We accumulate a number of things over the years. / preseries, Tom's Workers, anthology


rolling in against the shore


Very early on, Iceberg is still in a bit of awe.

He finds himself sitting up well into the night at Tom's drawing desk, with just the lamp light for company. He paws through the stack of blueprints for the Sea Train, looking over every detail, pulling the papers up close to his face to read Tom's cramped writing. He can hardly wrap his head around it. Tom has spent the last several months trying to finish these, perhaps much longer simply fostering the dream, and he told the judge it could be done in just ten years. Iceberg does the math with silent ease, slips another thick blue sheet of drafting paper to the bottom of the stack. He'll be in his twenties, then. It's hard to imagine.

And holding Water 7's last hope in his hands, knowing the sheer scale of what they're going to be doing...

To Iceberg, it seems a fantastic, impossible feat.

But good old Tom sleeps as soundly as ever. This is the first time in a long while that Iceberg has seen him turn in before everyone else, or sleep the full night without tossing and turning. He's tired from the day's work and content with their progress, though it hardly seems like progress at all, when Iceberg thinks of all the work that's still ahead. He's just as worn out as Tom is, but can't seem to shut off his brain once it's time to stop. He's too eager to keep working to lay down and rest, too full of that familiar ache in his muscles, that soreness in his hands.

Around the fishman's girth, Franky lifts his head, hair mussed from rolling around, looking surly, and Iceberg frowns right back at him, lowering the stack of paper with a soft rustle that seems incredibly loud in the warehouse. Franky scrubs his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Idiotberg," he grumbles, voice lost in a sleepy roughness that will be more commonplace in just a few short years, "Cut the light off, we're tryin'a sleep here."

Iceberg keeps his own voice low when he replies, though he's merely teasing, "I don't see why you're acting so tired, all you do is play all day long."

"Hey! What I'm doin' is real work, too!"

Franky raises his voice at the slight and Tom startles them both into silence when he guffaws in his sleep, turning over onto his side, away from the light. Franky bares his teeth in a grimace, tugging blankets out of his way, and Iceberg reaches up to cut off the lamp. He tucks the blueprints safely back into the drawer of Tom's desk, and when he climbs over Tom's slender legs to get to his own pallet he stomps Franky in the hip, mutters under his breath, "You're the one that's going to wake everyone!"

He gets elbowed in the ribs as he's settling under the blankets.

"You're the one makin' me yell, ice for brains!" Franky says between his teeth, face half-buried in the pillow, hands and knees all pushing into Iceberg's space until Iceberg makes an aggravated noise and shoves him back against Tom. The fishman's stomach gives, he huffs out a tah, but doesn't stir again.

"You're not coming over here to me," Iceberg says, a foot in Franky's chest to keep him at bay, "If Mr. Tom's on your pallet then turn him over."

Franky grumbles, "He weighs like a ton, you try turnin' him over!" and he wads himself up in the folds of his blanket, lays diagonally between Iceberg and Tom and curls around his pillow. He's out again in no time at all, and Franky sleeps like the tide rolling in against the shore, just as soundly as Tom does. Iceberg has given up shoving the unwanted limbs off, because if it's not a leg across him, it's an arm, or Franky as a whole, and he has learned to deal with these small annoyances, tucking his head underneath the pillow so he doesn't get kicked in the ear or the nose. He's used to the movement, the noise and the warmth, and without them, by now, he probably couldn't sleep at all.

He can't imagine it being any different, years down the road.


(A/n) To clarify the word "anthology", this is a collection of drabbles and one-shots (some are super short like this one, others are about 2/3K wow) that take place during the ten years Tom's Workers built the Sea Train. They're all (for the most part) in chronological order, and a few new chapters have been added since the original run!