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Prompt: 09. Thunderstorm
Words: 2 262
Characters: Rikki Chadwick, Zane Bennett
Spoilers: Season 1
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations from the tv-show "H2O: Just Add Water", created and owned by Jonathan M. Shiff and others. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: Her eyes travelled onto the TV-screen, which was showing the weather report. Storm clouds piled up on the screen – a thunderstorm was heading their way.
Author's notes: I've decided to write a few "H2O: Just Add Water" fanfics, after discovering the series a few weeks ago. And I'm writing het - gasp! Response to prompt 9 on my Hurt/Comfort table (see my LJ for the table). Takes place between the first season finale, 1x26 "A Twist in the Tail", before the start of the second season, 2x01 "Control". An alternate take on how Zane finds out that Rikki's still a mermaid. Comments are appreciated.
A pile of undone homework sat beside her, and knowing that F's would follow if she didn't work through at least half of it, she started. There was math – boring – and biology – boring – and English – totally boring.
She gazed around the JuiceNet Café. Emma and Cleo weren't there – Emma was probably doing next week's homework, while Cleo was more likely to be spending time with Lewis, best friend of forever and boyfriend of a couple of weeks. Rikki was glad they were finally together – it meant she had to watch less drama between the two.
Miriam sat with her group of girlfriends at one of the tables, all looking like Barbie dolls, giggling and whispering.
Watching Miriam, even for the brief minute Rikki did so – she had to look away after a little while, because she felt her brain cells fry as she watched all the pink move around – made her think of Zane.
They'd broken it off, whatever it was they'd had. And now he didn't know that she was a mermaid, thinking she'd given up her powers. She didn't quite know what to think about that – a part of her wanted him to know, while another, the more logical part of her, knew that he shouldn't know; it was dangerous.
Her eyes travelled onto the TV-screen, which was showing the weather report. Storm clouds piled up on the screen – a thunderstorm was heading their way.
"That don't look very nice," Wilfred, the owner of the café, said to her. "Perhaps you should head home – that should soak you right through when it comes."
"What?" she asked.
"The storm," he said, nodding towards the screen. "Don't want to be caught out there in the middle of that."
"A storm?" asked Miriam, piping up suddenly. "Here?"
"Yep," said the manager. He glanced out the windows, at the heavy clouds outside. "Looks like it's already here."
"But Zane is out there!" Miriam said. "He said he was gonna go out to do—something, I didn't listen—but he's out there on his boat."
A sense of dread filled Rikki. Zane's small boat was made of metal and either way, as the highest point on the ocean, he'd attract every lightning bolt coming down.
"That little metal thing?" asked Wilfred and rubbed his neck. "That's no good. Perhaps I ought to call the coast guard."
A flash of light and a crack of thunder silenced them.
Rikki was off running before she had much time to think. Rain had already started pouring down, and she had ten seconds to get herself from the café to the ocean.
She ran, counting the seconds passing in her head. The water splashed her, soaking her skin, and that surge of magic that came right before the transformation flowed through her as she dove into the water, only barely going under before turning into a mermaid.
From below the surface, she could see everything turn white as another bolt of lightning split the sky.
She took off. She had no idea where Zane would be, but she'd try his favourite spots first. She pushed through the water as fast as she could, feeling it swirl around her. She swam this way and that, seeing fishes and dolphins and even a shark, but no Zane.
Her heart was pounding, both because of fear and because of the sudden exercise the swimming proved – when she challenged Emma or Cleo, they usually didn't swim this far – but adrenaline kept her going.
Upon reaching the third of the five spots she'd decided to search first – all of them favourites of Zane's – she saw the underside of a boat and a human in the water.
She swam closer, and she recognized Zane's clothes, his body and the dark of his hair.
Rikki broke the surface, taking a deep gulp of air before going down again, knowing that she would be the highest point if she stayed up.
She swam up right next to Zane. There was no way she could keep herself safe, and him, and not reveal the fact that she was still a mermaid, so she might as well get it over with.
She broke the surface right next to the boat, right next to him.
He was gasping and spluttering, waves crashing onto him, rain drowning him from above.
"Zane," she said. "Zane!"
He caught sight of her, and his eyes widened. "Rikki? What—you—then you're—how?"
"Yes, I'm a mermaid, no I don't have time to explain, and yes, I'm here to save you," Rikki said, smiling slightly at the fact that she could make him speechless. "Come on, before you get electrocuted."
"I had to get out of the boat," he gasped. "When the thunder started—couldn't stay in there."
"I know," she said. "I'm glad you're not in the boat – you'd've been dead by now."
She grabbed his wrist, and made him hold onto the ropes on the side of the boat.
"Hold on tight and I'll take you and the boat to land," she said.
"We're closest to Mako," Zane said.
Rikki nodded. She already knew; after months of being a mermaid, she had a pretty good grasp on the waters around Mako and the city.
Dragging the boat and Zane along was heavier than she'd first thought, as the waves pulled in the other direction. As she got her speed up though, she it became easier. Every few moments, she looked back to see that Zane was still holding on.
It took a matter of minutes to get to the shores of Mako Island. Zane let go of the boat and stumbled onto the beach, exhaustion winning out soon enough, and he fell into the sand, and stayed down.
Rikki secured the boat and pulled herself up to him, and turned him over.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"I feel like I'm in 'The Little Mermaid'," Zane said softly. "I'm being rescued from the sea by a beautiful mermaid."
"I don't sing, though," Rikki said.
"That's okay," Zane said.
He held up a hand and touched her cheek, and pulled her to him. Her warm lips met his cold ones, and she felt him shivering beneath her. Rain was still pouring down over them. She pulled away, looking around.
"Come on, we have to get up and under cover," she said. "I can't just lie around here as a mermaid."
"But you're such a pretty mermaid," Zane mumbled.
Rikki shook her head. Zane was nearly out, and she would have to drag him up further, lest he get sick in the chilly rain.
Finally realizing that it wouldn't work, Rikki sighed.
"Fine," she said. "I'm taking you to the moon pool. Can you hold your breath while I take you through the tunnel?"
"Mhmm," he mumbled.
She grabbed him and took him out to sea once more. It felt odd to have a boy resting his head against her shoulder as she held him tight, and even odder was the thought that this was Zane Bennett, spoiled rich boy.
She hurried through the underwater tunnel, knowing that although she had no trouble holding her breath, Zane would not be as good at it.
He coughed as they broke the surface in the moon pool, and she pushed him up on the side of the pool.
"There, now we can get dry," she said.
The opening at the top of the cave didn't allow much rain to drip down, and what little did come through could be dried off by her without a problem.
She dried herself off before she started on him. He was lying on his back, apparently exhausted, and she wondered just how long he'd been fighting against the waves and the rain. He'd been quite far out, and she hadn't noticed the storm until it was over land – it could have been out there for a lot longer.
She warmed his clothes beyond dry; she let them get warm and nice. Then she pulled him up so that he sat with his back to her front.
"Come on, lazybones," she said. "I was out swimming for nearly as long as you, and I'm not sleeping."
She ran her fingers through his hair, wondering if she should be worrying. The water was cold at this time of the year – what if he got sick because of it? She couldn't swim with him all the way back to the mainland, and she couldn't take him in the boat as long as it rained.
He stirred and woke up.
"This is a nice way to wake up," he said.
"Don't get used to it," she said.
"Might have to get caught in thunderstorms more often," Zane said. There was a tired note to his voice that suggested that he wasn't as up to bantering as he usually was.
She didn't answer, continuing to thread her fingers through his hair instead. It was soft to the touch.
"How did you find me?" he asked when he realized she wasn't going to answer.
"I searched your favourite spots," she said. "Good thing you're predictable."
"I'm not," he said.
"Yeah," she said gently. "You are."
He was silent for a few seconds and then he said. "You're not predictable. You're still a mermaid – that's not predictable. Why didn't you tell me?"
"After what happened?" Rikki asked. "Do you really have to ask?"
"I didn't tell Dr. Denman about you," he said. "I didn't know about you. I just wanted answers to my questions. And you could have answered them much earlier – you were telling me I was crazy, and all the while, you were a mermaid yourself."
"I don't usually go around telling people I'm a mermaid!" Rikki said.
"Most people don't get rescued by mermaids, so they don't believe in them," Zane said. "Which one of you saved me from the boat?"
Rikki sighed. "Emma. And yeah, we wished she hadn't afterwards."
Zane stilled at that.
She rolled her eyes. "It's not that we want you dead. We just—you were troublesome."
Zane gave a small nod that made it obvious that the notion that she wished him dead had hurt. He wasn't relaxed in her arms anymore, but stiff and uncomfortable. Still, he didn't get up.
"I should've told you," Rikki said. "You've been through a few things that are mermaid related, really. More than most – and it didn't start with Emma saving you."
"That kiss on Mako?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah," Rikki said. "The full moon makes us do crazy things. I heated up like a human torch. I don't remember any of it, but you said I kissed you, and Lewis and the others found you completely dehydrated, so—"
"I was in the hospital for hours after that," he said. "I didn't wake up until after three hours there."
"Yeah," she said, "Sorry. Didn't mean to do it."
He shrugged against her, the movement small and smooth. "What else?"
"Uh, let's see," Rikki said. "I was the reason why Miriam's pool went dry at her party. Cleo being under the spell of the full moon was what made her a siren for a day. And – uh – I saved you from a buttload of sharks."
At the last part, he turned around. "The filming thing—when I tried to break my father's record – that time? Those bubbles – that was you?"
She blushed, and nodded.
"So when you talked to me that night – it wasn't because you just believed in me – it was because you were actually there," Zane said.
She felt rather uncomfortable, wondering how he'd react to the knowledge.
"I guess I owe you guys my life a few times over," he said softly, settling back against her.
Surprised, she could only sit there and hold him.
"I'm sure there'll come a day when you can repay the favour," she said.
"By then, you'll have saved my ass another dozen times," Zane said, and she could hear his smile.
"If you didn't get into these situations, you wouldn't need to be saved," she said. "I mean, don't you watch the weather reports before going out?"
He shrugged again. "I figured there'd be time to get back."
"You're an idiot," she said.
"No kidding," he said, and turned around again. "Only an idiot lets you go."
"No, listen," he said. "I don't want us to be just friends. I'm in love with you – all of you, mermaid and everything. I want you to be my girlfriend."
"You're in love with me?" she asked, astounded.
"You hadn't noticed?" Zane asked, sounding rather amused.
"You were an ass before, you're an ass now – not all that much to notice," Rikki said.
"Aw, that hurts," he said, and there was something in his eyes that told her that it did hurt him to hear her say that.
She leaned forward and kissed him. It felt good, no, better, than the one earlier on the beach. Now he was aware, his lips warm and soft, and so inviting. The kiss made her body tingle.
"That's not how a person without feelings kisses," Zane said.
Rikki chuckled, avoiding eye contact. "I don't know yet."
"Do you mind us continuing to kiss every now and then while you figure it out?" he asked.
She glanced at him, smiling slightly. "I guess we could do that."
He grinned widely and kissed her again. When he pulled back, there was a blissful smile on his face that had her giggling.
"I really have to get caught in thunderstorms more often," Zane said.
Author's notes: I hope you enjoyed. There are more stories coming; the prompt table I've chosen to do for this fandom is for ten hurt/comfort stories. Two will be Lewis/Cleo, and the rest will be Zane/Rikki.