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Beauty Within Bitterness

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Akagi wasn't sure when she had first noticed the change in Shoukaku's behaviour. It was all of a sudden it felt like, the usually calm and gentle mannerisms of her younger counterpart disappearing into thin air only to be replaced by someone more assertive and forward.

As she sat with her fellow Carriers at the cafeteria, she watched the way Shoukaku was carelessly inching her hand up Warspite's leg as the Battleship was sat on her lap, both tucked away in the corner booth. 

It hurt to watch her, watch her become so intimate with the blonde as Shoukaku clearly displayed her affection for her by sliding her tongue in Warspite's mouth who eagerly reciprocated and buried her hands in the silver hair. Akagi instead landed her eyes on Kongou who looked like she had been punched in the gut several time whilst watching the scene too.

For it wasn't just Shoukaku's behaviour that had done a 360 degree turn for the worst, Warspite becoming more arrogant and blasé about how she spoke and to whom.

Most of the time she either ignored Kongou or teased her to no extent only to drop the Battleship like a freshly fired shell much to Kongou's dismay.

Nobody knew why they were behaving like that. Maybe they had had enough of being the wise and gentle ones, always there lending a shoulder to lean on and arms to comfort. Maybe they were fed up of always being expected to be the calm and composed ones. Maybe for once, they wanted to break the rules and hearts for a change.

And they were doing a magnificent job of the last two.

 

"Akagi, you've barely touched your food, please eat something" Houshou urged and placed a hand on the brunette's shoulder.

"I'm not hungry, someone can have my share if they'd like".

This had been a common occurrence for the Carrier recently who normally had an voracious appetite that could only be beaten by Yamato. That's when everyone knew that whatever had pushed Shoukaku away from her and into the arms of Warspite was affecting her severely.

"Listen, I know whatever has happened between you and Shoukaku-san is hurting you but you can't let your health get worse ".

Akagi abruptly stood up, her chair scraping against the floor as fury and tears lit up in her eyes, "Hurting? That's an understatement. Tell me Kaga-san, how much it would 'hurt' if you saw Zuikaku-san all over Haruna-san just after you had broken up?!".

Zuikaku stood up and placed her hands on Akagi's shoulder to calm her down but the brunette wasn't having any of it and shook her off and then stormed out only to hear Warspite call out her name.

"What's the rush Akagi? Why dont you come and join us?", the English accent grating the last of her nerves.

She didn't even bother looking at Warspite who was kissing Shoukaku's neck, her brown eyes locked onto Akagi's devastated golden ones. There was no emotion in Shoukaku's, not any towards Akagi anyway as it was clear she was aroused given what Warspite was doing to her neck.

Her mouth opened to say something to Shou but nothing came out. The last person she wanted to know that this was killing her was the woman responsible for it so she said nothing and left the cafeteria.

The gloomy aura had settled as those that were there witnessed the cold encounter whilst not knowing what to do to diffuse the situation.

Back at the Carriers table, Zuikaku noticed Haruna freeze at the mention of her name and be comforted by Hiei and Shigure as Kongou's expression remained tight lipped. If Akagi was suffering that much, she could only wonder what Kongou was feeling.

Bismarck nudged the brunette from the other side in a bid to distract her from looking at Warspite and Shou who had resumed their intense make out session.

"Forget about it Kongou, just let them be" she advised once Kongou faced her plate and poked the food with her chopsticks.

"Easier said than done when they're always in your face..or each others".

"I know but try not to let it bait you" Kirishima interjected sympathetically.

The chopsticks in Kongou's hand snapped into two much like her temper was about to do.

"Excuse me, I'm a little tired so will head back to the dorm" she spoke out monotonously.

"But Kongou onee-sama.." Hiei started to say but the brunette was gone before she could finish and had passed Warspite and Shoukaku who were catching a breather.

"Kongou, what a pleasant surprise" Shoukaku said in a sugary sweet tone whilst stroking her fingers down and across Warspite's exposed chest, the blonde whispering and kissing her ear, "I look forward to sortieing with you soon".

Kongou balled her fists tight in an effort to stop herself from lunging at Shoukaku and breaking the fingertips that were soaking up Warspite's skin. The smug smirk on the Carrier's face wasn't making it any easier to hold back so she quickly walked away before Shou truly felt the power of a Battleship.

Warspite moved her face back and brushed some of Shoukaku's fringe away, then trailed a finger down the side of her face, "Poking the bear with a stick are we?".

"I learned from the best" Shoukaku smiled and kissed Warspite's finger that had landed on her lips.

The blonde chuckled and moved her finger down Shoukaku's throat whilst following it with kisses, the Carrier containing a moan as she brushed her lips over to the side before whispering, "They've seen nothing yet".

 

Houshou exchanged another concerned look with Kaga & Zuikaku as the tension between them all was building. Not even she could get through to either Shoukaku or Warspite, both dismissing her worries and telling her that there was no need to be concerned.

They were not making things difficult for everyone else to a certain extent but seemed adamant on making Akagi and Kongou suffer for reasons unknown.

"Zuikaku, have you tried talking to her again?" Houshou asked.

Zui shook her head as Kaga held her hand beneath the table, "She tells me the same thing as you but I'll try again. It's so weird for her to be acting like this and she's shutting even me out" she sighed and leaned on Kaga.

"It'll be okay Zui" Kaga reassured, "Whatever Shoukaku-san needs to get out of her system, maybe this is the way she's doing it".

"But what about Warspite-san?".

Just then Bismarck and Kirishima approached their table and sat down either side of Houshou, their faces sharing the same concern as the Carriers.

"How's Kongou-san doing?" Zuikaku asked the two.

Kirishima adjusted her glasses, "Most likely the same as Akagi-san I believe".

"I'm going to try talking to Warspite later, see if there is anyway we can put an end to this" Bismarck added.

"Please do so, this negativity isn't doing anyone any good" Houshou replied and placed her hand on Bismarck's.

The German held it and squeeze gently as she offered the worried Carrier a soft smile as they all contemplated how this would end up.

Whether Warspite and Shoukaku would take heed of their concerns was another story after all.

 

***

 

Later that day, Akagi resided to the factory to tune her rigging and make sure everything was functioning well even though Akashi had checked her over and given her the okay.

She knew she was just trying to keep herself occupied and distracted from thinking about Shoukaku and Warspite but luck was not on her side.

"Need some help with that?".

She almost snapped her arrow in half as the smooth and eloquently formulated voice travelled through to her ear but she willed herself not to respond or turn around.

"Oh dear, you're not ignoring me are you? I'm hurt".

Taking a deep breath in, Akagi closed her eyes and breathed out whilst checking her quiver, "Of course not Warspite".

The chill was evident in the way the Carrier said her name, making Warspite chuckle.

She walked slowly till she was behind the brunette, "Glad to hear that, one would hate it if you were angry at me. Are you, Akagi? Angry at me?".

"Not at all. Now if you don't mind, I'm rather busy at the moment" came Akagi's curt reply but froze when she felt Warspite run her hand up her back and move closer, "What do you think you're doing?".

Warspite smiled and moved her hand back down so that it was resting on the small of Akagi's back.

"You're not being truthful" she chided and moved her other hand & rested it on Akagi's shoulder, "Are you angry that I managed to steal Shoukaku from you? I mean it is understandable, she truly is a woman of many...talents".

The brunette bit her lip to keep herself at bay and put the quiver down, knowing that Warspite was pushing her buttons and knowing that it was working.

"The 1st Carrier Division's pride and joy" Warspite whispered as she rested her chin on Akagi's shoulder, "Incomplete without her 5th Division flagship" she added and moved both of her arms around the brunette's waist, "Tragic really. Well, a blessing for me".

"I'm warning you, if you don't get your hands off me..".

"You'll do what Akagi?" Warspite taunted and moved her hands up Akagi's body whilst her lips landed on her neck, "I'm doing you a favour here, this is after all the only way you'll be able to feel Shoukaku so close to you again since she spends a lot of time all over me and in me".

The Carrier swallowed hard, her golden eyes staring straight ahead at the wall in front as she felt the blonde kiss her neck and trail a hand down to the top of her skirt, the other crawling up her chest. Warspite was digging without hesitance, as if it wasn't bad enough that she couldn't bring herself to move the blonde away because the scent of Shoukaku was lingering all over her.

A scent that she missed more than the smell of the ocean itself.

A scent that she could only take in when she was in their room which wasn't often now since she spent most of her time in Warspite's room.

"You know I'm right. I think you are enjoying this as much as I am" Warspite teased whilst moving her mouth up to Akagi's jaw.

Suddenly, she felt the Carrier grip her hand and pull her to the side so that she could push her up against the wall and pin her arms down.

Warspite merely giggled as she stared into Akagi's fierce eyes and mouth, her breathing heavy.

"I wouldn't mind it this way too" she taunted and smiled, "Shoukaku liked it when you got a little rough with her as well, I can see why given the energy coming off of you".

"Shut up".

"Make me, oh glorious Carrier Akagi" the blonde winked and felt the brunette push her arms into the wall harder.

Releasing one of her hands, Akagi wrapped it around Warspite's throat in a way to threaten rather than hurt her although she was teetering on the edge of doing so.

"I don't know what you said or did to make Shoukaku follow your vindictive trail but she will realise who you are one day, rest assured Warspite" she said in a low voice and squeezed a little.

Warspite's smug look remained and she grabbed Akagi's gi to pull her closer, "I highly doubt that. If you think Shou is any different than me, I pity your naiveté. Why do you think we go so well together, why do you think it is me she desires?".

The use of the shortened version of Shoukaku's name made Akagi squeeze her hand around the blonde's throat harder, "Maybe she pities you. Whatever the reason is, she'll come back to me one day but till then, stay away from me".

"It's hard to do, she has great taste after all" the blonde hit back and moved her hand into Akagi's hair to pull her closer till her lips met the Carrier's.

As she kissed her, Akagi bit down hard on Warspite's lip and pulled with vigour causing her lip to bleed. The Battleship winced but still had a smirk on her face as she licked at her wound whilst her blue eyes stayed on Akagi's golden ones.

"Appealing indeed".

"Try that again & I'll do to you what I did to your Heavy Cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire".

They stared down each other, Warspite laughing as Akagi let go and pushed her back against the wall again before turning to leave.

"I look forward to it Akagi".

 

***

 

The door to Zuikaku's room opened and in walked Shoukaku, greeting the younger Carrier as she always did. Zuikaku didn't get the brunt of Shoukaku's undermining attitude but that was obvious in some sense. Kaga on the other hand, well the tension was clearly there between the two but for the sake of Zui, both held in what they really wanted to say to each other..

"How was training?".

Shoukaku sat back on the bad with a relaxed smile on her face and then she laid down, "Strenuous but refreshing as always. Saratoga exceeds her expectations that's for sure, it'll definitely help during battles".

"Hm is that so, that's good to hear then".

"Something on your mind Zui?".

Zuikaku sighed and got up from her chair and went to sit down next to Shoukaku.

"Kaga-san not doing something right? I can always fill in" Shou teased and pulled at Zuikaku's sleeve.

"Funny" Zuikaku chuckled and looked at Shou properly, she looked the same as ever but so much had changed that she didn't even know where to begin, "Shoukaku, look, I just want to know..".

"Know what?" Shoukaku repeated and took a hold of Zui's hand.

"What this thing with Warspite-san is. Are you that mad at Akagi-san?".

"Well me and Warspite are a thing, I like her a lot".

"But you don't love her like you love Akagi-san".

Shou laughed and threaded their fingers together, "When did you become such a mind reader?".

"It isn't that hard to see" Zuikaku replied with a smile, "She's really hurting".

"That wasn't my intention Zuikaku, we just ran our course is all. Maybe Akagi will find reprieve with someone else" Shoukaku explained.

"Maybe, is there really no chance for a easier way to make this better for you both?".

"Some things have to figure themselves out so give it time and don't worry okay? It'll drive Kaga-san into madness" Shoukaku grinned and got Zuikaku to roll her eyes whilst smiling.

As Zuikaku watched Shoukaku, she knew that the answers to why she was being this way was the same but at least there was a bit more insight and clarification that she did still feel something for Akagi.

Zuikaku figured it was better than nothing and maybe it'll be enough to work with in order for them to fix their relationship.

At least she hoped but as Kaga had once said to her, hope breeds eternal misery.

 

***

 

Akagi didn't know if they were doing this to piss her off on purpose or whether she just had terrible timing.

All she wanted to do was go to her room and call it a night as she had a long training session with Houshou & Kaga in the morning but clearly the fates were testing her patience. For another night during that week, she'd have to reside in Shouhou or Zuikaku's room but given how she seemed with Kaga earlier, Akagi thought it'd be best to stay with Shouhou instead.

She willed for her feet to move and hands to cooperate and close the door but the look Warspite was giving her whilst she was on Shoukaku on the floor made her freeze.

The smug smirk, the way Shoukaku's arms were wrapped over the blonde's shoulders, the way she was begging for her not to stop, the way the Battleship was moving her body on her; it was all too much.

But still, Warspite held her gaze as a moan poured out into the room and Shoukaku moved her head back whilst grabbing her arms, Warspite's daring blue eyes burning Akagi in a patronizing manner.

Words were not needed for her to taunt the Carrier because the whole scene would be engrained into Akagi's mind.

"Warspite.." came Shoukaku breathless voice as she clutched onto her body, oblivious to the stare down between the two let alone Akagi coming into the room.

There really was no coming back from this but it was apparent as ever that Shoukaku clearly had no intention of doing so. She had found whatever it was in Warspite, the memories of her and Akagi becoming non existent and it further shred the brunette's heart into pieces.

That was all Akagi needed to shake herself out of the tortuous situation she had fallen in and hastily made an exit before she sent Warspite to an early, watery grave.

A pleased grin crossed Warspite's face whilst she turned her full attention to the Carrier shuddering under her, almost feeling bad for Akagi that she no longer had her but that thought quickly faded away when Shoukaku dug her fingers into her hair and brown eyes met hers.

"Who was that?" Shou managed to breath out as she squeezed her legs around Warspite's hips harder, her eyes opening to see the blonde's darkened ones.

"Nobody worth noting" she responded with a grin before lowering herself so that she could kiss the Carrier as she came.




 

 

With the sortie over, Kongou hoped that she could recover in the docks in peace with the rest of the fleet having had finished.

She sighed as she rested back against the wall of the bath and closed her eyes only to hear the doors slide open. It seemed that her peaceful moment was short lived as she watched the figure saunter in.

She stood at the edge of the bath as her smooth and relaxed voice spoke out "Kongou, excellent work out there today. It's always a pleasure to sortie with you" but to Kongou, it may have been the sounds of torpedoes exploding around her.

"I can't say I feel the same Shoukaku".

"My how blunt" Shoukaku laughed and dropped her towel, letting Kongou see her fully, "Care to rethink that answer now?".

The Battleship moved her eyes away and tried to pretend that she was alone again. Any side to her bubbly personality had vanished when the opportunity to rekindle things with Warspite was snatched away by Shoukaku and she was reminded of it on a constant basis.

She heard Shoukaku wade through the water but still didn't turn her way up until she stopped a few feet away from her.

"You know, I was hoping there would be no animosity between us" Shou said with feigned sadness, "Maybe I could fix that for us, it'd make Warspite happier. Isn't that what you want?".

The Battleship's vision landed on Shou's innocent looking brown eyes, "Quit while you're ahead".

"Oh so intimidating" Shoukaku giggled and moved closer towards Kongou and trailed her finger over her shoulder, "Are you the scary Battleship? Warspite isn't, she is..divine. But of course you know that".

Kongou's body went rigid at Shoukaku's touch but she refrained from doing anything yet, "Shoukaku...".

"Hm, I like the way you say my name too" Shoukaku purred and moved closer till their bodies were pressed together.

Kongou tried to back away but had no room to and watched the way Shoukaku's grin widened as she bit her lip and tilted her head. Her hands climbed up Kongou's shoulders and rested them behind her neck with barely any space between them, the temperature of the water feeling chilly compared to that of their body heat.

"No need to be so shy, Warspite has me like this every day and night so if it's any consolation, she's technically touching you too. Isn't that what you dream about, having her again?" Shoukaku said and moved one hand to rest on Kongou's chest as she ran her thumb over her lips with the other.

"I'm going to ask you one more time to get off me" Kongou firmly replied and kept her hands to the side, "You're not her, you never will be".

"Oh? Is that so?" Shoukaku grinned and kissed the side of the Battleship's mouth and then trailed her lips to her ear, "Then why dont you show me your delightful English ways. Although, I assure you Kongou, Warspite has taught me enough to make you want to ignore your precious tea time in order to continue drinking me up".

Shoukaku felt Kongou grab her arms and pull them down and then use her own arms to trap them by encircling her waist. They were tight enough that she could feel a slight burn and so that she couldn't struggle out of them.

Kongou moved her mouth to Shou's ear as she squeezed a little tighter, "Be careful what you wish for Shoukaku, you'll regret it".

"I have a feeling I won't" Shoukaku chuckled and tilted her head to the back so that Kongou's lips were on her pulse point, "I can only anticipate what a Battleship can do when she's angry and I can feel that anger radiate off you. Did you get this aggressive with my Warspite?".

Kongou squeezed harder and bit into Shou's neck hard making the Carrier shudder.

Shoukaku laughed between a moan and squirmed at the pain, "I think calling her mine hurt you more than that hurt me Kongou".

"Stay away from me or I'll finish off the job that Yorktown at Coral Sea couldn't do. Warspite will be back with me before you know it so enjoy it for now".

Shoukaku just smirked as Kongou let go of her and waded through towards the other side of the baths so that she could get away as soon as possible before she did worse.

"I'll hold you to that".

 

***

 

"Is it worth it?".

"You'll have to be more specific" Warspite said whilst drinking her tea and sending a look to Bismarck who was leaning near the door of their room.

She had her arms folded over her chest and tried to figure the blonde opposite her out.

"What you're doing to Kongou".

"And what prey tell, am I exactly doing to her?" Warspite replied with a calm expression still on her face as she placed her cup down.

"Well how do I put it gently, screwing her around with Shoukaku-san" Bismarck stated, "Is that how you behave towards someone you love?".

The blonde gave a coy smile and crossed her leg over the other, "I'm not sure what you're implying but my relationship with Shoukaku has nothing to do with Kongou. But like Akagi, she's self entitled and believes that she owns everyone just because of her strength".

"Yet she's still on your mind every time you're with Shoukaku no?" Bismarck dug in and watched a light frown cross Warspite's features.

"Maybe for an entirely different reason as to what you may be thinking Bismarck".

"Then why don't you tell me what you're thinking" Bismarck said softly and walked towards the blonde, crouching down in front of her then taking her hands in her own, "I'm not trying to make you feel bad, surely you must see the thick blanket of uncertainty that has surrounded the base. It isn't healthy".

Warspite gazed into Bismarck's attentive blue eyes looking up at her with nothing but sincerity and confusion. She placed one of her hands over Bismarck's and smiled down at the German.

"It is nothing that won't amend itself I assure you. Whatever I feel for Shoukaku is exactly what it is, Akagi and Kongou just happened to be in the way of it. We are certainly not provoking them with intent".

"You sure about that? I mean there are things you can do to elevate the tension in a practical sense" Bismarck replied.

"You are correct and they will be applied for whenever it is required. Till then, please do not worry about this situation, it will all work out for the best. As Kongou said, not every winter solstice lasts" she chuckled and squeezed Bismarck's hands.

"Not that it helped Fubuki-san" Bismarck laughed, "But if you are sure, then I'll have to trust in your words".

And that's all she could hope whilst witnessing nothing of a malevolent nature in Warspite's blues and words.

She hoped for Akagi and Kongou's sake that this debacle with Shoukaku is settled before it all reached a point where the enemy they fought became each other.

 

***

 

After a relatively enjoyable day with Haruna and the others, Kongou bade them goodnight whilst standing outside of her room that she shared with Warspite. It was a rare occurrence now that she had a day where she could seem somewhat content but that's probably due to not seeing either Warspite or Shoukaku.

She hoped the blonde would either be asleep or in Shoukaku's room but a noise from within there told her otherwise.

Not any sort of noise but the sounds of heavy breathing that got louder as she opened the door gently.

True to the nature of the sounds, none other were the rooms two occupants locked together, Warspite wrapped around Shoukaku's lap with her head tilted to the side where she was being kissed.

Shoukaku opened one eye and removed her lips off Warspite's neck, throwing a smirk at the perplexed look on Kongou's face whilst she gripped the door handle with ferocity.

It was obvious where Shoukaku's hand was as the other was holding Warspite steady around her hips and the way Warspite was rocking in & out left no room to the imagination.

The way Shou's hazy brown eyes were signalling a victory glow as Warspite moaned her name out stabbed into Kongou as each second passed but she still couldn't remove herself because Shoukaku taunting her to do something became hard to ignore.

Warspite groaned again and urged Shoukaku back to her neck which the Carrier greedily took to was more than the brunette could handle so with one last piercing death glare, she hurried out and closed the door.

She had never had that kind of a response from Warspite when they were together, it was always softer but stalled and the way the blonde was yearning for Shoukaku to take her shot Kongou's mind down as she went over the moments they were together; realising that it was all one sided.

Shoukaku grinned into Warspite's neck as she moved thumb where the blonde needed it & enjoyed the way her breathing went ragged at the move and buck her hips down.

"Was-was that somebody at door?" she asked between deep breaths & moving her arms behind Shoukaku's back so that she could hold on as she peaked.

Removing her lips off Warspite's shoulder, Shoukaku said "Nobody important" with a smile before allowing Warspite to enjoy the aftermath of her orgasm whilst searching for her lips to kiss her.

 


 

 

As the day settled, Akagi took solace in the quietness of the courtyard, the occasional person passing by whilst she contemplated through the events of the last week. The encounter with Warspite, seeing Shoukaku everyday but not getting anything beyond a barely amicable glance and walking in on the duo.

She sighed and closed her eyes momentarily as she tried to clear her mind from it all, especially the last memory but true to their nature, forgetting things was not an option.

Shoukaku was too far out of her reach now and she realised that maybe there was nothing she could do but to live with whatever had happened. But the thought of that was killing her already, not even beginning to know how she'd be able to ignore the Carrier and the Battleship that had now become her shadow.

They were inseparable, even more so than Shou was with her.

A tap on her shoulder brought her out of her thoughts and she looked up to the side to see Kongou smiling at her.

"Ah Kongou" she greeted warmly.

"Enjoying the sunset?" she asked returning her own smile.

"Something like that, how about you? ".

"I was looking for you actually, are you busy at the moment?".

"Not at all, although I thought it'd be better to avoid my room and well, I assume you know the rest" she chuckled.

Kongou's smile faltered a little but she pushed the thought out of her head as the image of Warspite and Shoukaku together tried to cloud her mind, "Sure do, would you like to join me at mine since they're both at yours? It's getting cold out here and.. " the Battleship grinned and stuck her hand out as Akagi took it and stood up, "I managed to get some good Hibiki to warm up with".

"Now there's an offer I can't refuse. Let me guess, Ashigara?" the Carrier chuckled.

"Houshou-san provided me with it actually" Kongou replied and grinned at Akagi's surprised expression.

"Now that is unexpected" Akagi smiled as they walked back into the building towards Kongou's room, "I suppose even Houshou-san may take to that kind of beverage".

"Well sometimes tea doesn't do the trick...sometimes".

Akagi looked to the side to see Kongou smiling brightly and it was infectious, she couldn't help but to let her own thoughts shift towards the positive with the brunette around. Knowing that Kongou probably felt the dread of the situation daily like she did, it was refreshing to see the Battleship upbeat although she did wonder why.

 

As they stepped into the room, she made herself comfortable whilst Kongou acquired the drink and some glasses, placing them down on the table and then sat down next to Akagi.

Even though she didn't want to ruin the mood, Kongou's cheery nature was peaking Akagi's curiosity.

"Kongou, is everything okay?".

The Battleship finished pouring the drinks and winked at Akagi as she passed her one, "Of course! I have good company, good drinks, why wouldn't I be" she laughed.

Akagi smiled albeit a tad confused but accepted the answer because that would've been reason enough considering all the negativity that had been thrown at her. She sipped the drink and let the strong but subtle flavours wash down her throat, already making her feel relaxed.

"I'm happy to hear that, you deserve to feel such a way".

"But so do you Akagi" Kongou replied and nudged the Carrier gently with her shoulder, "You know, I realised something last night about this whole Warspite and Shoukaku thing. The way it was dragging me down, the feeling of losing someone you love to another and so on. If that is how things have worked out and we have tried to reconnect with them but it didn't work, then maybe it is out of our hands. That's why you were wondering why I seem happy right?".

"So you knew why I asked" Akagi said with an amused visage.

"Just a bit" Kongou quipped and looked at Akagi who seemed to be more in tune with herself, "It was fair to wonder though, I know these last few months have been hard for us both".

Akagi took in Kongou's earnest expression, "It has. I wish we could've spoke about it sooner but it was better to...".

"Pretend it wasn't happening? That they'd come back to us?" Kongou finished for her.

"Is reading minds another skill that Battleships retain?" Akagi teased.

"Shh, it's a secret" Kongou replied with a grin.

Akagi could only smile at the warmth emitting from being in Kongou's presence, to be able to laugh without having to force it, to talk without being pushed and to enjoy her company without feigning interest,

Kongou herself was pleased to see the brunette drop her guards and it helped her to do the same with her own whilst knowing that Akagi was the only one to understand the turmoil she had been experiencing, Even being around the others didn't help her, it was a temporary fix but maybe now with the help of the Carrier, she could go back to her former self. 

 

They continued through to the late hours of the night simply talking it out with the occasional tears. It was better to finally open the can of worms and let things be, especially with someone who knew exactly how the other was feeling in order to properly come to terms with what had happened.<

The drink remained untouched after two glasses each, the therapeutic release coming more from talking to each other rather than becoming drunk.

Both had unknowingly crossed the bridge towards each that was built on the foundations of Warspite and Shoukaku's action and the more they thought about it as the closer they got, maybe this was what they needed; maybe this connection that they had formed would be enough to wipe the slate clean.

As they locked into each other's hazy eyes, Kongou wiped away the last of the remaining tears from Akagi's golden eyes with her thumb and then kept her hand on her face. They'd shed one too many for something that was never meant to be theirs and maybe now they could brush away the debris of the hurt to heal each other.

The brunette in turn closed her eyes at the sensation of Kongou's warm palm caressing her cheek, the air of the Battleship's light breathing covering her lips and she felt at ease with it all. A kind of ease and contentment that she hadn't felt in a long time. She opened her eyes to see Kongou's relaxed brown ones looking at her with a peaceful expression in them.

Every time she had looked at Akagi prior to that night, she wore the same morose expression as herself so it was warming to see the Carrier look content, and with her no less.

Words became futile as everything they wanted to say to each was conveyed by their eyes and the way their bodies were pressed close.

Akagi moved her face forward first as Kongou followed suit, her hand sliding down to the side of Akagi's neck to where she could feel her pulse and rubbed the skin with her thumb whilst surrendering herself fully to the kiss.

Even to themselves, maybe a part of them saw this coming but were too afraid and too strung up on two others they'd never have again to actually seek it out.

But in the dimly lit room where they undressed each other without wanting to move their lips away from their skin, they finally had the courage to let go of the past and claim each other as their own.

It was a whole new experience for both to finally severe the ties they had from Warspite and Shoukaku, at least on a mental and physical level but soon enough, they'd be able to drop the emotional side too. Because with each touch of their fingertips running over each and their mouths swaying in sync, they would lose the longing they had for them.

With Akagi withering under her, Kongou moved her face back to see the Carrier's hooded eyes open as her hands went into her brunette locks. Her lips were swollen and her skin glistening with her hair matted across the floor and Kongou thought that she could get use to seeing such a beautiful sight. She lowered her lips down and kissed Akagi softly to sooth the redness of her lips before moving back down on her again when the Carrier slid her hands down her shoulders and then her back.

The way Kongou was touching her felt like her body had been doused in flames & she could only revel in the way it felt. It didn't hurt, no the experience that was running through Akagi at that moment whilst she encircled her legs tighter around Kongou's hips was of a much more pleasant and welcomed nature. It was something she could see the Battleship do often because it elevated all the hurt that had accumulated within her heart and she knew that she could rely on the brunette to take it away.

Just like she could do for her when she reached up to kiss Kongou again and trailed her mouth down her neck whilst she rested on Akagi's shoulder, letting their bodies release together.

They could make the best out of a bleak situation that they had been throw into, one that had opened up many opportunities between their own relationship and that in itself made the journey to get there worth it.

 

Outside their door stood Warspite and Shoukaku giving each other a neutral smile as the unmistakable sounds of love making filtered from within.

Shoukaku was leaning against the door, her hands in Warspite's and squeezed them in comfort.

"Things have a funny way of working out around here" the blonde commented and leaned into Shoukaku's body.

Shoukaku kissed the side of her hair and wrapped her arm around Warspite's waist to pull her closer and ran the fingers of her other hand down her hair.

"I believe that is the definition of fate having a twisted sense of humour".

Warspite chuckled into Shou's neck before kissing it, "How applicable".

They decided to walk away from the room now knowing that there was no going back and even though the thought of Akagi and Kongou together stung slightly, they had to accept that for what it was.

For it was their actions that pushed the duo together but as they walked down the corridor hand in hand, maybe it was something in the background that was setting this to play out the way it did.

Something they happily accepted even if a part of their hearts still belonged to Akagi and Kongou.

 

"It seems like everyone gets their happy ending" Bismarck stated with a soft smile towards the Light Carrier stood next to her.

They were hidden away from the vicinity of Warspite and Shoukaku's gaze and away from Kongou's room. In the case where their slight encouragement didn't work out, they wanted to be there to minimize the damage but now that wasn't needed as things had worked out on its own.

"So it seems".

Houshou leaned against Bismarck, the blonde moving her arm over the Carrier's shoulder as they started to walk back to her room.

It only takes a small leap of faith to join with either reality or a dream and for Houshou, her reality and dream consisted of looking out for everyone in the base. 

And sometimes, a little push was needed in order to bind the two together & retain peace within her home.