Title: Fish Out of Water
Fandom: Dangan Ronpa
Word count: ~500 words
Summary: Water is Aoi's element, not Sakura's, but she can visit.
It wasn't until she met Asahina Aoi that Sakura truly understood what it meant to be in your element.
On land, Asahina was an ordinary girl: cute and energetic, certainly, attractive both physically and personally, and affection had rendered her beautiful in Sakura's eyes, but out of the water, she was just like anyone else.
Swimming transformed her. With an untrained eye, Sakura could nonetheless see the speed and efficiency of Asahina's swimming, and she was well aware her friend reveled in it. But the transformation went further. The first time she attended one of Asahina's competitions, she was surprised to find her dear friend nearly unrecognizable. With her curves compressed in a swimming suit on an entirely different level than those they wore at school or on the beach and her hair hidden under a cap, Sakura only had a glimpse of Asahina's smile before the swimmer put her goggles in place and transformed into a competitor.
There was no reason for it to come as a surprise. They'd met at Hope's Peak, after all. Sakura had known Asahina had to be capable of the same intense focus as she was, but she had never seen it firsthand before.
Unfortunately, swimming was still largely impenetrable to her, but of course, she was watching it from on land, her own element. All she could see was the movement of arms and the wake of kicks, heads rising above the water and diving below again. If she was going to appreciate Asahina's art she'd need to be under the water herself, and to that end she asked for lessons.
"But you already know how to swim," Asahina said. "I mean, it's not your thing, but..."
"I will never be on your level," Sakura agreed. "But I thought of the crawl stroke as the breaststroke until I met you. I certainly never learned it properly, just enough to move through the water."
"Yes. So you see, I need correction on the fundamentals, even if I never progress further."
Asahina grinned. "You don't need lessons to join me, Sakura-chan! You can just jump in anytime."
For one so guileless, Asahina was remarkably adept at seeing through Sakura's own ruses. "Even so, I would like correction on my errors."
"Sure, no problem! I'm glad you feel like swimming for a change!"
In truth, swimming was far from Sakura's favorite pursuit, and that had not changed. She preferred the clean, solid thud of impact to the slow resistance of water. But when she fitted the goggles over her own eyes and let herself drop beneath the surface during Asahina's warmup laps, it helped to know Asahina was there with her. And when she located her in the water, it was worth the price of immersion just to see, from the right perspective, the grace and elegance that were Asahina's true gift.