Disclaimer: You know the drill.

Ahim/Joe/Doc. Joe's POV. I would like to write Doc's POV of this; let me know if I should. Short, loose-blurb brain leftovers of character exploration. Ending is open to interpretation. Professionally as well as personally, my weakness has always been overwriting; first and foremost, I tend to be a creative writer more than a technical writer. So working on short things is my method of justification for writing fanfiction instead of doing what I should be. Apologies about the ugly ellipses, but the website eats the rest of my separators and those huge bars just ruin the feel. If you want the one with the natural space flow, please read this at 'Archive of Our Own'.

Aggiungere Un

"Because he is everything the First Mate isn't."



Sometimes, it's nice not being the only one to awaken with the dawn. I figure you have experience with rising early, what with the rituals, meetings, and the necessity of the royal presence. At least, that's the impression I got when being a part of the Special Forces.

You in your dresses and I in my armor: It's almost the beginning of a bad fairytale for children.

Then I realize it's silly to think about at all.



I think you might be a better shot than me.

And it's irritating.



On that note, Doc is always spinning and tossing you during battles.

It's fighting, it's nothing.


Always –

It's just annoying.



I'm a bit concerned that you're beginning to distract me from my workouts. You're there in the morning, making tea and sewing while doing all these other little things that you do. It's difficult to explain.

Some of them are simple, like sweeping, and then other times, you just sit down and take apart your gun with the tiniest fingers I think I've seen on a person. No, really. Who taught you how to do that?

Because it wasn't me.

Not that it matters, you're just cleaning it and that's completely necessary. Perhaps these are irrational concerns.

Except when you clean mine, and I never ask you to do it.

This is where the problem lies, because once your fingers start moving, my crunches stop. My mind halts.

Scratch everything I said: This is definitely my own issue.



P.S. – When you're writing letters late at night, you should wear a thicker sweater.

The main deck is cold at night.



The fact that you can tell the age of a sample of liquor and where it was bottled just by sight and smell is weird.

And strangely –

Erm –



Must be the 'royal' thing.



Lately, I've had less sleep than usual. Thinking more. Much more.

When I explained it to Luka, she laughed (of course) and said it was emotions. That it was lo—a feeling that isn't wrong to have.

It could be heartburn.

Or heartbreak.



Luka finds it hysterical and ironic that I am bothered by Doc, of all people. Apparently, she was waiting for me to snap at Marvelous for getting too close, not the kind and gentle Hakase.

And for the record, I wasn't being out of line, because cooking doesn't require gentle touches on the arm and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to flash these giddy, stupid smiles. It's unnecessary.

Normally you come to me – but now your tears and fears fall on his ears.



I wasn't aware that you nearly kissed Gai while my idiot captain and I were repairing our damage to the ship.

Good thing you didn't; I would have broken his arm.

But only for your sake, because obviously that would have been a disaster and you wouldn't have liked it.

Not one bit.



Vaguely, I wonder if you'll ever have to rule again. What you will do after the Captain's dream is complete. That would mean that we've thought about dreams and life after this. That we've lain awake and conjured scenarios and looked toward the future.

You have a job to do – one that I don't want to think about. And me, well, I don't think I deserve what I've been thinking of. Our dreams won't converge or cross; you will go one way and I another.

Insides twisting. I know I've lost you – and to someone kind, domesticated, and stable. Things you want and need with qualities that are logical. When you smile at me, all I hear is rushing and roaring, the thundering of an army's advance.

Sopping with angry sweat, my weapons splinter everything within my grasp.

. . . Aggiungere Un.

. . . and in that dazzling hall of light, upon red carpets and among hallowed, desolate eaves, you're speaking things I cannot understand.

"I cannot rebuild alone, Joe-san."

Somehow, some way, another chance falls into my lap: The drums swell again.