A short story I wrote for Hamakaze in the hopes of her getting White Day lines. Sadly, she doesn’t get one this time.
March 14, 20XX – 18:07
Kiska Island, Aleutian Islands Wilderness
“Well… I didn’t expect things to go this far, haha…”
I looked at my left arm, grazed with a wound from the attack I withstood just now. The pain gradually sank in, but I think I am already getting used to it.
Getting used to pain, huh… I personally think it sounds like something normal coming from a shipgirl who experiences naval battles with her life on the line—but I guess that person won’t be happy if I am saying this right in front of him.
Yeah, “that person”.
…actually, why am I even here? Today’s supposed to be—
As if to return my focus to the ensuing confrontation, a huge sound of explosion came from my right side.
“Shigure, are you okay?!”
“Thanks for the concern, Hamakaze-chan; it’s okay, though, I can manage if it’s only this much.”
After Shigure said that, she closed her eyes for a second as if to calm herself down, and then quickly stormed through the front. In rapid succession, she closed in on a Ha-class, pointed her signature Type-B 12.7 cm twin gun mount to the abyssal’s head, and quickly fired three consecutive shots without batting an eye before maneuvering to another Ha-class nearby to take it down. Before the latter could react, Shigure jumped high to about five meters above the enemy destroyer with her body upside down as she points her gun to the Ha-class’ single ‘eye’ and fired without hesitation in the air.
Ayanami who was just trading blows with the Ru-class moved back and returned to my side as Fubuki provided cover fire to halt the enemy battleship’s advance. “This isn’t looking good,” muttered Ayanami, “their reinforcements threw our calculations off; to think that six more would appear…”
At the start of our engagement, there were two flagship Ri-class heavy cruisers, two elite Ha-class destroyers, a flagship To-class light cruiser, and a flagship Ru-class battleship. Not exactly the ones we are expecting from the report of abyssal ships running amok at Kiska Island’s waters, but I was pretty confident we could still wrap this up. However, the course of the battle tilted against our favor when another two elite Ru-class along with two elite Ri-class and two elite Ha-class appeared out of nowhere.
Albeit no casualty so far, the ones we have been able to finish off are the flagship To-class, all the Ri-class, one of the elite Ru-class, and three of the elite Ha-class with two of them taken out by Shigure just now. With two enemy battleships and one of the destroyers still remaining, things aren’t looking much under control with this much fuel and ammo left.
“Hamakaze-chan, watch out!”
Tokitsukaze’s shout suddenly reached me.
But apparently, it was too late.
Right on the direction of 1 o’ clock from me, the last Ha-class that Murakumo just took down seemed to muster its remaining strength and fired a torpedo right towards me.
I tried to dodge, but I guess my response was a tad bit late—and all I remember was the ‘fireworks’ that ensued afterwards along with the scream of my comrades calling for my name.
I can feel my body falling deeper. Fear starts to engulf me, even more than the pain that comes after the impact… Is this what Shinano or Kongou felt at that time, I wonder? Brimming with confidence, and yet getting taken out by a torpedo…
To think that this had to happen today… of all days…
March 14, 20XX – 10 Hours Prior
The Naval Base
My name is Hamakaze—a destroyer assigned to Destroyer Division 17 along with Urakaze, Tanikaze, and Isokaze. As of now, I am serving as one of the destroyers in this naval base, while also being the secretary for the admiral. Recently, we accomplished a success at the operation on Truk Island situated in the Caroline Islands. Since things are pretty peaceful at the moment, it can be seen in a way that we are on a break, at least that’s what the admiral said.
By the way, talking about the admiral…
“…what are you doing, Admiral?”
“Oh, Hamakaze. If there are any new documents for me to review, just put it on my desk. My hands are kinda full right now.”
“No, I mean…”
“Oh, you are referring to the report for the last operation? I have finished it too; you can check it later at the office if you want.”
“No, I am not talking about work… I mean, what’s with that getup?”
By getup, of course I am referring to the white apron that Admiral wears.
The place Admiral and I are at right now is the naval base’s kitchen. While it is not an odd thing or someone to wear an apron here, that person being the admiral ticks me off a bit in a strange way. After all, the ones who usually use the kitchen are either Kongou, Eugen, or Haguro.
“Don’t you remember what day is it tomorrow?”
The admiral’s question popped a question mark up on my head; March 14, now that I think of it…
“…ah, it’s the White Day… right?”
“Yep, so I think you understand what I am doing right now, then,” Admiral confirmed my response to his question with a smile. I tried to hold myself in—not to allow my face getting flushed beet-red in the face of that honest smile of his.
“S-so… you are making a return gift, then? For who?” I asked him as I put my hands behind my head.
“For everyone, of course.”
Hearing his answer, I simply gave a wry smile. Last month, Admiral literally got a valentine chocolate from all the shipgirls from this naval base. Of course, by everyone, I am also counting Hiei’s dark chocolate that Akagi accidentally ate, apparently mistaking it for something completely different due to its peculiar smell; things went a bit awry after that, but I am surprised she survived that seemingly-lethal chocolate.
Well, there’s that, but I think regardless of whether Admiral got a chocolate for everyone or not, he is the kind of guy who won’t leave anyone behind, so he will definitely give everyone a return gift.
“Hmm… Want me to help?”
Hearing my offer, Admiral seems to be quite delighted. “Really? I’d be happy to have you lend a hand. Well then, please take care of me,” he said as he handed me an apron for me to use.
The chocolates that Admiral is making are a variety of chocolates that he seemingly chooses based on the shipgirls’ preferences. Well, he is always like that—thinking of what we like or what we don’t, hearing our problems and simply being there for us, while also doing his best in our struggle against the abyssals.
Yes, that’s exactly right. Admiral has always been good to everyone.
Admiral has always been good to everyone, so why…
“Admiral…” In the middle of mixing the ingredients, I called out to him.
“Err… Why… Why did you choose me to be your secretary?”
I finally let out the question that seems to appear out of nowhere.
The question that has been right on the back of my mind since the day I was chosen as his secretary.
At that time, I, who was at the loss of words, could only say yes, but were too hesitant to even ask him why. I was happy, but confused at the same time. For someone like me, whose role is simply a tool, to be able to have this feeling towards him that I adore, this is already more than enough. At least that’s what I have always thought. But, even so…
Hearing my question, Admiral turned his head up like he is thinking for a while, and then replied with another smile, “I think it’s on a whim, haha.”
“W-what do you mean ‘it’s on a whim’?! S-so you mean it can just be anyone?! You—” Unable to withstand myself, I started throwing a tantrum without realizing that my face has clearly gone red.
But his sudden words made me stop.
“Well, how could I say this… I like everyone here in this naval base, and as an admiral I want to fight alongside all of you. But I think, I feel most comfortable when I am with you. What do you think yourself, Hamakaze?”
His sudden question took me aback; what do I think? Do I… with the admiral…
“I… I like you… that is…”
“Yup, me too,” he quickly said it, devoid of hesitation.
“B-but… aren’t I different? I rarely speak, I am not as attractive as Haruna or Kongou, I am not as strong as other destroyers like Yuudachi or Ayanami, nor do I have any special appeals or womanly traits like Yamato, and I… I am just a shipgirl, to begin with…” I muttered slowly while fidgeting, lacking any more attempts to hide my embarrassment.
“Does it matter?” he said, “it’s because you are who you are that you are so precious to me.”
At that moment, my body froze like a deer caught in the headlights while my cheeks turned as red as a tomato.
Before I managed to respond, though, the emergency signal rang through the naval base, including the kitchen we are both at.
Admiral, hearing the signal, sighed a bit and said with a wry smile, “I guess our break is over, then.”
“…well, yeah.” After regaining my composure because of the sudden interruption, I calmly spoke up.
Admiral quickly took the communications device he always keeps in his right pocket and turned it on, then ordered everyone to gather at the control room.
“Shall we head there too, then?”
We put down our aprons and walked to the exit of the kitchen.
Right before reaching the door, I pulled Admiral’s uniform from behind.
“Hm? What is it?”
“Please… let me handle this. Let me take part in this operation, and please don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything, so you can focus on making the best chocolate for everyone.”
“…I see.” Hearing my words brimming with resolve and seeming to understand what I am getting at, the Admiral nodded. “I believe in you; please lend me your strength, then, Hamakaze.”
“Of course, Admiral.”
It’s dark… and cold…
I can’t see anything; I can’t even hear my own voice. I can only stay in silence as the darkness consumes me.
No, this is not what I want. This not what I desire. I don’t want things to end like this.
…but what can I do?
When my hope was about to wither, I saw it—a light.
Seeing it and wondering what that light is, I started hearing a familiar voice.
That familiar voice is calling… my name.
I lifted my hand up towards that light, and towards the source of that voice. As I tried to reach out to that light, I called his name inside my mind; and as the light started to envelope me, I am overwhelmed with warmth.
After waking up, I found myself lying on a white bed. I quickly recognized it as the one in our base’s infirmary.
“Thank God, you are finally awake.”
I turned to the source of that voice, and there he is—sitting on my right side, holding my hands.
“Admiral…. I am sorry.” I lowered my head as I apologized, trying to hide my tears that have started to flow.
“It is not your fault. The enemy reinforcements were not within our expectations. With everyone being able to return back, I am already satisfied,” answered Admiral with a reassuring expression.
“B-but, how?” I muttered in confusion, “I thought that… we are done for…”
“Tokitsukaze sent out a flare right after you got hit by the torpedo, so Yamato and Bismarck were able to arrive in time.”
I wiped away my tears while still lowering my head, and continued, “do you hate me for this?”
“You gave me your trust for this operation, and yet, I was the one dragging everyone down. If only I was—“
Before I can finish talking, Admiral’s index finger touched my lips, prompting me to look up at Admiral’s face.
“Rather than talking about depressing stuff… here.”
As he said that, Admiral gave me a tiny bag that is tied on its end with a ribbon and told me to open it.
“Yep, white chocolate. Your favorite, right? The day is almost over so it might be a little late, but I want you to try this.”
I opened the bag and took one of the white chocolates, then put it inside my mouth.
“So, how was it? Is it to your liking?”
“…you added too much sugar.”
“Haha, I see. I guess I’ll take note of that when I am making another one.”
I won’t hesitate anymore.
“Can I have one selfish request?”
I won’t lie to my own feelings anymore.
“And that would be?”
Even if I am just a shipgirl, I am…
“Please close your eyes.”
Without a second thought, Admiral closed both of his eyes. His expression suggests that he is anticipating what I am going to do; I guess that’s the admiral for you.
I took a deep breath once, and then…
…I leaned forward, and touched Admiral’s forehead with my lips.
“T-that is… for the chocolate.”
“Thank you; I guess you can get pretty daring when it counts.”
“Oh, can’t I?” I replied while flicking his forehead with my right hand. He laughed in response, and I laughed too afterwards.
I guess I’ll take it one step at a time,
going at my own pace;
with me being myself,
and Admiral being himself.
For now, I just want to enjoy these white chocolates and the lingering sensation of Admiral’s warmth on my lips, even just for a moment.