Disclaimer: I own nothing except my brain's odd ideas.
This is listed on my 'currently working on' section of my profile. I am close to finishing the DocAhim / everybodyAhim oneshot: It has a record player and jealousy, so should be fun. Ideas just spill out of my head so much and I'm honestly lucky I am on break (but only for two more weeks!) or I won't finish things. Oh by the way, I ran this idea past Sir Koji and want to hear opinions: Past suitor turns up, corrupted by and working for Zangyack, Ahim's diplomat skills, jealousy, action!fights, she has to work her royaltycard to save her team? Y/N? I mean, I'll likely take a crack at it regardless of your opinions, no offense, haha, but feedback is friendship, ne?
Anyway, on to this: Likely three parts again - I like to keep it short. These first blurbs are Ahim's. This is independent of other stories unless I make a note of it (but I tend to intertwine little parts). As usual, JoeAhim with sprinkles of others because it's always a pirate lovefest. Loose drabble-plots ftw.
01. She can become indignant.
Though he is used to walking past her door, he usually does not stop to chat. A quick glance to see what she is doing, he rarely chooses to disturb her peace.
But today she is on the dangerous top step of a stool, changing a light bulb – as he crosses the threshold he registers she has a screwdriver in her hand. That is secondary, however, to him rushing in the room because now she is on her tiptoes, struggling to reach-
He pulls her down without a word, into his arms; she sags on him and tilts her head in question, carefully adjusting her many frills and skirts.
"My light burnt out," she began, "and I asked Doc if he could change it, but Luka needed him to fix the hinges on her door."
Joe knows that Luka just had the hinges repaired a few days ago, and sighs; there was no reason she should be-
"And pardon me, Joe-san," she continues, cheeks reddening, "But I can use a tool on my own."
Finally giving her proper attention, he studies her face only to find her bestowing upon him a sort of offended pout. Indeed, red still sprinkles the rounds of her cheeks and now her arms cross one another, folded against her chest. She seems almost . . . indignant.
Holding her tightly still, he smirks; she holds her stare and purses her lips.
Nothing breaks the crackling atmosphere, the tense and poised silence. Not even Gai, who happens to be wandering down the hall, enthusiastically perfecting his opening fighting sequence. He whirls and leaps past the open door with appropriate sound effects to match, then walks backward to gaze inside with a confused expression.
"Is there a reason you are smiling?" Ahim whispers, tone light, polite, and laced with a warning.
Still gracing her with his smoldering smirk, he takes the screwdriver from her hand for no other reason than a selfish desire to wind her up.
02. She is attentive.
Because no one else awakens with the sun as she does.
In the still and quiet Galleon, she pitter-patters around in slippers. Staying out of his way.
She knows his routine all too well.
When he emerges, dressed, ready to warm-up for the day with his calisthenics, he sees the small pile of items she has stacked on the seat of his incline bench.
A folded, fresh towel to wipe his face. The countless things with which he adorns his wrist. Pendant. The cord for his hair.
And on the table, a cup of steaming tea.
"Ahim," he says quietly, "You can go back to sleep if you want."
Shaking her head, she comes around the corner with his coat in one hand, a teacup in the other. Always graceful. The sunrise splashes her cheeks with gold.
"I am quite accustomed to being awake early," she responds quietly, sitting upon the couch. Carefully producing a needle and thread, she smiles at the rips and tears in his coat and begins her task.
It is the home he has never known, and the home she has lost.
Two broken persons beyond mere words, adept and talented in the art of silence.
03. She has a few skeletons.
Luka has never inquired about the ring on Ahim's finger. To say how unusual that is would be the greatest understatement, and Joe wonders how no one else has noticed.
Gai asks at the dinner table, one ordinary night after losing spectacularly to Joe in an arm wrestling match. The captain stuffs his face with gusto, oblivious.
"So is it just a fashion statement . . . or you know," the sixth member wiggles his eyebrows, flashing a dazzling, cheeky grin, "A gift? A promise? A former suitor?"
Luka's boot connects with his shin, and he lets out a bellow worthy of a wounded animal. Pouting, he glares across the table.
Ahim places her fork at the edge of her plate, and for a moment, a shadow passes across her round face. Then she raises her hand and waves it, laughing, like the tinkle of a small silver bell. "Oh, Gai-san, it is such a long story. And anyway, it is time for tea." She rises from the table. With the utmost grace, her dismissal leaves the subject to wither and die.
Along with Joe's appetite.
Later, he would hear the most wrenching sobs she has ever cried – more painful than the tears she shed for the planet she's lost. Something guttural and selfish, an emotion so tightly bound to her heart that the slightest touch leaves it shuddering. The darkest secrets and desires of a person, removed from the current task at hand and her wants and needs; after all, she's said more than once that this is her family, her future, and her heart.
Steeling himself to open the door, he does so – but only a sliver. It is enough, for he can see in an instant just what this is. The ring she clutches. The candle. The slightly worn photograph, crumpled here and there from her horrifying flight from Famille.
"A gift? A promise? A former suitor?"
When an unknown man's name whispers on her lips, Joe knows it is all of the above.
The furious prowling, the heavy steps will give the First Mate away, but he has to find something to punish in his jealous wake – even if it is himself. And all of the ex-princess's dreams fall victim to flames.
The smoke curls into wisps as delicate as the loops of her hair.
04. She has a little black dress.
When the click-clicks of her shiny dress shoes echo across the deck, everybody has a dramatic double-take. Doc flushes as red as his captain's coat, and the latter leans forward in his chair, mouth open slightly. Gai climbs onto the table and points, letting out a yell that reaches the rafters; Luka jumps to her feet, hands clapping together as she exclaims, "Aaah! Ahim, you look adorable!" Glancing at her captain and then Gai, she snaps, "Get your jaws off the floor, boys."
Brought downstairs presumably by Gai's yell, Joe rolls his eyes as he descends the stairs in a languid fashion. "Did something happen?" Crossing the deck to observe his captain, he frowns and follows his gaze-
And somehow, Joe manages to collide with the pole behind the chair. No one sees it, for which he is grateful, but now he is a blustering mess. Gai leaps from the table and tackles the swordsman by the shoulders, hissing, "Ahim-san looks – well, she looks-"
Joe covers Gai's mouth, stares at the floor.
"What's all this about?" Doc asks, the tips of his ears burning red.
Ahim's toes point in ever-so-slightly, and she begins to fiddle with one diamond earring; the elegant, dark hair bun reveals her slender neck. Clearly, she has clothes other than her usual frilly choices, though the little black dress is not without puffy sleeves. Ever graciously and classily dressed, though, she has thin dress gloves which reach above her elbows, and the hem is long enough. "You see, Luka-san had a date, but she decided she did not want to go-"
"Good!" Doc interjected.
"-but I felt sorry for him, and he was so very nice-"
"So Ahim is going instead!" Luka finishes, circling her sister and adjusting a thin wisp of hair.
"Why didn't you want to go?" Doc asks, trying and failing to sound casual.
Luka shrugs. "Bad investment. Give us a twirl!"
Ahim carefully and slowly turns, earrings catching the light. Gai whips out his cellular and holds it in front of him; Joe slaps his hand down irritably, glancing at Ahim as she continues to rotate. To his other side, Marvelous is jabbing buttons and huffing: "How do you take pictures on this?"
Now Joe forcibly rips the cellular from his captain's hand and tosses it aside.
Gai snaps a photograph, grinning like an idiot.
Ahim walks toward the exit, carefully dislodging Gai's cellular from his grasp; still beaming, he hardly notices. Waving, she begins to leave, only to stop and half-turn toward the main room. Her captain has resumed his love affair with food, Doc turns back to his project, and Gai remains in a smitten heap on the floor.
"Joe-san? I was wondering if you could possibly help me down the ropes?"
That same tendril of hair tumbles out of her bun, cradling her face. For a second he is frozen and similarly confused – she uses the ropes in a dress every single day. It is not until he hears Luka's impatient "Tuh!" that his brain unstalls.
Joe decides that the next time she wears this dress, it will be for a better occasion than a poor soul's pity date. After all, it would make her happy, and she deserves better. The few seconds he receives now will be his.
He takes care to step on Gai's fingers as he follows her soft giggle out the door.
05. She wonders . . .
. . . if she might like him.
And then, she remembers they are pirates. That she is an ex-princess (or is she?) and he, an ex-soldier.
She has lost too many princes; she decides she cannot risk losing him, either. The safest thing to do is to keep him at a distance, for his poor sake. He will not be brought into the deadly game of thrones.
In the end, it will save him.