skaters – if you could all switch to counterclockwise, please!"
The announcer switched off the microphone and groaned, a hand running through his hair. Working on New Year's Day was a pain enough, but something told him a certain wife would be all over his case when he got home tonight. He could already imagine it now: "It's New Year's Day, Ryan, and I had to spend it ALONE because YOU had to go announce at an ice-skating rink! Why can't you just quit that stupid job already, it doesn't even pay our bills!"
A tap on the shoulder abruptly pulled him away from his thoughts, and Ryan turned to face the nervous computer technician fidgeting behind him. "Yeah. What's going on?"
"Sir, there was a breach in the computer system during the Four Corners game," The technician squeaked, a hand rubbing the back of his neck in distress. "We found a bunch of wires pulled out, it seems like someone was controlling what corner numbers would be chosen from an outside computer source…"
Ryan let out an exhausted sigh, dropping his forehead into the palm of his hand. "So you're telling me the game was rigged?"
"That's probably the case, sir. And according to the security logs, the breach happened right after you announced what the prize would be."
Ryan let out a deep breath. "Unfortunately, it's too late to do anything now. I just feel sorry for that Simon boy. Poor kid has no idea he donated a free ski trip to some good-for-nothing hacker…"
Wow, I this turned out to be a lot longer than I expected, not to mention the longest chapter I've ever written. If you didn't understand exactly what went on with the whole hacking thing, just let me know, and I'll be happy to tell you; it's my fault for making my stories so complex and stuff.
Four Corners is actually a game they have at the ice skating rink here in Hawaii. I was lucky enough to be the one who won, too – of course, not through cheating or anything. Only difference was that the prize was one of those red and blue flashing magnets, and not a free trip. A girl can dream, though.
Reviews appreciated! Next update as soon as possible!