A/N: On one of the tumblrs I run, Twinings and I offered ourselves up for one full week of filling fic prompts for our readers, varying in length from a hundred to a thousand-plus words. The project has been dubbed the Free For All Fic For All—or FFAFFA for short. This is one of those stories—and this is the boilerplate author's note you'll see on all of 'em.
Prompt: Mr. Freeze reflects on Nora's kindness. This didn't quite go as I anticipated…
The first indication that the evening is going to be a complete debacle is when he pricks her with the corsage pin.
"I'm sorry," Victor says, drawing back instantly at Nora's sharp intake of breath.
She smiles at him warmly, touching the injured area gently. "Accidents happen."
The left front tire blows out on the drive to campus.
"I should have thought to get them checked," he mumbles, down on his knees next to the flat.
"It's no big deal." Her hands are greasy with motor oil when she retrieves the jack from the trunk of the car and sets it up. "We can handle it."
"But your hands…"
Once the tire is changed, the car won't start.
He does not mention aloud just how much he wishes his car were less unreliable and how foolish he feels in this moment.
She takes his hand in hers and pulls him after her. "We can walk. It's not far."
"You are very…"
"Reasonable," Victor finishes. "And understanding."
"The right answer is always pretty," Nora corrects, smiling at him again. "On a first date, anyway."
It begins to rain a few blocks from their destination. A light drizzle, really, dampening Nora's golden hair, leaving the loose chignon looking a little flat.
"I should have gotten the umbrella from the trunk."
"I like walking in the rain."
He fidgets, putting the hand she isn't holding into his pocket just for the sake of having something to do. "You are very easy to be with."
Every other smile is outshone by this one. "I like you, too, Victor."
The dance is in full swing by the time they arrive. Classmates whisper sneeringly and a few professors give sympathetic, almost affectionate glances to Victor Fries and his date.
"Perhaps we should just…leave."
She says nothing, just draws him out onto the dance floor. His steps are awkward and clumsy, but she picks up all the slack, even when he squashes her toes beneath his own a few times.
"Nothing to it," she whispers, looking him in the eye.
"This is not how I…" Victor clears his throat. "I did not intend this evening to be so…disastrous."
She laughs lightly, and he feels even more stunted and awkward, more aware than ever that his hand is around the waist of a smart, lovely, fairly popular girl and he has more than likely squandered his one chance with her.
"You're too gloomy," she says brightly, threading her fingers through his as they dance. "This is the most exciting date I've ever been on."
"I have done nothing but make mistakes."
"Don't do that."
She kisses him briefly, a swift, surprising peck on the lips, just to get him to shut up.
Nora pulls away and their eyes meet. "Keep making mistakes and I might let you stick around around for awhile just to keep things interesting."
She lays her head on his shoulder and his feet stop moving. "Please don't take this the wrong way, but…Nora, you are very odd."
"So are you," she says easily, sliding her arms around his neck. "Let's be odd together. It'll be more fun that way."
"No one has ever been so…forgiving of my errors," he answers stiffly, "and I cannot imagine another girl being…"Nora's fingers stroke the back of his neck, but he soldiers on."This is the only formal the university ever holds, and here you are dripping rainwater on a dance floor in a dress ruined by grease in the arms of…well…me."
"Why have you been so kind?"
"Because I like you."
He has nothing to say to that.
"Do I need another reason?"