Disclaimer: I do not own Gokaiger or the characters.
Yes, I know: I am supposed to be working on something else. And I am, but I am on an action scene and I tend to struggle with them, so I wrote this to take a break and work through the painful block on 'Le Ossa'. I may end up putting all of my drabbles on this one story-holder because I have short ideas that just do not have the right themes or 'OOMPH' for a one-shot, you know? I would love to try my hand at LukaAhim, Gai in general, or other short spurts of creativity. So for now, this is my brain's leftovers, but I would love a review if you had the time.
Drabble I - 'Chasm' - Because a void cannot be filled by one of the same.
(Joe/Ahim). Mentions of Episode 13.
Her hair was down.
Perhaps it coincided with the lateness of the hour. Though a white sweater hung on her shoulders, underneath she wore only a thin, sleeveless nightgown. Perhaps she had risen from sleep to complete this task – or had not yet made it to that blissful impasse.
The swordsman guessed the latter. He hovered over her shoulder with a frightening silence as she was engrossed in her task.
So much so that when he finally spoke, her breath stuck fast in her throat and the pen leapt from her thin fingers with almost humorous, slapstick gusto.
"Who is this for?" he inquired, folding his arms tightly. Stared down at the paper with some indefinable combination of curiosity and suspicion, he twitched the dark, graceful ends of his hair away from his face. The better to glare with.
"I am writing a letter, Joe-san," she responded, turning her head only enough to welcome him into her peripheral vision. Though he feels intrusive, her lack of honesty is too obvious to ignore.
He leaned over further – or loomed, one could say.
"You started to write an 'N'." His tone may echo monotone, but the fact that he had not bothered to leave validated his irritation. Ahim moved her fingers carefully, even absentmindedly, over the words. Her discomfort seemed to latch onto him, now, seeping quietly beneath his skin.
His eyes dipped for a second, and he coughed in a manner seeming pathetically insincere – goosebumps rose and swept across her collarbones, reaching past the hem of her nightdress. Down to the beckoning parts of her that he always pretends do not exist.
"Joe-san . . . remember quite some time ago when I ran into trouble with the Zangyack? Alone?"
"When they took you, you mean?" A sharp snap of a sentence, with a mean bite.
"Yes. And I met Nashida."
"A kind man."
Joe did not respond – a shady character, his mind supplied, but Ahim's tone did not appreciate his suspicion.
A silence blossomed, and Ahim sighed, taking up the pen again. Her penmanship was impeccable, and Joe could not help notice how ridiculously precise her loops and crosses and dots were.
"What about him?" Joe asked, moving his head slightly to try reading her latest sentence.
"I am writing to him," she finished airily, as though it had settled the matter. Indeed, her shoulders rose against her neck while she learned further over the table, further obscuring the letter.
"Why?" Joe demanded. Instantly he recognized the tone. His tone. The same tone he had used when speaking with his Captain about this man who had been "hanging around" at the end of that battle. They had shared their masculine, overprotective, simultaneous nod of assent about this unknown character. They had been taut and at the ready when the former princess had gone up to him. He had bowed. She had spoken to him. So close, so kind. The crew had watched him carefully.
And Joe had watched her smile.
"Well, why not?" she responded, for all the world sounding as evasive and cheeky as Luka.
"Again I ask, Joe-san, why not? I enjoy corresponding with him."
"What do you tell him?"
"Nothing would put any of us in danger, if that is what you are worried about."
"Why do you mistrust him, Joe-san?" She laid down the pen and carefully tugged her sweater tight around her nightdress. Folding the letter carefully, she continued. "Or do you believe that I am not capable of discerning this man's character?"
Joe realized how sloppily he had handled this – the tone in her voice was surprisingly chilly. It was as poignant as if she had raised her voice, but this was how she always dealt with things. Gracefully. Calmly.
"I didn't mean to imply that."
"I am sure you did not."
Without warning she rose from the chair. He instinctively pulled it away so she had room to turn away from the table; she turned and inclined her head.
"Thank you. Now if you will excuse me . . ."
He stood in the dim main room with more questions poised on his lips. Now they are nothing but rough-edged, bristling emotions which he cannot express kindly or eloquently. His gaze rested somewhere in the space between her gently curved shoulder blades as she began to walk away. Eventually his eyes fell to her bare feet, the footsteps of her departure like enticing whispers upon the wood.
And now she hears the real question: Why are you writing to him?
She did not answer, and he took heavy, booted footsteps toward her. Facing away with her head bowed low, his eyes took in stupid and irrelevant details. The tangle of her dark, loose locks and the tense muscle twitching in her left calf, as if she were ready to flee.
Behind her he stood, only centimeters separating her trembling body from his. He detested his unrelenting ability to upset her and demonstrate such a lack of any ounce of emotional comfort.
"Letter-writing was a hobby of mine," she said quietly. How hard she tried to maintain her level voice, yet it was on the brink of a sob. "I wrote letters to other nobles, but my preference was to write to, and on the behalf of, the common people. They needed a voice."
She straightened and lifted her head high, regaining the composure bred deep in her marrow; as if it had suddenly returned, Joe watched her set her shoulders, spine undulated, solidified. A pirate that never forgot her grace.
Before his mind could rationally process a thing, he softly grasped her upper arms with calloused, scarred hands. It was not a sweet gesture – that same sprouting spine existed for him as well. Bred a soldier, he was far too guilty to strip away his armor.
His heavy exhale gently tossed her hair.
Whether she had relented and leaned back or he had moved forward to touch, neither knew for sure. Her voice was another whisper, tenuous but alluring and almost raspy. Again, with a touch of frost. Though he loved her voice sweet, to be sure, he had fell victim to the vulnerable sounds of loss.
It felt wrong to love a voice laced with pain.
"Besides . . . I have no one else to write to."