Challenge #103: Floating

She had long adored him from afar, since the day shed seen him taking a private moment in the garden. Shy, gawky, and still shining with the excitement of her new commission as an Oz soldier, she watched him from behind a trellis laced with white roses. "Treize Kushrenada," she breathed, taking in the sweet garden air. Her errand forgotten, she watched him until he went inside.

She made her way to where hed stood, wanting to see what hed seen. It was pleasant enough, with trimmed bushes and soft grass. It smelled of roses and a hint of lavender. But why he had seemed so at peace escaped her. Midii pushed her glasses - she didn't really need them, but a thin layer of plastic between her and the world made her feel better - up higher on her nose and tried to convince herself to ask him next time she caught sight of him.

Midii conveniently forgot that brave thought when she was in the same room as him, instead stepping back to where she wouldn't be noticed, to watch. He was so confident, so thoughtful, so certain of his place in the world. She wanted that for herself.

Then she was ordered to go on a shuttle with Treize, to inspect an orbital facility. First to the shuttle, one look made her dry-mouthed with fear. There was nowhere to hide. She adjusted her glasses and told herself there would be other people, and that she, the shy, plain daughter of an unremarkable Colonel, would go unnoticed.

Treize arrived, and the shuttle's door closed. As Midii strapped herself into her seat, her hands shook. There was no one else. He settled into his seat without a word, though, and seemed to take no notice of her.

After the terrible roar and pressure of launch, when the strange, floating feel of space took over, he turned to look at her. Smiling, he freed himself from the restraints with ease, then floated up from his seat and somehow executed a bow. "The Lady Une, I presume," he said, his voice rich and golden.

Midii looked down at her knees, her shoulders tightening. "I'm afraid you're mistaken, Major Kushrenada. Im no daughter of nobility. Merely a second lieutenant."

"I see," Treize said, chuckling. "Please, come join me. We might as well stretch our legs."

Her hands were twice as shaky as she undid the straps, and bounced between her own seat and the one in front of her as she stood. "You must think me a fool. I've never been in zero gravity before," she said, looking at the seats, at the floor, at anything but Treize, adjusting her glasses.

A warm hand caught hers up, pulling her into the air. Midii gasped as Treize whirled her gracefully, as at home floating free in a shuttle as he was on the dance floor during the grand military balls. When she stole another glance at him, he laughed, the sound of a shared joke, not of mockery.

After a breathless waltz to music only he could hear, they drifted to a halt, hanging over the seats. "I've watched you as well, Lady Une," Treize said, his eyes sparkling with good humor. "I'm forced to conclude that if I wait for you to strike up the conversation, we'll never speak."

"I'm... sorry," she said, uncertain.

Treize let go of her hand, but rather than pushing her away, he used it to pull her glasses off. "We all must hide away, sometimes. But when it is just you and I, there's no need of that."

"Why?" she asked, forcing herself to meet his eyes. She expected the intensity of him to burn her up, now that he'd taken away her childish excuse for armor.

"For the same reason we float here," Treize said, touching her face. "There's still gravity where we are, in orbit. But now, we're always falling, toward the Earth. An endless fall that feels like flying. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to kiss you." And he did.