Kantai Collection: New Admiral
Disclaimer: I do not own Kantai Collection… at all
POV: IJN Tenryuu
I sat next to one of the warehouses near the destroyer dorms throwing a softball at the wall and catching it when it bounced back repeatedly. My mind kept drifting back to the Admirals family, and the little impromptu storytelling he put together. My thoughts kept me from sleeping, and I wasn't going to go and wake someone up to listen to me vent. I was a badass after all. I didn't need to vent to anyone.
And yet here I was trying to take my mind off what I saw today, but it never left my mind. He always smiled at all of us when he got a chance, but it seemed... forced. Today was the first time I had seen him with a genuine smile on his face, and only when he was with his little sister. Even with the majority of his family his smile seemed, for the most part, forced. He seemed to only enjoy the company of his oldest, and littlest, sisters.
It was strange. I never had that problem with my sister or my Kindergarten. Even though my sister has quite the sadistic streak she never treated me like he was treated by the majority of his family. What went wrong? He always acted strong smiling at appropriate times for those around him, but he looked so… lost, and broken inside, despite his best attempts to hide it. I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice this, but some on the base may ignore that because he's American.
I was jarred out of my thoughts when my softball was caught after it rebounded off the wall of the warehouse. My hand was still outstretched it catch it now frozen in place. I stared at the hand which caught the ball for a moment before following the arm up to see who it was. Nagato stood there regarding the ball in her hand before looking at me. I froze. Had I been to loud? Did I wake some of the Destroyers? I didn't think I was throwing the ball that hard!
"I thought you were heading to bed?" she asked me after a moment. I remained frozen hand still extended in the air.
"Uh… ya. I-I was." I replied attempting to keep the stutter out of my voice. Badasses do not stutter! Then again, most people don't have a battleship staring them down either.
"Trouble sleeping?" she asked letting her hand holding the ball drop to her side. I put my hand back to my side as well.
"Ya, I got a lot on my mind." I replied still staring at Nagato.
'WHAT DID I DO DAMMIT!' I screamed in my head as Nagato stared back at me.
"Thinking about what happened today with the Admirals family today?" she asked me and I blinked several times. How did she know?
"How did you…?" I asked, and a ghost of a smile appeared on her lips.
"I couldn't sleep for the same reason. It's hard to believe a family would treat one of their own like that." she told me before tossing the ball back to me. she walked over to the wall opposite of me, and leaned her back on it so she was facing me.
"What could have caused that? I mean me and sister have our problems, but whatever happened with his family must have been bad." I reasoned, and Nagato nodded.
"I was thinking the same thing. With a lift of the ban on Naka's internet I asked her to do some digging. It... wasn't what I thought it would be." Nagato told me looking at the ground between us.
"What do you mean?" I asked her, and a small grim smile spread across her face.
"I had hoped it was something to show the Admiral's behavior was just a facade, something I regret thinking. He is simply a man practically just as lost and confused as we are. I'll explain tomorrow morning during breakfast. A lot of questions have been raised about the admiral today. I hope I will be able to quell them before they get… out of hand. Would you be willing to get all of the destroyers there in the morning?" she asked me and I blinked a few times. I didn't expect this at all.
"Um… yeah. I can uh... get them there." I replied slowly not entirely trusting my words right now.
"Thank you." she muttered with a smile then tossing my soft ball back to me, which I barely caught, before walking away. As soon as she was out of ear shot I jumped to my feet and bolted back to the Cruiser Dorms. Ignoring the sweat on my brow as I went which totally didn't show I was generally terrified, as badasses were never terrified. I jumped into my bed while my mind reeled. I silently thanked whatever gods or goddesses there were that my sister was already asleep.
What the hell had Nagato found that made her act that way? I know Nagato lost her sister on what was basically a suicide mission with two of Kongou's sisters, but even then she kept a decent handle on her emotions. What had his family done? Why did Nagato think that about the Admiral, then be ashamed of it? Question after question drifted through my mind. I got little sleep that night.
POV: IJN Tenryuu
After groggily pulling myself from what little sleep I got I immediately went out to the Destroyer dorms to corral them all into the Mess Hall for breakfast. There was some grumbling here and there from them, but mostly just confusion for why we were all going to the Mess Hall. some of the destroyers usually go to Mamiya's for breakfast before the carriers and battleships ate everything Mamiya could make with her small cafe.
When we got to the mess hall almost all the other ships were present, even Mamiya. The only ones who weren't were out on patrol or helping the Admiral get his paperwork in order which was basically Ooyodo.
With everyone present Nagato stepped up onto one of the tables so she could be seen by everyone in the mess hall.
"I assume all of you are wondering why you're here this morning." she stated more than asked, but a ripple nods and 'yes ma'ams' went through the room.
"What I wish to address is the events which took place yesterday concerning the admiral and his family. I'm sure most of you are wondering why his family would treat him in such a way." Nagato explained causing a bit of a commotion to go throughout the mess hall.
"I was wondering that too…"
"What do you think he did?"
"Probably something awful."
I couldn't really tell who was saying what in my half-awake state, but I didn't contribute to the noise. Everyone quieted down when Nagato raised her hand.
"I had my own suspicions, so I had Naka do some digging to find out why with the lift of the ban on her internet. It was… not what I expected to find." Nagato began and no one spoke up when she paused. Whatever she had found was enough to stun her, and it more than likely not what they had thought of initially.
"How many of you remember the Abyssal attack on San Francisco two years ago shortly after the beginning of the war?" Nagato asked causing a nod to ripple through the ship-girls.
"Didn't the battle end in victory, Nagato?" Kaga asked from somewhere in the mess hall, but her monotone voice carried over the entire room.
"It did end in victory for the United States, and Admiral Raeburn was on the ground, as a captain, in charge of a large portion of the surviving defense forces. Admiral Raeburn's father was also in the city, and it was believed he made it to one of the cities bomb shelters but did not survive. Most of his family blames him for his father's death." Nagato further explained and a potent silence fell over the mess hall.
"Shouldn't they be proud that he managed to bring victory against the Abyssals? Without any of us there?" Haruna asked from beside her sister who appeared to have tears brimming from her eyes. Kongou and Haruna knew the pain of losing a family member. Admiral Raeburn lost a family member then had most of his family turn against him.
"All they saw was the death of his father and blamed him for it. His mother attempted have him court marshalled. A court was convened, but nothing came of it. The judge dropped the charges with a closing remark. 'We should be proud Captain Tristram Raeburn was able to lead his troops to evacuate far more civilians than originally expected. He was also able to engage the Abyssal forces in gorilla warfare and keep them inside the city long enough for reinforcements to arrive and wipe out the abyssal forces.
"'Captain Raeburn did his duty as a soldier and leader in this battle, performed better than anyone else could have, showed us a previously thought undefeatable foe could be beaten, and there is no evidence to back up the charges. For those reasons the charges of abandoning civilians and voluntary manslaughter have been revoked, and removed from his record in every way, shape, and form. All of the records concerning this trial are to be kept in the Pentagon's JAG (Judge Advocate General) archive as this trial should have never happened.'"
Shocked silence met Nagato's words as all of the ship-girls processed what they had been told. Their new Admiral had led one of the first victories against the Abyssals without the aid of Kanmusu, but instead of being proud, his family attempted to ruin him. Which resulted in their stained relationship with the exception of his littlest, and oldest sisters.
Several of the Destroyers were openly crying and I did what I could to comfort them while trying not to look too sad as I was a badass, but who couldn't feel saddened after hearing that? Some of the others were crying, but most had guilty or downright shameful looks on their faces. They had probably assumed the worst out of the new Admiral with how his family acted toward him but had just been given a major reality check.
Although I wouldn't outright admit it, I jumped to the same conclusions, but considering he took the time to sit down and read to his little sister and my destroyers forced me to consider other alternatives. My own conclusion was that he had some sort of falling out with his family, but not this.
"Why?" I heard Ikazuchi, one of my destroyers, asked from where stood to my right. Her hands were balled into fists as tears were brimming from her eyes while staring at Nagato. "Why would they do that! He's been so kind to all of us! Even let me and my sisters listen while he read story to his little sister! WHY!?" she all but yelled tears now streaming from her eyes. Her usual verbal-tick didn't appear once throughout her tirade. A testament to her anger.
I quickly wrapped my arms around her and pulled her into a hug. She relaxed a bit, but tears still streamed down her face. Despite the admiral's initially frightening demeanor the Destroyers quickly warmed up to him. And add on the story of him reading a book to his little sister and Destroyer Division six (DesDiv6). The story quickly changed the perception of the Admiral for the Destroyers. It was quite surprising how fast the story circulated throughout the Destroyer dorms, but its effect coupled with the reveal today was painfully apparent due to the teary-eyed destroyers.
The Admiral appeared to be a genuine good man, but he was stuck between a rock and a hard place in this situation. As I held Ikazuchi, who started to settle down, I made up my mind to go and apologize to the Admiral later. My girls never seemed to doubt him, but I did. I felt shame gnaw at me from inside because of it. We may have had a downright shitty admiral, but it was no excuse, especially for a badass, to assume Admiral Raeburn was the same.
The rest of breakfast was a quiet affair. We all ate at the mess hall and we slowly drifted out. After I made sure my girls were alright, I got up and went to the Admirals office. On the way I saw Nagato Talking to the Marine Colonel Irving. Man appeared concerned about something. Seeing as he glanced at the occasional ship-girl who passed by, which seemed to only deepen his concern, he was concerned about our current mental states, but Nagato seemed to be putting those concerns to rest.
When I got to the Admirals office I knocked quietly but received no response. I looked at the sign next to his door, which also had his office hours, and it was in those office hours. So I knocked again, but still received no response. Now I was rather concerned myself. I knew the Admiral was majorly injured in his mad dash to get to the base several days ago, and if he wasn't answering in his office hours despite appearing to be in good condition yesterday…
I opened the door, which was unlocked, and entered the Admirals office. The first thing I saw were the stacks of paper on his desk, and the papers covering the left wall, which all appeared to be from research and development which I noted in the back of my mind. The Admiral himself was slouched over on his desk apparently asleep with his desk light still on.
Considering the large amount of papers in the outbox, and the empty coffee carafe on his desk he had been working throughout most of the night. I had a feeling Dr. Talbot would not be pleased with him if he found out he had worked throughout the night. I walked over to him and shook his shoulder He groaned as he woke. I noticed one of his hands reached behind him where he kept his scythe but stopped when he saw me.
"Oh! Miss Tenryuu. Sorry about that… was there something you needed?" he asked while leaning back into his chair before wiping loose strands of his long hair out of his eyes and behind his ears.
"I... wanted to apologize, sir. None of my girls doubted you… not even for a second, but I… I did." I told him and he blinked and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm afraid I don't understand… doubted me how? About what?" he asked confusion present on his face, but I saw a little concern behind his eyes. Any traces of the deep sleep he was in were gone from his face now.
"Well, sir. A lot of us saw how your family… treated you yesterday and assumed the worst. I… I almost did, sir." I explained and understanding dawned on his face before hardening into his neutral expression again.
"I did not… really think about how such an exchange would be perceived. *sigh* thank you for bringing this to my attention, Tenryuu. If I may ask, what drove you to apologize?" he asked me, and I could tell he was picking his words carefully. Kind of like how I was earlier.
"It wasn't badass of me to doubt my superior officer despite the fact my girls were holding out for you. And ah… I think you should talk to Nagato and Naka for the rest… sir." I told him with my usual laid-back attitude slipping back into place. I really did not want to be the one to tell him Nagato had Naka go and dig into your past to find out why you had family problems. Doesn't mean I wouldn't put him on the right track though.