Well, here it finally is: a HinaxTashigi drabble written in response to the prompt "line of resistance" fromsasori_katana that she gave me over a month ago x_x. I had some good reasons for not having time to respond just at first, such as: exams, farewell parties for friends going back to Japan, moving house, starting job... but that was all several weeks ago D= and as for further excuses... is chronic laziness and a lack of trust in my own writing abilities an excuse?
So anyway, here it is:
Title: Line of Resistance
Rating: PG 13 (for Smoker's swearing)
Word Count: 1,361
Warnings/Spoilers: None I can think of.
It's a little bit angsty, because I've always wanted to address something that I've noticed about nearly all fanwork that I've seen about gay memebers of the Marines: it seems to be taken for granted that they can just happily go about being gay without any thought for potential consequences. I've always thought that this could not be the case under the One Piece World Government, especially when you consider that it so sadly is not true for gay people in so many real countries.
It was very late at night when Hina heard the timid knock on her cabin door. She had been expecting it for a while. She immediately dropped the book she was pretending to herself she was reading and bade whoever it was to come in. As Hina had known she would, Tashigi shuffled apologetically into the room and stood just inside the door. Tashigi did most things apologetically; Hina had come to know this about her in the long weeks since they had sailed out of Alabasta. But perhaps tonight she felt she had more reason than usual to apologise; her voice was even softer and more tremulous than usual: “Hina-san, we need to talk.”
“Hina thinks you are probably right,” said Hina, from where she sat on the edge of the bed. This was the first occasion that Hina could think of where she had been sitting while Tashigi stood. It made her feel at a slight disadvantage.
“About what happened yesterday,” Tashigi elaborated, needlessly. Yesterday… they had been training on the bridge, as had become a habit of theirs on this voyage. Tashigi was the only person other than Smoker strong enough to spar with Hina and make it worthwhile. And Hina was strong enough to provide Tashigi with a real challenge but not strong enough to easily flatten her. It had not, of course, escaped Hina’s notice before now that she was spending a lot of her time sparring with a very attractive young woman who became yet more attractive as the adrenaline rose in her blood and whose nubile body was often pressed very close to Hina’s own. What had been different about yesterday, Hina couldn’t be sure; though she was aware that they were passing through the climate zone of a spring island. All she knew was that she had disarmed Tashigi and pinned her to the deck, and that Tashigi had suddenly looked so beautiful with her hair all tousled and her shining blue eyes wide with the surprise of Hina’s swift attack, that Hina had been unable to resist leaning in to kiss her slightly parted lips…
Conscious thought had swiftly returned to Hina as she realised that Tashigi, blushing prettily, was raising her head to meet the kiss. Suddenly realising that she was doing what she had been resisting for weeks, Hina had panicked and disappeared back inside. She had evaded Tashigi since.
There had been a sizable pause while Hina thought about all this so, when she realised Hina was unlikely to reply, Tashigi prompted: “Hina-san. Yesterday you – you almost kissed me,” her voice was little more than a whisper.
“Yes. And Hina is very sorry about it.”
“But Hina-san, why? Why did you almost kiss me? Why didn’t you actually kiss me?”
Hina raised her head sharply, meeting Tashigi’s eyes. “Hina believed you had the intelligence to answer that question yourself.” Seeing Tashigi flinch she realised, regretfully, that she had spoken harshly. She sighed. “Tashigi – sit down,” she gestured towards the chair next to her desk and Tashigi perched herself awkwardly on the edge of it. “You realise that any sort of romantic relations between yourself and Hina are not possible?”
Tashigi leaned forward, clasping her hands earnestly. “But Hina-san, I know it’s not legal for commanding officers to have relationships with their subordinates. But you’re not my commanding officer. We could-”
“Tashigi, of course there would be no problem if either you or Hina were a man.”
There was a painful silence. Hina sighed.
“You must know, Tashigi, that relations between people of the same gender are – strongly discouraged by the world government, to say the least.”
“But not completely unlawful! At least… not everywhere in the world. And if you’re careful, you don’t get caught.” Tashigi squeezed her hands together more tightly. “I wasn’t eavesdropping, Hina-san, I promise, but – I heard you talking to Smoker-taisa yesterday.”
Partly against her better judgement, Hina had sought Smoker’s advice. As it had happened, he had witnessed their near indiscretion, but he was certain he had been the only person who had. His immediate reaction had reminded Hina why she was not in the habit of asking him for advice: “What the Hell did you run off like that for? She looked like someone had just handed her a billion Berri until you did.”
“What if someone other than you had seen us, Smoker-kun? What would you have done in my position?”
“Idiot. I’d just have waited till I was somewhere other than the middle of the deck to kiss her.”
Hina had turned impatiently to face the window and snapped: “Hina was forgetting that Smoker-kun always does exactly as he likes without thinking of the consequences.”
“You know that’s not true,” Smoker had growled. “I always make damn sure I don’t get caught doing it.”
“But Smoker-kun!” She had shaken her head helplessly, “That’s why none of your boyfriends have been Marines.”
Smoker had rolled his eyes, probably at her choice of the word “boyfriend”, and said: “Marines or not, that’s not the point. If you’re careful you don’t get caught. There are some things about being in the Marines that are just plain stupid, Hina. And I don’t feel I should put up with them. Neither should you.”
Hina had then raised what she felt to be a very good point: “But it’s not just about Hina, is it? Tashigi – she’s so young. If we were found out, and she got something like that on her record – because of Hina…”
“Show the girl some fucking respect, Hina! She might be young, but she’s smart.” He had raised an eyebrow sardonically. “It may surprise you to learn that I think very highly of Tashigi. She knows how to think for herself, and she knows how to keep quiet about things. She wouldn’t get caught. I’ve watched you live like a fucking nun for the sake of your career all these years, but I’m not sure she’ll take the same view as you.
“Look, Hina; you’re thirty two and you’re not getting any younger. You can’t deny yourself forever, it’s not natural.”
Hina had said, in a very low voice: “Perhaps you are right, Smoker-kun. Hina will think this over.”
“You heard everything?” Hina asked Tashigi.
“Yes Hina-san, I, I’m sorry - I didn’t mean to! I was outside in the corridor waiting to see him and I tried not to listen but the door was open, so-”
She was at her most flustered and apologetic, which Hina found incredibly appealing. She smiled slightly. “Don’t feel you need to say sorry to Hina, Tashigi. It’s probably best that you did hear it.”
“So… have you thought it over, Hina-san?” Tashigi asked and, when Hina didn’t reply immediately, she clasped Hina’s hand impulsively and exclaimed: “You’re going to say no, aren’t you, Hina-san? Please think about it some more!” Hina couldn’t help but notice that her hands were small and gentle, albeit very callused from using swords. She went on, blushing in the same way that Hina had found so alluring the day before: “I’ve- I’ve always thought you were the most attractive woman I’d ever seen, but I tried not to think about it too much. But now, since we left Alabasta, we’ve spent so much time in each other’s company. I feel like I’m really getting to know you, and the more I do… the more I want you. And I’m not wrong in thinking that you want me too… am I?”
Hina shook her head and said, a little unhappily: “But Tashigi, Hina is not used to all of this; can you forgive Hina if she asks for one more night to think about it?”
“Of course,” Tashigi smiled, giving Hina’s hand a small squeeze before she stood up.
Tashigi stooped and, blushing again, gave Hina a very quick kiss on the cheek before she left, feeling hopeful. It had taken all her courage to come to Hina tonight, but she felt it had been worth it. She had so nearly succeeded this time; she felt that, by tomorrow, Hina’s final line of resistance would be gone.