Beforehand author's notes: This takes place before Kaito knows Luchia's real identity, and is an alternate way for him to find out. Romance, of course.
I closed my cell phone and sighed. Maki really seemed to need me at the restaurant today, being the unexpected host of a college get-together after a soccer game. A quick glance at my surfboard made me groan at the though of having to finish waxing it after working all day. "Can't be helped," I told my friends as they looked at me expectantly. "I have to go to work for a while. Don't' suppose one of you could finish my board could you?" My two best friends gave me apologetic looks. "Didn't think so. I'll have to work with what I have then. See ya." I stood up and walked off, leaving my board there for them to watch over until I got back.
Luchia shielded her eyes as she looked around the beach. It was crowded like always, but she could always find him after just a few moments of searching. Today, however, she couldn't seem to lay eyes on Kaito. Continuing her search, she came to one of the surf shacks and walked around it to the underside. Kaito's two best friends, Daiichi and Kengo, were there in the shade, buffing their surf boards with more passion than normal. "Is Kaito not here today?"
"Ah, Luchia." Kengo looked up at her from his task at hand. "Just missed him, went to the restaurant. He'll be back in a few hours probably."
"It'll be completely dark by then," She sat down in front of his surfboard and reached out to touch it.
"Careful," Daiichi warned her, making her hand draw back. "He just took the wax coat off on it, don't get any sand on the board."
Luchia looked at her hands a moment before brushing them off on her skirt. "Why did he do that?"
"Because every now and then you need to completely re-do the finish on your board, it helps it maintain longer. The first run on a re-furbished board is always the best, so we decided to do it before the preliminary rounds tomorrow."
"The tournament isn't till this weekend is it?" Luchia ran her finger along Kaito's surfboard, amazed at how different it felt than normal.
"You have to pass a round to enter," Kengo leaned over and pressed down hard on his board, buffing it. "Kaito's gonna be up late tonight finishing his board for sure. Wouldn't' doubt if he slept in tomorrow morning."
"Anything I can do?" Luchia put both hands on the surfboard in front of her. It was propped up on rocks on either side so her legs fit under it perfectly. "How do I wax it?" The two boys looked at her a moment before laughing. "Hey!" she pouted at them. "Don't make fun of me, I really want to help!"
"It's not that," Daiichi took a moment to collect himself. "It's just that it takes so long, your arm will wear out before you're halfway done!"
"I'll show you half way done!" Luchia picked up the bottle of wax and popped the top off it. "What do I do?"
Both of the surfers looked at each other before shrugging. "Grab a rag from the pile over there and pour the wax on a spot on the board. Rub it in until it's a white haze."
Luchia did as she was told and rubbed the tip of the board as best she could with the sticky substance she picked up. After a few minute she beamed at her work. The tip of his board was now a foggy hazy cloud color that spanned a few inches down. "There, see? I can do it!" she rubbed her arm a little, already feeling just a little bit worn from pressing down so hard.
"Now keep going on the rest of the board." Kengo didn't look up, too busy with buffing himself. "Hurry or it'll set up and cause you more trouble later when you buff it with a shirt."
"Eh!?" She looked down at the ever widening six foot long surfboard. "No way…"
Hours went by slowly for her as she worked. The sun had already begun to set in the ocean, but she continued through while the boys took a break. Being more skilled, they were already almost finished before she was even half done. Daiichi had brought her a cold juice when they returned, which she drank quickly and thankfully before all three started again.
"Finally." Kengo leaned over by his surfboard and used the fleeting rays of the sun to reflect the shine on it. "Perfect, not a single rough spot."
Daiichi whistled, also looking over at it. "Nice job. I just have this last spot and I think I'm done too. How are you doing Luchia?"
The human-mermaid looked ready to cry. The muscle in both her arms were stiff and throbbing, swollen up lightly to the point where it looked like she worked out a little. "My arms hurt…" She whined to them softly, weakly rubbing a spot in the board. Unlike theirs, her board had a few hazy spots still that she couldn't seem to buff out. "Is this good?"
The two inspected the board while she waited impatiently. A few moments passed by and the boys gave her lopsided smiles. "Ah, it's pretty good."
"Yeah, yeah." Daiichi nodded his head, both refusing to meet her eyes.
"Mou!" She took the board back and placed it on the stones. "Fine then, be that way!" She humphed at them and started to run the shirt Kaito left across the board to work out the haze. After a few moments she looked at the shirt and sighed. They had used a tee-shirt themselves to do their boards but her constant mistakes left Kaito's shirt too full of dried wax to be used anymore.
"I think we better be off," Kengo said softly as Luchia removed her shirt to reveal a bikini top under it. "We need to rest for tomorrow."
"Kaito should be back soon," Daiichi assured her, picking up his board. "Just he sure not to let any sand get on it until you're done buffing…" He gave his friend a regretful look as they both left the girl working. "You think we shouldn't have let her do it?" He whispered so Luchia wouldn't overhear.
"Fixing the mistakes would be quicker than doing it all himself," Kengo whispered back as they walked along the beach.
The Pink Princess worked a while longer with her own shirt until the spots were to the point where they could barley be noticed. "Finally…" She felt her eyes water as she rubbed her arms. "I didn't know it'd take so long…" Sniffing, she placed the board down on the sand and stood on it, mimicking what she saw Kaito do several times before. "Uwahh!" she beamed happily as she felt her bare feet stick to the board lightly. She knew enough about surfing to know that was a good thing.
"Eh!?" she turned quickly to see who called her name and lost her balance. The girl landed in the sand gently, looking up with one eye closed. "Kaito… welcome back."
"What are you doing, Luchia?" He reached his hand down to help her up, which she hesitated to take. "What's the matter? Let me help you up."
"My arms won't listen to me anymore," she looked up at him helplessly, tears at the corner of her eyes. Kaito looked at her a moment, trying to decide what exactly was wrong with her.
"Come on," He reached under her arms and hefted her easily to her feet. "What are you doing out here so late?"
"I was waxing your board, see?" she motioned weakly with her hand to the surfboard on the sand. "Daiichi and Kengo showed me how."
"You did what?" Kaito quickly ran over to his surfboard and inspected it.
"Is it that bad?" Luchia looked over his shoulder as he examined his surfboard.
'The wax is extremely uneven,' He thought to himself as he looked over it. 'You can tell where she picked up her rag and where she worked in sections instead of all at once.' Kaito turned the board to look at it in the light from the shack above them. 'She left her footprints in it from where she stood on it before the wax was set completely…'
"It's horrible isn't it?" Luchia's voice almost broke his heart. "I'm sorry. I'll go home now."
"Ah, it's not half bad," He told her, smiling. "Thank you, I appreciate it."
"Really?" she looked over her shoulder at him.
"Really, really?" Luchia turned around and looked at him.
"That's what I said." He stood up and grabbed his board, putting it under his arm.
"Really, really, really?" Luchia looked up into his eyes, judging him.
"Don't make me say it a thousand times." He walked past her, making the girl sprint a little to catch up. "Was you out here all day?"
"Some of it." The girl rubbed her sore arms. "Do they always hurt after you do that to your board?"
"What, your arms?"
"Not really. You get used to it after a while." He looked over at her rubbing her arms again and then looked up at the sky. "You're coming tomorrow right?"
"Yeah, I want to cheer you on." She replied easily enough, sparing him a happy look. "I'll always come when you surf."
Kaito grinned at her. "Ah, thanks. Want to go for a swim after? Maybe catch lunch too?"
At first she looked a little nervous. "I, um, can't swim remember?" Luchia's expression quickly changed, however, and she smiled happily up at him. "But I'd love to get lunch!"
"You're waxing surfboards, but you can't swim." He rolled his eyes. "What am I going to do with you?" Out of the corner of his eye he saw her lose her smile and look down at the sand. "I guess it can't be helped. I'll teach you how to swim before the contest as a thank you for taking care of my surfboard."
"But that won't do." He looked at her bikini top and wax covered shirt in her arms. "I'll get you a wetsuit since you ruined your shirt for me as well."
"A wetsuit? Really!?" Luchia hugged his arm, despite hers protesting the sudden movement. The thought of them in matching wetsuits made her giggle to herself happily. "You'll really get me one? Just like yours?"
"Well not exactly like mine," He grinned lightly. "I had this one custom made, and that takes a while. But I'll pick you out a good one though." Kaito winked at her, making the girl blush and look down at the sand shyly.
"So he is going to teach you how to swim?" Hanon asked her friend while lying on her bed.
"Yup!" Luchia nodded dreamily, picturing Kaito giving her a wetsuit.
"In the water?"
"Yup!" she twirled in her chair slowly, grinning from ear to ear.
"That turns you into a mermaid?"
"Yup!" She stopped spinning suddenly as realization dawned on her. "Oh my god, he's going to put me in the water!"
"You just realized this!?"
"What am I going to do?" Luchia leaned over in the chair and gave Hanon a desperate look. "I don't want to tell him that I don't want to learn how to swim, the water is everything to him!"
Hanon crossed her arms and looked up at the ceiling in thought. "Well, there's always that."
" 'That' ?"
"The transformation ring?" Luchia asked, looking at the small silver ring in Lina's hand. "This will really work?"
"It should, I've never used it." Lina told her calmly as she allowed the smaller girl to pick it from her hands. "Every kingdom has one, where are yours?"
"Mine was left behind," Hanon told her softly.
"I never knew about them" Luchia puffed out her cheeks in annoyance. If she had hers earlier it would have saved her a lot of trouble. "Are you sure I can use this Lina?"
"Ah." She sat down on Luchia's bed and crossed her legs. "But are you sure you really want to?"
"What do you mean?"
The girl met her eyes as she replied. "If you want Kaito to know you're a mermaid, wouldn't using something like this set you back?"
"Its okay, it's okay." Luchia waved it off and giggled down at the ring in her hand. "Just this once will be fine. Come on, let's go test it!"
"This should be a good spot." Luchia walked around the edge of the swimming pool behind their hotel a moment before taking a breath and jumping in. Her eyes stayed closed a moment before she opened them and broke the surface, standing in the waist high water. "It works!"
"Of course it works," Lina grinned at her bubbly friend as she tried to run around in the water.
"This feel sooo weird!" the blond climbed out of the pool with the help of her friends. "I'm going to jump into the deep end and see what it's like to swim like this!"
"Don't fall down!" Hanon warned her. "It's dangerous to run by the poolside!"
"I know!" Luchia hopped onto the diving board and gave a perfect dive into the water. Once she was submerged, the girl opened her eyes and was amazed at how everything was a little fuzzy since she didn't have crystal clear mermaid vision. Just then she realized that she needed some air so instinctively she tried to take in a gasp, only to have water flood her mouth. Coughing, she tried to get to the surface. Her legs didn't work the way she wanted them too, however, and soon she was trying desperately to scramble to the top.
"Jeeze," A voice came in her ear and before she realized it, she was above the water, gasping. "You really can't swim, can you?" Lina pulled her over to the shallow end, where she sat the girl down on the steps leading into the water. Once she was secure, the mermaid hopped out onto the land and reverted back to her human self.
"I… can't breath underwater." Luchia panted, bent over lightly.
"Of course not like that. You need your pearl to do that when you're in human form." Hanon gently rubbed her back. "Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine," Luchia took a long deep breath through her nose to steady herself. "At least now I won't have to pretend I don't know how to swim, huh?" She gave her friends a small smile.
"Come on, let's get inside. It's late."
"Stay with us for the night since you came all the way down here," Hanon helped her friend up and the three of them walked back into the hotel. "Dinner will be ready soon, too."
"It's been a while…sure, I'll stay"
Luchia took a breath to calm her nerves. No matter how many times she went to Kaito's house she always felt a little nervous standing in front of his door. She reached out slowly and pushed the button twice to get his attention.
A few moments later his voice came on the small speaker. "Who is it?"
"Luchia," she spoke into it. "I brought you a small breakfast."
"Come on in, the door's unlocked." The connection was cut off and Luchia let herself in. The air inside was nice and cool, a pleasant relief from the summer weather. Although Kaito was always out on the beach in the sun, he seemed to like his house cooler than most people.
Luchia sat her bags down in favor of untying her knee-high boots and setting them beside the door. While she was doing so, she also straightened up Kaito's sandals and shoes that looked as if he just kicked off when he walked in. "You haven't eaten yet have you?" She called out into the house as she made her way to his kitchen.
"Not yet, just woke up!" He called back, apparently from the bathroom. Luchia cleared off a section of his counter and unloaded her supplies. Before a surfing competition, he always seemed to get really sloppy and often forget to eat. "What'cha bring me?" He asked over her shoulder, scaring her as he leaned over to look. "Ooh, a western breakfast!"
"K-Kaito!" Luchia blushed, feeling the back of her shirt get wet from his chest. A few drips of water dropped from his wet hair and landed on her shoulder, rolling down her front. "Why are you randomly naked?"
"Just got out of the shower." He took the food and carried it to the table, pushing last night's take-out out of his way. He was wearing pajama pants and precious little else.
"Enjoy," She stammered out and busied herself with cleaning up his kitchen so she wouldn't lose it while starting at him. "What time does it start today?"
"Afternoon," he took a big bite of his food and talked with his mouth full. "When the waves are at their best. We'll have plenty of time to get you swimming before they pick up."
She couldn't seem to stop smiling to herself as she fixed up his place for him. 'Even if it's cleaning, I don't mind doing it since its Kaito.' She picked up the left over food from the night before and the rest of the random trash on his table. "If you get hungry, you can always come by the hotel so you don't have to order."
"I may do that. Take-out gets old after a while."
Luchia squealed quietly at the thought of him coming over and asking her to make him dinner. "I'll look forward to it!"
"Oh. Your wetsuit is by my bed."
"Really? Can I try it on?"
"Go ahead," he nodded back in the direction of his room and went back to eating as she ventured away from him.
Luchia flicked on his light switch and walked through the slightly messy room. Last time she was in there it looked as though he just cleaned it. For some reason she found it cute that he could be a little messy. Picking up the wetsuit, she held it in front of her and looked around for a mirror. She finally found one sitting on a dresser next to a small jewelry box.
The suit was a dark black with neon pink highlights around the neck, arm, and leg slots, as well as a rose on the chest. All-in-all, she really liked it. In the back of her mind she wished it had the two triangles on it like Kaito's did but also knew that surfers expressed themselves by using their own designs.
She took off her top and tossed it onto Kaito's bed, followed by her skirt and undergarments. Luchia unzipped the suit from the back and stepped into it, blushing at how tightly it fit to her body. Sliding her arm in, she had to jerk a few times to get it in place. Once she was settled, she reached to her backside and tried to pull the zipper up. After a few moments of struggling she sighed. "Kaito!"
"Ya?" He sounded like he was in the living room now.
"I can't get the zipper up!" Her cheeks flushed when she heard his laughter. "Mou! Stop laughing and come help me!"
"Sure, sure." He appeared a few moments later in the doorway and whistled. "Now that's a nice sight."
"R-Really?" She looked down embarrassedly. "I really like it."
"I wasn't talking about the wet suit." He pointed at her back teasingly, where he had a very nice view of her bare backside.
"Pervert!" She turned so she was fully facing him. "No wonder you got a back zipper one!"
"They're the best." He held up a long, thin, pink strap of material that looked like it came off her suit. "You forgot this."
"How could I forget, you had it." She puffed her cheeks out at him.
"Turn around; I'll put it on for you." She glared at him a moment before finally looking away and shyly turning for him. Her eyes widened when his hands went to her lower back and had to bite back a small nervous moan when he connected the strap of material to the zipper. "Here, pull up on this." He lifted her arm so it was going behind her head and placed the strap in it.
"Okay…" Luchia did as she was told and pulled, pleased that the zipper it was attached to easily slid up her back all the way up to her neck. "There." She bounced away from him and twirled. "How do I look?"
"Like a girl in a wet suit," he teased. She stomped over to him proclaimed that he was insensitive, to which he changed the topic. "Here, this will help." He opened the small jewelry box on the dresser and picked out a ring that normally wore on his finger and slid it over Luchia's thumb. Next came two small silver triangle earrings, which were placed in her ears. Finally a sea-shell bracelet was rolled over her wrist. "There, you almost look like a surfer now."
Luchia looked into the mirror and smiled at what she saw. "Yeah." Leaning over, she inspected the earrings closer and smiled at them.
A sharp whistle made the girl lose her train of thought and turn around to see what made him cause the sound. She immediately blushed a dark scarlet as he held up her discarded bra. "Wow, Luchia, you're racked!"
Luchia felt a small shiver run down her spine as the sea water went to her waist. Her feet sank down lightly in the sand and soon she found herself unconsciously gripping Kaito's arm. "You sure are nervous," He looked down at her, confused. "Don't be like that, I won't let you drown or anything."
"I-it's not that." She looked down at the ring on her finger and noticed a slight hue around it from the power it was using. "I'm just a little out of it." The water started getting to her chest and she felt herself start to lose her footing. "Kya!" her arms grabbed a hold of the surfboard floating in front of her for balance. 'This is so weird…'
"I think this should be good." Kaito stopped walking into the sea and grinned at the scared girl beside him. Even though the water came about to his shoulders, Lucia was almost completely submerged. "I never noticed how short you were," He grinned at her and caught her hands when she tried to bap him for the comment. When Luchia realized that she no longer had the surfboard to hang on to, she gripped him tightly with her arms around his neck. "Oi, Luchia. As much as I enjoy this, you won't learn how to swim if you don't let go."
"Right." She nodded and slowly allowed him to pry her off. The next thing she knew, she was laying face up in the water with his hands under her body, keeping her up. "There. Stay calm, you won't sink."
She nodded at him and closed her eyes. 'I want my fins!' her mind mentally screamed. 'But, its nice having him support me like this…' Opening one eye she looked up at him, noticed where his eyes were, and crossed her arms over her chest. "Pervert."
Kaito's lips turned into a smirk. "Ready to start to learn?"
"Un." Her cheeks colored. 'I can't believe I really can't swim like this…' Kaito moved in front of her and took her hands, forcing her to turn over on her stomach in the process.
"Keep your balance for now," he instructed her, amazed at how easily she took to it. 'It's like she knows how to swim already…Then why is she so nervous?' Taking a step back, he made Luchia kick her feet awkwardly to try and keep up. "That's the way. Keep on," He took a few more steps back and finally moved to her side and put his hands on her stomach to help her stay afloat. 'If it's not swimming that's making her so fidgety, what is it?'
Luchia blushed softly, feeling Kaito's hands on her stomach, but kept her mind on what she was doing. Amazingly, she took to the slight differences between her mermaid self and human self quickly. After learning how to move her feet, she felt as though she could be left alone and probably be safe. Even though she did keep forgetting that she couldn't breath underwater and had to gasp for air more than just a few times.
Kaito paused a moment when he felt himself being pushed forward a bit. "We better stop here; the tide will start coming soon." He looked over to the beach, seeing several people gathering. "The contest will start in an hour or so."
"Aw," she propped herself up on his surfboard and pouted at him. "I was just getting the hang of it."
"There's always later," He winked at her. "Come on, hop onto the board."
"Like this?" she pulled herself up onto the surfboard and lay on her stomach. "What for?"
"Because a wave is coming." He hopped on it as well and all but laid on top of her.
"Hold still," he whispered as the wave came up behind them and started to push the board. His hands gripped both sides of it and steered the board across the low side of the wake. The beach came quickly to them and by the time they slowed down enough to disembark, the water was only up to her knees. "How's that for your first surfing lesson?" Luchia was still too embarrassed to reply and chose rather to simply nod at him. "I'm going to go register, cheer for me okay?"
"Of course!" she exclaimed quickly. When she realized her outbreak, she looked down shyly. Kaito put his hand on her head to get her attention and when she looked up again, found his lips on her cheek. "Eh!?"
"For good luck!" He turned and ran off to meet his friends, who gave him a high-five upon getting close enough.
"Well, aren't you all love-dovey first thing in the morning?"
"Hanon!?" Luchia turned around, a little startled. "Mou, how long have you been there?"
"Around the time he confessed his undying love to you," She grinned and looked at Luchia sideways.
"He did no such thing!" the blond almost screamed at her.
"Hey," Kaito sat down beside from Luchia at a small table in the shade of an umbrella. "I passed the first round."
"I saw," she replied happily, taking some of the shaved ice onto her spoon and going for a bite. She was cut off by her secret love as he took the bite before she could get to it. "Kaito?"
"Mmm, just what I needed." He licked his lips, making the mermaid blush even more than she already was. "Hope you don't fill up too much on this, I still owe you lunch."
"No, I got the small one." Luchia scooped up another bite and turned to him. "Here, say 'ahhh'."
To her surprise he actually did it, allowing her to feed him another bite. "Yummy," Kaito licked his lips slowly, catching her off guard. "You're blushing," the boy accused her, keeping his mouth close to hers.
"Hmm?" he leaned forward, closing his eyes.
"Huh?" He pulled back a little to give her a confused look. About the time he did so, a soft bop on the head made him turn around. A large inflatable ball landed next to him and soon a little boy came running after it. "Here you are, Kiddo." Kaito tossed him the ball and sighed. "So close, too."
Luchia stifled a giggle, using the hilarity of the situation to mask her embarrassment. "Come on, I want to go shopping before we eat."
"Un!" She hopped off the table she was at and ran a few steps before turning and waving at him. "Kaito! Hurry up!"
"Jeez, that girl." He scratched his head, but still smiled. "Right, right, I'm coming."
Luchia smiled at the cloths in front of her and picked up a pink tank top and matching white faded jean shorts. "Ne, Kaito, what do you think about these?" She hopped over to him and held up the set to her front so he could see. "Would these look cute?"
"Eh?" He looked a little confused as to why she would ask his opinion about her clothing, but nodded anyway. "Yeah, they'd look good on you." He gave a lopsided smile to the giggling girl in front in him. Although he was used to wearing his wetsuit just about everywhere, Luchia seemed to be a little self-conscious about how it clung so tightly to her body. "Here," he picked up some sunglasses that had lightly pink tinted glass. "You might as well go all out if you're going to get those."
"You think?" she turned to look at the mirror by the dressing room and adjusted them so they were on top of her head, more of a fashion statement than anything else. Kaito walked over to the small section for guys at the surf shop and looked at the selection of bracelets and necklaces. He reached up to pick one, but Luchia grabbed his wrist and grinned before dragging him over with her to check out. Upon paying for her cloths, she turned to him and reached around his neck, clasping something she just bought. "There, now we match."
"Match?" he picked up the small trinket that was looped through the leather string around his neck. A dark pink seashell symbol stared up at him, making his eye twitch. "Luchia... this is a girl's necklace." Although the one she wore was a lot larger and more elaborate than his, he still felt embarrassed to be seen with it in public.
"Isn't it cute?" Luchia held up her hand, showing off the bracelet and rings that he had made her wear that day. "Now you have one of mine and I have some of yours!"
Kaito took a long slow breath, but smiled down at her. "Ah. I'll wear it whenever I surf." his words worked and Luchia blushed, taking his arm in hers. 'Man, the guys are never going to let me live this down...' His gaze went back down to the girl at his side. ' But she's happy so I guess its okay.'
"Hey, Kaito, let's eat and go back to the beach. I want to have some more fun before we call it a day."
"I dunno, Luchia," Kaito looked out towards to sea. "It's going to storm today."
"The clouds aren't that dark," She protested. "Come on, you know you want to!"
"...Okay, but only if it doesn't get worse than this."
"It won't, it won't." She pulled on his arm to get him walking again.
Kaito took one last look over the water before walking with his girl again. 'The waves were rougher than normal today... a storm has to be coming.'
Luchia pulled off the shirt she had just bought earlier, revealing her wetsuit underneath. Her hands then went to her shorts, where she unbuttoned them and started to unzip. Something made her stop and turn to Kaito, who was watching with slightly glazed over eyes. "What are you thinking about?" She asked him as she wiggled them down and stood, completely covered, in front of him.
"Nothing!" His cheeks colored slightly as he looked to the side. "Luchia, I really don't think we should get back in the water. It's already getting dark."
"Come on, I only have the ring for one day, I don't want to waste it!"
"Eh? Oh! Nothing, nothing, don't worry about it!" She waved her hands out frantically. "More importantly, let's get going!" Luchia took off to the water and ran in till it came to her knees. "See? The water isn't very wavy at all! It's dark because it's getting late, no storm!"
"Ah." Kaito picked up his surfboard and carried it to Luchia in the water. "Lift up your foot." She gave him a confused look but did as he asked. Kaito wrapped the Velcro strap to her ankle and patted it closed. "There." He traced the cord back to his surfboard and double checked to make sure it was secure.
"Why is it on me?" She pondered, rubbing it under the water with her other foot.
"Just incase, you can always get to my board. It won't sink so if you get nervous; just get on it like before okay?"
"You worry too much." Luchia moved farther out until the water came to her chest. Turning, she smiled at Kaito and held out her arms to him, which he took with a grin.
"Hey now, I think you're having fun more than trying to swim."
"So?" she splashed him a little and got a splash back. "Hey! You can't do that!"
"Because it's against the rules!" she swiped her hand out again, getting water all over the top half that was still dry.
"Why you little…" Kaito pounced her, laughing as she shrieked. "Now what, huh?"
"Eek!" Luchia's cries were mixed with laughter as she tried to get away from his hold.
The two wrestled around, ignoring the fact that they slowly drifted out farther as they played. Luchia kept her hands on either Kaito of the floating surfboard next to her so she didn't care if her feet could touch bottom or not. The surfer was used to it and didn't think to worry about it until he felt a drop of water that didn't come from Luchia's splashing. "Hey, hold still a moment." He caught her hand and held it, waiting.
"What is it?" Luchia moved over to the board and laid her top half onto it.
Kaito looked up and bit back a curse as another raindrop hit him. "Luchia, we're going back. Now."
"Awww. Just a little longer?" She pouted at him, but the sky suddenly let loose in a solid roar of thunder. "Kya! Okay, let's go back now!" She shivered and gave him a scared look. "I hate thunder…"
"We're pretty far out…" Kaito grabbed the board and started kicking his feet. Luchia did the same, but somehow they didn't seem to get any closer.
"Kaito… I'm scared. We're not moving no matter how hard I kick."
"Ah. We're in the tide. It's useless to use our energy like that." He felt himself get pushed forward by the waves and then drawn back out. Another one came and he looked behind himself. "Luchia… lay on the surfboard."
"Okay…" She climbed onto of it with his help and soon found him on top of her again. This time, however, she was too nervous to be shy about it. "What are we going to do?"
"Ride the tide." Kaito waited until the wake pushed him forward again and this time started kicking to gain speed. After a moment he hopped up and put his feet on either side of Luchia and steered them along the wake toward the beach.
When they were close, Luchia lifted up a little to keep from sliding off. The movement, although small, was enough to throw off the surfer's balance, causing him to fall on top of her. "Ow!" she rubbed her head where his had hit her.
"Sorry," He rubbed his own forehead and looked at the beach. "No good, lets try again." He repeated the move and once again managed to stand. Shakily he aimed to the sand, but couldn't maintain his balance without moving along the board. "Luchia, stand up with me."
"Eh!? I can't, I'll fall!" The light rain started getting harder and a crash of lightning made her cling to the board even more. "I can't!"
"You have to!" Kaito laid on top of her and looked behind himself for the next push. "Luchia. Luchia, listen to me." He leaned down next to her and spoke gently into her ear. "All you have to do is stand up and move like I do. I promise I won't let you fall, okay?" He pecked her cheek and smiled when she opened her eyes and nodded at him.
'Move like he does…' She thought to herself when he started kicking to propel themselves forward. 'Just like him…' The pressure on her back was removed and she pushed up as well, putting her back to his front. One hand wrapped around her waist and the other went out for his balance. She felt his knees bend and copied it, even stepping back when he did so.
"Good, just like that," Kaito praised her, narrowing his eyes as he concentrated. He walked to the front of the board with her and carved sharply to avoid an over lapse of water. 'I could shoot through the tube of water, but that would freak her out… Plus, if I bit it there, I'd probably be swallowed and back farther than we are now… I'll have to ride the low end to be safe.'
Kaito stepped back to turn the board and found Luchia's foot right next to his. Smiling, he pulled her closer to himself to make the girl feel more at ease. The movement worked until a large flash of lightning blinded the pair. Thunder rang so loud it actually hurt his ears. Luchia screamed loudly and stiffened, throwing him horribly off balance and forcing him to walk to the back of the board to regain it.
The waves caught up to them and he had to kick one side down to cut the board another direction. He brought his foot down hard on the edge of the board to turn, but a sudden realization made his eyes widen in terror. "Luchia!" The girl copied his move perfectly, only there was no more board to push down where her foot was. As soon as it was ankle deep in the water, Luchia was ripped from his grasp before she could even scream and was sucked underwater. Not a moment later, Kaito felt the safety cord snag on the board and went flying over it into the water himself.
Luchia's world spun as she tried to swim her way back to the surface. Instinctively she tried to breathe when the air in her lungs got low and was rewarded with a thick salty blast of water in her mouth. Coughing, she tried to rid herself of the water, only to lose what precious little air she had left. 'I'm going to drown.' The realization hit her hard. 'Kaito will too!' she kicked frantically, forgetting everything she learned that day and tried to swim like she always had and getting nowhere fast.
A hand on her shoulder made her turn, barley making out Kaito in front of her. His eyes were wide and she could tell he didn't have much air either. His arm wrapped around her and soon they broke the surface of the water and gasped. Luchia chocked on the water she had inhaled and clung to him desperately, making them sink worse than they already were. "Where's the surfboard!?" He called out over the ever increasingly hard rain and waves around them.
"I don't know! it was ripped away from me!" She reached down and pulled on the cord, showing him the snap at the end. Any more conversation was cut off by a large wave crashing over them and once again splitting them up. Luchia scrambled to get back to some air but found that she just kept getting sucked deeper down. Looking over where she saw some movement, she made out Kaito swimming over to her with one arm outstretched. She reached out for him, but he started swimming slower, eyes widening and his other hand going to his throat. 'He's going to suffocate!' She watched in horror as his body stopped moving and very small bubbles leak from his mouth.
'Not like this…' Luchia reached for the ring and pulled it off her finger. Instantly she felt the change occur, welcoming the relief it offered. Gasping quickly, she took a large intake of underwater air and shot forward to Kaito, who was looking at her, half unconscious. 'I don't care if I turn to bubbles… at least he'll be safe…' She tugged him to the surface, where he hacked up the saltwater as she swam. The current was much easier on her in this form and before she knew it, she was dragging him up onto an enclave that had a cave overhang above them to stop the rain.
Kaito panted a while, looking up at the mermaid as he did so. "Luchia…" He finally managed out weakly.
"Kaito…" She reached out to touch him, dripping White Sea foam over his body. "Kaito, I'm sorry…"
"Luchia!?" he forced himself up and grabbed her.
"If a mermaid reveals her identity, she'll turn into bubbles…" She closed her eyes as a tear ran down her cheek. "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you…"
"Luchia, no!" Kaito looked down at the froth between them and then onto his hands, where the bubbles were falling off them. "This isn't happening!"
The pink mermaid smiled softly at him. "As long as you're okay. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt." She leaned onto him and closed her eyes. "I don't feel it at all…" Her arms wrapped around him and she allowed herself to nuzzle against him. "I love you, all that matters is you're safe."
"Luchia…" He held her tightly against him, crying. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He felt the hot sticky foam roll off her back as he hugged her. The two stayed silent a while longer before Kaito slowly opened his eyes and looked at the entrance of the cave. More froth was being pushed into it from where they entered it. 'Wait a minute…' He gripped mermaid tighter, eyes widening. 'The bubbles are from the sea water being stirred, not from Luchia!'
The girl seemed to be realizing more or less the same thing, as she pulled back from him slowly and looked down at herself. "I'm…still here…?"
Kaito looked at her a moment, then back to the water, and finally back at Luchia. "You okay?"
"I… I think so." She leaned back and wiped the foam off of her. "I'm not bubbles?"
"Actually… I kind of thought you were my mermaid." He moved his hand across her cheek slowly. "When I saw you tonight, I realized it because you were wearing my bracelet when you reached for me…"
"Kaito… Kaito!" Luchia grabbed him and held him close, crying freely. Finally the force of her hug made him fall back onto the cave floor. She gripped his shoulders tighter and cried onto his chest. "I was so worried!"
"Hey now, everything is okay. Don't cry." He rubbed her wet hair in an attempt to ease the mood. A few moments passed and her tears slowly died off and changed into sniffles and the occasional hiccup. "I finally found you…" He pulled her up into him and stared into her eyes. "My mermaid… My Luchia."
She smiled down at him and leaned forward, kissing the boy soundly.
"Hanon?" Luchia spoke into the phone shyly. "…I'm at Kaito's house. Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay. I got stuck here because of the rain. Can you tell my sister that I'm going to stay here for the night?... Hanon!" She slammed the phone shut and blushed.
"What did she say?"
"Nothing!" Luchia stumbled over to him and blushed.
"Don't say that so casually!" She scolded him, getting even redder. "No telling what she's thinking!"
"Probably that you had a bath to warm up after getting wet in the rain and then remembered that you had no clean cloths here even though you left some on my bed, so you decided to wear one of my button up shirts."
Luchia looked down at the huge shirt she was wearing. It was his, and it was button up. "Mou!"
Laughing, he scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. "Come on, let's get some sleep. I'm exhausted."
"You mean together?" She got even redder as they entered the dark bedroom.
"Yeah." He kicked the door closed and gently sat her on the bed. "Now that I've found you, I'm not going to let you go again…"
"Kaito…" She moved so he could get on his bed as well and then slowly curled up next to him. "Um, I warn you, I snore…" She buried her head into his chest, too shy to do anything else.
"Its okay, I do too."
"And, and I may kick you in my sleep."
"Then I'll just have to hold you so you can't." He wrapped his arms around her, making the girl lose all reserves.
"And… I may kiss you."
"I'll have to kiss you back, then." He whispered against her lips before slowly placing his on them. The silence was long and was only interrupted by small breaths of air and a shy moan.
My first Mermaid Melody fan fiction. I'm semi-happy with it, being one that takes place earlier in the series and isn't cannon. Please leave a review and look for my other mermaid melody stories if you liked this one.