Kainora Figure Skating AU
Pairing: Kainora (Jinora x Kai)
Summary: Jinora always lived thinking that ice-skating was too dangerous, but something – rather someone – changed her mind. But then, her mind changed again.
(This is based off of an AU prompt from an anon from officialkainora ‘s tumblr. Thanks to the anon for the idea…it was fun to write. I hope I executed it ok and in a way that satisfies what you imagined)
080808080808080808 (prepare your feels) 08080808080808080
Kai adjusted the laces of skates absently, his hands shakier than usual. Kai, an advanced figure skater, was seated at his usual bench at the ice skating arena. Kai was specifically nervous today however; it was out of character for him, getting nerves. Kai wasn’t preparing for a competitive performance today or anything, No. Today was something much more important to him…
The air was stale and cold in the ice skating rink lobby. Kai breathed in his atmosphere, idly brushing his fingers through his hair, hoping it looked all right. Yes. Kai, the artful and skilled figure skater, was nervous at an ice rink because it was at that ice rink he intended to meet a girl. Not just any girl though. The girl that stirred Kai’s stomach butterflies was special. Her name was Jinora. Jinora had been friends with Kai for what seemed like forever. The two knew each other since they were nine, and since the humble age, Kai always felt a blush across his cheeks when he was around her. At the current age of nineteen, Kai had finally convinced Jinora to learn how to ice skate. She was always hesitant, insisting that ice-skating was hazardous to one’s health. Through charming persuasion, Kai finally attracted the girl to the beauty of the ice.
Kai, every minute, glanced up towards the glass door of the rink, scanning for his friend. Yet, one minute became eternal when he caught sight of her. Her short auburn hair was tucked neatly into a bun snug against her head. Her hands were nested in balled fists, tucked behind the long sleeves of a soft lemony-yellow sweater. Kai, without acknowledging it, had jumped from his seat and was making his way towards her.
“Jinora!” he said beaming like an idiot. Crap. You sound way too over eager. Take it down a level, Kai. Kai mentally berated himself before smiling gently at Jinora. “Y-you look nice.” Smooth.
Jinora, on the other hand, watched Kai in adoration. She held in a laugh at her friend’s clumsy compliments. He hasn’t changed a bit.
It was true he hadn’t changed a bit. Since they’re innocent adolescent friendship to their friendship of today…he had always loved her. Truth was though, she hadn’t changed at all either. She was calm in demeanor, laughing at his fumbling over impressing her, laughing at his crimson cheeks whenever she smiled, but she had always loved him.
“Let’s get you some skates!” Kai said happily, gesturing to his own pearl-white, bladed shoes. Jinora nodded with a simple smile, that same simple smile that instigated the warmth to flush through Kai’s cheeks.
The pair approached the front counter that was labeled “SKATE RENTALS”, the ‘s’ of rentals dangling from the sign. The stubbly, old man behind the counter easily recognized Kai, smiling.
“Kai! How’re ya? Need some skates for your girlfriend?” he grumbled gleefully.
Kai’s blush was ferocious. His hand casually made its way up to scratch the back of his neck, his nervous gesture.
“Yup. Thanks, Don,” he mumbled, attempting to be casual. Oh wait. Doofus. You just said, “Yes. You need skates for your girlfriend.” Not that he’d be unhappy with that…not at all. He’d die the happiest guy alive..not the point. Kai. Get it together. At this rate, you’re going to trip over your own feet. He continued chiding himself while Jinora input her size in exchange for a pair of rackety skates.
The two left from the counter after paying, and Jinora sat one of the upholstered benches. Kai knelt before her, helping her securely lace her skates. Man. Imagine. This is how it’d feel if you knelt before her and asked her hand in marriage—urm. Nevermind. Oh- she’s talking…listen, Kai!
“-and I’m still a bit nervous. I mean what if I fall on my face!”
“I wouldn’t let it happen. I’d sooner die than allow you to fall,” Kai reassured her. He tied the lace of Jinora’s left skate snuggly. He then looked up and met her gaze. “Even though the rental skates are little sketchy, I still won’t let you fall. Besides,” he said, standing up and helping her up. “If you like it and want to skate more, we can get you some skates of your own.” Jinora smiled…she’d like that, but first she’d need to learn to walk.
Little did Kai or Jinora know, Jinora was a natural. After hobbling onto the ice, Jinora had a graceful and elegant stride unlike any other. Jinora’s slender hands were clasped in Kai’s as he lead her across the ice.
“See you’re doing great! Being on ice is like an element of freedom. It’s tranquil yet invigorating. It’s graceful yet spontaneous,” Kai smiled.
Jinora only smiled in response, her eyes locked on the ice.
Her eyes were locked on Kai, her competition partner. The two were skating a couple’s skate in a local competition. She really was a natural; it had only been a few months since she held his hands in fear of falling. Now, the two were like two bodies in sync as one. She held onto his hands, and he held onto hers. Her grasp on him was no longer one of insecurity and fear, but of excitement and compassion. The two were locked in a shared rhythm; it was only the ice and them…and the judges of course.
Jinora smiled as Kai released her right hand, swinging her to gliding gracefully to his left hand. She launched off from the silky ice as if flying, as if controlling the breeze beneath her feet. Her hands were tucked in at her chest, across her heart. As she spiraled in the air, Kai couldn’t help but stare in awe at her. This girl was the one he fell in love with at the young age of nine. This was the girl who hadn’t ever wanted to ice skate because she felt it was dangerous. This was the same girl who nervously waddled into the rink in a soft, yellow sweater. This was Jinora, and Kai loved her. He watched as the skirt of Jinora’s ice skating dress glistened like stars. He watched as she landed cleanly and returned back to his arms. The two continued skating as if it were what they were born to do. This is what he loved to do, and he got to do what he loved with whom he loved.
Kai’s love and care for Jinora was evident in every duet routine they performed together. They always won a notable award as every judge who watched them could feel the passion and chemistry between the two. The routines weren’t two bodies skating on a rink. The routines consisted of one heart articulating grace through two bodies on a bed of glimmering ice.
With every jump that Kai launched Jinora into, with every spin and every cradling of her in his arms, he felt his heart race just as he did when he had first met her. He secretly hoped that Jinora could just feel how much he loved her through his motions. He hoped that she knew that what he had said when she first came to ice skate still holds true. He’d sooner die than allow her to fall. As the couple advanced towards qualifying for a national competition, Kai and Jinora only loved each other more. For Kai, ice-skating was no longer just being free and spontaneous. Ice-skating was being able to catch Jinora, caressing her gently in routines, and never letting her fall. For Jinora, ice-skating was no longer the peril she saw it to be once before. It was now a mastery of what seemed like an element of freedom. It was to her a chance to take risks, spin and jump, and have somebody trustworthy alongside you for it all. For both, it was an intimate practice that secretly conveyed a message that both were too afraid to admit to one another aloud.
Although it was pure bliss for both, Kai began to want something more. He wanted to verbally express his love for Jinora. He wanted to say those words so that she could know what emotion was behind every twirl and every glide. I need to say it. It can’t be that hard. I love you. It’s three words. I know she probably knows…but she needs to know surely. Kai thought to himself, mustering courage. Jinora was upstairs in the rink, purchasing water for the two. Kai, meanwhile was practicing his free skate routine. I’ll do it right after the national competition. Perfect! I can get a special medal made, so even if we don’t win, I can place it around her neck It can read, “Kai’s #1 love” on one side and “I love you, Jinora” on the other. Lost in thought, Kai’s practice began to grow sloppy…but then it grew dangerous.
Jinora made her way down the rink stairs, a water bottle in each hand. As she navigated her way down the stairs, eyes on the stairs she called out, “Kai! I’ve got water for you.”
The water bottles hit the floor, rolling haphazardly and leaking their contents. Tears rained down Jinora’s cheeks. A scream tore through the cold air.
Jinora made her way to an unconscious Kai. She cradled him in her arms, stroking his hair.
“Kai. Wake up. Please,” she croaked through a hoarse voice.“For me. Please. Kai. I love you! Kai!” Her sobs shook ferociously through her chest, her back shaking as she sat at her knees on the ice. Determinedly, Jinora carried Kai, slung across her back, off of the rink. She reached the upstairs lobby, her cheeks now stained in tears. She looked to the staff, to everybody, yelling, “Somebody help! Call an ambulance!”
The air smelled like sanitary products. It smelled like the hospital, which was fitting for where Jinora sat. She curled her arms around herself as she fidgeted in the cold, plastic waiting room chair. A man clad in a white jacket with a name tag that read, “Dr. Zao”, approached Jinora.
Puffy eyed and in a panic, Jinora stood to greet the man, her hands clutched tightly in front of her chest.
“M’aam. You are here for Kai, yes?”
“Yes. Yes,” she spoke firmly.
“May I have your relation to the patient?” Dr. Zao spoke, a clipboard in his left hand and a pen in his right.
“G-girlfriend..,” Jinora voiced quietly, unsurely. Dr. Zao simply raised an eyebrow while scribbling ink across his papers. He then lowered his clipboard, and placed his hand on Jinora’s shoulder.
“Jinora. I am sincerely sorry to tell you that Kai is comatose.” Dr. Zao said, his voice laced with burden and concern. “His condition is stable for now, but we are unsure of when he’ll awaken.”
Jinora felt warmth spring to her eyes again, tears already leaking from her brown eyes. Before she could choke out a sob, she felt a vibration from her phone.
“E-excuse me,” she said shakily. She removed her phone from her pocket, answering it hesitantly.
“Mister Kai or Miss Jinora? This is airline attendant Lian-Yin from flight 2064. The plane is currently being held for you. The airline is delayed, and we really must be departing.” The voice on the other side of the phone hit Jinora like a ton of bricks. She and Kai were supposed to fly out today to go to nationals. They were then supposed to skate together, as they always did.
“U-uhm. That won’t be necessary. We’re sorry, but we no longer need our tickets. P-please just give our seats to somebody else,” Jinora said unevenly, her voice wavering as tears continued falling.
“Are you sure about this decision? The airline will be unable to refund you,” Lian-Yin said warily.
“Yes,” Jinora answered bluntly, hanging up her phone. She returned her attention to the doctor. “May I see him now?” In response, the doctor gave a quick nod and begin gesturing towards his room.
The sight of Kai’s head wrapped in bandages, his eyes closed and his brows furrowed pained Jinora. He had wires strung across his body that connected to various monitors in the room.
“Kai,” she whispered. She approached the side of his bed, taking his hand in hers. His hand was cold, dull, and lifeless. Kai’s hand dangled limply as she embraced it in her hand. “May I have a moment, Dr. Zao?”
Dr. Zao simply left the room, leaving just Jinora and a comatose Kai. Jinora sat next to Kai on his infirmary bed. She cupped his face in her hands, her thumbs circling numbly on his cheeks. “Kai. Don’t leave me…I love you..I have since we were young…and I know you think it was a secret, but I know that you loved me…or at least I think you love me,” Jinora said mournfully. “Wake up. I need to hear your voice. I need to feel your embrace again. I just need you.”
Kai didn’t respond. He was still and lifeless on the hospital bed. Jinora gently rested her head in the crook of his shoulder, her chest resting on the bed while her legs dangled off. Although in an uncomfortable position, Jinora felt ok being close to Kai. She continued to cry until her sobs silenced as she fell into slumber.
Jinora’s eyes opened blearily at the sound of a high pitched humming. She sat up gently, being careful to not disturb Kai….but disturbing him…would no longer be an issue.
Jinora found herself watching the source of the noise. Kai’s heart monitor was a blunt flat line. The line scrolled across the screen while the machine hummed, mocking and taunting Jinora.
“K-Kai…” Jinora felt her heart. Her heart felt as if it had died also. She felt an anvil in her chest and a sour sensation in her throat. The tears weren’t rolling down her cheeks anymore, they were pouring, like a rainfall. Jinora turned back to face Kai, hiccupping on sobs. Looking at his lifeless face, the face of the boy she loved, she felt something inside of her change.
She would never ice skate again.
It was far too dangerous.
There were too many risks.
And she’d already suffered.
And he did sooner die than let her fall.
Was that cliché and angsty enough? Escalated quickly huh.
Welp. Now I’m off to drown in feels.