As usual, I don't own the Mighty Ducks stories and so on. As for the name in quotation marks at the end, I sincerely apologise if it's already in use by anyone who reads this. It seemed to fit though, sorry!
Chapter 2 – Extracurricular Activities:
"Argh guys! I just don't know where my head was today."
"Judging by that play, up your own-"
"Yes, thank you Dwayne!" Interjected Adam swiftly. Always so prim and proper when he's sober...he would be anyone's after a couple of beers though, which very often ended in funny and interesting results. Dwayne shook his head and rifled under his bed, pulling out a cowboy hat, a couple of dirty magazines and finally the golden prize – his secret stash of Jack Daniels. He passed the amber bottle over to Dean, continuing:
"Come on man, it could've been any one of us really." Silence greeted his remark and the other pair in the room – Adam and Fulton – stared at Dwayne. "Ok" he continued "maybe not. But it's you, your on-ice persona. You're a Bash Brother, you're supposed to be tough."
"I'm not supposed to get banned for half of the season's games though, am I? That's not going to get me into any colleges is it? If they can't see me play, they can't recruit. It's stupid!" He could feel the rage building again and closed his eyes, breathing deeply and trying to calm himself. After a moment he reopened them. "You see? I'm getting mad just thinking about it. Seriously…" He shook his head in despair. "What am I going to do? I can't be banned, I need to skate. It's…I just…argh!" He thumped his head against his knees, groaning. Dwayne reached out and gripped his shoulder tightly.
"Chill out man, it's just a couple of games, you'll be back in before you know it. You can still train with us though, you've got that."
Portman looked up at him, morose. "Yeah I guess. Coach is gonna kick my ass at next practise though. Did you see his face when I got booted out? Jeez…"
Fulton sniggered. "You're gonna be doing laps till you're a grandpa!" Adam chuckled along too, quickly smothering it in to just a half smile when Dean looked up. After a moment though, he grinned too and nodded sheepishly.
"Yeeaaahhh…" he groaned. He swigged at Dwayne's bottle, staring pensively into space.
"Come on Dean" murmured Adam – the only one to ever address Portman by his first name – "before you know it you'll be back with us, like this never happened and we'll be a stronger team. You'll see."
Portman glanced at him and smiled ruefully. "Gee I hope so Banks, I really hope so. This isn't the first time this has happened." He handed the bottle back to Dwayne and stood up, stretching out his back. "In the meantime, I plan to be getting up to other forms of mischief." He winked suggestively and let himself out of the dorm room, throwing a cheeky "Later ladies!" over his shoulder as he went.
Fulton turned to Adam and raised an eyebrow. "What d'you reckon?"
"He's putting it on." Assessed Banks. "He makes out like he doesn't care but he's pretty cut up about this. He's got a point, it's not the first time this has happened."
"I know" nodded Fulton. "But surely he can't keep screwing up games?"
"Well…" interjected Dwayne in his slow way, "Sooner or later he's gonna have to change that temper, or he'll lose hockey for good I reckon." Adam nodded in assent.
"Dwayne's right. If he does that again, especially with the referees, he'll be out. No team will have him if he's branded a trouble maker."
Fulton's brows shuffled together in consternation. "I can't imagine playing hockey without him there somewhere, it just doesn't make sense." He looked so unhappy that Dwayne, who had been clutching the whiskey bottle to his chest as though it were his firstborn, relinquished is to him.
"Don't worry Fulton, we'll get him back. It's like training a stallion, it's just gonna take patience, hard work and the odd whippin'."
Portman shoved his hands in his pockets and stomped off down the moonlit hallway towards his and Fulton's room. He'd dimly heard Adam's comment about being a troublemaker – was that what his team really thought of him? Did they see him as a weak member because of his temper? He felt like a real jackass right then.
When he reached the dorm room he knew what he was going to do. He pushed straight into the room and made for the foot of is bed, where his roller blades were sitting. He smirked to himself when he saw the beam of moonlight illuminating them.
"Like a sign from above!" He sighed in some form of relief and grabbed them up, striding back out again. The brilliant thing about Eden Hall Academy was the abundance of courtyards nestled among the various buildings, and the brilliant thing about the courtyards was how appropriate they were for a little bit of recreational skating after hours. Feeling his tension easing already, he strode off towards the largest one, slinging his blades over his shoulder.
The courtyard in question was surfaced in smooth stone slabs and there were picnic benches in the centre, forming a neat seating area around the old tree that dominated the view. All around the outside however, was clear space that was ideal for his chosen purpose. He plonked himself on his ass at the edge and pulled off his sneakers, shoving them behind a planter and pulling his roller blades from his shoulder. He was uncharacteristically gentle with his skates, almost revelling in sliding them on and feeling the boots fit so well to his own feet – not boots for anyone else, only for him. His skates, no one else's. That was one of his favourite feelings, ever. The feeling of putting on something that was so very definitely his, so personal to him. If he was the poetic type he would've said it was like having soul mates for his feet. He wasn't poetic however and it usually came out more frequently involving the phrase 'bitchin'.
Skates secured, he rose and began a slow stride around the courtyard, popping a pair of earbuds into his ears and selecting some music for his mood. Tonight, he felt, was definitely a metal night. He began to relax as his muscles worked to perform familiar tasks and he felt a breeze pick up from his movement. With the moonlight, the emptiness in the courtyard and the music blaring in his head he began to feel close to some sort of peace and relaxation. His mind drifted and he let his body do the work for him, guiding him around the perimeter. He loved just skating, letting go and working through his troubles by simply getting them out physically. The harder he worked, the calmer he felt. He could already feel himself slipping into that 'zen' place.
His attention refocused, however, when he skated right past a small figure standing with one of the planters, beside the courtyard wall. He cried out in surprise and, startled, hurtled into a potted shrub. There was a moment of silence as he tried to ascertain if he was still alive and then someone giggled. He realised his earbuds must have fallen out when he heard it and groaned.
"Crap…" he muttered, pulling himself free of the wrecked greenery. The little voice behind him softened to a chuckle and he whipped his head round to glare, exclaiming: "You could be more careful you know! Sneaking up on people is just damn dangerous…" he trailed off as his saw who he was talking to.
Before him stood a petite girl, her hair short and dark and skin pale in the moonlight. Her face was in shadow but there was something familiar about her. Portman realised what it was when she stepped forward from the shadows and her face became visible, as well as her vivid black eye.
"You…" he muttered, his eyes widening. Before he could stop himself he sniggered. "That's one helluva shiner you got there fishnets!" The small girl glowered at him and the expression was so fierce that his chuckle quietened but he still grinned widely. "C'mon you have to admit it's a beauty."
"Hmph." She snorted. "It kinda goes with those butterfly strips on your big nose. For your blackheads are they?"
Portman sobered up at that and crossed his arms over his chest. "So did you just come here to scare ten shades of crap outta people of is there a real reason you're here?"
"Actually yes," she replied "but you've managed to make me wish I'd stayed in my room now." She turned to go and, slightly annoyed, he was about to let her when he noticed skates dangling from one small hand by their laces. Quads like she'd had on earlier. He put out a hand, touching her shoulder lightly and in doing so succeeding in getting her to stop for a moment.
"Do you skate too?" he questioned, indicating her roller skates. She raised an eyebrow, put her fee hand on her hip and retorted:
"No, these are my weights. I'm trying to tone up my bingo wings."
Alright, that had been a little funny. He smiled. "Ok, I get it, you don't like me. But you know…we may not be that different." He looked down at his roller blades and then indicated her skates. She scoffed.
"What?! I'm not like you, you're a total meat head!"
Normally this would have angered him, the whole 'dumb jock' assumption, but this girl intrigued him. He wanted to know her story and the fact that she clearly was a skater of some sort piqued his curiosity. They must have one thing in common at least? But why hadn't he seen her around before now?
"Look, won't you skate with me? Just for a bit?"
She looked at him for a long moment, seeming to consider her options. Eventually her desire to skate must have overcome her opinion of him and she nodded in assent, sitting down to put on her skates. The fact that she chose to remain and skate, even if he was there seemed to indicate that she at least enjoyed it as much as he did. He watched as she slid her feet into the little boots, her expression lightening as she pulled the laces tight and secured the velcro strap across the top of the shoes. The ankles on them were low, like sneakers and he winced when he thought of the sort of lower leg injuries she could suffer in those. She seemed to notice.
"Something wrong jockstrap?"
He shrugged, selecting a wise silence instead of his usual big-mouthed responses. This seemed to satisfy her and she finished up then stood in one fluid motion, not seeming to make an effort at all to get up. He was mildly surprised at that…right so…figure skater? She'd definitely been on skates before. He was flickering through options, trying rapidly to figure her out. She raised an eyebrow at him before hopping onto her toe stops and running – actually running – away from him and throwing herself into a smooth stride. He gaped for a moment and then leapt after her on his roller blades, catching up quickly. She didn't look like she was making much of an effort though, there was s smirk on her face as she skated languorously. Hockey player? No, he hadn't seen her on the ice, he knew the girls team – hell, he had coached the girls team in some form or other – and she was definitely not on it.
She knew her stuff, that was for sure. Portman watched her fluid style, taking in the transitions, the crossovers, the hops, jumps, steps…he also showed her a few of his own impressive moves, grinning smugly as he did so. They skated for maybe an hour before taking a rest, both plopping down on a bench, breathing heavily. She glanced over at him and he smiled at her and for the first time she returned it with a genuine, if tentative, smile of her own. He chuckled and dropped his gaze.
"You're an impressive skater, you know that?"
She nodded. "Yep, I do." He snorted at her smug attitude, one not unlike his own. "You're not bad yourself jockstrap." She added after a brief pause. He shrugged, as if to say 'obviously', making her giggle. It was a sweet little sound and he found himself wanting to hear it again.
"So…where'd you learn to skate?" he asked.
"At home." An unhelpful answer to say the least. She seemed to know this and grinned mischievously at him. "Why?"
"Just wondered." A long silence. They could hear doors slamming far off, a night bird calling softly from the dense foliage of the tree behind them. He chanced a look at the strange girl from the corner of his eyes, finding that she was gazing up at the patch of sky visible above the buildings surrounding the courtyard. "Why haven't I seen you before?" He asked suddenly.
She continued to stare into the stars, not turning to make eye contact as she answered "I guess you never looked." She finally glanced down and sighed, smiling at him again. Then without another word she rose from the bench and skated off towards the building interior, collecting her shoes as she went. She left without a backwards glance, but Portman caught some lettering on the back of her vest top. It read "Hell's Belle".
What did that mean?
Portman 1, Mystery girl 1. Damnit.