At First Sight
The air wasn't hot nor cold—it was just the right kind of cool temperature for lifting. It did not bite her sensitive skin while she sped through it on her board, her waist-long pink hair for once bound to prevent getting in her way while she rode the trapars. The sky was clear and the sun was shining out and the whole idyll of her wave-riding experience made something in her chest swell at the perfection of the moment.
Then somewhere below her there was a loud thud and someone stringing a long line of profanities afterwards.
She ignored the noise and focused on the peace and quiet around her, on the heavenly feel of this spot and just how perfectly nice it was—
—if whoever kept falling off their board would just stop making that hellish racket…!
A vein popped into visibility on Anemone's otherwise perfectly smooth forehead. This had definitely not been her idea when she'd asked the researchers to let her go wave-riding…
She spared a haughty glance over her shoulder at whoever was ruining one of her very few time-outs to find a person she'd never seen—but if his size and build were any indication, he had to be somewhere around her age—before trying to keep himself on a board. She had to stifle a laugh while she silently observed him—he really had no idea how to do this, did he? Oh, how very pathetic a sight he made, struggling so desperately to stay in the air… and failing miserably every time.
No wonder he'd made that much noise—whenever he managed to gain some speed and height, he made a wrong move or turn that would then send him plunging towards the ground head-first.
She sighed heavily. Judging from his ineptness at handling himself on a board, it was probably his first time getting on one and he obviously had no talent for it. So why he kept struggling trying to tackle something that definitely did not suit him was beyond her.
She tried to mind her own business, to ignore the nuisance that this guy was, imposing on her private spot and riding time, but Anemone had never been known for her patience and soon this fellow was so soundly grating on her very last nerve that she decided she'd have to take some action against him.
Meanwhile, several hundred meters below, an increasingly bruised and troubled Dominic pulled himself to a sitting position after the board had sent him sprawling again.
This was just not good. Wasn't there really any way to make himself stand on that … that idiotic thing for longer than a few seconds?
What was he doing wrong anyway? He didn't understand anything about trapars or lifting but it was a prerequisite if he wanted to make it to the particular squadron of the army that he was aiming at and he didn't plan on giving up his ambition just because of an imbecilic obstacle like this!
He'd read some magazines and the like to prepare himself for the real thing but it didn't do him much good in the end. It only went to show that theory was one thing but it could rarely actually be put to practice by a complete newbie.
He gave a long suffering sigh and his eyes rolled up towards the girl that had been doing flips in the sky ever since he'd first arrived. She made it look so easy, so why did it seem just about impossible for him to tackle this kind of sport? Not that he'd ever been the sporty type though…
Looking at how gracefully she swept across the air and how ethereally her bubblegum pink hair swung in the wind made her seem like a beautiful apparition, just a figment of one's imagination while she cruised on her board.
He flushed slightly, shaking his head and shifting his eyes away. What was he doing, staring at a girl like that? He should be focusing on the lifting, lifting—he was bad enough when he was fully concentrated on it; who knew just how he'd do if he was daydreaming?
Nodding to himself determinedly, he took the board securely in his hold and ran forward, creating some momentum for himself. When he felt it was enough, he kicked off, his legs shaking and uncertain on the board. He keeled over to the one side, and then in his attempt to stabilize his flight keeled to the other.
Just as he'd been about to breathe a sigh of relief—he was still on it! Finally, some progress maybe?—the damn thing started shaking underneath his feet, the flow of the trapars going almost completely dry while he began plummeting downwards. He'd thought he was a goner until the board suddenly picked up on the waves again.
But he didn't have time to even overcome the turbulence, because something metallic and hard slammed into the back of his head, successfully knocking him out of the air and back on solid ground (that felt doubly more solid against his aching backside).
He scrambled up, nursing his abused head.
"Now just a minute here! Just what do you think you're—"
He'd meant to admonish whoever had knocked him off the board but when he saw the lifting girl from earlier approach him his words died in his throat for some reason. He swallowed dryly, shrinking back slightly at the intensity of the glare she was giving him with those—he only just now noticed how odd their colour was—purplish eyes of hers that seemed to look into his very soul.
Anemone had her board under her arm, a stern withering look on her face as she stepped closer towards this eyesore of an imposer.
"People who don't even have a clue how to ride a board should stay out of the skies," she said with a sneer. "Do yourself a favour and scram."
He'd been watching her with his jaw agape while she'd spoken—what a heavenly sound her voice was and she was even prettier and more exotic up close than she'd been in the distance while airborne—but when reality caught up to him and his brain wrapped itself around what had just transpired, his temper spiked.
It had most certainly been her who had knocking him off the board, there was no question about it—there wasn't anyone in the vicinity except the two of them. She'd knocked him off the board (even though he would've probably succeeded in doing that on his own not much later), from what it seemed quite purposefully and then, instead of apologizing, the first thing she says to him—a complete stranger, as a matter of fact!—is an insult?
He quickly shoved himself off the ground, turning his back on her, his hold on the board tightening until his knuckles turned white.
"It's none of your business what I do and what not, isn't it?" He was just about ready to start sputtering, but he'd lost enough dignity in front of this girl to allow himself that luxury. Just who did she think she was, anyway? Queen of the airspace? What an impudent girl… "It's not like I'm doing this because I want to!" he hissed out under his breath, his eyes narrowing to mere slits.
He heard her make a vaguely disinterested sound.
"That so? Why do you keep trying then?" She pondered her own question for a moment. "Are you some kind of masochist?"
The seriousness with which she asked made him whip his head around to glare at her and give a harsh, "Of course not!"
She seemed surprised at his outburst and, unable to hold her—mesmerizing, soul-scorching—gaze, he turned his eyes away from her.
The genuine puzzlement in her—beautiful, melodic, sweet—voice compelled something deep within him to comply, even though he still thought it was none of her business.
"It's prerequisite for the section of the military that I want to enter," he grumbled out, a disgruntled look on his features. Why had he told her? She must be just a civilian—who knew how she'd react to this kind of statement. The last thing he needed was to have her laughing at him for his ambitions. He might really flip if that happened…
Her reaction took him slightly aback.
She gave another thoughtful, dragged out hum.
"You are going to become a part of the military? This world must be really coming to a ruin…"
In his ire he failed to hear the soft sounds of her steps nearing him, and just about as he whirred around on his heel to give her his two cents about her last commentary, he ended up almost nose to nose with her. All the fight fled him, siphoning away from his body along with his anger as she studied him closely. After a moment or two of not saying anything, she seemed to have come to some kind of conclusion, as she set down her board and snatched the one in his hands' grasp, making a few steps ahead of him.
"Hey, wait a minute! What do you think—" He started to protest but she did not seem interest in listening to his complaints.
"Stand on the board like you would in the air," she commanded curtly, crossing her arms over her chest. After a few seconds of silence with him failing to comply with her demand, she grew irate, her mouth twisting just slightly. "Didn't you hear me? Do it!"
Anyone in their right mind would've maybe snapped back at her, demand just what she was doing, badmouthing them and then giving orders. But Dominic didn't even ask for an explanation because that same force that had made him answer her earlier question had him hurrying to comply with her current demand as well.
Just what was going on with him anyway?
She made a frustrated sound, massaging the bridge of her nose, when he took position.
"Wrong, wrong, even the way you stand on the board is just wrong!" she snapped at him, making his back stiffen.
He wasn't used to being yelled at so much—even less by a complete stranger.
She circled around him, studying his pose and he suddenly felt very foolish and exposed under her intense scrutiny.
"Straighten your back a little—you're so hunched the air current will blow you off the board." Her command was followed by a prompt shove between his shoulder blades, forcing him into the stance she expected to see from him. "Bend forward a little more—you aren't aerodynamic at all like that." She pushed his upper body forward with a stern hand and he wondered just where such a frail-looking girl had picked up so much strength. "Your feet should be further apart because the way you do it, you're unstable."
He couldn't help the blush that briefly rose to his cheeks when she shoved one of his legs to make him do her bidding again.
She didn't say anything about it and she didn't even ask him whether he wanted them but for the next hour and a half she gave him what he could only classify as lifting lessons: giving him tips and chastising him for his failures, telling him what he was doing wrong and how the right way to do it actually was.
He didn't complain for fear that she'd decide to leave him to his own devices—he really needed to learn how to do this—but her forceful ways of teaching were definitely not helping him be a good student. He still had a really hard time following her instructions so he couldn't help being incredibly surprised when he was finally airborne, without any turbulence and without falling off immediately.
His teacher flew to his side, a gleeful look on her face.
"See? It's not that hard—even you can do it." She laughed and he was momentarily reminded of bells chiming.
"Don't say it like that!" He complained, making a face. "Besides, I have a name, you know—it's Dominic." He told himself that it wasn't that he wanted to hear his name spoken by that wonderfully melodic voice of hers and those quirky lips she had but just common manners of introducing himself—though admittedly quite belatedly.
She laughed again at his indignant retort and raced forward at a speed he dared not use for fear of losing his fragile balance and falling off the board again, earning himself some more of her scorn or, even worse, her mockery.
"Seriously, what were you doing on a board when you can't even read the waves?" she asked him in passing, as she circled around him in an obviously demeaning way—one that he chose to ignore.
He didn't dignify her question with an answer—since she'd already asked him that before, and he'd pointed out for her that it was her the one who was weird, being able to read the invisible trapar waves—and instead went to land, though that didn't work out too well for him and he ended up with his nose in the green grass once more.
Her melodic laughter rung in circles above his head while he picked himself off the ground, trying to get back some of the massive amounts of dignity he'd lost over an afternoon.
"It's about time I returned," she said and started speeding off in loops and sharp turns towards an unknown destination over the fence of the lifting spot.
"Wait! I never got to know your—" He began but she was already out of earshot before he could finish his sentence, "name…"
He refused to acknowledge the slight hunch in his shoulders while he made his way out of the place. It wasn't like he felt depressed just because he'd never even got to hear her name or where she was from. Or over the fact it was dubious their paths would ever cross again. That would be silly and he'd made enough of a fool of himself for one day to last him a lifetime so… it was definitely nothing like that. He was just tired was all.
He did not stop to think why it seemed his whole being perked up when he heard a familiar voice cheering somewhere high above him and when he turned around to look, he could see only a whirlwind of pink and green in the wake of this lifting goddess.
"Don't you dare fall off that board anymore or at least never mention you were taught by the great Anemone—I don't want you soiling my name!" she called while she whizzed past him and higher still, and all he could do was watch after her while she turned to wave at him. "See you in the military, Dominic!"
Her loud, cheery voice lingered in the air for what felt like an eternity to him, long after she was gone. So did the wide smile on his face.
She just met him and already she was using his name without any honorific? She truly was an impudent girl.
She even had a pretty name that suited her just perfectly.
It was on the way home that he realized—with a heated blush—what that force that had compelled him to talk to her and accept her help had been.
Of course, he couldn't be sure because he didn't have any experience to fall back on but…
That must have been what people called "falling in love at first sight", wasn't it?
A/N: Plot bunnies assaulted me while I was taking a walk outside while listening to the fourth opening song to this series and I just had to write this. Opinions are largely encouraged but I should tell you that this is the first time I'm venturing to write for this fandom, so if I did a poor job, please excuse me. I have only watched the anime at current time, so the ones in there are all the facts I'm leaning back on. But Dominic/Anemone has to be one of my absolute favourite pairings so it would made me pleased beyond belief if I've done a good job of portraying them. :3 Thank you for reading!