Fanfiction Fridays: I’d rather be skating by so_shhy

Crossovers are a tricky concept in fanfiction. There are crossovers where characters from two worlds meet each other and go on an adventure, and there are crossovers which only feature the characters from one world and the concept of another. For example, there could be fics about the Naruto characters as drift-compatible Jaeger pilots, or fics about the Harry Potter characters with daemons. But blending these two worlds is often very difficult, and there’s little room to expand on the ideas from the original two bodies of canon. However, today’s fanfic, a Yuri on ICE!!! and Harry Potter crossover, is one of the most unique takes on the crossover concept that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Most Harry Potter crossovers involve the characters from the other canon at Hogwarts, learning magic and being Sorted into Houses. That’s great fun (when it doesn’t lead to House-related Discourse™), but there’s so much more of the wizarding world to talk about past Hogwarts and its magical classes. For example, we learn in the books that wizarding children can be homeschooled if they choose not to go to Hogwarts, but we don’t know anything about Muggleborn children who might want to stay in the Muggle world (as Hogwarts doesn’t exactly teach life skills). Presumably Rowling assumed that magic would be enough of a motivator for any Muggle child, but even in our Muggle world, there are many children who have no interest in traditional schooling.

In the innocuously-named I’d rather be skating, Yuuri’s approached as a child to go to Mahoutokoro, the Japanese wizarding school, and he refuses because he wants to keep figure skating and because he’s extremely anxious about the concept of a magical boarding school. However, he’s told that despite his decision, he’ll still need to learn some amount of control over his magical abilities, and so, four hours a week, Yuuri resigns himself to going to various magical schools to study magic and magical ethics.

In your groups,” said Professor McGonagall, cutting through the noise, “please discuss these spells and write down any ethical issues you can think of that might come up if you used them in a non-magical environment. For example – Mr Cohen, I believe you want to be a footballer. I expect you can see a problem with a spell that could make a ball move wherever you want it to.”

From the look on his face, Mr Cohen appeared to be the curly haired boy, Sam, who was now sitting opposite Yuuri. “Um… that would be cheating,” he ventured.

“Precisely. You have fifteen minutes to discuss and write down your points, and then we will go through your thoughts.”

There was a silence, broken by a few uncertain noises, and then an increasing trickle of chatter between the groups. At first, very little of it was anything to do with ethics. Mostly it was excited exclamations over the magic, and introductions. Sam took the lead in Yuuri’s group, and the two girls were talkative enough that Yuuri could keep his contributions to a minimum. He listened as they talked. All three had their reasons for turning down their respective magical schools. Aside from Sam’s soccer, there was Banu, a violinist from Turkey, and Ana Lucía from Guatemala who said, with calm dignity, “I won’t leave my mother to manage without me.”

“I’m a figure skater,” Yuuri said shortly when they asked, feeling like a fraud. He knew he couldn’t ever admit that he just hadn’t wanted to go.

At first, being a part-time wizarding student is just as bad as Yuuri feared. He doesn’t make any friends, he doesn’t see the point of spells that turn beetles into matchboxes, and he hates that he can’t tell the few Muggle friends he does have about the school. But his outlook on wizarding school changes abruptly when he meets another figure skater there—a young teenager named Viktor Nikiforov. Viktor’s approach to things like rules and responsibilities are very different from Yuuri’s, and the story does a great job of exploring and expanding upon both Viktor’s and Yuuri’s characters. Viktor’s shown as selfish and flighty; he loves Yuuri but also assumes that Yuuri is available to do whatever he wants, because Yuuri agrees to everything Viktor suggests. Tiny anxious Yuuri gets help for his mental illness way earlier than he did in canon (if he ever did) and he slowly learns to balance his magical life, his Muggle life, and his relationship with Viktor.

Though Yuuri is just as enamored of Viktor as he was in canon, it takes their relationship quite a while to get started (which is good, since they meet when they’re kids, haha). It takes several conversations with Yakov and tearful ones with Yuuri for Viktor to fully understand the effect he has on Yuuri’s life, and as Viktor grows disillusioned with magic through the fic, Yuuri conversely falls in love with it. Their conflicts grow organically out of their separate character arcs, and the use of magic as both an external and internal plot motivator is incredibly skillful. Though almost all the action takes place in the Yuri on ICE!!! world, the reader is constantly thinking about the new questions the fic raises about the Harry Potter world. That’s the mark of a successful crossover.

You can read I’d rather be skating here at the AO3! It’s about 60k and definitely worth your time.

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